Saturday, February 27, 2021

Mineral County Pioneer Council announces schedule changes

Mineral Independent | February 10, 2021 12:00 AM

Due to a decrease in operational funding, for those who have used the Mineral County Pioneer Council for transportation to Missoula and Plains for short notice medical appointments, those services will no longer be available.  

At the January directors meeting it was discussed that the two new mini vans they received for medical appointments should be limited to inside Mineral County.

Those having appointments in Missoula need to align them with the five regularly scheduled monthly trips. The same with Plains with their trip on the second Wednesday of each month.

Medical trips to Mineral Community Hospital, Partnership Health Center and the Jack Lincoln Memorial Clinic in St. Regis will not be affected.

Days, times and fares on all transportation can be found at their new website along with important information on the only public transportation system in Mineral County.

Currently, all of the MCPC vehicles are stored outside at different locations. Due to the availability of CARES ACT funding the Pioneer Council is moving forward with constructing a 2,200-square foot facility with four vehicle bays, a conference room that will be available for public use, ADA lavatory, two offices and storage.

This ‘Bus Barn’ will sit east of Mineral County Hospital on property the county owns, which the commissioners have committed for this use.

The Pioneer Council also oversees the Commodity Supplemental Food Program for Mineral County. Most refer to this as simply ‘commodities’ which is serviced by Western Montana Area VI Agency on Aging in Polson.

Todd Wood, Executive Director, was in attendance and reported that a road bump has occurred. “Transportation and warehousing facilities are being pushed to the limits for supply and demand. The state commodities program is no different. The last distribution in December faced having to distribute incomplete boxes to clients.”

There are nearly 75 seniors over 60 with an income of less than $1,383 for one or $1,868 for a couple, that rely on the supplemental

food in Mineral County.

“The State is committed to maintaining the Commodities Supplemental Food Program for all participants that meet the guidelines and as we continue through this economic unrest”, he reported.

Until the new facility is completed, the MCPC conducts council meetings at the St. Regis Senior Center on the fourth Thursday of each month at 10 a.m.

This is a group of volunteers with a representative from the Montana Transit Association that meets to discuss the needs, changes, challenges and cost of providing public transportation in Mineral County and they are open to the public.