Names and faces

Lisa Leland has been promoted to the position of social media and marketing coordinator at Reach Higher Montana. Leland has worked at the organization since 2005, and for most of this time has served in the role of programs coordinator.

In her new role, Leland will support digital marketing and communication efforts, including content development, video development, and editing for social media platforms. 

Leland holds an associate’s degree in computer technology/networking from Helena College.


Jenna Reitz, FNP has joined St. Peter’s Health Medical Group-North Clinic. Jenna received her Master of Science degree in nursing from Graceland University in Missouri. She holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from DeSales University in Pennsylvania as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in biobehaviorial health and minor in women’s studies from Pennsylvania State University.

Prior to becoming a board certified family nurse practitioner, Reitz worked as a travel nurse in Ohio, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana, primarily in labor/delivery and medical/surgery units. She is accepting new patients at 457-4180.


Nicholas G. Smith, PA has joined St. Peter’s Health Medical Group Orthopaedic Urgent Care. Smith received his Master of Physician Assistant Studies degree at Rocky Mountain College in Billings after receiving his bachelor’s degree in health sciences from Carroll College.

Prior to joining St. Peter’s Health, Smith worked as an orthopaedic physician assistant in an orthopaedic urgent care clinic in Billings. He has also worked as a mental health technician at Shodair Children’s Hospital and as a medical assistant at Helena Urgent Care. St. Peter’s Health Orthopaedics Urgent Care offers orthopaedic urgent care services at the St. Peter’s Health Medical Group Broadway Clinic.

For more information, call 447-4160 or visit sphealth.org/ortho.

News and notes

SACC program awarded $3K grant

The Helena School Age Child Care Program was awarded $3,000 in Clean Water Act funding through the Soil and Water Conservation Districts of Montana, Inc. This funding has been used to teach children/families, SACC staff and the community about the Lake Helena Watershed, and the geological features that make up the surrounding area and the Helena Valley. This is the fourth grant SACC has been awarded to teach and support environmental education within the after school program.

Since January 2018 SACC staff have received training and developed a curriculum that included hands-on water education, geology, environmental sciences, including field trips to local streams and lakes, mineral, and mining museums, Missouri River Headwaters, and other points of interest within our watershed.

The children of the SACC program built a functioning model watershed that can teach children and adults how watersheds work, and the importance of clean water to the quality of our valley habitat.

The project met and exceeded state and STEAM standards for school age children and spurred an interest in career related studies in environmental sciences and geology.


Social Security expands public hours at offices nationwide

Starting on Jan. 8, 2020, Social Security offices nationwide will be open to the public on Wednesday afternoons, Andrew Saul, Commissioner of Social Security, announced. This change restores Wednesday public service hours that were last in place in late 2012. 

In another move to improve service to the public, Saul announced in his open letter to the public at www.ssa.gov/agency/coss-message.html that the agency is hiring 1,100 front line employees to provide service on the agency’s national 800 number and in its processing centers. 

Currently, a field office is generally open to the public from 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesdays. Beginning on Jan. 8, offices will remain open until 4 p.m. on Wednesdays, with typical field office hours from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

While the agency continues to improve both the access to and the experience with its services, most Social Security services do not require the public to take time to visit an office. People may create a my Social Security account, a personalized online service, at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

Through their personal my Social Security account, people can check personal information and conduct business with Social Security. If they already receive Social Security benefits, they can start or change direct deposit online, and if they need proof of their benefits, they can print or download a current Benefit Verification Letter from their account.

People not yet receiving benefits can use their online account to get a personalized Social Security Statement, which provides earnings history information as well as estimates of future benefits. Currently, residents in 40 states and the District of Columbia may request a replacement Social Security card online if they meet certain requirements. 

Many Social Security services are also available by dialing toll-free, 1-800-772-1213. People who are deaf or hard of hearing may call Social Security’s TTY number, 1-800-325-0778.


The IR welcomes reports of hiring, promotions, awards, recognition, learning opportunities and other news from local companies and nonprofits. We accept press releases and photos (digital images at 300 dpi or more are preferred). Email your information to irstaff@helenair.com.

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