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56 Counties: Hill County

courtesy Dave Martens and Lindsey Brandt-Bennett
Dave Martens (left), Dr. Lindsey Brandt-Bennett

Hill County sits right in the middle of what we call the Hi-Line, the long stretch of small towns that are sprinkled along Highway 2 from Glacier Park to North Dakota. Like most of the towns along the Hi-Line, Havre came to be because of the railroad, and because the only passenger line in Montana still runs along the Hi-Line, the railroad remains a viable source of jobs in Hill County. But my guests this month, both of whom left Havre for a time before returning, also give us a glimpse of some of the more surprising activities Havre has to offer.

Dr. Lindsey Brandt-Bennett is a Havre native and a Havre home comer after 15 years of living in other places around the state, country, and world. She enjoys reading, playing music (piano/keyboard), singing with her two small children, and hiking around all the little unknown gems in northcentral Montana. She serves as the president of the volunteer nonprofit Havre Trails and works at Montana State University-Northern as the Director of the Office of Teaching and Learning Excellence.

Dave Martens attended MSU-Northern and the University of Montana, where he was active in the local music scene and the college radio station, KBGA. Martens founded an archival record label called Lost Sounds Montana with a mission to preserve, archive, showcase and make accessible the music and associated history of Montana across the decades. To date, they have completed two archival music releases with many more releases planned. In 2014, Martens graduated from the Communicative Sciences and Disorders graduate program at UM and returned to Havre. He works with the Bear Paw Education Cooperative as a school Speech-Language Pathologist, and at KNMC, MSU-Northern's campus radio station, and as a volunteer at Bear Paw Ski Bowl.