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Montana Supreme Court upholds ruling on exempt wells

By Michael Howell The Montana Supreme Court has upheld a lower court ruling by Lewis and Clark County District Court Judge Jeffrey Sherlock that basically closes a loophole in the state Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) regulations that was allowing developers to get subdivision approval for proposals the size of a small town…

Longtime ‘Friend’ bids adieu to Stevensville

At 91, Beverly Helrich, President of the Friends of the North Valley Public Library for the past 12 years, still has the energy to organize the 5th (and final) Art of the Chair-Desk fundraiser to benefit the library. She’s pictured here with two of the painted chairs which are displayed in the foyer of the Kohl Building, behind Valley Drug. The silent auction ends Friday, September 23 at 6 p.m. A retirement party for Beverly will be held Wednesday, September 28 from 4 to 6:30 p.m. in the community room of the library which will close at 5 p.m. so that library staff can attend. Michael Howell photo.

By Michael Howell Beverley Helrich’s career as a travel agent began in Reno, Nevada. She started the first travel agent school in northern Nevada and worked at it for 10 years. As part of that she had to do what travel agents do, she will tell you with a laugh, she had to travel a…

Land swap proposed for Stevensville river access

Preliminary Concept Site Plan prepared by Fish, Wildlife & Parks for a state Fishing Access Site near the Stevensville bridge that could be created if a land swap between the Town of Stevensville and a private landowner is approved.

By Michael Howell State Senator Fred Thomas of Stevensville presented a proposal on behalf of Roy Capp, owner of the Ft. Owen Ranch, for a land swap along the river near the Stevensville bridge that would involve the construction of a Fishing Access Site (FAS) that would be managed and maintained by the Department of…

Local author/adventurer publishes new book

Jon Turk and Erik Boomer’s epic circumnavigation of Ellesmere Island embraced conditions from relatively smooth frozen sea ice on which they could drag their kayaks, to open water for paddling. In between, though, they had to jump on tippy floes, or drag their boats through frozen slush. Photo courtesy of Jon Turk.

By Russ Lawrence When Jon Turk set out on his historic effort to circumnavigate Ellesmere Island in the high arctic, he knew it would be his last fully-committed expedition, but he didn’t expect it to kill him. He just didn’t know in how many ways that would nearly come to pass. His newest book, published…

Stevi adopts budget without employee cost-of-living raises

By Michael Howell The Stevensville Town Council adopted its Fiscal Year 2016-2017 budget at the September 8 council meeting, despite the fact that the Airport Fund was not yet in balance. They did so, according to Mayor Jim Crews, because they were also in agreement that the Council would pass a resolution at its next…

Bull trout group shares local data

Bull trout. Photo courtesy USFWS.

By Michael Howell The Sula Clubhouse was the place to be last week for anyone interested in bull trout. It was the gathering place this year for the Salvelinus confluentus Curiosity Society. The use of the Latin scientific classificatory appellation for bull trout in the club’s name is a dead giveaway that the group is…

Unbalanced airport fund delays adoption of Stevi budget

By Michael Howell The Town of Stevensville held a public hearing on Wednesday, August 31, to take public comment on the 2016-2017 FY Preliminary Budget. In the course of public comment it was noted that the budget was not balanced. Although the expenses in the preliminary budget are set at $4,592,933 and that outstrips the…

River flows

Watching the river flows... Bell Crossing is a critical area on the Bitterroot River for maintaining instream flows. Aubrey Howell photo.

River flows better than expected in spite of ‘severe drought’ listing By Michael Howell Despite the recent “Severe Drought” declaration in Ravalli County, the water flows in the Bitterroot River are doing “better than expected,” according to local officials who are keeping close tabs on the situation. Better than expected, but not necessarily up to…