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River washes out trail at wildlife refuge

  By Michael Howell Prolonged high water flows on the Bitterroot River this spring cut into the bank along the Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge undermining the asphalt trail that was paved to allow for ease of public access as well as handicapped accessibility to the river. The collapsing bank now threatens to take out…

Hamilton budget finalized – city taxes raised 42%

  By Michael Howell Residents of the City of Hamilton are going to see a 42% increase in their property taxes in the coming Fiscal Year 2015 to cover general government services as the current budget calls for levying close to the maximum number of mills allowed by law. The City’s finance officer, the City…

Two more properties looking for Open Lands Bond support

By Michael Howell   The County’s Open Lands Board has forwarded a recommendation of approval of the use of Open Lands Bond Program funds to help establish two more conservation easements in the Corvallis area. The easements, which would be placed on the Bailey and Gingerich farms, are situated within a few miles of over…

Riverfest in the Root held. Kids (and adults) enjoyed a variety of activities to increase their awareness and appreciation of the Bitterroot River at the fourth annual Riverfest in the Root held last Saturday at River Park in Hamilton. Here, Orion Masar of Placerville, CA moves sand and gravel around in a working model of…

Public comment period extended on DEQ permit for large retail store

  By Michael Howell The state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has reopened the public comment period for a Ground Water Pollution Control System permit application that it is being considered on a property located south of Hamilton on Blood Lane. The wastewater system would serve a large retail establishment rumored to be a Walmart….

Stevi adopts permissive levy but doesn’t fund it

  By Michael Howell The Stevensville Town Council recently decided to expand its health care coverage for employees by including dental and vision options in which the town would pay half the cost in a 50/50 cost share plan. Now, at its most recent meeting on August 14, the Council adopted a permissive levy to…

Groups plan to sue over airstrip expansion in Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness

  Wilderness Watch and Friends of the Clearwater have filed a 60-day Notice of Intent (NOI) to sue the US Forest Service and the US Fish & Wildlife Service over the potential impacts to imperiled bull trout and other rare species from the planned expansion of the Fish Lake Airstrip in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness of…

Commissioners miss chance to place issue on ballot

  By Michael Howell At a meeting last Thursday, the County Commissioners discussed the possibility of placing the issue of reducing the number of commission seats from five to three on the ballot in the upcoming elections in November. At the end of about two hours of discussion and public comment a motion was made…