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Empty coal cars mothballed in Bitterroot

Chain of empty coal cars streatches along the railroad tracks between Florence and Lolo where they are being stored. Michael Howell photo.

By Michael Howell The Bitterroot spur line owned by Montana Rail Link has not seen any train traffic the last few years. An unrepaired washout prevents any rail traffic into Ravalli County but the tracks are usable from Missoula to Florence and that portion of the Bitterroot spur is now being used as a storage…

Dealing with grief the natural way

Molly Pickett, Assistant Director and Grief Specialist at Tamarack Grief Resource Center (left), participates in a candle-lighting ceremony where candles are lit to honor the memory of the deceased. At the camps, in the evening, a campfire ritual begins with a candle-lighting ceremony offering an opportunity for each individual to light a candle silently, or with a name or with a story. Once the candles are lit, the group leans down together to light the campfire and discussion may continue, proceeding to thoughts and memories of loved ones and each person’s experience with grief. Then come the snacks, the guitars and the music, and the mood begins to shift to the here and now and to creating new memories of times with supportive others.

  By Michael Howell Grief over the death of a loved one is something every human being will have to experience in his or her lifetime. It is a naturally occurring human response to loss. But getting through it can be difficult. It can become disabling, even overwhelming, and leave a person feeling like they…

Future irrigators learn water ways

Bitter Root Irrigation District (BRID) Manager John Crowley explains the water distribution system, which delivers water from Lake Como to the east side of the valley all the way to the Eagle Watch area. Michael Howell photo.

The Bitter Root Water Forum, in its continuing effort to offer educational opportunities related to the Bitterroot Watershed, recently hosted its fourth annual “Future Irrigators Field Trip” Young people in Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapters from up and down the valley participated in the event. The day began with a visit to the Lake…

Mickens retiring after 43 years of teaching

By Daphne Jackson Corvallis Primary School teacher Carolyn Mickens is retiring after 43 years as an educator. Mickens said her interest in teaching started when she was young. “When I was in third grade, I liked having to do the paperwork,” she said. “And then, when I was in junior high, our next door neighbor…

REC celebrates Valley Solar project

Above: Governor Steve Bullock stands with dozens of solar panel purchasers who were honored for their commitment to clean local energy production. Many of the purchasers are owners and operators of the co-op and REC General Manager Mark Grotbo thanked them for making the investment, “especially when the economics are longer-term but looking into the future of things to come. Without your investment, thought, support and enthusiasm, this wouldn’t have happened,” he said. Michael Howell photo.

By Michael Howell Officials and members of Ravalli Electric Cooperative (REC), joined by government officials and members of the public, all convened on the company’s Woodside substation last Thursday to celebrate the grand opening of the Valley Solar installation that is producing electricity for the REC grid. The solar panel project turned out to be…

Stevensville’s utility rate help program to continue

Stevensville Mayor Jim Crews administered the oath of office to new Municipal Court Judge Maureen O’Connor assisted by O’Connor’s son, who held the Bible, at a swearing in ceremony last Friday at the town hall. Michael Howell photo.

By Michael Howell The Stevensville Town Council met on Thursday, May 26 with only two council members present. Mayor Jim Crews stated that he had contacted Dan Clark at the Local Government Center in Bozeman looking for guidance. Crews said that the way it works is the seat that he vacated to assume the position…

Manzella to head Montana delegation

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State Representative Theresa Manzella (HD 85) of Hamilton has been selected to lead the Montana delegation to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. This is the first time a person from Ravalli County has been selected to lead the state delegates to the GOP convention. She will be the one who casts the vote…

Victor Fire District replaces ambulance

L to r: Austin Gagnon, Christa Mertins, Madison Bahr and Jason Bahr delivered Victor’s new ambulanceto the Victor Fire District garage.

Ten year ago, the Victor Volunteer Fire District purchased a 1997 Ford F250 ambulance from the Telluride, Colorado Fire District. The ambulance had 20,000 miles on it and now has nearly 80,000. That ambulance has now been replaced by a later model (2005) Ford F250 purchased from the Genesee, Idaho Fire District. The new replacement…

Soldier’s remains to finally come home

It’s been a long time coming, but the remains of Corporal George G. Simmons, born on October 28, 1917, will finally be laid to rest in the Corvallis Cemetery next to his parents, almost three quarters of a century after his death. Corporal Simmons survived the infamous Bataan Death March, but died a short time…

Darby invites you to rock in the new arena

Cal Ruark, President of the Darby Rodeo Association, stands in front of the new skyboxes at the Darby Arena. There is already a waiting list for these private rodeo viewing spaces that will each have its own flat screen TV with instant replay feature. A grand opening celebration of the arena will be held this Saturday, June 4. Jean Schurman photo.

By Jean Schurman Darby is gearing up for another big happenin’ this weekend. The grand opening of the ‘new’ Darby Arena will be on Saturday, June 4th. Gates open at noon and the music and fun begins at 2 p.m. The theme of the event is “Come Rock in the Arena.” The event will feature…