New year 2016

Huckleberries to the Missoula Cultural Council for organizing another can’t-miss First Night. The slate of events for the last night of 2015 included more than 80 performances scheduled in 30 different venues for a dizzying array of entertainment options to appeal to the entire family. First Night has been a fun and affordable way to ring in the new year in Missoula for more than 20 years, thanks in large part to the dedicated folks at the Missoula Cultural Council.

Chokecherries to the Atlantic Richfield Co. for suing the residents of Opportunity and Crackerville – all 97 of them. The residents filed a lawsuit against ARCO in 2008 after their communities were used as a dumping ground for smelter waste brought in from Anaconda. Now, ARCO is counter-suing in an effort to have the residents’ cleanup plan thrown out.

Huckleberries to the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula for giving Missoula County residents the gift of free admission, starting today. The museum, supported in large part by a levy approved by voters in 2002, as well as through grants and regular fundraising events, welcomes an estimated 45,000 visitors each year. Now that admission for all county residents is free, the museum is sure to see even more visitors interested in learning more about the rich history of this place and its people.

Chokecherries to Animals of Montana, a casting agency located near Bozeman that trains and rents captive-born wildlife for films and photo shoots. According to Fish, Wildlife and Parks, which is seeking to revoke the company’s permit, the agency has a record of problems dating back to 2001 that includes serious safety violations. Three years ago, a trainer was killed by a black bear and “the Occupational Safety and Health Administration proposed fining Animals of Montana $9,000 for unsafe working conditions and for failing to immediately report the death,” according to the Associated Press. FWP says the business has shown “a continued disregard for public safety and animal welfare,” although Animals of Montana disputes these claims.

Huckleberries to the beginning of a new year. New Year’s Day brings an annual opportunity to take stock of the past and resolve to make improvements in the future. Here’s wishing you all a happy, healthy, huckleberry-filled new year!

Missoulian editorial board: Publisher Mark Heintzelman, Editor Matt Bunk, Opinion Editor Tyler Christensen.

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