Editor's note: Each week, the Missoulian provides readers with a sampling of news gleaned from weekly newspapers around western Montana.

PHILIPSBURG - It's a beautiful road to travel, but the name of the Pintler Scenic Route has long been problematic.

As Sen. Gene Vuckovich of Anaconda pointed out to the Philipsburg Mail, the signs at one end spell it P-i-n-t-l-a-r, and on those at the other end it ends in an e-r. (The latter appears to be correct; the mountains were named after Charles Ellsworth Pintler, who settled in the Big Hole in the summer of 1885.)

Now Vuckovich has introduced a measure in the state Legislature, Senate Bill 213 would rename Highway 1 the "Pintler Veterans' Memorial Scenic Highway" and it shouldn't cost a cent.

"When existing road signs on the designated highway need replacement, the (Department of Transportation) shall provide appropriate markers to recognize the memorial designation of the highway," the bill reads, adding that future maps that identify roadways in Montana must reflect the name change as well.

Vuckovich told the Mail that veterans groups and in Anaconda and Granite County are behind the bill.

"The thing is it pays tribute to the veterans that are along the route. It's just a good feel-good bill," he said.

The bill sailed through the Senate in February by a 49-0 vote. The House transportation committee passed it 10-1 on March 16.

***

Bigfork students take off for Europe 

BIGFORK - Experience Europe and Morocco vicariously through the eyes of a Bigfork High School senior.

Amber McDaniel is among eight Bigfork students who left Wednesday on the school's 12-day biannual Spanish and Book Club trip. The Bigfork Eagle reports that McDaniel, who writes for the school newspaper, is recording the experience with regular posts at dinterlake.com/vikings_log/?page_id2.

They're accompanied by English teacher Charlie Appleby, as well as by four students from Hamilton High and their Spanish teacher, Hauna Trenerry. Trenerry previously taught at Bigfork. They'll visit Portugal, Spain and Morocco in North Africa before returning to Spain and Barcelona.

McDaniel's first post was written from a Missoula hotel at 5 a.m., a couple of hours before departure. She described the flight plans: first to Denver (on two different planes), then nonstop to Frankfurt, Germany, then to Lisbon, Portugal.

"From there, we travel mostly by bus across country, in exception to the time we take a ferry across to Morocco," she said.

***

Reaction strong to St. Ignatius superintendent's raise

ST. IGNATIUS - The St. Ignatius school board chairwoman was none too eager to tell the public how big a raise the board had given Superintendent Bob Lewandowski, according to a story in this week's Lake County Leader.

Maxine Whitson told the first two people at last Tuesday's board meeting who asked about rumors Lewandowski's pay had been increased significantly that the numbers would be provided within 10 days if a written request for it was received.

But, Leader reporter Lisa Broadt's story said, high school English teacher Tim Marchant - the third member of the audience to request the information - pressed on.

"Isn't it public information?" Marchant asked. "Is there some reason we can't know?"

Glancing at Lewandowski, Broadt reported, Whitson finally announced, "The superintendent's salary is now $100,000."

Lewandowski volunteered that it is $14,800 more than the salary he was hired at - a more-than 17 percent increase.

Lewandowski has been superintendent for seven months.

"If people aren't here for the students, but for the money, that's something we need to look at," Indian Education Coordinator Lana Page told the board.

"I assure you we can fund it," Whitson said at the meeting. "We wouldn't have done this if we couldn't."

"I'm here for the children, I think we're all working for the same goal," she also said.

Lewandowski told the Leader he understands that teachers want higher salaries, too.

"Part of their concern is that they want to get paid more," the superintendent said. "And they should, they should advocate for it."

Local 3182 of the Montana Education Association officially requested the superintendent's salary figures for the 2010-11 and 2011-12 school years in a letter to the board the day after the meeting. It also told the board that changes in the school's calendar year without bargaining would constitute an unfair labor practice, Broadt's story said.

Weeklies Reader is compiled by reporters Vince Devlin, Tristan Scott and Kim Briggeman.

 

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