It’s Valentine’s Week in western Montana, and there’s plenty to love about life in our wild and beautiful corner of the world ... and plenty to do.
Here are a few of the ways you can get involved in civic life – and just plain enjoy life – in the week ahead:
- MCPS BOARD MEETING: As you know, the pay raise Missoula County Public Schools Superintendent Alex Apostle just got has provoked a feisty public debate. Have an opinion yourself? Weigh in at 6 p.m. Tuesday, when the MCPS Board of Trustees meets in the little gym at Sentinel High School, 910 South Ave. W. The board also is going to vote on whether to place two requests for technology levy hikes on the ballot.
- IMPROV-COMEDY SHOW: Looking for lighter fare? The Upright Citizens Brigade comes to the University of Montana Tuesday for a 7 p.m. gig in the University Center Theater. The nationally renowned group has produced some of the most recognized comedians in the country, working on “The Daily Show,” “Saturday Night Live,” “Parks and Recreation” and more. Admission is $3 with a Griz Card or $5 without.
- HIGH SCHOOL HOOPS: It’s rivalry week for Missoula’s Class AA boys’ and girls’ basketball teams, with crosstown matchups set for Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Hellgate hosts Sentinel on Tuesday, Big Sky entertains Hellgate on Thursday, and Big Sky and Sentinel square off Saturday at Sentinel.
- LENTEN SEASON: The Lenten season begins with Ash Wednesday observances all across western Montana. Events include a soup and bread lunch with music by soprano Amanda Ceaser and pianist Alice Williams at Missoula’s University Congregational Church, 405 University Ave. Music is at 12:10 p.m., with lunch following at 12:30.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY, UM! It may not look a day over 119, but the University of Montana nonetheless turns 120 years old on Wednesday, and there’s going to be a party. UM is inviting all comers “to explore the excitement of teaching and learning at the university” during Celebrate Academics on Charter Day from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, in the University Center.
- VALENTINE’S DAY: We’re pretty sure you can find your own fun on Valentine’s Day, but if you’re feeling contrary, the Kalispell Public Library is offering an Anti-Valentine’s Day Party for teens. The fun – or not – runs from 4-5:30 p.m. in the library’s basement meeting room and is for teens in grades 6 to 12.
- RISE AND SHINE: The hour’s a bit early, but the conversation is likely to be lively at 7 a.m. Friday when Bitterroot National Forest Supervisor Julie King hosts this month’s Forest Friday breakfast at BJ’s Restaurant in Hamilton. Presentations include a look at the forest’s timber management program and an update on the Bitterroot snowpack.
- MOVIES, MOVIES MOVIES: The Big Sky Documentary Film Festival begins Friday at the Wilma Theatre in Missoula, with events running through Feb. 24. We’ll have a full preview in Friday’s Entertainer, and there’s lots of information on the festival’s 100 films online at www.bigskyfilmfest.org.