Airborne huckleberries to the Missoula International Airport and to a new effort called Take Flight Missoula. In response to passenger demand, the airport is pushing forward with expansion plans and teaming up with local businesses to bring in more airlines and flights. Speaking at a City Club Missoula meeting this week, airport director Cris Jensen noted that passenger numbers continue to grow, with an 8.6 percent increase over the past year alone. The airport recently announced that United Airlines would begin offering nonstop service to Los Angeles, and next week the airport will hold a press conference to announce yet another nonstop destination, most likely to a major city in Texas. Meanwhile, it is teaming up with local businesses in an effort to raise $400,000 in matching funds that will allow it to access $600,000 in federal grants for revenue guarantees to entice new airlines — and even more direct flights — to Missoula.
Carefully budgeted chokecherries to Montana’s dismal D grade on a national ranking of financial literacy education in high schools. The report, released this week by the Champlain College’s Center for Financial Literacy, graded all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and found that Montana has room for improvement when it comes to teaching financial literacy. High schools in our state tend to teach financial literacy in elective courses, if they teach it at all, and only 3 percent of required social studies courses cover personal finance matters. Montana was one of four states, with Louisiana, Vermont and Wyoming, to earn a D grade.
Overgrown huckleberry bushes to Missoula City Council members for authorizing the Parks and Recreation department to start trimming back encroachments of private property into Greenough Park. The 42-acre park at the base of the Rattlesnake Valley was donated to the city more than 100 years ago, and over time neighboring property owners have extended yards, fences and even decks beyond the park boundary lines. The most recent survey found 26 encroachments; the City Council decision means the owners of these properties will be asked to remove any overlapping property and restore the land to its original state if possible, or to work with city staff to purchase an easement.
Chokecherry poultices to Montana’s persistently high rate of workplace injury and illness, among the worst in the nation. Although the state has made some slight progress in decreasing its workplace injury rate - improving from 4.3 injuries for every 100 full-time workers in 2015 to 4.2 in 2016, according to the Department of Labor and Industry – it still placed fourth-highest in a ranking of the states that report workplace injury data. Only Maine, Vermont and Washington had worse rates.
A trailer full of huckleberries to the person who called the Missoula Police Department after spotting an abandoned trailer containing a specialized wheelchair in the Evaro Hill area, and additional huckleberries to all those who helped reunite retired Army Lt. Col. Tim Gardipee with his stolen property. The trailer, which Gardipee received through the Wounded Warrior project, and motorized TrackChair, which Gardipee uses to access the outdoors, were taken from outside his apartment last week but recovered just a few days later after nearly 3,000 people shared his story on Facebook.