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Empowered huckleberries to Empower Montana and all those who participated in this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. writing and art contest. The contest, now in its 23rd year, encouraged local students to create original artwork and essays on the theme of King’s timeless quote: “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” The winners, in addition to having their work featured in this past Monday’s Missoulian, were awarded prizes and celebrated at a community gathering and march on the evening of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. They all deserve recognition for helping to keep the slain civil rights leader’s legacy of equal rights alive and thriving in Missoula.

Demolished chokecherries to the destruction this week of a historic building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The building in Whitefish was razed despite a fundraising effort to buy it from Mick Ruis, who purchased the property in 2016, for $1.7 million – and despite the fact that the building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The site that formerly housed the 5,000-square-foot Lockridge Medical Clinic Building will next be home to a new three-story commercial building with retail, office and housing units.

Record-breaking huckleberries to Missoula’s record-breaking number of new building permits. In 2017, the city’s Development Services office issued 1,500 new permits with a total construction market value of $277 million. In 2016, the record was just shy of $249 million. More than half of project value - $158 million – is due to a slate of Smart Schools 2020 projects funded through bond levies approved by Missoula voters in 2015. Meanwhile, the number residential permits remained the same last year as in the year before, at 775.

Slushy chokecherries to the cancellation of the Kalispell Pond Hockey Classic due to unstable ice conditions in the area. Organizers for the event, which was scheduled for this Friday through Sunday, checked out a number of nearby lakes and ponds but were unable to find any place suitable for a game of hockey. While players are sure to be disappointed, registered teams will be given a refund – minus the $100 nonrefundable deposit. And when it comes to unpredictable winter weather and temperatures, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Ceramic huckleberries to University of Montana ceramics professor and local artist Julia Galloway, who was one of only 45 people chosen from a pool of 500 applicants to win a $50,000 fellowship grant from United States Artists. Galloway plans to use the money to make progress on an extensive project to illustrate nearly 650 extinct or endangered species on pottery, or put some money toward new equipment and other improvements to her home studio.

Recovering huckleberries to the Montana Department of Corrections for converting a former boot camp at Montana State Prison into a chemical dependency treatment center. On Tuesday, Department of Corrections Director Reginald D. Michael announced that the center had accepted its first 30 inmates, who were selected after an evaluation process determined which inmates had the highest risk and need for intervention. The intensive treatment program is overseen by a chemical dependency treatment manager and includes three licensed addiction counselors, three case managers and a re-entry coordinator. It’s designed to provide 90 to 180 days of treatment in a separate facility offering a more therapeutic environment than the main prison facility, and represents a new approach to helping offenders with drug addictions prepare for a better life outside bars.

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