Maroon and silver huckleberries for Homecoming Week, the annual opportunity for all of Griz Nation to join in celebration of the University of Montana. This year’s Homecoming theme - Reflections: Honoring the Past, Shaping the Future – is especially apt at a time when the university is welcoming a new president, Seth Bodnar, and preparing to honor the 125th anniversary of its founding in 2018. The week’s festivities will wrap up tomorrow with a Homecoming Hustle 5K race at 9:45 a.m.; the traditional parade down Higgins Avenue starting at 10 a.m. with this year’s honorary parade marshall, recently retired Lady Griz basketball head coach Robin Selvig; and of course an alumni tailgate before the Griz go up against the Fighting Hawks from the University of North Dakota at 1 p.m. Celebrate safely and go Griz!
Chokecherry-filled traffic cones to Missoula’s unfortunate distinction of having the Top 5 most dangerous intersections for drivers in the state. A recent analysis of Montana Department of Transportation data from 2014-2016 further showed that the Top 4 most common vehicle crash intersections are located along Missoula’s Reserve Street. The study was done in partnership with a Billings law firm and marketing company, and confirmed the results of Missoula’s own Long-Range Transportation Plan of 2009, which noted that the place where Reserve Street crosses with Mullan Road has the highest number of car crashes of any intersection in Montana.
A $10 photo of huckleberries upon the release of U.S. Congressman Greg Gianforte’s mugshot this week. Gianforte was arrested and later convicted in Gallatin County Justice Court of assaulting Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs the night before the special election in May. However, the booking photo taken at the time of all similar arrests was not made publically available despite requests from Lee Montana Newspapers and others, and despite the fact that Gianforte did not object to the photo’s release. Finally, on Thursday, District Judge Holly Brown put an end to this special treatment and ordered the official release of the mugshot, allowing media to obtain a copy for a $10 fee.
Spoiled chokecherries to Teck Resources Ltd., the Canadian mining firm citing for releasing contaminated water from the water treatment facility at its coal mine in the Elk River drainage north of Eureka. Three such water releases in 2014 killed off bull and cutthroat trout in waters that cross the international border into northwestern Montana. This week, a Canadian provincial court ordered the company to pay a fine of $1.4 million to pay for fish conservation projects in the larger river basin region.
Huckleberry returns to the Montana State Fund for dividing a record-setting total of $40 million in dividends to its insured businesses and organizations. The state’s workers’ compensation insurance fund, the largest provider of its kind in Montana, insures more than 26,000 such customers, and rewards those that show a commitment to workplace safety by distributing rather sizable dividends, which is also the result of smart asset management by the quasi-public fund that is set up like a nonprofit but overseen by a governor-appointed board. Some 95 percent of Montana State Fund customers receive a dividend each year, and the rate of workplace injuries and fatalities continues to improve.