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Huckleberries 1 STK
Roman Nerud

Very special huckleberries to the hundreds of athletes competing in Special Olympics events this week. The 41st annual Five Valleys Area Spring Games kicked off on Wednesday at Big Sky High School with track and field games that brought 500 athletes and dozens of teams from communities throughout the area, from Polson to Darby. The games continued through Thursday with a bocce tournament and will wrap up with swimming competitions at the Missoula YMCA on Friday. Congratulations to all the participants, volunteers and local law enforcement whose staunch support makes the Special Olympics such a winning event.

Swollen chokecherries to the rising flood waters that caused numerous rivers and streams to breach their banks this week, flooding buildings in more than seven counties and causing street closures in Missoula. Gov. Steve Bullock declared a statewide flooding emergency to provide state aid, including assistance from the Montana National Guard, to local communities and tribes dealing with the severest flooding. In Missoula County, the Orchard Homes neighborhood and Boy Scout and Placid Lake roads in Seeley Lake have weathered the worst of it, although the Clark Fork River is still rising and is not expected to peak until early next week. County residents are urged to call 911 if they notice new flooding, and to sign up for Smart 911 (www.smart911.com) for the latest information on local flood conditions.

A generous helping of huckleberries to the Missoula Community Foundation for once again organizing the annual Missoula Gives (www.missoulagives.org) crowdfunding campaign this week. The campaign is set up to allow donors to easily give to more than 150 different 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations in Missoula and Ravalli counties, with the added boost of matching gifts, challenge grants and special prizes. The day of giving officially began at 5 p.m. on Thursday and will close at 10 p.m. tonight.

Chaotic chokecherries to the turmoil in the Flathead Basin Commission, which is struggling to fulfill its mission to protect and improve local water quality after its budget was sliced and its director fired earlier this year. The 23-member commission, created by the legislature in 1983, plays a key role in coordinating local, state, federal and tribal stakeholders, and even international agencies from Canada, to ensure the Flathead basin is protected. Its $147,000 budget for the upcoming fiscal year was dramatically reduced, to about $17,000, and its former executive director, Caryn Miske, is fighting allegations that she was dismissed for engaging in “dishonest, subversive and disruptive” activities.

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