Chokecherries
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Huckleberry-print onesies to Providence St. Joseph Medical Center, which learned last week that its “Bridge to Hope” project has earned a $42,600 grant from the Montana Healthcare Foundation. The project is aimed at helping mothers whose newborns are diagnosed with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome — meaning they show signs of exposure to drugs — provide better care for their babies and voluntarily sign up for treatment. Bridge to Hope provides educational materials and training to new moms, as well as a licensed addiction counselor to coordinate care with pediatricians and nurses. It’s critically important support in the Polson community where, according to hospital data, 27 percent of newborns tested positive for drugs in the first half of 2016.

A precariously balanced mountain of chokecherries to the high risk of avalanches in western Montana and around the Missoula Valley. The West Central Montana Avalanche Center assessed the danger of avalanche in the Bitterroot, Mission, Rattlesnake and Swan mountain ranges as “high” for several days earlier this week and issued a warning, then reduced the risk to “considerable.” With scattered rain and snow flurries predicted for the foreseeable future, and temperatures varying from above to below freezing, it’s best to check conditions every day before heading out. The West Central Montana Avalanche Center posts avalanche advisories and other useful information at missoulaavalanche.org.

Housewarming huckleberries to The Nest in St. Ignatius, a big pink house that is being readied to welcome new moms and pregnant women who are struggling to overcome addiction. Originally purchased in 2014 by the nonprofit Domestic Violence Education and Services (DOVES) and now managed by Western Montana Mental Health and Addiction in Lake County, the residence provides a shared living room and kitchen, and separate bedrooms for its residents. A therapist, case manager, rehabilitation therapist and house managers will help women at the facility stay sober, stay with their babies and eventually become self-sufficient.

Olympic-size servings of huckleberries to the Missoula Senior Center for coming up with a fun way to bring the official Olympic Winter Games — which began this week in South Korea — to seniors in Missoula. Member Al Goddard shares the credit with the center’s Programming and Activities Committee for creating the “Senior Center Olympics,” which awarded Roxy Theater tickets, gift cards and other prizes to those who competed in one of games offered each day this past week. Regardless of whether they won a prize, all participants received the chance to try something new, sharpen their game skills and have fun doing it. In fact, though the center’s Olympic games may be over, there is still plenty of fun to be had at the Higgins Avenue building Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., with lunch served daily and open to the community.

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