Today, we begin a three-day series about Missoula's ongoing struggle with downtown transients.
Day One: Will businesses see improvements downtown this year? Hoping to combat a deluge of unseemly behavior and verbal assaults on pedestrians and shoppers, Missoula put limits last year on the places people can beg for money and banned harassment as a tactic. What's in store this year?
Day Two: Once upon a time, 9-1-1 was reserved for emergencies. It isn't anymore. Those lines also are used for people who need police help but aren't in dire straits. Is 9-1-1 working, or does Missoula need another number as other cities use?
Day Three: Real Change, Not Spare Change. Remember those change jars in downtown businesses? The Real Change campaign renewed a couple of years ago as a way to funnel donations to social service agencies and cut down on begging downtown. The money is flowing into the jars, but it's still flowing to panhandlers, too.