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Montana/Regional briefs

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Montana/Regional briefs
Montana/Regional briefs

Commission candidates appear at forum today

Candidates for Missoula County commissioner meet in a public forum Tuesday, while the contenders for Senate District 35 and House District 68 meet Wednesday.

Democrat Jean Curtiss and Republican Bill Farrell will answer questions from the Missoulian and the public at a 90-minute interview in the Missoula Public Library at 10:30 a.m. They are competing to replace Democrat Michael Kennedy, who was defeated in the June primary after one six-year term.

House District 68 candidates George Bailey (Republican), Dave Wanzenried (Democrat) and Andy Lockridge (Libertarian) are scheduled to appear at the Missoulian at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, with Reform Party candidate Larry Foust being interviewed later in the day because of a schedule conflict.

Senate District 35 incumbent Republican Sen. Dale Mahlum will meet Democratic challenger Andrew Scott at the Missoulian conference room at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Rob Chaney, Missoulian

Candidates to face off in televised debates

Televised debates between candidates for Congress are scheduled later this month in Billings.

House candidates are scheduled to debate at 6 p.m. Saturday at Skyview High School.

Candidates seeking to replace retiring Rep. Rick Hill are Republican Dennis Rehberg, a former lieutenant governor, and Democrat Nancy Keenan, superintendent of public instruction.

On Saturday, Oct. 21, the Senate candidates debate at the ballroom of Montana State University-Billings.

They include incumbent Sen. Conrad Burns, a Republican seeking a third six-year term; Democrat Brian Schweitzer; and Reform candidate Sam Rankin.

Both debates are scheduled for broadcast on the Montana Television Network.

Associated Press

Screening deadline approaches for Libby

HELENA - The time is almost up for current and former Libby-area residents to get free asbestos screening for health problems they may have developed through exposure to the now defunct W.R. Grace/Zonolite mine.

Oct. 20 is the last day to make an appointment for asbestos screening in Libby through the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. The final day for actual testing is Nov. 2.

The screenings come in response to reports last winter that asbestos waste from the mine poisoned dozens of Libby-area residents and mine workers over the years. Exposure to mine byproducts has been linked to dozens of deaths in the area.

More than 4,500 people have undergone screening in the program for asbestos-related illnesses and another 1,000 are scheduled to undergo testing in the next month, said an ATSDR press release.

Screenings include a personal interview, chest X-rays and lung function tests. Test results will be issued to patients roughly three months after screening. Those eligible for screening are people who lived, worked or played in Libby at least six months before the mine closed at the end of December 1990. Also eligible are all former mine employees and their families.

For more information on the testing, call the ATSDR's Libby office at (406) 293-7781, ext. 279.

Missoulian State Bureau

Slide show to look at plants, animals

POLSON - Ben Long will present a slide show on the natural history of the Lewis and Clark Expedition at the October meeting of the Mission Mountain Audubon Society in Polson.

The program will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Polson City Library meeting room. Everyone is welcome.

Long will focus on the plant and animal species recorded by Lewis and Clark and discuss how those species are faring, 200 years later. He also will read selections from his new book, "Backtracking: By Foot, Canoe and Subaru on the Lewis and Clark Trail."

For more information, call Jim Rogers, Audubon chapter president, at 883-6351, ext.247, or e-mail

John Stromnes, Missoulian

Firefighters to conduct downtown disaster drill

A disaster drill in downtown Missoula on Wednesday will highlight this year's "Great Escape," a national public awareness campaign aimed at motivating residents to develop and practice an escape plan in the event of a house fire.

As part of a weeklong awareness campaign, up to a dozen Missoula City firefighters and several fire engines, including a ladder truck, will respond to the Clark Fork Riverside, 301 W. Front St., at 1 p.m. to battle a simulated fire in an upper-floor apartment, according to Nate Nunnally, assistant fire marshal.

Fire engines from several different stations, a battalion chief and incident support staff will conduct real-time fire suppression activities, including evacuation of the building.

The National Fire Prevention Association, which began the effort in 1998, has documented hundreds of thousands of families who participate yearly in "The Great Escape," which is credited with saving 58 lives, including 35 children.

At 7 p.m. Wednesday, all Missoula city fire stations will sound a fire engine alarm for 30 seconds to remind residents to check their smoke detector batteries and practice a fire escape plan.

At the completion of the drill, the fire department encourages residents to visit a neighborhood fire station for more information and giveaways.

Mick Holien, Missoulian

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