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Weeklies Reader

Posted at 1:40 p.m. May 1

By Montana Tracker

Whitefish residents are looking forward to a new Aquatics and Health Center, now that city officials have drafted a deal to buy four acres on Baker Avenue from Flathead County. The Whitefish Pilot reports various groups have tried for 25 years to build an indoor pool in town. This $5 million project is bankrolled in part by a nonprofit fund-raising group and part by local bank loans and tax-increment financing. It would feature a 25-yard lap pool, gym, sports courts and a community room.

State and federal officers arrested a suspected methamphetamine dealer with ties to a rash of burglaries in western Montana last week. The Libby Western News Online reports that Carlos Rafael Rodriguez was picked up on a federal warrant for drug possession with intent to distribute. Officers also found guns and an all-terrain vehicle that had been reported stolen in burglaries in Lake and Lincoln counties. A second Libby man was arrested in connection with the stolen goods.

The Hungry Horse News reports that Canyon Elementary School's fate may depend on the results of a mill levy next week. If the $297,362 elementary district levy fails, the District 6 School Board would likely have to close the school, at least temporarily. The election is May 6.

The Horse also followed national coverage of an interview with Glencore International AG Chairman Willy R. Strothotte, leader of the parent company that owns Columbia Falls Aluminum Co. Strothotte reportedly said the company was watching international markets to see if it is more profitable to produce aluminum at the Columbia Falls facility or sell the raw alumina ore to other buyers. The cost of electricity in the region would likely be a tipping factor. Several Pacific Northwest aluminum producers have already curtailed or closed their operations because of climbing power prices.

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