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Huckleberries to Montana's three congressional delegates for announcing this week that they have worked across partisan divides to put together a package of eight public lands bills for Montana. If Congress approves the package, which is attached to the national defense appropriations bill, it will be the first time in more than three decades that Montana has received a new wilderness designation. 

Chokecherries to county officials who do not want to follow Montana law and allow gay couples to be married. In Yellowstone County, the clerk of court and county attorney disagree on whether clerks who object to gay marriage for religious reasons can opt not to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. Missoula, fortunately, is among the many Montana counties where clerks seem happy to carry out their official duties, no matter whether the couple requesting a license is straight or gay. 

Huckleberries to Philipsburg, a beautiful little Montana town that shot to fame this week with the recent revelation that famous actress Scarlett Johansson secretly married Romain Dauriac there in October. 

Chokecherries to the dearth of volunteers and resources needed to keep the cross country ski trails on the southern side of Lake Como groomed, as they have been since 2009. This year, the Como Trails Club announced that it lacks the volunteers and funding to keep providing this popular service. 

Huckleberries to the 12th annual Parade of Lights, which will kick off in downtown Missoula tomorrow with an appearance by Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Florence Building at 1 p.m. The festivities include family friendly activities throughout the afternoon, with the parade starting at 6 p.m. and ending at the red Xs for the lighting of the Christmas tree at 6:30 p.m. The free cocoa, coffee, cookies and special performances are always a warm treat on a cold, snowy night.  

Chokecherries to the fire that cost a young Missoula couple their home – and their pet. Shayna Bradley, 23, and fiance Joshua Crosby, 28, were away from home Tuesday night when the accidental fire burned their house on South Avenue West and claimed the life of Crosby's service dog, Bentley. The couple is hoping to find a new home before the birth of their child, due in two months. A donation fund has been set up in their name at Missoula Federal Credit Union (account No. 281475), as well as on the fundraising website YouCaring.com (search for "Rebuilding a Household").  

Missoulian editorial board: Publisher Mark Heintzelman, Editor Sherry Devlin, Opinion Editor Tyler Christensen

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