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Bowls of huckleberries to the Missoula Food Bank, which held its fifth annual “Empty Bowls, Full Souls” dinner Wednesday and brought anti-hunger advocate and author Janet Poppendieck to the event as the featured speaker, as well as other members of the community to share their experiences with hunger. The Clay Studio of Missoula donated 175 bowls decorated by local artists, and Two Sisters Catering and Le Petit Outre filled those bowls with good food. The dinner helped draw attention to the increasing number of people relying on the food bank for their next meal, as well as the factors that lead to hunger in our community.

Chokecherries to the Montana Department of Transportation and the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks for their slow action on resolving a longstanding problem with elk crossing Interstate 90 between Drummond and Gold Creek. MDT is finally beginning to explore a possible $1.5 million fencing project to guide elk to the four underpasses used by other wildlife to safely navigate the eight-mile stretch of road. This comes too late to help Duane Carlton, a retired Army lieutenant colonel from Bozeman who died in the early morning hours of June 6 when the Harley Davidson motorcycle he was driving hit an elk on the interstate about three miles east of Drummond.

Huckleberry sundaes to Jakers Bar and Grill, which celebrated its reopening this past week, four months after a fire on Feb. 24 forced the Missoula restaurant to shut down. The fire, which ignited a gas line in the kitchen, caused extensive smoke damage and required extensive renovations. Meanwhile, Jakers owner Justin Philbrick committed to paying his entire staff of about 60 employees their full wages – as well as their average tips. As a further generous gesture, the restaurant is inviting anyone whose birthday falls between Feb 24 and June 23 to enjoy a half-price meal and a free sundae until July 21. Here’s a business that knows how to inspire loyalty among its employees and customers!

Chokecherries to Glacier National Park’s shrinking ice fields. While it’s been known for some time that the glaciers for which the park is named are gradually melting away, two new animations from NASA’s Earth Observatory track the loss over three decades using satellite images. The number of glaciers in the park has dropped from about 150 in 1850 to only 25 today, and the park’s last moving ice field is projected to be gone by 2030.

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Huckleberries to the dozens of volunteers who turned out to help St. Ignatius build a new elementary school playground, and still more huckleberries to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana for footing 90 percent of the bill. Last weekend more than 150 volunteers helped put together the playground equipment from the nonprofit KaBOOM! Thanks to their efforts, hundreds of children in the St. Ignatius area will be able to enjoy an outdoor attraction designed and approved by their very own community.

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Missoulian editorial board: Publisher Mark Heintzelman, Editor Kathy Best and Opinion Editor Tyler Christensen.

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