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Handful of huckleberries

Huckleberry fishing lures to the many great dads for whom Father’s Day is set aside to honor each year, and to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks for once again allowing free fishing on Father’s Day weekend June 18 and 19. Many fathers throughout Montana took the opportunity to spend a few hours fishing with their kids – whether those kids were still children or all grown up – without having to pay for a license.

Chokecherry-bombs to the end of a 30-year tradition of fireworks provided by Southgate Mall each Independence Day. The free public spectacle each July 4 typically brings thousands to the mall’s parking lot, but many residents throughout the valley have enjoyed the show from the comfort of their own homes. The professional fireworks show has no doubt played a key role in discouraging individual amateurs from igniting their own display. Alas, the company that provides the fireworks show for the mall canceled this year, citing “changes in the industry,” and the folks at Southgate were unable to find a suitable replacement in time. Hopefully the tradition will return next summer, and hopefully nobody will violate Missoula’s prohibition on lighting fireworks in city limits in the meantime.

Huckleberries to the Bureau of Land Management and three environmental groups that had sued to block drilling for reaching an agreement to resolve their dispute over greenhouse gas emissions from federal oil and gas leases in Montana. The deal preserves current practices for the most part but requires federal officials to at least consider steps to reduce methane emissions. The agreement, filed in federal court last week, avoids a costly, time-consuming lawsuit and should be approved by the U.S. district court judge without hesitation.

Chokecherries to Montana’s ranking among the worst states for teen drivers, according to an analysis of 16 metrics studied by WalletHub. The metrics included safety conditions, driving laws and even such factors as the economic environment. Unfortunately, Montana landed in 47th place, just ahead of our neighbors in North Dakota, Wyoming and South Dakota.

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Huckleberry breakfast parfaits for Missoula County Public Schools and the supporters of the Feed the Need food truck for providing free breakfasts and lunches to hungry kids through the summer months. The Montana Food Bank Network counts 42,000 children in Montana who get free and reduced-price meals during the school year. Thanks to the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program, Montana school districts and people like Feed the Need’s Angela Johnson, thousands of these kids will continue to have access to nutritious meals throughout the summer.

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

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