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Handful of huckleberries

A hoop full of huckleberries to Shannon Schweyen, the longtime assistant coach who will take over as head of the Lady Griz following Robin Selvig’s impending retirement. Schweyen is a strong pick who boasts deep familiarity with the women’s basketball program at the University of Montana and, under Selvig’s wing, helped develop it into one of the winning-est. The team logged 531 wins and 14 Big Sky Conference titles, and advanced to the NCAA tourneys 13 times with Schweyen’s assistance. So big cheers and huckleberries to the Lady Griz’s new coach, and to the team’s continued success.

Chokecherries to Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke for his misplaced remarks during a recent luncheon in Missoula. Instead of holding Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump accountable for some of his more crude and clownish statements, Zinke sought to shift the blame for Trump’s “big mouth” to the media. “The media is never going to be on his side,” Zinke told about 120 people gathered for a fundraiser. “He’s gonna say the sky is blue and the media is going to call him racist because he didn’t mention red or white…” Montana’s only representative in the U.S. House ought to be able to explain his support for Trump – and hopefully articulate any differences of opinion – without resorting to such badly placed hyperbole.

A warm bowl of huckleberry soup for Amy Allison Thompson, a former Poverello Center director who is returning to lead the homeless shelter and soup kitchen, to share with Eran Fowler Pehan, who is leaving her post as executive director of the Poverello in order to lead Missoula’s new housing office. Thompson most recently served as executive director of the Montana chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, and formerly worked at the Poverello as a case manager and then as director of family services. Fowler Pehan helped establish the Poverello’s new $5 million shelter in its new location on West Broadway. Missoula is fortunate to have two such knowledgeable, experienced advocates working to solve the problem of homelessness in our community.

Chokecherries to declines in key Montana industries that are resulting in a shrinking state economy. According to a recent Bureau of Economic Analysis report, transportation and mining are taking an especially big hit, with railroad traffic in a slump due to decreased oil, coal and grain shipments. Overall, the gross domestic product declined by 1 percent in the final quarter of 2015, and by nearly 1 percent through the first quarter of 2016.

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A haul of huckleberries to the volunteers who helped remove nearly 300 pounds of trash from the Blackfoot River during its annual cleanup on the last weekend of July. Some 80 volunteers helped scour the stretch of river from Whitaker Bridge to Johnsrud Park, and turned up a hunting rifle, hubcaps and even old parking meters, in addition to the usual bottles and plastic bags. Special thanks to Missoula Fresh Market for providing food and additional volunteers, and to the Bureau of Land Management, the University of Montana Outdoor Program and the Blackfoot Home & Community Club for lending their help as well. To help keep our rivers clean all year long, pick up a free mesh bag at the Fish, Wildlife and Parks office at 3201 Spurgin Road, at either of the two Missoula Fresh Markets or the Orange Street Food Farm.

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

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