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Standing 28 feet tall, George Ybarra's sculpture "Perseverance and Passage" is set to be unveiled at First Friday, Aug. 7. The design process started more than 20 years ago in a sculpture class at the University of Montana.

Huckleberries to the new parking meters coming to downtown Missoula. The old "vintage" meters are set to be replaced by new meters that use software that allows people to pay via credit card or cell phone, and to receive alerts about time running out or use unspent time at a later date. Best of all, the meters won't be scrapped but rather repurposed by others, and even the old posts could see continued life as additional parking - for bicycles. 

Chokecherries to the Oath Keepers, Pacific Patriot Network and Idaho III% for bringing firearms to a mining conflict in Lincoln. The dispute between claim owner George Kornec and the U.S. Forest Service can be - and should be - resolved without this show of force which is clearly meant to intimidate federal workers, rather than "protect the rights of miners." 

Huckleberries to tourism in Missoula County. The Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research at the University of Montana found in its latest study that nonresident tourists spent $285 million in Missoula County last year - dollars that generate a total $229 million in further economic activity and support 2,800 jobs. Further, tourism indirectly supports an additional $160 million in economic activity and 1,300 jobs in Missoula County alone. 

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Chokecherries to the Carlyle Group for failing to make their very large collection of lawyers and expert witnesses available until November - at the soonest - and for their apparent unconcern about the likelihood that delaying the valuation phase of the trial will end of costing Missoula taxpayers more money. The city of Missoula's successful condemnation of Mountain Water Co. means that it's time to determine a fair value of the water utility, but when Missoula County District Court Judge Karen Townsend pointed out that interest rates are expected to increase before Carlyle's attorneys and witnesses could testify, Carlyle attorney Joe Conner said that wasn't the company's concern. "The risk of the city having to pay more interest rates is nowhere to be found in statute,” he said. 

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Huckleberries to "Perseverance and Passage," the towering new sculpture in Silver Park. The weather-resistant steel piece by George Ybarra is officially being unveiled today, First Friday. It's 28 by 11 by 10 feet - the tallest piece of public art in town. Huckleberries are due also to all those who helped bring the sculpture to life: the Percent for Art program, the Missoula Redevelopment Agency, the Morris and Helen Silver Program, Peter Costello at CADMont, Tom Beaudette of Beaudette Engineering and Wade Sellers of Professional Construction Services Inc.

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

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