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Handful of huckleberries

Huckleberry manhattans to the Missoula City Council’s Public Works Committee for compromising with a downtown restaurant to allow the business to expand while protecting the public’s interests. This week, the committee unanimously approved a three-year plan to allow the Thomas Meagher Bar to use two parking spots to open a season outdoor dining area, complete with bike racks. In exchange, the business will pay the Parking Commission for the use of the two spots. It’s a good example of good public-private negotiation that leads to a win-win for both parties.

Chokecherries to the University of Montana for its “scary high” cuts to the College of Humanities and Sciences. Dean Chris Comer confirmed that the college is facing “several million dollars” worth of budget reductions for 2017 – or as much as 30 percent of its instructional costs. The cuts are even more alarming in light of the fact that the college, which includes some 5,000 of the university’s nearly 11,000 students, is responsible for offering 80 percent of UM’s general education courses. Cuts are painful anywhere, but especially so when made to the heart of this humanities-based institution.

Huckleberries in D major for the employees of Cash 1 Pawn in Missoula who recognized that a violin bought by the shop for $50 was stolen. The violin, a case and two bows were stolen from Sarah Harmsworth, a musician with the Missoula Symphony Orchestra, and are valued at about $8,000. Thanks to these pawn shop employees, the police were contacted and the violin returned to its rightful owner.

Chokecherry caps and gowns to the 20 Flathead High School seniors and one junior who broke into their school earlier this month, badly vandalized it and consequently have been barred from walking at their graduation ceremony. The students were suspended and are facing criminal charges, and now, trustees with Kalispell Public Schools have voted to block the 20 senior students from the participating in commencement ceremonies – a fitting consequence for their actions.

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Huckleberries to the 100 high school seniors from 58 schools in Montana who each volunteered 100 hours or more, and in doing so earned $1,000 Youth Serve Montana Scholarships. Earlier this week the Governor’s Office of Community Service, Montana Campus Compact, and Student Assistance Foundation announced the names of the recipients – many of whom had volunteered well more than 100 hours of their time. The scholarships will go to further the graduates’ educations at a college or university in Montana.

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