Editor's note: Each week, the Missoulian provides readers with a sampling of news gleaned from weekly newspapers around western Montana.
POLSON - In the third grade, his teacher in Arlee told Marques Jones and his parents that the boy was "slow."
As reporter Kate Haake related in last week's Valley Journal, the assessment changed the boy, and for several years he did his best to live up to it.
"Marques resorted to being the class clown and never believed that he was smart enough to succeed in class," Haake wrote. "He showed little interest in school and lost confidence in his academic endeavors."
By high school, he was talking about dropping out.
The Valley Journal related all this in a story about Marques Jones graduating from Montana State University with a degree in chemical engineering this month. He was also named winner of the Gold Medal Award by the Montana Society of Engineers, given to the top engineering student in the state.
Jones, who spent his first year of high school working on his family's ranch while enrolled in a Christian school in Ronan, credits his success to transferring to Polson High School for his sophomore year.
There, math teacher Polly Dupuis saw what other teachers had missed.
"He was one of those kids who had a lot of potential," Dupuis told Haake. "I kept on pushing him and encouraging him, and it got to the point where (his intelligence) impressed himself."
"Once Marques was given that confidence by his instructors," said his mother, Linda, who teaches at Ronan Middle School, "there was really no stopping him."
Scouts help where WWII vets cannot
PLAINS - For the first time, no World War II veterans participated in the placement of American flags at the gravesites of 395 veterans in the Plains Cemetery.
"It's getting hard for some of these guys to walk up and down here," coordinator Polly Gill told reporter Ed Moreth of the Sanders County Ledger.
But - also for the first time - Plains VFW members received help with the annual pre-Memorial Day project.
Five Cub and Boy Scouts showed up to help the eight VFW members locate all the graves, and push the American flags into the ground next to their headstones.
The 395 flags represented 14 more than were placed last year, the Ledger reported.
Ten were due to vets who have died in the last year. Four more were vets who had been missed previously. Vietnam War Navy vet Butch Shomate, who works at the cemetery, located four more - including veterans from the Civil and Spanish-American wars, according to Gill.
The Scouts volunteered their services as a way to serve the community, according to JoAnne Baker, an assistant Cub Scout leader.
Grizzlies to wolves, ranchers adjust
OVANDO - They recognized years ago they had to do something to reduce grizzly-livestock conflicts.
Now ranchers of the Blackfoot Challenge see the same challenges with wolves.
Intensive livestock and wolf monitoring, or range riding, is one method, Challenge chairman Jim Stone of Ovando told the Seeley Swan Pathfinder. Annual livestock carcass removal, the installation of permanent electric fences and temporary fences such as fladry, which are intended to deter wolves with material that flaps in a breeze, are others.
"Nearly 10 years ago we had to figure out creative ways to reduce conflicts with grizzly bears through a collaborative effort with many of our partners," Stone said. "Now we're at the beginning of the learning curve with wolves."
Stone and David Mannix of Helmville met in Helena with Joe Maurier, director of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, to reiterate the Blackfoot Challenge's support for an active and adaptive approach to wolf management. Maurier said it's important to know FWP has the support of such groups as the Blackfoot Challenge.
Tim Aldrich, president of the Montana Wildlife Federation, said his group and the Hellgate Hunters and Anglers of Missoula "fully support the Blackfoot Challenge's position on wolf management."
Couple of teachers retire to activity
Bill and Karen Anderson aren't so much retiring from long education careers as making time for a bunch of other things.
The Hungry Horse News said Bill Anderson, who has been in high school and junior high administration in Columbia Falls for 27 years, has run 19 marathons so far. Karen, a reading and Spanish teacher at Deer Park School near Columbia Falls, is a rollerblader.
They have kayaking, boating, skiing and snowboarding to attend to, not to mention grandchildren to visit.
"We feel almost guilty leaving education," said Bill, currently assistant principal at Columbia Falls Junior High. "The word retire is not one we like to have in our vocabulary."
He has 47 years in education and also 28 years of military service. After starting teaching jobs in Westby and Scobey, the family moved west in 1967 to Libby, which was booming while the Libby Dam was being built. Bill taught and coached at the high school there. Karen taught a remedial reading program and subbed for title programs, and earned a degree in education from the University of Montana in 1978.
Bill took the assistant principal and athletic director position in Columbia Falls in 1982. Karen followed three years later and began teaching at Deer Park, where she has also taught kindergarten, second and third grades.
"Teaching is not what you do at the moment," said Bill. "It's the things you don't even know that you're doing, that you hear about later. Students come back (to visit). Good or bad, you do something that people remember."
Weeklies Reader is compiled by reporters Vince Devlin and Kim Briggeman.