Editor's note: Each week, the Missoulian provides readers with a sampling of news gleaned from weekly newspapers around western Montana.
Polson's annual Fourth of July fireworks show may fizzle out this year, the Lake County Leader reports.
The combination of a lack of funds and an earthquake in China may do in the fireworks, which are set off each Fourth near the Flathead River.
The city's regular fireworks supplier is having inventory problems because of the earthquake, which killed 69,000 people and left 5 million more homeless.
"Where the quake was, that's where a lot of the factories are, apparently," organizer John Miller told reporter Jennifer McBride.
Miller said the Marine Corps League, which arranges the event, ran out of time for fundraising, and donors who usually give substantial contributions haven't this year.
"It's been hard times for everyone," Miller said. "We're not sure what's going to happen. Right now, it's tentatively scheduled that there's going to be no fireworks."
The Marine Corps League normally raises and spends about $8,000 on the fireworks show each year.
Damaged toilets in Deer Lodge won't be replaced any time soon
Porcelain toilets in Deer Lodge's Jaycee Park were apparently damaged by some heavy-duty firecrackers last month.
Paper wrappings of M-88 Brand Salute Crackers were found on the floor of the women's restrooms after the vandalism was discovered in May, the Silver State Post reported.
Both sides of one of two toilets in the women's restroom had visible holes behind the bowl. A toilet and urinal in the men's restroom were similarly damaged, and remains of smaller explosive devices were strewn about the floor.
City Councilwoman Marlene Olmstead said at a June 2 council meeting that the damaged toilets and urinals won't be replaced any time soon. A quote for a new stainless steel urinal was $1,400. The total park and recreation fund is $1,200, said Olmstead, who also chairs the parks committee.
Polson police searching for missing chickens
Polson police are on the lookout for a chicken thief.
The stolen chicks themselves shouldn't be too hard to spot - they're between 18 and 24 inches high, and are painted bright yellow.
The Lake County Leader reports that someone climbed onto the roof of the Bargain Barn, a downtown store, one night earlier this month and swiped two large cast-aluminum chicks perched there.
"I felt a little silly calling this one in to the police dispatcher," Dana Brewer, a Bargain Barn employee, told reporter Andrew Fish. "It was hard to explain that I wasn't talking about real chickens. But I had to call it in because the chicks were worth over $100 each."
Actually, $125 according to store owner Laura Henriod, who said if the thief, or anyone else, returns the chicks there will be no questions asked.
It'll be another story if the police find the person or persons responsible.
"They'll be hard-boiled if we catch them," Police Chief Doug Chase said. "Seriously, though, if we catch them it's a misdemeanor theft charge. If the chicks are damaged, then a vandalism charge will be added."
"They're our mascots, and we want them back," Henriod said, directing her comments to the thief or thieves. "You've had you fun. Now let my chickens go."
Old American flag found at Mineral County Courthouse
Poking around in the attic pays off again. At least it did for Cindy and Mark Grimm of Superior.
The Mineral Independent reports that the Grimms were examining the cupola of the Mineral County Courthouse in Superior a couple of weeks ago when Cindy, administrative assistant for the county commission office, noticed a tattered American flag draped over a banister.
It was ripped in half, but she took it downstairs to her office anyway. There, Mark noticed something odd. The flag had only 48 stars.
That means it was made sometime between 1912 and 1959, before Alaska and Hawaii came into the Union. And because even the oldest of old-timers can't recall seeing a flag flying from the cupola, there is speculation that this was the first flag to fly over the courthouse when it was built in 1920.
Cindy Grimm will talk to folks at the Mineral County Historical Society to see if they can shed light on the subject. Mark, a carpenter by trade, plans to build a glass display case in the courthouse.
"They told us not to even touch it because it's so old. I'm not sure we're even going to clean it," Cindy said.
Weeklies Reader is compiled by reporters Vince Devlin and Kim Briggeman.