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Editor’s note: Each week, the Missoulian publishes news and notes gleaned from weekly newspapers throughout western Montana.

A unanimous Eureka Town Council will allow medical marijuana distributors in the city, but with tight controls on the number and placement of dispensaries.

According to Krista Tincher of the Tobacco Valley News, the new rule forces distributors to steer clear of schools and churches, and it limits the number of dispensaries to just one per 2,000 residents.

Debbie Gwynn, who already has approached the city for a dispensary business license, said her outfit - to be located behind Heaven's Peak, on Dewey Avenue - will not be signed and will play host to a "legitimate" physician once each month.

"My feeling on the whole thing," said Mayor Ethel White, "is that it's better to have an ordinance that controls where we have (a dispensary), than to let it go willy-nilly wherever it goes."

Town attorney Clif Hayden called dispensary controls a "complicated issue," adding that it put the city "between a rock and a hard place."

Although the state allows medical marijuana, Hayden said, "we can't control what the federal government does."


Finnish researcher studies border town

The tiny town of Eureka borders the Canadian North, but whether that boundary is obstacle or opportunity depends upon whom you ask.

Lately, Finnish researcher Minna Piipponen has been doing the asking, as part of her postdoctoral work at the University of Montana. According to Casey Arneson of the Tobacco Valley News, Piipponen has been visiting Eureka to measure how borders - both real and perceived - affect communities.

"This has been a very relaxed border for some time," Piipponen said, with Montanans and Canadians crossing to shop, work, recreate and play. Some families actually live on both sides of the line.

But after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the border tightened, and now passports are required to cross. Some locals have applied for the proper documents, and some have simply stopped crossing.

"There are different kinds of people in the community, and everyone is not influenced in the same way," Piipponen said.

The border has economic impacts, too, she said, and international activity associated with the boundary has provided something of an economic cushion for Eureka. Canadians, she said, still cross to build second homes, and to shop and vacation.

"I have the understanding that (the border) has somehow influenced (the Tobacco Valley) positively," Piipponen said.

Her study of the Eureka border will accompany a report she's preparing on the effects of the Finland-Russia border in her hometown of Joensuu, Finland. That town, like Eureka, is rooted in logging, and is located close to an international line.

"I think it's kind of important and interesting," she said of studying borders in a globalized world. "Not just the physical borders, but the cultural, mental borders."


Ronan school board legality in question

RONAN - The new Ronan school board was about to get down to business, when the county superintendent of schools told members they couldn't - not legally, anyway.

The Lake County Leader reports that Gale Decker watched district business manager Pamela Harris administer the oath of office to new trustees Wendy Thingelstad and Bob Cornwall and incumbent Chris Lynch, then asked to address the board.

State law, Decker told them, requires the county superintendent to administer and file the oaths of members of the boards of trustees in the districts of each county.

"The clerk has no authority or right to swear in new members," Decker told the surprised board.

Asked if he would re-administer the oaths of office, Decker - who serves as Ronan's cross-country coach in addition to his duties as Lake County superintendent of schools - said, "I can't. You've already accepted the agenda."

"How long have you known about this, Gale?" trustee Jim Blow asked.

Approximately 10 days, Decker replied.

"Why didn't you tell us?" Blow asked. "It seems like the neighborly thing to do."

Leader reporter Sasha Goldstein's story said Decker told the board Ronan was the only district that had never contacted him about swearing in new board members during his five years in office, and added that the Ronan board has frequently violated laws and policies regarding its meetings.

"Quite frankly, I'm tired of it," Decker said.

Later, Decker told Goldstein that while previous members had been illegally sworn in, there is only a 30-day window to protest actions taken by a board, and so those actions would stand.

"It would be easy to sit down and ignore this incident, but I didn't choose to do that," Decker told the Leader. "I felt as county superintendent that there was some information I was obligated to receive that I didn't receive."

Lacking a quorum without the new trustees, the board could take no actions. Decker would administer the oaths of office Wednesday night, the Leader reported, which gave the district time to post a new agenda within the rules of open meeting laws.


Former Grizzly football player makes teaching his priority

NOXON - Dan Beaudin got his shot at the Miami Dolphins, who after rookie camp left open the possibility the former Montana Grizzly and Noxon High School football player might get a call down the road if he stayed in shape, and one of their tight ends gets injured.

But, after talking it over with his wife Danielle, Beaudin told the Sanders County Ledger last week he is "moving on with my life" and will seek an elementary school teaching position in the Missoula area.

"There are some people for whom they live and breathe football and have had as their goal playing on an NFL team," Beaudin told Ledger reporter Jay Simons. "I came to college using football as a means to an education. ... I got a ton out of playing football. ... For me education and being a teacher is a lifelong goal."

Beaudin graduated with a bachelor's degree in education and a minor in history that would also allow him to teach at the middle or high school levels, and he'd love to coach football as well.

He told the Ledger his goals include pursuing a master's degree and teaching at the college level.

Weeklies Reader is compiled by reporters Michael Jamison and Vince Devlin.


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