Huckleberry tassels and mortar boards for Missoula’s decades-long high-school graduation tradition of throwing a community-wide Senior All Night Party. The original idea of providing a fun, safe, alcohol-free alternative to more dangerous graduation traditions was sparked more than 30 years ago and has proven successful in helping to lower the number of graduation-night tragedies.
This year’s party will take place at the Hub Family Entertainment Center starting at 8:30 p.m. tomorrow, and continue until 2:30 a.m. the following morning. Seniors will be asked to pay $25 at the door for an entire night of laser tag, bingo, karaoke, go-kart races and other games – and the chance to win some pretty awesome prizes. As wisely pointed out by friends, family and graduates themselves, $25 to cover the door fee would make a perfect graduation gift.
Grizzly chokecherries to Fish and Wildlife officials for being overly tight-lipped about the recent shooting death of a large grizzly bear near Bonner. Although a black-bear hunter reportedly shot the bear on May 16, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks didn’t offer any information about it until just this past Tuesday. In the meantime, people who live near the area where the shooting occurred heard about it second-hand, causing some confusion and concern that could have been avoided had wildlife officials alerted the public – and especially neighborhood residents – in a timelier manner.
An overflowing grocery cart full of huckleberries to the Missoula Food Bank, which celebrated the opening of its new location this week. The building at 1720 Wyoming St. offers 22,500 square feet of space – enough to include not only shelves of food, but kitchens, a community meeting room, a children’s center, a roomy waiting area, offices and even extra storage. The larger location promises an improved experience for all those who rely on the food bank to feed their families, a group that grew by 14 percent from 2015 to 2016, when more than 21,000 people received services at the former location. And thanks to the generous support of more than 250 donors, the Missoula Food Bank was able make its own ends meet and to start off in its new location with no mortgage.
Chokecherry warrants for all the thoughtless, reckless criminals who kept local law enforcement officers busy over the Memorial Day weekend, instead of participating in commemorative ceremonies or relaxing at barbecues with their families. Over the three-day holiday, officers arrested a person near Clearwater Junction for an alleged homicide in Great Falls, responded to a reported shooting at a campground, and were called to a reported assault at a liquor store and an alleged arson at a local park – to name just a few incidents. If anyone deserves an extra day of rest and reflection, it’s Missoula’s emergency responders.
High-profile huckleberries the new statewide campaign to raise awareness of suicide prevention. This week, Gov. Steve Bullock and the Montana Broadcaster’s Association announced the launch of a TV and radio campaign called Prevent Suicide Montana. The association, along with the Montana Television Network and the Montana Radio Company, worked with the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services to develop ads that cover safe firearm storage, suicide warning signs, and ads specific to high-risk veterans and youth. The value of the donated production and air time is estimated at more than $200,000, and the ads will begin airing immediately.
Mixed berries to the news that the newest release in the “Far Cry” video game series will feature Montana as its primary setting. The first-person-shooter game is set in the fictional Hope County, which is described as being located in the very real state of Montana. In fact, a church near Poplar was used for promotional videos, which were created with the help of three Montana employees and generated roughly $20,000 in economic activity in the Poplar area. However, the plot involves a violent conflict between local residents and cult members led by a radical preacher – not necessarily the best kind of association for tourism marketing. Fortunately, the game also includes hunting and fishing challenges that give players the change to experience some of the state’s famed outdoor opportunities – when they’re not virtually shooting people.