Huckleberries bathed in sunshine to a federal district court ruling this week in a key case regarding dark money in political campaigns. The case came after the IRS had moved to change its rules so that certain nonprofit groups did not have to disclose their donors, and that action was challenged by Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, among others. On Tuesday, Judge Brian Morris in Great Falls found that the IRS failed to give public notice or invite public comment, invalidating the rule change for the time being.
An ice pack filled with frozen chokecherries to recent run-ins between bison and two young people in two different national parks. Last week, a 9-year-old girl was tossed into the air by a bull bison that charged a group of Yellowstone National Park visitors after some of the tourists got within 5 to 10 feet of it. Then, last weekend, a 17-year-old girl was gored in Theodore Roosevelt National Park after walking between two fighting bull bison. Thankfully, both girls are expected to recover from their injuries. Hopefully, others will take note of these encounters and be sure to heed park warnings to stay at least 25 yards away from all wildlife at all times.
Spinning huckleberries to the dedicated volunteers and supporters of A Carousel for Missoula and Dragon Hollow, who have stepped up in recent months to help expand and refurbish the playground as well as offer donations while the carousel is out of commission. Thanks to their generous gifts of time — including between 900 and 1,000 volunteer shifts — money and tools, Dragon Hollow re-opened last month with play equipment suitable for children of all abilities and easier access for those who use wheelchairs.
But then, a broken part forced the carousel to shut down for an indeterminate length of time while the nonprofit determines how much it will cost to replace the component and how long the repair might take. Again, a generous community is stepping up to help the carousel cover this unexpected cost. To make a contribution to this pivotal project, go to www.carouselformissoula.com.
Smoldering chokecherries to the relatively small but persistent fires burning near Missoula. Firefighting crews have been hard at work containing the Moss Ranch fire 14 miles southwest of Ronan, as well as a number of little blazes in the Bitterroots.
Earlier this week, an injured firefighter was airlifted from the Beeskove fire in the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area and treated for a lower leg injury. That fire grew slightly to cover more than 200 acres of steep, rocky terrain, and was described as a “dirty burner” that could smolder for a couple of weeks if it’s not whipped up by unpredictable winds in the meantime.
A lifetime supply of huckleberries to Julia Jones, whose name was added to the Montana State Golf Association Hall of Fame this year but who is better known to generations of Loyola Sacred Heart students as a longtime champion golf coach. For nearly two decades, Jones has acted as assistant or head coach at Loyola, and was nominated by a family of four former players. That kind of commendation is an honor in itself, as Jones noted, saying “the most significant piece of this honor was that my players chose me. That was their sentiment, that I made (golf) fun for them."
Fishy chokecherries to the Bureau of Land Management’s hiring of a new deputy director with a lengthy history of representing extractive industries in public land disputes. Of most concern for Montanans, William Perry Pendley has provided legal representation for one of the companies holding oil and gas leases in the sacred Badger-Two Medicine area between the Blackfeet Reservation and Glacier National Park. At the very least, Pendley should follow U.S. Sen. Steve Daines’ advice and recuse himself from any decisions involving the Badger-Two Medicine.
Restorative huckleberries to the Missoula County Weed District and Extension office’s Youth in Restoration program and the four Missoula high school students working within the program this summer. The program coordinates with local, state and federal groups to help with conservation projects and give local students direct experience in resource management. So far this year, for instance, the four students have backpacked through the Bob Marshall Wilderness to work on a new trail, scouted for invasive species in Seeley Lake and helped preserve Ponderosa pine trees at the National Bison Range.