Chilled huckleberry desserts to Dennis Donovan and the incident command staff working the Beeskove fire in the Rattlesnake for donating 90 hot meals to the Poverello Center last week. High winds made a dinner delivery to firefighters by helicopter too risky, so instead of letting all that perfectly good food go to waste, Donovan, serving as food unit leader for the fire, thoughtfully arranged for the dinners — consisting of chicken, potatoes, carrots, salad, cheesecake and milk — to go to the Poverello Center homeless shelter in Missoula.
Belated chokecherries to the Missoula County Elections Office for missing the deadline to file primary election plans with the Montana Secretary of State’s Office. Consequently, the municipal primary on Sept. 10 will not be conducted by mail only but also in person at designated polling locations – at an added hit to the elections office budget of about $8,000.
Three wards are holding primary elections. The polling location for Ward 1 will be Rattlesnake Elementary School. For Ward 3 it will be the Senior Citizens Center, and for voters in Ward 4 the polling location will be Lewis and Clark School.
Perfectly ripened huckleberries to Secretary of State Corey Stapleton for delaying the statewide launch of a new voter registration system. Stapleton had originally pushed to have the new system in place in time for the 2020 general elections, but the Montana Association of Clerks and Recorders and Election Administrators Association objected to the tight timeline, noting that the current system took some three years to implement and test ahead of the 2008 presidential election. Pushing such a massive system replacement too fast, they argued, “stands to put the election process in Montana at risk.” In his letter responding to these concerns, Stapleton said that while “considerable progress” could still be made, it did not appear the new system would be in place this year.
Smashed chokecherries to the vandals who broke somewhere between 16 and 20 vehicle windows in a Lolo neighborhood last week. Nothing appeared to be stolen from the vehicles, making this destructive spree even more senseless. Fortunately, the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office has some leads from homeowner surveillance cameras. Those with any information about the crime or suspects are asked to call the sheriff's office at 406-258-4810 or Crimestoppers at 406-721-4444.
Blue-ribbon huckleberries to the Western Montana Fair at the Missoula County Fairgrounds, once again offering free admission through its final day this Sunday. This year fairgoers will notice that the Statue of Liberty that stands at the gates and the centerpiece Commercial Building are both looking fresh despite their advanced ages.
The Commercial Building, which is more than a century old, celebrated its grand re-opening Wednesday with a new roof, siding and flooring – even a new foundation — and, at long last, an elevator to allow those in wheelchairs to access the second floor of the building. This major renovation cost a total of about $2.5 million.
Meanwhile, the 7 ½-foot-tall Statue of Liberty that has been housed at the fairgrounds for the past three decades recently received a new paint job and is back at her post thanks to the benevolence of its owner, Missoula resident Gary Marbut.