Memorable huckleberries to the new tribute to Bob Heinle in downtown Missoula. Heinle, a Missoula police sergeant who was shot in the line of duty in 1998 and lived as a paraplegic until his death in 2010, “left an impression with most people that he met,” his wife Lisa said during the ceremony to unveil the plaque in his honor at the Stockman Bank Building on Monday. Now his legacy will also leave an impression on people who never had the chance to meet him, and for many years to come. Across the nation, communities are remembering their fallen law enforcement officers as part of National Police Week, which was established by a Congressional resolution passed in 1962.
Transitional huckleberries to the agreement reached by Colstrip and one of six owners of the local power plant to provide $4.5 million to help the community prepare for a future without coal jobs. Avista Corp., based in Spokane, is in the process of being bought by Canadian company Hydro One. The mayor of Colstrip signed the agreement to accept the payment earlier this week, paving the way for worker retraining – and for the eventual shutdown of the coal-fired plant.
Justified huckleberries to Montana Attorney General Tim Fox for intervening in a civil lawsuit in order to defend the state’s anti-intimidation law. Andrew Anglin, who publishes a neo-Nazi website called The Daily Stormer, is claiming the law violates his right to free speech and is therefore unconstitutional. He is being sued for posting the personal information of a Whitefish resident on his website and encouraging readers to “take action” against her, resulting in a “troll storm” of anti-Semitic threats. “The people of Montana passed the Anti-Intimidation Act to prevent the type of intimidation and threats of violence alleged in this lawsuit,” Fox explained in a Tuesday news release. “Montanans have made it clear they support protecting each other from intimidation through the laws of our state.” The act was approved in 1996 in response to “the growing problem of harassing and threatening behavior being undertaken by extremist individuals and groups in Montana.” Kudos to Fox for coming to the defense of this perfectly reasonable – and unfortunately, very much warranted – Montana law.
Continued floods of chokecherries to the continuing floods of water swamping much of western Montana, leading Missoula County officials to consider issuing an official disaster declaration in order to qualify for state and federal funding to help cover the rising costs. So far, the county has spent about $190,000 on flood response. Meanwhile, the Clark Fork and Bitterroot rivers are projected to rise again, with the Clark Fork expected to peak at more than 13 feet on Saturday.
A world of huckleberries to the new Magic Planet at the Montana Natural History Center, a fascinating learning tool made possible by a $30,000 anonymous donation. The globe was unveiled on Thursday and explained by Steve Running, a climate scientist at the University of Montana whose research is included in the Magic Planet’s programming. The globe can provide detailed demonstrations of weather patterns, ocean and air currents, biosphere changes over the seasons and hundreds more data sets visitors can view by using a touch screen. It’s also just one of several new exhibits at the history center designed to help deepen our understanding of, and connection to, the natural world.