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Great American Outdoors Act a big win for public lands
Missoulian editorial

Great American Outdoors Act a big win for public lands

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Great big American huckleberries to President Trump’s official signing this week of the Great American Outdoors Act, which includes full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Not only does the bill commit $900 million a year to the LWCF that is responsible for so many public access and restoration projects in Montana, but it also generates some $9.5 billion to begin taking care of deferred maintenance on public lands throughout the nation.

Scientifically calculated huckleberries to the two Montana teachers selected for the 2019 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. Robert Jensen, who teaches science at Hellgate High School in Missoula, and Mary Anne McMahon, a math teacher at Helena High School, were chosen for the prestigious award, deemed the nation’s highest honor for U.S. mathematics and science teachers in grades K through 12” by the Montana Professional Teaching Foundation.

Potentially undercounted chokecherries to the U.S. Census Bureau’s shortened timeframe in which to count every single person in the country. The bureau is planning to end field operations at the end of September, a full month earlier than previously announced. That gives Montana even less time to ensure an accurate count by reaching out to those who have not filled out a census form. So far, Montana’s self-response rate to the census is just 56.6%, well below the national average of 63%. The state stands to lose about $20,000 in federal funding for each person not counted.

Hopeful huckleberries to the researchers at FYR Diagnostics in Missoula who are working to develop a more cost-effective test for COVID-19. The company, which was awarded $25,000 in grants from the Coronavirus Relief Fund, has shifted its focus from agricultural and neurological diseases to work on a COVID-19 rapid test. Meanwhile, another biotech company in Missoula, Inimmune, recently received a $2.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health and is working in partnership with the University of Montana to develop a vaccine against COVID-19.

Well-tended huckleberries to the Western Montana Fair and all of this year’s participants in 4-H and Future Farmers of America groups, from the children who raised animals to the organizers and judges who made sure their hard work would not go overlooked in spite of a pandemic that canceled most of the traditional fair events. Through careful adherence to recommended public health procedures, and the help of Missoula Community Access Television, which filmed the judging, the 4-H and FFA groups were able to show their animals for judging and, this Saturday, will auction them off at a livestock sale.

This editorial represents the views of the Missoulian Editorial Board: Publisher Jim Strauss, Editor Gwen Florio and Opinion Editor Tyler Christensen. 

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