Huckleberry huckleberries

A sky-high pile of huckleberries to all those who helped a little ol’ plane from Missoula fly all the way to Normandy to take part in D-Day 75th anniversary events. This week, Miss Montana helped re-enact flights and parachute drops from the historic Allied operation during World War II, and joined a flyover at Omaha Beach viewed by United States President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron. Congratulations are due to the organizers, fundraisers, volunteers, pilots, parachutists and other supporters who helped make this happen.

Therapeutic huckleberries to Providence Health and Services Montana and Community Physician Group, the two largest health providers in Missoula, for securing a two-year grant to expand mental health, addiction and substance abuse treatment. The $200,000 grant from the Montana Healthcare Foundation will support the new Integrated Behavioral Health Network Project at Providence, reaching across nine primary clinics, and allow Community to extend access to 20,000 individuals in Missoula and nearby communities.

Securely stored chokecherries to the sad news that two “food-conditioned” bears were recently euthanized in northwest Montana. One was a grizzly near Kalispell; the other was a black bear near Lake McDonald Lodge in Glacier National Park. Both had grown accustomed to helping themselves to chickens, garbage and bird seed left out by humans, so let’s take these otherwise preventable deaths as a timely reminder to keep all bear attractants safely stored and out of reach of bears.

A double helping of huckleberries to the Double SNAP Dollars program, which provides families in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program a boost in buying fresh produce from local farmers markets. Both of Missoula’s Saturday markets and its Tuesday market welcome shoppers using SNAP.

Huckleberries filmed on location to a new tax incentive aimed at luring the film industry to Montana. The bipartisan House Bill 293, carried by Missoula Democrat Sen. Sue Malek in the Senate and Martinsdale Republican Rep. Wylie Galt in the House, received strong support in the Legislature and was signed into law by Gov. Steve Bullock. Called the Montana Economic Development Industry Advancement (MEDIA) Act, the legislation offers a transferable tax credit of up to 20% for production expenditures, with additional incentives for doing business in Montana, such as hiring Montana workers.

And, of course, congratulatory huckleberries to all the high school graduates who will be receiving their diplomas in graduation ceremonies this weekend. Our graduates are strongly encouraged to celebrate safely and soberly at the 2019 Missoula Senior All Night Party, which promises a fun evening of food, games, music, dancing and prizes from the time the doors open at the Hub Entertainment Center at 8 p.m. this Saturday night until they close at 2 a.m. Sunday morning. To help support this important graduation tradition, donate to the Missoula High School Graduation Party's GoFundMe account online or send a check by mail to: 2019 Senior Graduation Party, PO Box 16144, Missoula, MT, 59808.

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