An ensemble of musical huckleberries to the band and orchestra teachers of Missoula County Public Schools who put together a fun rendition of “I Will Survive (Distance Learning)” for their students to watch on YouTube. From their homes, or even outdoors, the teachers play various instruments, dance and goof around. The idea for the video came from fifth-grade band director Randy Zschaechner, and encourages band and orchestra students throughout Missoula to keep practicing, and to participate in their own “porch concert” at 6 p.m. each evening.
Unprotected chokecherries to property owners who aren’t being careful with their burn piles. Despite the cooler, wet weather recently, a couple of fires got out of hand in the Frenchtown area and fire crews were called to respond. Local fire departments were already being extra careful their limited supply of personal protection equipment and making creative use of existing equipment as they respond to an increase in medical calls. Calls to contain entirely preventable fires put an added, and unnecessary, strain on our first responders.
Rapidly adapting huckleberries to local biotech companies like Rocky Mountain Biologicals that are finding new ways to meet rising demands for health equipment. The Missoula company normally makes cell culture media for use in pharmaceuticals, cancer care and veterinary medicine. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, it started making one of the components necessary for COVID-19 testing. Their ability to switch gears quickly will help relieve a “bottleneck” in the testing process and ensure more patients showing symptoms are tested.
Chokecherries in an isolated container for the news that Missoula County reached the point of “community spread” of the coronavirus this week. Before, every local case could be traced to another confirmed positive case or was contracted outside the county. With new cases lacking that direct trace, it’s likely that Missoula County will see a steep increase in the number of cases, making it more important than ever for every resident to do all they can to limit contact with others. This means following the health department recommendations and staying home to the greatest extent possible.
A venti quad-shot huckleberry latte to the workers at the Starbucks coffee shop on South Reserve near Community Medical Center. In between drive-through orders, the employees are sewing cloth face masks — about 30 a day, and getting faster each day. While hospital personnel cannot use the masks in a medical setting, the homemade face masks are great for personal use by most people and can help limit the spread of coronavirus.
A well-timed huckleberry boost to the Bill and Rosemary Gallagher Foundation, which opted to release some $50,000 in grants to several local nonprofits before its planned grant cycle in order to provide help when it is most needed. The Boys and Girls Club of Missoula County, which is teaming up with the Missoula YMCA to provide emergency child care for essential workers with young children, will get $10,000. The United Way of Missoula County, which set up an emergency fund to award grants to affected individuals, will receive $10,000 as well. Further, the Montana Food Bank will receive $12,500, Missoula Aging Services will get $10,000, the Missoula Food Bank will get $5,000 and the Boys and Girls Club of Ronan will receive $2,500. These funds will provide a much-needed shot in the arm, so to speak, to organizations that help meet the needs of the most vulnerable in our communities.
A powerful helping of huckleberries too for NorthWestern Energy's announcement that it is giving an additional $300,000, on top of its previous $2 million in charitable donations last year, to provide COVID-19 aid for communities throughout Montana. More than half of the money will go to grants for energy bill credits for small business owners struggling to stay afloat so they can stay in business and keep paying their employees. Small business owners can apply for a grant at www.northwesternenergy.com. The rest of the money will be divided among a number of local organizations providing community relief, including the United Way of Missoula County.
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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