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Missoula hoping, planning for safe return to school
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Missoulian editorial

Missoula hoping, planning for safe return to school

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Cautiously optimistic huckleberries to the carefully phased reopening of public schools this week. With staggered start days and repeated reminders to wear face masks, stay social distanced and practice good hand-washing hygiene – as well as an Online Academy option for families able to take advantage of a fully remote alternative — school administrators are doing their utmost to safely welcome students to what promises to be an unusual school year. Fingers crossed these measures prove effective in keeping the number of COVID-19 cases in Missoula County at a minimum.

Hazy chokecherry-hued sunsets to the smoke filling Missoula Valley this week thanks to a number of wildfires burning nearby, as well as far-away fires burning in Oregon and northern California. Local air quality has been hovering around “moderate” for the past few days but could improve depending on shifting winds and the ever-present possibility of new fires.

A scientific study of huckleberries to the University of Montana for setting a new record in research funding this fiscal year — a whopping $104.7 million. This increase comes at a time when the nation’s top scientists and researchers are scrambling to develop an effective vaccine for COVID-19 and explore other treatments designed to lessen the most serious effects of the novel coronavirus.

Chokecherry-flavored cough drops to the immature and unhealthy behavior by local U.S. Postal Service workers as described in recent complaints filed with the Missoula City-County Health Department. So far, at least 18 complaints have been filed, including seven from Postal Service employees themselves, alleging that some managers are not wearing masks and that “people who are not wearing masks are making fun of those who do,” and that “coughing in people’s faces” has become “a common thing.”

A raft of huckleberries to the Sliter family, who are working with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks on a proposal to make about 100 acres of private land on Flathead Lake into a new waterfront state park. The property, located along the north shore, has been in the family for decades and, over the years, has seen a steady rise in visitors enjoying the property. Instead of closing off public access or selling the site to developers, the Sliter family is hoping to sell the beloved land to the state of Montana, which is taking public comment on the proposal through Sept. 12.

A family-size delivery of chokecherries to a recent state-by-state ranking of the nation’s most underprivileged children, which places Montana in 20th place overall — and No. 1 for its percentage of children in foster care. The comparison, put together by person finance website WalletHub, includes data across 27 key measures, including rates of uninsured children, youth homelessness, reports of child maltreatment and the availability of health infrastructure for coronavirus. Montana showed room for improvement in several of these areas but its ranking was hurt primarily by the high number of children in foster care, more than 3,000 at last count.

A timely and topical serving of huckleberries to the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula’s Montana Votes virtual series. The three-part lecture series kicked off this week and will continue for the next few months with a look at state politics and the suffragist movement. Visit the museum’s website at fortmissoulamuseum.org for more information and to watch a recording of the first installment.

This editorial represents the views of the Missoulian Editorial Board. 

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