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Missoulian Editorial

Missoulian editorial: Congratulations to the soccer state champs

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Hellgate vs. Glacier soccer AA championship match 02.JPG

The Knights celebrate after defeating Kalispell Glacier in the state AA soccer championship match at Fort Missoula.

More Missoula championship huckleberries this week — this time to the Hellgate High School boys soccer team, for its 1-0 win over Kalispell Glacier for a third straight AA state title.

Hellgate senior Marcus Anderson came through in the final minute of his high school career, hitting a shot at the end of the second overtime.

"We did everything we could to give ourselves an opportunity to win and it just came down to a heroic effort there at the end," Glacier coach Ryan Billiet said. "We would have loved to play another 40 against them and see, but I don't know if we would have been able to walk."

“It was amazing,” said Hellgate coach Jay Anderson, Marcus’ father. “Glacier was a really good team today and it could have gone either way. Their players are just as deserving as we are. It just landed in our lap and Marcus was able to get the goal at the very end.”

Hellgate extended its string of seasons without a loss to three — there were two ties this season.

We applaud that sustained excellence, as well as the sportsmanship displayed on and off the pitch.

And speaking of sustained excellence, the Whitefish boys soccer team won its fourth consecutive state AA championship with a 3-2 victory over Columbia Falls.

The Bulldogs are the first boys team in Montana history to graduate a senior class that never lost a state final, according to the Flathead Beacon.

It had been 1,463 days since the last time Whitefish lost a soccer game — the 2017 state final against Belgrade.

Foot-in-mouth chokecherries to local attorney Quentin Rhoades, who responded “shoot ’em” when asked a question about school superintendents at a parental rights meeting this week at Crosspoint Community Church.

Rhoades says he was joking, and the comment indeed elicited laughter from the audience.

The joke was not funny — it was disgraceful. Our society is polarized enough without throwing gas on the fire. As the past year has shown, there are plenty of people out there willing to run with even the slightest suggestion of violence.

We agree with the statement by Missoula County Public Schools, which said “Advocating violence is never a joke, and to do so toward public school officials who work every day to ensure the safety of students in the school environment is especially troubling.”

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen spoke at the meeting, but left before Rhoades made the comment. To her credit, she disavowed it the next day.

“These types of comments serve no purpose in championing parent voice in our public education arena,” Arntzen said. “… I have reached out to specific superintendents in the Missoula area to express my disdain for these comments made at an event in which I was the first speaker.”

Incessantly depressing chokecherries to more bad news about the housing crisis in Missoula, as explained in a report released this week by the city’s Community Planning and Development department.

To absolutely no one’s surprise, the report shows plummeting rental vacancy rates and skyrocketing rents.

The details are stark. The rental vacancy rate has dropped from nearly 6% to 0.38% since 2019, and average rent has spiked to more than $1,100, up from $862.

Nearly 8,000 households making less than $50,000 are paying more than 30% of their income toward housing, meaning they are “cost-burdened,” the report said.

There are 11,811 households making less than $35,000 a year, and a staggering 82% of those are cost-burdened.

Housing is easily the biggest long-term challenge this community faces (in the short term, it’s COVID-19).

Today’s newspaper features a story about a longtime renter forced out of his apartment by an 86% rent hike. Such incidents, sadly, are becoming all too common in our community.

Do you have a rental horror story to share? We’d like to hear it. Just shoot us an email at newsdesk@missoulian.com or call the newsroom at 406-523-5240.

Optimistic, humane huckleberries to the public and private entities working to reduce bear conflicts in the Bitterroot Valley.

From Lolo to the upper reaches of the east and west forks of the Bitterroot River, well-intentioned citizens are coming together in an effort to encourage residents to do their part in helping bears to steer clear of residential areas.

The problem is not unique to the Bitterroot — Rattlesnake residents are dealing with a lot of bears too.

While the focus right now is on black bears, everyone agrees that it’s just a matter of time before grizzly bears will start regularly showing up at those same places that currently attract their smaller cousin.

Generations of black bears have already developed a taste for human-provided foods, from garbage to bird feeders to fruit trees.

“It’s not a bear problem,” said Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks game warden Justin Singleterry. “People are the ones leaving garbage out for bears to get into. We’re the problem.”

Education is the key. Singleterry estimated that 90% of the people he talks with “literally don’t know how to live in bear country.”

“We all live in Montana in a place where wildlife abound,” he said. “The Bitterroot Valley is no exception. We have to learn to responsibly live with wildlife and that includes bears.”

This editorial represents the views of the Missoulian’s editorial board — Publisher Jim Strauss and Executive Editor Jim Van Nostrand.

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