An upset bowl of huckleberries to the University of Montana Griz football team for their surprise 13-7 underdog win over the Washington Huskies in Seattle earlier this month. Their triumph was only the fifth time an FCS team beat a ranked FBS team, and set the stage for the Grizzlies’ anticipated success at home last Saturday, when they trounced Western Illinois 42-7 and gave Coach Bobby Hauck his 100th win at UM.
Backsliding chokecherries to the still-high COVID-19 numbers in Missoula County. Last Saturday, Missoula County reached a new daily case record, with 157 new cases recorded Sept. 11. Also this past weekend, three more people died of the virus; their vaccination status has not been disclosed to the public. This month, the number of hospitalizations of patients with COVID in Missoula County approached the 43-patient record set in November 2020, with 42 patients.
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“Just over 52% of 20 to 29-year-olds have received at least one shot, which is nowhere near herd immunity,” explained Health Officer D’Shane Barnett. “It is no coincidence that this age group is making up the majority of our cases right now.”
Heroic huckleberries to the Montana National Guard, which just ended active duty mission on wildland fires, only to see rising need for their assistance in Montana hospitals. Medical facilities are asking for help handling the rising wave of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, and on Monday, Billings Clinic learned it would soon receive 10 National Guardsmen to assist with indirect patient care.
An urgent order of chokecherries to the nearly 20% increase in calls for service fielded by the Missoula Rural Fire District this year. The fire department received 1,896 calls by Sept. 4, 2020, compared to 2,291 by the same date this year, an increasing due in large part to the higher numbers of residents and visitors. Fortunately, a mill levy approved by voters in 2019 allowed the department to add 10 career firefighter positions just in time to handle the surge in calls.
A boost of huckleberries to the $1.9 million federal grant to UM and Montana State University to bolster mental health care education in Montana. The four-year grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration will go to the Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training Program to train students in careers providing mental health care and teach the skills needed to help people with mental illness.
This editorial represents the views of the Missoulian Editorial Board: Publisher Jim Strauss and Executive Editor Jim Van Nostrand.