Ninemile Christmas tradition brought back to life; careless driving endangers Montana Highway Patrol troopers
Missoulian editorial

Ninemile Christmas tradition brought back to life; careless driving endangers Montana Highway Patrol troopers

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Hucks & chokes

Holiday huckleberries to the new owners of the Ninemile Schoolhouse in Huson for reviving a beloved community tradition. The Enchanted Christmas Village traces its storied beginnings to Hanneke and Les Ippisch, who once opened their maize-yellow home each holiday season to sell handmade wooden toys and ornaments. The old Christmas Market magic, which sputtered after the Ippisches sold their home in 2002, made a full return to the schoolhouse this month, as detailed in a Dec. 1 story in the Missoulian. This week, the Missoulian followed up to see how the schoolhouse fared and learned that at least 100 children, and countless adults, visited the Enchanted Christmas Village over the course of the last three Saturdays — and even though $2,000 worth of admission tickets were given away, the schoolhouse still managed to raise nearly $500 for the Montana Down Syndrome Association.

Chokecherry wheel locks to drivers who zip by Montana Highway Patrol vehicles idling on the side of the road without slowing down or moving over into the passing lane. This week, the Montana Highway Patrol posted two videos on its Facebook page illustrating the extreme danger troopers face from this carelessness. The first shows Trooper Taylor Gagnon’s patrol car, pulled over and lights flashing, being struck on the driver's side by a pickup — while Gagnon was still inside. Thankfully, she endured only minor injuries. The same is true for Trooper Zach Rehbein, whose vehicle is featured in the second video being struck by another truck that lost control. The posts remind drivers that Montana law requires them to slow down and move over for all emergency vehicles.

Huckleberry icing to the volunteers who turn a small field in Pineview Park into a public skating rink each winter. Despite relatively high daily temperatures so far this season, longtime rink caretaker Bill Bevis and his fellow volunteers expected to once again have the ice ready over the Christmas holiday to welcome skaters of all ages and abilities. 

An A+ essay on huckleberries to Amy Miller, an English teacher at Big Sky High School who has logged more than 20 years as an educator and who last week was recognized as Missoula’s teacher of the year. The Missoula Education Foundation bestowed Miller with its eighth annual Exceptional Education Award and a check for $1,000 at a school assembly last Friday.

Chokecherries to the news that more than 30 workers at one company in Missoula lost their jobs the week before Christmas. The head of Elite One Source, which manufactures nutritional supplements, said the layoffs were necessary after the company lost a major client but he expects the business to rebound in the New Year. Unfortunately, the timing left 34 former employees spending the holidays scrambling to find new jobs.

Four huckleberry-studded Bundt cakes to Tony and Anna Hudson for turning a family tragedy into an opportunity to help young drivers stay safe on winter roads. The Hudsons’ son Wyatt was killed in a vehicle accident last December after the truck he was driving slid off the road and into a fence. He was only 19 years old. This winter, the Hudsons teamed up with the Stevensville Tire-Rama and Stevensville High School to create an essay contest that would award two winners each a new set of studded snow tires.

This editorial represents the views of the Missoulian's editorial board: Publisher Jim Strauss, Editor Gwen Florio and Opinion Editor Tyler Christensen. 

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