Congratulatory huckleberries to the graduating class of Missoula County high-school seniors, who will receive their official diplomas in commencement ceremonies this weekend, and extra huckleberries with honors to the students at Big Sky High School who helped ensure the success of a new program to give their classmates a boost. The Jobs for Montana’s Graduates program celebrated its first year of encouraging struggling students to stay in school by providing meals and teaching seniors important work and life skills. Over the past year, the student-run community service project that is part of the program also helped improve food security for others students in need at their school. These efforts are only one of dozens of recent examples of Missoula teenagers going the extra mile to brighten the future, both for themselves and for their community. Way to go, grads! We couldn’t be more proud.
Phony chokecherries to the two Musselshell County commissioners who claimed that an artist from Roundup shoved one of them — in direct contradiction to video evidence that actually shows one of the commissioners shoving the artist. Commissioners Robert Goffena and Thomas Berry have both been charged with one count each of making false reports to law enforcement, a misdemeanor, following an incident at the county courthouse in early February. Berry called 911 and reported that Goffena had been shoved by artist Troy Evans, but witnesses and video surveillance indicate that Goffena was the one who did the shoving. Disappointingly, instead of acknowledging the evidence and accepting responsibility, Berry appears to be standing by his story and has said he intends to plead not guilty.
Huckleberry bookmarks to the David Sedaris fans who began lining up outside a bookstore at the crack of dawn Tuesday morning for tickets to attend a reading in Missoula, proving that Missoulians value acclaimed writers as highly as rock stars. Fact & Fiction in downtown Missoula sold out its 75 tickets within 20 minutes of opening the doors, but fear not – an unlimited number of “priority tickets” are available for the signing session that will follow his June 23 reading in Missoula.
Heartbroken chokecherries to whoever killed an owl that was living near a middle school in Livingston by throwing rocks at it, leaving behind two orphaned owlets. Students at the middle school had been studying the owl family since the eggs hatched, but no longer now that the owlets have been taken to the Raptor Center in Bozeman. Livingston Firefighters, Local 630 is offering a $200 reward for information to identify the person responsible, an offer that was quickly augmented by an additional $1,605 from more than two dozen local individuals and business owners.
Recovered huckleberries to the new Yellowstone River Recreation Plan announced by Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat, and Republican Attorney General Tim Fox on Wednesday. The plan will use $2.3 million of the $12 million paid by Exxon Mobil Corp. to cover damages from an oil spill in 2011, money earmarked to restore the recreational opportunities that were along the 85-mile stretch of river near Laurel after the spill. Since last winter, the Yellowstone River Recreation Project Advisory Committee has been working to whittle down a list of 28 project submissions and finalize a priority plan to identify how best to use those funds. The resulting plan includes new trails and fishing access sites, among other enhancements designed to enhance recreation along the river.