Welcome sign

Hospital staff hold a welcome sign for Officer Wade Palmer as his motorcade passes St. Patrick Hospital on Broadway Street Wednesday afternoon.

Heroic huckleberries to Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Wade Palmer, who returned home to Stevensville this week from the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City, where he had been receiving treatment for gunshot wounds in his face, head and neck. Palmer was shot in mid-March after locating a suspect in a shooting about an hour earlier that killed one man and injured two other people. He was escorted home at last this week by motorcade as a procession lined with throngs of grateful Montanans wishing him a speedy and complete recovery.

Another serving of heroic huckleberries to Officers Nicholas Scholz and Patrick Legg of the U.S. Forest Service, who recently received Unsung Hero Awards from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C., for their roles in helping to find a missing baby last year. Although both officers were off duty at the time, their quick action led to the baby’s recovery after six hours of searching in the Lolo National Forest. These heroes would not have been so “unsung,” however, had the Forest Service been more responsive to local media inquiries; so chokecherries to this agency for its stilted communication concerning this very good news.

Sandbags of chokecherries to the flooded streets in the Orchard Homes neighborhood and north Tower Street, where homeowners have been piling sandbags in an attempt to save their property from water damage. The Clark Fork River crested at more than 9 feet over the weekend, well above the minor flood state of 7.5 feet, and the Bitterroot River also slightly topped its minor flood stage of 11 feet. Although water levels have receded over the past few days, officials are advising residents to stay on the lookout for possible breaches.

Gainfully employed huckleberries to the recent graduates of a 12-week technology training program at the University of Montana called “All-In-Missoula.” The entire class of 26 students were immediately hired by the Cognizant ATG Missoula Solutions Center, which had partnered with UM to offer the program and this week held a graduation ceremony for its newest employees, who will now join the company’s 150 other Montana workers.

Chokecherries under lock and key to the continued closure of the Mineral County jail, which shut down for the second time in two years this past January and has yet to reopen. This week, county commissioners, committee members and residents met in Superior to discuss next steps to hiring the necessary personnel to oversee the jail and remedy other issues preventing it from taking on new prisoners. In the meantime, inmates are being shuttled to jails in other counties, including Missoula.

Boiled chokecherries to the Crow Tribe’s unpaid power bill, which led the power company to shut off the electricity at the water plant. With the pumps stalled, the possibility of contaminants seeping into the system led the Crow Tribe Water Resource Department to advise the 100 or so residents of Pryor to thoroughly boil any water before drinking it. Subsequent testing showed the water was safe, and the boil order was lifted after just a few days. However, it’s at least the second time this has happened, and tribal officials are now looking into ways to ensure future power bills are paid on time.

Huckleberries that exceed expectations to Missoula County Public Schools and the Missoula Education Association, which received a little extra boost to recruit and retain new teachers thanks to a $578,003 grant from the National Education Association. And huckleberry extra credit to Target Range School seventh-grader Gabriel Hendrix, who took first place at the Montana geography bee and spent the past week in Washington, D.C., competing against 53 others in the National Geography Bee. Way to go, Gabriel!

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