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Chokecherries

Chokecherries

Slam-dunk huckleberries to the Two Eagle River boys basketball team for scoring their biggest win this season. They may have won only one game, but they went the entire season without a single player suicide — a marked departure from the previous two seasons, and a more important victory than any that could be scored on the court. Let’s hope this is the beginning of a winning streak for the entire student body of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes alternative school.

Deflated chokecherries to the 11 members of the Montana House Judiciary Committee who voted Monday to table an important bill that would have finally ended the religious exemption for alternative youth treatment programs. The bill would not have required the programs to change their curriculums or deviate from their religious foundations in any way, but would have given the state authority to ensure they at least met basic health and safety standards. The poor decision made by these 11 legislators means that untold numbers of teenagers will continue to be at risk in Montana — and hints that these lawmakers care more about the myopic interests of the Montana Family Foundation’s Jeff Laszloffy than the well-being of vulnerable youth.

Huckleberry returns to Ron “Rondo” Scharfe, who is visiting Iwo Jima this week. The 91-year-old Missoula resident is a World War II veteran who was deployed to fight in Japan at the age of 16, thanks to a forged baptism certificate. Four years ago, he joined a group of veterans who returned to the Pacific Island to mark the 70th anniversary of the historic battle. This time, he is part of a small group that will make stops in Saipan, Tinian and Guam – and expected to land on Iwo Jima tomorrow, March 23 – before returning to the United States from their 12-day tour.

A fire sale of chokecherries to ShopKo’s impending closure, which is expected to displace about 60 workers in Missoula. The department store chain based in Green Bay, Wisconsin, filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year and has been “winding down” its retail business. Last month it announced that it would close 250 of its stores, and this month it conceded that it would also close the remaining 120, including a handful in Montana. The Missoula location has already closed its pharmacy, and bankruptcy filings indicate the store will be closed entirely by mid-June. All the employees, some of whom have worked at ShopKo for many years, have our sympathies and best wishes in securing a new job.

International huckleberries to the 27th annual International Festival in Missoula, which coincided with this past Sunday’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities. The International Festival filled the University Center with an international culture show, children’s activities and of course, plenty of food stands offering a variety of foods from different ethnic heritages. Sponsored by the Arts Missoula Culture Council, this year’s festival placed special emphasis on Irish culture in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.

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