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Whitewater film festival in UC on Thursday

The American Whitewater Association's National Paddling Film Festival comes to Missoula on Thursday night at the UC Theater.

Centerpiece of this year's festival is "Full Circle," a film featuring world-class paddlers and whitewater descents on rivers around the world. Four other films are also part of the evening, varying in length from 15 minutes to 45.

Event organizers request a $3 per person donation as a benefit to the Missoula Whitewater Association, a nonprofit group that works to promote whitewater recreation and protect rivers in the Missoula area.

Thursday's film festival runs from 7-10 p.m. and is in the new theater on the third floor of the University Center at the University of Montana. For more information, call Shawn Robertson at 721-1670 or Mike Johnston at 273-4718.

Sherry Devlin, Missoulian

Top scientists to speak to high school students

Nobel Laureate Leon Lederman and award-winning mathematician Ken Ono will visit Missoula high school students Wednesday to talk science and share their personal experiences with innovation and discovery as part of the National Science Foundation's 50th anniversary celebration.

The day's activities, which will include hands-on experiments, will culminate with a panel discussion and the appearance of three former Missoula public school students at a 7 p.m. forum at Big Sky High School.

The former students are Nicholas Eriksson, a Sentinel High School graduate who is a senior at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Brittany Kirkland, a Big Sky High School graduate who is a freshman at Washington University in St. Louis; and Jayce Getz, also a Big Sky High School graduate and a freshman at Harvard University.

Eriksson plans to continue his study of mathematics at the graduate level when he enters the University of California at Berkeley next fall. Kirkland has a double majoring in mathematics and education and plans to become a high school mathematics teacher. Getz is majoring in mathematics and plans to work in the field of number theory research.

The event is open to the public and free of charge. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

The evening event, titled "The National Science Foundation: Where Discoveries Begin. An Evening with America's Top Scientists & Engineers - of Today and Tomorrow," will feature a panel that will include Lederman and Ono and other leaders in the fields of science, math and technology.

Missoulian

Local bus company gets high safety rating

A Missoula bus company recently received the highest ranking possible from the Department of Defense.

Beach Transportation Company was awarded an outstanding rating after an inspection completed by Consolidated Safety Services Inc., the U.S. Army's safety contractor.

Such inspections of the company's facility, terminal and equipment is done periodically because Beach Transportation is contracted to haul military personnel like firefighters and National Guard troops, according to Greg Beach, the company's vice president.

"Your rating of 1 indicates your company is doing an outstanding job in maintaining compliance with both the Military Bus Agreement and the Code of Federal Regulations," said Beverly Cox, chief of the passenger programs division, in a news release.

"We commend the performance of you and your employees and look forward to continuing our partnership to provide the best service and safest transportation," said Cox.

Beach said he was extremely pleased with the rating.

Mick Holien, Missoulian

Local chess guru hopes to play 76 at same time

The Octopus - Greg Nowak - is issuing a chess challenge.

He wants to play 76 opponents at the same time. If he can get 76 players, he will surpass the 75 that world champion Bobby Fischer played. (Nowak once played Fischer to a draw.) It also will better the 59 that Nowak established as his best feat.

The event will be Saturday, May 12, at St. Joseph's Elementary School, 503 Edith St.

Entrants can register from 12:30 to 12:45 at the door with game to begin at 1 p.m.

Early entry fees will be $5 for adults and $2 for those age 18 and under. The fee will be $3 more if made at the door.

Nowak can provide 15 chess sets and asks players to bring their own sets if they are regulation size and Staunton design.

The event is open to all skill levels.

"It is about playing, not whether you win or lose," Nowak said.

To enter, either write to Greg Nowak, P.O. Box 8572, Missoula 59807 or stop by the Clandenstine Chess Club, down the hall at 125 W. Main St. The club is open Monday through Friday at 5:45 p.m.

Missoulian

Mother of woman killed in crash sues MPC

BUTTE (AP) - The mother of a young woman who died in a November car accident in Butte is suing Montana Power Co., claiming a utility box her daughter collided with was a road hazard.

Michaelann Rebish died Nov. 10 when her car hit an icy spot as she was passing another vehicle.

In a lawsuit filed Monday in District Court, Jerie Lee Philp contends the company was negligent in its construction, design, placement and modifications of the utility box with which Rebish collided.

Claudia Rapkoch, a spokeswoman for Montana Power, said Tuesday the company had not seen the lawsuit and had no immediate comment.

Rebish's car began fishtailing, and the driver's side struck two concrete pylons and then a power box on the east side of the street, according to police reports. Rebish died of head injuries at St. James Healthcare.

Philp says the box was illegal and unsafe to drivers. Her lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.Man pleads innocent to torching casino

A 30-year-old man appeared in Missoula District Court on Tuesday to deny allegations that he torched a lounge and casino at Clearwater Junction.

Anthony James Solich pleaded innocent to one count of felony arson at a hearing in front of District Court Judge John Henson. Solich, who has addresses in Helena, Bozeman and Kalispell, also pleaded innocent to a misdemeanor stalking charge for allegedly harassing an employee at the bar in person and by telephone.

Law enforcement officials allege that Solich broke into Stoney's Quick Stop at Clearwater Junction, northeast of Missoula, during the early morning hours of Jan. 25. He is accused of then using a flammable liquid to ignite a fire in the business that destroyed the casino and lounge areas.

Henson accepted Solich's pleas and set his next court appearance for June 12. Solich remains in custody at the Missoula County Detention Center.

Gary Jahrig, Missoulian

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