Articles written by Asa Thomas Metcalfe


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  • American Legion hosts 31st Annual Chili Cook-Off

    Asa Thomas Metcalfe, Of the Pathfinder|Jun 22, 2023

    On Saturday, June 10, a modest hoard of hungry folks convened at the Swan Valley Community Center for the 31st annual Chili Cook-Off competition and fundraiser hosted by the local American Legion chapter 63. Each year the competition names the best chili in the valley and hosts an auction to raise money for American Legion events throughout the year. Lindsey Glastetter won first place with a Mexican infused chili with Chorizo and enchilada sauce. Her chili had the most distinctive pepper flavor...

  • Seeley Community Council talks taxes

    Asa Thomas Metcalfe, of the Pathfinder|Jun 22, 2023

    The upstairs loft of the Barn in Seeley Lake became an intricate Montana State civics lesson on Monday, June 12 when the Seeley Lake Community Council discussesd tax revenue and grassroots movements. Missoula County Commisioner Josh Slotnik presented a few explanations of Montana tax systems and talked about what he considers new perspectives on their uses. “Not so much because people are mad about property taxes or unhappy about them,” Slotnik said. “But because of the language of property taxes. It is very much its own animal.” Slotnik...

  • Seeley-Swan High School class of 2023 graduates

    Asa Thomas Metcalfe|Jun 15, 2023

    The senior class of Seeley-Swan High School filed into the auditorium for their last ever school assembly on Sunday June 4. The school band played pomp and circumstance from the corner while the rows of parents, extended family and community members sat quietly in rows of folding chairs. Each student stepped out of the yellow-lined doorway and paused for just a moment before walking down the aisle toward the stage and a new chapter in their life. For many of these students this gym had served...

  • Steele in talks for US Forest Service move

    Asa Thomas Metcalfe|Jun 15, 2023

    Flathead National Forest Supervisor, Kurt Steele, has accepted a new position within the National Forest Service. Steele, who has been the Supervisor of Flathead National Forest since January of 2020 came under fire for decisions made involving the POWDR Corporation’s purchase of Holland Lake Lodge. According to a story in The Fathead Beacon on June 9, the details are still being figured out, but Steele was offered and has accepted a new position as a deputy director at the Northern Region headquarters in Missoula....

  • Memorial Day in the Swan Valley

    Asa Thomas Metcalfe|Jun 8, 2023

    A somber procession gathered on the Cold Creek Bridge in Condon to remember service members who have passed. The 31st annual Memorial Day observance was presided over by Edward Klassen, who has facilitated the event for the last six years as the commander of American Legion Post 63 in Condon Klassen brought a small amplifier with a microphone to the bridge and read aloud a brief history of Memorial Day as a national tradition, wrapping a contemporary tribute in a retelling of the holiday's...

  • Letter from the Editor

    Asa Thomas Metcalfe|Jun 8, 2023

    I write to you from a frantic mood of trying to organize all the news into a cohesive linear manner while still covering new events as they happen. Last week we had to rush our deadline on account of the printer being closed for Memorial Day. Unfortunately the people who create our puzzles weren’t able to meet that deadline so you may have noticed a lack of sudoku and crosswords. I assure you this is not a permanent loss, and we hope to avoid that from ever happening again. I also am finding myself in a difficult position with covering M...

  • 48th annual Whitewater Festival brings hundreds of spectators to Bigfork

    Asa Thomas Metcalfe|Jun 8, 2023

    Two rafting teams compete in the final heat at the Whitewater Festival in Bigfork on Sunday, May 28. The festival, which was in its 48th year, featured roughly 100 competitors in multiple races for rafts, kayaks and stand-up paddle boards. The event brought hundreds of spectators to the banks of the Swan River over the weekend....

  • Seeley Lake Lion's Club celebrates new playground

    Asa Thomas Metcalfe|Jun 8, 2023

    The corner of Cedar Lane and Elm Drive in Seeley Lake is a natural ditch with a shallow pond, which at one time was used as a trash dump. But it has become a pleasant oasis since the Lion's Club took on the task of making it into a park. Last year they added a state-of-the-art playground and are welcoming the community to a grand opening on June 10. "About two- almost three years ago now- I started talking to the county about putting the playground in and I had nothing but red tape," said Lion...

  • SLCF hosts Change Your Pace kick-off party

    Asa Thomas Metcalfe|Jun 8, 2023

    SEELEY LAKE- The Change Your Pace (CYP) kick-off party was hosted in the parking lot of the Seeley Lake Community Foundation (SLCF) building on Friday June 2. Energy Partners Propane offered a deal on propane tank refills with half the proceeds being donated the CYP match-fund. "It's a combo customer appreciation party and kick-off for Change Your Pace," said Claire Muller, Executive Director of SLCF. Energy Partners spent hours filling propane and grilled 150 hot dogs at the...

  • Seeley Lake, Swan Valley and Potomac show colors at Copper League Meet of Champions

    Asa Thomas Metcalfe|Jun 1, 2023

    On a mild but sunny Tuesday morning the qualifying athletes of Montana's Copper League for track and field had their final competition, the Meet of Champions held at the outdoor facilities of Missoula Public Schools Stadium in Missoula. The Copper League Meet of Champions is the highest tier of competition for middle school grades (six-eight) in track and field. Schools from the Bitterroot and Missoula County area meet to race, and throw in their final bids for top place. Seeley Lake...

  • First fire board meeting with new board member discusses budget, fundraising, moving forward

    Asa Thomas Metcalfe|Jun 1, 2023

    Susan Monahan was sworn in to her new position on the Seeley Lake Rural Volunteer Fire Board on Monday, May 22 and sat in for her first official meeting on the board later that week. The special meeting, held in Seeley Lake on Wednesday, May 24 was a small gathering with introductions and a parceling out of the yearly budget as read by Fire Chief, Dave Lane. "It was good," Monahan said. "It went well, but I have a lot to learn." Lane read a letter to the board from former board member Scott...

  • When the editor goes birding

    Asa Thomas Metcalfe|Jun 1, 2023

    A pod of American white pelicans group together on a submerged log in the flooded area near Nevada Lake in Helmville. The area is not listed as a known nesting ground in a 2019 report by the Montana Audubon Society. The high water levels across the state have created new habitats for waterfowl who are on their annual migration north. Places like Nevada Lake may see unusual species of birds while the water levels are high. American white pelicans generally summer in the great plains or...

  • Joyful Noise Childcare celebrates 10 years

    Asa Thomas Metcalfe|Jun 1, 2023

    On Wednesday, May 24 the Joyful Noise Childcare at the Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Seeley Lake celebrated 10 years of tending to the town's youngest residents. A decade ago Mary Mount saw a lack of childcare options in Seeley Lake and decided to open Joyful Noise to help out parents of the Lutheran Congregation. Over the years Mount has cared for many of the town's kids. 117 in told according to Mount's own count. Providing child care for 10 years has brought her a lot of joy, and while many o...

  • Sawyer Hessler graduates from Ovando School

    Asa Thomas Metcalfe|Jun 1, 2023

    This year the Ovando School will bid farewell to one graduating student. The small rural two-room schoolhouse will be sending off one proud graduate this year. Sawyer Hessler is moving on to the relatively big halls of Drummond High. While she will miss the "field trips and opportunities that you get with such a smaller school," she is very much looking forward to joining the basketball team. "They had tryouts this year and I was able to play on the Drummond Varsity basketball team," Hessler...

  • DNRC approves Elbow Lake gravel pit in Greenough

    Asa Thomas Metcalfe|May 25, 2023

    On Monday, May 15 the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) announced an approval of the Opencut Mine Gravel Pit near Elbow Lake. On March 16, the DNRC issued a press release in the Pathfinder, alerting the public to a permit being considered which would open a gravel pit and asphalt production facility near Elbow Lake in Greenough. LHC Inc of Kalispell, applied for the permit and sought to provide materials for a nearby road work project on Highway 83. The permit marked the second time that LHC has filed to mine gravel near...

  • Letter from the Editor

    Asa Thomas Metcalfe|May 25, 2023

    There are a lot of harsh criticisms of Governor Greg Gianforte and I agree with almost every single one of them. I don’t mind telling you that I take great exception to his stances on environment, housing, welfare, journalism, and Donald Trump - just to name a few. But while many of my contemporaries in journalism have been quick to insult his banning of TikTok, I won’t be joining them. Gianforte made millions as a California tech investor before becoming a Montana politician and as such, I do believe that he knows something about technology. W...

  • Seeley Lake Library starting summer hours and programs in June

    Asa Thomas Metcalfe|May 25, 2023

    Starting Monday, June 5 the Seeley Lake Library will be changing over to summer hours. With the end of the school year, the library will not longer be open during regular school hours but will still be open for use as a regular public library. Non-holiday summer hours are: •Mondays, 10:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. •Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m. - 6 p.m. •Thursdays, 10:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. Carrie Benton will be the librarian on staff and will also be leading the Library Book Club, which will meet next on Thursday, June 1 at 10 a.m. The Library Book Club’s first t...

  • May Day Tea at the Ovando school

    Asa Thomas Metcalfe|May 25, 2023

    On Thursday, May 18 the Ovando school hosted the annual May Day Tea event to close out the school year and showcase the talents of current students before an audience of parents and community members. Every year the Ovando School closes out with a student production, a variety show which the students spend weeks preparing for. "At the end of April we're starting to build sets and make sure we've got props in order," said Nathan Graves, a teacher at the Ovando school who helped with this year's...

  • Smoke from Canadian wildfires lowers air quality and visibility across Montana

    Asa Thomas Metcalfe|May 25, 2023

    Smoke swept through the Montana skies earlier this week blocking mountain views and lowering air quality. Luckily for the Big Sky State, where there was smoke there wasn't fire. Since early May, the Canadian Province of Alberta has been ravaged by wildfires and the winds have swept the smoke south. More than 100 separate fires have burned the forests of central Canada and 93 of those fires are actively burning as of Friday, May 20. While the trees of Montana have so far survived the early...

  • Forest service issues warning to POWDR about trailer left at Holland Lake

    Asa Thomas Metcalfe|May 25, 2023

    Last summer POWDR Corp stationed a mobile apartment trailer at the Holland Lake Lodge campus. While the company has removed most of the other pieces of equipment, the trailer has remained. At a Swan Valley Community Council meeting in March, Chris Dowling, Swan Lake District Ranger, said that there had been permits allowing for the placement of the trailer but there had never been any permits allowing it to be hooked up to utilities. This prompted many questions about why the trailer had been br...

  • Meet Gus, the large larch tree

    Asa Thomas Metcalfe|May 18, 2023

    One of Seeley Lake's oldest residents is one of quite high distinction. While their place in the community may not be known to all, it literally dwarf all others. Gus is not only the tallest tree in the state of Montana, but he is also the tallest western larch tree in the world. Standing at 163 feet, two feet taller than the Statue of Liberty, Gus is a subtle local legend. He isn't prominently advertised, and for all intents and purposes he is just another in the many trees of the Jim Gerard Gr...

  • Letter from the Editor

    Asa Thomas Metcalfe|May 18, 2023

    In this issue I interviewed a tree. Obviously not quite literally, but I did write a profile about one. Gus is a local wonder, the world’s largest larch tree. At over 1,000 years old, Gus is a truly remarkable historical figure. Right here in your small town is a natural feat of incredible height. Something profiled by many publications before this one. I want to express what a joy it is to find something so novel and have the absolute privilege to see it first-hand. I found Gus simply by accident. I was trying to find a street address on a G...

  • Election results: Rural District Fire Director, Potomac school board trustee, and SLE general levy

    Asa Thomas Metcalfe|May 11, 2023

    Missoula County Elections Office reported the unofficial results from the May 2 election. Results show incumbent Courtney Hathaway received 33% of the votes for the two open positions in the Potomac School Trustee election. She was followed by incumbent Wes Mitchell with 22% and Patrick Brewer with 11%. Five write-ins made up 0.66% of the results. In the election for the two Seeley Lake Rural Fire District Trustees, Susan Monahan came out on top with 29% of the votes, followed by incumbents Rita Rossi with 25% and Scott Kennedy with 19%. There...

  • Letter from the Editor

    Asa Thomas Metcalfe|May 11, 2023
    1

    I would like to take this time to respond to a letter sent to the editor a few weeks ago which expressed some frustration in a lack of local coverage. I have been trying to refocus the paper on local events as best as I am able. If there are things which readers want to see more of or would rather not see, please email and let me know. I hope that my photo-essay type pieces have been enjoyable, but I don’t know without any public input. But any frustration in my not being as engaged or connected as the Bournes is beyond valid. I am not the same...

  • Recent burglaries not related

    Asa Thomas Metcalfe|May 11, 2023

    The Seeley Lake region saw an uptick in burglaries last week with three reported in just seven days. But according to the Missoula County Sheriff’s Department they aren’t related incidents and they aren’t even all burglaries. The public record lists the incidents as burglaries, because that is what was reported to the Sheriff’s Office but after investigation they didn’t fit that description. “One was due to a bear, one was a loose boat,” said Jeannette Smith, Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer “There were no crimes, no charges, just in...

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