Articles written by Betty Vanderwielen


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  • Paying the government's bills

    Betty Vanderwielen, Pathfinder|Sep 22, 2022

    SEELEY LAKE – Graduating high school in 2002 with no clear career path in front of him, Mike Brent joined the United States Navy. He knew he eventually wanted to pursue higher education. Serving in the military would help finance that. In addition, the Navy might allow him to see more of the world beyond his home state of Colorado. His military plans almost ended before they began. An eye examination during Boot Camp revealed Brent was partially colorblind. He was told he could become a Navy c...

  • Throw under the bus

    Betty Vanderwielen, Pathfinder|Sep 22, 2022

    Sportscasters, political pundits and social media propagators have become enamored with reporting about people thrown under buses. No physical violence has actually been perpetrated, of course. The phrase is only used metaphorically. But how did it start—and when will it end? Merriam Webster’s website suggests an innocent enough British pre-origin in 1971 when Harold Wilson was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. With tongue in cheek, Hugh MacPherson wrote in “The Spectator,” “There is an amusing little parlour game much favoured by politi...

  • Costumes, sound effects enhance the tragedy of King Lear

    Betty Vanderwielen, Pathfinder|Aug 25, 2022

    SEELEY LAKE – This year marked Montana Shakespeare in the Parks (MSIP) golden anniversary-50 years of performing live outdoor productions of Shakespearean and other plays for the people of Montana. On Aug. 15, a large crowd of area residents set up their chairs and spread their blankets on the Double Arrow grounds to watch MSIP unfold the compounded tragedies resulting from King Lear's narcissistic decisions. As is usually the case when one of Shakespeare's works is performed on the modern stage...

  • Ingenuity, camaraderie keeps 20-year Naval career underway

    Betty Vanderwielen, Pathfinder|Aug 4, 2022

    SEELEY LAKE – Looking back over his 20 years in the U.S. Navy, Bryce Smith said, "It's such a beautiful collage. There were people from every walk of life and every corner of this country that were just amazing to have spent a piece of my life with." Fueled by an early fascination with aviation and especially the Navy's F-14 Tomcat fighter jets, Smith entered the Navy's Delayed Entry Program while still a senior in high school. Upon graduation in 1998, he fulfilled his promise to enlist in t...

  • Pathfinder wins 2022 awards

    Betty Vanderwielen, Pathfinder|Jul 14, 2022

    SEELEY LAKE – The results from Montana Newspaper Association's Better Newspaper Contest (BNC) are in and the Seeley Swan Pathfinder continues to be recognized as an award-winning newspaper. The Pathfinder received 14 Division 1 awards including seven first place awards. Division 1 encompasses weekly newspapers with a circulation of 1,250 or less. Though many of the awards for articles and photos were earned by Pathfinder owners Andi and Nathan Bourne, reporter Henry Netherland also garnered s...

  • Military life provides many opportunities for Thompsons

    Betty Vanderwielen, Pathfinder|Jun 2, 2022

    SEELEY LAKE – Steve Thompson was born, raised and educated in Missoula, Montana. He met his wife Cheryl at Camp Paxon in Seeley Lake and, after a stint in the United States Air Force, brought his family back to Seeley Lake to live. But those six years of military service gave the Thompsons an opportunity to visit parts of Europe and Scandinavia and to travel back and forth across the U.S. Inspired partly by his cousin who was an Air Force pilot, Thompson enlisted in ROTC while at the U...

  • Veterans and Families of Seeley Lake

    Betty Vanderwielen, Pathfinder|May 12, 2022

    The Seeley-Swan and Blackfoot Valleys are home to many non-profits. All these non-profits play a vital role in our communities and most are run by volunteers. Over the next several months we will feature these various groups in an effort to highlight who they are, what they do and how to get involved. To nominate your favorite non-profit for the feature please email pathfinder@seeleylake.com or call 406-677-2022. SEELEY LAKE – "We are just a group helping other families and veterans in the a...

  • Alpine Artisans, Incorporated

    Betty Vanderwielen, Pathfinder|Apr 21, 2022

    The Seeley-Swan and Blackfoot Valleys are home to many non-profits. All these non-profits play a vital role in our communities and most are run by volunteers. Over the next several months we will feature these various groups in an effort to highlight who they are, what they do and how to get involved. To nominate your favorite non-profit for the feature please email pathfinder@seeleylake.com or call 406-677-2022. SEELEY LAKE – Alpine Artisans Incorporated (AAI) has been in the Seeley, Swan a...

  • Halls interspersed four children among high-ranking military careers

    Betty Vanderwielen, Pathfinder|Apr 14, 2022

    CYGNET LAKE – Part I of the Veteran Spotlight on Mike and Robin Hall covered each of their commissions in the Army – Mike in the Ordnance Corps and Robin as a JAG lawyer – their marriage in Germany and their subsequent assignments in Germany where their third and fourth children were born. Part I ended with the Halls serving in the D.C. area, Mike involved in war planning at the Pentagon and Robin a Chief of the Judge Advocate General's recruiting office. After her recruitment assignment, Robin...

  • Halls interspersed four children among high-ranking military careers

    Betty Vanderwielen, Pathfinder|Apr 7, 2022

    CYGNET LAKE – Neither Mike Hall nor his wife Robin planned on 20-year military careers when they commissioned into the Army. But that was before they met each other. Graduating from Belgrade, Montana, Mike applied for an ROTC scholarship. That got him to Montana State University and resulted in a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering and a four-year commitment to serve in the United States Army. His plan was to leave at the end of those four years and get a job in industry. Mike w...

  • Weltzien extolls Savage as one of Montana's best writers

    Betty Vanderwielen, Pathfinder|Mar 31, 2022

    SEELEY LAKE – In 2018, when award-winning movie director Jane Campion began thinking about transforming Thomas Savage's "The Power of the Dog" into a film, the person she contacted for more information was English Professor (now Professor Emeritus) Alan Weltzien of the University of Montana-Western in Dillon. Even before publication of his book "Savage West: The Life and Fiction of Thomas Savage," Weltzien's extensive research into the author's life and writings had turned him into the a...

  • Seeley Lake Nordic Ski Club

    Betty Vanderwielen|Mar 17, 2022

    SEELEY LAKE – Though originally created in 1978 on United States Forest Service property, in 1990-91 the Seeley Creek Nordic Ski Trails on Morrell Creek Road were widened and redesigned under the guidance of Olympian Jon Eliot. In 1992 a volunteer group formed, named itself the Seeley Lake Nordic Ski Club (SLNSC) and committed to grooming the 18-kilometer trail complex on a regular basis. Grooming those trails continues to be the Club's primary mission. Over the years, the organization has t...

  • Seeley Lake Lions Club

    Betty Vanderwielen, Pathfinder|Mar 10, 2022

    The Seeley-Swan and Blackfoot Valleys are home to many non-profits. All these non-profits play a vital role in our communities and most are run by volunteers. Over the next several months we will feature these various groups in an effort to highlight who they are, what they do and how to get involved. To nominate your favorite non-profit for the feature please email pathfinder@seeleylake.com or call 406-677-2022. Seeley Lake Lions Club SEELEY LAKE – Seeley Lake Lions Club is an international n...

  • Jette went from '58 Ford to patrol car

    Betty Vanderwielen, Pathfinder|Feb 24, 2022

    SWAN VALLEY – In 1957 Dennis Jette was working road construction, helping to build the Condon section of Highway 83. By the following year he was making enough money to get a new 1958 Ford Convertible with a retractable top. He only had one payment left to make on the car when he got drafted into the United States Army in 1959. Knowing he wouldn't be able to make that last payment, Jette went to Missoula to talk to the dealer who had sold him the car. The two worked out an agreement. The dealer...

  • Euphoniums and tubas alternate solemn and big bop sounds

    Betty Vanderwielen, Pathfinder|Feb 17, 2022

    SEELEY LAKE – The overhead stage lights of the Seeley-Swan High School auditorium bounced off the bronze cone-shaped bells of seven tubas and five euphoniums Feb. 13 as University of Montana Euphonium and Tuba Consort performed for a crowd of more than 40 people (on Super Bowl Sunday!). According to Conductor Benedict Kirby, a tuba has a five-octave range, starting lower than the sound a piano can play. Its smaller cousin, the euphonium, starts an octave higher and has a four and a half o...

  • The making of a combat medic

    Betty Vanderwielen, Pathfinder|Jan 27, 2022

    SWAN VALLEY – Bill Jones was in college in 1969 working on his degree in psychology when he was drafted. Apparently psychology was close enough to a medical degree for the Army. They gave him 10 months of training, proclaimed him a Combat Medic and whisked him off to Vietnam. Jones recalled Jan. 3 was the day he had to leave for the war zone. Though he was with his wife and her parents he said, "I remember being just kind of numb, sitting and staring at cartoons on the TV, which was kind of a r...

  • Chadwick advocates fundamental reset of our thinking about nature

    Betty Vanderwielen, Pathfinder|Jan 20, 2022

    SEELEY LAKE – Doug Chadwick presented his latest book "Four-fifths a Grizzly," to Alpine Artisans' Open Book Club Jan. 15. The book is less about grizzlies and more about us as humans and our continued survival. Chadwick said, "The idea that we are separate and superior and entitled to do whatever we want as long as we want, that's got to be modified. We have to change that." Chadwick advocates that humans view themselves, as scientists are discovering more and more to be true, in a symbiotic r...

  • Ovando students get back into the Holiday spirit

    Betty Vanderwielen, Pathfinder|Jan 20, 2022

    OVANDO – Though COVID canceled Ovando School's Dec. 16 play, on Jan. 12 the Ovando community put their holiday spirit back on and gathered to enjoy the students' performance of "The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus." Based on the book of the same name by L. Frank Baum (author of "The Wizard of Oz") and converted into play form by R. Eugene Jackson, the script was an ambitious production for the small student body. Many of the students played two and some even three different roles, n...

  • Offering comfort to dying patients and their families

    Betty Vanderwielen, Pathfinder|Jan 6, 2022

    SEELEY LAKE – The first thing the woman asked when Partners in Home Care Hospice Volunteer Laurel Deniger came for an initial visit was "Do you give foot massages?" So every week when Deniger visited, she massaged the woman's feet. "Right up to the very last," Deniger said, "when she was unconscious, I gave her a foot massage." Deniger has been a Hospice Volunteer for 22 years. Partners in Home Care Volunteer Coordination Kyle Williams said, "The time Laurel has dedicated to helping people in yo...

  • Supplying military needs for more than 20 years

    Betty Vanderwielen, Pathfinder|Dec 30, 2021

    SEELEY LAKE – Howard Montgomery, more familiarly known in the Seeley Lake area as Monty, served 22 years in the military, first in the United States Navy and later in the United States Air Force. Montgomery said he signed up with the Navy in 1954 because he wanted to see the world. The Navy trained him as a storekeeper where he learned about ordering, stocking, issuing and tracking supplies. He spent the next two years aboard the cargo ship U.S.S. Warrick whose homeport was Oakland, C...

  • Toasting the New Year

    Betty Vanderwielen, Pathfinder|Dec 30, 2021

    Traditionally, the New Year is welcomed in by raising a glass of champagne and offering a toast. Toast? Lightly burned bread? In the Middle Ages people sometimes did put a piece of toasted bread into their wine or other drink. But why did they do that? And how did it turn into the modern custom of saying a few words before drinking at special occasions, no bread involved? Toasting as a way of preserving bread originated in pre-historic times. Laying a slab of bread on a hot stone next to a fire...

  • Sunset School's holiday program was all music

    Betty Vanderwielen, Pathfinder|Dec 23, 2021

    GREENOUGH – Matthew Nord of Tangled Tones Music Studio in Missoula drives up once a week to teach music to the students at Sunset School. On Dec. 16 the students presented their holiday program for proud parents and friends. The singing began with John Denver's famous "Country Roads," accompanied by Nord's guitar. However, the students substituted a few more familiar locations. Instead of West Virginia they sang of "West Montana" as "almost heaven." Likewise, the Blackfoot River took the p...

  • Expressing their inner colors

    Betty Vanderwielen, Pathfinder|Dec 16, 2021

    SEELEY LAKE – Uncorked and Creative Artist Instructor Kris Gullikson invited guest artist Sissy Miller from Frenchtown to introduce the Dec. 10 class to the art of paint pouring. Following Miller's instructions, the group produced lovely multicolored bulbs to brighten their Christmas trees. The art technique called pouring requires the use of acrylic paints into which an additive has been mixed that improves the consistency and provides a smooth flow, resulting in colors that mix more u...

  • Fun at Historical Society meeting

    Betty Vanderwielen, Pathfinder|Dec 9, 2021

    SEELEY LAKE – The Dec. 5 Seeley Lake Historical Society and Museum's annual meeting combined a little bit of business with a large portion of pleasure as the assembled members watched two brief films with relevance to the Seeley Lake area. The business part included recognition of the society's new Lifetime Members, those who have donated $1,000 to the museum: Addrien Marx, Jack & Belinda Rich, Dave Anderson, Wally Mills, Warren and Laura Thieme, the Burgess family and the McLeod & Mulroney f...

  • Swan Valley crafters display their wares

    Betty Vanderwielen|Dec 9, 2021

    SWAN VALLEY – For the second year, COVID dictated the cancellation of the Upper Swan Valley Historical Society's Annual Frostbite Festival and for the second year a group of crafters opted to rent the Swan Valley Community Hall to display and sell their wares. Many of their items were targeted for Christmas, either as decorations or potential gifts. Browsers and buyers wandered amid a colorful and varied mix of crafts. Some of the artists were old timers. Dar Kearney has been setting out a w...

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