Articles from the July 26, 2018 edition


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  • Sewer Board Power Struggle Continues

    Nathan Bourne, Pathfinder|Jul 26, 2018

    SEELEY LAKE - The Seeley Lake Sewer District’s regular board meeting July 19 plunged in and out of chaos as Board President Mike Boltz duked it out with the three newly elected Directors Beth Hutchinson, Troy Spence and Juli Cole. The three accused Boltz of abusing his power as president and attempted to adjourn the meeting. Boltz hurled threats of legal action to remove them from the board and refused to allow them to add items to the agenda. After 25 minutes of public comment Spence moved to adjourn the meeting. Cole seconded the motion a...

  • Seeley Lake Juveniles Cited for SSHS Trespassing and Vandalism

    Andi Bourne, Pathfinder|Jul 26, 2018

    SEELEY LAKE – The individuals that were involved in trespassing and damaging the tracked snowmobile at Seeley-Swan High School have been cited. Five Seeley Lake juveniles, ages 15-17, were cited for two separate incidents and are set to appear in juvenile court. According to Missoula County Sheriff's Office Sergeant Bob Parcell on July 1 around 3 a.m., three individuals climbed on top of Seeley-Swan High School with a bicycle and proceeded to ride around on the roof. July 9 three more r...

  • Force Recon – A 27-Year Adrenaline Rush

    Betty Vanderwielen, Pathfinder|Jul 26, 2018

    SEELEY LAKE – Seeley Lake resident James Sackett joined the U.S. Marine Corps straight out of high school. Why the Marines? "Because I thought they had the coolest uniforms," he said. By the time he mustered out 27 years later, that uniform was filled with medals. In a more serious vein, Sackett said he joined the military because he hoped that would keep his brother safe. Though brother Jerry was two years younger and twice Sackett's size, he was not a fighter. Sackett said he had fought J...

  • One Injured in Head-on Collision

    Zoie Koostra, Pathfinder|Jul 26, 2018

    Emergency personnel from Potomac and Seeley Lake were called to the scene of a head-on collision at the intersection of Highway 200 and Russell Gates Fishing Access road, near mile marker 35 at about 3:55 p.m. on Saturday, July 21. One driver was taken by air to Missoula and the other driver sustained no serious injuries. According to Montana Highway Patrol Officer Wes Whitlatch, a Chevy Silverado pickup attempted a left turn into the fishing access road from the west-bound lane of 200. The...

  • Progress on Seeley Lake Ranger District Post-Fire Recovery

    Seeley Lake Ranger District|Jul 26, 2018

    SEELEY LAKE - The Seeley Lake Ranger District continues to work on post-fire recovery related projects. Across the District there is over $2.3 million planned in road maintenance and contract work. Approximately 66 culverts are planned to be installed or replaced to protect roadways and ensure public access to National Forest lands. “Post-fire recovery is a long process. There are over 180 miles of National Forest System Roads and 205 miles of National Forest System trails within the burned area,” said Acting Deputy District Ranger Sara Alb...

  • Request Denied to Utilize Evergreen Drive as Haul Route

    Andi Bourne, Pathfinder|Jul 26, 2018

    DEER LODGE – At their public hearing July 12, the Powell County Planning Board denied Deer Creek Excavating, LLC’s request to revise Condition #3 in the Conditional Use Permit to allow the use of Evergreen Drive as a haul route for Double Arrow Ranch projects. The haul route for the Cottonwood Gravel Pit remains limited to Cottonwood Lakes Road and Evergreen Drive can only be used for emergency access. Powell County Planner Carl Hamming said most of the same points were made. The Double Arrow Landowners Association Board voted 6-1 to enter int...

  • Whitefish Lake Subdivision - Relevant Information for Seeley Lake Sewer

    Frank Dufresne, Seeley Lake, Mont.|Jul 26, 2018

    A recent Missoulian article [July 15, 2018] about Whitefish Lake and a subdivision on its shore has information that seems relevant to Seeley’s sewer controversy. It was proposed that the Lion Mountain subdivision with 120 lots on the lake’s west shore be connected to the Whitefish city sewer system. The estimated cost, based on decades of data for that system, was about $150/month/lot to connect to the already existing, up-and-running sewer system. In addition, by accepting city services, those lot owners would eventually be annexed into the c...

  • Dump Commissioners

    Ellen Chaussee, Missoula, Mont.|Jul 26, 2018

    MISSOULA – Shame on Missoula County Commissioners for allowing the last open space proposal to be placed on the ballot. Where is the representation for those people living outside of the city? Some of us have been around long enough and are smart enough to know that for years the city of Missoula has run the county. We also know that between the poor on welfare and employees on government welfare run the city. Therefore, these want-to-be representatives [want-to-be are those people who usually have never accomplished anything on their own so t...

  • Council Sewer Endorsement - Reckless and Irresponsible

    Don Larson, Seeley Lake, Mont.|Jul 26, 2018

    SEELEY LAKE - The misguided effort by Community Council member Lee Boman to secure an endorsement of the Seeley Lake Sewer proposal is reckless and irresponsible....for several reasons....here are few:: • Mr. Boman is a relative newcomer to the valley and does not even live in the Sewer District....so he will not have to face the roughly $40,000 per household to “sewer” Seeley Lake . Further, it is apparent he does not understand the wastewater issues we face in the Seeley-Swan Watershed • The Community Council...as new members Bruce Friede...

  • Seeley Lake Sewer Board Requires a LEGAL President

    Beth Hutchinson, Seeley Lake, Mont.|Jul 26, 2018

    SEELEY LAKE - A month has passed without the Seeley Lake Sewer Board (and District) having a legal president. Montana Code Annotated 7-13-2271 (a portion of state law regulating sewer districts) states under “Organization of board of directors”: 1. A new board of directors shall hold its first meeting on the sixth Monday after the election of directors. It shall choose one of its members president and shall provide for the time and place of holding its meetings and the manner in which its special meetings may be called. 2. The board shall estab...

  • A Few Things Learned from Last Week's Sewer Board Meeting

    Doug Hadnot, Seeley Lake, Mont.|Jul 26, 2018

    SEELEY LAKE - I attended the meeting of the Seeley Lake Sewer District last week and I learned a few things. 1. The water quality in Seeley Lake is excellent; among the best in Montana. The lake is not being polluted by individual septic systems in the community. In fact the groundwater in the surrounding area does not enter the lake. Neither does it mix with other surface water. So, the whole argument that we have to have a sewer system because we are polluting the lake is a scam. 2. The problem pointed out by the Health Department is high nit...

  • Celebrating 100 Years of Swan Valley Schools: 1918-2018

    Upper Swan Valley Historical Society|Jul 26, 2018

    SWAN VALLEY - In upper Swan Valley the first schools were built in 1918 when a group of residents petitioned the Missoula County Superintendent of Schools requesting that the district be split at the Swan-Clearwater watershed divide. The Swan River watershed retained the School District #33 while the Clearwater watershed became School District #34. Three one-room log school buildings were constructed near three tributaries of Swan River: Smith Creek, Rumble Creek and Elk Creek. To accommodate as...

  • Ferns Forever

    Randi de Santa Anna|Jul 26, 2018

    Ferns evolved 360 million years ago when the supercontinent Pangaea still existed. They are one of earth's most ancient plants and predated dinosaurs, mammals and flowering plants by over 120 million years. Once plant-eating dinosaurs evolved, ferns were their main meal. Luckily for the dinosaurs, ancient ferns were bigger than bite-sized; many species grew over 100 feet tall! Ferns are vascular, which means they have internal vessels through which they pump water and nutrients. Vascular plants...

  • What is Going on in Big Larch Campground?

    Zoie Koostra, Pathfinder|Jul 26, 2018
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    SEELEY LAKE - Big Larch Campground remains closed. Why hasn't it reopened? Why hasn't work started? Why was it even closed in the first place? Sheryl Gunn, a Forest Service silviculturist, worked on the removal of lodgepole pines from Big Larch in 2009 and recently completed another plan on how to handle the current situation. She and Seeley Lake District Ranger Rachel Feigley answered some of the most pressing questions about the campground and the work being done. Why can't anybody camp in... Full story

  • Shooting Range Idea Discussed, Public Comments Considered on Draft Plan

    Colleen Kesterson, Pathfinder|Jul 26, 2018

    SWAN VALLEY - At their regular meeting July 17, the Swan Valley Community Council heard discussion about where and how to go about securing a suitable location for a local shooting range. The council also considered public comments on the final draft plan. They finished with Element One entitled Natural Resources and Environment and nearly all of Element Two entitled Economic Opportunity. Chair Ken Donovan told those present that he heard complaints from those living near Cold Creek Road that people were firing guns close to their living...

  • Going Home

    Bruce Rippy, Pastor - Condon Community Church|Jul 26, 2018

    More than 45 years ago when I served in the Air Force, there was nothing I looked forward to more than going home. The little house I grew up in, the small town near where I lived, the people I had known for all of my short life, were all very familiar and special to me and I certainly missed it all. There were trails through my favorite woods, my favorite swimming holes and fishing holes and that section of river that my friends and I loved to float in inner tubes on hot summer days. The Old Saying claims that you can never go home again. And...

  • One Week Left to Increase the Power of Your Gift

    Seeley Lake Community Foundation|Jul 26, 2018

    SEELEY LAKE - Donate by Aug. 3 to the Change Your Pace Challenge to grow your contribution to Seeley Lake! The Change Your Pace (CYP) Challenge runs through 5 p.m. leaving only one more week to increase the power of a donation to your favorite local cause(s), with the help of the CYP Match Fund. The Seeley Lake Community Foundation’s third-annual Change Your Pace Challenge is a campaign for community-wide giving, celebrating the people and organizations that make our community great. 17 local organizations are participating this year, r...

  • SAFER Grant and Interim Maintenance Position Discussed

    Andi Bourne, Pathfinder|Jul 26, 2018

    SEELEY LAKE – The Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant and hiring of interim maintenance position were the main topics of discussion at the Seeley Lake Fire Board meeting July 17. Chief Dave Lane informed the board that President Trump did not approve the SAFER Grant for this year. The grant was created to provide funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations to help them increase or maintain the number of trained, “front line” firefighters available in their communities. The g...

  • Lions Reseal Path Around Pond

    Zoie Koostra, Pathfinder|Jul 26, 2018

    SEELEY LAKE - Members of the Seeley Lake Lions Club spread sealant on the walkway around the pond at Lion's Park Saturday, July 21. The club was unable to do their usual maintenance last year because of the Rice Ridge Fire, which began on July 23, 2017. This spring, the runoff and high ground water caused the pond to flood as well so that the lower benches and tables near the water were completely submerged. Lions Club president Jon Kimble said that in preparation for putting on the sealant he...

  • Peer Support, Increasingly Professionalized, Helps Struggling Montanans Reclaim Their Lives

    Eric Dietrich, Solutions Journalism Network|Jul 26, 2018

    There's some hope around a folding table here, inside this smallish Main Street storefront in Ronan, the Never Alone Recovery Center. Outside, it's a sunny Tuesday evening in this 2,000-person, majority-white town on the Flathead Indian Reservation. Inside, a mixed-race group of men and women, passing around a bowl of candy, shoot the breeze for a few minutes before settling down to business. "I'm an addict," each says in turn. "I'm an addict," echoes the group's leader, Don Roberts - and, he...

  • What is the Strategy?

    Katheryn Houghton and Eric Dietrich, Bozeman Daily Chronicle and Solutions Journalism Network|Jul 26, 2018

    Previously: In Part 1, the story of a mentally ill Livingston woman, "Sarah," underscored the challenges Montana's mental health system faces as community-level providers are rocked by political battles over public spending. In Part 2, we looked at how two of Montana's most recent budget fights have swung the state toward more health spending - and away from it again. Now: Given budget realities, does Montana have a plan for getting mentally ill citizens the care they need? Montana Department of...

  • Community Briefs

    Jul 26, 2018

    Fire Danger VERY HIGH in Missoula County MISSOULA - Interagency wildland fire officials with the Missoula County Fire Protection Association (MCFPA) are reporting nearly 20 human-caused fires last week alone while fire danger indices have reached VERY HIGH. After a wet spring, fuels have dried to the point that fires will spread quickly. Last week, unattended campfires, illegal debris burning, operating internal combustion engines around cured grasses and tow chains dragging on highway surfaces ignited wildfires. Here how we can all prevent...

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