Articles from the August 3, 2017 edition


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  • Untold Stories of the Jocko Lakes Fire

    Andi Bourne, Pathfinder|Aug 3, 2017

    SEELEY LAKE – On the night of July 18, 2007, firefighters watched as a group of trees burst into flames. The torching trees looked like candles on a birthday cake, at first burning strong only to waver and go out. Two separate fires were identified and pinpointed on the ridge just south of Upper Jocko Lake in steep, rugged ground. Severe thunderstorms that day had put down more than 1,500 lightning strikes on the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribal lands (CSKT) resulting in eight fires that t...

  • Fire Camp Sets Up at SLE

    Micah Drew, Pathfinder|Aug 3, 2017

    SEELEY LAKE- Firefighters and support crew have moved into Seeley Lake Elementary. As of Monday, there were 137 personnel working based out of the school. The crews are working on the Rice Ridge Fire that is burning approximately six miles northeast of Seeley Lake. The fire, which started on July 24, is now more than 2,000 acres and has begun to burn up Pyramid Pass. This isn't the first time SLE has opened its doors to host wildland firefighters. "We kind of did it by accident a couple of...

  • Change Your Pace Challenge Raises More Than $80,000

    Seeley Lake Community Foundation|Aug 3, 2017

    SEELEY LAKE — In the unincorporated communities around Seeley Lake, it is the efforts of many volunteer organizations that provide services and support in the areas of art and culture, education, community development, natural resources and conservation and basic human needs. It has been the goal and mission of the Seeley Lake Community Foundation to support those efforts. This year, the Seeley Lake Community Foundation raised $30,000 in matching funds to support fundraising efforts of 18 area non-profits in the 2017 Change Your Pace C...

  • Steer Project Honors Memory

    Micah Drew, Pathfinder|Aug 3, 2017

    SEELEY LAKE – A thick white binder sat on the dining room table inside the Sexton's home down the road from Kozy Korner. The binder detailed four years of 4-H projects that Dani Sexton has worked on. On one page, a set of photos show Sexton, decked out in sunglasses and a fake flower lei, kissing a steer-also wearing a lei and pink sunglasses-on the head. The steer, T-Bone, is her latest 4-H project, one that started back in September when Sexton and her sister Gabby began looking for steers t...

  • Dear Seeley Lake Community,

    Anne Beach and Alan Rolston, Seeley Lake, Mont.|Aug 3, 2017

    We want to take this time to thank you for embracing us with open arms and accepting us as community members from our first day in this beautiful place. It has been great to develop relationships with so many of you, learn from you, work with you and grow with you over the three years we have been in this community. Until we meet again, we bid a fond farewell, to all of you who live in this lovely place. “I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginni...

  • Wildland Firefighting Stays in the Blood

    Carleen Gonder, Seeley Lake, Mont.|Aug 3, 2017

    Andi Bourne wrote an excellent but incredibly sad Editor’s Note on behalf of the young firefighter that we lost. I, too, have several years of fire experience, all on the Lolo National Forest: my first three as one of the first women in Helitack, then a fourth as engine crew foreman until a nearly fatal accident ended my career as an active firefighter and for five more seasons in fire related work – conducting industrial fire inspections on logging and mining operations (1975-spring of 1985). The year of my near fatal accident (1979) the...

  • Paint a Clear Financial Picture Before Residents Have to Pay

    Don Larson, Seeley Lake, Mont.|Aug 3, 2017

    SEELEY LAKE - Polson is developing a $17.6 million sewer upgrade after the EPA came in and levied a $40,000 fine on the district for exceeding its wastewater discharge limits. Sewer bills will jump from $20 per month to $60, and that’s for 2,000 residents. The State of Montana loaned Polson $14.6 million. Lincoln is upgrading its two lift stations at a cost of $300,000 per station and that sewer station serves about 400 users. That’s after 15 years of use. Their sewer rate increase will depend on how much money it can get from the state. Lin...

  • SLE School Board Responsible to Taxpayer for Incoming Fire Camp Funds

    Bruce Friede, Seeley Lake, Mont.|Aug 3, 2017

    SEELEY LAKE - I recall the U.S. Forest Service running fire camp operations from the Seeley Lake Elementary three times for local forest fires. The Forest Service pays a fee to rent the facility while the Seeley Lake Elementary School is not in operation. The school gets a little financial shot in the arm and the local school district taxpayer should see those funds go into the facility. Mr. Stout said in a past Pathfinder story that the school has been putting off projects to the facility for 15 years and the parking lot needs to be repaved....

  • How Far Will Sewer Board and Manager Go Using Questionable Practices to Seize Control Over Approval for Sewer?

    Beth Hutchinson, Seeley Lake, Mont.|Aug 3, 2017

    SEELEY LAKE - The five business men on the Seeley Lake Sewer Board and their general manager Greg Robertson, henceforth called B/gm, have now conjured up at least three purposely twisted ways to try to get their sewer proposal past the constituents of the district! First, the B/gm plan to “SHOW SUPPORT” for the sewer by using a reverse technique of not actually proving any measurable support. Under their scheme for an up-coming “Notice and Protest” event, they are requiring a count on solely signed opponents to “prove” that the board has b...

  • Seeley Lake Sewer District Highlights Proposal Details

    PartnersCreative, Seeley Lake Sewer District|Aug 3, 2017

    by PartnersCreative On behalf of the Seeley Lake Sewer District SEELEY LAKE - Property owners in Seeley Lake don’t have to sift through thousands of pages of water quality studies and engineering reports in order to learn key points about the community’s proposed sewer system. Last week, the Seeley Lake Sewer District published a new web page that provides concise yet thorough answers to frequently asked questions regarding the proposed, multimillion-dollar project. “This would be the largest-ever infrastructure project in our community — one...

  • Community Health Assessment to Include Outlying Communities – Input Sought

    Andi Bourne, Pathfinder|Aug 3, 2017
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    The Missoula County Health Department is adding a section addressing the health of rural communities to their Community Health Assessment revision for 2017. Residents in outlying communities in Missoula County are encouraged to share what health looks like to them and how the Missoula County Health Department can improve health in the rural areas of the county. This is the first time county health officials have expanded beyond Missoula City limits since the first assessment in 2011. In the past they have been unable to devote the time and...

  • Beach Resigns from Community Foundation

    Micah Drew, Pathfinder|Aug 3, 2017

    SEELEY LAKE—Anne Beach, executive director for the Seeley Lake Community Foundation, had her last day on the job Aug. 1. “Montana has been really good to us,” said Beach, who, along with her husband Alan is a Montana native. “We likely will be back to Montana sometime.” Beach has served in her position since 2014 and will be moving to southwest Colorado to be closer to her family. Beach lauded the opportunities she has had with the Foundation, including working with many of the non-profits, businesses and service organizations in Seeley La...

  • The Thomas Hagerty Homestead

    Rich Nelson, Upper Swan Valley Historical Society|Aug 3, 2017

    Like many privately owned properties throughout Montana, the Thomas Hagerty homestead came into private ownership thanks to the Federal government which first surveyed the land, and later opened it up for homesteading. Hagerty, a single man, filed to homestead Sept. 29, 1915 on 160 acres in the Swan Valley. In 1920, a Forest Service inspector wrote that the southern area of this parcel consisted of a spruce swamp bordering Barber Creek which was practically level and covered with water "owing...

  • Huckleberry Season

    Randi de Santa Anna|Aug 3, 2017

    The huckleberries are on! These wild, sweet berries define living in the Rockies for many. I love eating huckleberries but I love picking them more. Moving slowly from bush to bush I experience the woods much more intimately than when I'm hiking. Life's chatter drops away and I feel renewed. The Japanese call this "forest bathing." There are twelve species of huckleberries (Vaccinium spp.) in the Rocky Mountains. Members of the Heath Family, they grow from 3,500 feet up to about 7,000 feet...

  • Huckleberry Study in the Swan Valley

    Jessie Thoreson, Conservation Technician, Swan Valley Connections|Aug 3, 2017

    SWAN VALLEY - This summer, Swan Valley Connections is partnering with US Geological Survey and a citizen science organization called EarthWatch Institute to begin a three-year huckleberry research project. Tabitha Graves, the lead USGS Scientist, is looking at the correlation between the effects of climate change and huckleberry productivity in the Swan Valley in the context of grizzly bear habitat. Fifteen percent of the grizzly bear diet consists of huckleberries. They are an extremely...

  • Robinett Siblings Both Hilleman Scholars

    Andi Bourne, Pathfinder|Aug 3, 2017

    BOZEMAN – Recent Seeley-Swan High School graduate Nino Robinett was among 50 students selected for Montana State University's (MSU) Hilleman Scholars Program. He joins his sister Eliana who was among the inaugural class last year. The program started in 2016 to recognize the effort and potential of Montana students who exemplify the story of Maurice Hilleman. Hilleman, after losing his twin sister and mother within two days of his birth, was raised by an uncle and aunt and helped the family b...

  • Sokoloski Adds to Property Management Empire

    Micah Drew, Pathfinder|Aug 3, 2017

    SEELEY LAKE – Seeley Swan Vacation Rentals is under new ownership. Carrie Sokoloski bought the company from the previous owner, Shelley Alsup, at the end of April. Sokoloski takes on the new company in addition to her property management business Circle S Property Management, which she has run since 2014. "It's funny because I never thought it would get as big as it did," said Sokoloski, who also works full time at Great Bear Properties. Property managers like Sokoloski provide a key service a...

  • Community Briefs

    Aug 3, 2017

    Free Grocery Delivery Available for Seniors on Fixed Income There are still slots available for the Roots Grocery Delivery Program for Seeley-Swan and Potomac residents. Missoula Food Bank and Department of Health and Human Services partnered to deliver a free, 30-pound monthly food package to a participants’ home. Each package contains juice, cereal or oatmeal, boxed and dry milk, peanut butter or dry beans, rice or pasta, chili or stew, cheese, canned fruits and vegetables and a supplement of Ensure and fresh fruit or vegetables. Inventory op...

  • Public Comment Sought on Glacier Loon Supplemental EA

    Aug 3, 2017

    KALISPELL – The Swan Lake Ranger District on the Flathead National Forest is seeking public comment on the Supplemental Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Glacier Loon Fuels Reduction and Forest Health Project. The project area is located south and west of Condon and on the west side of Montana Highway 83 to the south end of Lindbergh Lake. The original Environmental Assessment (EA) from 2012 has been supplemented with additional analysis relative to the effects of the project on grizzly bears, bull trout and bull trout critical habitat, l...

  • Rare Priviledge

    Carrie Benton, Pastor - Mountain Lakes Presbyterian Church|Aug 3, 2017

    “I’m praying not only for them But also for those who will believe in me Because of them and their witness about me. The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind— Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you, So they might be one heart and mind with us. Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me. The same glory you gave me, I gave them, So they’ll be as unified and together as we are— I in them and you in me. Then they’ll be mature in this oneness, And give the godless...

  • Frances Martha (nee Luke) Schiefelbein 1928 ~ 2017

    Aug 3, 2017

    SEELEY LAKE - Frances Martha Schiefelbein was born at home to Frank and Martha Luke Nov. 18, 1928, in St. Clair Shores, Mich. She attended Lutheran parochial grade schools in Detroit, East Detroit and Ft. Wayne, Ind. Her junior high and high school years were spent at Lakeview High School in St. Clair Shores and Southeastern High in Detroit. She was active in music and drama groups. As a child, she presented marionette shows and monologues for various groups. After graduating as a member of the... Full story

  • Potomac and Seeley Lake 4-H Projects to Watch For

    Sigrid Olson, Pathfinder|Aug 3, 2017

    MISSOULA - The 4-H Country Fair is open to the public Aug. 8 – 13th at the Missoula County Fairgrounds. The Country Fair is an opportunity for 4-H members to show off their projects and hard work. Livestock and other projects are highlighted in shows and on display for fair attendees to enjoy. According to Potomac 4-H Club Organizational Leader Allyson Nelson, the 4-H experience affords its members life-enhancing opportunities. “Lessons learned in 4-H shape young people into leaders and producers who will serve and lead well in their adult liv...

  • Public Comment Sought - Weed Lake Landscape Restoration Project Proposed Action

    Aug 3, 2017

    KALISPELL – The Swan Lake Ranger District is requesting comments on the Weed Lake Landscape Restoration Project Proposal. The project is located approximately 14 miles southeast of Bigfork, Mont. adjacent to, and east of Swan Lake. The project contains approximately 2,100 acres of land within the Flathead National Forest in Flathead and Lake Counties. The objectives of the project are to reduce the risk or extent of, or increase the resilience to, insect and disease infestations in the Weed Lake Project area; reduce fuel conditions which w...

  • Pathfinder Introduces "Best of the Valleys"

    Pathfinder|Aug 3, 2017

    Click to vote: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VY8GXLH We at the Seeley-Swan Pathfinder are taking on a new challenge in 2017. For the first time, the Pathfinder is trying to figure out what people like best about the Blackfoot, Clearwater and Swan Valleys we proudly inhabit. Whether you live here year-round, during the summer or consider this area your backyard on weekends, we want to hear about the places you frequent. All the businesses and locations in the Pathfinder's readership, including O... Full story

  • Fire's Fast Growth Leads to Questions of Agency Transparency and Management

    Andi Bourne, Pathfinder|Aug 3, 2017

    SEELEY LAKE – Tuesday morning, following the first community meeting of the Rice Ridge Fire, evacuation warnings were issued for areas north of Seeley Lake, the town and Double Arrow Ranch excluding Phase 1A west of Highway 83. While the public questioned the transparency of those in charge of the fire, the managers want to assure the public that information is not being withheld and their intent at the community meeting was to provide objective information without creating panic. The Type 3 I...

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