Articles from the September 14, 2017 edition

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  • Coming Together in Crisis – Filling the Needs

    Andi Bourne, Pathfinder|Sep 14, 2017

    SEELEY LAKE – Camp Paxson is much quieter this week after 50 of the evacuees were able to return home Tuesday, Sept. 5. The camp was home to 64 evacuees, including 20 children from infant to a senior in high school that stayed at least one night. Ten Seeley Lake evacuees remained anxiously awaiting the word that came Sunday morning. They were able to return home as well. Glenn and Jo Warneke are the caretakers for Camp Paxson. All of the contracted groups, including three weddings, scheduled f...

  • The Blackfoot River Ran Through It

    Betty Vanderwielen, Pathfinder|Sep 14, 2017

    SEELEY LAKE – After two years of planning and organizing, the In the Footsteps of Norman Maclean Festival finally came to fruition Sept. 8-10. Sponsored by Alpine Artisans, Inc. (AAI) and spearheaded by AAI Program Director Jenny Rohrer, the event encompassed literature, fly fishing, pollution, wine tasting, fire, geology, breakfast, the United States Forest Service, a gala dinner, stories and memories. The theme running through it all was the Blackfoot River. In 2015, the Maclean Festival highl...

  • Never Forget

    Sep 14, 2017

    SEELEY LAKE - Seeley Lake Rural Fire District volunteer Shelly Johnson and District Administrator Lynn Richards stood to remember those who served and lost their lives during the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001. They stood for 102 minutes, the amount of time it took for the first of the two Twin Towers to fall. This was their ninth year doing this memorial....

  • Let's Protect Our Natural Resource – Water- Seeley Lake

    Mike Davis, Kalispell, Mont.|Sep 14, 2017

    SEELEY LAKE - Seeley Lake is the water supply to much of the town, community and others draw water from the lake or the surrounding community aquifer. So, let’s “cowboy up” to our responsibility of protecting it now and for future generations. Let’s support the construction of a community sewer system. We have owned a cabin on the lake for 50+ years and we certainly understand the need for clean lake water and drinking water. We continue to enjoy and appreciate the Seeley Lake community; we have worked on community projects, we support the Com...

  • ALERT: SD #1 and SD #2

    Beth Hutchinson, Seeley Lake, Mont.|Sep 14, 2017

    SEELEY LAKE - In an earlier letter-to-the-editor, I pointed out that Sewer District 4 has some 40 properties which are, in fact, residences or the occasional vacant lot. Seeley Lake Sewer District Manager Greg Robinson would have them charged as “businesses” to cover the debt and Operation & Maintenance (O&M) expenses if district property owners accept the proposed sewer project. (Please see the Pathfinder archive if you wish to review that information.) At that time, I noted that similar situations also existed for other sewer districts. So...

  • Common Ground – Our Love for the Landscape

    Andrea Morgan, Ovando, Mont.|Sep 14, 2017

    Fire: It’s hot, it’s smoky, it’s uncomfortable, it’s dangerous, it’s scary. All of us in the Seeley/Swan and Blackfoot Valleys are feeling anxious, stressed, fearful of losing our homes and fearful of our beloved landscape changing. Placing blame, pointing fingers, becoming angry and vindictive will help no one, nor will it solve any of the issues we are facing. The interagency fire teams that are here working on our landscape and in our communities deserve our respect. These folks have the training and the knowledge to do their jobs, and...

  • Increase Our Quality of Life - Accept Sewer Initiative

    Ken Silvestro, Seeley Lake, Mont.|Sep 14, 2017

    SEELEY LAKE - Most of us living in Seeley Lake share some common values: independence, some desire to be isolated, appreciation of nature and security for our families and homes. These are important values that are not easy to compromise. We also know that making a living in Seeley Lake is difficult. Given this understanding, let’s consider an important initiative that can affect our values and income—the Seeley Lake Sewer Initiative. No one wants our small community to become a booming met...

  • When Times are Tough, Montanans Rise to the Challenge

    Tom Wozniak, Missoula, Mont.|Sep 14, 2017

    That’s what we do. And that’s been the case during a difficult wildfire season that has touched all corners of our state. Neighbors have helped neighbors, donating hay, offering up a safe place to stay and a warm meal. They’ve also opened their pocketbooks, donating thousands to Montana Red Cross. This allowed us to provide food, shelter and comfort to those who have been forced to evacuate their homes, sometimes with little warning. We have opened 16 shelters since July, and our Red Cross volunteers are working around the clock to ensur...

  • Strength or Consequences

    Ken Silvestro PhD.|Sep 14, 2017

    When people experience crises, such as the fire crisis in Seeley Lake or the loss of a loved one, there can be a variety of reactions. One of the most common reactions is to avoid their psychological needs and attempt to continue life as if nothing happened. People use phrases such: keep a stiff upper lip, cowboy-up, cowgirl-up or buck-up, to indicate that they are strong or should be strong, while experiencing crises. Ironically, this reaction is contrary to what people believe because it actua...

  • FEMA Authorizes Funds to Help Fight Montana Fires

    Sep 14, 2017

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized the use of federal funds to help with firefighting costs for the Rice Ridge, Alice Creek, West Fork, Highway 200 Complex and Moose Creek Fires. FEMA Acting Regional Administrator Nancy J. Dragani approved the state’s request for a federal Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) after receiving the state’s requests on Saturday, Sept. 9. On Saturday, the Rice Ridge fire was threatening 1,020 homes in and around Seeley Lake....

  • Get Ready for the Next Fire Season

    Signe Leirfallom, Community Forester|Sep 14, 2017

    Despite a snowy winter and wet spring, fire season hit western Montana hard in 2017. Wildfire is inevitable in Montana. Our forests are adapted to fire, and our climate is conducive to it. In this challenging fire season, landowners and homeowners who live in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) are reminded that we need to take responsibility in preparing our property for wildfire. It is the least we can do to help the firefighters and fire managers who work so hard and often risk their lives to...

  • 2VS Brings Chinook Winds to the Valleys

    Carol Evans, 2VS Program Director|Sep 14, 2017

    SWAN VALLEY - Everyone is ready for a breath of fresh air! Sunday, Sept. 17 Chinook Winds will blow through the Seeley Swan Valleys. The resident wind quintet of the Great Falls Symphony will perform at 3 p.m. in the Swan Valley School. The group will be in our schools September 14-15 working with students in Seeley Lake, Condon and Potomac. Founded in 1992 by the Great Falls Symphony, the Chinook Winds have followed their mission to bring the highest quality chamber music to a wide variety of a...

  • What in the World are eDNA and Genetic Assignment? ... And Why Should Anglers Care?

    Ladd Knotek, Region 2 Fisheries Biologist|Sep 14, 2017

    The number of new genetic analysis techniques is rapidly expanding and many provide biologists the opportunity to uncover new information about Montana's fisheries and invasive species that threaten them. Among these new techniques are genetic assignment and analysis of environmental DNA (eDNA); both of which have been applied in Clearwater Basin lakes and streams. Environmental DNA (eDNA) simply refers to fragments of genetic material from different plants and animals that occur naturally in...

  • How Does Wildlife Survive Fire?

    Randi de Santa Anna|Sep 14, 2017

    Wildlife has evolved with fires over the eons. Though wildfire certainly takes its toll, not as many animals die as one might expect. However, more animals die if fires occur early in the season when babies are still being cared for or if fires are severe, as so many are today. Raptors, like eagles and hawks, have keen eyesight and acute hearing, so are forewarned of fire before most other species. They easily escape the flames and also take advantage of the opportunity to prey on animals such as rodents, small mammals, and insects fleeing from...

  • No Fish Were Harmed in the Making of This Film

    Betty Vanderwielen, Pathfinder|Sep 14, 2017

    SEELEY LAKE – When a book begins "In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing," it is a safe bet the book is going to contain a lot about fly fishing. When that book is converted into a movie, it becomes necessary to show someone casting and catching fish. In addition, the fly fishing needs to look completely authentic. John Bailey is the one who brought that degree of perfection to the film "A River Runs Through It." Baily owns the Dan Baily Fly Fishing shop in L...

  • Medicare Open Enrollment

    Linda Howard, Resource Specialist, Seeley-Swan Resource Center|Sep 14, 2017

    It's that time of year again to start thinking about your Medicare coverage. Briefly, Medicare Part A is coverage for inpatient care; Medicare Part B is coverage for doctor visits; Medicare Part D is prescription drug coverage; Medigap also called Supplemental, pays the 20 percent not covered by Part B; and Medicare Advantage is coverage that combines Medicare Parts A, B and D. As a Medicare beneficiary, you have from Oct. 15, 2017 to Dec. 7, 2017, which is the Medicare Open Enrollment Period,...

  • Keeping the History of the Blackfoot Alive

    Andi Bourne, Pathfinder|Sep 14, 2017

    OVANDO – Ovando's Brand Bar Museum is filled with stories and items as colorful as its past. Situated in the heart of Ovando, what was a bar for nearly 100 years is now home to historical treasures from the Blackfoot Valley and host to numerous revolving displays that promote interaction with the local history. The building was built in the late 1890s. Henry Dixon and Charlie Young opened the saloon named "Bucket of Blood" in 1897. It was renamed the Double Diamond, Brand Bar Saloon and T...

  • Evacuation Orders Downgraded, Containment Increases

    Andi Bourne, Pathfinder|Sep 14, 2017

    SEELEY LAKE – "Evacuation Downgraded – Residents can return to their homes," were welcome words to Seeley Lake residents, some who had been displaced for more than two weeks. This week firefighters were able to contain the areas of the Rice Ridge Fire that concerned Greg Poncin's Type 1 Incident Management Team around Seeley Lake to a point where they felt it was safe to let residents return starting Tuesday, Sept. 5. Residents are asked to leave all evacuation order and warning markings on thei...

  • Be Joyful Always?

    Craig Wilson, Pastor - Mission Bible Fellowship|Sep 14, 2017

    This has been an eventful summer in Seeley Lake. We have faced a threatening fire for multiple weeks while under an evacuation warning for most of the time, only to have an evacuation become a reality for many. On top of this our community endured a long period of unrelenting smoke. From our situation in Montana we have also watched increasing wildfires spread through the Northwest stretching firefighting resources to the limit. There were also devastating hurricanes affecting the lives of so...

  • Returning the Favor

    Andi Bourne, Pathfinder|Sep 14, 2017

    SEELEY LAKE – The Seeley Lake Baptist Church had no idea what to expect when they were contacted by Amynda Behm from Minot, N.D. Behm wanted to bring donations for people who have been affected by the fires. Monday morning, Sept. 11 it took seven people an hour to unload the trailer full of supplies that she had collected from the Minot community in less than a week. The 2011 flood in Minot destroyed most of city and affected the Behm family directly. There were more than 5,000 people e...

  • SSHS Holds First Two Weeks of Classes at The Resort at Paws Up

    Sep 14, 2017

    SEELEY LAKE – Due to evacuation orders from the Rice Ridge Fire, Seeley-Swan High School campus was closed. Even though the Rice Ridge Fire evacuation order was lifted Tuesday, Sept. 5 for the SSHS area, the location for classes remains at The Resort at Paws Up until further notice. Busses left every morning from Lindey's Prime Steak House parking lot at 7:40 a.m. Principal Dr. Kathleen Pecora said everyone but one freshman showed up for the first day of class Tuesday, Sept. 5. The morning w...

  • Strumpfer Graduates Basic Training with Honors

    Sep 14, 2017

    FORT JACKSON, SC – Private First Class Cera Strumpfer graduated as the distinguished honor graduate of the 3rd battalion, 34th infantry regiment with the 165th infantry brigade, US Army National Guard at Hilton Field, Fort Jackson, S.C. Strumpfer showed the most professionalism, dedication and technical competency in a vast array of military subjects and demonstrated outstanding leadership abilities and exceptional performance. Strumpfer also attained the highest composite score on the Army P... Full story

  • Smoke Holding Blackhawks Back

    Nathan Bourne, Pathfinder|Sep 14, 2017

    VICTOR - The Rice Ridge Fire continued to put a damper on the Seeley-Swan Blackhawks football season. The smoke lifted enough to take on the Pirates in Victor Sept. 9. The evacuation order of a large part of Seeley Lake Aug. 28, including the high school, forced the team to cancel their home game with Troy. The smoke has been wreaking havoc on their practice schedule all season. Blackhawks Head Coach Ryan Sokoloski said that the team hasn't had a full practice in more than two weeks. The fact...

  • Lady Blackhawks Soar over Eagles and Tangle with Cats

    Nathan Bourne, Pathfinder|Sep 14, 2017

    The Seeley-Swan Lady Blackhawks got back to work on the court after being forced to skip a match against Charlo and miss nearly a week’s worth of practices. They took on Valley Christian Sept. 8 and the Clark Fork Co-op Sept. 9. The Valley Christian Eagles proved they could still put up a fight even after graduating their star hitter last year. The Lady Blackhawks took the first game 25-10 but dropped the second game to the Eagles 11-25. The Ladies answered back with a 25-19 win in game three. The Eagles tied it back up winning game four, 23-25...

  • Community Briefs

    Sep 14, 2017

    Red Cross Blood Drive, Sept. 20 SEELEY LAKE – Mission Bible Fellowship will be hosting a Red Cross blood drive on Wednesday Sept. 20 from 11:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. People can register at or download the Red Cross app. Residents Asked to Help with Study on the Smoke Impacts, Sept. 20 SEELEY LAKE - The University of Montana, in conjunction with the Missoula County-City Health Department, is seeking help from Seeley Lake residents in learning how the smoke impacted their health and the barriers for finding clean air that e...

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