Articles from the September 23, 2021 edition


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  • Potomac School goes remote

    Andi Bourne, Pathfinder|Sep 23, 2021

    POTOMAC - By Monday afternoon, Sept. 20, Potomac School received notice of positive COVID test results from students in each of its six cohort groups. Principal John Rouse said all students were sent home and virtual instruction began Tuesday. At the start of the 2020-2021 school year, Potomac School established classes as cohort groups. They are prekindergarten; kindergarten; first grade; second and third grade combined; fourth and fifth grade combined; and sixth, seventh and eighth combined....

  • Plea for community action as COVID cases explode

    Andi Bourne, Pathfinder|Sep 23, 2021

    MISSOULA COUNTY – With the seven day rolling average of active cases per 100,000 people hitting a new record high of 87 on Friday, Sept. 17 and active cases above 1,150, Missoula County leaders made a plea for residents to get vaccinated, social distance and go back to the basics of wearing a mask, hand washing, limiting social circles and staying home if sick. Missoula City-County Health Officer D'Shane Barnett said the numbers are such that mask mandates and other regulations including l...

  • Learning to keep bears wild

    Andi Bourne, Pathfinder|Sep 23, 2021

    "You rangers don't make bears stay away?" was one quote Swan Valley Bear Ranger Kathy Koors wrote down after a day driving backroads, checking campsites and talking to visitors and locals alike who did not have their garbage, or food secured. Another favorite, "I just assumed, because it's a campground, that it's fenced to keep wild animals away." Koors, like many others who love the wildlife in the Swan, Clearwater and Blackfoot Valleys, is concerned about the safety of wildlife especially...

  • Car Nuts Show and Shine

    Andi Bourne, Pathfinder|Sep 23, 2021

    SWAN VALLEY – Car enthusiasts brought their prized vehicles to share with the community at the Show and Shine in the Swan Saturday, Sept. 18. More than 25 cars, trucks and motorcycles, made from 1913 to 2019, lined the Hungry Bear Bar & Grill's back lawn. Owners visited with community members and visitors sharing their "labor of love" and getting together with other people that love cars. Dick and Bobbie Jo Wolff organized the show hosted by the Condon Car Nuts. When they were unable to a...

  • Keep your pet well

    Tanya Fyfe DVM, Associate veterinarian at Clark Fork Veterinary Clinic|Sep 23, 2021

    Many veterinary clinics are implementing routine Wellness Exams. These are examinations of pets who appear healthy. These physical exams also include questions about your pet's lifestyle with a focus on maintaining an ideal well-being for your pet. How often your pet should have a Wellness Exam depends upon their age and breed. In general, puppies and kittens should have monthly Wellness Exams, adults can be seen annually, and seniors should have semi-annual Wellness Exams. It is commonly...

  • Anthropomorphism - The good and bad

    Ryan Sokoloski, Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks|Sep 23, 2021

    Anthropomorphism (pronounced: ann-throw-poe-MORF-ism) is the term used to define when we give animals (or inanimate objects such as rocks & trees) human characteristics. Here are a few examples: "Gus" is the world's largest Western Larch Tree and a full-time resident of Seeley Lake Montana. He is over 1,000 years old, 160 feet tall, 34 feet around. He has seen countless changes in human activity and loves his local celebrity status. Just south of Helena Montana is the "Sleeping Giant", a...

  • Area closure to lift Sept. 23 for Dry Cabin Fire

    Andi Bourne, Pathfinder|Sep 23, 2021

    SEELEY LAKE - The area closure for the Dry Cabin fire will be lifted at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 23. Information will be posted to the Dry Cabin Fire InciWeb https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7660/ and the Lolo National Forest Facebook Page as needed or if conditions change. The Dry Cabin fire was reported July 11. It burned nearly 3,500 acres in the Scapegoat and Bob Marshall Wilderness, Flathead and Lewis & Clark Counties in the Flathead National Forest and Lolo National Forest 20 miles north of Ovando. Fire activity has been minimal,...

  • Quarteto Nuevo to perform this Sunday

    Jenny Rohrer, AAI Program Director|Sep 23, 2021

    SWAN VALLEY – After an 18-month hiatus, Alpine Artisans' 2 Valleys Stage musical concerts return to our valleys beginning with a talented quartet of California artists Quarteto Nuevo. Quarteto Neuvo will perform at 3 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 26 at the big heated tent in the backyard of the Hungry Bear Bar and Grill in Condon. Please note that this venue has moved from the Swan Valley Community Hall due to COVID precautions. Tickets are available at the door: $14 for adults, $12 for seniors and f...

  • CRC completes aquatic plant survey

    Heidi Sedivy, CRC Project Manager|Sep 23, 2021

    In July and early August, CRC surveyed key lakes in the Clearwater Valley to document absence/presence of aquatic invasive macrophytes (plants). Heidi Sedivy, a CRC employee with expertise in Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS), conducted the survey with the help of both CRC staff and volunteers. CRC is happy to report that based on our findings, no new invasive plants were detected in any of the lakes surveyed – Seeley, Placid, Salmon, Big Sky, Alva or Inez. While this is good news, it should be n...

  • Seeley-Swan High School in the Wilderness

    Betty Wetzel|Sep 23, 2021

    Editor’s note: Wetzel was a writer and died in 2018 at the age of 102. Her husband was Winston Wetzel, the superintendent of the Missoula County High School system who accompanied the development and realization of the Seeley-Swan High School. This tale is printed with permission from her daughter Gretchen von Rittberg. How would you feel if your children had to ride a bus for five hours a day to attend high school? Shooked? How would you feel if your neighbors’ kids rode a bus for five hours a day? Indifferent? In Montana a community that car...

  • Grizzly relocated from Ovando area

    Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks|Sep 23, 2021

    OVANDO – Wildlife officials captured a grizzly bear in the Ovando area on Sept. 2 and relocated it to the north side of the Rattlesnake Wilderness the same day. The bear was captured after it repeatedly returned to an abandoned shed in search of grain and horse food. The 211-pound female grizzly did not have a prior history of conflicts. In fall, bears are increasingly active in preparation for winter denning and many conflicts involve bears getting into livestock feed and unsecured garbage as they search for food. Montana Fish, Wildlife & P...

  • Stanley Nicholson 1936-2021

    Sep 23, 2021

    MISSOULA - Stan was born in 1936 in Missoula to Ewen and Edna Nicholson. He attended Paxon grade school, Missoula County High School and the University of Montana. Stan met his high school sweetheart, Colleen Higgins, in 1951 when he was a freshman. They were married at St. Anthony's in Missoula in 1960. Stan studied economics and philosophy at the University of Montana (1958) and earned a PhD in economics at Duke University (1964). He taught at William and Mary College in Virginia and served...

  • James (Jim) W. Clay Jan. 25, 1943 - Sept. 11, 2021

    Sep 23, 2021

    SPOKANE, WASHINGTON - James (Jim) W. Clay passed away on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, at the age of 78 while in Providence Holy Family Hospital in Spokane, Washington due to COVID pneumonia. Jim was born on Jan. 25, 1943 in Deer Lodge, Montana but spent his childhood living in Butte, Montana. The 10th of 12 children, Jim experienced many challenges and hardships but overcame them to become a beloved husband, father and successful businessman. Jim left Butte after his 18th birthday and moved to...

  • Forest Service and sewer updates top discussion

    Henry Netherland, Pathfinder|Sep 23, 2021

    SEELEY LAKE - The Seeley Lake Community Council resumed their monthly virtual meetings Monday, Sept. 13. There, attendees listened to representatives from the Seeley Lake Ranger District and Seeley Lake Sewer District talk about their groups’ upcoming plans. Seeley Lake Ranger District recreation manager Matt Walter announced that Lake Alva and River Point Campgrounds will be closed by Oct. 1. Seeley Lake Campground is already closed and Big Larch remains open year round but there are no services and the roads will not be plowed. He said t...

  • Bringing an interactive experience to the classroom

    Henry Netherland, Pathfinder|Sep 23, 2021

    SEELEY LAKE - New Seeley-Swan High School science teacher Gretchen Watkins hopes to keep her students engaged for the 2021-2022 school year. "I try to be as interactive as possible," she wrote in an email. "I find most students learn science best if they can be a part of ... doing the activities that we are learning about." She will be teaching all grades in earth and space science, biology and chemistry classes. Watkins has a broadfield certification for secondary science in Montana. She also r...

  • OCR complaint and strategic plan tops discussion

    Andi Bourne, Pathfinder|Sep 23, 2021

    POTOMAC – At their Sept. 13 meeting, the Potomac School Board discussed the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) complaint and their response as well as worked through their Strategic Plans and Goals for this year. Principal John Rouse updated the board on the OCR complaint that was filed against the District in August. At the August board meeting he reported an anonymous individual complained that the school’s playground equipment is not handicap appropriate and that there are an insufficient number of accessible handicap parking spaces ava...

  • SLE sees first COVID cases

    Nathan Bourne, Pathfinder|Sep 23, 2021

    SEELEY LAKE – At their Sept. 20 meeting, the Seeley Lake Elementary Superintendant Josh Gibbs updated the School Board on the current status of COVID in the school. While the school skirted COVID last year with no cases at school, SLE’s first case this year was reported Sept. 15. In other business, the Board approved hiring two new staff, discussed installation of solar panels on the school roof and approved a policy on staff sick leave relating to COVID. As of Monday, Gibbs said there were five positive cases in the school and 26 students wer...

  • Board won't pay legal fees

    Nathan Bourne, Pathfinder|Sep 23, 2021

    SEELEY LAKE – The Seeley Lake Sewer District Board discussed a variety of items at their Sept. 16 meeting including paying plaintiff’s legal fees for failed lawsuits against the District, funding for a high school water testing program and dissolving the District. Board President Tom Morris received a letter from Don Larson asking for “help from the community” to pay legal bills related to a pair of lawsuits Larson filed to fight the proposed community sewer. In the letter, Larson states that he has already paid $84,000 and has been billed for...

  • Roads and Trails Tailings 1

    Betty Vanderwielen, Pathfinder|Sep 23, 2021

    Interaction between the speakers and the audience at the Roads and Trails program presented Aug. 7 by the Upper Swan Valley Historical Society generated additional tales worth sharing. These short stories will be shared for the next two weeks to wrap up the series. Drinking stories The old roads had their challenges, but they never kept the folks in the valley from having fun. Gene Miller's memory that the road from Condon to Swan Lake was virtually impassable during winter prompted someone...

  • Free dryland dog mushing training camp Oct. 2-3

    Pam Beckstrom, Montana Mountain Mushers|Sep 23, 2021

    SEELEY LAKE - Montana Mountain Mushers is holding a free dog mushing clinic on Saturday, Oct. 2-3 at the West Side Bypass Trailhead, four miles north of Seeley Lake, Montana. All beginning or experienced mushers, runners, bike and scooter enthusiasts are invited to Canine Fun Days. The clinic will run from 9 - 11:30 a.m. on Saturday and 9 - 11 a.m. Sunday. There will be hands-on training for everyone. Experienced dog mushers will answer questions about equipment, proper training, nutrition and venues for dog mushing. Following the clinic,...

  • Blackhawks decimate Trojans

    Nathan Bourne, Pathfinder|Sep 23, 2021

    TROY – The Blackhawks made the trek to Troy to take on the Trojans Sept. 18. The 200-mile trip didn’t seem to hurt the Blackhawks as they charged to a 40-point lead in the first half. They didn’t let up in the second half finishing the Trojans off 72-8. Owen Hoag completed 7 of 12 passes for 118 yards while Ben Haley connected 1 of 2 passes for 27 yards. On the receiving end, Walker McDonald caught 3 passes for 70 yards and a pair of touchdowns while Haley caught 3 for 61 yards and a touchdown. Jason James also pulled in one for a 10-ya...

  • Lady Blackhawks take top spot in Arlee

    Nathan Bourne, Pathfinder|Sep 23, 2021

    The Seeley-Swan Lady Blackhawks had a victorious week defeating the Darby Tigers at home before cleaning house at a tournament in Arlee. The Lady Blackhawks made fast work of the Tigers Sept. 16 taming them in three sets 25-10, 25-15 and 25-11. Sariah Maughan pounded in 10 kills followed by Cora Stone with 5. Trista Alexander served up a season best 6 aces while Trista Wendel and Maughan each had 5. Alexander and Ava Thornsberry led in setting with 25 and 21 assists respectively. On the defense,...

  • Blackhawks stay on course

    Andi Bourne, Pathfinder|Sep 23, 2021

    The Seeley-Swan High School Cross Country team stepped it up with two meets this week. Tuesday, Sept. 14 they took to the course for the Mission Invitational at St. Ignatius High School earning a place on the podium and setting two new personal records. They also participated in the Mountain West meet in Missoula Saturday, Sept. 18 that drew more than 750 varsity runners. Junior Kyla Conley was the only runner for the ladies. At the Mission Invite, she landed a spot on the podium finishing in fifth place with a time of 22:13, her best time of...

  • Community Briefs

    Sep 23, 2021

    Fire Department BBQ & Open House Sept. 25 SEELEY LAKE – The community is invited to attend an Open House at the Seeley Lake Fire Department, 200 Firehouse Lane, Saturday, Sept. 25 from 12-3 p.m. Come enjoy hot dogs and hamburgers while checking out the equipment and station upgrades including the ambulances and fire trucks; the vehicle exhaust system in the bays; turnout gear extraction equipment; powered gurney and loading system; Lifepack 15 Cardiac Monitor and more. Chief Dave Lane said the volunteers will also be present to share their p...

  • 20/35 Year Look Back

    Sep 23, 2021

    In celebration of 35 years of the Seeley Swan Pathfinder, each week we will run parts of articles that appeared in the issue 35 years ago and 20 years ago. The entire issue will be uploaded to our website seeleylake.com for you to enjoy. We hope you will enjoy the journey with us as we follow our community through the past 35 years as documented by the Pathfinder. 35 years ago: Sept. 25, 1986 issue Ad hoc group pursues goals There was a packed house at Leisure Lodge last Thursday evening when...

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