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  • Potomac teacher wins statewide award

    Keely Larson, Editor|May 16, 2024

    It certainly wasn't a bus evacuation assembly, which was the reason Potomac School Principal Sarah Schmill gave to her staff and students for gathering in the community center on May 6. The Potomac Community Center was filled with Potomac students, teachers, representatives from the University of Montana's College of Education, the infamous UM mascot, Monte, and family and friends of Abby Stitt, who was being presented with the Maryfrancis Shreeve Award for teaching excellence, of which she had...

  • Mis-proofed ballots contain error for valley voters, mistake won't have impact on election outcomes

    Keely Larson, Editor|May 16, 2024

    Voters in the Seeley-Swan and Potomac Valleys will have an uncontested race on their primary ballots that they are unable to vote in — for Public Service Commission District 4. This is due to a proofing error missed by both the state and the county that impacted about 17,000 ballots in the northeastern part of Missoula County. After the most recent redistricting cycle, voters in these valleys were reassigned to PSC District 5, not 4. PSC District 5 is not up for election this year and the election in District 4 is uncontested across the four p... Full story

  • Bear Fair teaches Seeley Elementary students how to be good neighbors

    Keely Larson, Editor|May 16, 2024

    Danielle Oyler has worked across Montana teaching kids and adults about living in bear country in her role as the wildlife stewardship outreach specialist with Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks. In front of a group of Seeley Lake Elementary School third graders at the Bear Fair, she said students in Seeley Lake have seen more bears on average than any other students at schools across the state that she's talked to. The next closest school is Lincoln. "There's a very good chance you're going to see...

  • Get to know your legislators running for office

    Keely Larson, Editor|May 16, 2024

    Primary election ballots were mailed to Montana residents on May 10. The Pathfinder reached out to the 12 candidates running for state House and Senate seats that are relevant to Seeley-Swan area residents to ask them a handful of questions to help voters better understand their prospective legislators. After the decennial redistricting, new maps were drawn by the Montana Districting and Apportionment Commission in 2023. That prompted a new district for Seeley Lake, which now lies in House... Full story

  • Four questions for three community members six days before Pyramid's buyer deadline

    Compiled by Keely Larson, Editor|May 9, 2024

    The announced closure of Pyramid Mountain Lumber on March 14 sent shock waves through Seeley Lake that extended throughout the state and various levels of government. Concern for forest health, Montana’s timber industry and Seeley Lake’s economy and longevity were top of mind. Statements came out from Montana representatives at the federal level to local county commissioners, and solutions — from worker-owned cooperatives to private buyers to a tool launched by the state Department of Labor and Industry to help match laid-off timber worke...

  • Stray dog solutions, 'the squeaky wheel gets the grease'

    Keely Larson, Editor|May 9, 2024

    Loose and sometimes aggressive dogs have caused problems for some Seeley Lake residents, leaving people wondering where the solutions lie. While Missoula County doesn’t have a leash law, there are ordinances related to controlling one’s dog. Dogs must be in clear view of their owner and the owner must be able to control and recall the dog at all times. Dog owners can receive a citation for having a dog at large. Also under ordinance, dogs must be licensed in the county, which lets authorities know the dogs received rabies shots. Missoula Cou...

  • Wildfire protection meetings held around Powell County

    Jean Pocha, Reporter|May 9, 2024

    The Powell County Community Wildfire Protection Plan is in the process of being updated and public meetings have been held across the county, including in Avon and Deer Lodge, for residents to express any concerns and provide input on the new plan. At a meeting in Helmville, residents and county officials listed drought, road maintenance and people that are new to the area and not as familiar with living close to fire as topics to address. The Powell County Wildfire Protection Plan is a...

  • New radar speed limit signs installed off Highway 83

    Keely Larson, Editor|May 9, 2024

    New radar-operated speed limit signs were installed along Highway 83 in Seeley Lake. Bruce Friede, vice chair of the Seeley Lake Community Council, said Highway 83 is an easy highway to blast through, particularly around weekends in the summer when travelers might be just going through Seeley Lake toward Kalispell or Glacier National Park. Last summer when wait times were long for the Salmon Lake construction project, Friede said it got worse as people were likely trying to adhere to a planned itinerary. “When they picked up their speed they d...

  • Outreach gatherings continue to spread the word

    Jean Pocha, Reporter|May 9, 2024

    Protect the Clearwater hosted two gatherings April 27 at the Seeley Lake Community Foundation building and May 1 at the Montana Natural History Center in Missoula. Both events were aimed at raising awareness about Protect the Clearwater's mission to safeguard Montana communities, waterways and ecosystems from the environmental threats posed by expedited permits for open cut gravel mines. The April event was a family friendly open house, featuring kids activities with drawing pages, edible...

  • Seeley-Swan High Schoolers are finalists in Montana Chamber business contest

    Candace Carr Strauss, Montana Chamber of Commerce, VP marketing and communications|May 9, 2024

    The Montana Chamber Foundation’s Fourth Annual “The Prospects” youth entrepreneurship pitching competition fielded 280 applications from 32 middle and high schools across the Treasure State. A total of $40,000 in cash and scholarships from Montana schools was awarded. There were many categories this year including one directed at incentivizing childcare businesses which saw 20 creative ideas. With nearly half of our workforce impacted by the inability to find childcare, or affordable and reliable childcare, this is a priority for the Monta...

  • Archives

    Pathfinder staff|May 9, 2024

    Thirty-five years ago... Thursday May 11, 1989 Librarian leaves after 10 years Swan Valley branch librarian Susie Cox received a "going away party" from her friends and family at the Swan Valley Library last Wednesday. Susie, her husband Al, and their two daughters are moving to Arizona this month. Susie left on Saturday to visit her aunt in California who is undergoing treatment for cancer. Part of the reason that the Cox family is leaving the Swan Valley is to care for Susie's aunt, who will...

  • Lake Tamarack and other potholes, Post Office "minefield" filled in

    Keely Larson, Editor|May 2, 2024

    Sometime between April 12 and 13, the potholes off Highway 83 that a driver had to navigate before entering the Seeley Lake Post Office parking lot were filled in. According to a Letter to the Editor the Pathfinder received, published in the April 18 paper, the "minefield of deep holes" was "neatly filled in and graded." The writer of the letter learned that a Post Office employee had left work on Friday April 12 and came to work the next day to see the holes filled in, and didn't know who had...

  • WET wastewater treatment feasibility study approved

    Keely Larson, Editor|May 2, 2024

    The Seeley Lake Sewer Board authorized Water & Environmental Technologies, or WET, to move forward with a feasibility study for a wastewater treatment system, which will assess things like the project’s schedule, cost, technology requirements and overall viability. While the timeline is uncertain, this step is one towards defining what wastewater treatment will look like in Seeley Lake, which could include different types of treatment in different areas of town. The engineering company expects the first four phases of the study, which i...

  • Another superintendent offer made, and this time, accepted

    Keely Larson, Editor|May 2, 2024

    After making an offer to an applicant for Seeley Lake Elementary School’s principal and superintendent position, the school board had to reassess after the applicant declined the job. Stetson Spooner, current athletic director at the Mullan School District in Idaho, was the first candidate the school board offered the position to, and he declined due to some personal concerns about moving to Seeley Lake, School Board Chair Doc Welter said. Welter said Spooner didn’t bring up housing as a concern for the move, but did request a larger sal...

  • Embracing creativity, Ovando artist reflects on her dynamic career

    Jean Pocha, Reporter|May 2, 2024

    Curiosity led the way for Ovando artist Andrea Morgan to learn new ways of expressing herself through mixed media artwork. Morgan's lifetime of creating led to making and selling paper mache roosters and other animals in 2009. She upcycles paper maps, old encyclopedias and recycled books for the paper mache. She became acquainted with selling her work at Montana Made fairs and displaying in a few local galleries. Through an online art class in 2020, Morgan found another outlet for her curiosity...

  • Dolly Varden Fire started and contained, prescribed burns to finish in coming weeks

    Keely Larson, Editor|May 2, 2024

    The Dolly Varden Fire was reported at 1:50 p.m. on April 23 southeast of Seeley Lake. Now 100% contained, the fire reached one and a half acres. It was caused by a wind-driven escaped debris burn in an area under Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation responsibility, according to an update from the department. Four structures were threatened but because of quick responses from USDA Forest Service Seeley Lake Ranger District firefighters and seven engines, no structures were harmed. “The quick response and initial command of t...

  • Archives

    Pathfinder staff|May 2, 2024

    Thirty-five years ago... Thursday May 4, 1989 'Mock' school disaster, Emergency personnel cope with over 20 injured children "There's none better!" That's what the Red Cross official, Duane Hawk of Kalispell, had to say when the exercise ended Sunday, according to Joyce Himes of the Condon QRU. Emergency personnel from the Condon QRU, the Swan Valley Volunteer Fire Department, the Seeley Lake QRU, Swan Mission Search and Rescue, Black Paw Avalanche and Rescue Dogs and hospital helicopters from...

  • Potomac students compete in National History Days

    Sarah Schmill, Potomac School Principal|May 2, 2024

    Potomac School sixth through eighth grade students participated in the state National History Days competition in Bozeman in early April. Students presented their projects, all based around the theme of "Turning Points in History," to judges. Fourteen students qualified to advance to the national competition in Washington, D.C. June 9-14. Principal Sarah Schmill offered congratulations to all participations, who she said worked extremely hard on this year-long research project, and gave a shout...

  • Leos highway clean up

    Pathfinder staff|May 2, 2024

    On April 28 the Seeley Lake Leos and Lions cleaned up about two miles of Highway 83. The clubs, in partnership with Montana's Department of Transportation, undertake this clean up every year. Pictured here are the 16 people - five Leos and 11 Lions - that showed up to help. Students included Jalen Kauffman, Rilyn Richardson, Regan Jones, Bailey Bartlett and Hattie Batchelder, along with their advisor, Mary Stone....

  • Seeley Lake Girl Scouts need you to volunteer

    Keely Larson, Editor|Apr 25, 2024

    Samantha Arroyo remembered Girl Scouts fondly when she was growing up in Seeley Lake in the eighties. As she recalled it, the troop meetings happened after school and the troop leaders were also elementary school teachers. There was a really active parent group at that time, Arroyo said, which also supported Boy Scouts and the Seeley Lake Lions Club. "But they've grown, their kids have grown, and a lot of them moved," Arroyo said. Arroyo and other parents are trying to get the next generation...

  • Swan Valley Elementary moves to a four-day school week

    Keely Larson, Editor|Apr 25, 2024

    The Swan Valley Elementary School Board voted unanimously to switch to a four-day school week on April 9. A survey sent out to parents and community members before the vote showed strong support for the switch. Principal Angie Mock said the four-day school week seems to be the better model for Class C schools and it puts Swan Valley School in alignment with both the high school and elementary school in Seeley Lake where students in both districts share extracurricular activities. Swan Valley’s graduates also attend Seeley-Swan High School. T...

  • SLE board decides on new superintendent

    Keely Larson, Editor|Apr 25, 2024

    Editor's note: After press, the Pathfinder learned Stetson Spooner decided to not take the superintendent position offered to him by the Seeley Lake Elementary School Board. An update will be provided next week regarding the candidate who took the position — Christina Hartmann from Townsend Public Schools — according to the school's attorney. The Seeley Lake Elementary School Board voted unanimously to hire Stetson Spooner as the new superintendent and principal of Seeley Lake Elementary School. The decision came after a review of four can...

  • Seeley Elementary, Clearwater Resource Council receive Missoula County Rural Impact Grants

    Keely Larson, Editor|Apr 25, 2024

    Two Seeley Lake organizations - Seeley Lake Elementary School and the Clearwater Resource Council - have received the full amount possible - $4,000 - from Missoula County through the Rural Impact Grant program. This program is intended for groups like community councils, nonprofits and schools to be used for projects that "enhance the quality of life" in rural Missoula County. Last year, the Seeley Lake Lions Club received funding from this grant to hire swimming instructors and the Potomac Scho...

  • Updated hours at Seeley dump approved

    Jean Pocha, Reporter|Apr 25, 2024

    The Missoula County Commissioners approved the proposal to adjust operating hours for the Seeley Lake garbage container site at their meeting April 18. The new hours will be Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., effective May 1. These hours will remain the same year-round. “I did outreach at (the) Seeley Community Council and through the Pathfinder,” Kim Myer, Seeley Lake projects and operations coordinator with Missoula County Public Works, said. “There was only one negative comment and I received many emails in favor...

  • Archives

    Pathfinder staff|Apr 25, 2024

    Thirty-five years ago... Thursday April 27th, 1989 Kids enjoy a day at the Capitol Seeley Lake 7th and 8th grade students put their classroom government studies to direct use on April 18 as they toured state government in a "Day at the Capitol." Using the theme that "government is people," they met throughout the day with officials in all three branches of government. At the Legislature, local Rep. Janet Moore took the students onto the House floor and discussed current issues before the House...

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