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Volume XXVI, Number 17

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Click here to comment on our front page stories on the new Bitterroot Star blog!

Hamilton creates Treasurer position

By Michael Howell

When the City of Hamilton’s Government Study Commission first recommended that the City needed to create and fill the position of City Treasurer, the issue was hotly debated but nothing was done. Until last Tuesday, November 16, that is, when the Council quietly and with no real debate held a public hearing and then approved an ordinance on first reading that would create a City Treasurer’s position with a four-year term. The approval was not unanimous, however. Councilors Joe Petrusaitis and Mel Monson voted against it. More...

RCEDA makes another micro-loan

By Michael Howell

When Commissioner Jim Rokosch first conceived of the idea of establishing a micro-loan program to assist small businesses in the valley that did not qualify for traditional bank loans, Commissioner Carlotta Grandstaff immediately jumped on board. The idea was that the Ravalli County Economic Development Authority’s (RCEDA) loan program at the time was geared more towards helping larger businesses and projects while the small entrepreneur could easily fall through the cracks. Rokosch and Grandstaff successfully lobbied their fellow commissioners, got RCEDA to back them up, and a micro-loan program was put into place. Last Friday Grandstaff was on hand to see the award of the program’s third loan to Karen Tinney, owner of Pinnacle Sewing Service, located in Darby. More...

Karen Tinney (far right), of Pinnacle Sewing Services, displays one of her favorite creations called “Hunter’s World,” a quilt commissioned to honor a chocolate lab named Hunter at a micro-loan signing ceremony last Friday. The loan will help finance the expansion of Tinney’s sewing business in Darby. From left to right are Commissioner Carlotta Grandstaff, Manager of the Ravalli County Entrepreneurship Center John Schneeberger, Kent Tinney, RCEDA Director Julie Foster, and Karern Tinney. Michael Howell photo.

Local birder reaches personal goal

By Michael Howell

Wayne Tree is a serious birder. He became one at the age of ten. It happened northwest of Chicago when he came down with a case of blood poisoning from a scrape while playing hockey on the frozen streets after the city had thrown down cinders to help keep cars on the road. While he was down his mother gave him the book, “Birds of America.” He still has it. And he’s been hooked on bird watching ever since. More...

Birder Wayne Tree of Stevensville has reached his personal goal of documenting 300 different bird species. He spends a lot of time at Lee Metcalf Wildlife Refuge where lately thousands of snow geese (top) have been seen touching down during their annual southern migration. Wayne Tree photo courtesy of Arla Tree.

When birding, it is easy to be in the right place at the wrong time. There is a “window of opportunity” for most species that migrate. The latest that a Long-billed Dowitcher was ever spotted in Western Montana was November 9, until Wayne spotted this one at the Metcalf Refuge on November 19, the morning of our interview. Wayne Tree photo.

Fair Board hears pitch for motocross track and skatepark

By Michael Howell

The Ravalli County Fair Board is working on a Grand Plan for future development of the fairgrounds on the edge of Hamilton. At the third public meeting in the process last Wednesday, November 17, board members heard a pitch for establishing a motocross racetrack and a skatepark on 20 acres at the north end of the fairgrounds. More...


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