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Volume XXVI, Number 35

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

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

Corvallis ranchland preserved by county

By Michael Howell

On Monday, March 28, the Ravalli County Commissioners approved the use of Open Lands Bond money to help establish another conservation easement in the valley, this one on the Triple J Bar Ranch east of Corvallis, owned by the Downey family. More...

Kay Downey flanked by her sons Jerry and Jeff in the living room of the house that she and her deceased husband Aaron built.

“It was his dream and mine to leave it as open space and keep it as it is,” said Kay Downey about her husband and the dream he set in motion to see the family ranch survive intact in perpetuity as a working ranch. Aaron’s grave overlooks Willow Creek from a grassy clearing spotted with aspens near the bridge.

Conservation easements garner federal funds

By Michael Howell

Three conservation easements in the valley that were recently awarded funds out of the county’s Open Lands Bond program have also been awarded the federal dollars that will complete the funding package for each of them. They include two conservation easements up the Burnt Fork east of Stevensville, one on Dan Severson’s Flying E Ranch and the other on the Schroeders’ ranch on Sunset Bench and the latest one on the Triple J Bar Ranch east of Corvallis (see accompanying story). More...

‘Ditch Bill’ tabled

By Michael Howell

On Tuesday, March 22, the Senate Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation Committee, in an 8 to 3 vote, decided to table consideration of the controversial House Bill 309, called the “Ditch Bill”, which some supporters and critics called a reversal of the Mitchell Slough case. That 2009 decision by the Supreme Court established that Mitchell Slough, a 16-mile side channel of the Bitterroot River, was a “natural stream” and that stream access law applied, despite the fact that it had been altered and modified over the years. More...

Supreme Court upholds award of legal fees in Mitchell Slough case

By Michael Howell

In an opinion filed Tuesday, March 22, the Montana Supreme Court upheld the judgment by Missoula District Court Judge Robert L. Deschamps III in favor of awarding a little over $319,405 in attorney fees to the Bitterroot River Protection Association (BRPA). The fees were awarded under the private attorney general doctrine for the organization’s successful litigation in the Mitchell Slough case. The high court returned the case to Judge Deschamps’ court with only one issue to be clarified and explained: Who pays, exactly? More...

Vandalism at the cemetery? the rest of the story

Last Wednesday Don Thorson, president of the Corvallis Cemetery Board, was shocked by what appeared to be an act of vandalism at the cemetery. Someone had cut down an old cedar tree, taken the main trunk, and left debris scattered around the grounds. More...


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