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Volume XXV, Number 42

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Comment on our front page stories on the new Bitterroot Star blog!

Wildland-Urban Interface map will not be used for zoning

By Michael Howell

The efforts to map the valley’s Wildland-Urban Interface for fire safety purposes has come under intense scrutiny by some county residents afraid that it is a prelude to zoning measures that will effectively devalue their land and increase costs of insurance. They call it “back door zoning.” More...

What’s missing from this picture? The Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge, near Stevensville, has undergone a facelift. Now missing from the refuge are miles of roadside fencing and about 20 telephone poles. The Refuge worked with Northwestern Energy crews last week to remove the power poles. For those who have visited the Refuge over the last few decades, it is as though a veil has been lifted. Although the public is still prohibited from walking off into the open fields from the roadside and is steered towards the same traditional entry points, their eyes can now flow freely from the road across the fields and the ponds unobstructed.

According to Refuge biologist Erin Holmes, the real impetus to the project was the loss of wildfowl due to electrocution on the power lines. Holmes said a few birds were being killed every year.

“The last straw was when we lost a Sandhill Crane last year,” said Holmes. Holmes said that birdwatchers will certainly enjoy the unobstructed views now that the fences and power lines have been removed. It will also make it easier for photographers to get clean photos of the wildlife without the obtrusive and visually obstructive fences and poles.

Roads through the refuge once looked more like this section bordering private land as you approach the Refuge, with fences and power poles obstructing the view.

Medical marijuana dilemma

What can counties do about medical marijuana? More...

Hamilton City Council news

By Michael Howell

Sign regulations amended

The Hamilton City Council adopted a revised sign ordinance this month after an extended examination in committee that included several public meetings spread over several months. The changes in the new rules are primarily aimed at limiting the use of digital/electronic displays that could dangerously distract drivers and aesthetic degradation of the Highway 93 corridor through town, according to its proponents. More...

Couple demands changes at golf course

By Michael Howell

Dave and Kathy Brady, who recently purchased a home about a year ago near the Hamilton Golf Course (HGC), told the County Commissioners last week that they were fed up with the constant rain of golf balls coming onto their property from golfers who slice their drives on the 18th tee. They claim they are suffering from immanent endangerment of life and property “caused by a known design error of the 18th hole.” More...

County awards first micro loan

On Friday, May 14, Ravalli County Economic Development Authority (RCEDA) closed its first micro loan with scientist and entrepreneur David Wick and his company BVS Inc. David's business is located in Florence and helps beekeepers nationwide fight colony collapse disorder. BVS Inc.'s customers also includes almond growers in California and the U.S. Army. BVS is now working on a product that will help mitigate the advance and destruction that the pine bark beetles are having on the nation's forests. The proprietary methods pioneered by BVS also have application for the control of the southern pine beetle as well as other agricultural insect pests. All this groundbreaking science has led to three full time jobs created in Ravalli County. More...

RCEDA Facility Director John Schneeberger, RCEDA Executive Director Julie Foster, and County Commissioner Carlotta Grandstaff are pictured with David Wick, owner of BVS, Inc.


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