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Volume XXV, Number 51

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

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

Meeting Santa

Hamilton couple make difference in life of Texas girl

By Ralph Fourmont

“Six and a half,” Addie Poole, eyes sparkling, is quick to correct you. She sits with Lucille and Terry Coppinger in Hamilton, ninety-one and ninety-four years old respectively. This was the first time Lucille and Terry met Addie since corresponding with her parents after her birth. The Coppingers are best known to children in the Bitterroot as Mr. And Mrs. Claus, as Terry alone answers 70 to 100 ‘Dear Santa’ letters every December from the Santa drop box at Kmart in Hamilton. More...

Terry Coppinger, 94, and Addie Poole, 6, finally meet after corresponding through "Dear Santa" letters. Ralph Fourmont photo.

Lucille and Terry Coppinger with Addie Poole.

Wildfire burning east of Corvallis

By Michael Howell

A wildfire near Corvallis, dubbed the Dominic Point fire, first reported Sunday afternoon at approximately 3 p.m., was initially estimated at 35 acres in size but quickly grabbed the valley’s attention as it blew up to an estimated 75-100 acres sending up huge plumes of smoke into an otherwise cloudless sky. By Day Two, the fire covered an estimated 500 to 1,000 acres. The fire is located 12 miles northeast of Hamilton and two miles west of Willow Mountain Lookout. The fire, located in the Stevensville Ranger District, is burning in steep timber. There are no homes in the area and the only accessible road in and out, Willow Mountain Road, has been closed at the junction of Willow Mountain and Butterfly due to active fire conditions and expected future fire behavior. Fire watchers can still go up Butterfly Road to watch the spectacular event which has included flames shooting up to 200 feet into the air. More...

Fire start on Willow Mountain blows up on Sunday afternoon. Laura Weise photo.

Dominic Point Fire provides a spectacular backdrop for the American Legion District Championship game on Sunday between the Mission Valley Mariners and the Bitterroot Red Sox. The Mariners won. And the fire continued to burn as of Monday night. Jean Schurman photo.

Glitch in automated emergency call system corrected

By Michael Howell

Many people across the north valley, in the Stevensville area, received an automated emergency phone call Saturday, July 17 in the late afternoon warning them of an emergency and advising them to evacuate their homes immediately. While the message was relevant to some homeowners along Balsam Drive, southeast of Stevensville, near where a grass fire burning up Treece Gulch posed a real threat, the call went out, in error, to every home in the Stevensville fire district. More...

Open burning restrictions in effect

Open burning restrictions are in effect for Ravalli County. Campfires are allowed as long as they are within the confines of a managed facility, a managed recreational site, or private property for the purpose of cooking, as long as the land owner manages the campfire in a reasonable and prudent manner. Smoking is also prohibited except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials. Pyrotechnics (fireworks) are also prohibited. More...

Hamilton waives some fees for Mental Health Crisis Stabilization Center

By Michael Howell

The Hamilton City Council, at its July 20 meeting, declined a request from Ravalli County to waive the city’s impact fees related to the construction of the new Mental Health Crisis Stabilization Center on 10th Street. But the Council then turned around and did approve the waiver of only the police and fire impact fees, and allowed for a three-year payment period of the remaining water and sewer impact fees. More...


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