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Volume XXIV, Number 56

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Kootenai Creek Fire Update

Housing costs strain Montanan’s budgets

Housing costs are pushing the limits of Montanans’ pocketbooks, with four markets – Kalispell, Bozeman, Missoula and Hamilton – failing the housing affordability criterion, according to an article published in a recent issue of the Montana Business Quarterly. More...

"Spring Burning," an oil painting by Brent Cotton of Stevensville, won an Award of Excellence from Oil Painters of America.

Commissioners move on Airport EA

By Michael Howell

Last Friday the Ravalli County Commissioners revised the Task Order, submitted for signing by consulting company Morrison-Maierle, for an updated Environmental Assessment analyzing alternatives for improvements at the Hamilton Airport. The Commissioners made changes restricting the scope of the project in the hopes of eliminating some unnecessary effort and expense. Rather than revising the entire EA with two new alternatives added, the Commissioners have re-written the Task Order to simply analyze some proposed amendments to two of the alternatives. The Commissioners also want input on any choice of a “preferred alternative” prior to taking the matter to public hearing. They cut the timeline for producing an updated EA from six months down to two months. They made it clear in a telephone conference with Scott Bell of Morrison-Maierle that they wanted to see a Final EA ready for adoption within six months of signing the new Task Order. More...

River Park management policy adopted

By Michael Howell

The Hamilton City Council adopted a new policy for management of River Park last week. The first version of the policy was voted down at the previous council meeting, but, following some tweaking in committee, the new policy bounced back and was adopted on a 3 to 2 vote at the council meeting of August 18. More...

Everybody to the rescue

By Kathleen Meyer For the Bitterroot Star

Three springs ago, a young pair of fish hawks, or osprey, struggled to establish what was likely their first nest—atop a power pole north of Victor. A scraggly, airy affair of loose sticks, balanced perilously near the wires, it offered little apparent shelter and blew apart in every good wind. Not to be discouraged, the couple rebuilt and rebuilt, until, finally, late in the season, they hatched one egg. When the knob of white fluff poked above the rim, everybody who'd been passing by beneath—and turning shades of blue from holding their breaths—issued a collective sigh. By then the birds had names, probably many names (Ophelia and Oscar in my household); area residents tended to keep the nest a hushed topic, even among themselves. More...

An adult female osprey from a Hamilton nest, temporarily visits Hoys' rehab center, while healing a broken wing. She sports her necklace, and showy crown. Kathleen Meyer photo.

Kenny Buhler, apprentice lineman with Ravalli Electric Co-op, returns a baby osprey to its nest. Jeff Huls photo.

Wolf hunts scheduled in Montana

Montana's first-ever, fair-chase wolf hunting season is set to open Sept. 15 in some areas of the state. Montana's Fish, Wildlife & Parks will offer hunting licenses for the wolf season on Aug. 31. More...

Rehberg visits Hamilton on statewide tour

By Michael Howell

Montana’s sole Congressman Denny Rehberg is on a whirlwind tour of the state’s towns and cities holding “listening sessions” at which he responds to comments and questions from the audience. He plans to have visited 18 different counties by the end of August. A stop in Hamilton was recently squeezed into the list. Hundreds of Ravalli County citizens and some from Missoula County turned out at the Hamilton Performing Arts Center theater to hear what he had to say and dozens got to be heard as, one by one, they got to comment and ask the congressman specific questions. More...

U. S. Representative Denny Rehberg held a “listening session” in Hamilton last Friday as part of a statewide tour covering 18 counties in the month of August. Rehberg serves as a member of the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations, which has budget jurisdiction of the 13 annual spending bills and controls one-third of the federal government's $2.5 trillion budget. He serves on two Appropriations Subcommittees:

Labor, Health and Human Service, and Education:  This subcommittee provides funds for telemedicine, Head Start, State Children’s Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP), E-Learning programs to rural residents, Social Security, Pell Grants, nursing education for Montana hospitals, and all other health and education related programs. In total, the subcommittee has jurisdiction over more than $600 billion in funding and approximately 39% of all federal spending.

Energy and Water: This subcommittee provides funds for the Department of Energy, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. This committee provides funding for essential projects throughout our State including water projects and investing in new energy related research initiatives.

Commissioners to look at portage route requests

By Michael Howell

The Ravalli County Commissioners are scheduled to examine the portage route requests made by the Bitterroot River Protection Association (BRPA) for access into Mitchell Slough next Friday afternoon. More...


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