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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Valley News at a Glance

Montana 4-H Foundation 'Super Raffle'

Holt swoops into Hamilton by Gretchen L. Langton

High School Business Challenge scholarships available

Library gets new logo

Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame beginning site preparation

Homeowners and hunters should be 'bear aware' this fall

Barbecue winner

Preschool openings

Rapp Foundation grants available

Spotlight on Victor By Louise Langton

Nominations sought for Courage Award

Stevensville Notes

Ayres Angus wins top awards



Montana 4-H Foundation 'Super Raffle'

The Montana 4-H Foundation is conducting a 2007 "Super Raffle," with four great prizes available. Tickets are available for $100 each, and no more than 1,000 tickets will be available. The drawing will take place October 13, in Miles City during the Foundation's 2007 fundraising banquet.

The idea for the raffle came from Dave Gardner, Treasurer of the Montana 4-H Foundation. "We have four amazing prizes that appeal to nearly everyone, and you're looking at great odds. As an additional bonus, one lucky ticket holder attending the banquet will also be awarded a $500 cash prize."

Those who purchase tickets will have a chance to win:

• A $5,000 shopping spree at Murdoch's Ranch and Home Supply. Boots, jeans, tools and much, much more! Murdoch's has been an Official Sponsor of 4-H in Montana, Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska since 2004. Montana locations include Bozeman, Helena, Miles City and Kalispell.

• An Arctic Cat 400 4x4 ATV, with automatic transmission. This 4-wheeler, valued at $6,000, has been donated by Arctic Cat, Inc. and the 10 Montana Arctic Cat Dealers. Al Homme of Montana Power Sports in Miles City spearheaded this generous donation.

• A Moly Silencer Chute. This automated hydraulic chute is the latest in cattle handling technology, and is valued at $10,000. Freight and handling (a $1,000 value) has been donated by Rob Ericson and Western Ranch Supply.

• A Husquvarna Platinum Plus sewing machine from the Copper Thimble, in Miles City. Long-time 4-H volunteers and supporters, the Copper Thimble has generously provided this machine valued at $2,995. It's described as "an embroidery machine that can sew."

Montana 4-H is the youth development program of MSU Extension and largest after-school program in the state, reaching more than 28,000 youth ages 6-18. 4-H provides youth with the opportunity to learn from caring adults and their peers. The program concentrates on citizenship, leadership and life-skills.

For more information or to reserve raffle tickets, call (406) 994-5911.

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Holt swoops into Hamilton By Gretchen L. Langton

What has a six-foot wing span, eats primarily lemmings, screams perpetually, looks like melting snow at a distance, protects its young with great ferocity, and makes its summer home on the Alaskan tundra from May to August when the sun never sleeps? If you answered a female Snowy Owl, give yourself two points and a pat on the back. If you didn’t know the answer, read on to find out what I learned about these breathtaking ground nesters from Denver Holt, world renowned owl man and the President of the Owl Research Institute (ORI).

Bird enthusiasts packed the Forest Service’s meeting room in Hamilton recently to see Denver Holt’s presentation about Snowy Owls sponsored by the Bitterroot Audubon Society. Holt’s electric energy, the sheer breadth of his scientific knowledge, and his quick wit all combined to make this event more than memorable. It doesn’t hurt that his study subjects are profoundly beautiful and equally as interesting. The photos, taken by a National Geographic photographer, are spectacular enough to make the group "oooh" and "aaah" and gasp with amazement. These are the types of pictures that linger in a person’s mind long after seeing them or that reoccur in dreams indefinitely. To see a female Snowy Owl close enough that her spread wings barely fit in the picture as she gracefully touches down at the nest, her powerful, meaty, talon-tipped legs reaching for the ground slightly in front of her, with the sun behind her—causing those spotted wings to become nearly translucent, has the feel of Renaissance artwork that depicts an angel descending from heaven. And with them, the owls bring similar powers, the power to nourish and console as well as the power to smite. It’s no wonder why Holt has spent a lifetime studying these regal creatures.

This job is not without peril. Yet, wearing an impish grin, Holt shines a humorous light on his teams’ daring deeds. He says after several years of wearing a heavy Patagonia jacket, that was repeatedly gashed by protective owl parents as he quickly recorded the details of new chicks at nesting sites, he took the jacket back to Patagonia. On the inside were 29 pieces of tape documenting the sex of the owl that struck each spot and the date of each strike. "This leaks," he tells them, undoubtedly with a twinkle in his eyes. His audience erupts with laughter at the telling of this story. But there is an untold story here, too. By engaging a company like Patagonia with this powerful physical evidence of Holt’s plight as a researcher, he gains their support. And they gain an interesting marketing device. And the owls gain more time on this planet, hopefully. It’s easy to become enraptured with these intelligent-eyed raptors, but if we cherish Snowy Owls we can’t just fall in love with them.

We must also protect what they love to eat. It’s not as easy to fall in love with a lemming. The Brown Lemming, a rat-like tundra dweller, makes up 93% of these owls’ diets. After fifteen years of research in Barrow, Alaska, Holt has found the following direct correlation: when the lemmings thrive, so do the owls. Holt’s team has documented as many as 56 lemmings neatly piled around a nest (possibly serving the dual purpose of windbreak and sustenance). When the food is abundant, male Snowys can have two mates, twice as many chicks, and double the headaches. Apparently, the females spend nearly all of their time at the nest screaming for food. At first, the male does all of the hunting but none of the actual feeding. Later, when the chicks become more voracious and more mobile, both parents hunt, but still, only the mother feeds the young. Snowys fledge (take flight) at 45 to 55 days; the lighter males fly first while the females, who grow so heavy they cannot get off the ground, "must diet to lose a couple hundred grams" in order to fly.

Barrow, Alaska, Holt’s home for about four months of the year, is an Eskimo village 350 miles from the Arctic Circle. Holt does a convincing (not mocking) imitation of the local natives who say about his research team, "You white people are always counting things." The word "barrow" means "a place where owls are hunted or met," says Holt. The natives have decided that they will no longer hunt Snowys, but some owls are still found shot to death out of sport or spite, Holt tells his audience. In one picture of a nesting mound, which Holt explains to be roughly 10,000 years old, the town’s buildings can be seen in the background. This is one of those places where the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) buts up to civilization. Holt is fast to point out that it is possible for owls and humans to cohabitate as they do now. Because of the owls’ abilities to defend themselves against most predators, to find ample food, and to endure the often-harsh climate (even in July it can be 20 degrees and snowing), they are holding their own. After they begin to wander away from the nest, the biggest threat to owlets is three days of heavy rain, says Holt. They are then threatened with hypothermia, pneumonia, and empty stomachs. Holt reiterates that even though his team gets attached to each owlet, they are there to record data, not to save the day. So they don’t intervene when an owl or owlet is sick. Another mission, beyond the invaluable scientific one, may be to get a majority of Americans to recognize the intrinsic value of ANWR’s tundra, which has been threatened by oil and gas development for years. As gas prices increase, the debate over developing ANWR will continue to heat up.

A new coffee table book, including a chapter about Holt and the Snowys, called "Arctic Wings," is now available in bookstores. You can’t miss this book as it has a female Snowy on the cover. If you are interested in receiving ORI’s newsletter or you wish to donate money to further the owl cause, write to them at: ORI, P.O. Box 39, Charlo, MT 59824 or or

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High School Business Challenge scholarships available

Student Assistance Foundation and the Montana Chamber Foundation will award up to $18,000 in scholarships to the top three winning Montana high schools for both the fall and spring semesters of the High School Business Challenge (HSBC) during the 2007-08 school year. High School Business Challenge is a computer simulated business education program sponsored by businesses, foundations and individuals in schools across the state. The eight-week competition has replaced the popular "Business Week" held previously during summer months. HSBC is now the leading extracurricular Montana high school business learning tool with over 65 schools and 1,500 students participating annually.

Kelly Chapman, executive vice president of Student Assistance Foundation, said: "We have been a major sponsor of HSBC in recent years and continue to believe this program is an excellent tool for entry level business education. It is flexible and allows instructors to teach business skills inside or outside a classroom setting."

Webb Brown, Montana Chamber Foundation executive vice president of the Montana Chamber Foundation, adds: "Through revenues generated from the annual Governors Cup Golf Tournament held each year in the Flathead Valley, the Foundation Board of Directors has decided to enhance the HSBC experience for high school students. Not only does HSBC expose students to business and life investment skills that they can put to work in the future, we know how important postsecondary education is and we want to encourage graduates to take that next step. This scholarship offering is a method of doing that and one that we hope to expand as HSBC enrollment continues to grow."

More information about HSBC can be found at or interested schools and sponsors can contact Kerry Schaefer, High School Business Challenge coordinator, at (406) 463-2370,

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Library gets new logo

When the North Valley Public Library (NVPL) in Stevensville went live on the Montana Shared Catalog on Tuesday, September 4, it also debuted its new logo, printed on library card key-tags.

The logo was inspired by the artwork of Chad Hallow, a Stevensville High School graduate and the winner of the Friends of the North Valley Public Library logo contest in 2006.

Karen Powers of the Goodman Group and NVPL board member David Anderson designed the final logo by incorporating Hallow's compass concept into an image featuring the library's name. Bitterroot Marketing produced the final product. For more information (or to sign up for a new library card) call or visit the North Valley Public Library at 208 Main Street in Stevensville, 777-5061.

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Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame beginning site preparation

During the past four years the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame & Western Heritage Center has moved from dream to possibility. Today the project is moving one step closer to reality. Recent events have helped advance the planning from preliminary work to site preparation, infrastructure development and architectural design for the facility. Key to this leap forward was a $500,000 appropriation by the 2007 State Legislature.

Great Northern Development Corporation in Wolf Point will try to leverage the dollars to secure other grants and funding. Linda Twitchell, the executive director of GNDC, hopes to turn the $500,000 from the state into $1 million to $1.5 million.

The MCHF&WHC Building Committee, along with CWG Architects, the firm selected to complete the Preliminary Architect Report (PAR), has set its budget for the appropriation. The funds will be used for architectural services, site preparation and landscaping.

The MCHF&WHC has also received a grant through the Big Sky Trust Fund (MT Department of Commerce), for $15,000. That amount will be matched by funds from the MCHF&WHC license plate sales, which have totaled over $80,000 since November 2003. These monies, along with the budgeted amount from the appropriation, will be used to fund the PAR.

In addition to the appropriation and grants, the MCHF&WHC has over 90 trustees in 12 districts across the state who are working on a grassroots level to raise awareness and dollars to support the project. Recent fundraisers and activities include a ranch rodeo, filly raffle, 4-wheeler raffle, auction fundraisers, and informational booths at events in the trustees' districts.

"The support that we have been shown in our efforts across the state has told us that we cannot build this facility fast enough," said Mike Neutgent, President of the MCHF&WHC. "The people of Montana want this legacy to be built."

The MCHF&WHC will hold its 2nd Annual Trustees Gathering and dinner auction fundraiser at the Omni Center in Miles City February 1 and 2, 2008.

Be sure to stop by the MCHF&WHC Tack Room gift shop if you are in Wolf Point. For more information on memberships, donations, memorials or honorariums, please contact the MCHF&WHC at (406) 653-3800.

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Homeowners and hunters should be 'bear aware' this fall

A hot, dry summer and multiple wildfires can mean bear trouble. Trouble for bears and trouble with bears. During this time of year bears are vacating the high elevations and searching for food and relief in lower elevation river valleys-areas where we live and play. With backyard bear encounters on the rise over the past few weeks and hunting season openers right around the corner, now is the time to remember a few important tips on living and recreating with bears.

The good news is that bears’ natural food sources of are plentiful this year. Chokecherries, hawthorns, rosehip, berry wood, dogwood, wild plum and other food of choice for bears are filling our river valleys and lining the sides of creeks. The bad news is that if bears can find an easier food source first (like an unsecured garbage can), then can easily be distracted from the berry crop and stop to snack on last night’s pizza leftovers.

Once bears become dependent on neighborhood food sources, the behavior is hard to alter and the bears often have to be relocated. An animal that returns time and again after it is relocated is considered a threat to public safety and may have to be euthanized.

So what can you do? Put away pet food, clean dirty barbecue grills, and store garbage in bear-resistant garbage cans or in a secure building. Fruit trees can also attract bears - pick fruit as soon as it is ripe and keep the ground under the trees fruit-free. Take down bird feeders or hang them well away from their house and out of a bear’s reach, which means at least 15 feet up and four feet out from the nearest tree or building. Adding a catch plate underneath the feeder to keep bird seed from dropping to the ground is also a good idea. Limit compost piles to grass, leaves, and garden clippings. Kitchen scraps should be composted indoors, where they are away from a bear’s reach and smell, before adding them to garden soil.

Although we still spot bears in our neighborhoods, the number of bear conflicts has been decreasing over the past few years. Homeowners and communities are starting to create bear-resistant environments. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) bear specialist, Jamie Jonkel, says that a lot more people are remembering the tips on living in bear country and keeping their backyard goodies inside or out of reach. As long as we keep bear attractants away, bears will keep relying on natural food sources and we’ll have fewer human safety concerns and less bears that have to be relocated.

The upcoming hunting season is another reason to be in tune to bear activity in the valleys. While we are out searching for deer and elk, black bears and grizzlies are hunting for moist grasses, plants and berries. As Jonkel puts it, where you see berries, expect bears.

Jonkel reminds hunters to pay attention to fresh bear sign, such as tracks and scat. Hunters should avoid going alone when possible and let someone know their detailed plans. Carrying bear pepper spray throughout the hunt (and making sure you know how to use it before you go) is also important. After making the kill, get the carcass out of the area as quickly as possible. When field dressing the carcass, keep your can of bear pepper spray within easy reach. Use special precautions if you must leave and then return to a carcass, including placing the carcass where it can be easily observed from a distance to make sure it is clear of bears before entering the area. Never frighten or haze a grizzly that is near or feeding on a carcass, Jonkel says.

The best time to plan for how to react to a bear encounter at close range is long before the encounter occurs, and there are a lot of materials available to help you prepare. Contact FWP at 542-5500 to request a brochure on “How to Hunt Safely in Grizzly Country,” or visit the >FWP website at and click on Be Bear Aware.

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Barbecue winner

The Stevensville FFA has announced that Sonya Ness of Whitehall is the winner of the barbecue that was raffled off as a fundraiser for the club.

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Preschool openings

Our Savior Lutheran Preschool of Stevensville still has openings in the three- and four-year-old classes. Any parent with a child currently either three or four before September 10 may call 777-5625 for information about programs offered. Families may request classroom observations. Our Savior is located at 184 Pine Hollow Road.

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Rapp Foundation grants available

The Rapp Family Foundation is now accepting grant applications for the third quarter of 2007.

Completed applications must be received by Friday, September 14, 2007 for consideration in this quarter.

The Foundation makes grants available to Ravalli County non-profit organizations or individuals applying through a non-profit organization. The Foundation is receptive to requests from small organizations utilizing volunteer-based services and asking for matching funds for a specific need instead of funds for general purposes, salaries or continuing support. Primary consideration is given to requests for $3,000 or less. Application forms can be completed by non-professional grant writers.

Application forms may be picked up from or delivered to Ravalli County Bank in Hamilton and Stevensville or Diane Thomas Rupert, Raymond James Financial Services 172 Golf Course Road, Hamilton or mailed to Rapp Family Foundation, P.O. Box 2082, Hamilton MT 59840. Use of email forms are encouraged and are available by sending a request to or and may be submitted back by email.

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Spotlight on Victor By Louise Langton

Farmers State Bank's Legacy Club held its annual catered luncheon for about 200 guests. Wild Bill entertained, and prizes were awarded to several people in the Victor Park.

Merv and Rae Porter had their annual family reunion and invited all their good friends to enjoy a potluck dinner and music. The former "Cowtown Band" with Tom and Leslie McClure of Arvada, Colorado and Ken Johnson of Stevensville entertained along with several other musicians.

Former Victor residents Walt Kittel and his wife and family from Prescott, Arizona visited in Victor with David and Ellen Kittel. Walt graduated from Victor High School in 1962 where he was a star basketball player.

Mary and Marvin Costello had all their family home this summer at the beautiful Costello cattle ranch on the eastside of the Bitter Root Valley: Jane and daughter Alex and her good friend for Modesto, CA; Libby and family from Portland, Oregon; Dr. Fred Costello and family from North Carolina; and Pat Costello and family from Washington.

Christina Crockett enjoyed a visit with her mother, Julie Crockett, Victor, and her father and stepmother, Bill and Jan from Polson, while the Budweiser Clydesdale teams were in the valley. She is a full-time employee with the teams, traveling all around the country.

August Moraca celebrated his 94th birthday where he lives at Autumn House in Corvallis. He and his wife Merle owned the Box Elder Cafe in Victor for many years.

Linda Langton Slater, Arvada, Colorado, visited with her mother Louise Langton on the Big Creek Ranch for eight days. The Langton family enjoyed several potlucks at Kristy and Brent Schlimgen's new home. They were joined by cousins Buzz and Jannette Hale from Dubai on the Persian Gulf.

Arlene Gibson Kamura, Chandler, Arizona, visited her children in Missoula and Hamilton last month. She grew up in Victor on her parents' ranch. Leroy and Mary Alice Gibson were her parents. She enjoys Arizona, but comes to visit her family every summer.

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Nominations sought for Courage Award

The Ravalli County Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence is seeking nominations for the 8th Annual Courage Award. Individuals will be considered according to their commitment to non-violence, demonstration of compassion and kindness towards others, work to make our community safer, experienced or observed violence, Ravalli County resident. Nominations are considered by a committee of previous award winners.

We all want to live in a community free from violence. But safe communities don't just happen. It takes dedication and courage to take a stand. In every community, there are people who have experienced violence and responded to it in ways that demonstrate special courage. Among your family members, friends, neighbors, church leaders, teachers, elected officials or co-workers is there a person who deserves to be recognized for his or her determination and dedication to making Ravalli County a safer place to live?

The recipient of the 2007 Courage Award will be honored at the Report to the Community luncheon, an annual event celebrating our community's efforts to end domestic violence. The Report to the Community will be held Friday, October 5 at 12 noon at St. Francis Parish Center, Hamilton.

Nominations must include your name and phone number, nominee's name, address and phone number, and a brief description about why you think this person deserves to be recognized. You are encouraged to attach additional support letters, news clippings, etc.

Send nominations by September 14 to SAFE, P.O. Box 534, Hamilton MT 59840 or email:

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Stevensville Notes

Private Andrew James Kulonis is following in the footsteps of his Grandfather, Paul Kulonis, a Marine who flew medical helicopters in the Korean war and also trained at Camp Pendleton and in San Diego.

Andy is based at 29 Palms, CA and has recently returned for his second tour of Ramadi, Iraq where he notes much progress there in the last year, and will return to Montana and California this November.

After his time in the Marines, he plans on furthering his education in Business next year at Portland State University.

Andy is the son of Ken and Cathy Kulonis of Stevensville, and Chris and Sherry Carver of Anaheim Hills, CA.

If you would care to email Andy, his email is: or if you would like to send him and his buddies some goodies or socks, his address is: Private Andrew J. Kulonis, 3/7 Lima 4th PLT, Unit 41590, FPO AP 96426-1590.

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Ayres Angus wins top awards

Ayres CherryBomb Ericara 237 won grand champion female at the 2007 Oregon State Fair Roll of Victory (ROV) Angus Show, August 26 in Salem, Ore. Cara and Thomas Ayres of Stevensville own the February 2007 daughter of Pascalar Ayres New View P310. She first won junior calf champion. Jary Douglas, Winterville, GA, evaluated the 94 entries. Photo by American Angus Association.

Ayres Blackbird at Webfoot won reserve intermediate champion heifer at the ROV Show.

Cara Ayres showed the first place junior get-of-sire at the ROV. Pascalar Ayres New View P310 sired the winning trio.

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North Valley Pachyderm Club elects officers

The North Valley Pachyderm Club of Stevensville elected new officers for the upcoming year at the November meeting. They are: President - Ray Karr, 1st Vice-president - Judy Kline, 2nd Vice-president - Susanne Pyron, Treasurer - Dave Hurtt, Secretary - Glenda Edgeworth, Chaplin - Veronica Miller. Board of Directors - Bill Hester, Bob Thomas. The North Valley Pachyderms meet on the first and third Fridays at the Frontier Cafe, Stevensville. Meetings are usually educational in context and the public is welcome and invited.

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Bitterroot National Forest names new Public Affairs Officer

While recognizing that Dixie Dies will be a tough act to follow, Bitterroot National Forest Supervisor Dave Bull has announced his selection of Nan Christianson as the Forestıs new Public Affairs Officer.

Nan began her career with the Forest Service as a geologist on the Idaho Panhandle National Forest. Since her original appointment, she has served in positions managing diverse programs including recreation, law enforcement, lands, environmental analyses, wilderness, and rural community assistance. Throughout her career, Nanıs interests have focused on the sustainability of the social, economic and environmental health of rural communities and natural landscapes.

Nan is no stranger to the Bitterroot National Forest or to the community. She moved to the valley in 1988 and has served in a number of positions on the Bitterroot National Forest and in the Forest Serviceıs Northern Region regional office, and as a volunteer in a number of community organizations. The fires of 2000 occurred during her tenure as the Stevensville District Ranger, and she was very active in forest and community post fire recovery work.

As part of her new appointment, Nan will split her time between the Forest-level Public Affairs Officer position and a Marketing-Legislative Affairs position in the Northern & Intermountain Regionsı State & Private Forestry staff group.

Dixie Dies, the Public Affairs Officer on the Bitterroot National Forest since the early 1990ıs, retired earlier this month after 33 years of service. Nan can be reached at 363-7113.

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New legislation benefits both investors and community

The recently passed Pension Protection Act of 2006 includes a welcome incentive for qualifying IRA investors who are 70-1/2 or older and face the obligation of taking required minimum distributions, according to Tom Coston, President of the Stevensville Community Foundation.

Under the new law, these individuals may distribute assets up to $100,000 from a traditional IRA directly to a qualifying charity without paying income tax on the IRA transfer because it will not be reported as income. Because the provision sunsets December 31, 2007, it provides a short-term tool for increasing endowment assets in public foundations like the Stevensville Community Foundation.

According to Coston, the new incentive provides a great year-end opportunity for Stevensville residents to give back to their community. The Stevensville Community Foundation can accept cash gifts from IRAs, as well as gifts of stock and other appreciated assets. "We can also accept planned gifts, which qualify for the Montana Endowment Tax Credit," Coston said, "but transfers from IRAs to charities do not qualify for the tax credit because the amount donated is not reported as income."

"Any gifts we receive are used for local grant-making or for building our endowment for future grant-making in our community," said Coston.

Since the foundation was created, it has awarded $134,898 in local grants that have benefited Stevensville in many ways. Organizations like the North Valley Public Library, Pantry Partners, The Clothes Closet, Stevensville Historic Museum, the Chantilly Theatre, the Stevensville Main Street Association and Historic St. Mary's Mission have been grant recipients. The Stevensville Community Foundation continues to fund various projects that improve quality of life for people of all ages in the Stevensville community.

The most likely candidate for the incentive is someone who has other retirement assets that have already been taxed or are taxed at a more beneficial rate than ordinary income. If estate taxes are a concern, this distribution will come out of your estate, thereby lowering your estate taxes.

Coston encouraged investors to consult their financial advisers for more information. For questions about the work of the Stevensville Community Foundation, call Tom Coston at 777-5022.

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Who puts the "P" in pumpkin?

By Gretchen Langton

Dr. Cindy Ott has some great stories, like when she helped move Julia Child's kitchen from Cambridge, Massachusetts to the Smithsonian. Upon Child's retirement, she gave her house to her alum Smith College and her kitchen to the Museum of American History. According to Ott, the exhibit was so precise that when Child saw it, she felt like she "could open any drawer to find the right gadget." Gadgets, Ott says, were not in short supply. Ott helped catalogue Child's extensive collection of kitchen tools as a part of the Smithsonian Food and Wine Project in 2001 and 2002.

But Julia Child was an aside to Dr. Ott's most recent talk entitled "The Nature of Eating: Food, Cultures, and Landscape" at the Hamilton Carriage House. The talk was the second in the Food and Culture Series, sponsored by Montana Committee for the Humanities, the Montana Cultural Trust, the Stevensville Hotel, and the "Buy Fresh Buy Local" Project of Sustainable Living Systems (to name a few of the hands involved in making this series happen). Dr. Cindy Ott, a professor of museum studies and museum history at Montana State University and the curator of history at the Museum of the Rockies, has a book on the way titled "The Pumpkin: Squashing Myths about Nature in North America."

Ott has spent time studying people and their pumpkins and has come up with some interesting notions about our obvious cultural attachment to this weighty vegetable. One striking slide in her presentation was a picture of Time Magazine, November 2001. The address label showed this periodical was bound for Julia Child, but more importantly, the cover photo featured a beautiful pumpkin pie with an American flag standing upright in the middle. This is hardly odd since November is a better month than most to ponder pumpkin pie. But in November 2001, our icons needed to be as clear to us as our cravings. Two months and change prior, the World Trade Center crashed to the ground and altered our American egos and psyches forever. Our response was palpably human and necessary for our psychological survival‹ COMFORT ME, comfort us. Pumpkin pie, stars and stripes, a powerful duo. Ott's thesis seems to be summed up in this one slide: Americans rely upon their food icons for comfort as much as they do any other quintessentially American icon.

Granted, there are likely those who disdain all things pumpkin, but even they can see pumpkin pie as an invitation to visit the good memories of home. Just why is pie attached to home? It goes back to when pompions (French for pumpkins) were a mainstay in the new white settlements on this continent. We imagine the Pilgrims sitting about, after their dinners of turkey and cranberries, eating pumpkin pie. Ott paints another picture of our predecessors. For the Pilgrims, pumpkin was a roll-your-eyes-not-pumpkin-again drudgery. Pumpkin was the oldest, largest, and fastest growing domesticate eaten in the "New World." They ate it all the time and not on special occasions. For the Iroquois people, the pumpkin is one of the Three Sisters who sustained them‹bean, corn, and squash (pumpkin is in the squash family). In fact, this sister was so prevalent and so ordinary for early settlers that pumpkin degenerated to the status of rural "poor man's food." In the 19th Century, pumpkin was largely livestock fodder.

Historically, what happened to transform pumpkin from pig food to a holiday mainstay? Art happened. American artists became obsessed with the pastoral qualities of all things rural. In 1867, John Ehringer epitomized this return to the country by depicting a farm scene with the pumpkin prominently in the foreground, right next to the spotless "lady of the humble cottage." Pumpkins were popping up all over the pastoral art scene as an important item in America's collective agrarian history. A holiday was born that helped the resurrection of the pumpkin too. In 1863, Sarah Jessica Hale convinced President Abraham Lincoln that America needed a national holiday to commemorate America's agrarian heritage and labor. (Interesting to note, the American Civil War was another moment in American history when the people were hurting and needed to be comforted.) So pumpkin got a facelift, from savory side dish to sweet and featured dessert. Thanksgiving and pumpkin pies, nearly synonymous.

However, the power of the pumpkin is not relegated to our minds and waistlines. Pumpkin, for two months out of the year, is big business. But the intriguing thing is that pumpkins are namely grown by local producers rather than raised on factory farms because the selling season is so short. And in towns such as Circleville, Ohio, the pumpkin is front and center. Circleville has the oldest pumpkin festival (1903) in the nation and the town's financial success and security are tied to the number of tourists who will visit for the festival. Ott suggests Circleville is not alone; there are numerous celebrations of the pumpkin, including thousands of family-operated farms that capitalize on the popularity of jack-o-lanterns every October. American families engage in the ritual trek to the pumpkin patch all over the country and for some families this Kodak moment is an annual photographic mile-marker that will track their children's adolescence. The biggest pumpkin pay-off in the U.S. is the sale of pumpkins for decoration, the symbolic Halloween night light. Most of these pumpkins are hybrids and virtually inedible, but we don't care. They light the way between houses and they represent the only American holiday where strangers go to other strangers' houses successfully searching for hand-outs. Another less profitable, although perhaps more prestigious, American pastime attached to the pumpkin is the big contest.

True to the American obsession with all things large, the Atlantic Giant pumpkin is the SW of the squash kingdom. The record Atlantic Giant pumpkin came from Rhode Island and weighed 1,502 pounds. It required as much as 300 gallons of water every three days and constant tending. Ott relayed this bit of lore: To the question, how much does it weigh, one man's response was, "I don't know... but a boy took a picture of it and the picture weighed seven pounds!" Ott's presentation is a reminder that we are connected in a myriad of ways to things that grow. No matter whether we take pride in its prowess or its flavor or both or neither, pumpkin and its history shape us just as we shape it. Pass the whip!

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American Legion hosts Veterans Day dinner

The American Legion Fort Owen Post #94 held its annual Veterans Day dinner in the multi-purpose room at the Stevensville School. Following a wonderful potluck meal, the attendees heard a number of reports and program updates.

Verbal reports were given by the 2006 Girls State and Boys State delegates from Stevensville. They were unanimous in expressing appreciation for having the opportunity to attend these programs and all felt they had learned a great deal about how our system of government works. The evening program ended with Commander Jerry Esmay announcing the 2006 Legionnaire of the Year recipient, Russell Vogel. Vogel was recognized for his involvement and commitment to the Post 94 youth programs.

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Victor Fire Dept. needs volunteers

The Victor Volunteer Rural Fire Department and Quick Response Unit (QRU) is looking for community members interested in serving as volunteers. Volunteers are needed for the Fire Department, the QRU and EMTs for the ambulance. An EMT class will be starting in January. Anyone interested in helping can contact the fire department at 642-3180, Roylene at 642-3552 or Rod at 642-6383.

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Stevensville Notes

Merv and Rae Porter had a trip to Arvada, Colorado to see their daughter and son-in-law Leslie and Tom McClure and their three children. The McClures formerly lived in the Bitter Root and were members of Cowtown country band. The Porters also visited in California and Utah.

Marvin and Mary Costello visited their son, Dr. Fred Costello and family in North Carolina, their daughter Jane and family in Modesto, California, their daughter Libby and family in Portland, Oregon and son Pat Costello and family in Washington.

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Victor Garden Club

By Louise M. Langton

The Victor Garden Club met on November 13 at the Victor Senior Center with Tressa Baker presiding. Twelve members attended. Ann Hayman Seymour read the minutes and Wendy Hauser gave the treasurer's report.

The Blue Star Memorial sign was discussed. Several club members will meet at The Brand Cafe in Victor on Tuesday, Nov. 14 to make plans for the memorial purchase to honor all men and women in the Armed Forces.

The club voted to give $100 to the Victor Christmas Sharing Tree in the bank and a $25 donation to the Victor Heritage Museum committee for the annual Chocolate Tasting event at the museum on the evening of December 4 from 5:30 to 9 p.m.

Several of the members will attend the Stevensville Garden Club's annual Christmas Tea.

The club will have its annual Christmas party on Monday, December 18 at Anita Drewien's home. They will have an international foods potluck dinner and an exchange of gifts pertaining to gardening not over $5. The party will start at 11:30 a.m.

In June of 2007 the Victor Garden Club will celebrate 60 years of club work. The members were asked to fill out surveys of what goals and plans they want to see happen in the future of the club.

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Victor Civic Club

By Louise Langton

The Victor Civic Club met on Thursday, November 2 at the Victor Senior Center with Anita Drewien presiding. Parnelli Sharp read the minutes. Tammy Liechty gave the treasurer's report. The annual Chief Victor Day celebration was discussed.

The Christmas Shoppe will take place this year on Sunday, December 9 at the Victor School multi-purpose room from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lunch of soup and dessert will be offered. This is an important fundraiser and has been very popular for several years. The building on Main Street has been sold so the event has been moved to the Victor School. Mark your calendars for this event. Call Anita Drewien or Ann Hayman Seymour for more information.

The Civic Club will sponsor Kent and Mary Lou Conner's draft horse team trolley at the annual Museum chocolate tasting night at the Victor Heritage Museum on Monday night, December 4 in Victor. The Civic Club Christmas ornaments are for sale at Victor Video, Farmers State Bank, the Christmas Shoppe and the Museum.

The annual election of new officers was held. The newly elected president is Sharon Banda, the vice president is Kay MacLaren, the secretary is Somer Kearney, the treasurer is Tammy Liechty, and the trustees are Anita Drewien, Mike Moshenko, and Dave Meadow. The next meeting is on December 7 at 7:30 p.m. at the Senior Center.

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Births at Marcus Daly Hospital, Hamilton

Girl, 8 lbs., 9 oz., 20-1/2 inches, to Chase and Jeffa Cooper, Victor

Girl, 8 lbs., 4 oz., 20 inches, to Kurtis and Heather Snell, Hamilton

Boy, 5 lbs., 6 oz., 19 inches, to Shawn and Steve, Hamilton

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Emma Skalsky

Emma Skalsky, 87, of Stevensville, passed away on Tuesday, August 27, 2007 of congestive heart failure.

Emma was born on October 21, 1919 to Christian and Wilhelmina Koch in Oliver County, North Dakota. Emma was one of 16 children born to the Koch family. The Koch family moved from North Dakota to Hamilton in 1939. She was employed by the Rocky Mountain Laboratory until she met her husband of 61 years.

On July 1, 1946 she married Steve Skalsky in St. Francis Catholic Church in Hamilton. The couple lived for a time in Fargo, North Dakota while Steve attended barber college. The Skalskys returned to Hamilton in 1948, where Steve worked as an apprentice barber until 1951. In 1951 they moved to Stevensville where they built their home and lovingly raised their family.

Emma was a devoted member of the St. Mary's Parish in Stevensville for 55 years. She made it her personal mission to make sure the church always had fresh flowers and linens. She took great pleasure in raising her three children and her 11 grandchildren. Emma was a talented seamstress, who loved to crochet and quilt. She was also an avid gardener, who took distinct pleasure in growing and sharing her flowers and vegetables. Emma was a wonderful cook and always had a full cookie jar to share with friends and family.

Steve and Emma were lifelong polka partners and spent many a Sunday afternoon dancing with the 5-Valley Accordion Association.

Emma was devoted to her family, and is survived by her husband Steve, her son Alan (Betty) of Powell, WY, daughter Bonnie of Stevensville, and daughter Patricia (Lee) Pederson of Missoula. Emma has one surviving brother, Joe (Lorraine) Koch of Arlington, WA. Emma and Steve have 11 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren.

Mass of the Christian Burial was held Friday, August 31, 2007 at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Stevensville with Father Michael Smith officiating. Following the Funeral Mass, burial was at St. Mary's Cemetery.

The family would like memorial donations to go to St. Mary's Mission or a charity of the donor's choice.

Ernie Norman Bolin

Ernie Norman Bolin, 78, of Stevensville, died at his home on Friday, August 31, 2007, peacefully with family and friends at his side. He fought a courageous three-year battle with MDS, always being positive and hopeful of winning the battle.

Ernie was known by many and respected throughout the valley for his devotion to agriculture, his neighborly ways and community spirit. He was born on August 12, 1929 to Norman and Charlotte Bolin about three miles from his present home of 74 years. He ranched all of his life, loving every minute of it. He never cared much about traveling, though he was able to fulfill two life long dreams: traveling to Alaska and Australia along with other family vacations. Going to Flathead Lake was always a favorite getaway. His home, family and friends were his biggest satisfaction in life.

Ernie met Bessie Nelson in 1951 at the Lolo Café. He could make it from the ranch to Lolo in 12 minutes to see his sweetheart. His mother thought that he should hook up with her because she was a nice girl that knew how to cook. They were married on August 30, 1952 and honeymooned in Crescent City, California. They enjoyed their life together ranching and raised three wonderful children: two daughters, Marlene Bolin and Shirley Layton, and one son, Bryan Bolin. They loved to entertain and no one was ever considered a stranger when they came to visit. Relatives (there were many) loved to come for branding, hunting, holidays and any chance they could get away to the country. Ernie absolutely loved being with them, especially at the ranch. On August 30, 2007, they quietly celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary the day before his passing, with family and friends.

He was actively involved in the community. Anywhere from Long Rock Community Socials, dancing and talent shows to serving on the Lone Rock School Board for 18 years, the Bitterroot Irrigation District, the FHA Board in Hamilton, the Bitterroot Tree Farms and many other organizations. Over the years he received many awards including the Bitterroot Land Stewardship Award in 1999, Montana Tree Farmer of the Year Award in 1999 and an appreciation award from the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks for his everlasting donation of the Bolin Conservation Easement in 1998, plus many others.

He was preceded in death by an infant son, his father Norman, his mother Charlotte and a grandson, Ty.

Ernie is survived by his loving wife, Bessie; three children, Marlene (Ivan), Shirley (Gary), Bryan (Robin); a brother Raymond (Kitty); five grandchildren, three great grandchildren, and many cousins, nieces and nephews.

Funeral services were held on Tuesday, September 4, at the Lone Rock Bible Church with Pastor Jim Carlson officiating. Interment followed at the Sunnyside Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials to be made to the St. Patrick Cancer Center, St. Patrick Hospital, Missoula MT 59802 or to the Lone Rock Bible Church, 1142 Three Mile Creek Road, Stevensville MT 59870.

Herman Charles Wood

Herman Charles Wood, 86, of Stevensville, died at Community Medical Center in Missoula on Wednesday, August 29, 2007.

He was born on January 21, 1921 at Omaha, Nebraska.

He entered the U.S. Army on October 5, 1942 and was Honorably Discharged on November 28, 1945. He was with the 871st Bomb Squadron stationed in Saipan .

He married Wilma Fulcher on January 2, 1942. Herman was employed for 38 years with Mobil Oil Corporation in Lost Hills, CA.

He was a member of Stevensville VFW Chapter 1507 and was a member of First Baptist Church of Stevensville. Herman liked to hunt, fish, trail ride, motorcycling with good friend Buck Buckingham and enjoying the outdoors and life. He was an active in the church and loved the Lord.

He was preceded in death by his parents John and Almita; siblings Andrew, Clifford, Edward and Alfred and Mildred O'Connor and Frankie Runnels.

Herman is survived by his wife Wilma of Stevensville; daughters Dolores of Pismo Beach, CA and Lisa of Darby; four grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.

Graveside services were held at the Riverside Cemetery in Stevensville on Saturday, September 1, 2007 with Pastor Buck Buckingham officiating. Military Honors were presented jointly by the American Legion Post 94 and the VFW Post 1507.

The Whitesitt Funeral Home in Stevensville was in charge of arrangements.

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