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Fugleberg to sign new book, “Among Other Things,” at Polson Library

Local writer and 54-year resident of Polson has completed a book of stories and commentaries written during his long career as a journalist.

Paul Fugleberg started pounding out stories for newspapers on an old manual typewriter 57 years ago, although now he writes on his computer. Fugleberg selected columns and stories he’d written on either his typewriter or his computer over his long career, selected photographs to accompany them and published them in a new book called “Among Other Things.” 

Fugleberg will be honored at a book signing of “Among Other Things” at the Polson City Library on Jan. 19, noon to 3 p.m. The public is invited to attend the book signing, and refreshments will be served. 

“Among Other Things” is a slim volume 99 pages long and divided into sections — Shadows of Yesteryear, Personal Reflections, More Historic Happenings, Unusual Incidents, Colorful Personalities, Among Other Things: Some Really Dumb Stories, Special People, and Short Stories.

“Among Other Things” is also the name of Fugleberg’s long time column in the Lake County Leader.

The name first appeared on a Fugleberg column when he was working for the Canton, S.D., newspaper, the Sioux Valley News.

Fugleberg’s writing career didn’t start in Canton, S.D., though. It began in 1952 when Fugleberg was in the United States Air Force and wrote for the civilian-owned weekly newspaper at Great Falls Air Base. This came after Fugleberg took one journalism class in college and hated it.

“Too much theory,” Fugleberg said, waving his hand.  

Mike Deevy, who owned the paper and was the state editor of the Great Falls Tribune, was a great mentor and “just like a second father to me,” Fugleberg explained. Under Deevy’s mentorship, Fugleberg “quickly came to enjoy the news business.”

After Fugleberg was discharged from the service in 1954, he spent two years working for the Record-Tribune in Roundups, 18 months at the Sioux Valley News in Canton, S. D., and six months at the Inyo Register in Bishop, Calif. before coming to Polson to work for the Flathead Courier.

Fugleberg had visited Polson while he was in the Air Force in Great Falls. He said he and a friend got a three-day pass over Labor Day to see friends who had a cabin at Woods Bay. Fugleberg and his friend got into Polson late at night and pulled up at a hotel.

The next morning Fugleberg opened the window shade. Fugleberg said he saw “the sun shining, the water glimmering … snow capped peaks” and told his friend, “I’m going to live here someday.” 

“Took me seven years to get here,” Fugleberg added.

Fugleberg and his wife Mary Lou married in 1956 and brought their young family to Polson. They raised their five children, Alan, Ruth, Laurie, Mark and Tom in Polson. In Polson, the Fuglebergs met the Jacobsons, Lorin and Shirley, and became friends and business partners. 

In fact, Fugleberg dedicated “Among Other Things” to Lorin Jacobson, whom he described as a role model.

Jacobson and Fugleberg published the Flathead Courier from 1963 to 1976 and the Ronan Pioneer from 1971 to 1976. 

Fugleberg bought out Lorin’s interest in 1976 and subsequently sold the papers to George Hess in 1980 although he continued working at the newspaper. 

During the years he also penned some books, “Proud Heritage,” “An Illustrated History of Lake County and the Lower Flathead, Mission and Jocko Valleys,” “Flathead Lake Steamboat Days,” “Buffalo Savers,” “Schnitzmeyer, Pioneer Photographer” and “Montana Nessie.” 

Fugleberg said he got the urge to write another book after he read Mack McConnell’s book “Never Grab a Cockatiel,” which was a sampling of McConnell’s Writetrack and Off the Cuff columns.

Fugleberg started writing and compiling about six months after he had a heart attack on May 1, 2008.

(Among Other Things) “took the better part of a year,” Fugleberg said.

The book was self-published and printed locally by Gull Printing. 

Fugleberg still writes his column for the Lake County Leader and freelances as a copy editor. He faithfully goes to cardiac rehabilitation at St. Joseph Medical Center.

In his spare time, Fugleberg said, “I do a lot of reading.” 

When “the weather is right in the springtime,” Fugleberg will pack up his bright red car and go see his grandkids in Missoula and Colorado. He also visits his brother, Norman Wright, in Bakersfield, Calif. every year. 

“He (Wright) is the writer in the family,” Fugleberg said, modestly putting aside his own accomplishments.

As for plans for another book, Fugleberg said he is already working on it. The general idea, he explained, is back country roads lead to adventures, back country roads lead to ghost towns, back country roads lead to historic sites, back country roads lead to memories and back country roads lead to interesting people.

Fugleberg himself is one of the most interesting people around, and he’s still writing.

 

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