Valley Journal

Articles Written By: Caleb M. Soptelean

Native students learn about trees as part of summer cultural program  Native students learn about trees as part of summer cultural program 

POLSON –  More culturally-inspired outreach is the goal of the summer native arts and culture program.    Polson Middle School special services teacher Amy Williams said the idea sprouted from Polson Schools’ parent and Indian education committees. Meetings are held Wednesday...

$1M upgrade in the works for Finley Point State Park $1M upgrade in the works for Finley Point State Park

POLSON – A $1 million upgrade is in the works for Finley Point State Park.  The project, which began in the spring with the removal of some trees and the replacement of two latrines, will result in removal of six of 16 RV spaces in the existing campground next to Flathead Lake.  However...

Man with 10 DUIs gets 10 years in prison  Man with 10 DUIs gets 10 years in prison 

POLSON – A 53-year-old man with 10 DUIs was sentenced to 10 years in the Montana State Prison last week for violating his probation.  Harlan Gerald Vaska of Missoula was sentenced by Judge Kim Christopher.  Prosecuting attorney James Lapotka said Vaska was cited for engaging in a bar fi...

Cox sentenced for sexual assault of 3-year-old girl Cox sentenced for sexual assault of 3-year-old girl

POLSON – A 29-year-old Ronan man was sentenced last week to 20 years in the Montana State Prison with 15 suspended for sexual assault of a three-year-old girl.  Christopher Cox initially said he saw a 13-year-old committing the crime in November 2015, and later said he wasn’t sure but eve...

Biking at work: Polson policeman pedals on patrol Biking at work: Polson policeman pedals on patrol

POLSON – It’s been a while, but Polson Police Department has another bike patrolman.  Officer Keith Deetz completed four days of defensive mountain bike training in Bozeman with the Law Enforcement Bicycle Association in late May. His first day on the streets in Polson was May 26, he said...

Shourds Sr. files civil suit for child’s death

POLSON – The father of a 3-year-old boy who was killed on Thanksgiving Day last year has sued the young man who took responsibility for the child’s death.  Phillip Shourds Sr. and the estate of Phillip Shourds Jr. filed suit on May 26 in Lake County District Court and alleged that Chasen ...

Polson man defeats third rape charge in six years  Polson man defeats third rape charge in six years 

By Caleb M. Soptelean/Valley Journal POLSON – For the third time since 2011, Vaughn David James has defeated a rape charge.  James, 44, of Polson, won at trial last week when a 9-woman, 3-man jury voted 10-2 in favor of conviction, resulting in a hung jury and a mistrial. Jury trials require...

Polson Schools set new meals policy

POLSON – Polson Schools have adopted a new meals policy along with a slight increase in meal prices.  The new meals policy will allow students’ lunch money accounts to fall $15 into the negative before students are given an alternate meal such as a cheese sandwich, veggie sticks, fruit an...

Man faces multiple charges after alleged break-in Man faces multiple charges after alleged break-in

POLSON – A 41-year-old man faces charges of aggravated burglary, theft and misdemeanor criminal mischief for allegedly stealing a vehicle and iPhone from an area residence.  Robert James Matt, city unknown, was arrested following a traffic stop in Ronan on Feb. 10 after he allegedly used an axe...

Fields of Grace Fields of Grace

POLSON – After stumbling onto a podcast about child sex trafficking in March 2015, Jill Perkins decided to do something about it.  Perkins talked to her family and some friends and was encouraged to proceed. Out of that was born the idea for Fields of Grace Ranch, a non-profit organization that...


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