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Projected budget shortfall is $368 million

It wasn’t all bad news in Helena last week. My committee, Legislative Finance, heard the yearly fire costs for this biennium. We spent just under $2 million dollars. That leaves $22.5 million remaining in the fire suppression account. We’ve been very lucky the last three years. The forests from Helena to Butte to Lincoln are almost all pine beetle kill. When we have a fire it will be devastating. I spoke to the director of our Department of Revenue about the property tax problems. Almost all counties have their AB-26 appeals finished. As you can imagine, it’s Lake and Flathead that still have nearly 40 percent of the 2009 appeals open and 90 percent of the 2010 appea...

Making a new family tradition

Remember being a kid and raking a huge piles of leaves just for the joy of jumping into them? The lovely earthy smell of fall leaves enveloping you as you happily tossed, kicked and crunched to your heart’s content … we carry those simple pleasures with us into adulthood.  In this electr...

Big Red Machine finally makes appearance in October

I’m very glad for some of the things my dad passed down to me. I’m glad I was one of his lucky sons that got any kind of semblance of his work ethic.  I’m glad that I got his sense of humor. If I couldn’t laugh at myself, I would be in serious trouble. And I’m glad...

Flu vaccines available early for seniors

The Area VI Agency on Aging would like to let seniors more than 65 years of age know they are eligible to receive flu vaccinations early, before flu season ramps up.   Medicare clients can get the flu vaccine at no cost. There is no coinsurance or copayment applied to this Medicare benefit, nor is it...

Be sure to cast your vote Nov. 2

Historically speaking, one hundred years isn’t a very long time. It was even less than that, 90 years ago, when American women gained the right to vote. The year was 1920 and it had taken women’s suffrage proponents more than 70 years to win the battle. It’s difficult to imagine in today...

Frugal furniture, lifestyle inspires fashionista

This weekend I had an intimate love affair in Denver. Every night I slept and snuggled loosely in the arms of an beautifully ornate, cable-knit cashmere sweater.  The gray sweater was soft on my sensitive skin and lulled me into sweet dreams of sunshine and happiness.  It belongs to a friend ...

DUI court in planning stages for Polson

As this is being written we are now celebrating the first day of fall. The next season I will not be excited about. I am a dismal failure as a native Montanan in that winter, for me, is the least favorite of the four seasons we live in. For many of you it is indeed the season you look forward to. So sit back...

Shop downtown during construction

Change is a good thing. And the changes being made to Polson’s Main Street are a very good thing — not only for downtown, but for the entire community. As Main Street undergoes a major improvement project, please remember to support downtown businesses by continuing to shop in their stores.&nb...

Be accountable for what you write

We made a mistake. There, I said it. In last week’s Valley Journal we ran an incendiary letter to the editor attacking Lake County Sheriff candidate Jay Doyle with a fake name signed at the bottom. Maybe it was naiveté and trustworthiness on our part, where we didn’t think we had to che...

Frugal fashionista finds secondhand deals

When I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Turkmenistan, I had recurrent dreams about two things: shoe shopping and nachos.  I would be in a warehouse of clothes and I would suddenly find myself drawn to a pair of indigo blue, beautifully ornate heels with ribbons and bows galore.  And for some re...

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