Trahan, Finley selected as CSKT chairmen
PABLO — Following three consecutive tie votes Friday morning, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Council selected Ron Trahan as chairman for the next year. Newly elected councilmember Vernon Finley will serve the second year of the term, starting in 2015.
According to a press release, the council supported the idea of dividing the leadership role into two one-year terms after the vote split even for the third time.
Though rare, the Tribal Council has agreed to the arrangement several times in the past. The most recent instance was in 1986 after Ron Therriault and Michael “Mickey” Pablo tied nine successive times, as reported by the Flathead Courier.
Therriault, a history professor at Salish Kootenai College, served the first year of the term. Pablo took his place as chair in 1987 and is still regarded as one of the council’s strongest leaders.
Trahan, who has served 10 years on the council, will be the first to address key issues that include acquisition of the Kerr Dam hydroelectric facility and the 2015 deadline to file water rights clams if the State Legislature does not support the water rights compact.
Carole Lankford held on to her position as Vice-Chair of the council during Friday’s quarterly meeting. Len Two Teeth and James “Bing” Matt were elected as treasurer and secretary, respectively.
When he returned to Honduras this fall, one year later, he met the 16-month-old baby whose life he helped to save while helping a dental and medical volunteer trip.
“There is no doubt that that child would have died had we not been there,” Babineau said.
PABLO — History can be told through culture.
Last Friday in Pablo, culture was celebrated through footwear.
In honor of Native American Heritage month, The People’s Center celebrated Rock Your Mocs Day with a round dance and potluck at the center.
Education director at The People’s Center, Marie Torosian, said someone started the day last year and it went viral on Facebook. The idea is for everyone to wear moccasins to work or school to spread cultural awareness. This was the second year the center has participated, she said, and she hopes to continue the annual Nov. 15 event.
“It’s a small way to bring awareness to our heritage,” she said, adding that events like Rock Your Mocs are a way for the center to honor not only local tribes, but also the 70 other tribes represented at Salish Kootenai College.
The rain came down in torrents, each drop stinging my already cold skin.
“I can’t cross it without getting wet,” I shouted, trying to be heard over the thunderous rush of water streaming in front of me. “I have to change shoes.”
What would have been a milky stream on a normal summer day had turned into a treacherous tirade pouring down from glaciers above. Across the raging whitewater, I saw where the trail carried on, nearly 200 feet from where I was standing on the boulder-strewn bank.
I set my pack down and it squished into the mud under its own weight as I changed into my Chaco sandals. My waterlogged toes looked like a child’s wrinkled fingers after a long bath, and the duct tape protecting the blisters on each of my toes had begun to curl as it peeled away from my skin.
Once I had reassembled my pack and hoisted it to where it had formed into the curvature of my back, I assessed the situation. Most of the pools were too deep for me to wade through and one misstep would overthrow my top-heavy load and I would easily be rushed downstream, head held under water.
The only solution was to climb higher to find a shallower pool to enter the unrelenting barrage of liquid. I led the way, climbing on all fours up jagged mounds of rock. I hit a roadblock when I reached a boulder whose flat face I couldn’t ascend.
“Phil, I’m going to need you to push the back of my pack while I climb up,” I said.
He nodded in agreement. I stepped as high on the rock as I could.
“On three. One… two… three!”
I pushed through my toes and Phil shoved me from behind. Suddenly, I knew it was going to end badly. I felt my foot slide out from beneath me and the combined weight of my pack and my body slammed against the rock with all of the impact taken in by my right shin.
The river drowned out my screams.
"Suspicious death" deemed case of deliberate homicide
POLSON - What was deemed a “suspicious death” at the beginning of summer is now being considered a case of rape and murder.
Melvin Madplume, Jr. made an initial appearance in District Court last Thursday. The 29-year-old Ronan man is being charged with felony counts of deliberate homicide and sexual intercourse without consent.
The affidavit filed by Lake County Attorney Mitch Young paints a gruesome picture of what happened the night of 28-year-old Laurence Kenmille’s death.
A ski bum's glacier getaway
The sun beat down, making me sweat and warming my skin. As I sat in the early July heat, I sunk my hands into the refreshing white stuff below me— snow.
That’s right. Snow.
Surrounded by soaring peaks and stunning arêtes, I took a deep breath of the fresh Rocky
Mountain air. The brisk oxygen chilled my nostrils as I inhaled.
I exhaled as I stood up. With my board strapped to my feet, I jumped, turned and accelerated down the slushy hillside to a chorus of cheers from an on-looking crowd.
Note: This article ran in the Lake County Leader July 18, 2013. It was also published in the Bigfork Eagle.
From the floppy ears right down to their fluffy little tails, its is hard to deny how cute bunnies are.
They may be cute and cuddly but domestic rabbits have the potential to cause irreparable damage to the ecosystem on Finley Point near Polson.
Ronan 10-year-old's art makes splash against the pros
Dalen Siech wears many hats. In the course of a week he is an artist, a philanthropist, a photographer, and a middle school student.
Though he is just 10 years old, Siech’s photography has started getting the attention of judges and professionals alike. This spring Siech entered three of his pieces in a fine art photography contest in Hot Springs along with notable professionals from the area. All three of his works won ribbons, and his photo of aspens from the Grand Canyon was a finalist in the competition.
Humble and timid, Siech’s whole demeanor changes when he talks about taking photos. A smile spreads across his face when he recalls the trials and tribulations of getting the perfect shot of birds in flight or lying on his stomach to capture a sunflower in bloom.
Get $242,000 in restitution
HELENA — Restitution payments totaling over $242,000 will be made to victims of Cornerstone Financial, Inc. from Montana’s new Securities Restitution Assistance Fund.
The restitution was announced Tuesday by Commissioner of Securities Monica Lindeen and U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana Michael Cotter, who worked together to shut down the multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme in 2009. Charges in the case included wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering.
In April, raw milk stirred up a commotion in the Montana Legislature. The debate didn't die with the bill, but is in a stalemate. The future of raw milk could hold big things for small farmers if a compromise can be made.
Note: This article ran in the Lake County Leader July 4, 2013. It was picked up by the West Shore News and the Bigfork Eagle.
Want to buy something illegal but don’t know where to find it? Check Craigslist.
That is where many have gone to find raw milk, which was kept outlawed by the Montana State Legislature in April. You can’t find it by searching ‘raw milk’ but type in ‘milk’ and over 100 ads pop up. With some sifting, you will soon find ads for cow shares, to receive a portion of what the cow produces, and some more blatant ads for raw milk.
Any sale of raw milk in Montana is illegal, but the debate over raw milk isn’t black and white.
Noxious weeds threaten ecosystem, economy
Tiny, white bunches of flowers span the test plot in St. Ignatius. To the untrained eye it looks like a field full of baby’s breath, but the land is full of whitetop, a weed plaguing Lake County and the entire state of Montana.
Summer is in full bloom, and so are weeds. They may look pretty, but what invasive weeds do to an ecosystem, and an economy, is downright ugly.
This is the first article in a two-part series on noxious weeds I wrote at the beginning of my tenure at the Leader. Invasive weed species, if not managed, could have irreparable effects on this agriculture-based economy.
FLATHEAD LAKE — They come in small numbers and slowly take over everything in their path. As they ruin the lives of natives, they leave the landscape changed for the worse. It’s not a rebel army or a plague of locusts; it’s noxious weeds.
And they are waging their own biological war.
According to the Montana Weed Control Association, Montana currently has 32 state-listed noxious weeds in every county of the state. Western Montana has a much larger problem given population densities where weeds are primarily spread through travel vectors.
In Lake County, residents see the brunt of the problem.
“We’re pretty inundated with noxious weeds,” Tom Benson, director of Lake County Weed Control, said.
Benson said no single entity has the budget to deal with noxious weeds and that education is a key component in preventing the spread of weeds. What needs to happen is a bridging of the gap between education and weed control, he said.
Aquatic invasive species have taken the forefront of the noxious weed discussion. While many residents of Lake County are aware of the eminent threat of zebra mussels, two lesser-known menaces are plaguing Flathead Lake.
Photos by Jessica Stugelmayer.
POLSON — Up, up and away went planes, volunteers and excited children Saturday at the Polson Airport.
The Polson chapter of the Experimental Aviation Association (EAA) hosted their Young Eagles Fly-In as a chance for young locals to become involved with flying. Free of charge, the program takes children for a ride around Polson to view Kerr Dam and to get a bird’s eye view of the lake.
Rookie reporter Jessica Stugelmayer tames the rapids
Published in the Lake County Leader
Fresh out of college, and ready to conquer the journalism world, I immediately agreed when Leader editor Bryce Gray offered me the last seat in the boat. I wasn’t scared, mostly.
Hop aboard the “Fool Bus” with the Flathead Raft Co. and prepare for a wet and wild ride. The company has many adventure tours that include kayaking, river boarding and, of course, whitewater rafting.
How a hobby changed a life
Published on MakeItMissoula.com
See the full story and additional photos by clicking here.
People often find solace in alcohol. For Martha Gergasko, a good beer was the key to her salvation.
Just three years ago everything seemed to be coming together for her. Gergasko had graduated from the University of Montana with a degree in biology. She had a job in Billings as a resident technical assistant and planned to make contacts with Zoo Montana. Her dream to work as a zookeeper was becoming a reality.
Then the mash soured.
Gergasko has a phobia of driving and a condition of her job was driving large vans from office to office. In the middle of a behind-the-wheel-instruction course, she had a panic attack and could not continue. She notified her employer she could not take the position.
“So I moved home, dream crushed,” Gergasko said.
Home is where the brew is
Gergasko’s kitchen features a kegerator and other home brewing equipment.
Her father, Mike Gergasko, had begun home brewing beer at their family home in Santa Fe, N.M. while Martha was attending college.
When Martha returned home from Billings, Mike asked her to help with the latest batch to cheer her up. As they worked on a brew, she said her inner mad scientist kicked in and she was hooked.