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Articles written by Shannon Brown


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  • Residents provide forest feedback

    Shannon Brown|Jun 20, 2024

    As the process to revise the plan for the Lolo National Forest (LNF) continues, Forest Service employees have conducted information gathering meetings throughout the region. Last week, LNF held a public meeting regarding the plan in Thompson Falls. Prior to the meeting in the elementary school cafeteria last Wednesday, LNF had received 1,400 comments regarding land use. A new interactive web map was provided to allow exploration of the plan revision proposed action, including a fact sheet. This information gave participants the chance to...

  • Question of the week: Do you recreate in Sanders County waters?

    Shannon Brown|Jun 20, 2024

    AMY MCGRAW, Plains - “I fish, swim, and go boating, paddle boarding, and inner tube floating in the Little Thompson River, Rock Creek and Clark Fork River with my daughter.” JERREN BORGMANN, Plains - “I fish, swim, boat, or anything I can do in the Clark Fork River or Thompson River. Those are my main two water sources I use.” SOPHIA SEYMOUR, Paradise - “I live on the Clark Fork. I mostly swim and fish.” MARIA SEYMOUR, Paradise - “I swim and kayak in the Clark Fork but go fishing in the Flathead River. I also enjoy picnics by the water.” DEBBI...

  • Library plans summer reading program

    Shannon Brown|Jun 20, 2024

    The Thompson Falls Summer Reading Program is up and running thanks to the Friends of the Library fundraising for prizes, and thanks to the Elks Club for their donation of Kindles. Kids who double their goals earn an extra ticket for the mystery box. Readers who triple their goals earn a bonus raffle ticket for regular prizes. In the seven and up age group, the child that reads the most minutes will receive a $50 Amazon gift card. In the age group six and below, whoever reads the most picture books, or has books read to them, will receive a spec...

  • Conservation districts provide pollinator seeds

    Shannon Brown|Jun 20, 2024

    Free seed mixes were handed out through the month of May by the Eastern Sanders County Conservation District and the Green Mountain Conservation District as part of the Sanders County Pollinator Initiative. Emily Baker and Morgan Owens were at the Trout Creek location on May 21 to give bags of flower seeds to interested residents. "This mix is specially selected for Western Montana and includes flowers of all shapes and sizes," Baker said. "Not only will this seed mix provide beautiful flowers...

  • TF students learn geospatial skills

    Shannon Brown|Jun 20, 2024

    Summer camp often makes one think of swimming and hiking at a location away from home. But this science camp took place on the Thompson Falls High School campus. Science teacher Doree Thilmony said her school applied for and received funding for the camp held last week in her classroom. "The camp covered geospatial skills such as interpreting maps, using data to make maps, using technology to record data for mapping and careers for Geological Information Systems, GIS," Thilmony said. Twelve...

  • Question of the week: Do you read local newspapers?

    Shannon Brown|Jun 13, 2024

    JOY ART, Hot Springs, - “I try not to pay attention to the news. I stay in my gate, so to speak.” AURORA PAGE, Plains - “I don’t read the paper. I get the news from my friends.” SIERRA LILLY, Thompson Falls - “I don’t read the newspapers or watch TV. I get noteworthy news from my husband.” HOLLIS KEY, Hot Springs - “I don’t keep up with the news in the summertime. During the school year I watch current events news provided by an online source, 'World from A to Z.'” KATHIE FRONAPEL, Hot Springs/Helena - “I love the Sanders County Ledger....

  • Plains students tour local bison ranch

    Shannon Brown|Jun 13, 2024

    Rhonda Leaper's and Judi Warner's Plains third grade classes were treated to a tour at the Harlow Bison Ranch in Thompson Falls as the school year came to a close. The tour was conducted by ranch owner Melinda Onakalea. She and husband Adam moved back to Montana to run Melinda's family ranch. The ranch was originally used for raising sheep. "Later it was leased out to cattle ranchers. I came home in 2019 after being gone for 22 years to turn it into a bison ranch," Melinda said. The tours...

  • Hot Springs celebrates, shares memories

    Shannon Brown|Jun 6, 2024

    The 2024 graduating class of Hot Springs High School received their diplomas, remembered a friend, and received scholarships on Saturday. Eleven seniors were present with the twelfth classmate missing from the ceremony. Jody Page, who passed away last fall, was honored by teachers and classmates as they recalled memories of their friend and student who was physically absent from their final class gathering. Valedictorian Lauryn Aldridge spoke about Page in her speech. "With open hearts and open...

  • TF students shine in annual variety show

    Shannon Brown|Jun 6, 2024

    Variety is what describes the talent show presented this year at the annual Thompson Falls Elementary Show. From kindergarteners to teachers, the show had plenty of performers to entertain the audience of peers, coworkers and family. Performers auditioned for a spot in the show with music teacher Lisa Mickelson. The show began with Paraprofessional Lacey Scharfe on the piano. She was followed by the Junior High Band Ensemble performing "Feel it Still" by Portugal the Man. They were dressed in...

  • Old Jail Museum tells history of businesses

    Shannon Brown|Jun 6, 2024

    The Old Jail Museum in Thompson Falls has its annual themed exhibit, as well as regular exhibits, ready for viewers. This year's exhibit is titled Businesses in Sanders County, Past and Present. Several items have been donated to display what dry goods stores, banks, and restaurants looked like in bygone days. "People couldn't hop in their cars and drive to Missoula or Kalispell to go shopping," museum president Sherry Hagerman-Benton said. They needed supplies to be local. In Plains the...

  • Clowns offer entertinament, education

    Shannon Brown|Jun 6, 2024

    Sanders County schools and the long-term care facility at Clark Fork Valley Hospital, along with the Hot Springs Rehab Center, welcomed three entertainers during May who made jokes and magic their business while educating the audience about fire safety. The trio from Trout Creek also had the upcoming circus on their agenda as they talked about the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus. The circus will be in Thompson Falls Saturday, June 22. Joni Mosher accompanied the clowns to pass out a flier about...

  • Question of the week: What summer projects do you have planned?

    Shannon Brown|May 30, 2024

    JOHN McNAMARA, Plains - “My summer project is planting cut flowers, such as dahlias and ranunculus, and hundreds of others.” RIA BUGNATTO, Trout Creek - “We are planning to plant the pollinator seeds as well as perennials and annuals in planters and pots.” DILLON MARTINI, Plains - “I’m looking to put in pollinating plots, expand my gardens, and get back into shape by gardening and bike riding to prepare for a goat hunt with my dad.” CARISSA McNAMARA, Plains - “I will be planting lavender fields to harvest and distill, and growing a veget...

  • T. Falls students dive into poetry

    Shannon Brown|May 30, 2024

    The Thompson Falls fourth graders were treated to a poetry writing coach from Missoula during a 12-week session. Alicia Watkinson from the Missoula Writing Collaborative came to the school each week to teach students about poetry and coach them in their writing experiences. This is the first year that teachers Sarah Naegeli and Amy Gilbert have had the opportunity for a professional poet to spend time with their students teaching them the art of writing poetry. At the end of the twelve weeks...

  • Question of the Week: What are your Memorial Day plans?

    Shannon Brown|May 23, 2024

    DALLAS BERMAN, Thompson Falls - “I plan to spend time with family and BBQ while enjoying the extra day off.” RODNEY HARMON, Thompson Falls - “Spend time with the people who are here and remember those who are no longer with us. Those family and friends who’ve passed.” JENNY YODER, Thompson Falls - “I plan to spend the weekend at a ladies retreat with friends, then alone on Monday enjoying nature.” TROY ASHCRAFT, Thompson Falls - “On two wheels.” KATE COTTINGHAM, Thompson Falls - “I plan on spending Memorial weekend on two wheels, 500 miles o...

  • Men's fitness class offers variety of exercises

    Shannon Brown|May 23, 2024

    Francios Comunetti from Trout Creek has started an exercise routine for men. He conducts his class every Friday at 4 p.m. in the Whitepine Grange building. "I started the classes to give men a way to exercise on their own schedule," Comunetti said. Participants can learn the full-length routine on Fridays and then adapt it to fit their own schedule at home. Comunetti's class is a half hour to 45 minutes long but he says daily workouts at home are only five to 20 minutes long for him. "I want men...

  • TF elementary students get creative with zoo projects

    Shannon Brown|May 23, 2024

    Thompson Falls elementary kindergarten and first grade classes had a zoo exhibit in their classrooms on Wednesday. Each class had its own theme. Julie Detlaff had a safari of animals presented by her kindergarteners and Amber Yates' kindergarten class had an aquarium themed room of ocean life. The first graders made animals at home and wrote reports at school for their presentations. Lindsey Franklin had insects filling her insectarium class room, while Samantha Varner's students had representat...

  • Plains PTA works to support students

    Shannon Brown|May 23, 2024

    The Plains Parent Teacher Association (PTA) was formed in the fall of 2023, according to President Erika Lawyer. "We started with under a dozen members but have had a recent influx of members and now have over 30, I believe," Lawyer said. The club's initiatives are focussing on student mental health issues. "We want to support our school activities through volunteerism now, but hopefully monetarily later as we build our bank account. We would eventually like to offer a couple of scholarships to...

  • TF teacher chosen for Germany fellowship

    Shannon Brown|May 16, 2024

    Danice Toyias, Thompson Falls junior high Social Studies teacher, has been accepted to attend a fellowship to Germany. The Transatlantic Outreach Program (TOP) is a partnership that provides opportunities for American teachers of science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) and social studies, according to junior high secretary, Melissa Wilson. Prior to applying and being accepted, Toyias learned about the program during an MEA (Montana Education Association) teachers convention from...

  • Question of the week

    Shannon Brown|May 16, 2024

    CAIGE MOLZHON, Thompson Falls - “I would like to go on a fishing field trip.” PAISLEY BAIRD, Thompson Falls - “My ideal field trip would be to the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.” LINCOLN ADAMS, Thompson Falls - “My ideal field trip would be going to the zoo in New York City.” ASPEN LEAF, Thompson Falls - “I want to go to Disney World.” KAYAH GULLETT, Thompson Falls - “My favorite field trip would be going to the beach in Hawaii.” ELORA MOORE, Thompson Falls - “My ideal field trip would be to France to eat croissants....

  • Former TRACS dog in contest

    Shannon Brown|May 16, 2024

    Thompson River Animal Care Shelter's former resident becomes one of the top 10 contestants in a national dog makeover competition. Dolly, a standard poodle mix, arrived at TRACS dirty and in need of grooming. Dolly was taken to a groomer where she was transformed into a clean adoptable dog. It didn't take long for Dolly to be adopted, according to TRACS supervisor Lynette Thorpe. "Dolly and her two siblings came to TRACS on a rescue flight (Dog is my Copilot) in February. They were an absolute...

  • Nealry 2.5 tons of e-waste collected

    Shannon Brown|May 16, 2024

    Dusti Johnson from the Department of Environmental Quality in Helena recorded that 4,858 lbs of electronic waste was collected during the annual Beatification Days in Thompson Falls in April. “The contractors for handling the waste were Green Technology Solutions by owner Anthony Overcast, and me,” Johnson said. GTS is a Billings based business that specializes in transferring and properly disposing of electronic waste material. “They are certified and licensed through the state to sort through equipment for repurposing, recycling or dispo...

  • Noxon students attend art conference

    Shannon Brown|May 16, 2024

    Nine Noxon High School Art Club students were treated to a trip to Missoula to participate in the Montana Art Interscholastic (MAI) program for the third year. MAI is an annual two-day high school art conference for Montana students. This year it was hosted by Hellgate High School's Art Department and the University of Montana. The keynote speakers were Cameron and Aspen Decker. Students who attended were Maria Sofia Pelobello, Kaelene Kelly, DJ Ringleka, Natasha Fisher, Fletcher Segura,...

  • Schools celebrate local reading program

    Shannon Brown|May 16, 2024

    Students in Trout Creek and Thompson Falls were rewarded for reading last week. Students received Kindles from the Running Start reading program, coordinated by the Thompson Falls Woman's Club. The Masonic Lodge #70 provides Kindles that are given to students in grades K-6. "Students fill out a reading log in order to be eligible," according to Thompson Falls Elementary principal Len Dorscher. Each completed reading log gets a student entered into the drawing for the Kindle, with one tablet...

  • Question of the week

    Shannon Brown|May 9, 2024

    HANNAH WARNES, Plains - “I watched the 150th anniversary of the derby Saturday. I enjoy watching but because it lasts so long before the main race, I fell asleep.” ABIGAIL BAUER, Plains - “I like watching the horses race.” CHARI WIPPLINGER, Plains - “I do not watch the derby usually. We watch a lot of nascar.” TIM WEST, Plains - “I don’t have any interest in watching the derby horse races.” REBECCA HAMILTON, Plains - “I like watching the Kentucky Derby because I like seeing all the beautiful horses.” O’HALLY UZETA, Sandpoint, Idaho - “I u...

  • Special proejcts engage Trout Creek students

    Shannon Brown|May 9, 2024

    The K-8 school of Trout Creek had a busy spring with students attending the national Archery competition, as well as in-school activities. The sixth through eighth grade students have been busy working on a special woodworking project that began months ago. Rochelle Dickson's class has had the privilege of learning the art of woodworking from local toy maker Gayle Seekins. Seekins said he has worked with kids for over 30 years. He is retired and spends his time making toys to sell at events such...

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