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  • Our Viewpoint: A good example

    Annie Wooden|May 9, 2024

    A couple weeks ago, I wrote on the lost art of communication. It seems more arguing gets done during some public meetings than actual work. Last week as citizens and commissioners debated the issue of whether or not to have local candidates list political party affiliation on ballots, there was productive discourse and it gave me hope. Jim Elliott of Trout Creek and Greg Hinkle of Thompson Falls, who historically identify with opposite political parties, weren’t so divided in that meeting. A long-time Republican and a long-time Democrat had a...

  • Montana Viewpoint: The rube sits and smiles

    Jim Elliott|May 9, 2024

    After having unloaded all my farm equipment from the railcar that had brought it from my late father’s farm back east and knowing that I had come to the right part of the world when Dude and Shorty, who had helped me unload it, looked at the wheels on my hay wagon and pronounced them “high-speed” because they actually had ball bearings instead of old-fashioned babbitt bearings, I felt accepted by my new neighbors. A person with less class than Shorty and Dude might have rightly said, “What...

  • Whatcha Readin'?

    Sunday Dutro|May 9, 2024

    There ought to be at least two more books on this list, but I got distracted by the photos on Montana History Portal and their meme contest (it’s not too late to enter!). It’s been loads of fun creating funny memes related to reading, writing, and Montana life. Even with the beautiful distraction, I managed to read twelve books in April, and all of them were four stars or better. Here they are, in no particular order: Part of Your World and Yours Truly by Abby Jimenez are books one and two in a new contemporary romance series that’s funny...

  • The Average Gamer

    Marshall Barker|May 9, 2024

    Oftentimes, I like to wonder how our world would be different today if history hadn’t played out the way it has. I find it to be a fun way to get lost in thought and see what sort of wacky and fun alternative timelines I can think up. There are some good movies, TV shows, and even video games that like to play around with these ideas too. What would our world look like if the microchip had never been invented, or what would happen if nuclear energy became the norm and not fossil fuels? What would happen to the world if total nuclear a...

  • Our Viewpoint: Help keep up the beautification

    Annie Wooden|May 2, 2024

    Last week, volunteers throughout Thompson Falls were busy sprucing up the town. Leaves were raked, bushes pruned, parks cleaned and new signage installed at the mule pasture trail system. It was a community effort known as Beautification Days that has been an April tradition for more than 20 years. At the transfer station on Saturday, tons of electronic waste was loaded up to be recycled in the annual e-waste event, helping keep those items out of the landfull. Various groups, businesses and individuals volunteered their time to give Thompson...

  • A few thoughts on golf

    Sandy Compton|May 2, 2024

    I once golfed with a pastor who did well until the 13th hole. Then, the wheels came off. On the 16th tee, he put a drive so far out of bounds, he should’ve been called for a foul. He turned and said, “I know what I’m doing wrong. I just can’t stop it!” I asked how many parishioners confessed that very thing to him. He laughed so hard, he got his game back. That’s golf. Winter has (almost) ended, and to keep their minds off politics, skiers have turned to golf. Not all, but a significant percentage of schussers have transitioned to cussers. If...

  • Open Meadows: Forest bathing

    Shannon Brown|May 2, 2024

    One of my favorite things about the Plains community is seeing kids walking to the river with fishing poles, often barefoot, children who have not lost their connectedness to nature. They play in the dirt. They eat dirt as babies and pile themselves with the sand on the beach or in leaves in the fall. As we grow older we are taught that that is not something we should do. “Going barefoot is unsanitary!” or “Eating dirt will give you worms!” While eating dirt may not be good for your gut, experiencing it could be. Walking barefoot grounds...

  • Real Estate Trends: April 2024 market update

    Tina Daugherty|May 2, 2024

    What a gorgeous April! The market has brought a lot of price reductions, a few lingering bidding wars and some new listings, as spring usually brings. The market is still tight, but the balance is shifting. While Sanders County has dropped slightly into a buyer's market, Trout Creek and Plains remain slightly sellers markets. On the whole, the pricing has stabilized through 2023 and 2024. The days on market is climbing, price reductions are quite prevalent, while the number of listings is still...

  • Our Viewpoint: Doby deserves a day, too

    Ed Moreth|Apr 25, 2024

    Most people know that April 15 is tax day, but it’s also Jackie Robinson Day, commemorating when Robinson broke the “color barrier” in baseball, playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers. On April 15, every baseball player wore number 42, Robinson’s jersey number, as Major League Baseball has done for the last 15 years. Robinson has been celebrated time and time again for helping to integrate African-Americans into the game, and rightly so. He received death threats, racial slurs, and indignities. The Los Angeles Dodgers, (they moved to Califor...

  • Board actions questioned

    Apr 25, 2024

    “Why?!” That was what was shouted out by someone on the Board when the motion was made to remove the Associate Supervisors from the Green Mountain Conservation Board (GMCD) last week. Many may not be aware of the role of GMCD. This elected board serves in coordination with affiliated resource management agencies with a “…mission to champion balanced conservation solutions and partner with private landowners to keep our land and water healthy for the next generation… All 58 [Montana] conservation districts administer stream (310) permittin...

  • Montana Viewpoint

    Jim Elliott|Apr 25, 2024

    By now most Montana homeowners and business owners have gotten a new and unexpected tax bill from their county treasurers. Here’s why. Due in equal parts to Covid and to the TV series “Yellowstone,” Montana real estate became a hot item and the value of Montana property was bid way up in the process. Out-of-state buyers were calling up Montana realtors and buying homes and acreage sight unseen and paying for properties worth hundreds of thousands of dollars with their credit cards. This incre...

  • Mortgage Minute

    Michael Scharfe|Apr 25, 2024

    If you’ve been in a situation where you just applied for a loan, had your credit pulled, and then start getting phone calls from various creditors; you are not alone. This is called unsolicited credit or “trigger leads.” Trigger leads are created by credit bureaus. Once you apply for a loan, your information can be sold by the credit bureaus to other lenders. Trigger leads can be frustrating. You may experience a large number of phone calls, texts, e-mails, etc. from various creditors. These trigger leads are primarily geared towards givin...

  • Mayor's Corner

    Apr 25, 2024

    Happy Spring everyone. If it seems this article looks familiar, I did write about the Local Government Review a couple of months back. Because there have been more questions, I have added some additional information. The Local Government Review (LGR) is going to be voted on in this upcoming primary. Some residents of Sanders County will vote twice, once for the County question and if they live in an incorporated area, vote for their city. Some history: The 1972 Constitution established that the LGR was to be held by each Montana city and...

  • Legislative Update

    Apr 25, 2024

    Property Tax Assistance Program After discussions with the governor, the filing application deadline for the property tax assistance program has been extended until June 1, 2024. This program can help citizens on a fixed or limited income by reducing the tax rate on their home. To be eligible there are three important facts. 1. You must own or currently be under contract to purchase a home or mobile/manufactured home. 2. You must live in the home as a primary residence for at least seven months of the year. 3. You must have a 2022 Federal...

  • Sunday's Snapshots

    Sunday Dutro|Apr 18, 2024

    Recently, I read two opposing books on time. One told me time is a construct and I can therefore make more of it by focusing on what I want to accomplish. Another book said time is finite, I can never have more of it, but I can learn to use it better by focusing on what I want to accomplish. While both books had opposite views of time itself, both books believed time is a thing we can harness through focus. It’s a fascinating contrast, to come at something from two opposed ways and yet obtain the same result. Perhaps that’s why core math works,...

  • Our Viewpoint

    Annie Wooden|Apr 18, 2024

    In recent years there was an uproar about schools not teaching how to write in cursive anymore. A method of communication like landline phones and hand-written letters that is disappearing. It feels, however, like we're losing the basic skills of face-to-face communication. When I started writing this, I told my mom it feels like I broach this subject a lot. But it's worth repeating. It's not unusual in 2024 to go to a school board meeting or a city council meeting or a town hall meeting (all three of which I have attended in the last week)...

  • Our Viewpoint: Remember the good

    Annie Wooden|Apr 11, 2024

    Monday afternoon, I went to the Thompson Falls elementary school to watch the solar eclipse with the students. There was a lot of activity on the playground as students waited for a glimpse of the event. Some waited patiently and some ran around expelling energy until one of the adults advised of an upcoming break in the clouds. Each time the clouds parted for a matter of seconds to allow a view of the eclipse, the playground would rumble with screams and shouts. It was an amazing experience. The kids were so excited. I was probably more...

  • Impressive performances

    Apr 11, 2024

    Musicians from the Piatigorsky Foundation will once again be offering a world class performance here in Thompson Falls. Violinist Linda Rosenthal and pianist Maxim Pakhomov will perform at the Thompson Falls Christian Church on Friday, April 12, at 1 p.m. This concert is open to the public and free, having been paid for by the Clark Fork Enrichment Corp. I have been very fortunate to be able to attend the last three concerts held here. Famous cellist Evan Drachman, grandson of Gregor Piatigorsky, has come here twice along with an accomplished...

  • Freedom in truth

    Apr 11, 2024

    I love it when people feel the need to share their opinions on how your opinion is wrong; with statements like, “I think you will find that America is not the dark and dangerous place you think it is.” (Therefore, what I think must be true because I think it). Such [flawed] circular logic always leads to the same inevitable disastrous conclusions- “dark” beliefs absent of Light. The darkened soul of man comes to these false assumptions; not because they can’t think for themselves; or listen to the “mainstream” news; but because they refuse;...

  • Montana Viewpoint: 'Welcome to the end of democracy'

    Jim Elliott|Apr 11, 2024
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    “Welcome to the end of democracy. We are here to overthrow it completely,” said conservative activist Jack Posobiec at the February 2024 meeting of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). To which Steve Bannon, former Trump advisor said, “Amen.” (The New Republic, Feb. 23, 2024) Well, maybe they were just kidding, but let’s pretend they weren’t. After all, America is the birthplace of modern democracy, and we’ve got a lot invested in it. There was the Revolutionary War in which a bu...

  • Our Viewpoint: Common sense can protect you online

    Annie Wooden|Apr 4, 2024

    It's not uncommon these days to know someone who has been scammed online, or to have become a victim yourself. A presentation at the Thompson Falls Senior Center last week helped educate citizens on potential scams (see article on Page 4). While state officers said seniors are the biggest target, everyone is at risk. Scammers are getting more creative, and AI is providing more tools for scammers to improve their game. Instead of just calling your phone and saying you won a major prize but first you need to send money, scammers are getting more...

  • A Few Thoughts

    Sandy Compton|Apr 4, 2024

    It seems to be spring. Winter wasn’t so great, as winters go; after too many days of skiing last season, I’ve not had enough this year. But I’m grateful my knees still work after 34 seasons of sliding downhill; not perfectly, but still. Also, I only had to run the snow blower a few times. My doc tells me I’m good for another year. The new roof on my eternal rebuild project doesn’t leak. Plus, I live in the Northern Rockies, not Gaza, Ukraine or New York City. I once thought we lived in the Inland Northwest, but Dick Wentz asserted, “Compton, we...

  • Real Estate Trends

    Tina Daugherty|Apr 4, 2024

    March seemed like an early mud season to me. As to the real estate market, it was very stable with bare land slowing, and it is always the first to slow. The inventory levels pushed up just a stitch, but mostly remained level, thus inventory is still low and prices are still climbing on homes, but not land. Average land price for sales fell, while average home sale prices rose. The contingent sale activity is also encouraging. The commercial market trend is a leading indicator and may be showing that inflation is hitting home among business own...

  • Whatcha Readin'?

    Sunday Dutro|Apr 4, 2024

    This phenomenal weather is demanding that I put my books down and go outside. I don’t know how I’m going to read anything in the next five to six months, not when the crocuses are popping up and the daffodils and the iris’ (swoon). The books that cross my path are going to require five stars if they don’t want to end up in my Did Not Finish pile (yes, I have one). Why are DNF piles such a debate? There were tons of books throughout my life I was forced to read by school or work and books I forced myself to read because I thought they were im...

  • Our Viewpoint: MT's fifth season

    Annie Wooden|Mar 28, 2024

    In Montana we have many seasons. There are the four regular seasons, but then there is hunting season and boating season, and probably the most recognizable, wildfire season. In March, everyone is busy clearing up their yards and property. Both Plains and Thompson Falls will be sponsoring beautification days in the towns in an effort to help keep common areas clean and help neighbors clear out leftovers from fall and winter. March also brings open burning season in Montana. It was pretty obvious March 1 when the season started as you started...

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