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  • Our Viewpoint: Focusing on those everyday milestones

    Annie Wooden|Jun 20, 2024

    When does a day matter? When does an hour matter? Over the weekend I got to participate in a couple milestone birthdays. I attended Betty Meyer’s 100th birthday party at the Paradise Center. That same evening, I celebrated a close friend’s 50th birthday. Both milestones were worthy of joyous celebrations. As I drove home Saturday evening, however, it got me thinking about other milestones. We celebrate “big” birthdays such as your 21st, 40th of 100th, and anniversaries such as your first, 25th and 50th. For many people, each day is a milesto...

  • Our Viewpoint: Appreciating those who don't ask for it

    Annie Wooden|Jun 13, 2024

    The primary election is over. While we didn't have many local races on the ballots in the primary, statewide and federal elections are heating up. Turning on a local television or radio station, you'll see even more aggressive ads for congressional candidates. Campaign signs will become more prominent on the Sanders County landscape as the general election nears. There's so much attention on the people running for office and political issues that sometimes we lose focus on the hard work that is happening right here in our communities. Every...

  • Our Viewpoint: Speed radar signs will help our small town

    Annie Wooden|Jun 6, 2024

    Earlier this year, at the request of the city, the Department of Transportation extended the 25 mph and 35 mph speed zones in Thompson Falls. With that, there was a request to add speed radar signs that warn approaching motorists of their speed. The Thompson Falls Woman's Club has taken on fundraising for the speed radar signs, which run about $5,000 each. TFWC felt that the signs were so important that they started the fundraising effort as one of their community service projects. They have solicited donations from local businesses and...

  • Our Viewpoint: Another Ledgerversary

    Annie Wooden|May 30, 2024

    June 1 marks seven years since I bought The Ledger. On June 1, 2017, I walked in The Ledger and then owners Tom and Bina Eggensperger announced to the staff - many who I had worked with when I was in high school - that I had bought the business. It was the scariest and most exciting day of my life. I've worked at newspapers in some capacity since I was 15. Even when my career path ventured into other industries, I worked as a freelance journalist. Owning a business and being responsible for information that goes out to a whole county, as well a...

  • Our Viewpoint: Take discussion further

    Annie Wooden|May 23, 2024

    I attended a forum last Tuesday called "Sanders County Talks". The forum, on flyers posted throughout town, was billed as "an engaging community event where facts meet discussion." In attendance were more than 90 community members in person and another couple dozen via Zoom. Presenters talked about their issues with local government. One presenter gave information about how a budget works and what information should be included with a budget or financial report. I attend nearly every city council meeting and many of the meetings with the Sander...

  • Our Viewpoint: Community minded

    Annie Wooden|May 16, 2024

    I remember being in high school when the movie Titanic was released. My friend and I drove to Missoula to see it on opening weekend. It was a big deal to be able to go to the big city for opening weekend of a movie. That was a whole decade before Netflix first started its streaming service. Now, you can rent a movie and watch it from your own home. However, you miss the joys of the theater. The buttery popcorn, the fountain soda, the oversized boxes of candy and the energy that comes from a crowd breaking out in laughter or screaming and...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • Our Viewpoint

    Annie Wooden|Mar 21, 2024

    My favorite show growing up — and still one of my favorites now — was Little House on the Prairie. I love the idea of small communities supporting themselves and each other. When there was a barn raising, everyone showed up for the work and the celebration. When it was time for the harvest, everyone would gather for a large meal after the harvest was done. Food brings us together. In times of sickness or distress or in times of joy and celebration, there is always a meal to share. Think about when a family suffers a loss or an illness. Peo...

  • Our Viewpoint: It's OK to not have all the answers

    Annie Wooden|Mar 14, 2024

    When our reporter Shannon Brown started talking to schools about mental health, we had several conversations as a staff around the conference table about what direction the story would take. With three teens dying by suicide in the last six months, we felt the need to start a conversation. We watched schools and communities grieve and begin to heal. As journalists, how do we cover that? What can we do to help the communities? After recent presentations at Thompson Falls High School, we decided it was our responsibility to keep the conversation...

  • Our Viewpoint: Be humble and kind

    Annie Wooden|Mar 7, 2024

    You see a lot of instances in professional sports of athletes putting on a show of arrogance and entitlement. Flashy touchdown dances, photos of epic reactions to a dunk, or comments attacking an opponent (kind of like politics). It makes for good television and water cooler gossip. In that last week, though, I witnessed two instances of athletes being humble and grateful for everything they achieved. The first was Iowa's Caitlin Clark scoring her 3,685th point and breaking the all-time Division I basketball scoring record set by Pete Maravich,...

  • Our Viewpoint: There in times of need

    Annie Wooden|Feb 29, 2024

    Tuesday morning, the community of Noxon suffered an absolutely devastating loss. Several buildings and businesses were destroyed by fire. It is heartbreaking for the whole community, especially the business owners and employees. The loss of property is only the tip of what these community members - our neighbors - are going to endure in the aftermath of this fire. Thankfully no one was injured in the fire. Along with the cleanup efforts, now comes the "what do we do next?" stage for the community. When you only have a handful of businesses in...

  • Our Viewpoint: Living in the wild

    Annie Wooden|Feb 22, 2024

    One day last week, I got home to let my dog outside in the afternoon and in the field behind our house, a massive golden eagle was demolishing a turkey. I was taken aback because I didn’t understand what was happening at first and couldn’t tell what was out there. The predator was massive against the small “town turkey” and I was shocked at what I was seeing. It caused quite a ruckus among the flock of 50 or so turkeys that was congregating in groups in the field. When the large eagle took off, it looked like a creature from a fantasy movie a...

  • Our Viewpoint: All on the same team

    Annie Wooden|Feb 15, 2024

    In between the Mr. Swift show and the Usher concert on Sunday, I had the chance to review some fifth-grade Social Studies. My young friend was studying the Declaration of Independence, and she was surprised at how much I remembered and knew about it (she was also impressed that I knew the names of Christopher Columbus's three ships). I was a little surprised at how much I remembered as well. I was also surprised at how much still applies today. Life was different in the 18th century, no one can deny that, but I'm pretty sure most Americans...

  • Practicing old skills

    Annie Wooden|Feb 8, 2024

    I've been making an effort lately to practice some skills that I haven't used very often in the last few years, and I think are becoming lost arts. The first is writing hand-written cards. I have a friend who, after every holiday or birthday, has her kids sit down and write thank-you cards. It makes a person feel special to get a card in the mail. It's nice to know people think of you with texts and emails, but taking the time to write a card, address the envelope and put it in the mail is worth the extra effort. Opening your mailbox to find mo...

  • Our Viewpoint: Celebrating a Ledger milestone

    Annie Wooden|Feb 1, 2024

    I love going back and looking at past Ledgers, but this week was a special adventure. This edition you're reading begins the 120th volume (or year) of our weekly publication. That first edition was published February 24, 1905. The Ledger back in 1905 focused on what was happening throughout the nation and the world. Bakers in New York City were on strike, causing a bread shortage. Russia was dominating the world news. There were proceedings over oil leases on the Osage Nation. This topic is back in the forefront with last year's "Killers of a...

  • Our Viewpoint: Getting back to the big game

    Annie Wooden|Jan 25, 2024

    When Justin Timberlake performed during the Super Bowl halftime show in 2018, I joked with everyone that they were going to try and play football during the Justin Timberlake concert. I’ve been making the same joke this year because one of my good friends loves Usher (the 2024 Super Bowl halftime entertainment) just about as much as I love JT. However, this year, with the possibility of the Kansas City Chiefs making the big game, there’s a whole new level of celebrity surrounding football. In case you’ve been under a rock this NFL seaso...

  • Our Viewpoint

    Annie Wooden|Jan 18, 2024

    I'm not sure you can put enough "r"s in the word "Brrr" to fully capture last weekend in northwest Montana. It was fascinating to watch the temperature go lower and lower. Saturday morning, as the thermometer was hovering at -21, I was one of the only people venturing out. I wanted to make sure the office was toasty and delivered water and heaters to some friends whose pipes had frozen. There were not many people out and about. I worry about the animals in the cold — the wildlife and the farm animals and stray dogs and cats. They were all hunke...

  • Our Viewpoint: Find reasons to celebrate

    Annie Wooden|Jan 11, 2024

    We're journalists, so we're curious. When we heard about the National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day event at Plains School, my reporter asked if I knew the history of the day. I didn't, so I started doing some research. It's a fantastic idea to honor law enforcement with a day and show them how much they are appreciated. It takes a special person to put your life on the line, not to mention the hours law enforcement works and the daily situations they encounter. So when I was doing my research, I stumbled upon the website...

  • Our Viewpoint: Step out of your comfort zone

    Annie Wooden|Jan 4, 2024

    There are certain things in life that you just have to figure out. We learn to problem solve, especially in a rural area. If you can't get leeks or curry at the grocery store, you learn to improvise. We also have a lot of people here who are experts at random tasks. There are people who can hem pants or fix small car issues with ease. I like being prepared. I like knowing what I'm getting into. If I am going somewhere new for an interview, I will look at the directions several times to make sure I know where I'm going in case there is no servic...

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