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As I look out my window, the smoke from the Bush fire is belching upward behind the fabled profile of the Superstition Mountains. The fire has closed Highway 87 that joins the Phoenix metro area to Payson, one of its exurbs.  Some small communities are evacuating.   Read Article

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We are at a good place in history, and we are at that good place because we are facing adversity together. It is sad to think that many had to die to spur us to action, but good times don’t seem to move us forward as a people, bad times do. Read Article

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I arrived in Boulder in November 2018 with a $50 Town Pump card in my wallet. Google had given me the impression that the gas station was the closest thing Boulder had to a coffee shop, a state of affairs I lamented to my former boss; she bought me the card as a going away gift. Happily I so… Read Article

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The recent outbreak of the new coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease it causes, has been devastating to nearly everyone. It has become a global pandemic sending a massive wave of fear to nearly everyone across the planet. The times in which we live are scary and uncharted. Nobody knows what … Read Article

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I have a calendar stuck to the side of my fridge. Most days I scrawl notes across the squares to keep my family’s life in check: Dentist appointment, vet appointment, storytime at the library. But lately, the squares are empty and we’re hunkered down at home, confined by COVID-19. Read Article

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I thank John Ilgenfritz of Helena for looking at my ideas (‘Lots to ‘chew on’ in The Monitor,” Jan. 22). He wrote: “A couple of weeks ago [DeVries] talked about virtually shrinking Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services to 0 over 20 years by cutting its budget by 10% every se… Read Article

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When assessing the maladies that ail our society, the cornerstone that is the family is turning to dust. The demise of the cornerstone is due to crumbling fathers, and parents in general. A society is built of families, a structure of micro-cultures that will only be as successful as each in… Read Article

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The new year has begun: Second semester began Jan. 27, and numerous events will take place including plays, staff training, JHS days and school planning. Read Article

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We are in a time of cultural division. A day of drawing sides, establishing positions and rallying sympathizers. Some preach civility and tolerance, others enjoin backbone and principles. At the crux of this societal seesaw is the struggle over the hilt of the sword of the state. Some desire… Read Article

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Education is meant to nurture and prepare students for life after graduation, whatever that next step may be. Our students and educators face many challenges, but mental health stands out among them. It is no secret that Montana leads the nation in teenage and childhood suicide. Read Article

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In the movie “Hondo,” John Wayne’s character throws a boy in the water to learn to swim so he might get to the other side of the pond for better fishing. The mother was horrified, but the boy survived and was not traumatized. In fact, he was elated to achieve better fishing and the skill of … Read Article

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The worst thing about a Congressional closed-door hearing is that the opposition does not get any press when they posture and pontificate on the unfairness of whatever. The best thing about closed-door hearings is that, “The private ones always produce better results.” That’s not my opinion,… Read Article

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I was asked, and happily comply with the request, to respond to readers who voice concerns over my positions. I deeply appreciate the effort by Dean Grenz of Boulder to contact me personally in addition to submitting letters to The Monitor. All of my contact info is included in each piece an… Read Article

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(Editor’s note: At the start of the school year, Jefferson High School teacher Kelsey Voeller assigned an essay to her Honors English I class to get to know her new students. “It was to be a personal narrative with a lesson learned in the end that altered their perception of something they o… Read Article

Commissioners’ Report
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The Jefferson County budget for Fiscal Year 2020 reflects the Commission’s desire to continue to progress while keeping taxpayers in mind. For the past couple years, we have been able to reduce the mill levies at the county level, and this year we reduced them by four mills. We are not sure … Read Article

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The cold bite in the air signals that school is upon us. As a fifth-grade teacher, I know it’s an exciting time for students, teachers and parents. Like other Montana teachers, I have been preparing for my new students. My goal as a teacher is to create a learning environment that engages st… Read Article

Commissioner’s Report
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We held our board meeting in Elk Park on July 30 at the fire station. It was a great meeting with around 20 folks attending. We had reports from the county planner and county extension agent. We also had some good discussion about roads and their maintenance in the area. There were some conc… Read Article

Montana Viewpoint
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When a large company decides to expand or move its headquarters it considers many factors: labor market, transportation, “amenities” that make employees want to live there (or at least not leave), and bribery. Read Article

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As the month of July has ended, the busy schedule of prepping JHS for the coming school year continues. The custodial crew has been working diligently with cleaning, waxing and painting. The FCS room is currently being updated and remodeled, and the library has received new carpet. Additiona… Read Article

Commissioner’s Report
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Our road department has been busy with projects throughout the county this summer. They have been fixing parts of roads that had major frost heave damage from the significant winter we had earlier this year. They have been prepping roads for dust oil but have had to postpone the application … Read Article

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I have had the honor and privilege to serve as a Montana legislator in the House and the Senate since 2009. I am proud to represent Jefferson County as your Montana state senator. I have learned a great deal about our wonderful state of Montana. For a legislator, the learning experience is n… Read Article

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In “The Secret Garden,” Colin Craven is treated as a cripple and pandered to, which causes him to become selfish and hostile. Everyone pities him and caters to his whims, thinking he is helpless. Ultimately, it is discovered he was fine all along, and respect and independence is what he need… Read Article

Commissioner's Report
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Recently we Jefferson County Commissioners have been getting a number of questions about some of the projects we are working on. It has become obvious that most people have little or no knowledge about what their local government is doing. This has been an issue forever. It seems that about … Read Article

Checkpoint Jefferson County: The Veteran’s Perspective
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The availability of quality, inexpensive health care has always been important to individuals and families across the nation. In fact, health care has already become one of the most hotly debated topics in the run-up to the 2020 Presidential election. Part of the debate must be centered on p… Read Article

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Our dear governor aspires to the presidency and is touting his ability to work across the aisle with a Republican controlled House and Senate to pass Democrat priorities. With the “solutions caucus” acting as if they are in heat, this is about as challenging as falling over and hitting the g… Read Article

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This spring continues to provide challenges for the Jefferson High School track, golf and tennis teams, but they’ve been able to get in some competition over the past couple of weeks. The month of May will be busy with competitions including district, divisional and state meets. It looks lik… Read Article

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Session 66 is now a historical fact. The Minority leader stood to offer his final oblation and declared his approval of the session, citing the fact that the Dems met nearly all of their goals. I silently agreed with him, and dropped my shovel, defeatedly. Read Article

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The month of February is behind us, one full of plenty of snow, extreme cold and school events. The month included the state wrestling and District, divisional and State basketball tournaments, as well as school plays and local events. Read Article

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As the month of February is about to begin, I would like to share some of the events and happening from JHS. The first semester has ended and second semester classes are underway. A number of recent events will be taken place including plays, staff training and school planning. Read Article

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The first quarter of the year has ended and November is upon us. Progress continues to be made in adding dual credit opportunities for students with Computer Coding, Technical Math, and Early Childhood Development being added for the second semester. Additional college credit opportunities c… Read Article

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The past two weeks have been busy with MAPS testing and homecoming festivities. The “J” was painted and the halls were decorated the Friday before homecoming week to provide more time for homecoming Friday events. It seemed to work better and allowed those students who wanted to participate … Read Article

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The month of July is behind us and the official start of school is on the immediate horizon. All new freshmen will report to school on August 20th and the entire student population will be in attendance on August 22nd. Both of these days will be early dismissal and staff will have profession… Read Article

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As the month of July begins, the busy schedule of prepping JHS for the coming school year continues. The heavy June rains brought to light a roof leak in the north gym that was recently repaired, just in time to have the north gym floor refinished. The custodial crew has been working diligen… Read Article

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It looks like we might get a little bit of spring weather so that the JHS spring sports can get in some competition. The state meets for golf, tennis, and track are less than a month away and the student athletes have only had a couple of meets. It should be a whirlwind finish to the spring … Read Article

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The month of March has ended and a number student activities and competitions have taken place. Winter sports have concluded and a couple of Panthers gained All-Conference recognition for basketball. Aubrey McMaster and Josh Eckmann were named 1st Team All-Conference and All-State. Ellie Eve… Read Article

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The month of February is behind us, one full of snow, cold, and school events and successes. I was able to take in the Montana State All Class wrestling tournament, a great spectacle, and watch the JHS Panthers perform quite well. Nate Burnett finished 2nd, Nick Workman 5th, and Travis Jacob… Read Article

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