Get informed and get out and vote

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National news headlines typical drive political conversations, but it’s local government that often has the greatest impact on our daily lives. Decisions about local zoning directly impact your neighborhood; decisions about water rates directly impact your household budget; and decisions about street and bridge repairs directly impact your daily commute to work.

This coming Tuesday, residents in Kalispell, Whitefish and Columbia Falls will have a chance to weigh in on the future makeup of their city councils — where these important decisions are made on a regular basis.

For the last three weeks the Daily Inter Lake has published a series of Q&As with candidates running for local city councils. Readers can find all of these articles archived online at www.dailyinterlake.com/local-elections. They’re easy to read, informative and give voters a good idea of where each candidate stands of pertinent issues facing each of the communities.

Study up, get informed and get out and vote.

Absentee and mail ballots must be returned to the Flathead County Election Department office by 8 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 5. Mail-ballot elections are slated for Whitefish and Columbia Falls. Kalispell will have a polling place on Nov. 5 at the Trade Center at the Flathead County Fairgrounds.

As CHS last week shuttered its downtown grain elevator operation that has been a fixture in downtown Kalispell since 1908, it was a time to look back — and forward — at the same time.

The iconic concrete grain silos have been a part of the downtown landscape since the town’s early days, and who’s to say how many millions of bushels of grain have flowed through there over the past 111 years. They served the Flathead Valley well.

But time marches on and now CHS is shifting its operations to the new Glacier Rail Park, where a set of shiny new grain silos now shape the skyline.

This transition is a pivotal one for Kalispell because the city now can move forward with plans to remove the now-defunct railroad tracks and replace them with a 2-mile trail that will run through the the core of Kalispell and connect with the Great Northern Historical Trail.

The farmers who grouped together in 1908 to make plans to build a grain elevator no doubt would marvel at the idea of a trail on the railroad bed. They were progressive thinkers, though, men who planned to equip their elevator with all the “labor saving devices” available at the time. They’d understand that things change — they always change. That’s progress.

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