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Weekly roundup: Whitefish School Board OKs staff stipend

| November 23, 2020 12:00 AM

The Whitefish School District plans to give all teachers in the district a lump-sum stipend in recognition of the time they've spent planning and adjusting operations to reopen schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The board last week approved the stipend, a one-time extra compensation of $546.80 that will come out of the district’s coronavirus relief budget. In early September, the district received $831,000 in relief funding as part of money granted to schools across the state by Gov. Steve Bullock.

“This is an opportunity to recognize some of the efforts that our staff is putting in this year, in order to help them during this COVID-19 (pandemic) and how we’re proceeding,” Superintendent Dave Means said.

The stipend represents about 20 hours of curriculum pay, Means noted.

All of the money from the $831,000 coronavirus relief fund is required to be spent on COVID-19 related necessities by Dec. 30.

— Whitefish Pilot

Bigfork gets athletic director at no cost

As part of its local philanthropic work, Kalispell Regional Healthcare is providing an athletic director for Bigfork High School for a minimum of one year starting this month, according to a contract between Summit Medical Fitness Center, owned by Kalispell Regional, and Bigfork Schools.

The trainer is being provided at no cost. Sean Kehl will be assigned to Bigfork High and will also work at Bigfork Middle School until a trainer can be found for that school as well, according to Bigfork High Principal Mark Hansen.

Kehl holds a degree in athletic training, and a central focus of his work will be on concussion management.

— Bigfork Eagle

Tobacco Valley publisher retires

Longtime Tobacco Valley publisher Gary Montgomery is retiring after 29 years of publishing his historical journal called The Trail, according to the Tobacco Valley News.

The quarterly publication has offered interviews with Tobacco Valley old-timers, history buffs, photographs, memoirs and chronicles of early settlers of the area.

Montgomery started his venture in 1992 first as The Tobacco Plains Journal, and renamed it The Trail when it became a quarterly publication four years later. Years earlier he had operated a print shop in Eureka.

The final edition of The Trail will be published in late December.

— Tobacco Valley News

C-Falls Brunch with Santa canceled

The Columbia Falls Rotary Club is canceling the annual Brunch with Santa due to coronavirus concerns.

The cancellation is unfortunate, club leaders said, because it’s the top fundraiser for the organization, which donates all of the money it raises back to community organizations and projects.

The club usually holds the event in Timber Creek Village assisted-living center, which is closed to public use.

Club President Max Faller said folks can still support the Rotary by going to the club’s website at columbiafallsrotary.com or the club’s Facebook page at facebook/CfallsRotary.


The club has done a world of good over the years, including donating $15,000 in money and in-kind donations to the Boys and Girls Club. It also supports CASA for kids, Flathead CARE, Braveheart Ministries, Columbia Falls after-school sports, and local Boy Scout troop 1941. It also sends local youths to Rotary leadership camps.

— Hungry Horse News

Polson hosting resort tax forums

The city of Polson has scheduled a series of public forums leading up to the Feb. 2 special election on a proposed resort tax that would fund improvements to the city’s streets.

The forums will include an informational presentation and an opportunity for attendees to submit questions to city staff.

Public forums are scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 15, and 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 19. The exact format for those forums — whether remote or in-person — has yet to be determined and will be announced at a later date.

The Polson City Commission voted unanimously Oct. 5 to send the resort tax proposal to voters. If approved, the measure would put in place a 3% tax on select luxury retail items and services for 20 years beginning July 1. It would return 3% of funds collected to vendors with 97% going to the city. Of that 97%, 17% would go toward property tax relief, 80% would go toward city street improvements and 3% would be allocated to administrative costs.

City Manager Ed Meece has been meeting with various community, business and neighborhood groups in an effort to explain how the tax would work and answer questions. Those seeking to schedule a group meeting may contact Meece at citymanager@cityofpolson.com or 406-883-8207.

— Lake County Leader