Sunday, February 28, 2021

Weekly roundup: Hungry Horse Fire Dept. gets new leaders

| November 30, 2020 12:00 AM

The Hungry Horse Volunteer Fire Department underwent a changing of the guard late last month when Jared Lako and Tyler Lentz took over as fire chief and assistant chief, respectively, for the department’s previous long-standing leadership.

The two men replaced Junior Nelson, who served as the district’s fire chief for the last 34 years, and Pat Clanton, who served as Nelson’s assistant chief for nearly 15 of those years.

Nelson and Clanton are likely to stay on with the department in some capacity, but both were ready to pass the torch and take on roles of lesser responsibility, said Lako.

Lako, 38, has been part of the Hungry Horse Volunteer Fire Department for more than half of his life, serving as a firefighter on the force for nearly 20 years and holding the title of Captain for the last 12. He currently works as an evidence technician for the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office.

Lentz, 27, of Hungry Horse, has been around the Canyon area department for as long as he can remember. As a step-son of Nelson, Lentz and his brothers practically grew up at the station.

The new leadership is taking over at a hopeful time for the department, which has been plagued by financial difficulties for the past decade, but which, through diligence and sacrifice, has slowly been able to climb out to a level of promising solvency.

— Hungry Horse News

New Lincoln County election administrator resigns

Less than a week after this year’s general election, Chris Nelson, the newly appointed election administrator for Lincoln County, resigned from the job. Nelson handed in his resignation letter Nov. 9, according to Lincoln County clerk and Recorder Robin Benson.

County Administrator Patrick McFadden said Nelson left the job for personal reasons but did not elaborate.

Nelson had been appointed election administrator at the end of August when Leigh Riggleman stepped down.

“I thought he did a fantastic job,” County Commissioner Mark Peck said about Nelson. “I hate to see him go.”

— The Western News

Columbarium for veterans installed at Plains Cemetery

The Plains Cemetery has added a columbarium for veterans, thanks to the efforts of Joint Operation Mariposa, according to the Sanders County Ledger.

“There was a desire and a need to have a columbarium in Plains, said Dave Williams, president of Joint Operation Mariposa, a nonprofit organization in Sanders County that helps veterans.

The 1,200-pound columbarium was delivered to the cemetery a few weeks ago. It is designed for ash remains and has 160 spaces.

— Sanders County Ledger

STEAM program rolls into Alberton schools

Thanks to a transformational learning grant, the Alberton School District now has a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering Arts and Math) program.

Each month the school district will have a family night featuring a different topic, that will include parents, their children and the volunteer instructors.

Organizers acknowledged the COVID-19 pandemic likely will affect the fledgling program, but families will be kept in the loop via flyers sent home in backpacks and on Facebook. Interest was high at the inaugural family night held Nov. 18.

— Mineral Independent

Whitefish utility upgrades well underway

Two major infrastructure projects for the city of Whitefish are well underway.

The construction of the city’s new wastewater treatment plant south of town began over the winter and the expansion of the water treatment plant on the north side of town began this fall. Swank Enterprises is the general contractor on both projects.

Construction on the wastewater treatment plant is about 40% complete. The $24.8 million plant has been designed to meet more stringent state standards for treatment and serve the city up to a population of 20,000. Construction is expected to be completed in summer 2021.

Work on the construction of the expansion of the water treatment plant has begun. The construction contact for the plant work is $9.3 million.

The city is being required by the state DEQ to complete the upgrade to increase its water treatment capacity at the plant. The city currently operates at 3 million gallons of firm capacity water plant and the expansion will bring the city’s firm treatment capacity to 5 million gallons per day.

— Whitefish Pilot