Saturday, January 28, 2023

Community briefs

| November 27, 2022 12:00 AM

Lookout Association volunteer event

The Northwest Montana Lookout Association is hosting a volunteer appreciation event from 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 1 at Bias Brewing’s new location, 412 Main St. in downtown Kalispell to support the accomplishments of the 2022 field season.

This past summer dozens of volunteers contributed over 900 hours with an in-kind value of over $30,000, drove over 6,000 miles to help with five restoration projects and six assessments. Restoration and assessment work continued at Northwest Peak, Meadow Peak, Mount Wam, McGuire Mountain, Big Creek Baldy, Robinson Peak and Star Peak lookouts on the Kootenai National Forest and Mount Brown, Apgar, Numa Ridge and Swiftcurrent lookouts in Glacier National Park. The NMLA works closely with the four Kootenai National Forest ranger districts, Glacier National Park, the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation and Flathead National Forest.

The Northwest Montana Lookout Association, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting Federal and State agencies in the restoration and maintenance of fire lookouts and other historic support structures on public lands.

Bigfork church hosts series

Community United Methodist Church of Bigfork ‘Did You Know’ series presents Victoria Livschitz, Monday, Dec. 5. A potluck dinner will be at 6 p.m. with the presentation to follow. Bring a dish to share if joining the potluck.

Born in the Ukraine and now residing in Whitefish, Livschitz has led an adventurous life — she’s trekked across Patagonia, Peru and Alaska, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, and thru-hiked the 211-mile John Muir Trail and the Coast-to-Coast trail in the United Kingdom. She founded Grid Dynamics, a large technology firm, and most recently, RightOnTrek in the Flathead Valley. Livschitz will share her experience about growing up in the Soviet Union, her journey to the U.S., and what motivates her to keep pushing her limits mentally and physically.

Community United Methodist Church Bigfork is located at 750 Electric Ave., Bigfork.

Lakeside tree lighting

West Shore Community Library and The Cabins at Blacktail are co-hosting Lakeside's Christmas Tree Lighting celebration from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2, at Volunteer Park.

Festivities include a light display, complimentary s'mores bar and hot chocolate, fire pits, music, food trucks and specialty cookies, Tamarack Brewing will be on hand, and there will be a special appearance by Santa, Mrs. Claus and their elves.

The tree lighting will take place at 6:30 p.m.

Bring an unwrapped game, toy or book or canned food item to benefit Westshore Toys for Kids and the Food Bank.

Free meals

Community Kitchen-Feeding the Flathead offers the following free meals in Kalispell during December. All meals are served at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted and everyone is welcome.

Central Christian Church, 248 Second Ave. E. — Dec. 1, 6, 13, 20, 27, 28

Calvary Lutheran Church, 2200 U.S. 2 E. — Dec. 5, 12, 19, 26

Samaritan House Auxiliary Center, 111 Second St. W. — Dec. 3, 10, 17, 24, 31

First Presbyterian Church, 540 S. Main St. — Dec. 8, 15, 22, 29

Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 603 S. Main St. — Dec. 12,19, 26

Adventure Church, Fourth Street West and Second Avenue West — Dec. 24

Hungry Horse Elementary School — Dec. 22, 5:30 p.m.

St. Richard Catholic Church, 1210 Ninth St. W., Columbia Falls — Dec. 30, 31- 5 p.m.

Evergreen Community Meals — 2200 U.S. 2 E. Dec.

Brunch with Santa

Brunch with Santa returns Dec. 3 at Timber Creek Village, one of the most popular events of the holiday season is back in Columbia Falls this year, after a two-year absence due to Covid-19.

Brunch with Santa has been an annual event much-anticipated by children and parents for a dozen years. Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Columbia Falls, it follows the arrival of Santa at the annual Night of Lights parade down Nucleus Avenue in downtown Columbia Falls the night before, Dec. 2.

Doors open at 9:30 a.m., Dec. 3, at Timber Creek Village, 375 Meadow Lake Blvd., to welcome children and families to talk to Santa and enjoy a meal while gathering with friends and family in the spirit of Christmas. Throughout the morning there will be a silent auction for dozens of donated goods and services from area businesses and individuals.

Kids 12 and younger are free to enter with an adult, for whom tickets for the meal are $10. All proceeds go back to the community via the charitable work of the Rotary Club.

"It's our major fundraiser of the year," said club Pres. Roger Hopkins. "The success of our efforts are due to the generosity of community residents and businesses."

The proceeds support numerous activities, including the Boys and Girls Club, which has received more than $15,000 in the last 12 years in money and in-kind donations; CASA for Kids; Flathead CARE; Braveheart Ministries; elementary afterschool sports programs, and dictionaries to third-graders. Donations have also gone to Boy Scout Troop 1941 the past several years. Donations and club-member dues also support international projects, such as polio immunization and work in Guatemala providing clean water in rural communities.

Club members also donate time and labor to the Food Pantry and Land-to-Hand, both in Columbia Falls. In addition, the club sends high school students to the Rotary Youth Leadership Academy in Montana each summer, and provides a $500 scholarship to RYLA campers who continue their education beyond high school. This has amounted to over $5,000 since the club started these donations.

Club secretary-treasurer Roger Elliott said another crucial part of the event are the in-kind donations and support from local businesses, such as food from the Nite Owl, Tien's, Laurie's Deli, Three Forks Grille, Backslope Brewery, Panera Bread Restaurant, the Uptown Hearth, and Outlaw Diner. Timber Creek Village provides the space for the event at no charge, and several banks and businesses provide sponsorships with donations ranging from $100 to $1,000 or more in cash.

"This event, and the club's work throughout the year, couldn't happen without all this community support," Elliott said.

Businesses and individuals who have not been contacted and wish to donate can call 406-892-1905 to leave a message, or send an email to Donations can also be made via PayPal on the club's website

Christmas Bazaar

The Dandy Dudes and Dolls 4-H Club is hosting its 13th annual 4-H Country Christmas Bazaar from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, at the Eastside Grange Hall, 27 Creston Road in Kalispell.

Hand-crafted gifts, baked goods, local direct sellers, and a chili/hot dog/baked potato lunch will all be available.

Proceeds benefit the Dandy Dudes and Dolls 4-H Club and Eastside Grange. These organizations use funds for scholarship programs and various community service projects. Non-perishable food items will be collected for the North West Montana Veterans Food Pantry.

Cheerful Heart serves Lake County cancer patients

Cancer patients in Lake County, who are currently in treatment, can receive non-medical services provided by Cheerful Heart at no charge. The nonprofit offers services that include transportation to treatment or medical appointments, running errands, prepared meals, walking dogs, or tasks as requested.

Cheerful Heart provides volunteers for the Oncology Clinics in Polson and Ronan. Currently St. Luke’s in Ronan, is seeing patients via telehealth. Cheerful Heart volunteers serve soup Tuesdays at the Polson clinic. Both clinics carry inventories of head coverings, Knitted Knockers (breast prosthesis) and ComfyChemo shirts available for no charge to patients.

The Cheerful Heart Support Group meets from noon to 1 p.m., on the second and fourth Wednesdays in the Leahy Conference Room on the third floor of St. Joseph Medical Center.

Cheerful Heart Inc. has served cancer patients in Lake County since 2002. Those with questions or needs can call 406-883-3070. Visit the website at or email The mailing address for the organization is Cheerful Heart, P.O. Box 688, Polson, MT 59860.

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