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Ravalli County News

Local, regional, and statewide news continually updated from thousands of sources on the web.

9 hrs ago | The Bitterroot Star

Forest fires/valley smoke

The US Forest Service provides fire protection for over half the county, and there are about 12 fire stations protecting the remaining parts of the county.Single engine air tankers are the quickest and best means of attacking small fires in inaccessible forest terrain before they become big fires.

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Related Topix: Weather

Wed Jul 23, 2014

The Bitterroot Star

Quack, quack

The running joke was, "A student approaches and propositions one of them. Her response - What kind of a girl do you think I am? Not to be deterred, he tries again .

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The Bitterroot Star

Clerk and Recorder appointed Interim Treasurer

This decision pretty much memorializes the status quo for how the Treasurer's Office has been handled since the departure of former Treasurer Valerie Stamey.

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The Bitterroot Star

County dodging dust duties

As last week's article about the cancellation of Ravalli County's Dust Abatement Program stated, I believe that road dust is a serious health hazard, and not just for people living beside dirt roads.

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Tue Jul 22, 2014

KFBB

Authorities identify man killed in ATV crash

Ravalli County authorities have identified the 20-year-old Stevensville man who died when his all-terrain vehicle collided with a pickup truck.

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Related Topix: Stevensville, MT

Thu Jul 17, 2014

The Missoula Independent Online

Project runway

Ravalli County gets riled up over its airport expansion by Ted McDermott Dave Hedditch stands on the cracked taxiway of the Ravalli County Airport in Hamilton, points to the northeast and says, 'You see that fence out there? That's where the new runway's gonna go.'

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Related Topix: Hamilton, MT

Tue Jul 15, 2014

The Bitterroot Star

Commissioners reject FOIA request for mailing list

Campbell, who has a home right next to the dirt road, was hoping to enlist other people in his protest against the suspension of the program this year which allows private landowners to pay for the magnesium chloride which the county would then apply to suppress dust along the county road in front of their property.When Campbell filed his complaint ... (more)

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Fri Jul 11, 2014

KFBB

Vet center employee charged with making threat

An employee of a veterans' service center in Hamilton faces charges that allege he put a note on the center door that appeared to threaten him for testifying against a co-worker who was acquitted of threatening the president.

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Tue Jul 08, 2014

The Bitterroot Star

Human rights complaint against county released to public

Senn claims to have been discriminated against by the County when they fired her from her job in September, 2013.

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Related Topix: Law, Employment / Labor Law

The Bitterroot Star

Support for county airport expansion

It has been determined that, and I thought settled, there is a more than adequate need to improve the Ravalli County Airport to bring it up to modern day safety standards.

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Related Topix: University of Southern California, Hamilton, MT

Thu Jul 03, 2014

The Bitterroot Star

Treasurer's attorney sanctioned in unrelated case

The court found it to be "the minimum amount necessary to deter Mr. Myers from future comparable misconduct."

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Related Topix: Criminal Defense Law, Law

The Bitterroot Star

Citizens say no to changing Stevi Airport regs

Of the thirty-eight people who spoke, not a single person spoke in favor of the proposal.This was the second public hearing to be held on the proposed AAA.

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Related Topix: Stevensville, MT

The Bitterroot Star

Pertaining to Treasurer Stamey

"I'm ashamed of the way we treated her." You should be ashamed that you put yourself and her ahead of the Citizens of Ravalli County.Yes, Suzy it was you, with first Kanenwisher, and then Burrows, who took his place beside you and Stoltz who have been wrong for Ravalli County.

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Wed Jul 02, 2014

The Bitterroot Star

So why not have a Walmart?

By Cobey Williamson, CorvallisAllowing a Wal-Mart to be built in Hamilton is as good as giving up on the future of the Valley.

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Related Topix: Corvallis, MT, Hamilton, MT, Agriculture, Science

The Bitterroot Star

Airport comment period extended

After some pressure from ICAARE and Senator Testor's office, the FAA has extended the comment period until July 25. If you did not have time to respond earlier, you do now.Write: Daniel M. Norderud, AICPEnvironmental Studies Division ManagerRobert Peccia & Associates, Inc.P.O. Box 5653Helena, Mt 59604or email dan@rpa-hln.com You should also send ... (more)

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Related Topix: US News, Federal Aviation Administration

The Bitterroot Star

County files lawsuit and suspends treasurer

The county is also seeking $29,000 for 58 separate instances of failing to fulfill her statutory duties as Treasurer by refusing or neglecting to file reports or make settlements.

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Related Topix: Criminal Defense Law, Law

Thu Jun 26, 2014

KFBB

Ravalli County suspends treasurer without pay

Stamey was placed on paid leave five months ago for failing to balance the books, file reports and disburse money to towns, fire departments and other entities, including the state.

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Tue Jun 24, 2014

The Bitterroot Star

Star to get access to human rights complaint

Senn filed the complaint on September 18, 2013, alleging that Ravalli County discriminated against her in employment and retaliated against her for complaining about the discrimination.

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Related Topix: Law, Employment / Labor Law, Great Falls, MT, Cascade County, MT

The Bitterroot Star

Many lives affected by Foss's bad decisions

 

Did we really hear on KPAX last week Commissioner Suzy Foss plead for some compassion for Valerie Scott Addis Stamey? Did she really say, "This is a life we're talking about."?

Foss's hypocrisy and utter lack of self-awareness are stunning. I don't recall her pleading with her colleagues to consider with compassion the life of David Ohnstad, who she voted to fire for no reason at all in January 2012.

Ohnstad had been an extremely competent county road supervisor for seven years before Foss and her fellow travelers Ron Stoltz and Matt Kanenwisher got hold of him. The official reason for Ohnstad's unnecessary termination is - " no surprise to anyone who has been watching this disastrous county commission these past three-and-a-half years - " a lie. Foss, Stoltz and Kanenwisher had tried to fire Ohnstad several months earlier over a relatively minor incident that turned out to be someone else's fault. When they found they couldn't fire Ohnstad for something he didn't do, they cast around for another concocted reason and settled on some non-existent culverts on the least-used road in Ravalli County, Upper Woodchuck. Foss, Stoltz and Kanenwisher accused Ohnstad of lying about these culverts, saying they went missing in the course of some roadwork there. The claim came from two affected landowners who benefited more than anyone from the roadwork: Aldo Sardot and his wife Niki Sardot who, coincidentally, is Foss's former high school classmate from southern California.

After the Sardots wrote a nice thank-you letter to the county for a job well done on Upper Woodchuck Road, they apparently had second thoughts and lodged a complaint with the commissioners about missing culverts, with county attorney Bill Fulbright and his deputy Howard Recht ultimately doing the heavy legal lifting for the Sardots.

The commission notified Ohnstad by registered letter while he was visiting family out-of-state that his job was on the line and he had a day or two to respond. Since he could not be back in Hamilton in time for his own firing, he hired a lawyer to buy him some time.

Several months later, and following a day-long hearing at which no evidence was presented to back up the ludicrous and meritless claim of missing culverts (hardly a fireable offense even if true, as Commissioner J.R. Iman correctly pointed out) they voted 3-2 to fire him.

Where was the compassion for the life of this valuable civil servant who, unlike the spectacularly incompetent Scott-Addis-Stamey, actually knew what he was doing? I was present at the star chamber when Ohnstad was fired and I don't recall Foss pleading for some compassion for "someone's life" that was about to be thrown into personal, professional and financial turmoil.

Nor were Stoltz, Foss and Kanenwisher honest enough or smart enough to discuss with the taxpayers what I believe to be the actual reason for Ohnstad's termination, which, of course, had nothing to do with any bogus culverts, but had everything to do with privatizing the road department. There's probably a way to achieve that goal, but firing the road supervisor on made-up charges as the first step is not a good start.

Ohnstad was a professional, experienced, meticulous road supervisor who had carefully and methodically prepared a county-wide seven-year road improvement plan, had won for his department a state safety award for two years running - " thereby keeping our insurance rates low - " had earned the respect of his crew, and had brought in between $15 million and $17 million in federal, state and forest grants to perform an unprecedented amount of road repair in Ravalli County. Then they hired two people to replace him and paid him $125,000 in an out-of-court settlement as a tacit acknowledgment of their poor management skills and inability to govern.

Then there are the lives of the 20 or so $9 and $10 an hour clerks who were summarily fired. Again, we didn't hear any concern voiced for the lives of good, working people cavalierly thrown out like so much trash. Or for the lives of the 450 mostly-female patients of the family planning clinic who lost their health care when commissioners Foss, Stoltz and Jeff Burrows foisted their personal religious beliefs on everyone else.

No, what we heard was a plea to consider Stamey's "life." How ironic that Foss pleads with her colleagues to consider the life of the one employee who was certifiably inept. All the other fired employees - " the ones she did not plead for - " were fine civil servants who were not only perfectly competent, but in Ohnstad's case, exemplary, and much more deserving of the compassion they didn't receive.

If we can request anything of Foss before she leaves office this year, it would be a sincere and heartfelt "I'm sorry" to the people whose lives Foss did not plead for.

Carlotta Grandstaff

Hamilton

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The Bitterroot Star

Current airport expansion proposal flawed

By Rich Morrisey, CorvallisWith minimal public notice and virtually no public awareness, our Commissioners are about to foist a major airport expansion on us.

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Related Topix: US News, Federal Aviation Administration

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