The Cheerful Tribune

chicken picI recently told some friends I was going to start my own newspaper with good news only. It would be called The Cheerful Tribune.

This came about because of all the awful news out there, important information, but sometimes draining to consume, like the hell in Ferguson, the people in Detroit who can’t get water, the other stories that sound like they’re from a third world country.

The Cheerful Tribune would be the antidote. Good news only! Weekly feature of what you like best about your dog! Stories of neighbors who alert neighbors to miscreants in their yard! People who know how to play the cello really well!

Alright. Are you sick to your stomach yet? I am, a little, but here at the Missoulian, we’re actually delving into a corner of Missoula that truly is turning out to have a lot of good news. Photographer Tom Bauer and I have been following the Youth Harvest crew of Garden City Harvest, and we’ve been running profiles of the crew members each week.

That’s Katelyn Cox in the photo with a runaway chicken who didn’t run fast enough. Here’s her profile, from last week.

You can meet Nate Charles here, and you can read about others, too. I just watched the video Tom Bauer produced of Charles, and I’m going to paste that right here, too. It’s a good one.

That’s all for now.


We’ll do cynical another time.

– Keila Szpaller

Missoula’s sewer rates lowest in the state

Story about public v. private utility rates here, with numbers from a 2014 survey by AE2S, an engineering firm based in North Dakota.

The survey also shows Mountain Water Co.’s rates are relatively high in Montana, according to cities that reported numbers this year. The survey doesn’t account for the different ways utilities handle capital costs.

Other news? The Missoula Independent has a story about Forward Montana’s upcoming 10-year anniversary and some of the successes it has claimed along the way.

Happy summer in Montana!

– Keila Szpaller

A cool exhibit downtown Missoula, and more


If you didn’t make it to First Friday but have an interest in the shows, check out “Urban Pop” at Glacier Sotheby’s International Realty, the Maddux Group.

In other news, a decision is delayed on the cleanup plan for the White Pine Sash site. That story here.

The North Missoula Community Development Corporation has retained a lawyer, and it has opened a legal defense fund to raise money for attorney’s fees. See the Crowdrise page here.

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality’s Scott Graham talked with me about the agency’s decision-making process. It’s hard to understand how the DEQ comes to its final cleanup orders.

A ton of people have offered public comment. 

“We absolutely appreciate the input,” Graham said.

He stressed that point, and I tried to understand how the input would be taken into account. It’s not a popularity contest, but community acceptance is part of the equation.

Would comments from the neighborhood actually effect any change? Graham said he’s glad everyone is involved, and I told him people would be mad if they put so much energy into comment and were, in the end, ignored.

“We wouldn’t not do what they want without really good reason,” Graham said.

I asked him if one option might be the DEQ order the vacant portion of the property cleaned to residential standards – and the rest cleaned to commercial and industrial standards. A compromise, of sorts.

“To me, it seems like it might be reasonable. I don’t know. Again, we have to take a look at what’s the difference in the cost, which is part of it,” Graham said.

He also said technically, such a plan would be doable. However, acceptance by the parties involved is another matter.

That’s because other parts of the property – including a portion that belongs to the city of Missoula and is in use – aren’t cleaned to residential standards. So is there an equity issue if the DEQ demands different cleanup standards for different parts of the site?

I don’t think they actually talk about standards; they do reference future anticipated uses.

More on White Pine Sash? Check out this blog, where someone did an analysis of the public comments.

All for now.

– Keila Szpaller