This Week’s Missoula News Highlights-Week of Aug 5


Western Montana Fair gets new director

With the Western Montana Fair in full swing this week, the 99 year old event has named a new director to replace the retiring fairgrounds director Steve Earl. Todd Garrett has been selected to see the fairgrounds into the next hundred years. Garrett, who is from Whitefish, has spent the week getting to know the swath of land in the middle of Missoula. With a career in park management for Montana, Fish Wildlife and Parks, Garrett will bring five years of management experience to the fairgrounds. While the Fair has seen challenging times in the last decade with the loss of horseracing, the event is still a Missoula favorite and with Garrett at the helm officials see a bright future ahead.   (read more) other links: Missoula Fairgrounds

Longtime Montana Cartoonist and Writer dies

Stan Lynde - 06'. Photo courtesy of

Stan Lynde – 06′. Photo courtesy of

For many years the comic strip, “Ric O’Shay” was a newspaper staple. The creator of the series, Stan Lynde brought western humor to the comic world for close to three decades starting in the 1960’s. Lynde passed away in Helena on Tuesday at the age of 81. The western writer was inspired by his life as a fourth generation cowboy who grew up in eastern Montana drawing on the people he admired and incorporating them into his work. (read more) other links: Lynde, NY Times

UM steps up Marketing in order to attract more Students

The University of Montana experienced a smaller number of students enrolled last fall, but is hoping a new marketing campaign will help increase the student population. After 18 months of being in the national spotlight for the way in which it handled campus sexual assaults, university officials are optimistic about new strategies to entice students to campus. School officials have highlighted their efforts to increase awareness through education, resources, and strengthened policies all with the goal of making campus life safer for students. UM Vice President for Integrated Communications Peggy Kuhr said that the institution is trying to put the past behind it, but at the same time learning from the experiences and making changes in order to provide a safer educational environment. (read more)

Helicopters drop 16k flaming ping-pong balls

In an effort to reduce the forest fuel stoking the Gold Pan fire west of Darby, fire officials sparked another blaze in an attempt to keep the forest fire from growing in the Frank Church-River of No Wilderness. The flaming ping-pong balls were dropped from helicopters on Wednesday and officials reported that the fire had no significant growth except for the areas that were purposely ignited. Fire officials are bracing for dry lightning and an increase in winds toward the end of the week and are preparing for more extreme fire conditions by removing fuel from the area. (read more) other links: Firewatch



Tom Diddel has lived in Missoula on and off for nearly thirty-eight years. He enjoys skiing, hiking, and many other outdoor activities. He holds a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Montana and is currently working as a Freelance Writer and a Para-Educator.




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