We encourage Choteau businesses, organizations and individuals to attend the Chamber of Commerce community roundtable on Wednesday, Oct. 23, at the Choteau Country Club. The Chamber holds this meeting every fall to invite organizations and individuals to gather together to go over the planned events for Choteau’s annual Fourth of July celebration. Many different groups put on events during the 3rd and 4th of July, and this meeting is an opportunity for these groups to share their plans, enlist helpers and coordinate with the other events scheduled. This planning meeting helps groups avoid scheduling conflicts and gives all the organizations a better idea of what the events roster is shaping up like. Kudos to the Chamber for organizing this get-together.

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Kudos to Fairfield Public Schools Superintendent Les Meyer, who was named the 2019 School Superintendent of the Year by the Montana Association of School Superintendents at the annual Montana Conference of Education Leadership (MCEL) held in Billings Oct. 18-19. Meyer has been at the helm of Fairfield Public Schools since 2013, and has won other awards for his job as principal and the head coach of the Fairfield Eagles football team.

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Montana State leaders don’t stop by Choteau all that often so we encourage area residents to make time to attend a meeting on water issues, Oct. 29, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Stage Stop Inn in Choteau. Montana Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney and the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation are going to host a discussion with local, state and federal partners about rural and municipal water supplies. This is one of two meetings Cooney is hosting to discuss risks from drought and flooding and what is happening in the region to address and respond to these water supply challenges.

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A shout-out of congratulations to former Teton County Commissioner Arnold and his wife, Dolores, of Power, who celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary at a reception hosted by their children at Zion Lutheran Church on Sept. 29. Despite a raging blizzard, more than 80 friends and relatives attended. Arnie and Dolores were married on Oct. 8, 1949, at Bethany Lutheran Church in Dutton and renewed their vows at the gathering in Power.

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On a somber note, family, friends and classmates bid farewell to Veronica Janine Riphenburg, 22, on Oct. 19. Members of her class, the Choteau High School graduating class of 2015, attended the funeral at the Choteau Baptist Church, where they recalled her love of volleyball and all things ╥Twilight,╙ the dimples in her cheeks that lit up her smile, and remembered all the things about her that they will hold dear in their hearts forever. Veronica had been profoundly disabled since 2011, when she suffered a severe brain injury in a violent two-car accident at the junction of U.S. Highway 89 and the Simms Cut Across on the border of Teton and Cascade counties. The accident occurred when a driver on the north-south road failed to stop as he entered the highway. We are not recalling this tragic accident out of malice, but we want everyone to remember Veronica, and we want every driver to obey all stop signs. Hardly a week goes by that we don’t see a driver somewhere in Teton County stopped by deputies for failing to obey a stop sign. Please, drivers, keep your minds on the road, watch for and obey stop and yield signs, and don’t do anything that would take your focus off the task at hand ╤ driving safely. The price for making a mistake while driving is just too high to pay.

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Kudos to the Choteau High School football team that overcame steep adversity on Oct. 19 to defeat Centerville and advance to the Class B/C eight-man football playoffs despite losing starting running backs Kyler Crabtree and Carter Morgan in the second quarter of play. Morgan is now out for the season with a badly broken arm while Crabtree was sidelined temporarily with a possible concussion in the game. Despite losing these two critical players, the CHS Bulldogs, coached by Lucas Gunderson, rallied, came together, played harder than ever, and won the game for their two injured teammates. Regardless of how the post-season turns out, the CHS Bulldogs showed a lot of class and grit in this win. Good job, boys!

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Thank you to the Choteau Friends of the Library for organizing an artist’s reception for Marci Wolff, giving her the opportunity to show the portfolio of portraits she painted of Choteau residents as a senior project for her fine arts degree. We are blessed in Teton County with many talented artists ╤ painters, sculptors, potters and more. Making time to appreciate and celebrate their work is important. It gives us the chance to enjoy the amazing talent of these artists and to share in the joy of creating works of art. Kudos to Wolff for sharing her talented works with the community.

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Hats off to everyone in Choteau who has coped with the inconvenience of the ongoing project to install fiber optic cable to all the houses and businesses in Choteau. Three Rivers Communications has hired a contractor, JKL, to do the work. JKL has encountered a number of obstacles and troubles as the project has progressed and is running a bit behind schedule for completion. The work has put stress on the Choteau city crew, with an employee spending about a half a day every day with the cable crews, and on the Choteau Volunteer Fire Department, which has responded to numerous ╥hit gas line╙ calls. When the work is done, everyone in Choteau will have access to the industry standard fiber optics cable for internet service. With this upgrade, we hope, will come faster speeds and better service, making the short-term problems all worth it, but for now, we extend our appreciation to the Choteau city crew, the volunteer firefighters and the JKL workers for persevering and working so hard to make sure the project is done well and safely. We hope the end is in sight.