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An IR View: Downtown parking, power outage and gun safety

An IR View: Downtown parking, power outage and gun safety

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Helena city leaders might reconsider the new parking rules that were rolled out in the downtown area earlier this year, which is great news for the businesses that have been hurt by it.

In September, the city began enforcing new rules that eliminated much of the short-term free parking in the area. Some business owners asked city leaders not to charge for the first hour in metered areas, but city officials initially said they needed that revenue to help pay for the new meters and kiosks.

After hearing from a number of business owners who offered testimony about the impacts of the change, however, city officials say they plan to take a closer look at parking data in December in an effort to find some middle ground. Potential changes could include free parking for 15, 30 or 60 minutes.

We commend city leaders for their responsiveness, even though it came a bit late, and we hope to see a solution very soon.

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It’s been said that you don’t know what you have until it’s gone, which became painfully evident during a widespread power outage in the Helena area Thursday afternoon.

An outage that affected about 12,000 customers from Helena to East Helena darkened traffic signals throughout town, caused some businesses to close their doors and delayed a basketball game being attended by 19 busloads of elementary school students. Here at the Independent Record, our staff was scrambling to find another way to print today’s paper after our presses came to an abrupt stop.

But we were all able to breathe a collective sigh of relief when the lights came on just a couple of hours later. And we want to thank NorthWestern Energy for getting us all back up and running so quickly.

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On Oct. 11, a woman accidentally shot and wounded her 10-year-old daughter while grouse hunting in Sanders County.

Just five days later, Gregg Trude was sentenced to nearly 3 ½ years in prison for negligently placing a loaded hunting rifle on the backseat of his truck before it discharged and killed Helena Dr. Eugene “Buzz” Walton a year ago this month.

With rifle hunting season opening Saturday, these tragic events serve as a reminder of how important it is to adhere to basic safety rules and how quickly things can go wrong when they are ignored.

The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks has provided these tips to help hunters stay safe this season:

  • Unload guns away from vehicles.
  • Do not transport loaded firearms.
  • If hunting with others, check each other’s guns to make sure they are unloaded.
  • Point your muzzle in a safe direction.
  • Treat every gun like it is loaded.
  • Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire.
  • Be sure of your target and beyond.

This is the opinion of the Independent Record editorial board. 



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