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AN IR VIEW

An IR View: First responders honored, COVID cases surge, high housing prices

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Congratulations to Helena firefighter Dillon DeLaHunt and Lewis and Clark County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Clint Pullman on being recognized as two of the area's finest first responders. 

The Helena Exchange Club named the two public safety officials as the local firefighter and law enforcement officer of the year for 2021.

Each award came with a $500 donation to the recipient’s agency and another $500 for the charity of their choice. DeLaHunt chose the local 4-H chapter and Pullman chose the local Heroes and Helpers program.

It’s easy to take for granted our first responders, who must be ready and able to respond at a moment’s notice to some of the worst situations imaginable.

Thank you to DeLaHunt and Pullman for all they have done for our community.

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Just when it was starting to look like the pandemic was winding down, another surge of COVID-19 cases walloped Montana. And it probably will not be the last.

After dropping to the 100-200 range last month, the number of new daily cases in Montana jumped to over 1,000 for several days in January. We haven’t seen numbers that high since November 2020 and September 2021.

Health systems are getting overwhelmed again. Schools are closing again. People are getting sick and dying again.

After watching the same scenario play out over and over for the last two years, it is becoming increasingly clear that COVID-19 is not going away anytime soon. According to some experts, it’s something we might have to live with forever.

That means precautions such as face masks and routine COVID-19 vaccinations are also here to stay.

We might as well get used to them.

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As housing prices continue to skyrocket, the American Dream is becoming unattainable for many in our area.

In 2021, housing prices in Helena grew more than they did during any other year in at least a decade. The 26.14% jump put the median sale price of a local home just shy of $400,000, an unrealistic amount for many in the Helena area to pay.

This creates serious problems for the whole community, as local employers and the local economy will continue to struggle for as long as workers continue to be priced out of the housing market.

This is why it’s so important to support Habitat for Humanity and other local organizations working to create affordable housing in our area.

This is the opinion of the Independent Record editorial board. 

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