An IR View: Helena's retail apocalypse, remembering Don Zimmerman, flu on the rise

An IR View: Helena's retail apocalypse, remembering Don Zimmerman, flu on the rise

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In a trend that has become all too common during the last few years, another Helena retail store has announced that it is closing.

After 19 years in Helena, Macy’s Northside Center on North Montana Avenue will permanently close its doors after a clearance sale lasting eight to 12 weeks. As a result, about 50 Helena-area residents will lose their jobs and the community will have one less place to shop.

This news comes on the heels of the closure of Helena’s Shopko in 2019, K-Mart in 2018, J.C. Penney in 2017 and Hastings in 2016. Helena’s 54-year-old Capital Hill Mall was demolished in 2019, after an exodus of tenants left the 213,000-square-foot building nearly vacant for the last few years.

It’s no coincidence that the retail apocalypse in Helena and throughout the nation is happening as E-commerce sales are booming. While convenient, online shopping does not come without consequences for our community.

This serves as a reminder of how important it is for all of us to support our favorite businesses in the Helena area.

If we don’t, they might not be around much longer.

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Don Zimmerman Day may not have been the most widely celebrated holiday, but that didn’t make it any less meaningful for the people of Lewis and Clark County.

Proclaimed by the Lewis and Clark County Commission, the special holiday was observed on Jan. 4 in honor of York Fire-Rescue’s assistant chief, who lost his fight with pancreatic cancer in December. The celebration included a procession of emergency and civilian vehicles that carried his ashes to Don Zimmerman Eldorado Heights fire station #3 for his memorial service.

The longtime firefighter will be remembered for his selfless service to his friends, his family and his community.

Rest in peace, Don. Your watch has ended.

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With influenza on the rise in Helena and beyond, it’s important for everyone to do what they can to protect themselves and others from the potentially deadly virus.

To fight the spread of the flu, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says people should get vaccinated, cover coughs and sneezes, keep hands clean and away from the eyes, nose and mouth, and take antiviral medication to treat the illness.

St. Peter’s Health is responding to the uptick in flu activity by restricting children 12 and younger and anyone experiencing a cough, fever, sore throat, runny nose or nasal congestion from visiting the hospital unless they are seeking care. Instead of visiting patients in person, please heed the hospital's request to express well wishes by phone, card, or electronically via

According to the CDC, an estimated 12,000 to 61,000 people have died from the flu each year since 2010.

Let’s all do our part to help prevent this seasonal scourge from becoming a tragedy.

This is the opinion of the Independent Record editorial board. 


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