An IR View: Mental heath dispute, new city councilor, AP Honor Roll
AN IR VIEW

An IR View: Mental heath dispute, new city councilor, AP Honor Roll

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A heated dispute between Lewis and Clark County and Western Montana Mental Health has left some in our community without mental health services they desperately need.

Until recently, Western operated Our Place drop-in center and the Journey Home and provided a jail-based therapist and a Crisis Response Team at the Lewis and Clark County Detention Center. However, the Missoula-based organization ended all of its mental health services in Helena after the county announced that it planned to replace Western’s jail-based therapist with new county employees.

Although the county has been able to temporarily replace most of the services Western dropped, the jail was left without a therapist for a month and the Journey Home remains closed until further notice.

The county is blaming Western, and Western is blaming the county.

For the sake of those who rely on these services, we hope to see a quick resolution along with safeguards to help prevent something like this from happening again.

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After an unprecedented election with no clear winner, 28-year-old Joy Bowen has stepped up to serve as the new Ward 1 representative on the East Helena City Council.

Because nobody registered as a candidate for the Ward 1 seat, voters had the rare opportunity to write in the name of anyone who met the minimum qualifications. Incumbent Kit Johnson received the most eligible votes but declined the job, which gave the city council the opportunity to appoint someone to fill the position.

Mayor James Schell encouraged Bowen to consider applying for the vacancy after she lobbied the city council to bring a dog park to East Helena, and she was sworn in Tuesday evening.

At a time when civic engagement seems to be diminishing, especially among young people, it was encouraging to see Bowen’s willingness to help her community in its time of need.

We want to thank Johnson for his nine years of service on the city council and wish Bowen the best of luck in her new role.

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Helena Public Schools has received the AP District Honor Roll award for the eighth time in 10 years, which is a testament to the quality education available to students in our community.

The award honors districts that simultaneously increase access and scores on AP exams, and Helena has won it more than any other Montana school district in the last 10 years.

Congratulations to the school district for this great honor, and to the students who are investing in their future by participating in the AP program.

This is the opinion of the Independent Record editorial board. 

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