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An IR View: Reusing toppled tree, fake vaccine events, Montana bison harvest

An IR View: Reusing toppled tree, fake vaccine events, Montana bison harvest

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For many years, a 70-foot-tall spruce tree outside the Helena Civic Center served as a memorial to lost loved ones. Now city officials are looking for ways to honor the toppled tree that honored so many of our friends and family members.

Almost every year during the holiday season, the community has gathered around the nearly 100-year-old tree for the "Light a Life" fundraiser benefiting Hospice of St. Peter's. After high winds uprooted the tree on Jan. 13, city officials moved the wood to an undisclosed location where it can be dried out and used for something else.

"We're exploring different options for having pieces of the tree available for the public to have a piece of history," Parks, Recreation and Open Lands Director Kristi Ponozzo said.

She said the parks department is considering having the tree milled into commemorative pieces that can be sold at the civic center, but officials are open to suggestions.

We’re glad to see this important piece of Helena history will live on. 

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Scammers never let a good crisis go to waste, and the coronavirus pandemic is no exception.

Lewis and Clark Public Health recently reported that what appeared to be a fake COVID-19 vaccination clinic was posted on Eventbrite, which is the same online platform the county health department is using to register people for legitimate vaccination events.

People can visit www.helenamontanamaps.org/LCPHCovid19HUB/ to find the links to the county health department’s vaccination events, which are being held only between the hours of 1-6 p.m. Additional vaccines are being provided by St. Peter’s Health, the Montana Veterans Affairs Health Care System, some local pharmacies and the Lewis and Clark Vaccine Planning Group’s Mobile COVID-19 Vaccination Initiative.

While additional clinics could be held by other organizations in the future, it's important to think twice before giving any money or information to unfamiliar entities offering vaccines.

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Relatively few people will have the chance to harvest a creature as majestic as a bison. And if anyone deserved this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, it was former Marine Corps bomb disposal technician Brian Meyer.

In 2011, Meyer lost most of his right leg, his right hand and three fingers on his left hand while attempting to defuse an improvised bomb along a narrow road in Sangin, Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Last weekend, the 39-year-old California man successfully pursued our country’s national mammal on the American Prairie Reserve in Eastern Montana as part of a bison harvest arranged by Wounded Warriors Outdoors.

Thank you for your service, Brian. Come back to Montana any time.

This is the opinion of the Independent Record editorial board. 

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