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An IR View: Vote Early Day, new student reps, chronic wasting disease

An IR View: Vote Early Day, new student reps, chronic wasting disease

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Saturday is the inaugural Vote Early Day, and we encourage our readers to take the opportunity to fill out and submit their ballots.

Supported by nonprofit organizations, businesses, election administrators and others, this new civic holiday is meant to bring attention to early voting options around the country.

Ballots have already been mailed to all active and provisionally registered voters in Lewis and Clark County, and return postage is prepaid for any that are sent back via mail.

Completed ballots can also be dropped off at the City-County Building at 316 N. Park Ave. or at a drive-thru ballot drop-off on the corner of Park Avenue and Lawrence Street, southwest of the City-County Building.

Ballots must be received no later than 8 p.m. on Election Day Nov. 3 to be counted.

Now is the time to ensure your vote is counted in this critically important election.

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School board decisions affect local students more than anyone, and two Helena high schoolers are working to ensure their voice is heard.

During the October meeting of the Helena Public Schools Board of Trustees, Capital High School's Mariah Mercer and Helena High School's Claire Downing were sworn in as the two new student representatives for the 2020-21 school year. Both young women came to the board with an impressive academic record and a demonstrated willingness to speak up on behalf of their fellow students.

Now more than ever, it’s important for school district leaders to have a clear understanding of what students are facing, as the COVID-19 pandemic has changed virtually every aspect of the educational experience.

We are confident that Mercer and Downing will help steer board decisions in a direction that best serves children in our community.

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As big game rifle season approaches, the high number of deer that recently tested positive for chronic wasting disease is a sobering reminder of this very serious threat to Montana’s hunting tradition.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks reported that 18 Montana deer tested positive for CWD this month. The contagious neurological disease that affects deer, elk and moose is always fatal and there is no known cure.

However, there are steps hunters can and must take to help slow the spread of CWD.

Although carcasses can now be transported anywhere in the state, they must be disposed of in a landfill. Dumping carcasses in the woods where they can potentially infect other herds is unethical and illegal.

State wildlife officials are also asking hunters to voluntarily submit samples from any deer, elk or moose harvested in Priority Surveillance Areas and report any sick-looking animals to their local FWP office.

For more information, visit the FWP website at http://fwp.mt.gov/.

This is the opinion of the Independent Record editorial board. 

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