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Valley News

Candidates file for Stevi council
By Michael Howell
Two Stevensville residents, Ron Klaphake and Bill Perrin, have jumped into the race for seats on the Stevensville Town Council, signing up on the first day that registration for candidacy was open. Both men are excited about the prospect and came into the newspaper office together to announce their candidacy.
“This is something I considered in the past,” said Perrin, “but I didn’t really have the time for it. Now that I’m retired, I do.”
Perrin has worked in the banking industry all his life. He started in Bridger, Montana in 1970 and eventually worked at banks in Miltona, Minnesota and Fayette, Iowa before returning to work in Harlem, Montana. He came to work at a bank in Stevensville in 1984 and retired from Farmers State Bank on March 1, 2010.
Perrin is a member of the American Legion and also a very active member of the volunteer Fire Department. He has served as Stevensville Fire Chief and also serves on the Montana Fire Service Training School, through the Montana State University Extension Service. He is a longtime member of the Stevensville Main Street Association and the Stevensville Civic Club.
Klaphake said that Perrin’s extensive experience in the banking industry gave him a very good background in financial matters that could greatly aid the town as it tackles two very large improvement projects on the water and sewer systems. He said years of service in the volunteer fire department has honed Perrin’s leadership and organizational skills.
Perrin, in turn, lauded Klaphake’s past experience in municipal affairs and economic development.
Klaphake was born in St. Cloud, Minnesota, in 1945 and was raised on a farm in central Minnesota. After graduating from St. Cloud State University with a degree in political science/government in 1967, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, attending Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island and the Navy Supply Corps School in Athens, Georgia. He went on to serve on board the USS Henry B. Wilson (DDG-7) during the Vietnam War with a second tour of duty as the disbursing/finance officer for the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C. – achieving the rank of Lt. Commander. While serving there, he earned a graduate degree in public administration/government at American University.
Upon discharge from the Navy in 1972, Ron returned to Minnesota where he was employed as the Research Assistant to the Mayor and Assistant Planning Director in St. Cloud. He proceeded to serve as City Manager of Morris, Minnesota, from 1973 to 1977 and City Administrator of River Falls, Wisconsin, from 1977 to 1981. In 1981, Ron was recruited to initiate the St. Cloud Downtown Development Corporation, a non-profit corporation, and accepted the position of Executive Director. He also created the St. Cloud Area Economic Development Partnership.
In 1986, Klaphake relocated west to assume the position of President/Chief Executive Officer of the Missoula Area Economic Development Corporation – a position he held until 2000. While living and working in Missoula, he attended classes and was awarded an additional graduate degree in public administration/government from the University of Southern California. He moved on to serve as President/CEO of the Greeley/Weld Economic Development Action Partnership in Greeley, Colorado, until 2005. In 2005, he founded and developed the Arizona Broadway Theatre – a 472-seat professional dinner theatre in Peoria, Arizona – and served as its Chief Executive Officer until retiring to Stevensville in 2009.
Klaphake has been an adjunct faculty member in political science/government for the University of Montana Bitterroot College Program and recently started a consulting business – Community Economic Development Services – in Stevensville. He is currently a member of the Stevensville Main Street Association, the Stevensville Civic Club, the Stevensville Playhouse, the Military Officers Association of America and a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).
In the past, Klaphake has served on numerous local, state and national boards including the boards of directors of the International Downtown Association, the Pacific Northwest Economic Development Council, the Montana Economic Developers Association, the Economic Developers Council of Colorado, the Missoula Children’s Theatre, the Greeley Philharmonic, the United Way and the Chamber of Commerce of Missoula and Greeley, Colorado.
Both men talked about the need to improve the public process at the town.
“We’ve got to build a process in which we can do business in a respectful manner,” said Perrin. “One of my goals is to achieve a town government that is reasonable and pleasant to work with, something that would attract citizens to participate. It doesn’t have to be fun,” he said, “but fun is better.”
Both men are eager to help meld the town’s municipal functions with the business community and other community resources. They are both studying up on municipal laws using a handbook provided by the local government study program out of MSU at Bozeman.
“We are reviewing the law concerning municipalities, looking at other comparable communities and working closely with Ken Weaver from MSU’s Local Government Study program,” said Klaphake.
Klaphake is running for a seat in Ward 1 and Perrin for a seat in Ward 2.

Not guilty pleas entered in Hamilton vandalism case
Two juveniles who were arrested in relation to a vandalism spree in Hamilton, 16-year-old Harley Edelbach and 17-year-old Isaiah Bartlett, have entered not guilty pleas in Ravalli County District Court at an initial hearing held on Thursday, June 2.
According to Deputy County Attorney Angela Wetzsteon, the two have been charged with felony burglary and the county is seeking to try them as adults. She said they have also been charged with 36 to 37 acts of criminal mischief, some misdemeanor theft and criminal trespass charges. A hearing has been set for Bartlett on June 16 and for Edelbach on June 30 at which they will each have a chance to contest being tried as adults and have the case put back in Youth Court. At the same hearing the county will have a chance to have the misdemeanor charges added to the case in adult court where the only enumerated charge at present is for felony burglary.
District Court Judge James Haynes set bail for Bartlett at $25,000 and for Edelbach at $50,000. A condition of release, if bond were posted, includes wearing an electronic surveillance bracelet.

OSHA cites Lakeland Feeds
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Lakeland Feed and Supply in Hamilton for exposing workers to grain bin machine guarding and fall hazards, along with other safety and health hazards. Proposed fines total $122,500. According to an announcement made by Regional Director for Public Affairs for the US Department of Labor in Denver, Rich Kulczewski, OSHA’s investigation, which began in December 2010, resulted in the issuance of 27 serious citations and three other-than-serious violations. The inspection was initiated under OSHA’s regional emphasis program that targets grain handling establishments in Montana.
“The hazards associated with grain handling operations are well recognized,” said Christine A. Webb, OSHA’s area director in Billings in a press release. “All employers, and especially those in high hazard industries such as the grain industry, must take the steps necessary to eliminate hazards from the workplace.”
The serious violations include platforms missing guarding; no landing platform on a ladder; unguarded shafts, pulleys, chains and sprockets; the lack of an emergency evacuation plan and no fire alarm system; employees walking on grain in the bins; high levels of potentially explosive dust; the lack of a housekeeping program; not locking out augers when employees enter the bins; exposed live electrical lines; improper electrical wiring for high dust areas; and employees not trained on the hazards and chemicals associated with their work.
OSHA issues a serious citation when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which an employer knew or should have known.
The other-than-serious violations include not properly maintaining the OSHA 300 log and 300A form, and failing to install handrails on a stairwell. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
Since 2009, OSHA has issued fines exceeding $100,000 per employer to grain operators across the country following preventable fatalities and injuries. In addition to enforcement actions, OSHA sent a notification letter in August 2010 and another in February 2011 to a total of more than 13,000 grain elevator operators warning them of proper safety precautions, including prohibiting entry in grain storage facilities while grain is being emptied out or flowing in or out of the bin, prohibiting employees from “walking down the grain” and ensuring that employees enter the bin with the proper safety equipment.
“OSHA will not tolerate noncompliance with the Grain Handling Facilities standard,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels in both letters. “We will continue to use our enforcement authority to the fullest extent possible.”
The February letter is available at
Lakeland Feed and Supply has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director in Billings or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA’s Billings Area Office.

Forest Moon Walks
Once a month, as the full moon glows, it seems safe to venture out into the dark while the moon makes magnificent shadows across the landscape. You can still smell the wildflowers, feel the wind blowing through the trees, hear the water running through the creek bed, and sense the bustling nocturnal life. 
For the 11th year, the Bitterroot National Forest presents a series of interpretive Moon Walks from June to October. These educational walks are based on the book “Walk When the Moon is Full”, by Francis Hammerstrom about her children and the nature walks they took every month under the full moon. 
The Bitterroot National Forest invites you to join interpreters and naturalists for the 2011 series. The presentations begin at 7 p.m. and last approximately 1-2 hours. Presenters include foresters, biologists, scientists, historians, poets, storytellers, and everything under the sun, or in this case – moon. Dress in layers because the weather in the Forest is often different than it is in town. Guests are also encouraged to bring a lawn chair, flashlight and a jacket. 
Here are the topics that will be covered in the 2011 series: 
Wednesday, June 15th – Wildlife Moon presentation at Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge, Stevensville. Meet at the Refuge Visitor Center. A central theme will be wildlife myth and legend integrated into a wildlife walk looking and listening for crepuscular bird species. 
Friday, July 15th – Nocturnal Fish Moon at Blodgett Canyon Campground and trail, Bitterroot National Forest – Stevensville Ranger District. Trout are cold-blooded creatures that are strongly influenced by light and temperature. In mountain streams, trout essentially have two seasons- winter and summer. When trout “winter” sets in, fish behavior dramatically changes. Learn about these behavior changes from a fisheries biologist from the Bitterroot National Forest as you walk along Blodgett Creek under the July moon. 
Saturday, August 13th – Noxious Weeds and Native Plants Moon at Charles Waters Campground, Bitterroot National Forest – Stevensville Ranger District. Learn about native plants, noxious weeds and weed biocontrols like the knapweed weevil from the Ravalli County Weed District Education Coordinator and high school students from the Victor and Darby Biocontrol Programs. 
Monday, September12th – Aquatic Moon.  Bitterroot River between Darby and Hamilton.  Join fisheries biologists from Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks to learn about the Bitterroot River and the aquatic life that it supports. The importance of tributaries, how a fish screen works and the cool genetics of bull trout will also be discussed. Directions: From Hamilton, head south on US-93. Turn left on MT-38/Skalkaho Highway. Turn right on Sleeping Child road. Turn right on Old Darby road. Location will be on the right approx. 0.2 miles at 1393 Old Darby road.   
Saturday, October 15th – Ghost Moon presentation at the Larry Creek Group Camp, Bitterroot National Forest – Stevensville Ranger District. Join in around a campfire to hear historical Bitterroot Valley ghosts share stories of their lives and untimely deaths. 
The 2011 Moon Walk Series is sponsored by the Bitterroot National Forest and Bitterroot Resource Conservation and Development (RC & D). For more information visit the Forest website at and click on Special Places section or call 363-7100.

Locals named to MSU-Great Falls COT Dean’s List
Two Bitterroot Valleys students were among the 258 students named to the Spring 2011 Dean’s List at MSU-Great Falls College of Technology. They are Marcia Burgess of Victor and Sarah Daulton of Lolo. Students must complete a minimum of twelve credit hours and earn a semester grade point average of 3.5 or higher to be listed.


Luella Mae ‘Lou’ Dibb

Stevensville – Luella Mae “Lou” Dibb, 79, of Stevensville passed away Wednesday, May 25 of natural causes at the Village Health Care Center in Missoula.  
Luella was born on April 20, 1932 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin to Rosella May (Chapman) and Benjamin Fink. She graduated from high school. Throughout her life she worked in many different jobs, including a homemaker, a sales clerk at Mervyns for (10) years, a waitress but most importantly, she was a pastor’s wife.
Luella Mae Dibb was a precious woman who loved God and her family. She was a hugger and if you were ever a recipient of one of those hugs, you had no doubt you’d been sufficiently and thoroughly embraced. By nature she was giving and thoughtful, a loving wife, mother, grandmother and friend. With a strong faith in God, she enjoyed her church and loved being a pastor’s wife. As a young girl she sang duets with her mother and throughout her life she sang solos in church. Her voice was like a songbird’s with the sweetness of a violin. She didn’t know a stranger and was loved by many. Her legacy is love and she will be sorely missed.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Franklyn Dibb, her parents, Rosella and Benjamin Fink. She had no siblings.
Survivors include her three children, Karen Renee of San Marcus, CA, Ronald Watson of Ola, AR and Pamela and her husband David Brown of Stevensville; seven grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild, still on the way.
Services were held on Saturday, May 28, 2011 at the Whitesitt Funeral Home with Pastor Cory Gangle officiating. Interment took place following the service in the Riverside Cemetery. A reception followed at the Rocky Mountain Worship Center in Missoula. Condolences may be left for the family at

Everett L. Burks
Everett Burks, 90, ascended to be with his Lord and Savior on Friday, May 27, 2011 at his home in Stevensville. He was born in Corvallis on July 13, 1920. Except for time spent serving his country in India during WWII, he lived his entire life in his beloved Bitterroot Valley. On June 15, 1958, he married Lela Opal Cook in Hamilton. They lived in Corvallis and Hamilton before buying a farm on Winters Lane, south of Stevensville in 1966.
Dad farmed in the Bitterroot for many years, worked at the Daly Stock Farm and was night watchman at the Daly Mansion. He retired from farming in 1985 and began packing supplies into the backcountry on horses and mules for the Forest Service. Dad was not born on a horse, but he climbed on the back of one as soon as he possibly could. He loved horses and spent his entire life with them farming (before tractors), hunting trips, and exploring the many canyons of the Bitterroot. He made several trips into the Bob Marshall Wilderness. He and his horse Partner won eleven blue and two red ribbons in Creamery Picnic and Western Days parades.
Everett was preceded in death by his wife, Opal. He is survived by two sons, Leonard of Stevensville and Charles of Sarasota, FL; cousin (considered a brother) Bob (Hester) Brooks; sister-in-law Pearl (Harper) Cole; nephews: Stephen (Cheryl) Cole, Scott (Jen) Person, Mac Ralston and Max Shaefer; nieces: Myrla Cole Haury (Kent), Heather Person Ralston (Jimmy), Jennifer (Geoff) Shaefer and Piper Dawn Ralston.  He will also be missed by his special animal friend, Cheeko.
A potluck dinner and “celebration service” in Everett’s honor were held on Sunday, June 5th at Community Baptist Church, 409 Buck Street in Stevensville. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Community Baptist Church or to a horse shelter charity of your choice.

Elizabeth Rae Sperry
Stevensville – “Betty” died of Alzheimer’s Disease in the Bitterroot Living Center, Stevensville, on May 30, 2011. She had been under their loving care for the past 15 months.
She was born near Gloster, Mississippi on January 9, 1926 to Walter Thomas Denson and Loomis Barland Denson. Her ancestry included Cherokee of which she was extremely proud. After early childhood in Mississippi, Betty lived in Arizona, California and finally Sunnyside, Washington where she graduated from high school. She attended Washington State College and graduated with a degree in Home Economics in 1949. She met her life partner, Edward Sperry, while in college. They were married in Pullman, Washington on December 19, 1946. Upon graduation they became a “Service Couple” as Ed joined the newly created United States Air Force as a 2nd Lt. The following 26 years were spent at various bases across the United States until retirement in 1975. Upon Ed’s retirement they made their home in the Bitterroot Valley near Stevensville.
Betty became a teacher. She got her certificate from UCLA and taught kindergarten and elementary school for 22 years. She taught in California, Alabama, Washington, Maryland and Virginia. Her favorite grades were 2nd through 4th. She was devoted to teaching reading and her classes were always a grade ahead in reading skills. She was proud that her class was usually where the school faculty children were placed.
She was a dedicated professional! While teaching in Alabama, she tutored out of school, a young boy who nearly lost his foot in a hunting accident. This was done without compensation for nearly a year. He subsequently graduated with his class. In the late 1950’s, she became aware of the learning problems resulting from dyslexia. This was before any general awareness of the problem of dyslexia. She became proficient in detecting the learning difficulty and skilled at overcoming its effects. Over the years many youngsters have and still are benefiting from her devotion to the issue.
Betty enjoyed backpacking, fishing, floating the Blackfoot and Missouri rivers, touring and camping. After settling in the Bitterroot, Betty and Ed managed the Eastside Market Garden. Her specialties were raspberries, early tomatoes and pickling cucumbers. Her summer days, loving life, were often exploring in the woods or in the garden or at the Missoula Farmers Market.
For the past 25 years, Betty was active in the American Legion Auxiliary both locally and at the state level. She held various offices but her favorite duty was to help select girls from the Stevensville and Florence areas for American Legion Auxiliary Girls State. In Maryland she was successful as a political activist gaining the right to vote for service members at Fort Mead and Annapolis. She helped found a Democratic Committee in Annapolis where none had existed. Membership in other organizations included the Daughters of the American Revolution and the United Methodist Church in Stevensville, as well as the 8 & 40 Auxiliary veterans’ organization, the Business and Professional Women of Alabama and the Western Montana Military Officer Association Auxiliary. No matter where Betty resided she found beauty, adventure and offered love. She was truly dedicated to her community and country and personified the ideal “Service Wife”.
Betty and Ed had three children. They are Michele Susan Sperry, Penny Annette Sperry and Cynthia Gene Sperry. All three currently live in Missoula. There are seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. She is survived and missed by her husband Edward Sperry of Stevensville, her daughters, her brothers, William Denson of Chandler, AZ, Joe Denson of Arizona City, AZ and her sister, Bobbie Denson Elliot of AZ. Betty was preceded in death by her parents and her brothers, Charles and Thomas.
Visitation was held on Friday, June 3 at the Whitesitt Funeral Home in Stevensville. A funeral service was held at the United Methodist Church also in Stevensville on Saturday, June 4. She was interred at the Old Post Cemetery at Fort Missoula. Pastor Nancy Slabaugh Hart conducted the services.  Betty’s loving nephew, Steven “Mike” Denson sang at the graveside. The family suggests any contributions in memory of Betty be made to the Aspen Hospice of Montana, 107 Bell Crossing West, Stevensville MT 59870.

John L. Filcher

John L. Filcher of Eugene died 5/30/2011 of complications following a stroke.
John was born on Spetember 23, 1928 in Stevensville, Montana to Joseph Benjamin and Georgia Filcher. He married Rose M. Mastel in Stevensville on July 18, 1953. They were the second to the last couple married in the old St. Mary’s Catholic church there. He attended school at Stevensville and Florence, Montana, and joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1946, serving until 1948 at Camp Pendleton in California, where he worked in the carpentry and furniture making shop. He worked at the Intermountain Lumber plant and the Buck Cabinet shop in Missoula. In 1973, he moved his family to Eugene where he was employed  by Oregon Industrial Lumber Products, and the Nicolai-Morgan Door plant. In 1993 he retired to a life of leisure.  He enjoyed traveling, fishing, and gardening. He was a big fan of the Portland Trailblazers Basketball team, and the Oregon Ducks, often getting very excited when he watched them play, with his wife Rose.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Ethel Blanchard and his brother Ralph.
He is survived by his wife Rose, two sons, Steven of Reno, and Jerry of Eugene, and six grandchildren. He is also survived by his brothers Don of Hamilton, George of Helena, and Dale of Deer Lodge, and sisters Lois of Phoenix, Arizona and Ruth of Littleton, Colorado.
Beull Funeral Home in Springfield and Whitesitt Funeral home in Stevensville are handling the arrangements. There will be a service in Eugene. There will be a visitation at St. Mary’s in Stevensville on Sunday, June 12 from 4 to 7 p.m. The vigil mass/rosary will follow. The funeral mass will take place at St. Mary’s on Monday, June 13 at 11 a.m. Burial will follow at the Riverview Cemetery in Stevensville, Montana. Casket bearers are David Filcher, Tom Filcher, John Filcher, Bob Evans, Scott Johson and Jeff Mastel.

Richard Edwin Roth
Richard Edwin Roth, 65, passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday, May 31, 2011, in Boise, Idaho. Services will be held graveside, June 10, 2011 at 10:00 am in Walla Walla, Washington, at the Blue Mountain Memorial Gardens. Arrangements are being handled by Herring Groseclose Funeral Home.
Rick was born in Ravalli County, Montana on August 15, 1946, to Clara Huggans Roth and Edwin Phillip Roth. Rick’s father was in the military and Rick spent most of his life traveling around the world with his parents, his brother, and his sisters. Rick moved back to the states with his family when he was a sophomore in high school. When he was a senior in high school the family moved to Stevensville, Montana where he met the love of his life, Cheryl Lea. Soon after graduating high school, Rick joined the United States Marine Corps and graduated boot camp in 1965. In August 1966, he was deployed with the Advanced Party to Vietnam. He was a Crew Chief with HMM 165 until October 1967. Upon returning to the States, Rick and Cheri were married, and they moved to Santa Ana, California where their daughter Janice Rae was born. While stationed in Santa Ana, Rick was able to use is expertise and experience as Crew Chief to train his brothers-in-arms.
After leaving the Marine Corps, Rick and Cheri moved to Great Falls, Montana where, through the GI Bill, Rick earned a degree in Mathematics and became a teacher. During this time, Rick discovered his love of flying and earned his Commercial Pilot license. Rick and Cheri moved to Soda Springs, Idaho, where their son Michael David was born. Rick worked in mining and was a member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 980. During this time, Rick and Cheri were able to purchase their first airplane and open their business, Mountain High Aviation.
Rick and Cheri expanded their business in 1985 and moved their family to Kennewick, Washington. When they further expanded their business to include Mountain States Aviation, the family moved to Walla Walla, Washington. Rick and Cheri served the aviation community until 1999. After closing the business, Rick worked as a corporate and commercial pilot for various companies.
After the death of his wife Cheri in 2004, Rick moved to Las Vegas, and then to Tennessee, where “Every day was Saturday”. During this time he met Laura Walton, who offered him a second chance at love. Rick and Laura found happiness with each other until the time of his death. At the time of his passing, Rick was residing in Tennessee, building his dream home, surrounded by the beautiful hills and the people he cared for. . . AND who cared for him.
He is preceded in death by his parents, his son Michael Roth, his wife Cheryl Roth, and a granddaughter, Jessica Russell. He is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Ken and Janice Russell of Nevada; siblings, Suzy Hufford of Idaho, John Roth of Idaho, and Nancy Roth of Oregon; three granddaughters, Jackie Russell of Oregon, Micki Russell of Nevada, and Amanda Russell of Nevada; one great granddaughter, Alexandra Russell of Nevada; five nieces and nephews; and six grand-nieces and nephews.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations should be made to the charity of the donor’s choice.

Death Notices
Patrick Campbell 
Missoula – Patrick Campbell, 53, passed away, Saturday, May 28, 2011, at the St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula. Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at

At Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital, Hamilton
Boy, 9 lbs., 10.6 oz., 21 inches, to Nicolett and Brad Weston, Hamilton
Girl, 6 lbs., 5.6 oz., 20 inches, to Alissa Tentschert and Darren Magee, Victor
Girl, 5 lbs., 12 oz., 18 inches, to Heather Williams and John Crosby, Corvallis

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