Lone Rock solarization a learning experience
By Michael Howell
About a year ago the Lone Rock School District applied for and was awarded a grant from the Bonneville Environmental Foundation’s Solar 4R Schools program in partnership with the Ravalli County Electric Co-op to install solar collectors at the school. Sunelco Corporation, a solar installation company in Victor, installed the 4.3 kilowatt solar system on the roof of the gymnasium at Lone Rock School and it started providing electricity for the school on March 30, 2011.
As part of the installations, the Lone Rock School also received an informational kiosk, located in the front hallway, that provides a digital display readout of the array’s energy production as well as weather and temperature data. The school also received approximately $10,000 in solar and wind related science kits that provide hands on learning opportunities for students and teacher training designed to help the Lone Rock staff integrate the materials in science kits and activity guides into lesson plans.
If you want to know how things are going, just ask one of the students. Dylan Petrucilli and Mathew Kleinjan were on hand at the anniversary celebration of the installation to help explain the project. They were well versed in all manner of power production including biomass burners, and the use of geothermal, wave and wind power production, as well as solar production. They were able to provide instructions on how to use the informational kiosk installed in the school’s entranceway.
Jim Maunder of the Ravalli County Electric Co-op said that the solar panels on the gymnasium roof had saved 1,820 pounds of CO2 from being pumped into the atmosphere since April 1. The solar panels produced about 453 kilowatts of power in the month of March. In April that jumped to 673. Since the school uses about 723 kilowatts per day that amounts to about a day’s worth of electricity saved over the month.
For more information or to see how BEF’s Solar 4R Schools program can work for your organization contact Craig Collins at [email protected] or call 503-248-1905.
Stevensville Class of ’71 reunion
The Stevensville High School Class of 1971 will hold is 40th class reunion August 5 and 6. Contact Debbie Severson at 406-777-3576 or email HYPERLINK “mailto:[email protected]” [email protected] for more information.
Call for vendors
The Bitterroot Scottish Irish Festival is calling for arts and crafts vendors to be part of the three-day festival to be held August 26-28 at the Daly Mansion. Vendors interested in selling their wares can log onto the website at bitterrootscottishirishfestival.org for information and applications. Vendors will be considered (juried) on a first come, first served, and case by case basis upon receipt of their application and relativity to the festival theme. For more information, see the website or contact Laura Lindenlaub at 406-363-6323.
Rock collecting area open near Stevensville
The Stevensville Ranger District has opened a new non-commercial rock collecting area southwest of Ambrose Saddle in the Sapphire Mountains. To access the site, travel on Forest Service road #428 to Ambrose Saddle and turn right on FS road #1339 and continue for 3.6 miles. The public may remove rocks from this area by hand for personal use only. A mineral material contract is required prior to collecting rock from this site. Mineral material contracts may be obtained at the Stevensville Ranger District. There is a minimum of one ton per contract, with a maximum of 10 tons per individual per year. Price is $20 per ton. The Ambrose collecting area is located in an existing quarry site. For more information about the site or removal requirements, contact Elizabeth Ballard, Resource Officer, at the Stevensville Ranger District, 777-5461.
Many forest roads still closed due to record snowpack
Typically, June 15 marks the traditional opening of many roads on the Bitterroot National Forest, but not this year. Due to the record snowpack still in the mountains in Montana and Idaho, many higher-elevation roads and areas (7,500+ foot level) that would traditionally be opening to the public, are still buried in feet of snow.
Because of all the snow and wet conditions across the Forest, visitors are being advised to use caution and contact specific Ranger Districts before entering the Forest to get the latest information on roads, closures, flooded trails and campgrounds.
“Just because your favorite hiking trail or road is normally open this time of year, you should not assume it will be that way this year,” said Bitterroot National Forest Supervisor Julie King. “This is not a normal year. We are about a month behind schedule and some of our road crews are reporting 12-foot snow drifts where would normally see 1-2 feet of snow this time of year.”
Due to all the recent rains and moisture from melting snow on top of already saturated soils, many roads and trails at lower-elevations are muddy and extremely slippery. Motorists are advised to stay off soft and muddy roads as they are unsafe and can easily be damaged, leading to expensive repairs.
Forest Visitor Safety Reminders:
• Plan to encounter many roads and trails still blocked by snow that would normally be open this time of year.
• Hazardous conditions can develop very quickly from rapidly rising waters. Roads and trails passable early in the day may become unsafe in the afternoon as rivers and creeks rise due to melting snow.
• Be prepared for minor road damage at numerous, widely scattered locations across the Forest. Areas must dry out before crews can make repairs. If you are driving on a muddy road that ruts easily or there is running water on the road, turn around!
• Drive defensively and watch out for soft roads and shoulders and fallen trees and rocks.
• Notify your local Ranger District at the numbers below if you see any flooding, plugged culverts, downed trees or road damage.
All current Forest closures and other impacts from flooding can be found on the Bitterroot National Forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/bitteroot. For the latest weather information including current stream forecasts and flood potential visit the National Weather Service website at www.wrh.noaa.gov/mso.
For those whose homes are affected by floods, the Montana Departments of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) have compiled a list of tips for dealing with flood conditions at HYPERLINK “http://www.deq.mt.gov” www.deq.mt.gov.
Bitterroot National Forest – District Offices: Sula Ranger District: 821-3201 West Fork Ranger District: 821-3269 Darby Ranger District: 821-3913 Stevensville Ranger District: 777-5461
‘Radio Hams’ from Ravalli County join in national deployment
Ravalli County “hams” will join with thousands of amateur radio operators who will be showing off their emergency capabilities this weekend. Over the past year, the news has been full of reports of ham radio operators providing critical communications during unexpected emergencies in towns across America including the California wildfires, winter storms, tornadoes and other events worldwide.
During Hurricane Katrina, amateur radio – often called “Ham Radio” – was often the only way people could communicate, and hundreds of volunteer “hams” traveled south to save lives and property.
When trouble is brewing, amateur radio’s people are often the first to provide rescuers with critical information and communications.
On the weekend of June 25-26, the public will have a chance to meet and talk with Ravalli County’s ham radio operators and see for themselves what the Amateur Radio Service is about. Showing the newest digital and voice communications and even historical Morse code, hams from across the USA will be holding public demonstrations of emergency communications abilities. This annual event, called “Field Day” is the climax of the week-long “Amateur Radio Week” sponsored by the ARRL, the national association for amateur radio. Using only emergency power supplies, ham operators will construct emergency stations in parks, shopping malls, schools and backyards around the country. Their slogan, “When All Else Fails, Ham Radio Works” is more than just words to the hams as they prove they can send messages in many forms without the use of phone systems, internet or any other infrastructure that can be compromised in a crisis. More than 30,000 amateur radio operators across the country participated in last year’s event.
“We hope that people will come and see for themselves, this is not your grandfather’s radio anymore,” said Jim Brummit, N0XPO, Vice President of the Bitterroot Amateur Radio Club (BARC). “The communications that ham radio people can quickly create have saved many lives when other systems failed or were overloaded. And besides that – it’s fun!” In the Ravalli County area, the Bitterroot Amateur Radio Club will be demonstrating Amateur Radio at the Larry Creek Campground June 25 during the afternoon and the 26th during the morning. They invite the public to come and see ham radio’s new capabilities and learn how to get their own FCC radio license before the next disaster strikes. There are over 650,000 Amateur Radio licensees in the US, and more than 2.5 million around the world. Anyone can operate the radios under the watchful eye of a licensed ham. If you feel brave, come and give it a try and make some calls.
To get to the Larry Creek Campground turn on Bass Creek Road between Florence and Stevensville. After you cross the bridge instead of turning into Bass Creek Campground turn right and follow the road about a mile to the Larry Creek Campground. BARC members will be monitoring the 146.720 repeater for hams who want information or you can call 240-5277. Through the ARRL’s Amateur Radio Emergency Services program, ham volunteers provide emergency communications for thousands of state and local emergency response agencies, all for free. To learn more about the Bitterroot Amateur Radio Club go to http://members.tripod.com/w7ftx/. The public is most cordially invited to come, meet and talk with the hams. See what modern amateur radio can do. They can even help you get on the air!
Free farmers market coupons available to eligible residents
For the 12th year, the Bitterroot Farmers Market Project is making available produce coupons for purchase of fruits, vegetables and honey at the Darby, Hamilton, Stevensville and Florence farmers markets. The program supports local agriculture and serves people with disabilities, families with children and veterans who live in Ravalli County and meet income and program guidelines. Applications and coupons for people with disabilities are available at Summit Independent Living, Ravalli Services and Riverfront Counseling. Coupons for families with children will be available for clients of Haven House and SAFE through those agencies. Interested veterans (under 60) should contact the Valley Veterans Center. Seniors, 60 and older, can obtain produce coupons by contacting Ravalli County Council on Aging. You must meet income qualifications: household of 1 – $1,679 per month; 2 – $2,168; 3 – $2,857; 4 – $3,446; 5 – $4,035. To apply for the produce coupons contact the appropriate organization for your category. For other questions, contact Cheryl Kikkert, 360-9587.
Miller selected for national performing group
Allisa Miller, daughter of Harry and Linda Miller, Stevensville, has been selected to perform with a national performing organization known as The Sound of America Honor Band and Chorus.
Allisa, who has played in the Stevensville Pep Band, Marching Band, Symphonic Band, and Montana All-State Band, will join other select student musicians chosen from applicants representing nearly every state when The Sound of America Honor Band and Chorus begins its 2011 European Concert Tour next July. Selection into The Sound of America membership is a distinguished honor for all participants. All applicants are carefully screened and chosen only after a rigid character and musical evaluation.
All student performers will meet on the campus of Elizabethtown College, Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania on July 1. After four days of intensive rehearsal and orientation, the group will depart via jet from the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York for Frankfurt, Germany. The group is scheduled to present nine performances in some of Europe’s finest concert halls and major cathedrals during its 23-day concert tour.
The students will experience the cultures of six counties: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, France and Luxembourg. Some of the exciting locations that will be visited during the tour are Paris, Venice, Innsbruck, Cortina, Stresa, Verona, Rothenburg, Grindelwald, and La Chaux-deFonds.
Clyde M. Barr, Past State President of the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association and President of the North American Music Festivals in Toronto, New York, Virginia Beach, Hershey, Cleveland, and Washington D.C., is Tour Coordinator and Conductor of the Honor Band.
Randall Yoder, an Emmy Award winner in music composition for television and Conductor of the York Country Honor Chorus, York, PA, will serve as the Conductor of the Sound of America Honor Chorus.
Students who have qualified for The Sound of America membership are responsible for all costs involved with the trip. Frequently, however, local businesses and civic clubs who have an interest in helping deserving students will offer some financial sponsorship to the student representing their community.
The Sound of America Honor Band & Chorus, celebrating its 35th year in 2011, is recognized as one of the finest and most successful European Concert Tour programs in existence. It has received international acclaim for its exemplary success in achieving outstanding cultural relationships with European countries. The Sound of America has been the recipient of letters of commendation from former United States Presidents George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush, former Under-Secretary-General to the United Nations, Dick Thornburgh, former Governor of Pennsylvania and U. S. Director of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Vernon Eugene Sylvester of Stevensville embarked on a new adventure in the early morning of June 18, 2011. He was lucky enough to pass quickly and die at home. Vern was born May 29, 1924 near Lewistown, Montana to Arthur and Clara (Woolhiser) Sylvester. He attended a one-room schoolhouse up Cottonwood Creek where the family homesteaded. He graduated from Fergus County High School. He enlisted in the US Navy after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and honorably served his country for five years. While in the US Navy, he tested radar in airplanes used to detect German subs on the east coast. After his discharge from the service, he attended Montana State University in Missoula on the GI Bill. He completed a bachelor’s degree in Forestry in 1950. He worked as a smokejumper while attending MSU in Missoula. He married Katherine Ritenour who he had met at Lookout Pass Ski Area. They were wed in Pendroy, Montana on August 20, 1950. They lived on Porcupine Creek in Gallatin Canyon while he was working for Montana Fish & Game. He began his career with the US Forest Service in June of 1951. He served as assistant ranger in Sheridan, MT, as ranger in Wise River, and as staff officer for range and wildlife in Grangeville, ID, Elko, NV and Reno, NV. He retired from the Forest Service in 1980 and moved to Stevensville. He will be remembered for his generosity to those in need, tenacity for the care of the environment and his tender heart for those he loved. He was active in St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. He was president of Friends of the Mansfield Library. He was also active in Stevensville Civic Club, Pantry Partners, Forest Service Retirees, National Smokejumpers Assoc., Ravalli County Democratic Support Group (Mule Team), and numerous conservation organizations. He and wife Kay were honored as Stevensville Citizens of the Year. Vern and Kay traveled to Russia, Africa, South America, China, Mongolia, Mexico, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. He enjoyed steelhead fishing and skiing with his family. He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Ivan, sisters Lela Welch and Ruth LaRosa. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Kay; sons Jim (Suzanne Sterrett) and Bill (Sandra Garcia); daughters Ginger (Joel) Petty and Sue (Rick) Neff; grandchildren, Matt and Erika Sylvester, Jesse and Jason Petty and Ella Sylvester. A memorial service will be held at Whitesitt Funeral Home, 314 Church St., Stevensville on Wednesday, June 22, 2011 at 3:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Vern’s honor to the National Museum of Forest Service History, PO Box 2772 Missoula MT 59806-2772 or the North Valley Library in Stevensville.