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Entries in Missoula County (7)


Missoula horse racing decision affirms planning for multi-events center

The Fairgrounds Advisory Committee had rejected horse racing in favor of other uses two years ago(MISSOULA)- Missoula County commissioners' decision to turn down yet another proposal to bring horse racing back to the Western Montana Fair last week affirms the county's plans for future fairgrounds development.

Commissioners voted down a new request from the Western Montana Turf Club to bring races back to the Western Montana Fair on a 2-to-1 vote Thursday.  

2-years ago, the Missoula County Fairgrounds Advisory Committee completed an exhaustive analysis of the fairgrounds' past use, and how it could be redeveloped in the future. That resulted in the recommendation the commissioners abandon the idea of including horse racing in those future plans. 

That led to a spirited debate over possible uses of the proposed multi-use center, with many of the same horse racing supporters making the same arguments we've heard in the most recent pitch. 

But ultimately the commissioners voted for the events center concept as the preferred path for development. 

Those event center plans are still in the process of development as we head into 2016. 


Three named as Fairgrounds finalists

(MISSOULA)- Two men from Western Montana and a woman from Kentucky are being named as finalists for the job of Missoula Fairgrounds Director.

The county has been shopping for someone to fill the post being vacated by current director Steve Earle, who is retiring after holding the director's job for the past 3-years. 

The three names announced today include Joe Easton of Missoula, Todd Garrett from Whitefish and Pamela Edwards of Lexington, Kentucky. 

Easton has worked as manager for several professional baseball clubs and was an interim director for Missoula Airport and the Adams Center in the past. A University of Montana graduate, he's most recently worked for the Property Assessment Division for the State Department of Revenue and has been a property and real estate developer.

Garrett has been the fishing access site manager for the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks and also worked as the Recreation Coordinator for the City of Whitefish and as the interim director for the Whitefish Parks Department. He's also a UM graduate.

Edwards is a marketing and promotions specialist for the University of Kentucky. She's also worked in public relations and special projects for the State Fair of West Virginia and is a Certified Fair Executive. 

The final round of interviews for the three candidates start on Monday, with tours of the fairgrounds and meeting fair staff. The public will have a chance to meet the candidates Monday evening at 5:30 in the meeting room in the basement of the county administration building. 


Earle is staying on to help run the Western Montana Fair this coming month. However the county has been working to bring the new director on board as soon as possible. 


Missoula leaders agree to partnership for "Central Park"

Commissioner Bill Carey signs agreement on Wednesday afternoon(MISSOULA)- Missoula County commissioners have inked a landmark agreement to management Missoula's "Central Park", a 160-acre tract of open land on the city's south side.

The idea of jointly managing the land as open space first surfaced more than a decade ago. But it was until this past year that Fairgrounds Manager Steve Earle and the Fairgrounds Advisory Committee were able to hammer out an agreement where the county, City of Missoula, YMCA, Missoula schools and the University of Montana will jointly manage the space.

The pact also calls on the agencies to share resources like maintenance equipment and staff. 


Missoula amends air quality rules

(MISSOULA)- Missoula leaders are pressing ahead with changes to the joint city-county air quality program, despite some concerns over how the new rules will impact groups who want to light bonfires for community events. 

The changes were part of several amendments approved after a joint hearing by the Missoula City Council and Missoula County commissioners on Monday evening. 

Among the amendments receiving the most discussion by the two panels was new language making in clear that a "bonfire" is generally "larger than two feet in diameter" being used by a school, non-profit group, church or other group during an organized event that would need a permit. The standards also specify what can be burned in a bonfire

The current rules have been unchanged for about 20-years. 

But some of the council members and at least one of the commissioners were worried about how the new rules would impact residents outside the city. 

County Commissioner Michele Landquist said she was concerned the rules would be "problematic" for people living outside Missoula, saying she worried about "county folks being treated like city folks", wondering whether there should be different standards. Councilman Adam Hertz also wondered how bonfire rules in Missoula would be enforced in outlying areas like Seeley Lake. 

However, staff explained the amendments could only be approved, or voted down as a package. The city council voted to approve the new rules 9-to-2, while the commissioners approved the changes on a 2-to-1 vote. The proposals now go to the state for approval. 

Other changes include a more consistent labeling of wood stoves to make it clearer where different devices may be installed in the county. The amendments also clarify that health advisories, instead of regulatory shutdowns geared to industrial air pollution, will be called during episodes of thick wildfire smoke. 


Lolo guest ranch owners relieved at judge's ruling

Miller talks with KPAX TV after the Dunrovin ruling(LOLO)- The operators of a Lolo guest ranch say there "grateful" a Missoula County judge is giving them permission to keep operating while they work on long-term permits, saying it helps them out of a "regulatory box". 

Sterling and SuZanne Miller have been locked into a regulatory battle with Missoula County over the permits needed to keep their Dunrovin Guest Ranch operating on the east side of Lolo. Tuesday, Judge Ed McLean decided the ranch could keep operating, ordering the county to go ahead and process the Miller's permits for a new septic system.

McLean told the couple they should keep pumping the ranch's septic system twice a year until the upgrade is approved and installed to keep the system from failing. 

Miller tells KPAX TV that's what they've been doing all along and that there's never been a health problem at the ranch. She says the ruling will allow her to resume taking reservations for youth groups and weddings for this year, although the legal fight and lost business has already cost the ranch "tens of thousands" of dollars.