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Whitefish virus outreach aimed at safety

| May 11, 2020 1:00 AM

The city of Whitefish is making a poster available to businesses to remind folks to follow practices aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Two versions of the sign are available to download at https://tinyurl.com/yb3n6b28

The city is asking businesses to join in its outreach to prevent the spread of the virus by posting the sign at the entrance of their business. The sign reminds out-of-state travelers they must self-quarantine for 14 days. It also reminds people to wear a mask in public, maintain 6 feet of distance from others and wash or sanitize hands frequently.

Montana is in the first phase of reopening following the end on April 26 of a stay-at-home order aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19. Phase one allows for the limited operation of certain businesses.

“As we all work together and keep consistent guidance, we will endure the sacrifices of each phase and get back to the new normal sooner — and most importantly, we will keep our community safe,” the city advisory says.

The Flathead City-County Health Department also has a COVID-19 Business Planning Guide as a helpful resource that provides guidance for reopening different types of businesses. The guide is available at http://www.cityofwhitefish.org/4.21-Business-Planning-Guide.pdf.

— Whitefish Pilot

The Columbia Falls City-County Planning Board will take up a request by Will and Andrea Brunz for a dog kennel business on a tract of land at 443 Rogers Road at its May 12 meeting.

Dog kennels require a conditional-use permit. The couple already runs a dog kennel business on Windy Acres Drive. They advertise dog training, boarding and other services.

The board meets at 6:30 p.m. in the Columbia Falls council chambers at City Hall. The City Council will subsequently hold a public hearing June 1 at 7 p.m.

Nearly two and a half years after the Linderman Gym in Polson collapsed due to extreme winter conditions, progress on constructing a new gym is reaching visible milestones.

The Swank Enterprises crew working on the project has been using massive cranes to begin assembling the structural steel components over the last couple of weeks. Polson School District Superintendent Rex Weltz explained the workers made a lot of progress lately by completing the foundation with utilities installed throughout it, but it was hard to visibly see the progress. Now that the steel framing is going up, he said it’s easier to see the vision for the project come together.

As the workers make progress with the structural frame, the contractor is also dealing with an issue found underground. A corner of the foundation from the Lincoln School building that resided on the property many years ago was found unexpectedly. The plan was to route the piping for a stormwater retention system, which is required by code, through that area. Now the civil engineer involved with the project will decide to either reroute the system, or another option is to just tear through the old foundation remnants.

Although reconfiguring the stormwater retention system is not causing a significant delay, COVID-19 precautions and restrictions are affecting progress. Crews are limited to a max of 10 people onsite at any given time and are at times staggering schedules to get the most work done as possible.

There are hand sanitizing stations throughout the site and workers must be careful with social distancing and disinfecting products and tools.

The gym’s estimated completion date is September 2021 and Weltz eagerly awaits that day when Polson will have a home gym again. Until then though, the district is immeasurably grateful for the hospitality and accommodations Salish Kootenai College continues to offer them.

— Lake County Leader

The historic High Bridge in Thompson Falls has spanned the Clark Fork River since 1911 and this Friday, the refurbished bridge will celebrate its 10th year since its reopening to the public.

It’s not unusual to see at least one person on the bridge during daylight hours. Dog walkers, bicyclists, families, sunbathers, anglers, and tourists, you name it, the High Bridge is very popular. Wildlife viewing is also popular.

According to waymarking.com, the bridge is 588 feet in length and 80 feet high. The deck width was 18 feet before it was rebuilt and 12 feet after.

For those who don’t wish to drive across the river south of town, they can park in the small lot at the end of South Gallatin Street and cross the bridge to get to Island Park. The other is to take the first left on to Highway 471, also known as Prospect Creek Road, after crossing the Clark Fork River on Montana 200.

It provides access to the dam and a fish ladder as well as trails that are widely used.

The Parker-Pratt deck truss bridge was first opened in 1911, built to aid in the construction of the Hydro Dam Project. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986 as part of the Hydroelectric Dam Historic District.

The bridge deteriorated over the years and was closed to vehicle traffic in 1979. Sanders County officials and citizens began to work on fixing and reopening the bridge in the late 1990s. On May 8, 2010, the efforts of many people came to fruition as the refurbished bridge was dedicated.

— Clark Fork Valley Press

A Libby man brought up on a slew of charges after allegedly assaulting an ex-girlfriend in October changed his plea in Lincoln County District Court on April 27 as part of a deal with prosecutors.

Khristafer Gentry, who also goes by Kristopher and Kristafer, pleaded guilty to a single, felony count of criminal possession of dangerous drugs. Authorities will drop the other four charges, which include partner or family member assault, third or subsequent offense, and criminal possession of drug paraphernalia.

He initially pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Prosecutors will recommend Gentry receive a five-year sentence in the state Department of Corrections with two years suspended.

Gentry has previous partner or family member assault convictions that occurred in June 2017 and July 2000. His sentencing hearing on his most recent charge is scheduled for June 8.

— The Western News