August 10, 2016

DNRC-In the past 24 hours 21 New fires totaling 118 acres were reported from the Northern Rockies Coordination Center, (3 BIA, 2 BLM, 9 USFS,3 MT, 3 local government and 1 ID).  Three large incidents are currently active in MT (Roaring Lion Fire, USFS: Copper King Fire, USFS, Race Horse Gulch Fire, BIA).

Mainly sunny, cooler and breezy over Montana today with isolated showers/wet storms. 

Roaring Lion

Bitteroot National Forest. Five miles SW of Hamilton. Transfer of command to IMT3 will occur today at 6:00 pm. Precipitation occurred over the fire yesterday. Started 7/31. Full suppression and confine management strategy.

Unknown cause, 8,274 acres; 60% contained; 518 personnel; 65 structures lost. Approximate cost-to-date 7.2 million. Burning in timber with minimal fire behavior with smoldering. 

Residences and other structures threatened. Evacuation, road, trail and area closures in effect.

Anticipated containment date September 30, 2016. 

Copper King

Lolo National Forest. 7 miles east of Thompson Falls. Precipitation occurred over the fire yesterday. Community Camp Tour today at 7:00 pm. 

Started 7/31. Full suppression management strategy. Unknown Cause.

Type 2 IMT (Thompson). 1,465 acres; 18% contained; 369 personnel; approximate cost-to-date 5 million. 

Burning in timber, minimal fire behavior. Residences and watershed threatened. Road, area and trail closures in effect.

Anticipated containment date October 31, 2016. 

Race Horse Gulch Fire

Flathead Agency, BIA 22 miles east of Plains. Started 8/5. Full suppression management strategy. Lightening caused.

IMT3 Incident Commander Trahan; 4,571 acres; 30% contained; 156 personnel; approximate cost-to-date 450K. 

Burning in timber and tall grass, minimal fire behavior with creeping and single tree torching. Natural resources threatened.

Anticipated containment date, August 15, 2016.

Diane Larson 

Kayli McElroy of Tiernan Dancers (airborn) 
Photo by Kari Hoscheid of Zo Photo

August 8, 2016
Butte--If we were to fall prey to stereotypes we would think that all Irish drink too much, are overly sentimental and love to have a good time better than anyone. But we know those are just stereotypes.
However, if you are in Butte during An Ri Ra you will discover that they do, indeed, know how to properly celebrate their culture and heritage. This year An Ri Ra will be the weekend 12, 13 and 14.
An Ri Ra, according to Frank Walsh, roughly translated means wild celebration. Each August, for the past 11 years, those wild celebrations have occurred in Butte. This festival is a tribute and celebration of the Irish culture, heritage and its contribution to the people of Montana. 
2016 marks the 14th annual An Ri Ra Festival. The festival began in Missoula 14 years ago, and was held there for approximately three years before moving to Butte. For the first several years the festival charged a $20.00 ticket price to get into the festival for the entire weekend. The festival wasn’t growing, so the decision was made to transition the An Ri Ra to a free festival, say Frank. 
Another change they made was to move festival from the Uptown location to the Original Mine-yard. The stage and yard offer an atmosphere for watching dancers and listening to music that is indeed unique to Butte and adds to the festival experience.
Music, according to Frank, is a big draw. The festival organizers receive requests from musicians of this genre from across the United States, as well around the world. Butte has a reputation of being a hospitable people among the musicians that come to An Ri Ra. It is what brings them back and draws new comers. Frank explained that the musicians hear of our reputation from other musicians that have been here and want to play An Ri Ra as well.  
There are a few of the musicians that come most years, however, the festival organizers try to bring the best of the genre and rotate them through so the festival stays fresh and all get a chance to come to Butte, says Frank. 
This year’s line-up includes, The Elders, Gailfean, Makem & Spain, Dublin Gulch and Derek Warfield & The Young Wolfe Tones just to name a few. 
The Elders were formed in 1998. Six individuals with a common desire to play music rooted in Americana and Celtic folk rock. According to their website when they play they seem to be channeling something ancient and enduring. The fusion of American and Celtic music makes them unique and a must see at the festival. 

Gailfean (formerly The Pure Drop) have been together since 2012. Each member of the band is equally accomplished and together they play a wonderful mix of Irish traditional music that is a treat. 
Makem & Spain, made up of Liam Spain, Mickey Spain and Rory Makem, according to their website,, define their genre and their generation. This group of men is helping to bring Irish Folk music into the 21st century. 
Another wonderful group of musicians is Butte’s own Dublin Gulch. The members are Tom Powers, Mick Cavanaugh, Jim Schulz and John Joyner. Their bio states that for the past twenty-four years they have emerged as Butte’s as well as Montana’s premier traditional Irish band. 
While the music is indeed a big draw to the festival, another wonderful attraction is the dancers. The Trinity Irish Dancers from Chicago are a hit each year. This group was founded in 1990. The idea behind it was a way to celebrate the pioneering work of its founding artistic director, Mark Howard. 
Another a big hit are our own Tiernan Irish Dancers. These dancers are a joy to watch. Founded in January of 2004 Tiernan is the sister school of Chicago Trinity Irish Dancers. The Tiernan Dancers range from 5 to 18 years of age.
Kayli McElroy has been dancing with the Tiernan Irish Dancers since she was seven years old. She is currently twelve. In those five years Kayli has grown to love the dance. One of the things that she says she loves about the Irish dance is the constant movement. 
According to her Aunt Kim, Kayli can be seen dancing almost anywhere anytime. She is faithful in her practicing while in her class, which takes place once a week in the basement of the Butte-Silver Bow Public Library, and out outside of the class as well. 
Kayli said that her favorite part is learning new steps, “I like it when they make new dances,” she said.
The Tiernan Dancers perform throughout the year in Butte. They perform several times during the An Ri Ra Festival. They also do a holiday show and go on a school tour. The school tour, Kayli explained is where they pick three schools in Butte and perform in those three schools in one day. 
Of course the Tiernan Dancers also perform on St. Patrick’s Day. They dance in the parade and can be seen dancing at The Civic Center. 
Kayli loves being in the Tiernan Irish Dancers and is really looking forward to this year. 
Irish history is another one of the focuses. This year, 2016, marks the 100th anniversary of the Easter Uprising. There will speakers and authors on that topic as well as others. 
Seminars may also be offered. Occasionally musicians may offer a class on playing an instrument or the dancers will share their talent and teach a few steps.
Vendors galore will line the festival area and many artisans and crafters will have their tables set up and will have their wares for sale and viewing. 
The festival relies on the generosity of its donors. Butte-Silver Bow is a big contributor and the bucket brigade brings in a considerable amount of donations. 
Another money maker is the raffle. This year, like many others the prizes are fantastic. First there is trip for two to Ireland with the Makem & Spain’s tour, second they have a week for two in Kona Hawaii at a private condo and two tickets to South Bend for a Notre Dame Football Game. Tickets are $5.00 each or 6 for $25.00. 


Aug. 8, 2016

Roaring Lion

The Roaring Lion Fire near Hamilton, Mont is 30 percent contained, with full containment not expected until September 30, the Montana Department of Natural Resources reports.

Sixty-five structures have been lost to the fire, and the cost-to-date is $6.1 million. The fire has consumed 8,262 acres, and has required the effort of 742 personnel, the DNRC reported.

The fire is burning in timber, “with moderate fire behavior, isolated torching and flanking,” the DNRC said.

Many structures are still threatened, and evacuations, road, trail and area closures remain in effect, the agency said. It rained on the fire yesterday, the agency reported.

The cause of the fire remains unknown.

Copper King

The Copper King Fire continues to burn east of Thompson Falls. It has consumed 1,445 acres and is just five percent contained, officials reported. Residences are threatened and road, trail and area closures are in effect. The fire has cost $3.8 million to date and required the efforts of 412 personnel, the agency reported.

The cause of the Copper King fire remains unknown.

Race Horse Gulch

The Race Horse Gulch Fire is burning 22 miles east of Plains, Mont. The fire started on Friday and has burned 4,016 acres. It is burning in timber and tall grass. It is 30 percent contained, has consumed the efforts of 96 personnel, and it is expected to be contained by Saturday.

Fawn Fire

The Fawn Fire started Thursday in Yellowstone National Park. It was caused by lightening and it has burned 915 acres. The fire is "creeping, smoldering and burning in heavy logs," the department reported. Structures are threatened, and trails have been closed.

The DNRC expects the fire to be contained by October 18.

Wild 7 Fire

 The Wild 7 Fire is active 23 miles southeast of Zortman. It started on July, 29. It was caused by lightening and has consumed 140 acres. It is 90 percent contained, and 6 firefighters continue to work on it. Containment is expected by tomorrow.


July , 2016

Over all, Evel Knievel Days arrests were down this year, but drunk driving arrests were up over the Evel weekend, police said.

At this morning's media briefing, Undersheriff George Skuletich told reporters that there 29 arrests during Evel Days this year compared with 32 arrests last year.

DUI arrests were up dramatically this year. Law enforcement nabbed 11 drunk drivers as Evel gripped the community in 2016. There were just three DUI arrests during Evel Days in 2015, police said.

Calls for service were way down this year. There were 216 calls in 2016, but 364 calls for service during Evel Days in 2015.

The udnersheriff said that the boost in drunk driving arrests may have been due to the presence of a Montana Highway Patrol task force. Skuletich believed that the highway patrol made seven of the 11 arrests.


July 22, 2016

When Erin Foley attended the monthly labor meeting last week at Saint James Healthcare in Butte, she knew that there had been layoffs at Saint Vincent Healthcare in Billings

Saint Vincent is Saint James’ sister hospital.

Her source was a reposting of a news article on Facebook, she said.

Foley is the Business Agent for Teamster Local 2.  At the labor meeting she asked if Saint James would be doing the same.

The answer was no.

“Basically they addressed that they had no thoughts about laying off,” Foley said.

She noted that the Butte hospital monitors its financial situation carefully, and it keeps its work force pared down. “They keep staff minimal,” the business agent said.

She added that during the Fourth of July holiday, the hospital implemented “critical shifts.” They had to call people in to cover their staffing needs, Foley said.

The Teamsters take a proactive and cooperative approach at Saint James, Foley said.

They have allowed their members to be cross trained at Saint James, and they let their members move to other departments to fill in Teamster positions, she said. She noted that Teamsters who work in the Emergency Room at Saint James sometimes cover staffing needs on patient floors.

The Teamster Business Agent reiterated that the hospital indicated to her that they “were not, at this time, considering layoffs.”

A request for comment emailed to Saint James on July 19 remains unanswered. Two calls to the Saint Vincent media relations department remain unanswered as well, In addition, a call into the media relations department for SCL Health, the health care system sponsored by the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, Kansas remains unanswered. Both Saint James and Saint Vincent are part of the SCL system.