June 22, 2016

As firefighters contained the Wall Fire in southeast Montana, prime fire conditions facilitated the start of more fires in the region. “Resources from multiple agencies responded to the new fires,” a press release from the Montana Department of Natural Resources said.

By Diane Larson


June 17 - In honor of all fathers here is a little read that explores the origins of Father's Day.

Father’s Day is a relatively young holiday. Only 44 years old, Father’s Day didn’t become a nationwide official holiday until 1972. The inspiration for a Father’s Day celebration came from Mother’s Day.

Mother’s Day was born out of the peace and reconciliation campaigns following the post-Civil War era. In the 1860s, attempting to bring together the mother’s of Confederate and Unions soldiers, activist Ann Reeves Jarvis suggested that a “Mother’s Work Days” be celebrated in West Virginia.

Then in 1870, another female activist, Julia Ward Howe, calling on a general congress of women issued a “Mother’s Day Proclamation for Peace.”  “Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts, whether our baptism be that of water or of tears! We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says “Disarm, Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.”

The first activists or supporters of a Mother’s Day envisioned it as a day of peace and a day to honor all women who lost sons and husbands in the Civil War. Mother’s Day initially was meant to be a day of peace, a day of remembrance and a day of honor.

In July of 1908, a West Virginia church held what could be considered the first Father’s Day. They sponsored a day that was specifically to honor all fathers. The sermon for this Sunday reflected on and honored the 362 men who had died that December in explosions at the Fairmont Coal Company mines in Monongah.

Sonora Smart Dodd from Spokane, Washington tried to establish an official equivalent of Mother’s Day for Fathers. Dodd and her five brothers were raised by her father alone. She campaigned all over town at churches, the YMCA, she talked to shopkeepers and went to government officials to get support for a day to celebrate the male parents. She got initial approval; however the day Dodd suggested was June 5, which was her father’s birthday. She was told that it wouldn’t be possible to celebrate the day until the third week of June.  While it didn’t take off immediately, Dodd did start a movement that wouldn’t give up.

On July 19, 1910 Washington State celebrated the nation’s first statewide Father’s Day. The holiday started to spread. To honor Father’s Day, in 1916, President Wilson telegraphed a message from Washington D.C. to Spokane to unfurl a flag.

Father’s day continued to be observed unofficially in many communities. Through this time there was continued support to make it an official holiday. William Jennings Bryant was one of its strongest supporters.

In 1924 President Calvin Coolidge urged state governments to observe the holiday. Even Lyndon B. Johnson looked very favorably on the holiday. On June 15, 1966, President Johnson declared Father’s Day to be a time to “give public and private expression of the love and gratitude” to our nation’s fathers.

It is interesting to note that during these times many men did not like the idea of a Father’s Day. One historian writes, “They scoffed at the holiday’s sentimental attempts to domesticate manliness with flowers and gift-giving.” These men mocked the commercialism of it all and the gimmicks used to sell more products that the men would actually be paying for themselves. 

However, it wasn’t until 1972 that President Nixon signed into law a permanent recognition of the holiday. In his proclamation, Nixon required an annual presidential Father’s Day Proclamation.

During his time in office, President Barack Obama proclaimed Father’s Day each year. In his Father’s Day Proclamation of 2013 he called for “men in every corner of America” to continue to be present in the lives of their children.

In 2014 he asked of the people of America that, “Today, let us reflect on our fathers' essential contributions to our lives, our society, and our Nation. Let us thank the men who understand there is nothing more important than being the best fathers they can be.

In the proclamation of 2015 he said, “Through a love shown and earned by being present, we teach our children what matters and pass on a spirit of empathy, compassion, and selflessness. These are the lessons fathers -- whether married or single; gay, straight, or transgender; biological, adoptive, or foster -- can teach their kids, and across America responsible, committed dads are proving that their children are always their first priority.”

In the first couple lines of President Richard Nixon’s initial proclamation it says, “To have a father—to be a father—is to come very near the heart of life itself. In fatherhood we know the elemental magic and joy of humanity.”

On Sunday, June 19 of 2016 we will celebrate Father’s Day. Some celebrations will include big ties, some will include big dinners. However you decide to celebrate, make it joyful. Happy Father’s Day, Dads

Big Sky Connection

June 14, 2016  

Greg Stotelmyer

WHITESBURG, Ky. - A federal court has upheld the Federal Communication Commission's decision to treat the Internet like a utility - a victory for consumers say advocates of net neutrality.

The 2-to-1 ruling came Tuesday from the U.S. Court of Appeals for Washington, D.C.

Marty Newell, a member of the Rural Broadband Policy Group, says the court ruling is "part of the march" to treating broadband the same way we treat telephone service.

"It's not optional," he stresses. "It's not a luxury. There was a time when Internet access might have been considered a luxury, but it's not now. That time has passed.

"It's a necessity in the same way that we looked at the telephone once upon a time."

The cable and telecom industries and their allies argue that the FCC's rule is overreaching and would stifle investment and customer choice.

But Newell and other advocates say web users need more protections from providers.

Newell says the ruling is especially important in rural areas of the country that are underserved by broadband.

Take Kentucky for example, where Newell says around one out of every four households does not have access to broadband services.

"We don't have as much choice," he points out. "The competition is not nearly as great.

"It is critical that this communications tool that it is absolutely essential to do business in the 21st century, that it be an open system."

The Rural Broadband Policy Group says of the 19 million Americans who don't have broadband, more than 14 million live in rural parts of the country.

Noting a lot of money is at stake, Newell says he knows the legal challenges will continue, something the industry giants have promised.

The 1st annual Covellite International Film Festival, in historic uptown Butte, Montana, is now open for submissions in the following categories: Narrative Feature, Documentary Feature, Narrative Short, Documentary Short, Animated Short, & Experimental Short, over $7,500 in cash and prizes will be awarded. There will be indoor screenings at historic theaters, panels in ballrooms and outdoor screenings at the Original Mine, a former working mine that has been repurposed as an event space that overlooks the city. Submit via withoutabox here: http://www.withoutabox.com/login/14882 The festival runs September 15 - 18

By Diane Larson


Editor’s note: Governor Bullock has proclaimed that flags be flown at half-staff in observance of the tragedy in Orlando, Florida.

The American Flag, for Americans, is our symbol of freedom, liberty, and democracy.  It is our history, our national pride and tells the story of the American people. And so we celebrate this symbol and give it its own holiday.

One of the earliest documented references to a suggested celebration of a “Flag Day” is in 1861. Mr. George Morris recommended that June 14 be recognized and celebrated. It was observed in 1861, but did not become a tradition.

Again in 1885, Bernard J. Cigrand an elementary teacher at Stony Hill School in Waubeka, Wisconsin recommended observance of June 14 as “Flag Day.” He spoke of the country needing to promote patriotism, respect for the flag. Stony Hill School is possibly the site of the first formal observance of Flag Day.

In 1888 the American Flag Day Association or Western Pittsburgh was founded by William T. Kerr. Kerr, a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and later Yeadon, PA became national chairman of the association and served for fifty years. In 1949 Kerr attended President Harry S. Truman’s signing of the Act of congress that formally established the observance.

In the tradition of those who had gone before George Bolch a kindergartner teacher in New York City decided to have the children hold a patriotic ceremony to observe the anniversary of the first Flag Day Resolution. The Flag Day Resolution of June 14, 1777 read “That the flag of the United States shall be of thirteen stripes of alternate red and white, with a union of thirteen stars of white in a blue field, representing the new constellation.”

His kindergarteners on June 14, 1889 celebrated Flag Day. Right away Mr. Bolch’s idea caught on and received attention from the State Department of Education. They really liked the idea and arranged to have Flag Day observed in all public schools from that point forward.

Shortly after, state legislature passed a law requiring state superintendents of public schools to ensure that the schools hold observances for Lincoln and Washington’s birthdays, Memorial Day and of course Flag Day.

On June 14, 2016 you can proudly display your American Flag. There are specific things to remember when displaying the flag.

The proper care and how to handle the American flag is steeped in tradition. It is to be respected and has its own Flag Etiquette.

 Below are some of the basics on displaying the American flag.

It is flown from sunrise to sunset.

Raise the flag briskly in the morning and lower it slowly at sunset.

Do not fly the flag in rain or other inclement weather.

When there has been a tragedy or death, the flag is to be flown at half staff for 30 days.

The flag is always flown at the top of the pole when other flags are on the same pole. The state flag, for example, would be flown below the America Flag.

The flag is never to touch the ground.

For storing the flag, make sure it is folded neatly.

If the flag is old and begins to be ragged it may be time to replace it. When getting rid of the old flag it is to be burnt or buried, do not throw in trash.

You can contact your local Boy Scouts for the proper ceremony; they may even be able to perform the ceremony for you.

It was the flag flying over Fort McHenry that inspired Frances Scott Key to pen, “And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave, O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!