by Karen Lyncoln
for the Pathfinder
November 20, 1997
"We want to know what you need for the new deputy position," said Missoula County Sheriff Doug Chase, as he opened his presentation to the Seeley Lake Community Council at its regular monthly meeting on November 17. Twenty area residents attended the meeting to ask questions about law enforcement and discuss possible duties for the new half-time deputy.
Chase explained that the new deputy will not be another "resident" deputy like Scott Newell in Seeley Lake or Bob Parcell in Condon. The new position will be assigned to the area between five and six months of the year during the summer season and during special events like Winterfest that swell local population. The position will start being regularly staffed in January, although patrols in the valley have already increased in recent months.
"The first year will be kind of a shakedown period for this new officer," reported Chase, explaining that residents could write (Sheriff's Office, 200 W. Broadway, Missoula MT 59802), phone (1-406-523-4810), fax (1-406-721-8575), or e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) their comments on the best use of the deputy to the Sheriff's Office now and during the year. Chase said that local residents could dial 911 to contact the Sheriff's Office.
Many residents had questions about crime prevention and reporting, and were particularly concerned about a recent increase in drug abuse problems. Using drug prevention as an example, Chase reported that local citizens are becoming more willing to assist law enforcement officials by reporting suspicious activity. "We can't know unless you tell us," said Chase, encouraging residents to assist in crime reporting.
"The community is ready to get involved with kids at risk," said Mary Ann Morin, describing the attendance at a recent Insight Program at the high school designed to identify and prevent teen drug abuse.
Cheri Thompson, Council member and the recent victim of an arson at the NAPA store, urged local residents to ensure that right and wrong become more important than friendships and relationships. "Somewhere out there, someone knows who burned my store," Thompson declared, adding that it's the right thing to do to come forward with that information.
Sheriff Chase spent about 50 minutes talking with area residents and encouraged them to continue talking with him and his deputies about their concerns and ways to increase crime prevention.
In other Council business, members discussed the need for a new Chairman of the Community Hall Board of Directors. Allan Chaffin is retiring from his volunteer job of managing the hall and will leave big boots to fill. The Community Council recommended that the Board of Directors hold a special meeting to discuss the problem and ask for new volunteers to do the bookings and maintenance for the Community Hall.
"Dan Mizner's vision is complete," said Cheri Thompson, as Bruce Bourne, Council member, reported that the bear signs at both ends of Seeley Lake have been installed. The bears were made by a local artist; Seeley Lake Ready Mix provided the concrete; Bourne provided the metal and posts; and Paul Conn, Council member, provided the wood for the forms. Bourne and Conn provided most of the labor installing the bears.
In new business, Rita Harte, Council Clerk, announced that five of the council member positions will be vacant in April 1998. Local residents who are interested in volunteering for this advisory body to the Missoula County Commissioners should call the Commission Office in Missoula to get an application. If an election is necessary, it will be held in April.
Council members present at the November 17 meeting include Bruce Bourne, Paul Conn, Dave Spence, and Cheri Thompson. The next meeting is scheduled for December 15 at 7:00 p.m. at the Fire Hall.