The Blaine County Journal News-Opinion - We've Got The County Covered

A Look Back at 2022, Part 2


January 4, 2023

This week we take a further look back at 2022 and all of the fun and exciting stories that were published. There are so many to choose from, an impossible task to pick out the best or the most interesting. So I highlighted a few and encourage everyone to visit to look for even more.

Success was had for the first time in Hays/Lodge Pole at the State B/C Speech and Drama Tournament held on January 28-29 at Huntley Project School in Worden, Montana. The Hays/Lodge Pole Thunderbird thespians won their first-ever State Speech and Drama trophy. Helping their team to earn Third Place in Class C Drama, Haley Cichosz and Jayla Haakanson captured second in Dramatic Theater.

Local students won many awards throughout the year. On February 12, the Black Eagle-Assinniboine Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) presented Good Citizenship Awards to several North Central Montana high school students at a luncheon ceremony held at Meadowlark Country Club in Great Falls. Liam Edwards, a senior at Chinook High School, was among those awarded. The tech world found a home at Harlem High School. Harlem Junior/Senior High School's Aniya Longknife has started her own podcast. The first episode of Rez Check released on February 10 with an introduction of the team. Longknife hopes to continue to drop new episodes of Rez Check every two weeks.

Leadership award winner from Chinook. When Western Ranch Supply (WRS) announced the selection of their Future Generation Leader of the Month award winners, Wylee Simenson from Chinook was among those honored for the month of February. The son of Tomi and Justin Simenson, and a sophomore at Chinook High School, Simenson learned of his selection on March 10. According to a WRS spokesperson, the award intends to showcase the youth in communities across Montana that raise the bar for all of us and have a great impact on their communities.

The Friends of the Pool and Park Foundation achieved its biggest feat yet. The Blaine County Commissioners held a Public Hearing at the Blaine County Courthouse on Tuesday, October 11th to listen to a variety of professionals for the Friends of the Pool and Park Foundation to create a special district to assist in their efforts to save the local pool. After the near hour long meeting concluded, the Blaine County Commissioners announced that they would not be making a decision at that time and would take about 10 days to render their decision. On Friday, October 21st at 10:30 in the morning the Commissioners voted unanimously to create the Chinook Recreation District. Blaine County.

Local Businessman Daniel Dahl was featured on the silver screen. When Montana's longest running travelogue program, Backroads of Montana returns to the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) airways at 8 p.m. on Monday, May 23, it will feature a new host, a Blaine County personality, and some building history. The new host is one of the program's producers, John Twiggs, and this episode will highlight Daniel Dahl of Wilderness Funeral Home and Cremation Services.

Another big event was the return of The Ultimate Salad and Dessert Bar. After COVID put the Ultimate Salad and Dessert Bar into hibernation for two years, JUMP is ready to bring that event back. The smorgasbord-style event will take place on May 15 from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. at Wallner Hall in Chinook. According to one of the JUMP leaders, Chrissy Downs, the Ultimate Salad and Dessert Bar is primarily a social event where friends gather for lunch to support area youth.

Steve Edwards always has great stories from his adventures and 2022 featured several. Ancient Order of the Deep: Lutefisk Eaters was published August 17, 2022. When my wife and I moved to North Dakota we lived among a lot of Norwegians, a new experience for us. We'd never heard of lutefisk...and certainly never eaten it. We learned a lot about "lutefisk and meatball dinners" and other Norwegian traditions. Not realizing the large geographic spread of Norwegian culture in our own country we were amazed when we moved to Libby, Montana, then Chinook, and also found lutefisk eaters in those places. A recent surprise in Chinook was to learn that back in the 1950's to late 1970's Chinook had its own 'official' group of lutefisk eaters, the Ancient Order of the Deep. Apparently, the brainchild of Blondie Austad, a famed connoisseur of eating and cooking lutefisk. The group of ten men met three to four times each year to enjoy a lutefisk dinner. Austad owned the old Bar X and cooked lutefisk dinners for public gatherings as well.

Another was titled, Philipsburg has more than just a famous candy store published, October 26, 2022. Alert readers may recall two of my recent stories (visits to Anaconda/Butte and Basin) were about what we saw on a "surprise tour of Montana" for my wife's birthday. The following story is about the first stop on that trip, a two day visit to Philipsburg which is located between Missoula and Butte, south of the Flint Creek Mountain range. I'd only heard of Philipsburg in connection with TV ads for the town's famous candy store, the Sweet Palace. Our travel agent, Keri Hanson, said "I think you both would enjoy a visit to Phillipsburg." After two days visiting, I can say there is a lot more to Philipsburg than just a famous candy store and we both did enjoy our stay there.

There were so many great, fun and interesting stories that took place in 2022. Far more than can be mentioned here. The good news is all of them are available online at simple log on and start browsing. You can spend hours going through stories you will certainly enjoy again or maybe missed the first time, check it out.


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