Community briefs for Dec. 12

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Nordic skiing

Glacier Nordic Club begins its learn-to-ski programs for both youth and adults in January. Chet Hope Youth Ski League is now taking registrations for its 43nd season. Started in 1976, the league is for youth, ages 4 to 12, who want to learn to cross country ski or improve their technique. Skiers meet for seven Wednesdays from 4 to 5:30 p.m. starting Jan. 9 and/or seven Saturdays from 10 to 11:30 a.m. starting Jan. 6 at the Nordic Center at the Whitefish Lake Golf Course. The cost for either Wednesday or Saturday is $50. Rentals are available through both Glacier Nordic Shop and Glacier Cyclery and Nordic for the season. Need-based scholarships are available for both tuition and rentals. The program relies on volunteer coaches and GNC will train volunteers.

The Club has continued to expand its adult programs this year. There are programs for very first-timers who want to learn to classic or skate ski as well as the experienced skier looking to learn new or improve existing skills. For more information on both adult programs and CHYSL visit glaciernordicclub.com or call Glacier Nordic Shop at 406-862-9498.

Wreath ceremony

The Wreaths Across America celebration at the Montana Veterans Home in Columbia Falls is Saturday, Dec. 15 at 10 a.m.

The ceremony will start inside the Montana Veteran’s Home where ceremonial wreaths recognizing the six branches of the military and POW/MIAs will be placed. Residents of the Montana Veterans Home participate in this ceremony. The guest speaker for this year’s celebration is Air Force Col. Beverly Schneider, who will speak about the role of women in the military. Music will be performed by the Columbia Falls High School Choir, under the direction of Emily Hackethorn.

A reception for the Montana Veterans Home residents and attendees will take place after this ceremony.

Once the inside ceremony is concluded, the public is invited to drive to the Montana Veterans Home Cemetery to help place wreaths on veterans’ graves, starting at 10:45 a.m.

For more information, contact Steve Armstrong, (406) 420-2253 or steve1981@earthlink.net Location Coordinator, Wreaths Across America at Montana Veteran’s Home, President, Glacier Chapter of Sons of the American Revolution.

Choir

The Columbia Falls Community Choir will begin gearing up of its 43rd year of singing. Under the direction of Steven Holte, this choir will meet every Sunday at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Columbia Falls beginning on Jan. 6. Rehearsals begin at 2 p.m. and last until 4 p.m. Anyone with a desire to sing is invited to attend. The choir sings a variety of choral literature from pop to classic style music. The concert season main concerts will be on March 23 and 24 at the Columbia Falls High School Auditorium and a combined concert with the Flathead Valley Community Band in May. For more information, visit the Columbia Falls Community Choir page on Facebook, email justsingitholte@gmail.com or call 730-2396.

Letters

Every year, students from across the country enter Letters About Literature, engaging more as readers, and creating a conversation about ideas, feelings, and perspectives. With just over 30 days left to enter, Montana students are encouraged to submit letters about life-changing books for cash prizes. Lesson guides for teachers who wish to have their students participate are available through the Montana Center for the Book.

Online submissions will be accepted until Jan. 11, 2019 at http://read.gov/letters/. State winners receive $100 for first place, $75 for second place and $50 for third place in three grade levels. First place winners advance to the national competition for a chance to win $2,000 and national recognition.

Letters About Literature is made possible by a generous grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, with additional support from gifts to the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress and the Montana Center for the Book, a program of Humanities Montana.

Winter Survival

Montana State Parks will host an interpretive talk on Winter Survival Basics at Lone Pine State Park in Kalispell on Saturday, Dec. 15 from 4 to 5:30 p.m.

Winter in Montana is often harsh, but that does not stop Montanans from getting out and having some fun. The Flathead Valley offers a wide variety of winter activities from snowboarding and skiing to ice fishing, ice skating, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, fat biking and sledding.

These cold weather activities are fun but come with risks. Knowing the signs of hypothermia, how to build a proper snow cave, keep a fire going or navigate through a blizzard can save a life. This program will give the basic knowledge needed to safely enjoy the frosty outdoors of Montana.

Event attendees should come prepared to play in the snow. Registration is required and can be done through Lone Pine’s Facebook page or on Eventbrite. Cost is Free for 12 and under and $6 for 13 and older.

For more information call the park visitor center at (406) 755-2706 ext.2.

Firewood

With the arrival of winter weather, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is reminding residents that firewood gathering for personal, non-commercial use is allowed at certain state parks in Region 1, including the Thompson Chain of Lakes between Kalispell and Libby.

Firewood gatherers must have a permit in hand before collecting anything from a FWP site. A limited number of certain trees are designated for firewood collection.

In recent years, FWP has investigated several illegal firewood thefts at Region 1 sites. These popular public sites have lost a significant number of standing and fallen trees that were illegally removed. The lost trees can expose shorelines to erosion problems and diminish forested campsite areas, as well as harm important habitat trees for eagles, ospreys and other wildlife.

To report any illegal cutting, please call 1-800 TIP-MONT (847-6668) or the FWP Region 1 office at (406) 752-5501.

State Parks

In wintertime, FWP maintains certain state parks for vehicle day-use. All sites remain open to walk-in use. Montana State Parks sites provide unique opportunities for recreation in wintertime, such as ice fishing, as well as educational programs at certain sites, such as Lone Pine State Park.

Montana State Parks in Region 1 Maintained for winter day-use: Whitefish Lake State Park, Logan State Park and the Thompson Chain of Lakes, Flathead Lake State Park – Wayfarers, Yellow Bay, Big Arm and West Shore, Lake Mary Ronan State Park and Lone Pine State Park upper entrance and Foys Lake Access.

Not maintained for winter day-use: Finley Point unit of Flathead Lake State Park, Thompson Falls State Park, Les Mason State Park and Valley View entrance to Lone Pine State Park.

For more information about Montana State Parks, visit stateparks.mt.gov.

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