“Let Great Falls Rot”

Based on initial results, it appears that the school levy won’t pass, although the tallies are razor-thin right now. KFBB just reported that the elementary school levy has been defeated by fewer than 200 votes, and the high school levy by fewer than 400 votes. By the way, kudos to everyone who voted – about 18,000! – and to the folks who handled the election and counted the ballots.

It’s clear that there is a pretty even split in our community about whether our schools need more money. I suspect that if our schools were in true need, the vote would have been lopsided in favor of the levy, but as I noted earlier, many people in Great Falls believe that we have excellent schools that do a great job with their available resources. I’m sure that the time will come – next year, five years? – when our schools will indeed require more money, and I have no doubt that voters will step up. Read more

Privileges of Residency

How many of you would believe that I was very happy on Tuesday when I went to renew my auto registration and pay the associated fees? It’s true: I felt proud to pay “full fare” finally, now that I am retired from the Air Force and have officially claimed Montana as my home. Military folks in Great Falls who have a “home of record” (residency) in another state – as I did – only have to pay a portion of the auto registration fee, so this was my first time paying the full amount ($133). It felt good. Seriously. And being able to park, get in the building, pay the money, get the sticker, and back to my car in 13 minutes – damn, but I love Great Falls! Read more

You Must Remember This

“My Very Exciting Magic Carpet Just Sailed Under Nine Palace Elephants.” Nonsense, you say? Not at all – it’s the new mnemonic device to help kids remember the name (and order) of planets and “dwarf planets” in our solar system! And here’s the cool part – it’s the whimsical creation of Great Falls’ very own Maryn Smith, a 10-year old student at Riverview Elementary. She beat hundreds of other students to win the contest. In addition to being enshrined in educational materials, Smith’s memory-helper will also be incorporated into a song by pop artist Lisa Loeb. Way cool, Maryn!

Madrigal Dinner

Had a great time on Thursday night at the “Madrigal Dinner!” It was a fundraiser for the CMR creative arts department, and featured all of the creative kids – musicians, thespians, singers – dressed in medieval garb, complete with a Royal Court, pig’s head on a spit, serving ladies, court jesters and entertainers, and holiday songs. The kids (and some staff members, too, such as Mr Spencer’s “Rat Catcher” persona!) did a great job, and it was a really cool evening. Here’s some pix (click for larger size):

Madrigal Dinner for CMR High School

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