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By Mick Holien

Does it seem to you that summer months move about twice as quickly as the winter and although there is considerable effort to promote shoulder season activities, Polsonites continue to pack seemingly as much into a 24-hour period as possible.

And as Labor Day weekend casts a glance our way with the turn tomorrow to August the choice of activities feels a bit overwhelming but a nice challenge.

I swear I hear about as many activities after they’ve happened as vice versa.

And they cover a spectrum – almost a redundancy with wide here – with attendees split about equally between summer and year-round residents.

Which is good after all imo since often when summer visitors arrive at their “cabin” it proves increasingly difficult to enhance their return to that plethora of area activities.

But with the area population basically doubling to more than 10,000 in the summer months, consider the influx of brain trust and expertise that we all could benefit from.

This is the 10th anniversary of Freedom Days, a local effort which in part was responsible for the bridge to me renamed the Armed Forces Bridge.

But the remembrances of that weekend’s activities have faded about commiserate with the decay of the bridge banners marking the occasion.

The brainchild of Rick Skates of First Citizens Bank who convened a large committee and subs who met for months leading up to the bevy of activities. I remember telling Rick that he had so many generals involved (I remember 13) we’d never get anything done and a few sergeants were needed aboard to do the work.

But someone events still continually seem to come together, maybe not exactly a visualized but pleasing enough for most spectators.

There are fairs and sometimes rodeos at every turn and music, you talk about music, the remaining days are packed to the guild with diversity and mostly within a hour’s travel time.

A week from now comes Summerfest which in addition to the popular car show and Art in the Park, with vendors dotting the Lake County Courthouse lawn, an inaugural concert will be held on the new permanent stage constructed on the banks of the Flathead River.

Car show trophies will start the activities north of the bridge and a lively concert opens the weekend outdoors on Friday at the Red Lion.

So think about doing something kind for someone this weekend and stay tuned for specific activity information.

The headline of new Summerfest is the Aber Day Reunion concert on the permanent new stage, the cornerstone of the Regatta Shoreline Amphitheater.

This is an Anderson Charitable Foundation Production.

Music with Andrea Harsell starts after trophy presentation with her lively group followed by the legendary Mission Mountain Wood Band.

And then the treat with Sam Riddle bringing his high-energy brand to the stage to top off the night.

It is quite an occasion since Riddle is the son of M2WB bass player/vocalist Steve Riddle with the duo sharing the same bill for the first time – A bit of a passing of the torch.

We also have a surprise or two in order, camping is available and there’s a wide variety of vendors for all your eating needs.

And beer – What do you think.

Tickets available locally this week – Info: Mick Holien 544-2478.


Tink's Trauma

By Mick Holien

Former University of Montana head basketball coach Wayne Tinkle, who often vacations in Polson, his Oregon state men’s basketball team and his family were exposed to the perils of foreign travel Thursday night when a van deliberately rammed a group of people killing 13 and wounding more than 100 in Barcelona, Spain.

The Beavers, who were in Spain to play in a basketball tournament, were in their hotel near the site where the incident occurred.

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By Mick Holien

Yep it is that time of year when youngsters of every age and size, if they aren’t already involved, make the pitch to hit the gridiron, although they may well not know what that is.

In many families it is a bygone conclusion to play football while in others especially with the added publicity concerning injuries, there might well be a discussion.

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Stolen Show

By Mick Holien

Music – It inspires the soul, diverts our attention from challenging times and brings kindred spirits together.

And in other times dissimilar or the unacquainted are drawn to song.

I’m not much of a conversationalist when I am locked into music and so from my spot stage left during the Mission Mountain Wood Band set an advance apology if I didn’t spend as much time as I would have if first of all I could have head you or if you had been able to pull me away from sharing the lyrics to about every song.

My pal Renata even tried to engage me by swinging with the scooter which I have to admit was cool.

Tonight’s Boys & Girls Club meeting finds answering loads of questions about the success of the Aber Day Reunion from people who obviously didn’t attend.

Just to be part of the first show on the new huge stage would have been enough to compel me to search again harder for my still missing billfold.

To put it in perspective I shorted the size of the structure. It actually approaches 40x60sq-feet.

And when I describe something as expansive, having spent a few minutes up there all I can say it will take a heck of a good sized band to dominate the 2,640 square foot structure.

That is to replace flatbed trailers that housed the majority of shows from the Mule Marathon on Evaro Hill to all points north.

The stage goes right back into use for the Blues Festival Friday and Saturday.

But let me pose a question if you are interested about the event’s success, I guess I wonder why you didn’t attend.

I really have no idea how many of those concerts, especially with M2WB I will attend in the future, but I can assure you the one Saturday was special.

And I didn’t feel that during sound check but the minute they broke into “Take a Whiff Off Me,” right up to “Mountain Standard Time” I knew they were really on and had the opportunity to tell them so afterword.

But why not, surely with no criticism of the other acts, the Mission Mountain Wood Band, like the Christmas Grinch, stole away another Aber Day.

Just sayin’ And you?

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A Classic Aber

By Mick Holien

What a Difference a Day Makes … 24 little hours brought the sun.

The 2009 Emmy Award lyrics of Dinah Washington seemed particularly apt as skies that mildly threatened the Aber Days Reunion held for a day as the some 40-plus vessels of every type that blanketed the Flathead River provided additional ambiance to a throng of attendees that grooved to a day dominated predictably by the Mission Mountain Wood Band when.

The partially smoke obscured Mission

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Last of Unabomber


Before I reveal what was behind that third floor elevator in the Lewis and Clark County Courthouse the morning of the Unabomber’s initial appearance, I want to share a couple of telephone pointers with you that unfortunately no longer apply because there are few pay phones remaining.

Just a tease.

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I saw Ted early-on

By Mick Holien

It is just short of two decades since I received one of the more surprising telephone calls of my career..

It was late afternoon on a weekday and as often happens in this business whatever I was working on when the phone rang was pushed quickly to the side as my friend who was news director at KOA in Denver tipped me that a warrant had been issued for the Unabomber in Lincoln which quickly prompted my retort of why I should be paying attention to Nebraska news.

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Fly With Me

By Mick Holien

Recent incidents aboard commercial airlines cause pause from a guy who for some 40 years flew in first of all actual wide-body jets only to eventually be relegated to what the industry craftfully labeled a Canadian Regional “Jet.”

Extremely short tempers parlayed with ever diminutive aircraft, delays and just plain rancor all have taken the joy about of the “friendly skies.”

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Aber Day Everything

By Mick Holien

Does it seem to you that summer months move about twice as quickly as the winter and although there is considerable effort to promote shoulder season activities, Polsonites continue to pack seemingly as much into a 24-hour period as possible.

And as Labor Day weekend casts a glance our way with the turn tomorrow to August the choice of activities feels a bit overwhelming but a nice challenge.

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You will notice that the audio portion of makes it easier in order to access since the programs are now listed in order.

Our course we would prefer that you o listen to each program live on the radio but if you can’t, well here you go.

Griz vessel made its fourth journey to “little” water in Polson Bay after journeying far north earlier in the week.

But I certainly would not say it was an uneventful trip as not only did I take back-to-back falls onto the concrete, the second of which left quite a goosegg and a slice up my right eyelid.

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What the Heck is An Aber

By Mick Holien

I guess I never gave it a second thought – Aber Day Reunion – Everybody remembers those big parties with over-the-top music that prompted thousands to a remote Miller Creek gully location where the OK Rodeo previously was held.

I want to set aside confusion that this concert has anything to do with planting trees (Arbor Day) and instead has been regenerated to continue a platform of cutting edge music featuring the state’s most famous band, the Mission Mountain Wood Band (M2WB), which traditionally upstaged more name and popular groups when returning to the Missoula event.

But since I have been asked who they are and what this is trust me when I say Sam Riddle performing on the same bill as his father, M2WB’ bassist for the first time, Andrea Harsell and Luna (Rohaa)joining the evening, well we’ll be talking about it the rest of the summer.

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What Shoulder Season


When I served a couple of tours on the executive board of Glacier Country, the outfit basically that spends your bed taxes focusing on the promotion of tourism, the ongoing challenge was to extend what we call the shoulder seasons.

Those are the months of the year when visitors don’t routinely visit our area and might need some incentives to be encouraged to come our way.

Various integers in our area work diligently to produce events that not only get people out of their abode but also to attract those out-of-state pocketbooks.

The highly successful Cinemafest is one solid example in Lake County.

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Always Coach Epperly


When a man or women is tabbed with the moniker “Coach” the first name instilled upon them at birth disappears forever being replaced by the lifetime description that only can be earned by the respect accorded their direction.

While my first coach Billy Frazier is long since deceased and sometimes is affectionately recognized by former players as “Fox” Washington and Gonzaga Prep Hall of Fame football mentor always will only be coach to me.

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My Kids

By Mick Holien

I don’t know what it is about when you get older things and situations that seemed so important at the time when you were in say your forties just seem to diminish over time.

While I haven’t yet really unfortunately solved that dilemma with my two children, something I will continue to attempt to look toward, I came to the realization a few months ago that a bad moment I had with a longtime dear friend a decade ago and a second with a couple nearby just flat needed to somehow he rectified.

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Jan Dell


I was somewhat of an odd day for music – Sunday afternoon of fourth of July weekend.

But that sure did not seem to matter as arriving at Missoula about 20 minutes after 3 found me searching for blocks around the Sunrise Saloon to find a decent parking place.

And then I was chagrined to discover a $5 cover charge – something I can’t ever remember paying in Zootown, a sentiment shared by several but approaching the Strand Avenue watering hole there was little doubt just why I made the trip.

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Here I Go


I didn’t pick a great time to challenge 93 North to Missoula but having no choice I ventured down the road twice in the days of advance of Independence Day.

Now don’t ask me why I would do such a thing but the Vox vessel wa not yet wet and with one trip to say good bye and the other to say a long-delayed hello.

The first trip to Zoo town was to join other former Missoulian employees to honor former editor Jeff Herman while the second was to catch up with music pal Jan Dell – hey do you remember – for a little music from some members of the old Ranch Band.

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RIP Bill


A telephone call to 9-1-1 prompted Kalispell law enforcement to knock on Bill Epperly’s pickup side window maybe expecting to encounter a stalker or some other type of criminal activity.

What they discovered was Bill, doing what he mostly did throughout his life – watching, listening, coaching or teaching some kind of sports.

Legend husband, father, mentor and lifetime coach Epperly died Thursday.

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Why Baseball


I confess I am a lifetime baseball fan who was exposed to the Nation’s pastime before I was double digit aged.

My namesake uncle told me to gather up my Sears purchased glove cuz we were headed an hour down the Columbia gorge across the river to Multnoma Stadium in downtown Portland where the hometown Beavers were to square off against the Eugene Emeralds in a Northwest League matchup when imo continues.

Initially being more attracted to the popcorn vendor than the game it took little time into Uncle Mick’s game explanation and a penciled scorebook before I was hooked.

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Say What?


I’ll bet you thought my background was comprised mostly as being the Voice of the Grizzlies or maybe you heard me for the first time when In My Opinion hit the airways in October or maybe you Read my Unabomber or Alberton chlorine spill Missoulian coverage.

Or maybe even just maybe you are one of those fine folks who bought one of my trio of books about the history of University of Montana football.

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I can't drive fast enough


You remember the Treasure state’s Interstate speed limit was recently elevated to 80 mph right?

And you probably recall those five buck times and the words safe and prudent in reference to the wild west of Montana we share just with wildlife.

But will the raising of the limit ever be sufficient for a seemingly large section of our population that fly up behind you, I guess in an attempt to blow you off the road, even when you are traveling five to 10 miles an hour faster than the posted limit.

Yep I’ve been on the road again and after making a 600-mile approximate 30 hour round trip to Big Sky resort south and west of Bozeman.

Some of my Highway Patrol and Beach Transportation friends might tell you that I have been known to travel at well over the speed limit.

But several years ago I was compelled to slow down and while you might get me traveling 45 in a 35 or maybe 50 in a 60, 84 or so on the Interstate might be about right for me.

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Hall of Famer


My deceased longtime radio friend Dave Wilson was inducted into the Montana Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame Saturday night.

And it was an extra special occasion because his family, which includes his son Mark, who has dominated the Billings morning ratings for many a moon, and his wife Cheryl attended.

But there were other surprises in store and what a special and surprising night at Chet Huntley Lodge at Big Sky.

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Montana Music Minute