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By Mick Holien

Can you believe it is Tuesday and a Spring morning because indeed today is the first day of Spring.

But oh silly me. That is not the correct moniker and you IMO is in the biz of being accurate. It is my life blood after all and how that can be difficult in this time.

Even though I had a covering of snow on Sunday today at 12:15 p.m. officially is the Vernal Equinox at least in the Northern hemisphere and will last until Thursday – the summer solstice.

Therefore today the night and day are almost exactly equal in length.

Here at Holien acres it made it over 47 degrees yesterday but I have to tell you navigating my road still has its challenges with snow stacked high on both sides of the road.

Because of the globe’s position in relation to the sun flies straight over at the equator, according to Farmer’s Almanac. And just in case you want to check it is also the only day that the sun arrives due east and sets due west. Better check the math on that one.

So how does Daylight Savings time work for you.

While I am not a fan of clock changing, while that being a necessity, I am a real fan of long lighted evenings which almost seem to last on the lake till past 11 p.m.

Sometimes I don’t think there is any better time to be out there, splitting the islands, pointed to Polson Bay up on plane and headed home.

But watch that prop busting stuff in the water.

Are you one of those folks who read about public hearings and think I should attend and argue my piece.

I wish more would do that.

I sit on the city-county planning board and we just completed, such as it was, our third public hearing on the growth policy.

Now this isn’t the place to dicuss the policy after all that is what the hearings are for but it is a good iullustration of voter interest.

Few people show for the 6 p.m. monthly meeting at city hall and most adjourn in less than an hour.

Now granted we are an advisory board but the lack of interest in public policy is concerning to me.

Now granted I am board overboard with service I think on about seven but I just have diverse interests. Oh by the way we have opening for both city and county residents on that board and it’s a good one to get your feet wet.

Interested ..just sayin’


There is No Golf Ball

By Mick Holien

Really now. Let’s face it.

If somebody approached me and said they wanted to tell me about a new sport about to go Olympic in 2020 I would probably show a bit more than passing interest.

But if they preceded to add that there used to be a practice course on my Haack Road property add the best player in the world lives in Missoula, I would probably thinking about rejuvenated the land and charge for its use.

Hey I am at least entrepeneurial.

Well all the above is true … well all but for the charge part.

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Well Deserved

By Mick Holien

Given the nearly unprecedented basketball season Head Coach Travis DeCuire just completed it should come as no surprise that the now fourth-year mentor was acclaimed by the honor Court Tuesday as this year’s winner of the Ed Chinske award.

First awarded in 1971 it is designed for the coach, trainer, manager or other notoriety in athletics who put together that exceptional season.

It is given as the groups second most important to honor Chinske was one of the most popular and capable ever who never understood the word “Quit.”

Over the years his sons generally have attended the mid-winter affair as a part of the 60th Annual Ray Rocene affair.

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A Pickup Man?

By Mick Holien

It is hard for me to believe that I would misidentify a man who has a month named after him but it is Dean August not Alexander, the former Cat play-by-play man, who schedules our music.

It was bound to occur but that sure does not mean it was easy.

Really it is not that big of a thing right? Everybody has to eventually admit it is time.

And right to the point of signing on the dotted line I was still unsure and had I waited through the weekend I might have either further delayed the decision or completely opted out.

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Spring Fix Almost Over

By Mick Holien

Ok I hope it isn’t the last time I make such a mistake of misstating son with father’s name when I called Tanner Wilson in yesterday Imo by his Dad’s name Scott.

That’s what familiarity will do for you but additionally making such an error probably means the fledgling redshirt freshman quarterback.

Is making game-condition appearances which could bode well for the future.

But the rifle toss of the day was contributed by Malik Flowers who launched a completion 49 yards.

In all QBs were decent with completions totaling 24 times for 362 yards.

Talk about domination - That would be the big footprint of Eric Williams, who well could be the nation’s top kicker this season. He constantly boosts the pigskin in excess of 50 yards.

Old reliable, Stevensville’s Jesse Sims, was the pick to become the 14th wearer of No.37, becoming the fourth defensive lineman of the last eight players to receive the honor of wearing the legacy number.

Talking to some coaches on the field post game they said the emotion of the crowd was passed along to them especially the ones that have coached before in a spring game. Thank you.

Watch for the effect of a new rule mandated by the NCAA this season. The kickoff receiving team now cans fair catch a ball inside the 25 yards line and it will be treated as a touchback and the ball placed at the 25.

Studies have long shown that the additional velocity players attain before they encounter another player on a kickoff that more dangerous injuries occur.

Of course the down side is it takes a little excitement from the game but it may figure into strategy at the end of a contest because you are receiving yardage without clock movement. We’ll just have to see.

There are a couple of other blocking changes we’ll talk about in a later edition.

Just a special word to our Missoula listeners that not only IMO daily but also keep KERR Radio all day because of the outstanding selection of music scheduled by Dean Alexander and the news comment also was appreciated by news director Jeff Smith.

I hope I was able to clear up why it is more difficult to hear at night. That drop in power is FCC mandated. Believe me we’d love to keep it at power.

Just sayin’


By Mick Holien

I’ll bet you know by now that I really am fond of words.

Actually I like words so well that I have been accused of making up my own. I just describe such action as poetic license and besides aren’t sportswriters or broadcasters to do such things?

Years ago I remember somebody called me out – they might even be out there somewhere critiquing me – when I began describing the quarterback changing a play at the line of scrimmage as “audibilizing.”

My reference was to the noun audible, I guess which is acceptable, and instead turning it into a verb.

See Father Paul Fitterer, S.J. - I do remember some of the things you tried to drum into me.

Eventually, and I don’t remember when, I used a more succinct description basically because often the QB is not changing the play but rather decoying.

Oops that should also be a noun I suppose.

Over the years I have also blurted out some whacko phrases that I have no idea about their origin.

I suppose one could describe them as signatures but I don’t claim proprietary right to them although I might joke when I hear someone else use them but Riley of course has my blessing lol.

For example there must be 20,000 North end zone Wackos – not crazies – who claim ownership of what seat they occupy at Washington Grizzly Stadium and you know that’s all right.

And by the way I never have described Bobcat fans as the “bad guys” and I borrowed the good guy reference from White Sox baseball radio. But I have had fun with that one.

So do you know what a pickle barrel is? Me neither.

Recently at the Football Hall of Fame in Billings TV icon Chris Byers was reliving some of my radio descriptions he enjoyed and reminded me of the South Dakota State comeback (down 38-7 in the third) when I first used “Got em right where we want em” in reference to another team’s possible overconfidence when holding a big lead.

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Could be Dangerous

By Mick Holien

It happens easily and while I certainly am no physician I tend to believe it is as dangerous as any kind of addiction.

After spending most of the day Wednesday I believe I have them all straight – by that I mean I can identify both what I will call the scientific and generic name of all the drugs I am prescribed.

Now maybe that sounds strange but here’s the deal and it is by no means unique to me.

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By Mick Holien

It seems like I have done it before but oh well I admit it I am an impulse buyer who has cupboards stacked with items, some not out of the box, that I just couldn’t live without.

When I was able to do a little mechanicing it was even worse because you know when you can’t find a tool when you need one what do you do – well you go buy another one of course.

I am really a sucker for the “seen only on television” pitch which now is featured in this myriad of catalogs that clog my mailbox.

So let us start with today’s item – Egglettes.

And opening the rectangular box what’s the first thing I see but my “bonus” microwave egg cooker.

I think I remember I already have one of those.

Thumbing through the instructions – well at least I got them open – 17 different recipes are included.

But on the back I find the quick start guide.

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Passing of Icons

By Mick Holien

Separated by some 40 miles and a decade in age the recent death of two men dominant in their chosen profession certainly left influence in their communities but in vastly different ways indicative of their chosen life.

Predictably Ty Robinson was a Grizzly and Ed Bratton of Ronan cut his teeth as a Bobcat.

The 102-year-old Robinson was a Missoula icon while Ed Bratton’s, 93, mark as the long-time County Extension agent were reflected in the rural farmlands and ranches of Lane County.

Predictably my love for the two men centered on Grizzly radio.

When moving to Polson more than a dozen years ago I described Ed as “my favorite Bobcat,” while Ty was the oldest Griz letter winner having played basketball from 1936-39, the final two years for court namesake Jiggs Dahlberg and pairing with Hall of Famer Bill Lazetich and familiar athletes like Chawkey Miller and Paul Chumrau, who started the Century Club.

I’ll always remember him waving to the hoop crowd receiving a blanket and letter jacket situated on the south end line.

Many words have been written since their passing but the commonalities they shared – though there is no indication they knew each other – profoundly influenced my life.

With Ed there was “ Whiskey night” on Tuesdays when a group would converge on his house, probably much to the chagrin of girlfriend Clara, spending about an hour, trying to be sure we did get in the way of planned television, sharing an unwritten brotherhood.

Thanks to his son Dick it continued to “Iced Tea” night when Ed’s health didn’t allow spirits.

I don’t remember how I met Ty and didn’t share a beverage with him but it probably when I covered the courthouse and met fellow partner Sherm Lohn, the two representing two-thirds of the pioneer law firm of Garlington, Lohn and Robinson.

But he never forgot me or me him and no matter how long it had been between encounters he never failed to reach out to me sometimes even beckoning me from across the room like he did upon receiving a prestigious award from the Boy Scouts of America, a celebration that filled the ballroom at the Hilton Garden.

I had not seen him for a time and as I reached for his hand I started to introduce myself but quickly his retort “Mick Holien,” he said with a strong hand and a smile.

Both men’s lives bore deep contributions to their fellow man and the communities in which they resided.

Ed was a trickster and loved to have new “victims” show up on Tuesdays so he could lead them around the house and show off his gadgets.

The way he was made me wish I would have known my own father and his brothers at that age.

Ty certainly made the most of his years on this earth being involved in seemingly every noted project or cause.

He defined community service and his leadership attributes drove many efforts to fruition.

These were men of purpose and objective who plainly led “good lives.”

Recently when UM President Seth Bodnar came to the Village Senior residence to visit Emma Lommasson, 106, he and Head Football Coach Bobby Hauck stopped at Ty’s table where a few seniors were playing some penny, or so they said, poker.

But as I was leaving I stopped as well after he called my name and got my scooter tangled with his wheelchair and the poker table much to his and fellow player’s chagrin.

Son John told me at the funeral that to Ty I represented the institution he felt so deeply about. I can’t imagine a greater compliment.

Hockey Crash

By Mick Holien

Road trips especially by bus with your brothers promise possibly to be the worst of times given the distance, time and often cramped conditions.

But most athletes will tell you such journeys often are just the opposite – the best of times where team building, camaraderie and often tomfoolery dominate making the time fly by.

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MMM and the Quists

By Mick Holien

Legendary storyteller Michael Martin Murphey rambled tales of his life at the Bigfork Theater Monday (on the night of the NCAA title game) and Tuesday night to what I can only honestly describe as sparse.

But that didn’t seem to phase one of the Country’s most prolific songwriters as supplemented occasionally by son Ryan and a couple of breaks “Murph” played until 11 p.m. and probably would have even extended the evening were he not concerned with black ice which actually was non-existent

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Paper Routes

By Mick Holien

One of those day-long Facebook inquiries caught my eye the other day

Facebook asked how many of its readers delivered newspaper routes and quickly I responded describing my memories of days past in my hometown of Spokane.

My Dad was involved in some capacity of newspaper circulation at the Spokesman-Review, the morning paper edition, for about 1946 until his untimely death in ’66.

Conversely I delivered the Spokane Daily Chronicle, its afternoon counterpart.

But back to the question I suppose to draw a conclusion in some part implying that many successful people obtained their initial business experience from being able to handle a paper route.

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Driving Fast

By Mick Holien

I read somewhere recently that it was substantial news that the state had gone 30 days without a traffic fatality.

It not only was a headline grabber, it was I surmised vindication that a recent escalation of some Interstate speed limits by five miles an hour to 80mph did not have a profound effect, at least not at the onset, on fatal accidents.

Of course I immediately hankered back to those days when “safe and prudent” marked the state’s limits, five dollar bills were kept on our visors to exchange to keep a traffic stop off our insurance and there even were rumors that exotic cars were brought to the state’s highways to be tested for high-speed handling and reliability.

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Thought it was Over

By Mick Holien

I read somewhere recently that it was substantial news that the state had gone 30 days without a traffic fatality.

It not only was a headline grabber, it was I surmised vindication that a recent escalation of some Interstate speed limits by five miles an hour to 80mph did not have a profound effect, at least not at the onset, on fatal accidents.

Of course I immediately hankered back to those days when “safe and prudent” marked the state’s limits, five dollar bills were kept on our visors to exchange to keep a traffic stop off our insurance and there even were rumors that exotic cars were brought to the state’s highways to be tested for high-speed handling and reliability.

In those days past when I drove some 50,000 miles a year, I admit I have met my share of patrolmen that waylaid the GrizVox vehicle traveling to or fro at an excessive speed.

And when I was driving the Porsche Boxster convertible, I did have to see how it handled when I let it run free until I thought about the rubber underneath me and corralled it after a quick run from the Highway 93-I-90 Interchange to the Airway exit.

But those were days of some distance until a recent trip to the Magic City.

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Wowzer Shot

By Mick Holien

The magic presence of 98-year-old Sister Jean was not enough to carry Loyola-Chicago to the championship game losing to Montana’s first round opponent Michigan but on Easter Sunday maybe there was a touch of her Catholic magic as for the second straight game a miracle shot carried the Notre Dame women to victory.

And it was nothing short of a miracle when Arike Ogunbowale (Aree K Ogun Bow ale) threw in a rainbow trey from deep in the right corner with three seconds remaining to secure the National title for the Fighting Irish for the first time in 17 years and send the San Antonio arena and South Bend Indiana into a frenzy.

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By Mick Holien

Maybe it is the volume of on-line purchases but it happens to me all the time and I’ll bet it happens to you as well.

User names and passwords.

Even though I keep a little book and believe I am relentless about changing when requested or even required, I am often locked out and required to use “old reliable, the land line to secure my required order.

On Wednesday it was the ordering mechanism of the Bigfork Center for the Performing Arts that was determined to prevent me from purchasing tickets to Tuesday’s rescheduled Michael Martin Murphy concert opened by his good friend and writing pal, Rob Quist, and his daughter Halladay.

But about my and I’ll bet your dilemma.

Now I know password security is for our protection. But my gripe is it seems there must be some arbitrary period of non-use that cues a company that if you haven’t used their website in say six months then your account is flagged and a password change required.

Then there is the instructions advising you of the strength of what you are using and advisement that your new password must contain a certain number of say a capital, a numeral, and an odd character like say a question mark.

And even at that I am betting those “Phishers” can still access my account or trick me into pushing that button that takes me to where I can be victimized.

So – there is a new crutch word that I have noticed people are using in advance of answering a question, but in a later edition I will reveal the perfect password.

I’ll bet you can’t wait, she says…just sayin’.

Corey's Advice

By Mick Holien

You have probably read reports that former Bobcat Corey Widmer chose not to participate in the recognition accorded inductees to the Montana Football Hall of Fame in Billings last week.

Full disclosure, even though I was unaware of his decision until I arrived in Billings last Friday I am a member of the fledgling Hall’s selection committee.

An All American middle backer at Montana State and an eight year pro for the New York Giants, there is no question he has Hall of Fame credentials.

But his explanation for refusing recognition sends a strong message on quite a visible platform.

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Sam's the Man

By Mick Holien

Some folks are single hitters, others easily bound into second while the near top of the class occasionally connect on a triple but in rare case the cream on the top propels them to cross the plate and register scoreboard counters.

More often or not that was Butte’s Sam Jankovich, honored Saturday with induction into the Montana Football Hall of Fame followed by an invitation only Sunday reception at the Butte Civic Center.

From modest roots not only did the affable Jankovich claim a trio of National Football Championships at Miami, he rose to the NFL pinnacle as President & General Manager of the New England Patriots.

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Terry Dillon's Night

By Mick Holien

Favorite times were recalled, team brothers and adversaries reunited and a few told as the Montana Football Hall of Fame inducted its third class with about 500 in attendance Saturday.

In attendance joining the fledgling organization was Sam Jankovich, Sam McCullum, Casey Fitzsmmons, Guy Bingham and Rocky Klever, while Doug Betters will attend next year as he was with his wife attending her mother in Florida.

Deceased honorees included Bill Glennon and Terry Dillon while Corey Widmer chose not to be included.

Some words from my honored induction of Dillon, one of two University of Montana football players, actually the institution was known then as MSU, to have their jersey retired.

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Ya Know

By Mick Holien

I really don’t know how or where I learned and certainly not who taught me.

Over the years I have given the Jesuits, few as they were at Gonzaga Prep, a lot of credit but sometimes I think it happened by osmosis.

And no I am not the grammar or punctuation police. I am by no means an expert at either.

The books I have written received their fair share of both during editing but not by me.

Yesterday it was just a little item like the use of annually and as I was verbally sparing – it was like we were in two different divisions – and having difficulty explaining even the extent of the conversation but also correct use of the word.

So let’s stir the pot a bit.

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Big Weekend

By Mick Holien

Deepest congrats to Larry Krystowiak assisted by former Griz Andy Hill as it took an extra overtime period but Utah finally slipped past St Marys and into the semi finals of the National Invitational Tournament at Madison Square Garden.

Gonzaga, in the sweet 16 for the fourth consecutive year, is the only other team to beat the Gaels in Moraga, Ca, where the West Coast Conference team traditionally battles the Zags for superiority and put together a record 30-win season.

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