Soon-to-be Anaconda High seniors off to Army boot camp in SC

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Shelby McNeil, left, and Kristy Hayden, soon-to-be seniors at Anaconda High, are both off to Army boot camp this summer after enlisting in the Montana National Guard during their junior year. Courtesy photo

BY BLAKE HEMPSTEAD

Starting this week, two of Anaconda High’s graduating class of 2015 will have some rare accolades under their belts – or should I say combat boots.

Soon to be seniors Shelby McNeil and Kristy Hayden will be back in time to begin their final year in high school – but not before graduating from Army basic training. Continue reading

AHS celebrates 68 graduates during commencement Sunday at Memorial Gymnasium

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AHS Class of 2014 was the 122nd to go through commencement Sunday night at Memorial Gymnasium. PHOTO COPYRIGHT CS PHOTO

BY BLAKE HEMPSTEAD

Sixty eight Anaconda High School seniors became graduates of the 122nd class at the school Sunday night at Memorial Gymnasium.

The class graduated 68 students led by the Top 5 academically — valedictorian Jaylee Bowen, Mac Anderson, Taylor Flynn, Cody Forkan and Jackson Wagner — during the 85 minute ceremony.

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Anaconda teacher and community advocate, Ron Russell, dies from injuries sustained in avalanche

Ron Russell

PHOTO COURTESY ANACONDA ROTARY

BY BLAKE HEMPSTEAD

A beloved teacher, friend and community service advocate on many levels, Ron Russell, a first-year math teacher at Anaconda High School, died in an avalanche Saturday morning, leaving behind a town in mourning.

Doing what he loved, Russell inadvertently triggered an avalanche west of Anaconda in Olson Gulch during an afternoon hike, a favorite spot of the outdoorsman. He survived the accident but later died at the scene due to injuries described by authorities as “blunt force trauma”.

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Angela McLean sworn in as Montana’s 31st Lt. Gov., says heartfelt farewell to her AHS government students

BY BLAKE HEMPSTEAD

ANACONDA – Anaconda’s Angela McLean made Monday afternoon one to remember. Always the consummate educator and relentlessly-prepared for her students, she addressed her classroom one tearfully-final time – but not before preparing a final lesson plan which they could take with them in the future.

When it was discovered McLean was Gov. Bullock’s choice to succeed John Walsh as Lt. Gov. — a post he stepped away from to be Bullock’s choice to replace Max Baucus as Senator last week — McLean, the teacher and molder of minds we all know her to be, shined through.

Not only did the two conspire to make McLean’s classroom the place for the formal announcement of the Twin Bridges-native and Anaconda-loving educator, they also devised a plan to make it a teaching point for her honors government students and the general public lucky enough to share the moment as well.

“Thank you all so very much for joining us here at Anaconda High School today and for joining the honors American government class for their fifth hour and in what will be their last official lesson that they will learn from me as their classroom teacher,” said McLean, choking back her emotions. “You have before you, scholars that are prepared to lead out community, our state and our nation. And it is with full confidence that I tell you that.

“I could not be more proud to say that I had a small role in their preparation for the college and the career that they will choose. And though this may be the last day in this classroom, my classroom now gets to extend to all 56 counties. So I hope that in all 56 counties there are young students like you that are bright-eyed and eager to learn.”

With the classroom filled with current and former students, family, friends, colleagues, community and civic leaders, McLean tried to recognize each one as a way of paying respect for their guidance in her life’s journey.

“I also want to take a moment before I begin this lesson to thank every single one of the colleagues I’ve had the opportunity to serve with,” McLean said. “It has been an inspiration. You have been mentors and you have been confidants. I could not have asked for a better group of folks to work for, including you Mr. (Paul) Furthmyre, and to work with.”

The Lt. Gov. also paused, collected herself and recognized her current hometown in a special way.

“Anaconda will always be near and dear to who I am and to who I have become, and I will take the voice of every single one of you to the Capitol and to all 56 counties as we make Montana an even better place to be,” she said confidently.

Never one to pass up a moment to teach, McLean, along with the Governor’s input, prepared a short but fitting lesson plan for the class — one consisting of two questions. The first asking in what year Montana’s Constitutional Convention took place and the next asking who the delegates from Anaconda were for this momentous occasion.

Of course the answers were 1972 and delegates Wade Dahood and Mike McKeon, which the students responded in a collective voice once prompted by their leader to the pleasure of McLean.

“Are these kids top drawer or what?” McLean rhetorically asked those in attendance, followed by a rousing collection of applause.

After a short and heartfelt farewell, she then handed the classroom over to Gov. Bullock, who touched on McLean’s ability to engage the students in such a unique time for Montana’s executive branch.

“Really when you thing about it, this has been an amazingly exciting time in Montana history,” Bullock said, referring to Baucus’ selection as the United States Ambassador to China, his appointment of Walsh to fill Montana’s Senator seat and now, adding McLean to his staff as Montana’s 31st Lieutenant Governor. “One of the things I’ve always taken away from Mrs. McLean is the way she always made teaching come alive.”

Bullock immediately noted the significance of holding this ceremony in front of McLean’s students — those of whom have earned various accolades while in her honors government class from the local-, state- and national-level — in order for them to be a part of Montana’s Constitution firsthand.

“You’re not just reading about history, you’re actually participating in it,” Bullock told the students. “This is a power that has been trusted to me, and as a result your teacher is now has become the 31st Lieutenant Governor of the state of Montana.”

As the reality of losing such a valued asset of McLean sunk in, the standing room only classroom began to feel the enormity of the situation. Once a nationally-recognized teacher, the chair of Montana’s Board of Regents and a woman who has almost single-handedly brought a profound change on how Anaconda High students comprehend and use all three branches of government in Montana, McLean’s future absence in the halls and classrooms began hitting home.

“As your school secretary yelled at me as I walked in, I know I probably lost a few friends among Copperheads today, but I truly can’t think of someone that is more up to the task to be my partner in governing and make the meaningful difference, not just today but for your future as well,” Bullock said.

The path to such a lofty position in government was not without twists and turns for McLean as well. She expounded on the subtleties of growing up in a small community, working service jobs to get through high school and becoming the first member of her family to graduate college with a degree.

“I never would have thought as a high schooler waitressing at the Blue Anchor Café that I would ever have the opportunity to serve as Montana’s Leiutenant Governor,” McLean said. “Governor Bullock, I want to thank you so very much for extending this opportunity to me and my family, and I promise you I will represent you and the state of Montana very well.”

A former student and the second-youngest man ever elected to the Montana Legislature, Anaconda’s Jesse Laslovich was quick to praise the selection of Gov. Bullock.

“We need more people like her in public service,” said Laslovich, who currently works as Chief Legal Counsel to Montana’s Commissioner of Securities and Insurance, Monica Lindeen. “Montanans will quickly realize how special she is. Anid I look forward to seeing her many accomplishments for Montana in the years to come.”

After a short media session, Gov. Bullock and his newly promoted Lt. Gov. walked the length of the second-floor hallway at Anaconda High School amongst a series of applause, well-wishes, handshakes and hugs — a fitting farewell for such a respected and beloved cog at AHS.

Before she left, as all of her students know, McLean wanted to make sure the pomp and circumstance will be coming to rest once she stepped out the door. Starting Tuesday, the new Lt. Gov. was already to meet with Gov. Bullock’s cabinet and staff in order to get her feet we as soon as possible.

McLean’s departure, albeit emotional, was true to form.

“Without further ado Governor, I think that it’s time for us both to go to work,” she said.

Proving once again McLean left the mark of a true champion at AHS — one that will soon carry from border to border in Montana.

 

Governor Bullock and Lt. Gov. McLean make the long walk down the second floor hallway at Anaconda High school Monday afternoon following the announcement of McLean's appointment to her new political post. It was officially the last time McLean would leave her school as an educator - an emotional walk through the students, staff and administration who hold her in the highest regard. PHOTO COPYRIGHT CS PHOTO

Governor Bullock and Lt. Gov. McLean make the long walk down the second floor hallway at Anaconda High school Monday afternoon following the announcement of McLean’s appointment to her new political post. It was officially the last time McLean would leave her school as an educator – an emotional walk through the students, staff and administration who hold her in the highest regard. PHOTO COPYRIGHT CS PHOTO

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Lt. Gov. McLean chokes back tears after telling her students today would be her last day as an educator at Anaconda High. PHOTO COPYRIGHT CS PHOTO

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Lt. Gov. McLean made her last day at AHS meaningful in more ways than one, using her press conference during her fifth period class as a way to do what she does best – teach her students. PHOTO COPYRIGHT CS PHOTO

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Gov. Bullock speaks glowingly about his new Lt. Gov. PHOTO COPYRIGHT CS PHOTO

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Gov. Bullock addresses Lt. Gov. McLean’s class and others in attendance Monday afternoon at Anaconda High. PHOTO COPYRIGHT CS PHOTO

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Lt. Gov. McLean thanking her husband, Mike, and children, Colin and Ellen, for their support in her new endeavor. PHOTO COPYRIGHT CS PHOTO

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Gov. Bullock and Lt. Gov. McLean Monday at Anaconda High School. PHOTO COPYRIGHT CS PHOTO

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Gov. Bullock and Lt. Gov. McLean address the media following Monday’s press conference. PHOTO COPYRIGHT CS PHOTO

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Gov. Bullock and Lt. Gov. McLean address the media following Monday’s press conference. PHOTO COPYRIGHT CS PHOTO

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Lt. Gov. McLean slightly blushing while being asked a question from Montana Public Radio. PHOTO COPYRIGHT CS PHOTO

Anaconda’s Angela McLean tabbed to replace Walsh as Lt. Gov.

 

The McLean family: Mike and Angela with children Colin and Ellen. PHOTO COPYRIGHT CSPHOTO/BLAKE HEMPSTEAD

The McLean family: Mike and Angela with children Colin and Ellen. PHOTO COPYRIGHT CSPHOTO/BLAKE HEMPSTEAD

HELENA – Governor Steve Bullock has tapped Anaconda teacher and the chair of the Montana Board of Regents, Angela McLean, to serve as Montana’s 31st Lieutenant Governor.  The Montana Board of Regents is responsible for the governance and administration of the Montana University System.  McLean was first appointed to the position in 2010 and was elected chair in 2012.

A native of Twin Bridges, McLean becomes the first classroom teacher to serve as Lieutenant Governor.  She was named “Best High School Teacher” by the Montana Standard in 2003.

“From humble beginnings in Twin Bridges, Angela has proven over and over again that if someone works hard and has the support of their friends and community, the sky is the limit,” said Bullock.  “As parents of school age kids, Angela and I know that there is nothing more important than a quality education – it’s the proven path to job creation and economic growth – and it’s the top priority of my administration.  Angela will be a strong partner in making sure our schools and colleges are giving our students the tools they need to build an even brighter future for our state.”

“As a high schooler waiting tables at the Blue Anchor Café it would have been hard for me to imagine one day becoming Lieutenant Governor – but great teachers and the support of my friends, my community and my family have made today possible for me,” said McLean.  “We are at a critical moment in Montana’s history and there is tremendous opportunity for our state. Governor Bullock has set a clear path for ensuring world-class schools and great jobs for Montanans.  I’m incredibly honored to have this opportunity and I look forward to getting to work for Montana.”

A 1989 graduate of Twin Bridges High School, McLean earned a bachelor’s degree in 1994 from Western Montana College in Dillon, now the University of Montana Western – becoming the first member of her family to graduate from college.

She went on to earn her Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Montana in 2000 and in 2005 she became Nationally Board Certified in Social Studies-History/Adolescence and Young Adulthood.

Angela and her husband Mike, an attorney, are the parents of Colin, an eighth grader, and Ellen, who’s in fourth grade.

McLean fills a vacancy created when Bullock appointed Lieutenant Governor and former Montana National Guard commander John Walsh to the U.S. Senate on Friday.

…. There will be more on McLean’s honor following today’s ceremony announcing her as Walsh’s replacement here at kana580.com

Department of Revenue concedes Mill Creek TIFID money to SD10

BY BLAKE HEMPSTEAD

The battle for the Mill Creek TIFID is finally nearing its completion.

According to Dr. Tom Darnell, Superintendent of School District 10 in Anaconda-Deer Lodge County, the Department of Revenue has rescinded a hearing pertaining to SD10 receiving and misusing funds collected from the Mill Creek TIFID (Tax Increment Finance Industrial District), particularly involving the NorthWestern Energy Generation Station east of Anaconda.

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Christmas letters to Santa intercepted by KANA 580 AM

Recently, students from Dwyer Elementary and Ramsay schools sat down and penned some letters to Santa Claus. It just so happens that KANA 580 AM was used as the drop box to hold the letters for Santa, and he gave us permission to share them with you.

Because Santa’s sleigh really puts on the miles this time of year, local businesses such as Lutey’s Furniture, Hoyals Jewelry, Alan Clark and Farmers Insurance, Galle Plumbing and the Anaconda Chamber of Commerce kicked in some money to feed all the reindeer in order to make his trip worth while.

It’s because of the excellent staff at Ramsay and Dwyer Elementary schools that these letters were shared with us before Santa got to work on them.

Santa even took time to talk about one of his favorite lists here

Below you’ll find links to Dwyer and Ramsay school Christmas lists. And for information sake, names have been omitted due to privacy concerns from the school districts. But if you look at the titles on each link, the lower the number, the younger the students, and so on …

Enjoy!

Ramsay 1 Ramsay 2 Dwyer 1 Dwyer 2 Dwyer 4 Dwyer 5 Dwyer 3 Dwyer 3.5

 

Copperheads sign posters for the youth of Anaconda

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SheaLee Novak waits patiently for her signed poster at Dwyer Elementary Friday. CS PHOTO LLC

By BLAKE HEMPSTEAD

On Friday, 14 members of Anaconda High fall sports teams sat down with the ones that look up to them the most. And the result was something to behold.

Mostly awestruck, excited and terrified all at once, elementary school students at Dwyer and Lincoln schools came within an arms length to some of the most powerful and influential people they know: Copperhead athletes. And all will now have a unique story to tell.

“This is so cool,” one excited student said during the first signing session at Lincoln Friday morning. “I can’t wait to show my mom.”

The posters, made possible by local sponsors of Copperhead Sports and KANA 580 AM radio, featured local athletes who represent their school and teams with honor and integrity. It also has a fall season schedule along with a QR Code for easy access to the new kana580.com Web site.

And now, their likeness will be seen some 2,500 times in local businesses and on the walls of future Copperhead athletes everywhere.

Taylor Flynn, Alexandra Huber, Courtney Moodry, Jackson Wagner, Kiernan Gallagher,  Aidan Theard, Cory Stanberry, Theard, Sara Schaefer, Julia Peterson, Ethan Reich, Kaylea Jorgensen, Kelley Krumm, Caleb Stetzner and Bryce Wigert were the featured athletes — all of whom signed personal messages and touching tributes for almost three hours.

One teacher, Ed Dulaney, made a point to personally thank all of the athletes for their time.

“This is really great of you guys, thanks for coming,” he said.

“Thanks for coming Copperheads,” exclaimed Lincoln principal Tony Laughlin.

There are still several posters to go around. If you didn’t get a copy, send an email to news@kana580.com or call the station during normal business hours at 563-7119 to reserve a copy.

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Taylor Flynn, left, and Alexandra Huber get the line started

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Cory Stanberry, left, Aidan Theard, Sara Schaefer and Julia Peterson chad with a Dwyer student

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Kaylea Jorgensen inks her signature with Kelley Krumm up next. CS PHOTO LLC

 

Copperhead Homecoming begins with royalty

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Halee Davis and Jackson Wagner. CS PHOTO LLC

The royalty for the 2013 Anaconda High School Homecoming was announced at the district-wide assembly at Memorial Gymnasium. Below are the prince and princesses for each class followed by the King and Queen.

Freshmen:  Brett Walund and Shanden Taylor

Sophomores: Ethan Peterson and Chloe Strande

Juniors: Drew Conrady and Shelby McNeil

Seniors: Dennis Stanberry and Destiny Strutzel; Mason Mavrinac and Kiernan Gallagher

King and Queen: Jackson Wagner and Halee Davis

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Drew Conrady and Shelby McNeil

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Brett Walund and Shanden Taylor

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Ethan Peterson and Chloe Strande

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Dennis Stanberry and Destiny Strutzel

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Mason Mavrinac and Kiernan Gallagher