Friends, a remembrance

| July 22, 2020 7:31 AM

In the last year or so, I have lost four long-time friends. Two brothers, Clark and Wayne Stahlberg date back to junior high days. The other two were long-time North Fork friends.

Michel Peretiako was only a North Forker for nearly 40 years, but he was a fantastic chef for many more. I knew him first as a cook and then as a mountain man. Frenchy had such a fantastic background that it was always fun to listen to his stories and marvel at his accent. I never saw him in his role as Santa Claus, but with his real beard and infectious smile, it is easy to imagine his success.

Elmer Benson was also a long-time North Forker and one I knew well since he lived at my cabin before moving to Ogles’. When I first met Elmer, he worked for the Lawrence family full time maintaining their property, helping with their stock and I will always remember what a great friend and mentor he was to their children but especially to their son Andrew.

He later worked for various summer residents, served with North Valley Search and Rescue, and was a member of the Landowners’ Association and served on that Board of Directors for several years, including two as President.

Elmer was sick for nearly six years and stubborn as he was, housebound, refusing doctors’ orders, he must have been miserable. It frustrated me to see this good man who had done so much for others unwilling to work harder for himself. He loved his family, was loyal to his friends, and we will miss him as he was when he was healthy.

Anyway, I do not think it would be fun to outlive all of your friends and cousins. Obviously, there is no perfect alternative.

The Land Use Advisory Committee met to consider three requests for Conditional Use Permits. All three were discussed by the Committee and the applicants were questioned. Some folks at the meeting were not very happy when the LUAC tabled all three and asked for more information.

Most needed information includes comments from neighbors and the Planning Staff reports. The LUAC has a responsibility to judge these requests based on county regulations, not personal preference, so it is vital we get all of the facts and listen to all interested or affected parties. Individuals with comments should send them to the Flathead County Planning Office in Kalispell. They will then share them with the LUAC, the Board of Adjustment, County Planning and County Commissioners.

Larry Wilson’s North fork Views appears weekly in the Hungry Horse News.