Germs and Grizzlies

| May 20, 2020 7:12 AM

So last week I called up the county commissioner’s office to get the login and password for the Thursday meeting.

I just assumed that they were doing Zoom meetings like every other government and school agency in the county.

They aren’t.

I got to talking to the nice lady on the phone and she was a little concerned about the public hearing on the scenic corridor sign regulations.

“We don’t want a lot of people coming here and spreading germs,” she said.

Yikes! Kind of hard to have a public hearing without people showing up.

Eventually I was transferred up the proverbial food chain to county administrator Mike Pence. He said that yes, people can come to the commissioner meetings — they have never been closed due to the coronavirus. But folks can also call in as well.

My original story on the scenic corridor was, as commissioner Phil Mitchell put it, “a little different.”

That is true, it was different, because the county planning office never actually gave me all the information on the changes to the regs.

Turns out the draft regs call for defining “off premise sign” as “A sign advertising a use, facility, service, or product that is not located, sold, or manufactured on the same premise as the sign.”

In other words, you can’t have a sign on a chunk of land, even if you own it, advertising a business that is somewhere else.

That’s a huge change and my original story would have been completely different had I known of that change.

But that’s water under the proverbial bridge.

The county tabled the whole deal until a later date.

Which, I assume, means folks can weigh in the changes, pro or con, at a later date.

Let’s hope they don’t spread their germs around in the process.

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Last weekend I was in the lower end of the valley on some public land not too far from the road, like, 150 yards. We were sitting in the brush trying to film a little sparrow called a grasshopper sparrow, whose call really doesn’t sound like a grasshopper, but it does sound a lot like a bug.

All of the sudden a small herd of deer came shooting out of the woods behind us and blasted across a field.

I stood up to see what was going on.

There were three grizzly bears behind us.

The bears saw us and took off the opposite direction. The moral of the story is that if you live in the lower valley, there are grizzlies, make no mistake. Secure your garbage. Feed pets inside. Carry bear spray. You should know the drill by now.

Chris Peterson is the editor of the Hungry Horse News.