Victoria Curtiss
EHHS Art Teacher

Yearbook advisor 
Robotics Coach

 EHHS NEWS  April, 2021


 Business Professionals of America is a club that learns how to run a business. The members of the club are Ella Picket, Teagan Wigen, Kylie Queen, Bella Williamson, Aspen Merritt, and Lizzie Sturges. The club is opening up a place in the school called the Haberdashery and the snack shack, which is going to sell many things. An example of something they are going to sell is water and other things that are not in the vending machines. They are also going to sell vigilante merchandise, including lanyards, masks, and phone wallets. They are going to learn how to run a business correctly and learn the struggles of selling and marketing.
– by Colter DeYoung

Student View Point by Jaenka Jimison

“The life of a student here at EHHS has changed drastically over the past year and a half. With covid and the changing of teachers every year students have to adapt to new scenarios everyday, changing our lifestyle from large congregations at sporting events
and dances, we now have to mask up, social distance and miss out on the wonders of high school. Through this point of the year it has been tough but as a team and as a family we have gotten through it like no other.” said by Taigen Hagen when asked about
what he thinks of student life here at EHHS. EHHS has pushed through covid and we still come to school with high hopes and work as a team to make school a safe place.

EHHS TRACK By Grant Laman

This year marks the first full year that the track team is going to be competing and practicing, as the last year of track was cancelled due to covid. There is plenty of talent on this year’s track team. Team member Tyzer Moden says. “ It’s good having just freshman and sophomores, since they are competing in varsity events, the meets are fun.” Although this program is new, it seems that all the athletes have the same love for the sport. “So far this year we have only had
3 track meets, and they have all been really enjoyable. Practices are sometimes hard because of the weather and conditioning, but it is making everyone better. Most people seem to get along well and it’s an enjoyable environment. Competing against the best and fastest athletes in the state is intimidating but also a good learning experience, and it drives you to work harder. Our team, even now, has a couple people competing in varsity events and holding their own. We definitely have a bright future in track, and I am looking forward to more meets where we can have people qualify for state.” says Kaden Saegar.


Look out! Here comes the EHHS softball team! We interviewed the team captains, Dru Lindsey and Belle Surginer, “It’s very nice motivation to do well and help our team out. It’s a good opportunity to get to know everyone and a big honor that everyone chose me to help represent our team.” Says Dru, when asked what the feeling is like to be a team captain for softball. As a team, these girls love playing with each other. Their energy on the softball field is beyond respectable. Win or not, the team always has a
smile on their face. When asked what it is like being on a team with each other Belle says, “ Playing with my teammates is my favorite part about the sport, I know they 

will always have my back and I have them so it’s a great relationship we all have that carries onto the field.”
On the field and off the field these girls are very strong. Going out of their way to help each other in every way they can. To them being a team is more than just on the field games and practices, it’s all the little things off the field that make them a true team. These girls have a morning study hall where they all get together and put in all the school work that is due or isn’t complete and they get it done so that they can play in the upcoming games. Even the little things matter such as fighting through the bite of the cold weather at practices and games so they can get better. Softball is a true fighting team to go against.
– by Kota Petersen

Call: 406.227.5750
(social distancing and masks
are required at all times)

East Helena Branch

11am-6pm Monday – Thursday
11am-5pm on Friday.
Closed Saturday and Sunday


East Helena, once called Prickly Pear Junction, came into being as a stagecoach station. The stagecoach route between Helena and Martinsdale passed through Prickly Pear Junction. The original station was built a few years before East Helena was founded. The Prickly Pear House, stagecoach station, and hotel were located on the Northeast corner of Main and Montana Streets. It was operated as a “Way Station” to provide customers with food and lodging and as a changing place for drivers and horses on the stagecoach route during the 1870s and early 1880s. The stagecoach barn was located at what is today 408 East Main Street.

The origins of East Helena can be traced back to the mid-1860s as pioneers were heading west through the Helena Valley. East Helena’s current business district was frequently used as a camping area for freight wagons. 

The townsite of East Helena was filed in the office of the Lewis and Clark County Clerk and Recorder’s office on September 29, 1888.

The City of East Helena, Montana was incorporated on August 7, 1927.

If truth be told, I rather wish we were still called Prickly Pear Junction.


Hours: Monday thru Friday: after 3 P.M.
Saturday & Sunday: you can choose a time.
Call Amanda for pricing:

• Since 2014
• Certified Vet Tech
• 2 degrees from MSU Bozeman, Pre Vet & Equine Science
• Rodeo Training / Miles / Green Broke / Trail Rides

• We train with calm, patience, trust and safety of the horse and owner in mind.
• For safety we will not train in high-winds or inclement weather unless owners have a barn.

First time clients receive 20% discount!


Help is right here!

Times are tough but nobody should go hungry or be left out in the cold! On this page are some resources to help you and your family:

Dept. of Public Health and Human Services: administers SNAP (food stamps), Medicaid and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Call: 1.888.706.1535

Salvation ArmyEmergency food, clothing, shelter, and utility assistance. Call: 406.442.8244

God’s LoveProvides food, shelter, clothing, and any other basic necessities for transients and families. Call: 406.442.7000

LIEAP – Low Income Energy Assistance Program: pays part of winter energy bills for those eligible. Can also help in emergencies if your power is cut off for non payment. Call: 406.447.1625

Rocky Mountain Development Council: https://www.rmdc.net/

If you know a family in need,
please share this information with them.

East Helena Pantry Is Currently Open!

Our East Helena pantry is open with curbside service. Helena Food Share is providing grab and go food support at the pantries in Helena and East Helena. If you are in need of food support, come see us. We have food for all who need it, and all you have to do is bring a form of ID and give the number of people in your household.

Curbside Service:
50 Prickly Pear Avenue N.
East Helena, MT 59635
(406) 443-3663

Monday 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Thursday 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

* * * * * * * * * 

In August 2019, the Montana Environmental Trust Group (METG) received the 2019 Excellence in Site Reuse Award from EPA Region 8 for successful work at the East Helena Superfund Site. The award celebrated the transformation of the East Helena Site through the work and dedication of the Custodial Trust and many federal, state, and local partners. The ceremony was held at Prickly Pear Elementary School, which opened in 2018 on land that METG donated to East Helena Public Schools. Read more about the award here.


This immense, gray/black slag pile in East Helena was formed by more than a hundred years of smelting lead, zinc, and other metals at the former ASARCO facility. METG (Montana Environmental Trust Group) is currently doing something about it. They plan to have Metallica Commodities Corp. transport 2,000,000 tons of unfumed slag by rail to the Port of Longview, Washington,  then by ship to South Korea for re-processing. Unfumed slag is material that did not originally  go to the zinc plant, so it has recoverable zinc. 


They expect to begin removal in April, 2021 and will continue for five years at a rate of 20,000 tons a month in 2021, then 30,000 tons a month in 2022. The intent is to have the project completed in five years. The planned removal of 2,000,000 tons represents the most contaminated portion of the (estimated) 14,000,000 ton slag pile. 


Finally, after the slag removal project is complete, METG will work to build a cap over the remaining slag pile. The cap will prevent stormwater from coming into contact with contamination and spreading any contaminated material from the slag.


         In 1993, Gary Thomas bought a building on Main Street in downtown East Helena, Montana for a practical reason: it was the closest commercial space to his house that he could afford. His plan was to change the nature of his business from retail to mail-order and do away with most of his products to concentrate on making sheepskin slippers. It turned out to be a great decision because of something he didn’t initially expect – East Helena is a truly great place to run and operate a business. It’s a small town that should brag about itself more often than it does. Downtown may only be a couple of blocks long, but it has filled up with incredible business owners who are all in it for the long haul. It’s a quiet place in good country.

            There are several reasons for why East Helena works out so well for an independent business. The commercial real estate is reasonably priced yet still easily accessible to the nearby population of the Helena area. Bank access, postal service and City Hall are a few things that are just down the street. The primary element that makes East Helena such a great location is its abundance of amazing neighbors – both in the business community and residents of the town. One of those neighbors that we would like to single out is our incredible local Post Office. We are a mail-order business, and we ship out over 2,000 packages each year. The East Helena Post Office is a local partner that we could hardly do without. Everyone on staff really goes out of their way to streamline the process and get our goods into the postal stream as effortlessly as possible. We owe those folks a tremendous amount of gratitude.

Our Founding
         High Plains Sheepskin was started in the cold and windy basins of southern Wyoming (hence the name “High Plains”) in 1975. Gary’s first shop was in Laramie, WY. After nine years, he moved to Last Chance Gulch in Helena, MT. Then, in 1993, Gary moved one final time to our current location at 5 West Main Street (formally known as Prickly Pear Junction) in East Helena, MT. We are right across the street from Dave and Annie’s restaurant, Main Street Easts (best breakfast around!), and next door to Stacks Clothing CO. & Antiques. This is our factory, warehouse, shipping center and retail outlet all rolled into one.

         Prior to starting High Plains, Gary had several years of experience in the tanning and industrial sheepskin industry. In the tannery, he worked as a sheepskin finisher and grader. As an apprentice under an old school Czech craftsman, Gary made sheepskin paint rollers, industrial applicators, and saddle pads. His passion for doing what he loved led him to work for himself, building High Plains Sheepskin from the ground up. Gary employed many ambition and talented people throughout the years who helped him build and sell his slippers, mittens, and hats. Spencer Haire was his final trusted employee and worked alongside him until Gary made his last pair of slippers. Gary Thomas tragically passed away in August of 2019 leaving Spencer and his wife Casey Sasek to purchase High Plains and continue providing his beloved sheepskin slippers to tens of thousands of customers around the country. They make a good team. Spencer manages the shop and makes all of the products while Casey’s background in banking allows her to handle the books and marketing. In 2020, they welcomed their first son, Jackson, to the wonderful world of sheepskin slippers.

         The new management of High Plains has also hired their first employee, Trevor Held, who is an East Helena native and part of the first graduating class of East Helena High School. Go Vigilantes!

         High Plains Sheepskin has always been a small business. We work all year to make thousands of slippers, mittens, and other products that we then ship to all 50 states, Canada and overseas. We enjoy what we do and love being a part of East Helena’s small but growing community. 

~ Prickly Pear Junction Welcomes Missouri River Brewing Company To East Helena ~

Heritage Food Store invites all senior citizens or people with a compromised immune system to join us from 7-8am every Monday and Friday to shop.

109 South Lane Ave, East Helena ~ Phone: 406.227.5304

East Helena City Hall  (Photo from 2020)

The East Helena City Hall building has a rich history starting in the early 1900s. For many years it was the East Helena Public School. The photos below are from many different eras. The larger buildings (with the spire) are before the 1935 earthquake.


(Click this image to see full size)

Now Open!

PureView East Helena Clinic opened on May 20, 2019 and provides East Helena residents easier access to medical, dental and behavioral health services. The Clinic is a partnership between PureView Health Center, Intermountain and East Helena Public Schools and is located on the grounds of Prickley Pear Elementary School at 250 Academic Street.

The PureView Pharmacy will make daily deliveries to the East Helena Clinic, meaning less travel time for you and your family.  

All forms of insurance are accepted and a sliding fee scale is available for those who qualify.

The Clinic is open Monday-Friday,
9:00 AM – 6:00 PM.

For quality, affordable care in East Helena, look no further than the PureView East Helena Clinic.

For appointments: 
Call 406.457.8880 or 406.457.0000.

We look forward to serving you.

You can pick up your medication at the PureView East Helena Clinic or have it delivered to your door.  Delivery service is free within a 20 mile radius of PureView Health Center located at 1930 9th Avenue in Helena.  This service covers the entire city of East Helena!

CLICK HERE to see Duke’s crew in action!

J4 Automotive
Visit J4 Automotive Website

Kit and Vi Johnson started J4 Automotive over 22 years ago in 1994 with an SBA loan, some help from family members and a lot of prayers. Fast forward to today and we find the shop doing close to 1 million dollars in gross sales and still family owned and operated. The second generation of Johnson’s are now working in the business, with Kit and Vi’s daughter Nikita and her husband Chris carrying on the strong tradition of outstanding automotive repair and service and giving back to our community. The third generation of Johnson’s (the grand kids shown sitting with Viola) are growing up in the shop just like their mothers did and will most likely continue the family tradition well into the future.

J4 Automotive’s mission statement stresses community service, which they do a lot of. The yellow veterans ribbons, the kids activity tent in the Christmas stroll, sponsor of the spring school clean-up, the Halloween movie in the park and Frite-night are but some of the events Kit and Vi and the J4 Crew organize and participate in. Their experienced staff of seven, including three Master Mechanics, fix all makes and models of vehicles and are the recipient of many awards. The National Technician of the Year, and the Helena Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year are just a few examples of their commitment to excellence.

J4 Automotive is a Better Business Bureau A+ rated member, AAA Top Shop and NAPA AutoCare center that enjoys a 5 star Google and Yelp rating. Give them a call next time you need advice or maintenance and repair on your vehicle and use their convenient pick-up service while you work! 227-8622 or make an appointment on line at j4 Automotive.com.

Our helpful service advisors, Chris Pratt and Gena Berry will take care of you and your auto needs!

Sales of my artwork and art books on the ETSY Art/Craft website help support
Prickly Pear Junction “CLOUD”.
Click HERE to visit my ETSY Shop!

contact us: email  ~  david@pricklypearjunction.com  ~  phone  ~  406.431.6026