THE ANNUAL BLOCK PARTY WAS A GREAT SUCCESS!
Saturday, September 7, 2019 

Sponsored by: Heritage Food Store • Valley Bank • J4 Automotive
Leilani’s Lattes • East Helena Liquor • Hollywood Video
Dukes Tree Service • Drae’s Casino

CLICK ON THESE PHOTOS TO VIEW FULL SIZE!

 MONTANA AVENUE / VALLEY DRIVE

ATTENTION EAST HELENA RESIDENTS, ESPECIALLY IF YOU LIVE ON OR NEAR MONTANA AVE. AND/OR VALLEY DRIVE:
The CITY of EAST HELENA is in the middle of plans to completely renew and rejuvenate Montana Ave/Valley Drive to accommodate the expected huge influx of traffic that will be generated by construction of the new high school and the addition of 320 new homes. All of this construction is facing Valley Drive and if you want to add your comments, suggestions, and/or ask questions directly to the engineers, please use this button:

September 18, 2019
MONTANA AVE. / VALLEY DRIVE

East Helena School District 9 is currently constructing a new high school within the City of East Helena along the west side of Valley Drive immediately south of Plant Road. In response to that project and other ongoing or proposed land development projects in the area, a draft preliminary engineering report and corridor study has been prepared.

A comprehensive engineering website with additional information about the study is accessible by clicking on this button:

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE ENGINEERING WEBSITE:

A PDF draft report can be found by clicking on this button:

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE PDF DRAFT REPORT:

(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!

This is the final image in the series for the photo-essay: 
Prickly Pear Elementary Construction
started on June 1, 2017

Making your voice heard in East Helena!

Front row, left to right: Rebecca Harbage (Montana Department of Environmental Quality); Jan Williams (Lewis and Clark County); Kathy Moore (Lewis and Clark County); Cindy Brooks (Montana Environmental Trust Group [METG); Karen Nelson (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service); Betsy Burns (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency); Gregory Sopkin (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency).

Back row, left to right: Ron Whitmoyer (East Helena Public Schools); Mary Hollow (Prickly Pear Land Trust), Drenda Niemann (Lewis and Clark County); James Schell (City of East Helena Mayor); Harley Harris (Montana Department of Justice Natural Resource Damage Program). 

Montana Environmental Trust Group receives EPA’s Excellence in Site Reuse Award for Transformation of the East Helena Superfund Site
Federal, state and local partners are honored for teamwork critical to revitalization of hazardous waste site

East Helena, Mont. (August 22, 2019) — At a ceremony today at Prickly Pear Elementary School in East Helena, Mont., U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Administrator Gregory Sopkin presented representatives from the Montana Environmental Trust Group (METG) with EPA’s Excellence in Site Reuse Award for successful efforts to advance the cleanup and revitalization of the East Helena Superfund site. EPA also recognized the host of federal, state and local partners who have contributed to transformation of the site, which was hailed as a national example of the environmental, economic and community benefits that are possible at Superfund sites.

“This year, EPA is marking the 20th Anniversary of the Superfund Redevelopment Initiative by recognizing the people and communities that demonstrate the very best of what can happen when we work together to clean up contaminated sites and get them back into productive reuse,” said Gregory Sopkin, regional administrator for EPA Region 8. “The new schools, residential neighborhoods, and trail networks we celebrate today reflect the hard work and vision of the Montana Environmental Trust Group and the many partners who have been critical to the transformation of the East Helena Superfund site.”

“METG and our East Helena stakeholders are honored and grateful for EPA Region 8’s recognition of the partnerships that have shaped the successful revitalization of former ASARCO lands.  We are particularly grateful to EPA for its leadership and support of the community-backed reuse and renewal of the East Helena Superfund Site,” said Cindy Brooks, managing principal of the Montana Environmental Trust Group LLC (METG), trustee of the Montana Environmental Custodial Trust. “The trust model works because our lead agency (EPA) has fully embraced everything that can be done, and these are the results. We look forward to continuing our work together with all these stakeholders.”

EPA was joined at the ceremony by East Helena Mayor James Schell in recognizing several other partners who have contributed to the cleanup and revitalization of the Superfund site.  These included representatives from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, the Montana Department of Justice Natural Resource Damage Program, Lewis and Clark County Environmental Health Services Division, the City of East Helena, East Helena Public Schools, and the Prickly Pear Land Trust.

A century of lead smelting by ASARCO contaminated soil and groundwater and left behind a 16-million-ton toxic slag pile. Since the Montana Environmental Custodial Trust was created in 2009 as part of the ASARCO bankruptcy settlement, METG as trustee has been remediating and facilitating reuse of the Superfund site in collaboration with its beneficiaries—the United States, acting through EPA, and the State of Montana, acting through MDEQ—and East Helena stakeholders.

The award ceremony was held at Prickly Pear Elementary School, which opened in 2018 on land that METG as trustee donated to East Helena Public Schools (EHPS). Under construction nearby is East Helena’s first public high school; it’s scheduled to open in 2020 on land that METG sold to EHPS.  Next door, a 319-unit housing subdivision is planned on a parcel that Oakland Companies bought from METG. Nearby, a 254-acre tract was sold by METG to a company that anticipates developing a mixed-use project. These land sales generated nearly $3 million in proceeds for cleanup and paved the way for the kinds of beneficial, safe and sustainable reuses that the East Helena community has welcomed.

“What I point to as the example of success is East Helena,” Sopkin of EPA said during the ceremony. “Look at East Helena. Look at what has been done here. I’m just so excited to see this growing up. There’s going to be a subdivision there. There’s going to be a new high school…What the revitalization does is it brings people together…Communities like yours have great ideas.”

 As part of the cleanup, more than a mile of Prickly Pear Creek was moved away from the slag pile in order to reduce groundwater contamination. The revitalized creek now flows through newly restored floodplain, habitat and conservation land. In collaboration with EPA and the State of Montana Natural Resource Damage Program, METG as trustee is exploring potential transfer of 350 acres of creek corridor to the nonprofit Prickly Pear Land Trust for inclusion in the proposed Prickly Pear Creek Greenway trail network.

 

For more information, photos, and videos, visit the METG website at www.mtenvironmentaltrust.org

This video filmed during the summer of 2018 showcases some of the transformative cleanup measures implemented at the former Asarco smelter in East Helena, Montana.

Established in 2009 as part of the Asarco bankruptcy settlement, the Montana Environmental Trust Group (METG), Trustee of the Montana Environmental Custodial Trust, is responsible for owning, remediating and redeveloping thousands of acres of East Helena land once owned by Asarco. For the last eight years, METG has worked to address contamination in soils, sediments and groundwater left after more than a century of lead smelting. Major components of the cleanup include the construction of a sustainable, 85-acre cap to prevent contact with contaminated soils and reduce the migration of contaminants into groundwater, as well as the removal of select contaminant source areas. The cornerstone of METG’s remediation and restoration efforts is the realignment of more than a mile of Prickly Pear Creek, which has already reduced contaminant infiltration into groundwater, created enhanced habitat for fish and wildlife and mitigated flooding for flood-prone areas of East Helena.

In close collaboration with the City of East Helena, EPA and the State of Montana and through several public-private partnerships, METG has been working to redevelop the former Asarco lands. METG supported expansion of American Chemet, a global supplier of metal-based chemicals and the largest employer in East Helena. METG also partnered with the East Helena Public Schools to site and build the Prickly Pear Elementary School. Most recently, METG sold 250 acres of property to a Montana-based company for a mixed-use development. METG is currently working with a regional developer seeking to develop 100 acres of property for a single-family residential development and the East Helena Public Schools for construction of a new high school. Finally, METG is working with a community land trust on implementing a trail system along Prickly Pear Creek.

For more information, photos, and videos, visit the METG website at www.mtenvironmentaltrust.org

METG ~ East Helena

The following photo essay is a record of the two year project to reconstruct the Prickly Pear Creek floodplain to reduce the contact of groundwater with contaminated soil.

METG ~ East Helena

Summer 2016 ~ Work begins

Slide #1

METG ~ East Helena

Summer 2016 ~ Work begins

Slide #2

METG ~ East Helena

Summer 2016 ~ Work begins

Slide #3

METG ~ East Helena

Summer 2016 ~ Work begins

Slide #4

METG ~ East Helena

Summer 2017
Wetlands in reconstructed Prickly Pear Creek floodplain

Slide #5

METG ~ East Helena

Summer 2017
Reconstructed Prickly Pear Creek floodplain

Slide #6

METG ~ East Helena

Summer 2017
Wetlands in reconstructed Prickly Pear Creek floodplain

Slide #7

METG ~ East Helena

Summer 2017
Wetlands in reconstructed Prickly Pear Creek floodplain

Slide #8

METG ~ East Helena

Summer 2017
Slag pile with wetlands on the right

Slide #9

METG ~ East Helena

Summer 2017
Wetlands in reconstructed Prickly Pear Creek floodplain – former Lower Lake area

Slide #10

METG ~ East Helena

Summer 2017
Reconstructed Prickly Pear Creek floodplain – north section

Slide #11

METG ~ East Helena

Summer 2017
Inlet structure for the reconstructed Prickly Pear Creek

Slide #12

METG ~ East Helena

Summer 2017
Reconstructed Prickly Pear Creek floodplain – south section

Slide #13

METG ~ East Helena

Summer 2017
Inlet structure for the reconstructed Prickly Pear Creek

Slide #14

METG ~ East Helena

Summer 2017
Inlet structure for the reconstructed Prickly Pear Creek

Slide #15

METG ~ East Helena

Summer 2017
Berm to bypass channel – allows water to enter the bypass channel in high flow events – protects newly planted vegetation

Slide #16

METG ~ East Helena

Summer 2017
Oxbow bend in the reconstructed Prickly Pear Creek floodplain

Slide #17

METG ~ East Helena

Summer 2017
Reconstructed Prickly Pear Creek floodplain

Slide #18

METG ~ East Helena

Summer 2017
Reconstructed Prickly Pear Creek floodplain – north section, shot from slag pile

Slide #19

METG ~ East Helena

Summer 2017
Reconstructed Prickly Pear Creek floodplain – north section, shot from slag pile

Slide #20

METG ~ East Helena

Summer 2017
Reconstructed Prickly Pear Creek floodplain – north section, shot from slag pile

Slide #21

METG ~ East Helena

Summer 2017
Reconstructed Prickly Pear Creek floodplain – north section, shot from slag pile

Slide #22

METG ~ East Helena

Summer 2017
Reconstructed Prickly Pear Creek floodplain – north section, shot from slag pile

Slide #23

Please remember that vehicles must be parked parallel with the edge of the roadway headed in the direction of traffic.
No angle or straight in parking is permitted without City Council approval and designated angle parking signage. Double parking is not allowed.

Click this link to read related “Method of Parking” City Code.

Please click this link to view the East Helena website “Public Notices” page for upcoming Public Meetings on changes to existing City Code or call City Hall at 227-5321 for more information.

J4 Automotive Update for 2018

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.

Sales of my artwork and art books on the ETSY Art/Craft website 
help support Prickly Pear Junction “CLOUD”.
Click on a book cover to see it on ETSY!

Click on this cover to view my book: “Step by Step: How to Cover Bottles With Fine Macramé” on my ETSY Store.

Click on this cover to view my book: “Step By Step: How To Make a Macramé Lamp ” on my ETSY store!

Click on this cover to view my book: “Macrame: String Theory” on my ETSY store!

HIGH PLAINS SHEEPSKIN

Twenty three years ago I bought a building on Main Street in downtown East Helena for a practical reason: it was the closest commercial building to my house that I could afford. I had in mind to change the nature of my business from retail to mail-order and do away with most of the products I produced before and concentrate on making sheepskin footwear, slippers to be exact. It turned out to be a great decision because of something that I didn’t expect initially. What I didn’t know then was that East Helena is a truly great place to have a business.  I sure know it now, and it keeps getting reinforced. Downtown may only be a couple of blocks long but it has filled up with experienced businesses in for the long haul.  Most buildings have been upgraded and there are still a few vacancies offering opportunities for people with the next good idea.  There are several reasons that East Helena works out so well for an independent business. The business space is reasonably priced and still an easy distance from the population of the whole Helena area.

Access to banks, post office, and city services are a few things that are just down the street. The primary element that makes for a good location is intangible but East Helena has it in abundance: great neighbors – both in the business community and residents of the town. I could start listing the great neighbors, but I don’t want to play favorites or omit anyone. However I will single out one East Helena institution for special mention. We are a mail-order business and we ship out over two thousand packages a year. The East Helena Post Office is a local partner that we could hardly do without.   Don,  Dorrie, Staci and now Terry really go out of their way to streamline the process and get our goods into the postal stream as effortlessly as possible. I owe those folks a big thank you. HIGH PLAINS SHEEPSKIN was started in the cold, windy basins of southern Wyoming (hence the “HIGH PLAINS”) in 1975. My first shop was in Laramie, Wyoming. After 9 years there, we moved to Last Chance Gulch in Helena, Montana. In 1993 we moved a few miles down the road to our current location at 5 West Main in East Helena.  We are across the street from Dave and Annie’s Main Street Eats 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, I had several years of experience in the tanning and industrial sheepskin business. In the tannery I worked as a sheepskin finisher and grader. As an apprentice under an old school Czech craftsman, I made sheepskin paint rollers, industrial applicators and saddle pads. This has always been a small business. We work all year to make thousands of slippers, hats and mittens that we ship to all 50 states, Canada and overseas.

Great Northern Carousel Helena, Montana, Photos: David George Hill http://davidhill.tv

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“KNOWN BUT TO GOD” The four graves in the East Helena Cemetery were marked with a brass star and four small plaques identifying those buried there only as “Unknown Soldier.” But this is now changed – in part because of misguided acts of some vandals. The East Helena VFW Post had a monument made in their honor which now marks the soldiers’ final resting place. The soldiers will no longer be buried in near obscurity, but they will remain a mystery. The star is marked with GAR and they could have fought in the Civil War or in the West’s Indian wars. The cemetery’s records do not go past beyond the 1920’s. So on Veteran’s Day, November 11, 1996 a very impressive “Unknown Soldier Dedication” was held to honor these veterans.”