It is November in Montana as my friend Jill reminded me and it is snowing tonight and cold.
Just after Michael and I were married in 1994, a platinum and palladium mine opened about 9 miles up the road from us. It changed this valley considerably--our road, the East Boulder Road is a narrow, winding gravel road and the presence of large buses transporting workers and semi trucks hauling supplies was considered to be hazardous by the local residents. Our road saw very little traffic and what traffic it did have we usually knew the vehicle. The residents of the Boulder Valley fought the mine but as usual, the mine won and opened. Stillwater Mine has after all proved to be a good neighbor. The mine buses the laborers rather than allowing them to use their own vehicles helping to decrease the traffic. The mine also actively encourages carpooling by the management staff, too. The mine contributes 40% of the tax revenue for our county. They are the highest paying employer by far in this community. It has been good for Big Timber. On Tuesday Stillwater Mine announced that it was closing the mine for the time being, perhaps even permanently and laying off 526 workers. The price of platinum and palladium has fallen to record lows over the last few months. This news has devastated our community but today the outlook was a little better with news that the mine is all ready calling workers back to the job. Maybe they just needed to do a little housecleaning!
I went to a Pampered Chef party today at the home of a neighbor, Mona. She and her husband Mike run an outfitting and hunting business from their home here on the East Boulder. It was a good gathering of neighborhood ladies and we enjoyed some excellent food! And the mimosas were wonderful!
Poor Michael, the new $350 part did not make his old truck run as he had hoped. What next??