If your name happens to be Kerry, if you are running for public office, and if you are running in an area where the name Kerry isn’t terribly popular, you may have some trouble. “There’s kind of a big problem here in Ravalli County,” says Kerry Wall-MacLane. Wall-MacLane, a drug prevention specialist from Corvallis, is a candidate for the Montana Senate. He printed yard signs with his first name, Kerry, in large letters. About two weeks ago, the signs started disappearing. Wall-MacLane says he posted about 500 signs altogether, which cost him $800. He believes that about 50 have been stolen. They cost $4 each. The rumor flying through the Bitterroot is that a group of right-wingers—pyromaniacs, perhaps—held a bonfire with the signs.

Ravalli County Sheriff Chris Hoffman was asked to confirm that the Bitterroot has seen a rash of sign-stealing. He’s heard the rumor. “This thing has taken on a life of its own,” he says. So far in this election season, just one woman has called the police to report her sign stolen. “The lady didn’t want any prosecution,” says Hoffman. “She simply wanted her sign back.” She got it. “At this time,” says Hoffman, “that’s the only reported theft we’ve had of a sign.” Hoffman, too, heard third-hand that a bonfire was held and used to destroy the signs: “That has not been substantiated.” If it did happen, Kerry Wall-MacLane keeps his sense of humor about him. The signs have a stick, and, he says, “They make good kindling.”

•••

We’re sorry, but we’ve got to talk.

The thing is, we’ve been going through some changes lately. It’s not you, we swear. It’s us. Okay, maybe it’s a little bit you. It’s just going to have to be different from now on. That doesn’t mean it has to be bad.

Enough already. We’ve been making some changes to the paper these last few years. We added the essays of Writers on the Range and the political cartoons of John Watson. We came up with Week in Review for a day-by-day glance over the shoulder at the news gone by and added a calendar of events in the Flathead. There was the introduction of Scope to lead off the arts section and provide a place for feature stories of a cultural nature.

You didn’t even notice, did you? You never listen to us. It’s all about you, you, you.

A few weeks back we created Agenda to help put a tighter focus on Missoula activism. And now, on the other hand entirely, allow us to introduce Amy Alkon, The Advice Goddess. You’ll now find her every week on the Personals page in the back of what we fondly call “the book.” She answers questions about love and sex and romance and dating and why none of those things ever make any sense to you, do they, you self-deluded freak.

Yeah. Anyway. We think she’s a damn fine read, in times of trouble and otherwise, if such times exist. Let us know what you think. The most important thing—heh heh—is sharing.

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