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If we’ve heard it once, we’ve heard it a thousand times: “Why don’t you write good, positive stories instead of focusing on the negative?”

Believe us when we say nothing gives us more pleasure than those times when the news is cause for celebration rather than mourning. It’s just that pesky word “news” – we have to report it, no matter where it falls on the happiness-inducing scale.

But lately, we’ve had a lot to cheer about: A consent-decree agreement in principle for the Butte Hill cleanup. A brand-new terminal at Bert Mooney Airport. A plan to start pumping and treating Berkeley Pit water – ahead of schedule – that also happens to deliver a healthy flow of clean water to the upper reaches of Silver Bow Creek.

Okay, we admit it: all this sweet news is a little jarring. And it threatens to make this space downright treacly, which gives a normally dyspeptic editorial writer pause. And here’s the problem: While we don’t wish to elevate readers’ blood sugar by presenting yet another Pollyanna editorial, Monday’s events clearly call for one.

That would be when Butte’s own Pat Dudley and Ray Rogers announced the culmination of years of effort: the launch of the Praxis Center, a medical training center in Uptown Butte impressive for its business plan, size, and prospects to greatly enhance the local economy.

Think of it: A new, 82,000-square-foot, four-story building Uptown, just a block from the new NorthWestern Energy building, to be built over the next couple of years by local companies. Seventy new jobs the day it opens. And most impressive of all, 3,000 to 4,000 visitors to Butte every year – people who will each stay a few days, contributing to almost every aspect of the local economy.

There is pretty much no better blueprint for economic development imaginable.

We are mightily impressed by the concept, and by the work Pat, Ray, and Shelly Davis have done to take it from a dreamy idea to a 2020 target date.

Also worthy of commendation is the behind-the-scenes work of Pam Haxby-Cote, both as director of the state Department of Commerce and in her previous incarnation as Butte Local Development Corporation director.

We are beyond grateful to Pat and Ray for their vision, and for their stubborn insistence upon Uptown Butte as the location in which to make it reality.

And we promise to get back to gruffer, huffier editorials just as soon as events allow.


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