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Spring break ain’t for school kids anymore

Call it the spring run off.

The City Commission didn't meet.

A district judge, and two prosecutors, won't be found in a courtroom this week.

Heck, traffic is even slow on North 19th Avenue.

In Bozeman, spring break doesn't just mean school is out. It's a week when the phones quiet down, public officials leave town, and bar stools seem a little more available at downtown watering holes.

It makes sense that a town with a 12,800-student university and strong public school system would feel the effect of a break from coursework. Still, Bozeman might be unique in the extent to which life slows down when the break comes.

For comparison, consider Missoula. There, too, the state university and public school system coordinate their spring breaks.

"It doesn't always get quieter around town," said Ginny Merriam, a spokeswoman for Missoula. "It may be easier to find a parking place, but in general, we don't close the courts. We don't close city offices."

And to be clear, neither does Bozeman.

But with the mayor, city manager, assistant city manager and at least three city commissioners gone, city hall is admittedly quiet this week.

At the Gallatin County Law and Justice Center, two of the county's prosecutors are out of town. (They are married.) So is District Court Judge John Brown.

Mayor-elect Sean Becker said Monday that the commission sees spring break as a good time to keep its agenda clear, if for no other reason than it is fair to the public.

"Putting agenda items that require a lot of public input on a spring break meeting would be unfair," Becker said. "This is also a great time, mid-season, for staff to take a break."

Merriam said the differences between the two cities may come down to proportions.

"We have 15,000 students in a city of 68,000," she said.

In Bozeman, the effect is also felt in the private sector, Daryl Schliem, president and CEO of the Bozeman Area Chamber of Commerce, said this week.

"From a couple conversations with business owners, this is the week we use to get to the paperwork that really piled up," he said. "The phone calls drop off tremendously. ... You sometimes wonder if the phones are working."

If there is one thing keeping people in town, it's airfare.




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website: www.zjqiangsheng.com
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