THE New York Times Sunday travel section often headlines...

salmagundi

February 18, 1993

THE New York Times Sunday travel section often headlines an article on this or that tourist destination: "What's Doing in -----?" So what's doing in Scobey, Mont.?

Well, a good deal, as it happens, and you can read all about it in the Daniels County Leader, a "little newspaper doing a big job" since it was established in 1912 as the Scobey Sentinel.

The weekly Leader, published by the Bowler family since 1924, keeps a clear eye on events in Daniels County, pop. 2,266, about half of them in Scobey, the county seat. Scobey is about 17 miles from Canada and 50 miles from North Dakota, so isolated that it's a five-hour drive to a U.S. commercial airport.

Comings and goings, both spiritually and physically, are the stuff of Daniels County news: births and deaths, visitations to and from afar, church services, school news, wheat and barley prices, a legislative report this time of year and, of course, the weather.

Subscribers to the Jan. 7 and Jan. 14 issues, for example, learned that Scobey's first 1993 baby (a girl) arrived Jan. 12 to Shannon (SHS '92) and James E. Barron of Scobey. Twelve days may seem a long time to wait, but a review of Daniels' 1992 vital statistics, published in the Leader Jan. 7, shows that there were only seven births the entire year (along with 22 deaths, 13 marriages and four divorces).

Most of those weddings, by the way, were community affairs. People buy ads in the Leader inviting everyone in town to weddings, baby showers and the like. And hardly a week goes by without a notice from someone thanking the community for its generosity at a time of bereavement or illness.

Although it does have a motel and a Pioneer Town and Museum, Scobey isn't likely to make the Times' "What's doing in ----" column. One reason is the weather. The highest temperature during the two weeks we surveyed the Leader was 8 degrees. On New Year's Eve, the high temperature was minus 17! Might as well ask what's doing in Nome.

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