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Power outage reported in Great Falls

GREAT FALLS -- NorthWestern Energy crews are investigating a power outage in Great Falls.

The company says that it is a "large" outage on the east side of town, but do not yet know what caused it.

We have received reports from KRTV friends on Facebook that they are without power at or near the following locations:

8th Avenue South and 55th Street

9th Avenue South and 48th Street

First Alliance Church

46th Street South

7th Avenue South and 46th Street

Diana Drive

We will update you as we get more information.

Let us know in the comments below if you are without power.

Horse sanctuary owners in court on animal cruelty charges

TOWNSEND -- Thomas Jessberger and Dalene Rindal, operators of Rocky Acres Horse Rescue, made their initial appearances in court before Judge James Reynolds, facing 34 felony counts of cruelty to animals.

In March, Broadwater County Sheriff's Deputies seized 29 horses from Rocky Acres following an investigation spurred by numerous complaints of neglect made by neighbors and former volunteers.

Jessberger and Rindahl are accused failing to provide the animals with sufficient food and water.

Judge Reynolds reviewed the charges the two face and they were read their rights.

Both have been released from the Broadwater County Jail on $10,000 bond.

Broadwater County Attorney Karla May Bosse told the court that her office is also investigating possible fraud charges against Jessberger and Rindal in connection with charitable contributions made to Rocky Acres.

Jessberger's attorney told the court that he is seeking employment as a ranch-hand in Hobson.

The two will return to court May 2nd for arraignment.

The prosecution informed the court today that two of the horses in this case are so sick that they need to be humanely euthanized.

The rest of the animals in this case are continuing to improve.

For the past 40 days, volunteers have been caring for the horses at the Broadwater County Fairgrounds, feeding them twice a day, brushing them, and treating them for lice.

Volunteers tell us that two of the thinnest horses have gained between 150-to-225-pounds.

"But it really tickles me to see the progress made in these horses...since we've had 'em in the 40-days, they have picked up so much," says John Walsh, president of the Broadwater Rodeo Association.

If you would like to help out with this recovery effort, contact the Montana Horse Welfare Council  the Montana Horse Sanctuary.

Power outage scheduled for Tuesday morning in Choteau

GREAT FALLS -- NorthWestern Energy has scheduled a brief power outage in Choteau and nearby areas for the morning of Tuesday, April 22, 2014.

The outage will begin at 5 a.m. and is expected to last until 6 a.m.  About 1,025 customers in Choteau  and to the north, south, and east of town will be affected, according to NorthWestern Energy.

The company said in a press release that the outage will allow crews to upgrade equipment at a substation. 

The substation upgrade is part of NorthWestern's Distribution System Infrastructure Project, a seven-year, $370 million project designed to improve the reliability and safety of electric and natural-gas systems across Montana.

NorthWestern has worked to notify businesses that might be affected by the outage.

For any questions or concerns, call NorthWestern Energy at 888-467-2669.

Emergency crews on scene of grass fire NW of Great Falls

GREAT FALLS -- Emergency crews are on the scene of a grass fire along Vaughn Frontage Road near Sun Prairie.

The fire was reported at about 1:30 p.m. and was being fanned by gusty winds.

Fire crews from Vaughn and Black Eagle had the fire out in less than 30 minutes.

The fire burned an estimated 15 acres.

It happened along the north and west side of the road and railroad track, and came within about 15 feet of the frontage road.

Authorities do not yet know what sparked the fire, but did say that it could have been caused by a passing train.

Fire crews performed a "cold trail" along the burned away near the train tracks, and noted that the soil was already fairly moist, which helped minimize the spread and depth of the damage.

No structures were damaged, and no injuries reported.


Obama administration pushes back Keystone XL pipeline decision

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Obama administration is extending the comment period on the State Department's Keystone XL pipeline report, a move that could delay a final decision on the project indefinitely, according to the office of Rep. Lee Terry, Republican of Nebraska.

Terry has been a strong supporter of the project.

The report found that the pipeline would not have a significant environmental impact. It was due to be finalized after a 90-day comment period ended in early May.

Now, Terry's office says, the Obama administration has notified stakeholders on Capitol Hill that the comment period will be extended indefinitely.

The Nebraska congressman blasted the delay.

"Today, (President Obama) punted a tough decision in the name of political expediency," Terry said in a statement.

"It's shameful that as we begin spring construction season that hundreds of my constituents will be denied an opportunity to go to work on a project that will help secure America's energy future solely because the President wants to placate his political base in an election year."

-- The-CNN-Wire TM & © 2014 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

Hack hit 3 million Michaels customers

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- A security breach at Michaels Stores lasted eight months and affected about 3 million customers, the company said Thursday.

The news comes three months after the nation's largest crafts chain told customers it learned of a possible hack. It's been investigating since then.

Some customers' credit and debit card numbers as well as expiration dates were compromised, but the company said there is no evidence that information such as a customers' names or PINs were stolen.

The breach occurred between May 8, 2013 and Jan. 27, 2014 and affected about 7% of transactions made with cards during that time. Not all stores were impacted and a "limited number" of those cards were subsequently used fraudulently, Michaels said.

The Michaels subsidiary Aaron Brothers was also hacked. Information from another 400,000 cards was potentially stolen at the Aaron Brothers stores between June 26, 2013 and Feb. 27, 2014.

"We want you to know we have identified and fully contained the incident, and we can assure you the malware no longer presents a threat to customers while shopping at Michaels or Aaron Brothers," wrote CEO Chuck Rubin in a post on the company's website.

The initial Michaels announcement came just weeks after Target also disclosed it was hacked. The attack on Target affected as many as 110 million customers, including 40 million credit and debit card shoppers at the height of the holiday shopping season.

-- The-CNN-Wire TM & © 2014 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

Reward offered in case of stolen spas in Great Falls

GREAT FALLS -- The owner of All Season Stoves & Spas in Great Falls has offered a reward for information leading to the recovery of three stolen spas and/or information leading to the prosecution of whoever was responsible for stealing them.

Mark Horton says that the spas were stolen from his location at 1205 Central Avenue sometime between 6 p.m. on Monday, April 7th, and 7 a.m. on Tuesday April 8th.

Horton said, "Twenty years we've been in this location and we always put spas out in our parking lot and we've never had one taken, let alone three in the 20 years. It's got to be pretty tough to do, somebody must have backed up either with an enclosed trailer, a flatbed, or maybe even a horse trailer, because I can't see 'em taking and getting three in the back of a pickup an getting out of here with out them falling off."

The brand name of the stolen spas is "Fantasy Spas." They are sand, grey, or espresso in color, weigh about 250 pounds, and measure are 5'2" x 5'10". The value of the three spas exceeds $10,000.

A press release from Cascade County Crimestoppers says that information of importance to law enforcement is: date, time, and location of suspicious activity; vehicle description(s) - color, type, license plate number(s) number of occupants of a vehicle or in an area; and as much identifying information of each occupant as possible.

If you have any information about the theft, call Crimestoppers at 406-727-TIPS (8477).


Denver husband will face murder charge in 911 call killing

(CNN) -- Richard Kirk of Denver, accused of killing his wife when she called 911, will face a first-degree murder charge, the Denver District Attorney's Office said Friday.

Kirk allegedly shot his wife, Kristine Kirk, on Monday while she made a 13-minute call to 911.

She told 911 she feared for herself and their three children. She screamed when her husband went to the family safe and grabbed a gun, authorities said.

The 911 operator heard what sounded like a gunshot, and Kristine Kirk stopped talking.

Authorities said Richard Kirk, 47, was rambling when they arrived at the Kirk house. Police said they thought he was under the influence of drugs.

On Thursday, police said he bought marijuana candy hours before the shooting.

Investigators said they'll examine a blood sample to determine whether Kirk was under the influence of any substances at the time of the shooting.

-- The-CNN-Wire TM & © 2014 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.


FWP: shooting of bison near Gardiner was self-defense

BOZEMAN -- A landowner near Gardiner was found to be justified in shooting a bison after he felt threatened by the large animal.

The incident occurred on rancher Pat Hoppe's land last week when three bison showed up to graze.

Hoppe attempted to chase the bison away, but one came within five feet of him and made a threatening gesture. That's when he shot the animal.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks investigated the incident and found that Hoppe shot the animal in self-defense.

FWP spokeswoman Andrea Jones said, "There were tracks and dust and evidence that indicated the bison was extremely close to the individual. The landowners said that the bison made a gesture in a dangerous way so we found this to be justified in the defense of life and property, both of the dog and the homeowner."

Jones said that this is the first self-defense shooting incident involving a bison this year.

The bison was processed and the meat sent to a nearby food bank.

As many as 1,500 bison have wandered out of Yellowstone National Park in to the Gardiner area in recent weeks.

Hoppe noted, "Wake up in the morning they're here, go to bed at night they're here, you just can't run them far enough."

He added, "That's the difference between bison and elk, if I have elk down here I can go out and shoot in the air and I can chase 200 head of elk up the mountain and they're gone for the day. These guys are only gone for 10 minutes, they're like trying to herd cattle."

Fellow rancher Bill Hoppe says, "For years we've lost sprinkler pipe, fences, trees, landscaping. I lost three horses than were gored to death a few years ago. Bison gored the guts out of them."

MTN Sports - Thu Apr 17

-- Softball: After a couple cancelled games over the weekend, the Great Falls High School Bison went almost a week without playing any games, but on Thursday they took on Billings Skyview at the Great falls Multisports complex. Skyview hangs on and wins the first game with a score of 6 to 5, but the Bison own in game two, topping Billings with a score of 15-4 in 5 innings.

-- Former Griz: Cole Lockwood fought his way from an overlooked walk-on from Sentinel High School to an all-conference special teams performer with his beloved University of Montana Grizzlies. Just four years later, he faces an even bigger fight. But he's not alone.The 25-year old quietly dealt with back and abdomen pain for quite a while. Than a couple weeks ago he found a lump. Doctors first thought he had a hernia. But after a checkup, he heard terrifying news. Cole had cancer.


GFPS levy issue: BOTH sides need to compromise

When it comes to funding our schools at the local district level we need to find common ground and make arguments based on facts rather than casting aspersions on those we disagree with. We have to come to some kind of a consensus on funding education so we can build and maintain a prosperous economy and attract and keep good jobs here. It’s not rocket science; unless we show we are able to agree and make a commitment to excellence in public education we have little chance of growing and developing a thriving economy in Cascade County. Unfortunately many levy proponents always make the same silly mistake: they just can’t seem to stop themselves from referring to levy opponents as “haters” and “gripers” etc. This kind of name-calling really hurts the pro-levy cause. I’m not sure why those who favor a levy don’t seem to understand that most of those who oppose a levy have good reasons for doing so and are not “against kids” or “cheapskates” or “selfish” or “vandals” or “naysayers” – all terms I’ve heard and read recently referring to the “anti-levy crowd” which recently has been the majority “crowd”. Instead of characterizing opponents negatively try understanding their point of view. Instead of putting all of the responsibility on local taxpayers to buck up and just “hand over the money because it’s for the kids”, why not suggest, no DEMAND, that administrators and teachers also make some sacrifices. Most levy opponents I’ve spoken with are FOR more transparency, FOR more accountability, FOR more frugality, FOR more shared responsibility between taxpayers and district employees.

The district is asking for about $500,000 of this levy request to pay for the increase in health insurance premiums for district employees which is largely due to ObamaCare mandates. A 2% raise was just approved for teachers. The GFPS Athletic Director makes $96,569 per year. Where are the sacrifices being made by district employees? Where is the compromise and attempt to find common ground? We’re still waiting for information on how much of our property and money was stolen from OUR school district by a district employee. How can we be expected to give more money to an administration that doesn’t do everything possible to account for the money we have already given?

I want to make sure we provide a world class education to our kids, my own daughters got that education here and I am proud of our community and school system. That’s why I am urging the pro-levy voices, along with their advocacy for good public education, to ask for some accountability, responsibility and shared sacrifice by the GFPS and employees. I believe this is the key. If we want to see the levy pass there has to be a GENUINE attempt by the school board, the administration and the teachers union to compromise, find solutions and work together, otherwise everyone will suffer the consequences. I stand ready to help in the effort in any way I can.

A couple of random musings

Cynical political tip #113:  Draft a bill, it can have anything at all in it as long as you’re sure the opposing party will vote against it, then call it either the “Fairness and Equality For The Kids Act” or the “America Super Patriot Hero of the Republic Act”. Then when all of your political foes vote against it because of the actual content of the bill (if they actually read it) you can say that they’re against “Fairness and equality for children” or they’re against “American patriotism” in your stupid, lying-ass, hypocritical, selfish, evil, cynical, expensive campaign ads.

Cost of the ACA – According to Great Falls Public Schools Superintendent Tammy Lacey about $500,000 of the proposed $1.6 million dollar school funding levy will be used for increased health insurance premiums for district employees. The increase, according to Lacey, is mostly due to the ACA mandates which lead to more claims thus requiring the districts insurance provider, Signa, to raise premiums. You can hear all of Ms. Laceys remarks on my radio show podcast here.  This is not necessarily a reason to vote against the levy but it is necessarily a reason to question all of the pie-in-sky claims originally made to sell ObamaCare


Dirk Adams on Politics Montana

I interviewed Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate Dirk Adams today on my radio show, “Politics Montana with Rick Tryon”. In my opinion this guy is the real deal. You don’t have to agree with everything someone advocates or believes in order to understand that their belief system is genuine and heartfelt. I have a finely tuned BS meter (no, the BS does not stand for Brian Schweitzer even though the meter peaks whenever that BS is within a country mile) and I can testify that Dirk Adams means what he says and is not just spouting rhetoric to get votes. How refreshing.

Though the deck is stacked and the fix is in for John Walsh on the Democratic side I really respect and admire Mr. Adams, and John Bohlinger as well, for not bowing out or giving in to the good ol’ boys in the Montana Democratic Party. Cronyism is rampant these days on both sides of the aisle and I sincerely hope that Dirk Adams is able to hold John Walsh’s feet to the fire on the issues in this campaign.

Bullwhip went to Professor Gonshak at Montana Tech for religious bigotry and hatred. You can listen to the podcast of Wednesdays show at

Developing around Malmstrom Air Force Base

We have two U.S. Senators and a Representative who work consistently on lobbying for MAFB. We have at least a couple of private groups who work exclusively on protecting and helping MAFB and MANG. We spend county and city resources sending commissioners and representatives to Washington D.C. and to conduct studies (JLUS) to figure out how to better accommodate MAFB. I support and applaud all of these efforts and hope they are successful. But we need to put at least as much time and effort into recognizing, helping and building up our private sector job creators, small businesses and developers here as we do in lobbying and begging the brass in D.C. to please, oh please don’t take any more away from MAFB. I love and support our military and MAFB but the future of the mission there is ultimately out of our hands. We should be focusing more of our time and resources on things we have more control over. That is not to say that a retail box store is the very best way to provide the good jobs and tax base we need, or that it alone merits endangering the defunct runway, but it is private sector and it is moving in the right direction; development and growth.

Crimea annexation is a done deal

The annexation of Crimea is a done deal. Despite my early criticism of Obama’s initial vague and vain threats about the Russian invasion I recognize that there is not much the U.S. can do about the situation. Cancelling visa’s and threatening to freeze assets, which by now are beyond the reach of Obama’s pen and phone, were never going to change Putin’s course of action. U.S./EU threats of more economic sanctions will be met by more shrugs and laughter and probably reciprocal PROMISES of Russian disengagement from Syrian and Iranian negotiations as well as a definite, not threatened, realignment with China and our Middle Eastern/Central Asian adversaries. So begins a new Cold War far more dangerous than the first.

But what do I know? I’m just a common, everyday, ignorant citizen who has no business expressing my common, everyday, ignorant opinions about critical international affairs which will affect my life and my kids and grandkids for a couple of generations.

The whole truth please

The President came out this morning and touted a supposed 4 million “sign ups” on the ACA healthcare exchanges. He must have have repeated the “4 million” figure about, oh I don’t know, 4 million times.

But how are critics of the ACA and the American public in general supposed to honestly evaluate the efficacy of this well-intentioned legislation if the President and his party continue to play partisan spin games and withhold the actual vital numbers and demographics? Until the Administration and the rah-rah crowd have the courage and honesty to answer the following questions this is all a sham and a charade.

1.) How many of the purported 4 million “sign-ups” have actually paid the first premium?

2.) How many of the purported 4 million “sign-ups” had insurance policies previous to “signing up” and so are not newly insured?

3.) How many of the purported 4 million “sign-ups” are some of those over 6 million people who LOST their policies because of the ACA?

4.) How many of the purported 4 million “sign-ups” are the young, healthy ‘invincibles’ needed to make it work and how many are sicker older folks?

5.) How many of the purported 4 million “sign-ups” are receiving substantial taxpayer funded premium subsidies and what is the amount of the average subsidy?

There are many more question to be asked and we’re not getting any answers yet. Until we do don’t buy the bs snake oil they’re trying so desperately to sell us prior to the 2014 mid-terms in a cynical attempt to salvage their jobs and positions.

Some asked me, “well what about the lies FOX News and the Koch brothers are telling about the ACA?” News flash!!!: FOX News and the Koch brothers aren’t elected officials responsible for implementing, administering and then reporting the facts and the TRUTH to the American people about ObamaCare. What we’re getting now is a bunch of propaganda from the Administration. That ain’t good for anyone and will do great damage to the intended admirable outcomes envisioned by the ACA. Why not just tell us the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

Big Dem mistake in Walsh appointment

Steve Daines WON his seat in Congress, it wasn’t handed to him in a slick partisan political maneuver which cynically discounts the intelligence of Montana voters. That Senate seat belongs to the people of Montana, it is not a tool to be used by the Governor and the Democratic party to help them in an election year and it’s not meant to be a springboard for the political ambitions of John Walsh who brazenly lobbied for it not because he wants to use the remainder of the Baucus term to serve Montanans but because, as he himself said, he wants to selfishly use it for “name recognition”.

I think Walsh would have been in a better position had he NOT accepted the appointment, given the anti-D.C. sentiment in Montana and the country right now. Also a reason I think Bohlinger should consider staying in and running an outsider campaign.

This crony-politics-before-people move will come back to bite the donkeys on the ass.

Truth not propaganda please

“President Obama announced plans for the first ever federally funded Muslim outreach program…”

I just got done Bull-Whipping this nonsense on my radio show. I received an email from a Republican/conservative group urging me to send this FALSE, BOGUS BS to everyone on my email list. Instead, I am sending the following message to everyone on THEIR email list:

Please remove me from your contacts if you are going to send out this kind of garbage. This country needs truth not propaganda. We need solutions not fantasies. I disagree with the President on many things but I also ground my disagreements in reality and respect for the office he holds. Lying is not a conservative value. Laziness in vetting this kind of baloney is not a conservative value. Smearing ideological opponents with falsehoods for the sake of political gain is repugnant. SHAME on ANYONE who spreads this malicious lie.

Rick Tryon

View and download Rick Tryons "2020 Vision for Cascade County" at

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