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KRTV 10pm Top Stories-Wed Nov 26

Winter watch: A first round of snow has come and gone but more snow is expected over the weekend which could cause travel troubles for those returning from the Thanksgiving holiday.   Click here to read more.

Missing Canadians: Search and rescue crews in Glacier County have scaled back their recovery effort for two Southern Albertans, who were reported missing after a day fishing trip in last weekend.   Click here to read more.

Augare update: Browning State Senator Shannon Augare recently received his second DUI in 18 months. A Blackfeet Tribal Council member says the arrest was not politically motivated as Augare had indicated.   Click here to read more.

Dear arrest: Curtis Dear, already facing a felony theft charge for stealing coins from a laundromat has been arrested again for felony theft for stealing $2,500 worth of power tools.

Ferguson latest: The town of Ferguson, Missouri remains relatively calm comes after two nights of violent protests in the wake of the grand jury decision not to indict a police officer for shooting Michael Brown.

Cleveland fatal shooting: In Cleveland, Ohio a 12-year old boy holding a pellet gun is shot to death after being told by officers three times to show his hands.


Search for missing Canadians in Glacier County scaled back due to weather

LETHBRIDGE -- Search and rescue crews have scaled back their recovery effort for two Southern Albertans who were reported missing after a day fishing trip in Glacier County.

Danny Heyland, 56, and Fuki Nishibayashi, 75, were among three people from the Lethbridge area who are believed to have fallen into the water at Mission Lake, a reservoir between Browning and Cut Bank.

The body of 63-year-old Kaz Hayashuzaki was spotted Tuesday, and recovered by a dive team on Wednesday.

The Glacier County Sheriff's office says the winter storm hindered Wednesday's search effort, but crews continued to dive and utilize side-scan radar as well as an unmanned underwater vehicle to try to find the bodies.

The search was suspended at 3 p.m. due to weather conditions that crews described as "very dangerous." 

Efforts to scan the lake from the shore were also hampered by poor visibility, causing police to scale back their search until the storm ends.

Patrol Operations Commander Sgt. Judd Milender issued a news release to CTV Lethbridge saying, "The Glacier County Sheriff's Office, with heavy hearts, has determined due to extreme weather conditions, the search effort at its current scale is too dangerous."

A roving patrol is in place this evening, and deputies will continue to scan the shoreline for any sign of the two people still missing.

Athlete of the Week: Ryan Edwards

SPOKANE -- When attending a basketball game, there are some things you expect to see. Fans. Commentators. Coaches. And the bench, which is something Glacier High School's Ryan Edwards will be seeing a lot of this year.

"It was the first time I haven't put on a jersey since third grade," Edwards said. "Without being hurt or anything and sitting on the bench it was completely different, but I just have to keep thinking it's for the best."

After averaging 4.5 minutes and 1.4 points last season, Edwards is taking an unconventional red shirt sophomore year, but with current Boston Celtic Kelly Olynyk and current Zag starter Kyle Wiltjer doing the same the last two seasons, Edwards is in good company. But it wasn't always Edwards plan to be taking this red shirt year now.

"When I first got here, after playing for awhile I wanted to red shirt because I knew I wasn't going to get a whole lot of playing time," Edwards said. "But the coaches told me that I needed to fill in a spot just in case something was gonna happen. So I just decided to play it out a year and get through it."

Gonzaga men's basketball team trainer Travis Knight is the mastermind behind the squad's fitness. And he says this red shirt year could not come at a better time for the former Glacier star.

"Ryan, I think it's perfect for him to be taking this in his second year because last year was such a huge year of learning the game, himself, everything about this level," Knight said. "And also having a vision for himself which took awhile for him to generate. We wanna take this year, we don't care what he weighs at the end of it, we wanna convert some of that fat out for muscle, kind of trade some of that out. But at the end of the day he's just gotta be functional at a really high level doing what he's already able to do."

Edwards may not be out on the floor this year, but he's willing and ready to step up to the expectations.

"Just be an enthusiastic guy. Get the team going. Make the guys on the court excited when they look at the bench and see us jumping up and down every time."

To say the least, he's doing that very well right now. But Ryan's goals during this red shirt year are clearly more than just pumping guys up. And Knight isn't shy about them.

"Physically, I want him to be in the best shape on the team," said Knight. "I think he'll be in any bit of good of shape as any of our big men that we've ever had. Mentally, him wanting the responsibility of being a go to guy because he has that ability to be a centerpiece, a focal piece of our offense. A year from now he'll be in that place where he's ready to do that and then he'll have three years to really carry us."

When he committed in 2012, Ryan was called by many a hidden gem. And by taking a year off, he working toward living up to the expectation.

"After this hopefully it's a gem. Right now definitely some work to do, but I think in the long run it'll be worth it."


Video: Boy with air gun was shot 2 seconds after Cleveland police arrived

(CNN) -- A Cleveland police officer shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice about two seconds after the officer and a partner pulled up in a car to investigate reports that someone was brandishing a gun at a park, surveillance video that police released Wednesday shows.

Tamir, who had what police said is an air-gun that looked like a real firearm, died Sunday, a day after he was shot outside a recreation center.

Police also released two audio recordings Wednesday -- a 911 call preceding the shooting and a tape of a dispatcher asking officers to go to the park.

The shooting happened after a person called 911 to report that a black male -- "probably a juvenile" -- was pointing "a pistol" at people outside the recreation center. Twice the caller said the gun might be fake.

The dispatcher radioed to officers about a black male who was "pointing a gun at people," but did not mention that caller's belief that he could be a minor and that the gun might not be a real firearm, one of the released recordings shows.

Police previously said it wasn't clear if the responding officers received the information about the suspect's age or the gun possibly being fake.

Authorities are investigating the shooting, and the two officers -- identified Wednesday by police as Timothy Loehmann, 26, and Frank Garmback, 46 -- are on leave from their jobs.

Loehmann joined the department in March, Tomba said.

Deputy Police Chief Ed Tomba stressed that his department released the video at the request of Tamir's relatives, who had seen it privately with authorities' permission.

"We are honoring the wishes of the family," Tomba said. " ... This is an obvious tragic event."

The video shows Tamir walking along a sidewalk and eventually sitting on a picnic table bench under a gazebo Saturday afternoon, sometimes pointing what appears to be a handgun.

Eventually, Tamir emerges from the bench and walks to the edge of the gazebo. A police car drives up to the gazebo, leaving the road and rolling over snowy grass to do so.

One of the officers -- the one in the passenger seat -- told Tamir three times to "show your hands," Tomba told reporters.

"(The officer's) door was open as they pulled up," Tomba said. "He yelled three times as they pulled up."

The eight-minute surveillance video has no audio.

Police have said Tamir reached into his waistband and pulled out the weapon. The video shows the passenger-side officer exiting the car, and Tamir falls down, apparently shot.

Between 1.5 to two seconds elapsed from the time the car pulled up to the moment Tamir was shot, Tomba said. At that point, only the passenger-side officer was out of the car, the video shows.

One of the officers, radioing to dispatch, reported that a "black male, maybe 20," was down, according to the released radio traffic between the officers and dispatchers.

The passenger was Loehmann, Tomba said.

The driver was Garmback, who has been with the force since February 2008, according to Tomba.

Investigators determined that Tamir's weapon was an air gun, and that an orange tip that is meant to indicate that it's not a real firearm had been removed, police said.

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

The video below from WEWS TV depicts the police-involved shooting where a 12-year-old died. Please consider carefully before watching. (Narrative by Commander Ed Tomba & original video in 4 parts)

Augare could still face re-filed DUI charge

HELENA -- A DUI charge against outgoing Montana State Senator Shannon Augare (D-Browning) was dropped Monday, but could still be re-filed, according to a press release on Wednesday from the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council.

Augare was arrested at about 12:30 a.m. on Friday and charged with DUI, speeding, and eluding an officer.

A Glacier County Sheriff's deputy log reports the vehicle was traveling at speeds of up to 105 miles per hour during a chase, with the driver registering a .276 percent blood-alcohol level -- more than three times the threshold for DUI.

Augare said Monday that "political harassment" was behind his arrest.

Augare has a history of conflict with some tribal members, culminating in a lengthy period earlier this year in which two rival factions of the council claimed legitimacy.

The statement Wednesday by Tribal Chairman Harry Barnes rejects the notion that any political pressure led to Augare's traffic stop or charges.

It says the charges were dropped because of missing time and location information on the ticket.

The statement says the charges were dismissed "without prejudice," meaning they can be re-filed by tribal law enforcement officers within five days.

"This began as a routine traffic stop and the officers involved had no idea who was being pulled over," the statement says.

Augare also was arrested for DUI and eluding officers in May 2013, setting off a confrontation over jurisdiction on the reservation. Augare ended up pleading guilty in both tribal and federal courts.

He announced last winter he would not seek-re-election. His state Senate term ends in January when the new Legislature takes office.

Holiday Village Mall is ready for early Black Friday shoppers

GREAT FALLS -- Holiday Village Mall in Great Falls will be open from 6 p.m. until midnight on Thursday, November 27th -- also known as "Black Friday."

Thanksgiving shoppers can enter their names to win prizes, including headphones and a $50 iTunes gift card.

There will be other giveaways that include personal care products, department store merchandise, and store gift certificates and cards with a total value of more than $1,500.

The prize packages are on display in the food court and the drawings will start at noon on Black Friday.

Mall management notes that not all stores may be open during these hours. Some store can be open earlier or later than the malls Thanksgiving day hours.

For store-specific hours, visit the Holiday Village Mall website.

The mall will open back up for Black Friday at 6 a.m. and stay open until 10 p.m.


Rocky Acres horses are on the mend, thanks to Broadwater County Sheriff's staff

TOWNSEND -- For most of 2014 the Broadwater County Sheriff's Office has been caring for a herd of neglected and malnourished horses. Now the horses are thriving and those who helped them are getting something in return.

Broadwater County Undersheriff Wyn Meehan says, "You know this is a lot of work. Lots of trips moving hay and getting pens cleaned and trying to keep on top of all that and that has become... It's like a second full-time job within a job."

Twice a day, the horses impounded in March from the Rocky Acres facility are feed and watered by Meehan or a team of Broadwater County deputies.

Meehan says, "They've all got good winter coats. They've all got the weight back on 'em. They're really pretty stable."

And the horses are improving in more than just physical ways. Meehan says, "Attitude-wise they've all changed. I mean they've all got their own personalities... Some got a little more aggressive, a little more dominant. Versus, you know, now they're just being ornery to be ornery."

One of the animals, Dell, scored a 1 on the Equine Body Condition Score Card in March. Meehan said, "You know if I showed you a picture... If I put a picture of her then and now... probably wouldn't think it was the same horse."

The mares are now situated on private pasture land east of Townsend.

The studs are being cared for at the Broadwater County fairgrounds.

Meehan himself cares for Shay and her foal, Gump, who was born premature shortly after they were taken from Rocky Acres.

"And they've had the run of this pasture the whole summer," Meehan said. "So they've done well."

Undersheriff Meehan says caring for these horses has changed the way the Sheriff's office does business. He says, "You know, to watch these horses suffer through what they have and to come back and really prosper as much as they have, has been great, it's been very wonderful to see it."

Meehan hopes that, once the court case is settled some time next year, these horses can be adopted out to good homes.

Meehan says it's been a great case to work: "It's been very rewarding."

"I couldn't ask for a better deal with my guys on this," added Meehan.

The Rocky Acres animal cruelty trial is scheduled to begin March 2.


Blog: Heavy snow on the way for Friday night-Saturday

Thanks for checking out the STORMTracker Weather Blog on

If you thought we were finished with the wintry weather for a while, think again -- Mother Nature has yet another storm headed our way.

Thanksgiving travelers will have to deal with wet roads on Thursday and Friday, but it'll be a different story come Friday night and Saturday.

A southwest wind will help to warm areas east of the Continental Divide into the 50s on Thursday and Friday.

It's not record-breaking, but it's certainly warm for Thanksgiving.


As you can see in the image above, very cold air (subzero temperatures) is sitting up in northern Alberta.

Our next storm -- the one arriving Friday night -- will pull that frigid air south into the Treasure State.

Combine that cold air with moisture and we're talking heavy snow going into Saturday.

Snowfall Forecast

This is my first go at the snowfall forecast for the Friday night-Saturday time period, so there will likely be adjustments made in the next 48 hours.

As of Wednesday evening, I'm expecting 3-6 inches of snow at lower elevations.

There will be locally lower and higher amounts, but it's still too early to determine exactly where the heaviest snow bands will set up.

The Rocky Mountains will be slammed with heavy snow -- up to 2 feet at the highest of elevations.

For folks traveling home on Saturday, this storm is going to be a nightmare.

Here's the travel forecast for Black Friday and Saturday:

Travel Forecast

Travel Forecast

Since temperatures will be well below freezing, we're looking at a dry, powdery snow that will lead to ice on the roads.

We'll continue analyzing new data and update the forecast as needed in the coming hours.


Blog: Snowfall totals as of 5 p.m. Wednesday

Thanks for stopping by the STORMTracker Weather Blog on

Thanksgiving travelers will have to deal with the slush and snow for just a bit longer, but conditions will improve tenfold for Thursday.

Click here for the Thanksgiving Day forecast.

Even though the snow isn't very welcome for holiday travelers hitting the roads, it does make for some spectacular photos.

Viewer Photo

Thanks to everyone who sent in their snow pix!

Originally, we called for 4-8 inches of snow at lower elevations (3-5" for Great Falls) and up to 18 inches in the mountains.

Then, on Tuesday evening, we updated the forecast with a 1-3" forecast for lower elevations with the potential for locally higher amounts.

We're still waiting to get the snowfall numbers in from area SNOTEL sites, so you'll have to keep waiting for those.

However, we've got a pretty good idea of how much snow fell at lower elevations thanks to area weather observers and spotters:

Snowfall Totals

This was just round number one -- round number two arrives for those heading home late Friday and Saturday.

Check back for an additional blog post on that storm and its travel impacts later today.


Blog: Thanksgiving Day forecast

Thanks for dropping by the STORMTracker Weather Blog on

Snow is still falling across north central Montana, but this first round of wintry weather is winding down.

(Notice I said "first round" -- more on that in a separate blog post)

Because temperatures were near freezing, the snow was wet and heavy, which made for some beautiful scenes around the area.

Viewer Photo

Light snow will continue to fall on the Hi-Line and over portions of northeast Montana overnight, with an additional inch or two of accumulation possible in some areas.

Thanksgiving Day will be a stark contrast to today's wintry weather: temperatures are headed for the 50s.

Strong winds will develop tonight and temperatures will warm into the 40s by Thursday morning.

With some sunshine and gusty winds, we'll jump into the 50s by afternoon.

Thanksgiving Day Forecast

This is fantastic news for holiday travelers that will be hitting the roads on Thursday.

Overall, travel conditions are shaping up quite nicely across most of the West.

Travel Forecast

Unfortunately, those returning home from Thanksgiving over the weekend will have to deal with more snow.

I'm working on the snowfall forecast now and will have it for you in an additional blog post later today.


2014 Predictions

As promised here are my 2014 mid-term election predictions. Just a reminder, I was 100% in 2012 predicting Obama’s re-election, Tester beating Rehberg, the GOP not gaining U.S. Senate control, Bullock winning the governorship and Daines winning the House seat. So without further adieu or a-don’t:

THE GOP WILL WIN THE U.S. SENATE taking at least 6 seats away from the Dems; Montana, South Dakota, West Virginia, North Carolina, Iowa and Arkansas. The GOP could flip as many as 10 states adding Alaska, Louisiana, Colorado and New Hampshire to the mix. Oregon, Michigan and Minnesota are in play according to some but I doubt those will go red.

STATUS QUO IN THE HOUSE. No significant change in the U.S. House unless the GOP wins 8-12 Senate seats, then it’s a wave similar to 2010 and they’ll pick up an additional 10 or so House seats.

Daines will easily beat Curtis for the open Montana Senate seat by 10-20 percentage points or more. The Zinke-Lewis House race will be much tighter, though I think Zinke pulls it out by 3-5 points due to the big Republican voter enthusiasm advantage. The Dems have the President to thank for that.

The GOP will maintain it’s big majority in the Montana House and a slimmer majority in the state Senate, though it’s hard to predict due to this being the first election with new state legislative districts. The entrance of Amanda Curtis into the Senate race is likely to hurt down-ticket Democratic candidates statewide unless she crafts and communicates a much more middle-of-the-road, positive message. So far she is not inspiring independents and is angering conservatives who will take it out on Dems at the ballot box. The only constituency she is currently energizing is the far, far left who would turn out and vote anyway.

It looks like a very good year for the GOP statewide and nationally but things could change pretty quickly. There’s only about 9 weeks until Election Day and actually in MT folks will begin to vote in about 5 weeks. Not a lot of time to change the positive GOP trajectory but here are a few wild cards that could change things either way:

1.) Obama could take executive action on immigration that would anger and energize a bigger conservative turnout OR energize a bigger Dem turnout. I’m sure the White House is calculating and polling on that as we speak.

2.) When the GOP led House comes back next week they could form the circular firing squad they’re so famous for and decide to “shut down the government” in response to an Obama action like the one mentioned above. If they do that then they will not retake the Senate and will LOSE House seats.

3.) It’s possible that Louisiana will have a run-off election in December to determine which party will control the U.S. Senate. They have a weird set of procedures down there and if a candidate doesn’t get at least 50% in the general then it goes to a run-off. I don’t think this scenario is likely to determine Senate control but you never know…

4.) International problems could get very ugly and much, much worse in the coming days and weeks. If so, it will most likely make things much worse for Dems, but could benefit them if the President shows some exceptional leadership and courage.

There you have it friends, and delivered before Labor Day. Have a great holiday weekend!

Bloof Witzer & Walsh in a Sityourbuttdown Room interview

Recently Senator-By-Political-Crony-Appointment-Not-The-Will-Of-The-People John Walsh, Democrat from Montana, sat down with CNN’s Bloof Witzer on his show “The Sityourbuttdown Room” to discuss revelations that Walsh plagiarized a research paper required for his masters degree.

Bloof: Thank you for coming on the show Senator-By-Political-Crony-Appointment-Not-The-Will-Of-The-People Walsh.

Walsh: I want to thank you for letting me be myself again.

Bloof: Sure. Tell us a little about yourself.

Walsh: My home’s in Montana I wear a bandana my spurs are of silver my pony is gray While riding the ranges my luck never changes.

Bloof: Well, your luck may have changed a little here recently, but before we get into that please tell our viewers a little about your political beliefs.

Walsh: I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.

Bloof: Okay. Tell us a little about your philosophy on life and how it is that you have become a successful Senator-By-Political-Crony-Appointment-Not-The-Will-Of-The-People.

Walsh: Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. Never leave that till to-morrow which you can do to-day. Oh, and he that goes a borrowing goes a sorrowing.

Bloof: A recent New York Times piece has revealed that you apparently plagiarized a large portion of a research paper required to get your masters degree. What do you say to those who criticize you for doing that?

Walsh: To err is human, to forgive divine and God helps them that help themselves. Well, I’m not a crook. I’ve earned everything I’ve got.

Bloof: But some say that plagiarism is a dis-qualifier for a Senate candidate, what say you?

Walsh: It depends what the meaning of ‘is’ is.

Bloof: Okay, let’s talk about a few issues. Ukraine; what are your views concerning the rebel separatists there and their attempt to break from Ukraine.

Walsh: When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

Bloof: How about the conflict between the Palestinians and Israel?

Walsh: Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses.

Bloof: Wait a minute, are you saying that Palestine is actually the ancient homeland of the Jews and is their possession by birthright?

Walsh: It depends what the meaning of ‘is’ is.

Bloof: Hmmm…well, let’s talk about the crisis on our southern border, what would you do to solve the problems down there?

Walsh: You may all go to hell, and I will go to Texas. God bless Texas. Ay carumba and uhm, er…out in the west Texas town of El Paso I fell in love with a Mexican girl.

Bloof: What? Okay, ahhh..what are your own personal thoughts about allegations that the President has overreached and is violating the Constitution through executive fiat?

Walsh: We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union,establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

Bloof: Seems like I’ve heard that somewhere before. Oh well, wrapping things up now, how do you intend to handle these latest revelations that you plagiarized to earn a degree and what do you say to allegations coming from some that it proves that you’re either too dumb, lazy, dishonest or all three to be a U.S. Senator?

Walsh: Damn the torpedos, full speed ahead! I have not yet begun to fight! Give me liberty or give me death! An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! If you like pina coladas and gettin’ caught in the rain! Hey macarena!

Bloof: Wow, sounds like you have some real deeply held convictions here, straight from the heart. Care to leave our viewers with a final word?

Walsh: You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time…er oops, I mean NO COMMENT.

Bloof: Thank you for joining us today on “The Sityourbuttdown Room” Senator-By-Political-Crony-Appointment-Not-The-Will-Of-The-People Walsh.

Walsh: I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal….

Bloof: Cut his microphone, cut it…

Fair questions about fairgrounds

Good observations and questions about Expo Park here in Cascade County from a listener to the radio show:

“The financial situation at the Fairgrounds is very concerning. It seems the most fundamental  accounting procedures to ensure employee accountability and prevent theft have not traditionally been in place. Since the Fairgrounds is a public entity, this is very surprising. Along with proper daily procedures of cash handling, an annual audit is the rule.

I applaud whoever “blew the horn” on the situation and brought these unfortunate circumstances to light. I can only hope that as we move forward, the County continues to remain transparent, and inform and reassure the public that the correct procedures are in place.

Will we see an annual audit from a private accounting firm, and will the audit be publicly noticed and available to voters? And has anyone estimated the total amount of loss to taxpayers from this situation?”

Worse than Nixon? Wow!

Obama is the worst President since WWII.
Worse than Bush.
Worse than Nixon.
According to FOX News? No, according to 1446 registered voters in a new Quinnipiac poll. And the numbers get worse and worse as you look further into the poll. It’s devastating for the President and his party.

The President could turn it around though if he would stop behaving like a third grader with the taunting, mocking, “so sue me” cocky attitude and start behaving like the adult in the room.

Democrats will start jumping ship pretty quickly now because the Presidents antics and woeful lack of anything remotely resembling leadership will not yield the intended results of sufficiently firing up the base for November. Captain Obama is steering the Titanic directly at the iceberg and will sink his party and this country if not checked. Apparently he’s too arrogant and confident in his golden lifeboat waiting in 2016 to give a rip.

Wednesday radio show featuring former GOP state senator Jerry Black

This Wednesday, June 25th live in the studio will be former GOP state senator and longtime north central Montana broadcaster Jerry Black. Topics will include state and local politics and issues, political polarization and the state of the Montana Republican Party.
As always the show features listener call-ins and emails. The call-in number is 452-1073 and the email is

Two good reasons for war no more

We should all hope and pray that our great country is not sucked into another foreign war for two reasons:

First, we should have all learned the lesson that nation building and trying to solve ancient feuds when the people directly involved don’t want us to is impossible and not worth even one drop of American blood or one penny of American treasure. Thanks to the blindness and ignorance of neo-cons like Cheney and the inept prosecution of the war by the then CINC G.W. Bush that lesson was learned at the expense of our brave young soldiers and an economic debt we may never pay off.

Second, the notion of engaging in another war under the “leadership” of Obama should frighten the crap out of all of us. The weakness, indecision and incompetence of the current CINC would make W look like a military genius by comparison. Just imagine a war-time president like Obama who thinks global warming or climate change or whatever they’re calling it this week is the greatest threat facing us and who can’t even manage a web site…or his own State Department. Imagine a CINC who has no idea whats going on in the world, or his own administration for that matter, until he learns about it from the newspaper after it’s too late.


Let’s bake a bigger pie

It’s distressing to see this community being divided once again over a school levy vote. Political vendettas, personal attacks, name calling and disrespect on all sides. Folks who oppose the levy have legitimate reasons and aren’t trying to hurt the community and those who support the levy do so for noble reasons as well and aren’t trying to rip off taxpayers.

Instead of squabbling over how to divide up the crumbs and thin slices of a shrinking pie we should be WORKING TOGETHER TO GROW THE PIE. I want to hear the sound of hammer and saw building new homes, businesses and infrastructure. I want to see a thriving economy where lot’s of people have good full time jobs, where shops and restaurants are so busy they can barely keep up.

We can have a growing community where we don’t even think twice about paying a little more for public schools because we’re prosperous and student enrollment is expanding because people want to move here and live here and raise their kids here.

We CAN be that. Why not here? Let’s get to work!

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.


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