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GREAT FALLS - Supporters of the initiative that would have placed the urban chickens issue before Great Falls voters announced they did not reach the number of necessary signatures needed to get the issue on the ballot.
Volunteers gathered roughly 1,600 signatures, far short of the 5,400 required.
Organizer Aaron Pursell says he feels it's almost impossible to gather that many, and hopes the MT Legislature will re-evaluate the requirement, but says he feels good about the group's effort.
Pursell said, "It was a learning process. We were able to do something in the city of Great Falls that's never been done. It took a lot of effort from a lot of volunteers and we're greatly appreciative of all those volunteers. So would we do it again? Absolutely."
Pursell says he would like to see the City Commission put the issue to a voter referendum.
If not, he says he will try getting it on the ballot again in a few years.
Natura Pet Products is voluntarily recalling certain dry pet food items because it may be tainted with Salmonella.
A press release on the Food and Drug Administrations website stated the products in question include all lot codes of: Innova Dry dog and cat food and biscuits/bars/treats; EVO dry dog, cat and ferret food and biscuits/bars/treats; California Natural dry dog and cat foods and biscuits/bars/treats; Healthwise dry dog and cat foods; Karma dry dog foods; and Mother Nature biscuits/bars/treats. They all have an expiration date prior to June 10, 2014.
The items were sold in veterinary clinics, specialty pet retailers and online in the U.S. and Canada.
Natura said in a letter posted on the company website that the decision was taken in part due to a single positive salmonella test on a product manufactured in April.
"Normally, this would have resulted in retrieval of product manufactured over just a few days. However, we are taking the additional precautionary measure to recall all products in the marketplace. Our first priority is the wellbeing of the pets we serve," the company said.
Both animals and people can be infected by salmonella, a bacteria that causes an infection known as salmonellosis. About 42,000 cases of salmonellosis are reported in the U.S. each year, but many more milder cases may not be diagnosed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
Pets that eat the products in question and people who handle the food may be affected.
Salmonellosis in cats and dogs can cause fever, shock, lethargy, diarrhea, vomiting, anorexia, weight loss, dehydration, skin disease, mucus in stool, abnormally fast heart rate, swollen lymph nodes and abnormal vaginal discharge, according to PetMD. In dogs, it may also cause miscarriage or spontaneous abortion. Persistent forms of salmonellosis in pets may result in loss of blood, non-intestinal infections and diarrhea that comes and goes with no logical explanation, which may last up to three or four weeks, or longer.
In humans, the salmonella bacteria usually lasts five to seven das in humans and can cause diarrhea, fever or abdominal cramps. It normally goes away by itself in five to seven days with no additional treatment except for oral liquids. However, for patients with severe illness or those at risk of severe disease or complications - including young infants, older adults and immunocompromised persons - they may need additional antibiotics. A few people can also develop reactive arthritis after being infeted by Salmonella, which includes pain in their joints, irritation of the eyes, and painful urination.
All the products were produced in the same facility. There have been no reported cases of human or pet salmonellosis to date, but Natura Pet Products is recalling the products as a precaution.
Natura Pets issued a voluntary recall earlier in April for California Natural, EVO, Healthwise, Innova and Karma pet products that expired before March 24. At that time, there was also fears that the food was contaminated with salmonella.
If you suspect your pet has been infected, Natura Pet Products urges you to contact your veterinarian.
People who own the products in question can request a refund or a voucher. Visit the Natura Pet website for more information or call (800) 224-6123.
Fawn Hahn Tadios of Box Elder was arraigned during a federal court session in Great Falls on Tuesday.
Tadios is facing charges of theft from an Indian tribal organization receiving federal grants; theft from an Indian tribal organization; and theft from a health care facility.
Tadios pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The next "Alive At Five" will be held on Thursday, June 20, with live music, food, vendors, and games.
This week's event will be held at Whittier Park next to the Civic Center, and will feature music by local favorite 49th Street Blue Project.
Organizers say that rain or shine, the event will go on; if it's raining, the festivities will be moved inside the Civic Center.
Each week from June through August, different venues serve as host for the festivities.
Attendance is free and everyone is welcome; the events generally run from 5 pm to 9 pm.
Here is the 2013 Alive At Five schedule for the rest of the summer:
Thursday, June 20 at Whittier Park; musical guest 49th Street Blues Project
Friday, June 28 (6 to 10 pm) at Whittier Park; musical guest The System (Bob Seger tribute band) with an opening set by Fade.
Wednesday, July 3 at Oddfellows Park; musical guest Steve Keller Band
Thursday, July 11 atWhittier Park; musical guest Quarry Road
Thursday, July 18, on the 400 block of Central Avenue; musical guest Wurlitzer
Thursday, July 25 at Oddfellows Park; musical guest Voodoo Cadillac
Thursday, August 8, on 3rd Street between 1st Avenue South & 2nd Avenue South; musical guest Abandon Echo
Thursday, August 15, on the 900 block of Central Avenue; musical guest Nashville Rash
Thursday, August 22, at Gibson Park; musical guests Hell City Kitty and Helligans
WEST GLACIER - A thunderstorm with strong winds that blew through parts of northwest Montana on Tuesday caused quite a bit of damage in the Apgar area of Glacier National Park.
Branches and trees littered the area, and while no injuries or building damage was reported, workers have been busy since late Tuesday cleaning up the mess that Mother Nature left behind.
Park officials say several trees came down in the Apgar and Lake McDonald areas as winds gusted to around 40 mph during the early evening hours on Tuesday.
One of those hard at work on Wednesday was maintainance worker Clark Martin, who told us this is the worst storm he's seen hit the Apgar area in the seven years he's been working at the park: "It's kind of a process, cleaning up. I'm going after the big stuff first. I'm grabbing the chainsaw to cut it up into manageable pieces."
National Park Service crews got to work right away on Tuesday clearing the roads around Apgar, where employees were still busy cleaning up late Wednesday morning.
"It looks like this area [Apgar] got hit quite hard. It feels like this is a microcosm of where the center of the storm was," Martin observed.
He added that in his seven years at Glacier National Park, "as far as quantity of damage, this is the worst that I've seen."
Several trees and branches also came down in the nearby Apgar Campground on Tuesday, but the damage isn't keeping folks away from the iconic park.
Visitors were out early Tuesday taking in the sights and sounds of Glacier, despite all of the damage that folks were working to clean up.
The National Weather Service office in Missoula also reports that a wind gust of about 50 mph was reported in Polebridge, but no damage was reported there.
Great Falls College-MSU is hosting the 10th annual Montana Institute on Educational Technology this week.
The event is designed to introduce teachers to the most up-to-date classroom technologies and software.
More than 70 workshops are scheduled over the four-day conference.
Coordinators say it's a great way for teachers to network and learn from their peers.
Jeredene Mayfield explained, "This whole conference is very important to teachers across the state because this allows us to come together and talk about educational technology within the state and whats happening and how to implement it and how to keep it going."
The Great Falls Public School district is giving away more than 20,000 used books.
Every few years the school district offers the old textbook and library books to the public.
Math, science, social studies, and reading books are up for grabs and people are encouraged to take as many as they can use.
The last book giveaway was three years ago.
The district hopes the community realizes how fiscally responsible the district has been.
Chris Olszewski, the GFPS curriculum and instruction director, said, "It's a way for them to actually see...what their tax dollars have supported over the years, and again, like I said, we've got some books in here that lasted for 50, 60 years - that the public really got some good education and good use of those funds, but now its time to give it back."
You can browse and pick up books at the Paris Gibson Education Center at 2400 Central Avenue from noon until 8 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday (June 19/20).
MISSOULA - Tim Welch found his calling a few years ago when the Great Falls High School graduate started training with the Dogpound Fight Team in Missoula.
But at first, he never dreamed how far mixed martial arts (MMA) could take him.
"Had my first pro fight. Went and beat the guy up in a couple minutes. And I was ready to leave and they were like, ‘Oh, you've got to get paid.' And I made 1,000 bucks for two minutes. And I was like, ‘Holy cow'!" Welch recalled.
That's pocket change for Welch now as after three years in Missoula, he moved on to the MMA lab in Phoenix, Arizona, to train with some of the best fighters in the world. He also signed with Bellator MMA for more than $100,000.
"They sent me that contract. And I saw the kind of numbers and the money in that. And I was like, ‘Holy smokes, this is really happening.'"
Bellator allowed Welch to make a living in the sport and now it's trying to make him famous. The fighter with the nickname "Cheapshot" already competed in one televised tournament.
Now he will be part of a reality show on Spike TV. Fight Master features 32 welterweights trying to break through in the octagon, and the show followed the fighters almost everywhere.
"We had mics on us 24/7. The only time we didn't have the mics on us was when we were in the shower. So anything you said, anything you did, they had it on camera. And there was about 10 to 12 guys listening. They found little ways to liven up the scene, and it was an awesome experience," Welch said.
Welch can't say how he performed in the show until after the season airs, but he does admit how much better the experience made him.
"The competition was so tough. They found the top 170 pounders in the nation and put them all in this TV show. Me competing with them and doing really good with them made me realize, ‘wow, I can do this for my life. I'm right up there.' So that was a big confidence booster. And now my confidence is really high. And I know I can be a world champ."
The first episode of Fight Master will air on Wednesday, June 19th, on Spike TV.
The winning fighter receives $100,000, a spot in the next Bellator tournament, and plenty of national exposure.
GREAT FALLS - A new clothing shop called the Runway Fashion Exchange has opened in Great Falls.
The store not only sells clothes - it buys them from shoppers, too, including dresses, shirts, purses, and more.
Amber Fladager, a mother of two, thought she would bring in a few extra closet items, hoping to make a difference for someone else.
Fladager said, "There's so many clothes that you buy that you never ever end up wearing, and so if you can get somewhat used clothes that have barely been worn...I gave away a pair of one-hundred dollar shoes that I think I've worn once, so I would love to be able bless someone else with, you know, a cheap pair of shoes that they don't have to pay full price for."
And while helping others, she was able to get a little extra for the family as well: " I'm a stay at home mom so any extra funds for cash is always fun!"
Runway Fashion Exchange is a franchise business that started in Idaho and now has more than a dozen locations - including Billings and Missoula - in 10 states.
Brad Onstot, the Great Falls owner/manager, explained, "I just felt like there was a huge need for it, and Great Falls has a lot of young cute girls and guys that like to shop and there wasn't really anything else around."
He added, "Everyone is is looking for a good deal, people can come in here, and get name-brand designer jeans for $40 instead of paying $200."
The store is located at 1115 10th Avenue South.
BILLINGS - Shortly after 6 p.m. on Tuesday, police officers were dispatched to a report of a single-vehicle accident at the intersection of Lake Elmo Drive and Judith lane.
Officers discovered a blue GMC Yukon had smashed into a house on Lake Elmo Drive.
No one was in the house at the time of the crash.
The GMC was driven by a woman in her 30's who was with a juvenile passenger at the time; neither one was injured.
The driver told officers that she swerved to avoid a dog in the road and then crashed into the house.
Officers believed the driver was under the influence and she was taken to the Yellowstone County Detention Facility to undergo further DUI testing.
And to those who consider the harvesting of data by our government from millions of average citizens phone conversations & texts either “no big deal” or it’s to stop terrorism and fight the jihadis so it’s ok I say “WAKE UP”!!!!! Someone said I shouldn’t worry about it unless I’m confirming my order with the “Jihadis Are Us” store. I say I’m more concerned about confirming my subscription to the WSJ and renewing my NRA membership. I’m pretty sure I’ll be flagged for an IRS audit now that I’ve done that by phone. But don’t worry about it if you use your phone to confirm your recent purchase of Rachel Maddows new book or to contribute to the “Look At Me I’m Leaning Forward (bending over)” PAC, I’m pretty sure your safe.
Rehberg broke no laws yet was absolutely excoriated non-stop in the liberal blogs and commentaries and is still being ridiculed and vilified to this day for being in that boat. If this type of stuff goes beyond being a political issue then someone should get that memo to those who milked the Rehberg/Barkus boat kerfuffle for every single political advantage they could get, not only against Rehberg but against the GOP in general. I was referring in my original post to very specific voices on the fringe and radical Democratic/liberal left who screeched so self-righteously against Rehbergs “drunken boat ride”, lack of character etc ad nauseum but who are conspicuously silent now about their little hero Augare. They’re hypocrisy and tendencies to stoop the very worst kind of political ‘hackism’ is very informative as to THEIR character. They know who they are and anyone else can easily discover who they are by a simple Google search.
Philip Faccenda and Darrell Swanson are award winning architects and alumni of Great Falls High School.
We’ve all seen examples of corruption playing out at the national level, but does cronyism, favoritism, and the good ol’ boys/girls network operate right here in Great Falls, Cascade County, and Montana? Do our local elected officials and public servants and institutions sometimes give their friends and colleagues special consideration or treatment when it comes to public matters like appointments, government jobs, contracts, or even fines, charges, or penalties and sanctions for criminal or civil infractions? Do those same public officials and institutions sometimes avoid revealing what should be public information for fear of embarrassment or arousing public anger? Is public “insider information” occasionally used to benefit insiders before it is available to the general public? Do state or local elected representatives ever try to pass legislation or implement policies benefiting individuals or organizations that donate to their campaigns? Do local officials wink and nod and overlook process irregularities in order to benefit a political party or partisan cronies?
If deals are made and schmoozing is conducted amongst private parties, businesses, or organizations, then it’s all above board because no taxpayer money is exchanged and there are no elected officials or issues of public trust involved. On the other hand, if the public interest mingles and colludes with a private interest for the exclusive benefit of that private interest, then cronyism and unethical (and sometimes illegal) favoritism exists.
Following is an example which was recently brought to my attention of what could be considered local cronyism, lack of transparency and a manifestation of the good ol’ boys and girls club:
At the August 22, 2011 school board meeting, a GFPS school board trustee made a motion to award a contract worth $150,000 to a local firm. The subsequent vote to award the project was unanimous. What was not revealed prior to the nomination and vote was that the principal at the winning firm is a paid board member and one of 52 shareholders at the local bank at which the nominating school board trustee is president. The professional relationship between the school board trustee and the principal at the firm should have been publically disclosed before the nomination and vote to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. In fact, the school board trustee probably should have recused him/herself from the vote, and certainly not made the motion to award the contract.
This example answers “yes” to several of the questions I raised in the first paragraph of this article and presents at least two more: Were other firms given fair and impartial consideration in being awarded the contract? How much and how often do personal and/or professional relationships in our local government affect the awarding of public funds, favors and other resources? Whether it’s at the school board, in city or county appointed advisory or policy boards, or at the commissioner and department head level, fairness and transparency should be the standard.
The response to charges of cronyism that arise from these kinds of incidents is usually that in a town (or state) this small, public officials can’t be expected to not have professional relationships and personal friendships with people they may at some time be dealing with in the public arena. Fair enough, but at the very least full and timely public disclosure of those relationships and recusal from voting or deliberating on issues involving public resources should be required in EVERY case where there could be the perception of a conflict of interest.
I believe that the vast majority of our state and local public servants are good, honest, well-intentioned citizens who make personal sacrifices in order to carry out their responsibilities. While most, though not all, of the varying degrees of favoritism, lack of transparency, and good ol’ boyism occur without mal-intent, the result is no less irksome to those left out and not given equal access and opportunity.
I’ll be examining and discussing the issue of local crony capitalism over the next few months on my radio show, “Politics Montana with Rick Tryon”, and on this blog politicsmontana.com. If you have concerns or other examples on this topic contact me any time, anonymously if you like, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 406-788-8904.