Alli Friedman

KCFW Reporter

POSTED: 3:26 PM Jul 01 2014   UPDATED: 2:05 PM Jul 02 2014
alli

Alli Friedman is a reporter for KCFW in Kalispell. She was born and raised in southern California, and is excited to be living in northwest Montana.

Alli earned her BFA in Television and Broadcast Journalism from Chapman University in Orange County, CA. 

While in school, she interned for NBC LA, KTLA-TV, and PBS SoCal. 

When Alli isn't in the newsroom, she loves to travel, work out, watch hockey and hang out with friends and family.

Being new to Montana, Alli is excited to adventure and explore the outdoors. 

If you have any questions, comments, concerns or story ideas please contact Alli by email.

Interact With Alli

Alli Friedman's Latest Stories

Horses susceptible to injury in Rebecca Farm cross-country course

FLATHEAD COUNTY

alli By Alli Friedman, KCFW Reporter, afriedman@kcfw.com
POSTED: 3:20 PM Jul 26 2014
Horses susceptible to injury at Rebecca Farm cross country course
KALISPELL, Mont. -

Today the elite riders in The Event at Rebecca Farm competed in cross-country. It’s a four mile course that involves jumping over fences and wooden barriers. It’s the most challenging event of the weekend and the most dangerous, for both the horse and the rider.

To learn more about the risks, NBC Montana talked to the person in charge of injury prevention and aid.

It’s a course that tests combines speed and endurance with the challenge of jumping. All of which translate into a fair share of danger

“Cross-country is the event horses are most likely to get hurt,” Dr. Bob Genovese said.

Dr. Genovese is one of the treating veterinarians at Rebecca Farm and is familiar with the hazards of Saturday’s cross-country course.

“The only thing we get worried about are wounds and injuries with cross-country and jumping over fences,” Dr. Genovese said.

Before the horses are cleared for the course, they need to pass an inspection. The veterinarians, doing the inspections, look for any type of condition where the horse fails to trot or walk in a regular manner.

“The biggest concern they have is lameness problems because if they have a horse with a lameness issue, then the rider is at risk on the cross-country course and over jumps,” said Dr. Genovese.

However, it is not just the courses that can cause injury. Dr. Genovese says that he sees more sick horses than injured ones because of the travel it takes to get to the event.

One horse wasn’t feeling well because he was stuck in a trailer all the way from Washington D.C., a long trip for anyone.

“Horses can develop colic and gastrointestinal issues with weather changes and stress, also changes in some of the feeding,” he said.

To treat the abdominal pain and stress, the veterinarians on site use anti-inflammatory medicines and fluids.

“We try to reduce the stress down. I guess it depends on the nature of what’s causing it, but basically fluid therapy is the most important thing,” Dr. Genovese said.

All to make sure the horses are ready for competition.

The last day of this year’s event is Sunday, July 27th. It’s the show jumping phase for all remaining levels, along with an awards ceremony at the end of each division.

Workers put finishing touches on new Whitefish High School

FLATHEAD COUNTY

alli By Alli Friedman, KCFW Reporter, afriedman@kcfw.com
POSTED: 6:24 PM Jul 25 2014   UPDATED: 11:12 PM Jul 25 2014

Workers put finishing touches on new Whitefish High School

KALISPELL, Mont. -

It’s been a little over a year since renovations began on the new building at Whitefish High School and it’s almost complete.

With the school year just around the corner, workers are putting the finishing touches on the new building.

NBC Montana got a tour of the new facilities and got to see the rooms that are move-in ready.

"The school is set up kind of like a college, with collaborative areas," said project manager Dow Powell.

Each wing of the building has seven classrooms and three collaborative learning areas. These areas allow classes to split up so students can work together, or even have classes work together in a common area.

Powell says this improvement was much needed.

"They just had outlived their time and Whitefish needed a new school and we want to be in the 21st century and beyond learning," Powell said.

Each classroom will have a laptop so students don't have to go the computer labs. Instead, they can work with a teacher in real time.

It has been 15 months since construction began and students and faculty can’t wait to move in.

"Everybody is very excited. The administration of the high school gave all the classes last winter tours through the school so these students would see what was coming up. Everybody's very excited about it," said Powell.

They aren’t the only ones -- parents who live in the area are also thrilled.

"I think it will be great for our kids when they're older,” said Whitefish resident Darcie Blanden.

They say it is money well spent.

“It’s nice to see our tax money go towards something for the children,” Blanden said.

In the meantime, boxes from the old building are waiting to be unpacked. Teachers will start organizing their new classrooms after August 1. The building will be ready for students this September.

The project has a $22.5 million price tag. Some of the money came from the school district, with help from private donors and the City of Whitefish.

Olympic hopefuls compete in Event at Rebecca Farm

FLATHEAD COUNTY

alli By Alli Friedman, KCFW Reporter, afriedman@kcfw.com
POSTED: 6:10 PM Jul 24 2014   UPDATED: 8:40 PM Jul 24 2014

Olympic hopefuls compete in Event at Rebecca Farm

KALISPELL, Mont. -

The stakes are high for competitors in the country’s largest equestrian triathlon. Olympians from the United States and Canada, as well as Olympic hopefuls are competing in the Event at Rebecca Farm. They told their stories to NBC Montana.

"Oh my gosh.  It’s a week away, two days away, one day away," said Kayde Undraitis.

NBC Montana found Undraitis on the field getting ready to compete. This is an event she’s been waiting all year for.

“I never really thought, like I hoped it would happen, but now that it’s actually happening it’s crazy and I can’t believe it,” Undraitis said.

Undraitis and her horse, Ice Charger, have been taking lessons and training multiple times a day to keep herself and the horse healthy and in shape.

"It's a lot of hard work. Getting up early, staying up late, riding when you don't want to ride," Undraitis said.

All to compete at the training level on the cross-country course, one of the hardest courses in the triathlon. It’s an event that requires focus and precision from both the horse and the rider.

Undraitis can’t believe the competition is already here -- she knows that this is just one step towards her dream.

"It would be a dream of mine to go to the Olympics," Undraitis said.

It's a dream most of these riders share.

"I want to get there and I’m going to do it," Undraitis said.

NBC Montana spoke to Hawley Awad, an Olympian competing at Rebecca Farm, about Undraitis’ dreams. She couldn’t help but smile.

"Seeing kids with dreams is pretty cool," said Awad, a Team Canada Olympian.

Awad has been a member of the Canadian Olympic team since 2003. She's competing in the Event at Rebecca Farm to prepare for the World Equestrian Games.

Her advice to people like Undraitis is to never give up.

"If you're willing to work hard, people will recognize it and help you out, and hard work pays off," said Awad.

That's exactly what Undraitis plans to do.

"I’m definitely going to keep riding as much as I can and do all that I can to get to my dream," she said.

Undraitis will start competing on Friday, July 25 in the dressage event.

Businesses get ready for Rebecca Farm event

FLATHEAD COUNTY

alli By Alli Friedman, KCFW Reporter, afriedman@kcfw.com
POSTED: 6:22 PM Jul 23 2014   UPDATED: 11:10 PM Jul 23 2014

Businesses get ready for Rebecca Farm event

KALISPELL, Mont. -

Thousands of people from all over the country are in the Flathead Valley this weekend to either compete or support those riding in the Event at Rebecca Farm equestrian triathlon. It’s the largest equestrian triathlon in the nation.

NBC Montana got a preview of some of the courses. The course designer says its important to take full advantage of the terrain, combining both uphill and downhill jumps. The combination of the two will test the skills of both the horses and the riders.

Businesses around the Flathead are preparing for the crowds of people that are in town for the event.  

“We are crazy busy, probably the busiest we’ve ever been,” said Kim Shirley.

Shirley works for Five Star Rentals and she says every house is booked. People have been putting in rental requests as far as three to four months ago for this specific weekend. She says it’s great for business and great for people who come into town.

"It allows a lot of other people to experience what we get to experience every single day," Shirley said.

It’s not only the rental properties and hotels that are gearing up for the crowds, but also local restaurants. Restaurants in the Flathead see crowds of hungry customers during event days.

Bullman’s Pizza is only a few minutes from Rebecca Farm. The manager told NBC Montana that even though it’s chaotic, it’s the best weekend to work.

"We get large crowds brought in and it’s fun -- it’s a lot of fun," said Brad Holmgren, manager of Bullman’s Pizza.

Businesses around town are excited for the crowd, and say it’s always great to be busy. They know they have to be prepared.

"We're stocking up the schedule with employees, just having people on backup, just in case our food orders and beverage orders are increased, so we're not running out of anything," Holmgren said.

“We put together little rental bags, with chocolates and local information and I’ve had to run over to the Chamber and get a lot more information because we ran out of stuff," Shirley said.

Both Shirley and Holmgren agree that this weekend could get hectic, but they are ready for what's to come.

“We have to brace ourselves and go with the onslaught and just kind of do what we can to get through,” said Shirley.

“We're looking forward to embracing the chaos," Holmgren said.

The Event at Rebecca Farm is a three-day event that starts Thursday.

Admission for spectators is free but donations are welcome. The money raised will support Halt Cancer-X, an initiative to raise money for breast cancer awareness and community outreach projects.

Swan River access remains closed

LAKE COUNTY

alli By Alli Friedman, KCFW Reporter, afriedman@kcfw.com
POSTED: 2:04 PM Jul 19 2014   UPDATED: 10:50 PM Jul 19 2014

Swan River access remains closed

KALISPELL, Mont. -

It's been a month now since Lake County officials closed a popular fishing access on the Swan River.

It's usually the place to be in the summer for tubers, rafters and fishermen. It was temporarily closed because of constant parking violations.

There was nobody in sight at the Swan River access today, only a locked gate.

The Lake County commissioner’s office closed the river access about a month ago to try to come up with a solution to the parking violations.

The roads are narrow and because people were parking on both sides of the road, officials say it became dangerous for through traffic.

Neighbors, in the area, were fed up with the congestion and felt something needed to be done.

"Yeah, there’s no question there’s an issue with parking," Swan River resident, Mike O’Hearn said.

O'Hearn lives on the river and even though he noticed the problem, he is surprised that the access is still closed.

"They've got to make a correction to the way it is now," O’Hearn said.

The commissioners don’t want to keep the area closed permanently because they think the congestion will go elsewhere. That’s why they are working on coming up with a solution.

"What they should do, in my opinion, is expand the parking off the road on busy weekends,” O’Hearn said.

There is talk about buying the adjacent five acres of land to be developed for parking. However, officials say there is little funding to do so.

That's why people are worried the congestion might go elsewhere, like a small path near the bridge over the Swan River. Even there, still no place to park.

O'Hearn thinks that closing the access is unfair and that they should open it sooner rather than later.

"I think with it being July, they should move on as quickly as they can and maybe open it up for this season. There won’t be much traffic after mid September anyways and then deal with it over the winter and if they have to expand the parking do so," said O’Hearn.

But for now, a locked gate and no parking signs are still keeping visitors away.

The Lake County commissioners will meet Monday, July 21, 2014 to discuss the issue further. They say they are open to suggestions on how to solve this problem.  

 

Dispute over huckleberry patch ends in gunfire

FLATHEAD COUNTY

alli By Alli Friedman, KCFW Reporter, afriedman@kcfw.com
POSTED: 4:59 PM Jul 18 2014   UPDATED: 11:17 PM Jul 18 2014

Dispute over huckleberry patch ends in gunfire

KALISPELL, Mont. -

It’s huckleberry season and many are spending their days out picking. But, an argument between two people over an area of land in a huckleberry patch has left people in shock.

Two men were out picking near the North Fork of the Flathead River. One of them claimed the other was picking too close, and picking in his territory. He then fired gunshots in the air, but nobody was hurt.

NBC Montana wanted to find out why pickers are becoming protective over huckleberry patches.

Sheri Mallard is the manager of a local produce store that buys huckleberries from local pickers. She was shocked to hear what happened.

“You have to worry about bears, not people,” Mallard said.

Mallard has been picking and selling huckleberries for 15 years, and has never heard of a fight over a huckleberry patch ending in gunfire.

Until she had heard about the fight from one of the guys who was involved, the one who says he did not fire the gun. He came to her store to sell the huckleberries he picked that day.

"He was still a little upset, he had explained what had happened, that somebody shot at him because he was apparently picking in his area" said Mallard.

Everyone’s been out picking, and they often times like to be secretive as to where they pick.

That’s why when Mallard hears stories of people following other pickers, finding the popular spots to huckleberry pick, people get angry and protective.

That’s exactly what happened in this disagreement.

“The argument apparently started over whose territory was whose. One of the individuals didn't want somebody picking in what he considered to be his area. It was public land, and it escalated from that point,” said Flathead County Sheriff, Chuck Curry.

Nobody was injured, but the Curry tells NBC Montana that this was a situation that could have escalated, leaving someone hurt or even dead.

"This certainly does seem like a fairly minor incident to involve some gun fire, but people are protective over their huckleberry patches they’re protective over a lot of things," Curry said.

They’re protective because everyone is picking to make money. Huckleberries can be bought from pickers for $40 a gallon.

Other huckleberry pickers say that because everyone is out there trying to make extra money, it’s important to maintain picking etiquette. In other words, try to avoid the areas where people are already picking.

This may help people keep an eye out more for bears, than people.

This case will be turned over to the Flathead County Attorney’s office for the possibility of charges.

Glacier Park officials urge visitors to take safety precautions

FLATHEAD COUNTY

alli By Alli Friedman, KCFW Reporter, afriedman@kcfw.com
kevinl By Kevin Lessard, KCFW Reporter, klessard@kcfw.com
POSTED: 5:36 PM Jul 17 2014   UPDATED: 11:18 PM Jul 17 2014

Glacier Park officials urge visitors to take safety precautions

KALISPELL, Mont. -

There has been safety concerns at Glacier National Park after several accidents happened in a matter of days.

On Saturday, a 33-year-old woman slipped into McDonald Creek and was swept over some waterfalls. Rescuers took her to the hospital but she since then she has died.

Then, on Tuesday a 12-year-old boy fell into the same creed while playing on a log. A passerby jumped in after him, and both survived without injuries.

That same day, Glacier National Park Rangers responded to a raft accident on the North Fork of the Flathead River after a family from California flipped their raft. A boat picked them up and took them to safety.

All of these incidents have happened very early on in the season. That's why NBC Montana wanted to find out why and experience first-hand the dangers that go along with being in the outdoors.

"People come out here on vacation and they're here to have a good time but sometimes they forget to use a little common sense," said Glacier National Park Ranger, Steve Dodd.

That's the answer he gave in response to all the accidents that have happened. He says the two leading causes of death in Glacier National Park are falls and cold water drownings.

Dodd says the reason is because of loose ground and slippery rocks. Glacier National Park is sedimentary rock, causing portions of rock to constantly peal off and fall to the ground, making your footing unstable.

"Edges of the water are very slippery and wet, very hazardous, and you can go into the water within a fraction of a second," Dodd said.

NBC Montana wanted to find out just how dangerous those edges could be. There were spots along the McDonald creek that were evident accident prone areas.

But, it's not just paying attention to where you're walking but what's around you.

Park rangers say that people often find themselves in danger along the hiking trails, not knowing they may encounter a bear, moose, elk, or deer. All animals that can be unpredictable.

For these reasons, officials want to remind everyone to read the safety signs and just be aware, because there won't always be park rangers around to keep everyone safe.

"Remember we have 700 miles of trails to cover in Glacier National Park and not as many rangers as we'd like," Dodd said.

As the summer months move along, more high elevation trails are starting to open up. Trails that bring on different types of safety concerns.

So, officials ask you to match your skill level with what you are doing. This will help prevent an accident.

Woman unexpectedly gives birth on transit bus

LAKE COUNTY

alli By Alli Friedman, KCFW Reporter, afriedman@kcfw.com
POSTED: 5:47 PM Jul 16 2014   UPDATED: 11:02 PM Jul 16 2014

Woman unexpectedly gives birth on transit bus

KALISPELL, Mont. -

Every mom has a story about the day her baby was born, but not every mom can say her baby came into the world on a bus.

Thanks to the help of strangers, it’s a story almost everyone involved wanted to share with NBC Montana.

The Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes bus driver, Anthony Plant, has been driving buses for 12 years. He will never forget what happened this week.

"I went to pick up my passenger and she’s standing by the door and she said she wasn't feeling good. She had tears in her eyes," Plant said.

But that wasn’t all.

"Then she got on the bus and said ‘my water broke’ and I jumped out of the bus and went to look for help," said Plant.

The woman, Sharon Buckskin, started having contractions early in the morning. That's when she knew she needed to get to the hospital, so she hopped on the bus.

Plant alerted CSKT dispatchers because he didn’t know what to do. That’s when the dispatcher called 9-1-1.

“He was hysterical. So I called and had them dispatch an ambulance up there and not even 10 minutes later [Plant] got on the radio and said they had a baby boy," CSKT dispatcher Leroy Black said.

Bystanders saw the bus and the bus driver looking for help. They immediately grabbed towels from their homes and got on the bus to help with the delivery.

"She’s lucky people were there, and if it was my daughter I would want people to be there for her," Dana Hewankorn said.

NBC Montana met Sharon Buckskin in the hospital, where she was recovering. She says the moment happened so quickly and she never thought it could happen to her.

“I always had fast labors and this is my fourth child and the fastest that it had ever happened," Buckskin said.

But, she can't imagine it happening any other way.

“I’m glad that it happened this way, because it's his story,” said Buckskin.

For Plant, it's a story he will never forget. 

Family reacts to murder-for-hire case dismissal

FLATHEAD COUNTY

alli By Alli Friedman, KCFW Reporter, afriedman@kcfw.com
POSTED: 6:39 PM Jul 15 2014   UPDATED: 11:23 PM Jul 15 2014

Family reacts to murder-for-hire case dismissal

KALISPELL, Mont. -

A judge dismissed a case against a man accused of trying to hire someone to kill his ex-wife and a victim's advocate. We spoke with the family of Matthew Heuer's ex-wife, and they say they're outraged.

Prosecutors accused Heuer of offering a truck and some cash to his cell mate if the man would kill Heuer’s ex-wife, Tarsha, and another woman. The case hinged on a recorded conversation between Heuer and the inmate.

It turns out the audio wasn’t clear enough. Prosecutors sent that tape to the FBI to get cleaned up, but even then it was still inaudible.

Prosecutors then asked for a continuance and to dismiss the case without prejudice, meaning they could have re-filed charges. Instead, the charges were dismissed with prejudice.

The charges were dismissed only 40 minutes before a jury trial was set to begin.

Sean Hinchey, Heuer’s attorney, says it was dismissed because the lack of evidence.

"I think, in this case, justice sort of dictated that it had to be dismissed...The only evidence that the state had turned to out to be two unreliable jailhouse informants," Hinchey said.

NBC Montana looked through court documents and tried to get a hold of that audio recording, but heard no response from the prosecutor’s office.

The court documents detailed the case against Heuer. In those documents it says Heuer had asked his cell mate to inject Tarsha Heuer with methamphetamine, so she would overdose.

“It’s literally hell. I’ve never seen my sister the way that she has been lately. I’ve never thought for sure that something would happen, but she's told me over and over that 'he's going to kill me,'” said Tarsha Heuer’s sister, Kimisha Waller.

Tarsha’s sister and other family members can’t believe the case is over. They are all worried.

“I think it's a joke. I don't think we were ever given a chance to prove our side and to tell our story and to get Tarsha the justice she needs," Waller said.

Tarsha did get an order of protection. But family members feel Heuer is still a dangerous man and can be capable of anything.

Flathead fishing access site closes temporarily for repairs

FLATHEAD COUNTY

alli By Alli Friedman, KCFW Reporter, afriedman@kcfw.com
POSTED: 3:38 PM Jul 12 2014
Flathead fishing access site closes temporarily for repairs
KALISPELL, Mont. -

Anglers and boaters looking to cool off in the Flathead River will soon have to do without a popular boat access area near Kalispell.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks plans to replace the bumpy gravel boat ramp, at McWenneger Slough Fishing Access, with concrete ramps.

This area is located four miles east of Kalispell, off of Highway 35.

Perch, bass and native pike fill these waters, making it a popular place to fish in the summer and ice fish in the winter.

But starting next week, fishermen will have to hold off on fishing here for a little while.

The FWP plans to put in a brand new concrete boat ramp to replace the bumpy gravel ramp. This will temporarily close the fishing access.

People who go to the area say the gravel tears up the bottoms of their boats. But, because this is already a popular place to fish, people fear the crowds.

 "I suppose for general access it’s a good idea. It’ll make it a whole lot more accessible to a whole lot more people. But with anything, if you make it easier to get there then a lot more will show up. So, I’m sure it will get a little more crowded," said Nick Frucci, McWenneger Slough kayaker.  

Nick Frucci is also worried that since the first couple of changes were made to McWenneger Slough a few years, he's already seen more people come.

Changes like adding a parking area and a bathroom that did not exist a few years ago. This has made the access more of a destination.

NBC Montana spoke to other fishermen who said they aren't worried about the crowds.

They say they fear that with a legitimate boat ramp, it will allow for more motorized boats which will affect their fishing.

Frucci agrees. He says even though it may end up looking nicer, it will make it easier to get in and out of the water, which in turn might not be a good thing.

"I understand that it will make it easier for some folks but there may come a day when my little kayak can’t go out there because there's just too many boats," Frucci said.

The ramp will be closed periodically starting Monday, July 14, 2014 and construction will continue until August 15th.

Phase two of reconstruction project begins in Whitefish

FLATHEAD COUNTY

alli By Alli Friedman, KCFW Reporter, afriedman@kcfw.com
POSTED: 5:03 PM Jul 11 2014   UPDATED: 8:55 PM Jul 11 2014

Phase two of reconstruction project begins in Whitefish

KALISPELL, Mont. -

Last year crews worked on a $7.5 million project to improve the road conditions along Highway 93 in Whitefish.

A second phase of this project is set to start up again Monday, July 14, 2014. It will extend an additional mile from last years construction. This past spring phase one of reconstruction was completed, from Baker to Karrow Drive. This coming week, construction will continue from Karrow Avenue west to Mountainside Drive.

New sidewalks, bike paths, water and sewage systems are in the construction plan. In addition, crews will plan to build pedestrian tunnels at the Whitefish Golf Club and add street lighting and landscaping to the area.

Schellinger Construction Company is in charge of this phase of the project. They told NBC Montana this construction is much needed.

"The road has been there a long time. It’s in pretty poor shape.," said Marc Blanden from Schellinger Construction.

Blanden also mentioned that this project will provide a safer route for people to get in and out of town.

Businesses near the construction site are excited for this.

"Well it’s a long needed improvement. It’s very dangerous to ride your bike or to walk along this road up here, so the improved access to state park and the Whitefish trail and the golf course is going to be unmeasurable," said Doug Reed, owner of the Whitefish Lake restaurant at Whitefish Golf Club.

Just down the road, sidewalks and bike paths are already completed from phase one. This made one local gas station see more foot traffic than ever before.

But people know that with construction, comes delays.

"It’s going to be a little bit of a pain, but there's no other way around it and we're going to make the best of it,” Reed said.

For  those who are worried about the traffic delays construction workers say to be patient, stay calm and plan ahead.

The road will be down to one lane traffic and workers say they will do their best to keep the waiting to a minimum.

The project is said to be completed by July 2015, with a winter shutdown from November through April. It is also estimated to cost around $10.2 million.

Northern pike threaten fish in Lake Mary Ronan

LAKE COUNTY

alli By Alli Friedman, KCFW Reporter, afriedman@kcfw.com
POSTED: 5:30 PM Jul 09 2014   UPDATED: 11:09 PM Jul 09 2014

Northern pike threaten fish in Lake Mary Ronan

KALISPELL, Mont. -

A predatory fish, northern pike, has shown up in Lake Mary Ronan. The lake is southwest of Kalispell and is stocked with large-mouth bass, Kokanee salmon and rainbow trout. The problem is the non-native northern pike could contaminate the lake and feed on other fish.

NBC Montana met Bret Banker on the lake. He was fishing for Kokanee salmon, and when he found out about the pike he was worried.

"They’re going to eat all the baby salmon so they’re not going to grow up and you won’t be able to catch and game fish or trophy fish," Banker said.

That’s exactly what might happen.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks officials are looking deeper into how the pike got into the lake, and whether they have reproduced. They investigate illegal fish introductions all the time, but are worried about the pike, because they reproduce fast and they’re aggressive.

“Northern pike eat other fish, so they’re using those resources, they'll reduce the populations of other fish and many of those fish species are popular with anglers," said Mark Deleray from FWP.

Fishermen are angry. Introducing non-native fish is illegal, and once they’re established, experts say it is nearly impossible to get rid of them.

"It’s somewhat of a selfish action, because they’re putting their desire above those of other anglers," Deleray said.

That's why Montana fisheries and angling groups joined together to stop the spread of illegal fish introductions.

They also want fishermen who are not a part of those groups to be aware of what to do if they catch a northern pike in Lake Mary Ronan.

“We read the fishing rules and if we catch one we have to keep it," said local fisherman Tracy Skaife.

"I wouldn't want to catch one, I’d rather catch a salmon," Banker said.

FWP will net fish to see how strong a hold northern pike have on Lake Mary Ronan.

Anyone with information on who introduced the pike into the lake is encouraged to call 1-800-TIP-MONT.

Kalispell addresses parking congestion near Flathead High

FLATHEAD COUNTY

alli By Alli Friedman, KCFW Reporter, afriedman@kcfw.com
POSTED: 7:17 PM Jul 08 2014   UPDATED: 11:57 PM Jul 08 2014

Kalispell addresses parking congestion near Flathead High

KALISPELL, Mont. -

As Flathead High School and the surrounding area continue to get more populated, there seems to be congestion and now a problem with street parking.

There's not enough space on school property for students to park their cars, especially during school hours. It has led to students parking on the streets in the surrounding neighborhood.

Residents in the area are unhappy with the limited parking available for their own vehicles. They say there is a great amount of noise disturbance and littering in the neighborhood.

Residents are asking fellow neighbors to support the proposal of a residential parking district. So far, 88 percent of those people have been in favor.

"Society has changed; more kids drive to school and what's happened is, as the school has grown, the population has grown and they haven't been able to keep up with the parking demands on their own property,” said Kalispell City Planner Kevin LeClair.

NBC Montana spoke to people who live near the school and found that people are frustrated and inconvenienced.

"There's been times where I had to park a couple blocks away because I coulnd’t get in the driveway or park on the side street," said resident Mike Bolog.

Residents want the city to create zone permits, only allowing people who live there to park on the streets -- but their solution makes Flathead High students fearful.

“You're going to have a lot more students not knowing where to park and not having a place to park, so that will make it a lot more difficult for people to get to and from school,” Flathead High School sophomore Brendan Tucker said.

It's not a new problem. Residents in the area approached the city about 2 years ago raising concerns, and since then they have created a subcommittee to voice their opinions.

“I think neighbors have seen, in the recent years following the recession, a change in the neighborhood character and attribute some of that to the impact of the parking. So they've seen a lot of houses turn over to rentals. Maybe also a decline in some of the housing stock and people not taking care of their properties,” LeClair said.

The school board has been working on their own with the city and neighbors about students picking up their trash, and encouraging kids to carpool and park in the available spaces on school property.

If passed, the permits could cost anywhere between $10 and $20 annually. There could also be penalties if parked cars do not have those permits displayed during school hours. 

Whitefish Lake barge fire causes thousands of dollars in damage

FLATHEAD COUNTY

alli By Alli Friedman, KCFW Reporter, afriedman@kcfw.com
POSTED: 3:43 PM Jul 05 2014
Whitefish Lake barge fire causes thousands of dollars in damage
KALISPELL, Mont. -

For the second year in a row, the fireworks barge in the middle of Whitefish Lake went up in flames during the 4th of July fireworks show.

It was not planned, and has some residents calling for changes to be made.

"We were probably one of the closest boats to the barge, and about 6-7 minutes before the finale all of a sudden the barge started on fire again. It started really small and then about 3 minutes after it was like the whole barge was engulfed in flames,” said Whitefish resident, Lisa Witzke.

Witzke was there when the barge caught fire last year and says she isn't surprised it happened again.

"It is what it is, you know fireworks, it’s all at your own risk," Witzke said.

Big Sky Fireworks is the company that has been doing the fireworks show on Whitefish Lake for the past 4 years.

NBC Montana went down to the scene of the fire today and met Dan Schuler, the pyrotechnician for Big Sky Fireworks. He was one of the people who set up, and set off the 720 fireworks. He says, it is something that just happens.

"When the fireworks go off they have a lift charge that pushes them up into the air and that lift charge has a lot of sparks and when you just can’t get any wind to blow them off the barge, they all just land on the barge," Schuler said.

And it was the accumulation of those sparks that caused the fire. But, because this had already happened last year, Schuler and Big Sky Fireworks said they were more prepared.

"We were worried from last year, we did make some steps to try to fix that. We did bring some fire extinguishers,” Schuler said.

And they had to use them, extinguishing two smaller fires on the barge before the big one broke out.

But residents around Whitefish Lake think something more needs to be done.

"They might want to make modifications, I guess. I hear building it on a metal barge rather than a wooden one might help the problem,” Witzke said.

But that doesn't mean people didn't enjoy the show.

"So the show went up as planned. If you didn't see the barge on fire you wouldn't know there was a problem with the show,” said Schuler.

"We had a great time last night,” said Witzke.

This barge fire cost the fireworks company thousands of dollars and the barge that belonged to the city of Whitefish is completely destroyed.

Thousands line downtown Kalispell streets for 4th of July parade

FLATHEAD COUNTY

alli By Alli Friedman, KCFW Reporter, afriedman@kcfw.com
POSTED: 5:12 PM Jul 04 2014   UPDATED: 5:46 PM Jul 04 2014
Thousands line downtown Kalispell for 4th of July parade

In Flathead County, friends and families lined Main Street in downtown Kalispell for the annual Fourth of July parade. Everyone in attendance was wearing their best red, white and blue apparel.

Color guards, World War II veterans, horse clubs and youth groups walked in the parade.

For the kids, this was a chance to wave, catch candy and enjoy the music. Parents who have been coming to the parade every year told NBC Montana that the event means much more.

“It makes me feel patriotic and it’s just a cool vibe from the whole community, which is nice,” said Jennifer Hawes, a Kalispell resident.

“It makes me very proud to be American. It makes me realize all the different freedoms that we have and the liberties that we are blessed with in our nation,” said Kara Allen, a Kalispell resident.

Following the parade, everyone in attendance was invited to a free ice cream social at the Conrad Mansion.