Alli Friedman

KCFW Reporter

POSTED: 7:38 AM Aug 06 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.

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Alli Friedman's Latest Stories

Proposed ordinance requires pawn shops to submit records electronically

FLATHEAD COUNTY

alli By Alli Friedman, KCFW Reporter, afriedman@kcfw.com
POSTED: 5:50 PM Sep 23 2014   UPDATED: 6:08 PM Sep 23 2014
Proposed ordinance requires pawn shops to submit records electronically
KALISPELL, Mont. -

The Kalispell Police Department wants to change city laws to require every pawn shop to submit inventory reports to the city electronically. It is an effort to track thieves who try to sell stolen property.

The current city ordinance only requires shops submit handwritten records. Kalispell Police Chief Roger Nasset says he won’t force pawn shops to do that, because it is not efficient. Instead, he is pushing for the mandated use of an online system.

First National Pawn Shop is the only pawn shop in Kalispell that voluntarily submits its inventory records to police electronically.

“Back in the day, pawn shops almost had a dark connection to a criminal element, and we want to make sure people know that we don't want to have any part of that. We want to be a legal operation," said First National Pawn employee Mike Ovik.

The shop started using the program Leads Online two years ago when the police started using it.

Nasset says he has proof that it works.

"We've recovered guns, we've recovered jewelry and many other items. We've identified suspects with Leads Online, so we figured this is a valuable tool. Now, we're going forward, take the next step and approach council with an ordinance that would actually mandate it," said Nasset.

Nasset says the city doesn’t have time to go through handwritten receipts, which pawn shops are required to submit daily.

"We're not, on a daily basis, requiring them to submit their reports, just because it wouldn't make any sense. We don't have the man hours to do anything with it," Nasset said.

Nasset wants a new ordinance that would mandate the use of the electronic system. Some aren’t happy about it.

One pawn shop owner, who wanted to remain anonymous, says she isn’t required to submit any documents right now. She also tells NBC Montana that she is against the proposed ordinance because it would make more work for her.

Ovik at First National Pawn explains it doesn’t take much time to get a day's worth of reports in.

“We click a few buttons on the computer and it probably only takes a matter of minutes," he said.

Nasset says it is not about making things more difficult, but better protecting victims of theft.

"We feel bad because we often tell the victims ‘Go search for your stuff at the pawn shops,’ because we don't have the resources to do that. This is going to help us provide a better service to them," Nasset said.

Nasset plans to address the city council with his proposed ordinance next week. He also hopes it can be used as a model for the entire county.

Hops season in the Flathead comes to a close

FLATHEAD COUNTY

alli By Alli Friedman, KCFW Reporter, afriedman@kcfw.com
POSTED: 3:38 PM Sep 20 2014   UPDATED: 10:50 PM Sep 21 2014

Hops season in the Flathead comes to a close

KALISPELL, Mont. -

Local beer in the Flathead could soon taste fresher than ever. That’s thanks to a big hop harvest in the Flathead Valley this year.

Hops are the ingredient that gives beer a bitter, tangy flavor. Because of the big hops crop, and a new machine farmers have brought in to harvest it, local breweries can expect to have plenty of fresh hops to work with.

"There’s going to be more fresh hop ales brewed in the Flathead Valley in northwest Montana than ever before," said Tom Britz, owner of Glacier Hops Ranch near Whitefish.

That is partly because of a new machine, the first commercial hop harvester in the state. It came in pieces and now that it is put together, it is being put to work.

"It’s kind of like combining a Cotton Gin, a corn combine, and a Swather all into one piece of equipment," Britz said.

The hops are fed through a feeder; it then goes through blowers and vacuums to separate the hops’ cones from the leaves and stems.

"Growing it is the easy part. The harvesting and processing is the bottleneck," Britz said.

Britz says he started the hops project only two years ago and never imagined it to grow this fast.

"Over the course of the year we went from 17 varieties that we put in, to adding 23 more. We now have 40 varieties of hops. It’s the largest environmental field test between Yakima, Washington and Michigan," said Britz.

The last of the crop was being harvested on September 20th, 2014. The owner of the Tamarack Brewing Company, in Lakeside, plans to put the hops to good use.

"We'll take a few hundred pounds back today and first thing tomorrow morning they'll end up in our brew kettle," said owner of the Tamarack Brewing Company, Joshua Townsley.

He, along with Britz, says it’s really about experimenting.

"The craft brewers can play with all this stuff to come up with a brew that makes their brew unique and that's what they're trying to do, is be unique for their customers," Britz said.

"We don't have a scientific analysis to it yet so we're going to throw it in and we're going to put as much as we can in there and we'll play with it along its fermentation process. We know it will come out to be a good beer we just don't know what kind of beer exactly," Townsley said.

But, Townsley says it’s really about supporting local.

"Being able to use all local products, Montana water, Montana grain, Montana hops, you know that's what it’s about," Townsley said.

Britz says he wants to expand the acreage next year for crop growing and harvesting. But, he says it can costs between $12,000 and $15,000 an acre to grow the crop.

Sochi Olympic gold medalist makes appearance in the Flathead

FLATHEAD COUNTY

alli By Alli Friedman, KCFW Reporter, afriedman@kcfw.com
POSTED: 3:50 PM Sep 20 2014
Sochi Olympic gold medalist makes appearance in the Flathead
KALISPELL, Mont. -

A Sochi Olympic gold medalist made an appearance at the Sportsman & Ski Haus “cruncher sale” in the Flathead.

22-year-old, Joss Christensen won the first ever gold medal in Olympic slopestyle skiing at the Sochi games.

He says he grew up watching Tanner Hall (a Kalispell native) ski and that it’s great to see where his idol grew up.

Christensen says he never thought he would make the Olympics, but says winning the gold medal is an indescribable feeling.

He greeted fans and signed autographs at the “cruncher sale” at the Sportsman & Ski Haus in Kalispell.

He explained to NBC Montana that he never thought his life would end up the way it has and that he would have an impact on people’s lives.

"It’s hard for me to realize how much of an outreach I had after the Olympics and how many people actually watched it. It’s so cool to come up here, it’s my first time in Montana, and for people to come up and recognize me and want to talk to me and hangout its awesome," Christensen said.

Christensen says that the first time, winning a gold medal, was a dream come true. But, he cannot wait to get back to training to have a shot at another gold medal.

Korean War veterans honored in the Flathead

FLATHEAD COUNTY

alli By Alli Friedman, KCFW Reporter, afriedman@kcfw.com
POSTED: 5:26 PM Sep 19 2014
Korean War veterans honored in the Flathead
KALISPELL, Mont. -

Over 30 Korean War veterans were honored, in the Flathead, for their service.

All of the veterans who were honored live at the Montana Veterans Home in Columbia Falls.

The Korean Consulate General, Moon Duk-ho, awarded the veterans, or their surviving spouses, with medals and certificates.

They were each individually thanked for their service.

Korean opera singers took the stage after the ceremony, and a video was also shown remembering those who risked their lives to protect others.

"It's an honor. I think it was an honor to be able to serve. So many of us were just kids out of high school," said Korean War Veteran, Braxton Brown.

"The people that the United States was protecting, they were here honoring them [the veterans] which is wonderful and it was very moving," said Lynette Erickson, daughter of a Korean War veteran.

Among those who spoke at the ceremony was a Columbia Falls city councilman and members of the Montana Veterans Home.

Lawyers want Flathead County Attorney’s Office investigated

FLATHEAD COUNTY

alli By Alli Friedman, KCFW Reporter, afriedman@kcfw.com
POSTED: 6:14 PM Sep 18 2014   UPDATED: 8:31 AM Sep 19 2014

Lawyers want Flathead County Attorney’s Office investigated

KALISPELL, Mont. -

A group of attorneys in the Flathead is asking the Montana Attorney General to investigate the Flathead County Attorney’s office over allegations of prosecutorial misconduct.

The three attorneys who filed the complaint are from a Whitefish law office called Quatman & Quatman. They claim members of the Flathead County Attorney’s Office mistreated defendants. The complaint specifically points to County Attorney Ed Corrigan and Deputy County Attorney Kenneth Park, along with members of the Northwest Drug Task Force.

NBC Montana read through the letter and found out where these complaints stem from.

The attorneys say they have seen a pattern of “ethical and criminal violations” from the County Attorney’s office, according to the letter they sent to the state. The attorneys say the letter was sent to seek justice for their clients.

Phyllis Quatman, John Quatman and Tim Baldwin are the attorneys who sent the letter to the state asking them to investigate.

“We were concerned. We saw a pattern and practice from 15 years ago involving Ed Corrigan, it’s continued through Kenneth Park. We talked about all of these different cases, we attached two inches of documents,” Phyllis Quatman said.

The three attorneys claim their clients are being intimidated because of their affiliations and actions.

“If you’re an attorney, a defense attorney, who fights back, who files motions, who takes cases to trial, who objects, the pattern of practice has been that the County Attorney’s office really comes down harder on your clients,” Phyllis Quatman said.

NBC Montana found Ed Corrigan in the courtroom to see if he had anything to say. He says he has not received any of the documents and that is why he cant comment.

Quatman claims she’s seen mistreatment in her own clients and the clients of her colleagues.

“They’re being forced into pleas that they shouldn’t be pleading guilty to. Cases are getting dismissed for lack of evidence,” she said.

She mentions one specific instance. According to court documents, a man named Cory Franklin was charged for distributing drugs. His wife, Kristina was an informant for the Northwest Drug Task Force. She allegedly recorded a phone conversation with another drug task force member, without his knowledge.

In the documents, Franklin claims he advised her to fire Tim Baldwin as their attorney, or nothing will go well for her husband, Cory Franklin.

"What’s happening to our clients, what’s happening to the accused in Flathead County is appalling," Quatman said.

Again, Ed Corrigan says he has not received any of the paperwork and that is why he is unable to comment at this time.

The three attorneys say that because they have not heard back from the Montana Attorney General’s office about investigating, they will send the letter to Governor Bullock and the ACLU.

There is still no confirmation from the state as to whether or not this investigation will continue.

Yard sale raises money for doctors who volunteer time in foreign countries

FLATHEAD COUNTY

alli By Alli Friedman, KCFW Reporter, afriedman@kcfw.com
POSTED: 5:15 PM Sep 17 2014   UPDATED: 11:30 PM Sep 17 2014

Yard sale raises money for doctors who volunteer time in foreign countries

KALISPELL, Mont. -

President Barack Obama is referring to the Ebola outbreak as a potential threat to global security.

One organization has sent thousands of volunteer doctors to give emergency aid to people affected by the Ebola epidemic in west Africa. It’s called “Doctors Without Borders.”

Currently, 1,800 national volunteers, who are a part of Doctors Without Borders, are responding in west Africa. Over 200 international volunteers, involved with Doctors Without Borders, are also on site in Africa helping fight the outbreak.

One Flathead County woman has taken it upon herself to help the cause by putting on an annual yard sale.

It is the 14th year Whitefish resident, Ruth Neff, has put on a yard sale to raise money for Doctors Without Borders.

"People like me, about my age, you know later in life felt that it was important to do something positive," Neff said.

People from around the Flathead donate items, like old beds, clothing, furniture and even old skis.

"Bring it over to my house and we'll sell it and send it off to a good cause," said Neff.

Shoppers can bid on the items, or just donate a sum of money for the items they want. Neff says she usually raises between $6,000 and $10,000 every year from the yard sale. So far, this week she has raised $4,000.

But, that amount is not close to what it was in the past and Neff is not sure why.

"We're much more likely to say 'oh you can pay five dollars for that,’ or cut the price right down," Neff said.

She still has frequent supporters, like Christopher Carey who has been shopping at the yard sale every year for the past four years. He has been at this yard sale quite often this week.

"Just about every day this week to check and see what kind of donations have come in and see if there’s anything that I just can’t live without," Carey said.

He says it’s not like any other yard sale and he feels that it’s important to support this cause.

"There’s just a lot of places in this world that don't have the things that we have available to us on a regular basis and in a country where they don't have an emergency room these guys go in and help out,” Carey said.

"We are so fortunate in this country and often I think we don’t realize that we can really be helpful," said Neff.

"I’m not a doctor and I don't go to third world countries so my way of supporting them is coming by and donating some money and getting some cool stuff in the process," Carey said.

The money raised will not only go to Doctors Without Borders, but some of it will also be donated to another volunteer organization called the International Rescue Committee.

Flathead law enforcement agencies disagree on need for homeland security grant

FLATHEAD COUNTY

alli By Alli Friedman, KCFW Reporter, afriedman@kcfw.com
POSTED: 6:31 PM Sep 16 2014   UPDATED: 11:25 PM Sep 16 2014

Flathead law enforcement agencies disagree on need for homeland security grant

KALISPELL, Mont. -

Flathead County law enforcement agencies disagree on the need for federal money to increase security along the United States-Canada border.

Operation Stonegarden is a $55 million federal program that is meant to enhance coordination among local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to secure U.S. borders. Of that, 80 percent will be spent in states that border Mexico. The rest can go to local and tribal law enforcement in states like Montana that border Canada or international waters.

The program has been used for at least five years in the Flathead, but the Flathead County sheriff does not want to be a part of it anymore.

The Kalispell Police Department is all for it and is now taking over managing the grant.

In the past, the federal money has been used to send officers from the Flathead to the border to work with border patrol agents. Now the money is spent detecting drug and human trafficking, along with homeland security issues on Highway 93 and Highway 2.

Highway 93 crosses the border north of Eureka. Highway 2 runs from Montana into Idaho and then merges into Highway 95, before crossing into Canada. Kalispell police say that is a high crime area.

A new $65,000 homeland security grant is awarded to law enforcement throughout the Flathead. Whitefish, Columbia Falls and Kalispell Police along with Montana Highway Patrol and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks will work with U.S. border patrol.

"Homeland security is a concern for all of us," said Kalispell Police Chief Roger Nasset.

In the past, the Flathead County Sheriff's department managed the grant. This year the sheriff opted out.

"After looking closely at the Stonegarden grant, we feel we were just philosophically opposed to it -- that what it was intended for was not useful for us here at the Flathead County Sheriff's Office and that it was, quite frankly, a waste of tax dollars. So we elected to no longer participate in the program," said Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry.

The money from the grant allows local law enforcement to work extra hours.

"We do not have a lot of time to focus on that kind of activity during our regular shifts. So essentially that money allows officers to come in on their time off, to be paid through this grant, and put extra patrolmen out there," Nasset said.

The sheriff says that's one of the reasons he didn't want to participate.

"It primarily turns overtime for officers to work some sort of border interdiction, and frankly when it was done here in the past it just wasn't effective," Curry said.

With the approval from the city council, the Kalispell Police Department has taken over in managing the grant. The police chief says he has seen it be effective, after completing a six-month operation with border patrol identifying drug trafficking along Highway 93 and Highway 2.

"In that six-month period we had 18 arrests -- drug-related arrests with vehicles either coming or going," Nasset said.

The sheriff says everyone at the sheriff's office is concerned about homeland security, but they think the public can be protected without the grant.

"We certainly feel we are at a state where we are ready, and that the money that was being supplied by the feds -- at least in this county -- to us, seemed like a waste," Curry said.

In the past, the grant has allowed law enforcement to purchase equipment, like new digital radios that lets them talk to all agencies involved and also in-car video cameras that document what officers do.

Flathead law enforcement officers are finishing up the last of a $125,000 Operation Stonegarden grant awarded two years ago.

The new $65,000 grant will go into effect at the end of the year. It will also last for two years.

Search and rescue training event brings volunteers together

FLATHEAD COUNTY

alli By Alli Friedman, KCFW Reporter, afriedman@kcfw.com
POSTED: 4:10 PM Sep 13 2014
Search and rescue training event brings volunteers together
KALISPELL, Mont. -

Search and rescue crews from across the northwest gathered in the Flathead for training and comradery.

They stay busy, especially during the summer time. The vast majority of these men and women are volunteers.

“These people are really here to help,” said leader of Flathead County Search and Rescue, Brian Heino.

Heino is an employee of the sheriff’s department, but says his 100 person strong team, just like the dozens of others that serve the region, are made up of volunteers.

“The United States is usually volunteer. It’s just the sheer dynamics of search and rescue. It takes a lot of personnel and the cost would be astronomical if it was paid. In this case, we have dedicated volunteers that are some of the best in the nation,” Heino said.

“If it was one of my family members lost, I would want somebody looking for them and I just feel this is my way of serving the community and assuring the family that there are people out here looking for their loved ones,” said North Valley Search and Rescue volunteer, Scott Cheff.

Cheff has been volunteering for over 30 years. He says he loves the work and he isn’t the only one.

“It is kind of reassuring just to see how supportive this area is for each other because there are a lot of people that are willing to just instantly stop what they’re doing and would do anything to help someone they don’t even know. That is pretty cool to see,” said North Valley Search and Rescue volunteer, Andrea Marron.

Almost all of the volunteers say it is not about getting monetary compensation.

“It’s the fulfillment. There is nothing better than going in and rescuing someone that actually needs help and getting the thank you, I mean that’s all we need for compensation,” said Flathead County Search and Rescue volunteer, Diane Phillips.

The crews also volunteer at special events and put in hours on end, to what they say, is to give back to the community.

“In the month of August I can tell you there was well over 1,000 hours of volunteer time, just from search and rescue. That includes hours from the fair and special events and rescue calls. These dedicated volunteers, we just can’t thank enough,” Heino said.

Flathead County Search and Rescue is funded by a mill levy, as well as donations.

New automated weather station debuts at Whitefish Mountain Resort

FLAHTEAD COUNTY

alli By Alli Friedman, KCFW Reporter, afriedman@kcfw.com
POSTED: 2:03 PM Sep 12 2014   UPDATED: 2:36 PM Sep 12 2014
New automated weather station debuts at Whitefish Mountain Resort
KALISPELL, Mont. -

A new automated weather station had its debut at the summit at Whitefish Mountain Resort.

It will measure live data for snow depth, liquid content in the snow, rainfall, wind speeds and temperatures.

The station will replace the summit's old one that could not measure anything to do with snow. It only measured things like temperature and wind speeds.

BNSF Railway Foundation, The Northern Rockies Avalanche Safety Workshop, Flathead Avalanche Center, Flathead National Forest and Whitefish Mountain Resort partnered to fund the station.

A total of $15,000 was put toward the center to build and maintain the hardwards and infrastructure.

"When we're getting ready for the ski season it is great for us to know what kind of snow conditions we have up there. Skiers and riders at Whitefish Mountain Resort are really excited about new snow conditions and they'll be able to get up to date conditions throughout the night before, as the snow is falling. So it's going to be a really exciting thing for anyone who;s a snow enthusiast," said Riley Polumbus, from Whitefish Mountain Resort.

The public will likely be able to access the data gathered from the weather station online.

New school policy in Kalispell implements background checks for volunteers

FLATHEAD COUNTY

alli By Alli Friedman, KCFW Reporter, afriedman@kcfw.com
POSTED: 6:04 PM Sep 11 2014   UPDATED: 11:49 PM Sep 11 2014

New school policy in Kalispell implements background checks for volunteers

KALISPELL, Mont. -

Teachers, bus drivers and maintenance workers are among those who must be fingerprinted before working in the Kalispell Public School District.

Now the district is preparing to take it up a notch. They’re implementing a plan to check volunteers' backgrounds.

The policy comes after school officials attended a Department of Justice workshop where school safety was discussed.

Tanya Belstad had four kids go through the school system in Flathead County. She claims she found out one of her kids’ teachers was a registered sex offender.

“It made my heart just literally stop, and that’s where I made my decision, way back then, that anybody who is going to be around my children, I have and I did do background checks on them,” Belstad said.

Several school districts have adopted background check policies. Kalispell Public School District is expanding its policy to check volunteers too.

“We always want to make sure we’re doing due diligence and that we have safe schools and continue to provide that great learning environment to our students. So this is just another way to ensure that,” said Tracy Scott, Kalispell Public School District Human Resources Director.

As of now, teachers, substitutes, and even bus drivers have to get fingerprinted before they can begin to work.

For volunteers, however, the background check will be on a case-by-case basis and the district will decide what type of background check they receive.

There are two types. The first is an FBI background check that involves being fingerprinted. The second is a name search background check that’s limited to a person’s criminal history only in Montana. Both look at the national sex offender registry.

“As we develop the procedure, we’re going to make a decision as to, do we have certain volunteers that we may or may not do backgrounds on, or does everybody at least get a name search background? I think we are leaning toward the name search background,” Scott said.

That all depends on the extent the person volunteers.

“We would look at the volunteer role, how much one-on-one time they might be having with a child, to what capacity they’re volunteering. Are they a coach? Are they a parent helper in the classroom? We’d be looking at certain things like that,” said Scott.

The district will pay for the volunteer background checks. The FBI check costs around $27 and the name search costs around $11.

School officials say the new policy does not stem from any specific incident.

For Belstad, she says it’s better to be safe than sorry.

"I think it’s a win-win situation. I can’t see where that would be a bad thing to do background checks on anyone -- volunteers or teachers," she said.  

The school district is still in the process of finalizing the policy. They plan to have it in effect within the next few weeks.

Kalispell resident celebrates 101st birthday

FLATHEAD COUNTY

alli By Alli Friedman, KCFW Reporter, afriedman@kcfw.com
POSTED: 6:22 PM Sep 10 2014   UPDATED: 11:33 PM Sep 10 2014

Kalispell resident celebrates 101st birthday

KALISPELL, Mont. -

A Kalispell resident has outlived most and celebrated his 101st birthday in the Flathead.

Bob Ewing was born in 1913. He was a member of the Army Air Corps during World War II. He moved to Somers in 1948 and worked for the Somers Lumber Company. He also worked for Kelly Main Street Furniture.

Friends and family members of Ewing celebrated his 101st birthday at the Prestige Assisted Living Center in Kalispell. The western theme got everyone to dress up and wear their best cowboy hats and sheriff pins.

Ewing jokes that now that he has hit 101, he has hit the reset button and plans to start over again at one.

“Well, I don’t feel old,” he said.

“101 years. We weren’t sure we were going to make it past 90. We had a big party then, it was great fun. So, then we had another one at 100 years old, over 100 people showed up. That was great fun at my brother’s house and now 101. How do you figure that? It’s great,” said Bob’s son, Dan.

The birthday boy says the celebrations did not stop at lunch. He said he was ready to go dancing, but instead spent the rest of the day with family and friends.

Capitol Hill questions military vehicles given to local police

FLATHEAD COUNTY

alli By Alli Friedman, KCFW Reporter, afriedman@kcfw.com
POSTED: 6:07 PM Sep 10 2014   UPDATED: 11:30 PM Sep 10 2014

Capitol Hill questions military vehicles given to local police

KALISPELL, Mont. -

A Senate committee hearing on Capitol Hill focused on military equipment used by local police. The hearing was prompted by weeks of violent conflicts between law enforcement in Ferguson, Missouri, and protestors upset over the fatal shooting of an unarmed 18-year-old.

Committee Chairman Tom Caper says the government program that provides military equipment to police was created with good intentions.

However, the events in Ferguson have raised concerns about whether state and local law enforcement use of military equipment should be more closely examined.

Flathead County has a specialized military vehicle. The sheriff’s office applied for it and got one about a year ago. Some see the need for it, while others do not.

Charles Williams was deployed in 2007. On active duty in Afghanistan he drove variations of an armored vehicle known as the MRAP.

“I know they’ve saved a lot of guys' lives,” Williams said.

It is meant to withstand mines, IEDs and ambushes.

Now, local law enforcement agencies can get their hands on them, but they’re being criticized for it.

“The militarization of law enforcement question that's come up nationally, frankly offends me. I don't think that having equipment that protects our officers is in any way irresponsible or militarizing civilian law enforcement," said Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry.

Curry says the problem isn’t with the equipment, rather the way departments use them.

The Flathead County Sheriff’s Office got an MRAP about a year ago. It has been stripped of all military gear, but the sheriff says it plays a critical role.

“If we have to move the team into an area where they may come under gunfire, it just makes sense to have some protection from that fire while we make team movements," Curry said.

“Those guys are willing to put on a small piece of body armor and go drive around in a regular car and get shot at. Why not have the ability to keep them safe trying to keep everyone else safe," Williams said.

After seeing a vehicle similar to an MRAP used in Ferguson, a Flathead resident who has a brother in the military doesn’t think it is necessary.

"The MRAP vehicle has one purpose and one purpose only, and that is war. It’s not meant for riots, it’s not meant for uprisings, it’s meant for complete war," said David Dennison.

“I would rather have it and need it, than need it and not have it,” Williams said.

“There’s many other vehicles that are not as costly and don’t have such a psychological effect on people,” Dennison said.

The MRAP did not cost the Flathead County Sheriff’s office any money. It has only been used once or twice in the past year.

Boat company plans to develop land on Highway 93

FLATHEAD COUNTY

alli By Alli Friedman, KCFW Reporter, afriedman@kcfw.com
POSTED: 5:36 PM Sep 09 2014   UPDATED: 10:34 PM Sep 09 2014

Boat company plans to develop land on Highway 93

KALISPELL, Mont. -

A business owner has a plan to develop a patch of land in the Flathead Valley for a boat sales and services facility.

The area of land is located along Highway 93 south, near the boundary of the Kalispell city limits. The area of land is almost 15,000 square feet.

Josh Bowker has lived and worked in the Flathead since 1986. Over the years he has seen the area south of town develop.

“It doesn’t even compare; I’d go back and wouldn’t even recognize it,” Bowker said.

Another business is about to pop up. Captain’s Marine is a boat sales and service company that sells accessories and has technicians for boat repairs. The owner bought an area of land along Highway 93, last year.

“For my type of operation, I need land to grow and we’re actually just on too small of a piece of ground. So even though the building is nice, I didn’t have enough room to take care of the boats in the spring or fall,” said owner Randell Seyfert.

Seyfert says it was time to expand -- that’s why he strategically picked the area of land south of town.

“We get good coverage from the highway, in particular, we picked that property because we wanted to be close to the bypass, whenever that thing gets done,” Seyfert said.

Josh Bowker works next door to where Captain’s Marine plans to build. He says even though he doesn’t mind the growth he has a few concerns.

“You want some of the farmland to still be used. You don’t want it all completely developed, but it is just bound to happen,” Bowker said.

If more businesses pop up, he says that means more cars to the area.

“You just don’t know how the traffic is going to be and turning off, hopefully you don’t create accidents,” said Bowker.

There might be worry about the traffic, but other neighboring businesses don’t have that concern. They say there are enough turn lanes and a stoplight nearby -- all of which can handle the increased traffic.

“I’m glad the valley’s growing. There’s always negatives but there’s, I think, more positives than anything because it's created jobs,” Bowker said.

Seyfert says he just wants to provide a nice entrance into Kalispell where people can shop.

"We'll be able to create a more efficient operation and I think we’ll be able to present ourselves as being a good member of the community,” Seyfert said.

No permits have been issued yet. The Flathead County Planning Board will be holding a public hearing to address any issues with the permit and application process. The board will then make a recommendation to the city for final approval. Once approved, construction could begin as early as this spring.

There is no cost estimate yet for this project.

Behavior analyst explains pitbull stigma

FLATHEAD COUNTY

alli By Alli Friedman, KCFW Reporter, afriedman@kcfw.com
POSTED: 4:31 PM Sep 06 2014   UPDATED: 10:55 PM Sep 07 2014

Behavior analyst explains pitbull stigma

KALISPELL, Mont. -

A few days ago, a pit bull saved an eight year old Oregon boy from a swarm of bees. The dog reportedly pulled the boy to safety after the eight year old couldn’t escape being stung, clashing with the notion that pit bulls are threats themselves, rather than heroes.

They’re the dog that is popping up more and more in animal shelters. It’s easy to find people who say they fear pit bulls and won’t adopt them because they’re dangerous and aggressive.

"If they have it in their history they definitely have it in their nature," said Kalispell resident, Rita Morris.

Certain cities have banned the breed, or they make sterilization mandatory. Also, some homeowners insurance companies won’t cover someone who has a pit bull. This forces people to give up their pit bulls, which is how they end up at shelters.

Animal behavior specialist Aditi Terpstra says the issue is as deep as DNA.

"Genetics can play a part in that. So, unfortunately we can’t change genetics once that dog is born. So, if they’re more predisposed to being a really fearful dog that's where we tend to see some issues crop out. If they're really fearful they’re going to be more apt to express aggression," Terpstra said.

They have such a bad reputation but Terpstra says people often mistake pit bulls for other breeds, and avoid them.

“When people say ‘that’s a pit bull,’ often times they’re referring to a dog that fits a look. So, it is a label given to dogs that have short coats, muscle bodies and blocky heads,” Terpstra said.

Kalispell resident, Linea Springer, has one of her own and does not understand why pit bulls get such a bad rap.

“She is the biggest sweetheart you will ever meet. She just wants to be in your lap, 80 pounds of love,” Springer said.

It’s an opinion backed up by the majority of pit bull owners.

“If you look at the American Temperament Test Society, they conduct an assessment on dogs to evaluate their temperament.  American pit bull terriers and their mixes scored in the 85 percentile,” Terpstra said.

According to Terpstra, that’s above average. It’s higher than border collies, and beagles—dogs typically known as family dogs. But, others say it is just not worth the risk.

“I personally would not want to keep an animal that has been in a very vicious environment in my home with my small children,” Morris said.

People have also been breeding pit bulls, to make a profit, fast than they can be adopted. That’s another reason why a lot of them end up in shelters.

Construction underway for new ski lift at Whitefish Mountain Resort

FLATHEAD COUNTY

alli By Alli Friedman, KCFW Reporter, afriedman@kcfw.com
POSTED: 6:09 PM Sep 05 2014   UPDATED: 11:47 PM Sep 05 2014

Construction underway for new ski lift at Whitefish Mountain Resort

KALISPELL, Mont. -

An almost $1.3 million construction project is in full swing for a new ski lift at Whitefish Mountain Resort.

Last summer, crews cut new runs and now this lift will give people access to them. The Flower Point lift will operate on the north side of the mountain, a couple hundred yards from the existing lift 7.

"The Flower Point lift is going to serve us a lot of new terrain, as far as getting us up a little bit higher back there and opening up 200 acres of new territory for us to explore," said Riley Polumbus, from Whitefish Mountain Resort.

Construction crews are using a helicopter to pour buckets of cement in the ground for the lift tower foundations.

The entire lift was bought from a resort in Kimberley, Canada. Over the past year, it has been fitted to the Whitefish Mountain Resort.

After the towers, cable and chairs are brought in, the lift will be able to carry up to 1,500 people per hour.

“It’s going to put some people back on that north side and taking advantage of the runs back there and create this whole new area for skiing on the north side. It is going to alleviate some of the other runs around the mountain,” Polumbus said.

The top shack will serve as an outpost for ski patrol. It is currently being painted.

“This is something that’s not only a big investment and good for our guests, but it’s also something that is going to be good by creating some new jobs,” Polumbus said.

Whitefish businesses say it is good for them too.

“All the stores in Whitefish are open all through the winter. I’m sure that if the people are up on the mountain, they’re going to come down here, because this is where all the restaraunts are,” said Nanci Williams, a Whitefish business employee.

Williams has worked in Whitefish for nine years and she says, “The more, the merrier.”

The lift towers are expected to be flown in by the end of the month, but that will depend on weather conditions. Officials say the construction is on schedule, and the lift will be ready in time for the ski season.