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Saturday, September 29, 2007

KFBB says goodbye to a familiar face.

KFBB Television, Here in the "Falls" said goodbye to 2 of it's long time employees...

Weatherman, News Anchor and reporter.. Steve Becker a beloved face in Great Falls has moved on to other adventures in his life. If you don't recognize Steve by name then you may recognize him as the tall man with the incredibly deep voice who has a jolly face and kind disposition. He will be missed my everyone at KFBB!

Also Switcher...Shawn Pompa makes an exit from the television world and is on to earn a Computer Programming Degree!

Great Falls in the Know, Wishes both of these gentlemen the greatest luck and joy in the endeavors! Thanks for making the KNOW possible here in the Falls!

SME...What is the big "stink" about?

You've seen it on the front page, You've heard about it on the news, it's everywhere. The topic of SME's Highwood power station has ripped a seam down the heart of Great Falls and it's residents. It's a touchy topic to say the least. So why do I dare go here? Because it's a topic that needs to be talked about.

We can argue facts and fiction all day but doing so has brought us no more closer to a resolve as contracts have begun to loom. Opinions on the station vary from thoughts of prosperity to expressed anger.

The first and foremost topic of concern with the plant has been environmental and Health safety.
Is this plant safe? Is there reason for concern? Asking myself these questions I first turned to the tribune. I find the articles of relative use on the compensation end but saying little about the impact of human and environmental concern. There was something missing from these articles
so I turned to the AP, EPA and government pages. Here is where the real coverage of the plant lay.

So what kind of damage, if any will SME present?

According to the EPA...

"Other adverse but non-significant impacts of the Proposed Action
include those on soils, water, air, biological resources, noise,
transportation, farmland and land use, human health and safety, and
environmental justice."

In case your wondering what the initial adverse
reaction were.

"The Proposed Action would entail potentially significant
adverse impacts on cultural and visual resources, because it is located
on and adjacent to the Great Falls Portage National Historic Landmark."

All quoted from the EPA's web site.

Let us address these 2 insignificant and significant impacts first and foremost.
What are the standards of insignificant? Sources say that with the aging of the
plant these, "adverse reactions" will become more apparent.In my own opinion I feel
maybe the consideration of wildlife and conservation were not taken into the roll here.

The Highwood area is popular for hunting, I want to know what Percentage
of pollution will be seeping into the ground from which those animals will feed.
The second level of pollution would be the Missouri river. Montana is famous
for it's trout and other fishing trophies, how will the disposal of
the waste affect the water. Coal fired plant are among the most polluting
ways of creating energy these days. The first major concern is Mercury.

That highly poisonous toxin that is used in thermometers.
In Montana, Coal fired plants are reported to be guilty of putting 92% of the total mercury into the air. These toxins can cause fetal disfigurement and nerve damage to adults and children as well. Though Plants can control up to 90% of the damage they cause Montana has no standards to force them to do so at this time. That to me is not insignificant at all.

I won't even begin to touch the topic of Global warming here as that is a purely debatable subject on it's own.

The second impact is that of the Lewis and Clark trail. Does anyone else remember just a few years ago when the city put it all on the line to fund the huge Lewis and Clark tourist deal? Millions of dollars were spent. And now they agree to put a giant looming fortress of coal, right beside the historic landmark that earns their "gold"!

However on a positive note (?)
The EPA states that

The Proposed Action would result in moderately
beneficial socioeconomic impacts, including increased employment
opportunities, total purchases of goods and services, and an increase
in the tax base.

But who are these socioeconomics going to effect? Will it be SME and it's employees
from different states? Or will it be the city of Great Falls and it's under and un employed? (who by the way fronted 15 % or more to build the plant)
It appears we will find out soon enough as SMe is closer and closer to being able to build.
Don't expect to see this one on the voting ballots this year. Environmentalist or Eco-blah.
City officials have officially counted your opinion out! I however have not! I want to hear your opinions, leave them here!

Statistics and facts researched at the EPA of Montanas website and
Other informatioin dicussed and rendered at the Great falls tribune online.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Residents "Howling" for peace.

So down to the wire it's a slow news day. No burning buildings, car accidents. murders or gossip making columns. That's a good thing, I believe. So I thought I would address an all to common nuisance here in town. Howling, Barking and yelping dogs.

When my family went shopping for a dog this year, we went to the pound, Jacks, Pet-cetera, The newspaper and flyer's at stores. We searched high and low and found nothing. We returned to the pound after a week of searching everywhere else and we found "Dusty", A 7 year old healer, Shepard X. Quiet and obedient, she was wonderful with our boys and cat so we adopted her.

One of "Dusty's" most appealing traits is her quiet personality. While she barks lightly at play, she is not an outdoor barker. To me the consideration of neighbors was a biggy in finding a family companion.
As of late I have seen and heard numerous dogs just left to bark. Living close to the hospital the dogs in the area are agitated by ambulances and helicopters as the arrive at their destination. Frequently in the wee hours of the morning an ambulance may approach the hospital and then it's a serenade of dogs barking and howling. There are at least 9 dogs in my area like this.

but I know I am not the only one in the position of such. City ordinance states that barking dogs are a nuisance and the owner will be held responsible.

you can find the ordinance here...Section 14

But as a pet owner, I would think it is common sense. There are many reasons why I personally would not leave my dog to bark through the night.
1. I get annoyed easily
2. I have respect for my neighbors.
3. My pet is family, she is given the comforts of family ( a warm space to sleep, water, food, attention and love)

Some of the habitual barkers in my area, I notice are never inside a house, I rarely see human contact, they have no shelter. It's not to imply that ALL habitual barkers are not cared for. Usually cared for habitual barkers owners take steps to keep them from barking, muzzles and or training.

The other question I want to have answered is, why are these people not dealt with? The ordinance states that they will be, but I have yet to be interviewed as ordinance states neighbors will be. Inevitably the owners need to step up and take responsibility.


This is my first blog here at blogger and I hope it will be the first of many! I decided to start this blog because I realized how one sided our local newspaper is. I have also noticed that things seem
to drown in the "paper as well" I look forward to blogging here!