Google search


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Serving the service industry.

One of the things about living in a community where most of the jobs are service
based, is the fact that everyone is watching everyone else. This makes it all the
easier for a customer to say "There is no way I would treat a customer that way!"
I personally have had my time in the service field, working as a Escrow specialist
right down to the customer warn waitress. I have been yelled at, screamed at,
belittled, argued with and yes I even had a customer spit at me because I followed
the law and refused to serve him any more alcohol.
Other local bloggers have recently touched on the situation or satisfaction with
local restaurants, My blog is going to focus on businesses.

The other night I meandered over to Jo-Ann Fabrics to pick out the materials needed
for my Halloween costume. The order was pretty simple as far as fabric goes. 5 yards
of tulle, 2 1/3 yards of of satin, some elastic ans ribbon. my best friend and I
stood in shock as the girl (who never even greeted us ) grabbed the elastic, cut
the length and threw it (yes tossed it like garbage) across the counter. She then cut
the ribbon and this time picked up the elastic and ribbon and again tossed it about
like it was an unneeded item. She proceeded with the fabrics not taking the time
to straighten the fabric to measure it properly. carelessly cut through them
and then rolled them into a ball. tossed them on the counter and rushed off.

To top it off the clerk up front was degrading patrons of another business
here in town, calling them everything from scary, to roughest looking women
in town. I personally frequent the business in question and took great offense
when the customer the clerk was talking to blabbed about how all "those"
women must be insane, bad parents, blah blah. This conversation was exchanged
so loud that myself and my friend who were standing in the quilting area heard
the whole thing.

Now, I frequent Jo-Ann Fabrics and I know that this is not the usual service,
I get at this location, but wow! Talk about disregarding and alienating your

It's not just Jo-Anns either, I would love to go to Spencer or the Wet seal and
have an employee around so I can pay. I won't even touch Wal-Mart, once known
for it's friendly staff, We all know that is not the truth.
The fact is, people are watching, listening and analyzing your business when they
come in. First thing they want is to know the staff is friendly, the next is ease
in finding things in your store, then cleanliness. If you can't handle these three things
then it's a wonder your still in business. Remember the people buying are
the "real" owners of your store..Without their money where would you be?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Parents beware!

I was surfing Myspace today when I looked to the left at my bulletins and saw a heading for "Attention Parents" . Clicking on the link I read a story about children playing the "Pass Out or black out Game"
This is really nothing new to teens or kids, I remember watching the neighborhood boys do it when I was a kid. A story aired on NBC this week, brought the "game" to a full front and put a number on how deadly the "game" can really be. According to the story more then 2 dozen children have died while playing the game. But that's not all, it is now believed that the number could be much higher due to children playing pass out alone at home. They use belts, rope, bike chains and locks to asphyxiate themselves. Many of these children's deaths have been written up as suicide.

Apparently, the high obtained from the pass out game is as addictive as any street drug or prescription and it's just as lethal. There are no average statistics of the children who are playing , because it's not a drug many kids don't see the harm in doing it. Even kids that are on the right track in life have been known to play.

SIGNS that you child may be participating
  • Blood Shot eyes
  • Unusual markings on the chest, neck and throat
  • Belts, ropes and other such items with strange knots in your childs room.
Other names
  • Black out
  • suffocation roulette
  • funky chicken
  • space monkey
  • flat liner
  • tingling
  • cloud nine
  • the dreaming game
  • choke out
How the game is played.

Within a group it is achieved by the child taking 4 deep breaths while leaning over, standing up against a wall and then a secondary person presses firmly on the chest until the child blacks out.
then everyone wakes the passed out person up.
Alone a child chokes them self with a slip knot.

I took this picture as a diagram, My husband IS NOT applying pressure here. this is how the children hold their hands to apply pressure.

Parents should be aware of this deadly game, And yes it happens here in the falls as well. Talk to your children about the dangers of this game, not only can it cause asphyxiation but heart attacks as well. The sooner you talk to them,
the better you will be. Children have died as young as the age of 9 with
this game.

Taking the "southern " route

Welcome to the newest project of the Great Falls planning board. A 7.5 mile "corridor" that
will run from Gore hill to Gibson Flat road. The road is meant to relieve pressure off of
10th avenue. (Stop...Rewind...restart) . Didn't we just have 3 lanes put onto 10th avenue
to relieve pressure? The fact is Great Falls may have a few hours of thick traffic a day, but
it is by far not Heavy Traffic.

The Southern Arterial as it is planned now takes out 13-21 homes in it's process. Sure, not
an enormous number, but really when your talking about a town with a population of about
56k, that's a good sized impact. 100-162 million dollars is planned to spent on this road.
With such a huge price tag in dollars and in homes are we really willing to build a road that
doesn't even go into town?

I personally would like to propose these questions.

1. How much relief is this road going to take off of 10th ave south?

2. In cost matters, is the road going to be able to pay for itself?

3. Will this road take away from business on 10th south?

Some people have stated that the southern arterial is a good move, taking bearing off truckers
and relieving traffic by elks riverside park. Lets revert again back to the fact that 10th has
3 lanes. I have seen in some cities that to resolve congestion trucks are to remain in one lane,
leaving 2 lanes for the flow of traffic.

Also currently trucks use the river drive as a truck route. Would it be possible to clearly mark an across town truck route using one of the bridges (10th st or 15th) divert trucks past walmart,
kmart and the j-bar, then back on to central? It seems a long way but really not as long as 7.5 miles.

I know I am concerned about the city just shoveling out the money from this road. We need more funding for schools and long term better jobs. I'm not against the Southern Arterial per se
but before we jump into 2 giant projects I think that the consequences need to be realized first.

South of Great Falls is some of the most beautiful property, Has the city checked for animal habitats? There is a bridge involved and river banks house bald Eagles, cranes , Swans, geese
deer, beaver etc etc. Has anyone bothered to take a trip to see if any of these animals are on the
sensitive, or endangered lists? Some of the lower areas house other habitats for fox, marmots
and other animals.

Then there is also the loss of homes. 13-21 homes the average Montana family is the size of 4
that 52-84 or more people who will be forced to leave their homes. Not to mention those who may end up having to give up some of their property.

It's sad when the dollars start flashing and the humanitarian aspect is lost.

Before building this road it is my opinion that the city should do a little more homework and listen to the voice of it's people before progressing.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Walter Bruenings 111th B-day Speech.

The worlds 4th Oldest person is Walter Breuning of Great Falls Montana.
Walter is the oldest living retired railroader as well as the second
oldest person in our Nation.

With all that under his sleeve you would think you would be looking at a
stooped over elderly man with little recollection of his past. That is not the case however,
The Tribune reports that Breuning appeared before the 'Free Masons" dressed
in a sharp out fit and with a sharp memory to boot. Here is his birthday speech
delivered to the Free Masons on his 111 birthday . (Speech given to the Tribune)

"Life begins each morning no matter if we are 10, 20, or more,
no matter whether we have succeeded, failed, or just muddled along.

Life begins today.

Life is a school.

The world is neither a prison nor a palace of ease but
a place of instruction and discipline.

This world has been formed, framed and furnished and
is a thing to be thankful for to all men and women alike.

Remember that life’s length is not measured by its hours and
days but by that which we have done therein. A useless life
is short if it lasts a century and asks nothing of us that
is not possible.

There needs to be much more of the spirit of fellowship
among us and more forgiveness.

The power of gentleness is too little seen in the world.

Men and women should take care that they learn. The use of
knowledge is to distinguish good from evil.

Knowledge is the more genuine and real of human treasures
for it is (to) light as ignorance is to darkness.

The good and evil we do contribute to form the character to
which we are to be judged.

How unworthy are the men and women who never did anything —
only lived or died.

To live free is a privilege. We shall be free when our days are
not without a care nor any nights without a want.

There is more here than the world we live in; an unseen and
infinite presence is here.

Who can separate his faith from his actions or his belief
from his occupation? Who can spread his hours before him,
saying, “This (is) for God, this for myself, this for my soul,
and this other for my body”?

If you would know God, be not a solver of riddles. Look about
you and you shall see Him playing with your children. Look
into space and you shall see Him walking in the clouds,
outstretching His arms in lightning and descending in rain.
You shall see Him smiling in flowers and kissing His hands
in trees.
Religion is natural for all people. Religion is power,
and this power is the invisible chain that binds the ranks
of mankind together. The thirst for power is never satisfied
by nations or people. All that ever existed has a basis for
truth. Let us ever remember the words of an old writer.

It is a pleasure to stand on the shore and to see ships
tossed upon the sea, a pleasure to stand in the window of a
castle and see a battle and the adventures thereof. But the
pleasure is comparable to standing on the vantage grounds
of truth and to see the errors and wanderings and mists and
tempests in the vale below.
So always, this prospect be with pity and not with pride.

Certainly it is Heaven upon Earth to have a man’s or woman’s
mind move in charity, rest in providence, and turn upon the
wholes of truth.

Lift mine eyes from Earth and let me not forget the uses of the stars.

Forbid that I should judge others lest (I) condemn myself.

Let me feel the glory of the world but walk calmly in my path.

Give me a few friends that shall love me for what I am.

Though age and infirmity overtake me, and I come not within sight of the
castle of my dreams, teach me still to be thankful for life and time’s golden
moments that are good and sweet. May the evening twilight find me gentle
still, and if you can remember me only with tears, then don’t remember me at all.
This is the day the Lord has made. We shall be glad and rejoice in it.

He has given us new opportunities, new arms, and new life.

Life begins today. What are you going to do with it?"

Walter had a run for the title of the worlds 4th oldest person last year
as Theresa Lamebull turned 110 on Sept.17 of last year. possibly, the oldest
Montanan, The oldest Gros Ventre indian, Theresa Lamebull died this Summer of
natural causes less then 3 weeks before her 111th birthday.

Paying it Forward

A special thanks to David from on this one and to the Montana Eltings
as well.

The Eltings posted a pay it forward blog in which Dave is giving out 3 GC's for for the first 3 participants who comment (THATS AWESOME!)
well now it's my turn, I don't have much in the way of funding to donate but the
first 3 people to comment and then pay it forward to 3 others will get a free
photo session and photo's from myself. Photography will be online pickup so
make sure you can log on.

Now, you don't have to pay it forward in money or prizes, Kindness goes
a long way these days, just make sure you can follow through and pay it

Make sure to leave your blog address here, I would love to see the other blogs around here!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

My Gift to You!

I'm not sure how many of you use, photoshop but as a gift
for "Blogtober" I have put together some Brush packs (free)
for you to use if you like. One of which is Halloween Themed!
Currently they are only for you guys and My myspace friends so enjoy!
Simply click the pic to go to the web page to get them!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Curb Appeal (even if your not selling)

I'm busy running errands today, But as I was driving around town I noticed a
number of homes for sale. The topic had already been addressed by Great falls
blogger Josh Hutchins , So it was fresh on my mind.

A lot of the homes I am seeing offer very little in the way of curb appeal, sure
many have well mowed yards and the edges have been trimmed. What I am
talking about is going the extra mile to "draw" in your buyers. A few welcoming
plants or shrubs at the corners of your driveway, The overgrowth on trees trimmed,
a fresh coat of paint on the patio. These are all cost effective ways to bring in the
buyer and even make a little more then to begin with.

I will be studying for my real estate license soon and afterwards I will be joining
a Seattle team of real estate agents, I look forward to my new career. The knack
has always been there however. I have worked in various ends of real estate and
I have loved every moment of it. So what can you do to make you home appealing
even if you are not selling.

1. (as Josh states) Mow your lawn!! It's like a palette waiting to be used,
but no artist starts with a dirty palette!

2. Pull the weeds (including the ones in the cracks of sidewalks and driveways.

3. Plant some low maintenance flowers or shrubs.
(my neighbor across the road just planted some tall ornamental grass
and added some rocks to the corner of her driveway
I can't believe how little effort and cost it took her to make her
home just POP like that, it's very appealing.)

4. Look at your porch, doors, window panes and trim..Is the paint peeling?
Add more paint a fresh coat can do wonders!

5. Trim the trees! Pine trees especially can grow into nasty looking knots
that destroy the grass they grow over, trim them back into a nice shapely tree,
your giving the tree the ability to grow "up" while saving your grass.

6. Remove eye sores! Old cars can be towed for free by the city, Last summers
kiddie pools are not nice to look at, If there is a swing set and it's peeling paint,
add a coat to it, You can grab a few cans of specialty spray paint at Aces.

It's really not a lot to do in the scheme of how much you will make from
your home. if your not moving, it gives you house a higher appraisal as
well as your neighbors homes. It is worth your time and effort.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Reaching for the skies with minimum wage!

  • OK, not really. But a minimum wage increase was approved for 2008. Now don't
    go filling out applications for a new house or car yet, the approval was only for 10 cents.
    According to KFBB TV the change comes in response to a cost of living increase.

    I'm not sure about the rest of you but the cost of living far outweighs the minimum
    pay in Montana. In my opinion I don't think 6.25 is near enough to cover the 495.00
    rent on most one bedroom apartments these days. Let alone cover, Utilities, transportations
    and the multiple insurances we need to survive and be law abiding.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Are Great Falls schools failing in more then one area?

As a parent and a writer, Education is at the top of my list of concerns.
Recently I had to send my eldest son to live with my sister so that he could
attend a better school. Why would I do such a thing? Whats wrong with the school
I was sending my son too?

The school my son attended is Lincoln Elementary school. The problems started very
early in his academic career. From being assaulted with books and rocks by an older
student to being left to deal with his reading block almost by himself. I feel the school
has failed my son miserably. Now at Sacajewea my son is doing much better and reading is
now his strong point.

For a long time I felt alone in the struggle with Lincoln. Until I learned of other parents
who felt the same way. One parent has a child who has a host of mental challenges, one
of which is symptimatic of distractions and outbursts. At one point the child misbehaved
he was made to go home for the day, the principal drove him and then took him to Ice
Cream at Dairy queen, unknown to his mother. That is not the way to handel a
situation that required being sent home.

Another circumstance tells of a teacher (same child) who made the class raise their hand
if they didn't want to be in the specified childs class. When children raised their hand the
teacher asked the students to tell the child why. My son came home crying telling me how
cruel the teacher had been to this other child, So I called the childs mother promptly.
The principle told the mother she would have to take the problem up with the teacher.
The teacher admitted the event saying she had a migraine and just couldn't deal with
the child. (lets put a little rewind on here) WHAT? Isn't that what teachers are trained

I myself have a son who is being tested for autism. He had an IEP from Headstart and
those papers were lost when he went into kindergarten, My copies lost in a basement flood.
I requested a new Iep and was refused or given the run around. Only this week (my son is
now a first grader) did the new school psych happily agree to help me. A year later.

Lincoln promotes a slogan of no bullying, yet the some of the teachers are bullies themselves.
How well can a child learn in an enviroment where they feel threatened by peers and adults?
When our children (numerous younger children) were assaulted by 2 older
boys with text books, It was left to us to contact police and the parent. At the end of the
school year 2006, lincoln was met with no less then 2 bomb threats. I will follow up that one
with an interview of Mrs. Kathy Johnson. I have been told that she did not deal with the
problem because the childs parents were somewhat threatening...but we will see what the truth is on that. While i am interviewing Mrs. Johnson I am going to ask questions pertaining to
other issues. If anyone has any questions they would like asked in the interview, I would be happy to ask for you and keep your name anonymous, simply mail me at

On a side note, I want to say that not all of Lincolns teachers are misguided. I want to throw
out a big thumbs up to teachers like. Mrs. Haines, Ms.Spragg. Ms. Combs, Ms.Vansickle. Ms, Thornton and there are others who I have not had the pleasure of meeting, I'm sorry I missed you on this list. There are teachers who make a good difference and ones who do not. I think that it is pointless to keep the ones who do not.

Great Falls Summer 2007 photo review.

In my writing , I try to bring attention to things that are normally taken for granted or are
common but need a different outlook. Photography is the same way for me. Here are some
pictures I took (some just snaps) over the summer. Enjoy!

A cool storm brings in much needed respit from heat, the storm also brought several fires.

July's sweltering heat brought a car on my block disaster.

My son plays at the Civic Center after the parade

Boys will be boys

Children rush for the cool of a fire engines spray

Arianna, a friends daughter smiles for the camera (4th of July parade)

A small girl shows her pride (4th of July Parade)

A bee takes a fragrant last breath before finding a beautiful resting place.

Sunflower at Gibson Park

A mother shows her child the fire safety dog (relay for life)

Rod Miller of the band Recoil decides he stage set up for relay for life.

Where the cars park (in style!)

Sunset over the Missouri river

Stray wheat alongside the Missouri.

All pictures By Janna Miller 2007

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Give em some "credit"!

A few years ago when applying for a job at Citi Mortgage here in the "Falls", I came across an
interesting question on my application. Will you allow Citi corp to review your credit before employment? I was a little taken aback, not to mention nervous, I had just come out of a
divorce where alot of our debts accrued were placed upon my head, I was looking for work after being a housewife for 2 years to pay off those debts.

Citi did accept my application and I joined the workforce happily. However my job there
was under contract as a temporary position. 9 months later my job came to term and I was
left seeking a permanent full time job. With a substantial amount of the (credit card and utility)
debts paid off, I was happy to find something I enjoyed. I'm a "rocker" at heart, I love music
in all it's forms. My friend was a manager at Hot Topic up in the mall and suggested
I come work for her. I put in my application , went through the meet and greet process and only minor sign on paper work was needed to be an employee.

After a time, the district manager took me aside and explained she could not employ me
because of my credit history. I explained about my divorce and that I had worked the last
9 months to pay off over 85% of those debts. She shook her head and referred to medical
bills that were accrued by my sons visit and stay at Benefis due to having RSV. Only
half of the bill was covered by my insurance the other half unknown to us had made it's way to credit.

The reason I was not employable is that I was a liability to the store. Never mind that
before staying at home with my kids. I had been a store manager for circle K and came
with good references (extremely dependable, comes in when needed, covers other shifts when no show) were only some of the references given by the district Manager, All of my registers
were always on and never a shortage. I was now a liability because of an illness.

Apparently this is a popular trend about 64% of the nations companies do it.
But what about the backlash? I can understand high tech and banks doing it. But in the
service industries where people who tend to have more debt (because of lower wages)
makes almost no sense. Most people are employed to pay off debts. Not everyone who
has debts are thieves or book roasters.

We have credit checks run on basic needs such as rentals and Jobs. What happens when
we start denying both of these because of credit? Will this trend lead to more unemployed
people living off tax dollars, low income housing and shelters? When does the government
put a foot in and say there are other ways to judge character? I am a little bitter because I
was denied, but I am no longer in a single family household and I supplement cost with
photography. But it is a worrisome thought when you think about it.

Addition to KFBB Story

When I posted the KFBB story a few days ago, I was not aware of a third person departing that day as well.
KFBB also says Goodbye to Julie Klesh , Anchor woman, reporter and News Director.
Julie will remain in the area and is pursuing other endeavors as well.

Monday, October 1, 2007


David at has presented bloggers as
well as non-bloggers with a celebration called Blogtober.
Well I for one love celebrations and any reason to have
a fun time and decorate or chat with friends is a good

Here are the ways that David suggests we celebrate

1. Create your own “Happy Blogtober” button or graphic for your site
2. Get one (or more!) of your buddies to become a blogger
3. Invite some guest bloggers to post
4. Spotlight a blogger that you admire, and explain why
5. Implement some nifty new blog-tool or plug-in
6. Give some pointers about blogging (writing, design, etc) so that new bloggers can better understand what it’s all about
7. Explain why you are a blogger: what it means to you, how it has affected your life, etc
8. If you’re not a blogger but have thought about creating a blog, now is the perfect time! If you need help, just let me know and I’ll walk you through it!


You don't have to blog about the news or important community issues, Blogs can be a journal of your life, recipes, poetry, short stories and thoughts.

Best of all, your already at a blog site. There are many choices out there. is only
one. So come join us in the celebration of blogtober! Once you have created your blog
send me an email at and I will list your blog with my site!