Thursday Apr. 24, 2014
News & Feature Stories
Mike Sciarrotta, a freshman at Glacier High School, works on an assignment to build cross-cuts during an intro to engineering design class. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

Schools everywhere are trying to keep up with the digital revolution, which has redefined the range of opportunities that now exist in the classroom but has also forced educators to retool or fall behind.

“There is not a student in our schools who has not been raised without technology,” Kalispell Superintendent Darlene Schottle said. “It’s a natural extension of how they learn and how they interact. And if we are going to keep our education system relevant and up to date, we need to also interact with that technology.”
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From left: Ethan Welder, Dustin Leftridge, Allan McGarvey, Jon Heberling, John Lacey and Roger Sullivan. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

As a young but established trial lawyer, Dale McGarvey recalls staring up at the rust-colored thickets of lodgepole pine on Teakettle Mountain, which towers over Columbia Falls near Glacier National Park, puzzling over their transformation from verdant green to denuded brown.

Then came the reports of deer, squirrels and other wildlife, all showing signs of malformed bones and teeth. Cattle that ranged in the area were buckling to their knees because of spurring in their joints.
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Jacob, 10, makes a face as his mother, Summer, gives him a hug while playing after school at Woodland Park on April 10. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

Jacob is playing on the jungle gym at the park in Kalispell. He is 10 years old, with dark hair, light blue eyes and the sweet roundness to his cheeks that will soon disappear into the sharper angles of an adolescent face.

Wearing running shoes, shorts, a T-shirt with the name of one of his favorite video games, and a hooded sweatshirt covering his head to protect him from the sun, Jacob is in constant motion at the playground, vacillating between the jungle gym and the conversation he’s having with the visitors his mom brought along.

Jacob is extremely intelligent, spouting off facts about space and time dimensions, and talking through the favorite parts of the video games he enjoys; if he gets stuck on a descriptive word, he starts singing the melody played in the background of the game during that part to help explain.
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Campaign signs along U.S. Highway 93 near Whitefish. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

The Flathead County Commission will make a decision on April 25 about removing time restraints for political signs on zoned county land.

The decision will come as part of approving 10 amendments to the Flathead County Zoning Regulations. The entire zoning regulation document has been under revision in multiple Flathead County Planning Board workshops since last year.
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A K9 search and rescue unit from Lincoln County spent three days looking for bodies in the Oso, Wash. mudslide. Contributed Photo.

Every time the whistle blew, dozens of searchers would stop, remove their helmets and turn towards its source. Another body was being pulled from the muddy tomb of the Oso slide.

“It was an emotional thing,” said Terry Cooks, a member of David Thompson Search and Rescue and part of a team from Lincoln County that traveled to Washington to help find victims of that state’s deadliest natural disaster since the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens.
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Railroad tracks slice through downtown Kalispell. Beacon file photo

As city officials strive for nearly $10 million in federal grant funding, Kalispell’s core area redevelopment plan continues to materialize.

The expansive revitalization project could begin transforming parts of downtown within five years by replacing the railroad tracks with a pedestrian pathway and reconnecting disjointed streets and neighborhoods into a cohesive grid, according to city staff.

The projects, which are primary components of the Kalispell Core Area Revitalization Plan, are hinging on a few factors and funding sources, including a federal grant that could launch the entire enterprise into motion.
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Arvon Fielding wields a glass jar of dead honeybees during a Flathead City-County Health Board meeting on April 17. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

A Flathead City-County Board of Health meeting on April 17 had a not-so-sweet outcome for one Kalispell beekeeper.

Arvon Fielding of Never Give Up Apiary in Kalispell has been told he can no longer sell his bees’ raw honey at local farmers markets because of a new interpretation of state code by the Montana Department of Health and Human Services, which requires him to obtain a retail food license. In March, Fielding was denied a license after county health inspectors visited his facility and deemed it inadequate.
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Susan Storfa's property after the 2010 landslide, as seen from below the bluff in Village Greens. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

A district court judge has ordered that the Flathead County Commission can take no further action on a federal grant that would provide a group of homeowners with money to mitigate the erosion of a bluff near Whitefish Stage Road.

Last month, the commission voted to stop the process of a $400,000 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant. FEMA had agreed to pay $298,000, and the homeowners whose property is in danger of sloughing away paid the matching $102,000.

The county's role would have been to manage the funds, which the commission agreed to in November, 2013. But the decision to stop the grant process has put the federal funds in limbo.
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