Category Archives: Great Falls Montana

Prime Location

Heck of a location!

Heck of a location!

What should be built on the space currently occupied by this decrepit building? Wait, don’t tell me: a mattress store! Or a bank! Or a casino!

Kidding.

Actually, “what should be built there?” is not the right question.

The question is actually: Will the City of Great Falls force the owner to do something about it?

City officials will discuss this week a resolution which states that “…if the owner fails to abate said nuisance as ordered and within the time allowed, the City Staff is directed to take any and all steps necessary to abate the nuisance with all expenses to attach as a lien against the property.”

I agree that the building is pretty much an eyesore – and it has also sparked the imagination of many, many people over the years.

The location – right along the west bank of the Missouri River by the Central Avenue bridge – seems ideal for many ventures — a riverside restaurant, for instance, or perhaps an events center.

And when this news article was posted on KRTV, people weighed in with their answers to the first (but incorrect) question.

Among the suggestions:

Holly Gordon: Turn it into something so that the high schoolers and young adults have some else to do in this town.

Mamie Ann Webster Carter: This would make a beautiful restuarant, overlooking the river, patio for outside dining. Great Falls needs good restaurants with good service.

Desiree Boothe: I would love love love to see it be turned into a reception hall for weddings! I think it could be turned into a beautiful place! Especially since Great Falls has NOTHING like that in town.

Nikki Pearson: I wish there was a way to save this building.. It would make a great spaghetti factory! It’s a neat looking place but needs something done with it.

Zaeda Denae June: My mom always wanted to do kayak and bike rentals, a small arcade, smoothie/coffee bar and like an info center & little family fun area there. A little of everything for everyone.

Corey Hughes: I wish we had a comedy club here, its a nice spot though kinda limited parking if you planned something there. Curious what of will become.

Patty Kelly Morris: I thought maybe an ice/skating rink or a very nice steak house or sushi place

So there’s a sampling of what people think.

As for me: well, sure, it would be cool to have that spot used for something…cool.

But unless someone is willing to give me several million dollars to turn it into the coolest Starbucks / skating rink / art gallery /events center, the decision is up to Ken Holman, the owner of the property.

Crimestoppers (August 2016)

Tyler Valley nancy

Great Falls/Cascade County Crimestoppers has released the August 2016 “Most Wanted” list.

If you have information about the location of any of the people on the list, you’re asked to call the 24-hour Crimestoppers Hotline at 727-TIPS (8477).

If you believe that any of the information contained on the list is inaccurate, call the Cascade County Sheriff’s Office at 406-454-6820 Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Anyone who uses information contained in the list to commit a criminal act against someone else is subject to criminal prosecution.

Click here for the Crimestoppers page on Facebook.

(PS – you can meet Tipper, the adorable Crimestoppers mascot, on August 9th at Lions Park!)

TIpper the Crimestoppers mascot!

TIpper the Crimestoppers mascot!

14 Years!

Today marks 14 years since I arrived in Great Falls. I truly can not put into words how happy it makes me. A few months ago, at about 13 years + 8 month, this officially became the place where I have lived longer than anywhere else in my life (although that previous record was set during two periods in one hellish location).

As a military brat who then spent 20 years on active duty, “home” was never a tangible, concrete thing for me – I had a vague understanding of what it meant, and knew that other people had a “home,” but until I arrived in Great Falls, the true nature and feeling of “home” was something I honestly never thought I would feel.

If you know me, or have been checking out my blog over the years, you know how much I love Great Falls, and how I fell in love with this community literally within days of arriving.

I believe the first meal I had in Great Falls was at the Apple Mill Grill (in the mall parking lot); it became Fiesta En Jalisco a few years later. The next evening, I had Howard’s Pizza – ’nuff said.

Thank you so much, Great Falls and Montana, for being the only place that I have ever lived that truly feels like – and is – home.

Here is one of the very first photos I took after arriving in Great Falls (on a then-fancy 640x360px camera phone!).

bigsky

A Facebook post about “faggots” in Great Falls

This screenshot is making the rounds in Great Falls today:

mikelenahan

Did Big Mike really post this on Facebook? Let’s consider some of the possibilities.

1. Big Mike left his computer (or phone, tablet, etc) unattended somewhere, and one of his buddies did it as a joke. Hey, it happens. People do that sometimes when a friend leaves their phone on a desk or table and steps away, or is distracted for a few minutes. I’d put the likelihood of this at about…25%

2. Big Mike’s Facebook account was hacked. This is within the realm of possibility. Likelihood: 10%

3. Big Mike did indeed post this, but he meant it in a joking way; you know, making fun of haters, mocking them. But if this is true, then he forgot to give any clue that it was a joke. Likelihood: benefit of the doubt here – let’s say 35%

4. Big Mike did post it, and absolutely meant every word. Odds: 30%

5. ISIS created a fake Facebook profile for someone named “Mike Lenahan” in Great Falls several years ago, and is using this weekend’s Big Sky Pride event to finally launch a hateful attack. Likelihood: Nope.

The screenshot has been passed around to several people on Facebook, and someone sent it to Joe Briggs, one of the Cascade County Commissioners, and also to the Cascade County Undersheriff. That’s because Big Mike apparently is an officer at the Cascade County Detention Center.

If Big Mike really did post this, and meant it, then it is indeed disturbing: someone who uses the words “faggots” and “homo” in this manner who is in charge of supervising inmates…um, that is not good. Imagine a jail employee (or any public employee, in fact) posting something similar about (for instance) black people: “Damn niggers all over Great Falls…”

Is Mike entitled to his opinions? Absolutely! Is he entitled to voice them or share them online? Of course!

I get it: some people don’t like gay people, for some reason(s). Maybe fear, maybe disgust, maybe repressed homosexual desires – whatever.

But bashing gay people and calling them names simply because they exist? Sorry, but this is the year 2016, and the days when that was acceptable thankfully are long, long gone.

BUT. Public employees – paid with tax dollars, working for and on behalf of all citizens – are usually held to higher standards of public discourse. So people being outraged by Big Mike’s post (assuming, of course, that he is responsible) are justified in their anger. If someone saw a similar Facebook post written by, say, a barista, or farmer, or insurance agent, well…the reaction might have been disgust, or anger, or sadness, etc.

But a public employee in a law enforcement role posting something like this…that’s a bit different – as evidenced by what appears to be the reply from Joe Briggs, according to this screenshot:

briggs

IF this is all true. Remember, this is just a screenshot – we don’t know what kind of comments or explanation exist below that post.

PS: And whether this specific instance is true or not, it highlights the importance of Pride events. Similar to the civil rights movement in the 60s – an entire group of people who have been marginalized, de-humanized, criminalized, attacked, harassed, beaten, and literally killed, finally standing up to say “No more!” And joined in their struggle by people who were/are not black/gay/etc.

The word “pride” does not necessarily mean “pride” in the sense that someone is literally proud of something they have no control over (being black, being gay, etc), but rather as a counter to the word that society has used to label them for so long: shame.

(UPDATE: in response to some of the comments on my Facebook post about this — even if this is true, I don’t think he should lose his job. Education/training, yes, but not fired)

UPDATE: I have confirmed a couple of things: first, that he posted this NOT out of hatred, bigotry, etc — he meant it in a joking way for someone who is close to him who is gay. Second, his employer did look into it and found no evidence that any laws or personnel regulations were broken. I have also been assured that he is an outstanding detention officer with no reported incidents of unfair treatment to any person or group.

Great Falls Cosplayer: Marlesa Popp

I had the pleasure of meeting Marlesa Popp today – some of you may know her (or of her) from her “Miss Mouse Cosplay” page on Facebook, or have seen her at events dressed as one of her creations.

Great Falls Cosplayer: Marlesa Popp

Great Falls Cosplayer: Marlesa Popp

She was delightful to talk to — very passionate about her craft!

We talked about the increasing popularity and acceptance of cosplay – it used to be kind of a purely geek thing, in terms of public perception, but thanks to the surge of super-hero movies and TV shows (Batman, Wonder Woman, Dr. Who, even Big Bang Theory), the explosion of video games, and the massive cultural phenomenon of comic and sci-fi conventions, cosplay is pretty much everywhere now – even right here in Great Falls!

We also talked about some early influencers on her love of cosplay, and threw around some names such as Piers Anthony, Terry Brooks, Jim Butcher, etc.

She was also very passionate about explaining how supportive and positive the cosplay community is; she thrives on the positive vibes.

I was happy to see her response to my half-baked idea for a “Halfway To Halloween” party held every year on the last Saturday in April. Seriously – why isn’t this a thing yet?

Here’s the article I wrote up about Marlesa — and if you feel inclined, you can vote for her in the “The Next Level of Cosplay” contest that she is competing in.

It would be cool to see her win!

RIP, Hoagieville

Very sad news — Hoagieville has closed its Great Falls location. I saw an awful lot of hate on social media when it was announced — a lot of people didn’t like it, for some reason.

I did like Hoagieville — was rarely my first choice, primarily due to location, but the burgers, chicken, breakfast tacos, and fries were pretty darn good. And contrary to what I heard from so many people, the service was pretty awesome – super-friendly staff.

But I know the restaurant struggled during its 18 months in Great Falls — they tried advertising, they tinkered with the menu, they lowered some prices, but it just never worked.

Hoagieville was and is a big deal in Missoula, but just couldn’t catch fire here in Great Falls.

Thanks, Hoagieville – you tried, and I appreciated it!

So the next question is…what will move into the space? Before Hoagieville, it was a KFC. And given KFC’s summer-time re-opening on the west side (and much better than before!), could it once again be a KFC?

Hoagieville in Great Falls

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