Farewell, Carole

Heartbroken — my mother-in-law Carole Jean Stehlik Pratt passed away on Sunday.

She was an amazing woman — raised in Belt, college in Bozeman and Great Falls, an Air Force wife, a Pan Am wife, and mother to my wonderful wife and my sister-in-law.

Aside from the sorrow at her passing, I am touched by the professionalism and compassion of the Great Falls Police Department, Great Falls Fire Rescue, Cascade County Sheriff’s Office, and O’Connor Funeral Home.

When my wife and I found Carole on Sunday, we called 911. Within minutes, the firefighters, police, and Sheriff’s Deputy arrived, and they were the epitome of compassion and professionalism.

In particular, Officer Brinka of the GFPD and Deputy Baker of the Sheriff’s Office were kind and considerate.

The representatives from O’Connor Funeral Home arrived a short time later, and they, too, were compassionate.

On Monday, when we went to O’Connor to make arrangements, Todd and his crew ended our meeting by giving us a pan of lasagna…a very nice touch.

Thank you to everyone who has shown kindness in these difficult days.

Here is the obituary for Carole – may she rest in peace.

Carole Jean Stehlik Pratt

Carole Jean Stehlik Pratt

Carole Jean (Stehlik) Pratt, 79, passed away at her Great Falls home on Sunday, November 29, 2015 of natural causes.
At her request, no services are planned. Cremation has been conducted by O’Connor Funeral home.
Carole was born in Great Falls on February 20, 1936.
She was raised in Belt by Rudy and Lavina Stehlik. After graduating from Belt high school, she attended Montana State College in Bozeman, and then completed her bachelor’s degree in education at the College of Great Falls.
She taught at schools in HIghwood, Great Falls, and the California Bay Area.
In 1958, she married Melvin A. Pratt and was a loving Air Force wife during tours in Texas, Florida, and California before returning to Great Falls. Melvin then became a pilot for Pan Am.
Carole also served for many years as the secretary at the Westside Methodist Church in Great Falls.
Carole and Melvin had two daughters, Lisa and Krista, and raised them in Great Falls.
Melvin died in a Pan Am plane crash in 1974, and Carole devoted her life to raising her daughters and seeing them through college and marrying.
Carole very much enjoyed playing bridge with friends and traveling, and she was very proud of her Belt roots.
Carole was preceded in death by her husband and her parents.
She is survived by her daughters Lisa Prosperie (Kyle) and Krista Sherman (David).

NEW SBX!

At long last — a crack in the armor of the tyranny of 10th Avenue South! A new Starbucks has opened on the northwest side of Great Falls!

OK, it’s not a free-standing Starbucks — but it’s a legit SBX that can serve up my precious 10-shot iced espresso!

It opened yesterday inside the Albertsons on 3rd Street NW.

New SBX location inside Albertsons on 3rd Street NW!

New SBX location inside Albertsons on 3rd Street NW!

Now if I (or you) want to get a SBX beverage and you live or work or just happen to be on the NW side of town — no more driving across town — woohoo!

This brings to SIX the number of SBX locations in town:

Two free-standing stores — the first one at 10th Avenue South and 9th Street (opened in August 2005), the second opened last year at 10th Avenue South and 32nd Street.

One in the Barnes & Noble shop in the Great Falls Marketplace.

One in the Albertsons at 10th Avenue South and 23rd Street.

The new one inside the NW Alberstons.

And although I haven’t seen it, I’ve heard that there is one inside Target.

Yes, I do indeed love my SBX — and the awesome crew members that even surprise me during the holidays :-)

Category: around town | Tags: ,

Farewell, Moonshine Grill

Sad news — Shoot The Moon closed a few days ago. It was one of my regular “go to” restaurants in Great Falls.

It opened in early 2013, in the spot that used to be Macaroni Grill.

It was originally called the Moonshine Grill, but they changed the name to Shoot The Moon to avoid confusion with a Moonshine Grill in Texas.

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The food was pretty good, the service was fine, the atmosphere was generally nice, and it was very clean.

My wife and I usually ate there once or twice a month, usually on Saturday afternoons, because it was never very busy — although in hindsight, I suppose that was not a very good sign.

The theme was pretty cool — Prohibition-era pictures and theme. And it was unusually clean and spacious. We almost always had great service; I saw lots of complaints about service on the KRTV Facebook page when the news broke, but we usually had very nice, polite, attentive service. The kitchen was a bit slow at times — even when there weren’t many other customers — but the food was above-average in most cases.

My biggest complaint actually had nothing to do with quality or service — it was the music. The music was almost always “modern” country or pop — how the heck does that reflect “moonshine” or Prohibition-era stuff? They should have been playing Tin Pan Alley music!

I also really enjoyed being able to draw on the butcher-block paper that covered the tables with crayons – fun!

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And (sorry for the poor photo quality) I really loved this bison perched above the fireplace:

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Our last visit — in mid-September — featured a large group of the Red Hat Society. We noticed some of them using the crayons to write or draw something. They were having a wonderful time, and on their way out, a couple of the ladies smiled at us and we exchanged pleasantries.

Once they were gone, I took a look at some of their handiwork:

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In related news: the On The Border restaurant — same owner as Shoot The Moon, located in what used to be Tony Roma’s — also closed last week. We ate there once; it was meh, nothing special.

“Our Media Has Failed Us”

Wow. This is one of those “What the heck?” comments that just absolutely baffle me.

This person posted on the KRTV Facebook page:

Why is it that these days elections are seemingly kept quiet until the election has passed.We should be hearing from those that wish to govern US for weeks beforehand.This way WE can make A good and productive vote. I did not even know we had an election and I am disabled and watch TV all day long???These elections are as shady as the people in them. The only way to have an effective election is to have EVERYONE know the FACTS. OUR MEDIA HAS FAILED US once again.I guess WE are to only know the results of elections NOT the CONTENT nor INTENT. This is sad because there are 2 News stations in town. Ch 3 KRTV Great Falls and Ch 5 news.

Where to begin?

Well, first of all: dude, you’re ON FACEBOOK, which means that you have the ability to visit the websites of KRTV, the Great Falls Tribune, and KFBB, and read the many articles about the primary election and the candidates. You also have the ability to visit the Facebook pages of the news outlets AND the candidates that have profiles pages. You also have the ability to visit the websites of any candidates that have such.

Second of all: ALL media outlets in Great Falls have run articles over the last few months about the election. KRTV has aired several stories, the Trib has published several articles — including candidate profiles, and all of the information was posted online, too.

In addition, the City of Great Falls website has posted information about the election.

And this bit: “I did not even know we had an election and I…watch TV all day long???” Um…what were you watching?

If you think “OUR MEDIA HAS FAILED US once again,” you are just plain wrong. YOU have failed to pay attention.

For instance: KRTV aired and posted an article on July 1st stating that the filing deadline for the election was approaching. Last week, KRTV aired and posted an article telling people that there was just one week left until the primary election.

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And here’s a screenshot of the Trib site showing some of the results for “candidate profile” search; the Trib did a good job with the profiles. Granted, the Trib hides stuff behind a paywall, but if the election is so important to Keith, then ponying up a few bucks for access shouldn’t be a deal-breaker. There is also the option of actually buying a dead-tree newspaper; I’ve heard that you can even have it delivered right to your front door.

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The Burger Bunker

Remember a few years ago there was a “hot dog war” in Great Falls? There were three hot-dog themed eateries in town, all fighting for your hard-earned dollars. Sadly, the best of the lot — the Downtown Dog House — didn’t survive, and hot dogs overall seem to have been relegated to the bottom rung of the food-chain ladder in our fair community.

But! There’s now a battle of the burgers in Great Falls, of sorts. Several weeks ago, the Roadhouse Diner opened, and its star attraction is an ever-changing menu of tasty burgers and home-made fries. It’s a kick-ass place, full of energy, good cheer, and delicious food — although I think their breakfast offerings are even better than the burger menu.

The Burger Bunker

The Burger Bunker on 2nd Avenue North

And about two weeks ago, the Burger Bunker officially opened, and it is good, good stuff. It’s in the community rec center on 2nd Avenue North, in the space that used to be the Good Eats restaurant (which is relocating to the Columbus building next month).

The Burger Bunker is a military-themed restaurant, and the menu reflects it, with burgers called the Panzer, the Malmstrom, the B-52, the Desert Fox, and such.

Mack is the usually the guy who will greet you and take your order — super friendly, big smile, and always ready with a quip or joke.

Of course, I always opt for a plain cheeseburger — with bacon, if available — and I am happy to say that the Burger Bunker delivered a direct hit (get it?). I’ve been there (don’t laugh) four times since they opened, and have been very satisfied each time. In fact, the burgers have actually gotten better on each visit. My wife really enjoyed the Panzer — it’s basically a Reuben squeezed into a burger.

The french fries aren’t quite as good as the burgers, unfortunately — they are OK, but not great. Certainly passable, but make no mistake: the star attraction is the burger. That’s in contrast to the Roadhouse Diner, where the burgers are great, but the fries are phenomenal.

Also of note: they have something called a “cooler” on the menu — never heard it called such, but it’s basically a thin milkshake in your choice of cola, root beer, etc. I’ve had a cola cooler on each visit, and it is absolutely heavenly.

Another bonus: the Burger Bunker is open from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. Monday-Saturday. AND you can have it delivered, via Cafe Courier. In fact, on my last two visits to the Bunker, they were doing more delivery business than in-house business — at one point, they had two Cafe Courier drivers in there picking up orders.

Overall: hell yes, get down there and try a burger.

Also: read what Vernon had to say.

Burger Bunker: Website. Facebook.

And now for the pictures:

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GIFfy!

Just discovered a few days ago that my (awesome) Droid Turbo can create animated GIFs — here’s one featuring a few photos from things I’ve seen on the job in the last couple of weeks.

newsgif

I also learned that my Turbo also has some fun video-editing tools — one of which I applied to this brief clip from a recent trip to the dog park:

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