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  • Sentinel High principal, vice principal suspended

    By KECI Staff
    Published On: Sep 01 2014 12:05:03 PM MDT
    Updated On: Sep 01 2014 02:27:27 PM MDT
    sentinelstaff
    MISSOULA, Mont. -

    Missoula school district administrators confirm the principal and vice principal of Sentinel High School have been suspended for five days.

    Tom Blakely and Libby Oliver were suspended starting last Friday.  Their suspension will be complete this Friday, September 5.  Their first day at work is expected to be Monday, September 8.

    Officials would not elaborate on what sparked the suspension.  All district Spokesperson Hatton Littman would tell us was the two were suspended for a "violation of board policy."

    We asked for more specific information, but Littman explained this is an ongoing personnel matter and other details may become available later in the week.

    For now, Assistant Principal Brian Fortman will be handling administrative responsibilities at Sentinel.

    Littman says the district will also add some administrative support.

  • Man dies after shooting at Missoula strip club

    By Scott Zoltan, KECI Reporter, szoltan@keci.com
    Published On: Sep 01 2014 08:10:18 AM MDT
    Updated On: Sep 01 2014 07:19:07 PM MDT
    MISSOULA, Mont. -

    One man is dead after a shooting outside a Missoula strip club.

    Missoula police responded to the Fox Club shortly after 1 a.m. Monday, after a 23-year-old Louisiana man was reportedly shot in the chest by a 27-year-old man.

    "Initially, witnesses have stated that a confrontation began in the parking lot at that location; a confrontation that quickly became physical as one male began assaulting the other through the open driver’s side window of his vehicle. The confrontation ended after one of the males apparently fired one round from a handgun, striking the other male," said Missoula Police Public Information Officer Travis Welsh in a press release.
    The 23-year-old man was taken to the hospital where he died as a result of the gunshot wound.

    Welsh said police have not arrested the 27-year-old shooting suspect. The man reportedly identified himself as the shooter and turned over his weapon to police.

    "My understanding is that the confrontation actually occurred out in the parking lot, that nothing started inside and moved outside. There's also no indication that these two males were acquainted prior to the incident," said Welsh.

    Around noon on Monday, people were still waiting to get their cars out of the parking lot, from behind the yellow tape.

    One woman told NBC Montana she was inside the club when the shooting happened, and that the music drowned out the gunshot.

    "It was incredibly scary, I thought someone had gotten shot inside of the club," said Missoula resident Katie Turner.

    "As soon as it happened it was well-known inside of the club. People kind of started freaking out, like it had happened inside of the club and mass people were rushing out of the club, so we all knew something was wrong," said Turner.

    Welsh said the gun in the incident is a revolver, and it is not known at this time whether the shot was fired from inside a vehicle.

    Anyone who may have witnessed the incident, but has not yet spoken to police, is asked to contact Missoula Police Detective Mitch Lang at (406) 552-6292, or Detective Bob Franke at (406) 552-6643.

  • Reality show boosts restaurant business in Plains

    By Heidi Meili, Anchor, hmeili@keci.com
    Published On: Sep 01 2014 09:06:30 PM MDT
    Updated On: Sep 01 2014 11:04:40 PM MDT
    MISSOULA, Mont. -

    The cable TV series "Restaurant Impossible" recently featured two western Montana restaurants on its national reality show.  

    We wanted to know how much help a TV makeover can give a Montana restaurant.

    The show and its producers wouldn't tell us how many restaurants stay open once the show has finished the makeover, but when you look at its western Montana success rate, it's 50 percent.  

    Before the fall of 2013, Heather's Country Kitchen in Plains was only seeing around 70 customers a day.

    "We had some really slow days, where it was like, I don't even know why we have the doors open," owner Heather Worrall told NBC Montana.

    Enter "Restaurant Impossible." It started with a remodel of the quaint roadside stop.

    According to customer Mary Egbert, "It was ok.  It had some Montana things to it, but this is clean and nice."

    Then the show took on the menu.  Chef Robert Irvine added new items like elk and bison burger.

    "Oh, it's gotten better.  The variety is better," explained customer Wayne Egbert.

    Doug Simpson said, "The service has been fantastic. They are cheerful and smiley and make sure I have everything I want.  In here, it is nice."

    Worrall also focuses on fresh foods.

    "Believe it or not, frozen is more expensive than fresh.  So we try to keep things as fresh as possible," she said.  

    We tried one of Heather's most popular items -- chicken fried steak.  The gravy was delicious.  When asked for the recipe, Worrall said no way.

    She told us the reality show boosted sales at least 40 percent.

    "In the summer, we are having 100-150 people coming through here.  Especially on the weekends, we get a lot.  We're busy from the time we are open until the time we close. "

    Not everyone believes that a whirlwind makeover on television is enough to make a restaurant succeed.

    Flathead Valley Community College Executive Chef and food writer Howard Karp told NBC Montana, "It's hard for me to think anything can be turned over in 48 hours when it takes a long period of time to make a restaurant really work.   Maybe in that time period it worked, but Robert leaves, and it could fall apart quite fast."

    "Restaurant Impossible" transformed the Rising Sun Bistro in Kalispell but the business has since closed.

    The owners didn't want to talk to us.

    Restaurant managers nearby say the bistro struggled with issues like wait time.

    Francois Zanni is the chef at North Bay Grille.  He explained, "The ladies were very good at what they did.  The food was excellent. They had a great following when they were in Whitefish, but getting people from Whitefish to come down here wasn't the easiest thing.  When you do the quality of food and everything is fresh and cooked to order, when you go from a smaller place to a bigger place, if you don't have the right staff to do it, food is going to take longer and a lot of people just don't want to wait anymore. "

    Whatever type of food you serve, the chefs and managers we spoke to agree knowing Montana's unique clientele is key.

    "Canadians visit us, so we have a bit of an international flavor.  So there is another way of opening up the concept of people who do visit you.  We are a big area for tourism, so we get people from all over the country as well as the world visiting Glacier.  So that helps add to who we can be in the valley here," Karp added.

    So far, that's paying off for Heather's Country Kitchen, where you can get an elk burger with a side of Worrall's super-secret gravy.  

    Heather's Country Kitchen still struggles with the winter months, but Worrall hopes a firmer management style and keeping the menu new and fresh will keep business flowing enough to stay open for a long time.

  • Big Sky school employee arrested in Gallatin Co.

    Published On: Sep 01 2014 04:35:26 PM MDT
    BIG SKY, Mont. -

    The following is a press release from Superintendent Jerry House of the Big Sky School District:

    We are saddened to report an employee of the Big Sky School District, Mr. Cyle Kokot, has been arrested and detained by the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office.  He has been arrested for two counts of sexual intercourse without consent.   People will have questions about this incident but complete answers cannot be provided at this time as the district continues to work in cooperation with the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office.  Please have faith that a “no comment” response does not mean a lack of action.  This issue is being addressed with all the District and Board resources.

    Due to our legal responsibility to protect the rights of all parties involved, we are unable to provide any additional information.  This is an ongoing investigation in which we are fully cooperating with the legal authorities.

    Please be advised that counselors and administrators will be available to meet with teachers, students and parents as needed.

    The counselors will be available at Big Sky School District locations from 9am to 3pm on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday September 3-5th.   The Big Sky School District Superintendent, Mr. Jerry House, may be contacted at any time on 406 995-4281.

    Any questions regarding the investigation can be referred to the Sheriff’s Office.

    "It is incomprehensible to us as a school and community that this alleged behavior could occur”, said Superintendent Jerry House.   “Please be assured that our staff and teachers are preparing for school opening as scheduled”

  • Rescue crews continue search for missing MSU student

    By Jennifer Ready, Reporter, jready@ktvm.com
    Published On: Sep 01 2014 10:37:34 PM MDT
    Updated On: Sep 01 2014 11:04:58 PM MDT
    ENNIS, Mont. -

    Search and rescue crews suspended the search Monday evening for a missing Montana State University student who disappeared while swimming Monday afternoon.

    Madison County Undersheriff Roger Thompson said deputies, firefighters and search and rescue workers scrambled to Ennis Lake around 1:30 Monday afternoon after reports that a 19-year-old MSU student went missing while swimming in the lake.

    Thompson said the man was swimming with a group of friends when they saw him struggling. He went under once but came back up. However, Thompson said the second time he disappeared underwater he did not resurface.

    "It appears that everybody seemed to be fairly experienced as far as swimming, but for some reason he was having difficulty," said Thompson.

    Around 3 p.m. Monday, the Madison County Sheriff's Office called in the Gallatin County Search and Rescue dive team to help look for the student. The lake is one the team is familiar with.

    "The diving team has been down there before," said Thompson. "We've used them for actual events and they've also done training down there. So as far as experience gets, they are a very experienced team."

    Thompson said the area where the man disappeared isn't far from the dam, which can produce a current. He added the water there is fairly deep.

    "The water is probably 30 to 40 feet deep on average, " he said. "It can get deeper in some spots, because it narrows down towards the dam and gets deeper."

    The student's name and where he's from have not been released.


    Thompson said there is still no sign of the student. They had to suspend the search Monday night because of poor visibility and underwater debris. He said they will continue the search Tuesday morning.

  • Man dead after shooting outside Missoula strip club

  • Rescue crews continue search for missing MSU student

  • Brooke's First Alert Video Forecast

    Another pleasant day is on tap for the second day of September. Ample sunshine with high temperatures in the low to mid 70s.

  • Reality show boosts restaurant business in Plains

  • Authorities continue search for missing Stevensville man