Existential Threat

We often hear the phrase ‘existential threat’ applied to various entities in various situations, but the meaning of that phrase is sometimes vague and misunderstood.

The modern state of Israel faces an actual existential threat right now, today, and has faced that threat every moment of every day since its establishment in 1948, being surrounded by nations dedicated to the destruction of her and her people.

It’s always been clear who the haters of the Jewish state and people are in the Mideast, but now the veil has been removed and we see clearly who the haters are in our own country, on our college campuses, in our cities, and even in the halls of Congress.

Pray for Israel and our Jewish brothers and sisters.

Pray for the United States of America.

How CPAs Can Help Your Business Grow

Whether you’ve decided to start a new business or you’re ready to take your existing business to the next level, it’s a good idea to enlist the help of a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

Many new small business owners make the mistake of thinking they can handle all of the financial aspects of their businesses themselves. While the average business owner can handle a certain amount of these tasks, it’s always better to have an experienced professional you can call on. Here are some of the things a CPA can help you with as you grow your business, brought to you by E-City Beat.

Laying Down a Strong Foundation

There’s nothing more important than starting your business the right way to ensure that all of the systems you set in place contribute to your success.

In terms of creating a strong foundation, a CPA will assist you with the following:

  • Determining the best business structure for what you’re doing, such as an LLC or sole proprietorship.
  • Analyzing the financial aspects of your business plan.
  • Help you choose accounting software that meets your needs.
  • Advising and assisting with your business bank account.
  • Ensuring that your accounting procedures are in line with government regulations and requirements.
  • Ensuring you understand the importance of maintaining separate business and personal expense accounts.

Essentially, a CPA can lay the groundwork for your business finances so that you have a blueprint to follow and refer to as you move forward with your operations.

Dealing With Ongoing Financial Tasks

Once things get going for your business, you’ll need to maintain the accounting system implemented by your CPA. However, you won’t be going at it alone as your CPA can take over the ongoing financial tasks necessary.

Some of those tasks may include:

  • Ensuring that the independent contractors you hired are classified correctly by the IRS.
  • Keeping you updated on your financial statements so that you have a thorough understanding of the nooks and crannies of your business.
  • Overseeing the payroll and payment processes for all employees.
  • Advising on the estimated tax payments you should be making throughout the year
  • Determining which employees should receive W2 and 1099 forms, and when.
  • Reviewing and finalizing your books to ensure that all your paperwork checks out before submitting your business tax returns to the IRS.

While you can do many of these tasks on your own, it’s best to delegate as many as you can to a professional.

Supporting Your Business’s Growth

When it comes time to grow your business, having a CPA on your payroll can be a critical resource as they can help you manage the entire process.

A few things they can do to support the growth of your business include:

  • Helping you determine which areas are prime for growth by providing insight on your cash flow patterns, inventory management, financing, pricing, and so on.
  • Advising you on equipment and property leasing and purchasing
  • Preventing you from getting audited by the IRS and helping you with the process should you get audited
  • Creating financial forecasts and a budget to help you make better business decisions
  • Assist you with the sale of your business if necessary

These are just a few ways that a CPA professional can work with you to help your business grow. You can choose to have them take care of all your accounting and financial tasks or just some specific ones that you’re unable to manage. Either way, they’re an asset to small business owners.

7 Questions For Great Falls City Commission/Mayor Candidates

Editors note: here is the text of a letter we sent to Great Falls City Commission/Mayor Candidates yesterday, 9/16/21. We will publish responses before ballots go out,

Greetings once again, Great Falls city commission/mayor candidates. 

‘Thank you’ to those of you who responded to our request for a candidate profile.

In order to more fully inform our readers about where you stand on specific local issues we would like to give you the opportunity to answer the following questions:

  1. Would you vote to increase the Great Falls Park District 1 assessment on local homeowners and businesses to cover financing costs if the City goes over budget on construction of the new Aim High indoor aquatics facility, if additional funding is necessary for the ongoing operations of the facility, or if the City Park & Rec Department requires additional resources to fund its regular programs and operations?
  2. Should the City’s official policy regarding the Big Sky National Heritage Area and its agenda be to support, oppose, or remain neutral? The City’s current policy is to support.
  1. Would you vote to support using City zoning regulations to prevent recreational marijuana shops from operating in Great Falls neighborhoods and business districts?
  1. Would you vote to send a local public safety levy to Great Falls voters in order to pay for additional law enforcement and local criminal justice system resources?
  1. Which is a greater priority for Great Falls – low income housing or workforce housing?
  1. Would you vote to allow development in proximity to the currently unused runway at MAFB?
  1. Do you support or oppose the proposed ordinance to prohibit long-term parking/storage of RVs, boats, and trailers on public streets in residential neighborhoods? 

We ask that your answers are clear and unambiguous and no more than one or two sentences per question.

Please send your responses in MS Word format to ecitybeat@straymoose.com by Monday, September 27. We will publish your submissions without edits or editorial comment.

Thank you and good luck in the upcoming election.

Philip Faccenda

Editor/Publisher E-City Beat

Heritage Area Opposition Accused Of Bribery By Commissioner Houck

A friend texted me Friday morning asking if I’d seen the latest Great Falls Tribune article about the National Heritage Area. I admitted I had not. It is behind a paywall, but here’s the link.

After reading the article, I thought this might be a new low for the Tribune—publishing an anonymous hearsay bribery accusation spouted by a Great Falls city commissioner. Actually, it may also be a new low for a Great Falls city commissioner.

In the article, City Commissioner Tracy Houck, who is also a former board member of the Big Sky Country National Heritage Area corporation, states she was “previously approached by someone who said that they were against the Heritage Area and in their conversation that person told her they were being paid by the opposition.”

She adds, “All I would ask is that we have an open dialogue that we have both parties invited to represent.”

I’ve been on the forefront of this NHA opposition since early in 2019. I’ve offered no one money to oppose the NHA nor have I heard of anyone doing so. Of course, I can’t vouch for every individual who opposes this NHA.

Still, an accusation of bribery to smear the NHA opposition is highly suspicious to me.

Unlike the National Heritage Area corporation, the NHA opposition is not a single formal organization; it is a grassroots effort of individuals and organizations opposing the imposition of yet another layer of federal government bureaucracy and the will of a non-governmental organization upon local government entities and private land.

City Commissioner Houck is irresponsibly passing along an anonymous, secondhand accusation of bribery against an unnamed entity or private individual(s) and the Tribune is irresponsibly printing it—that’s unprofessional and unethical for both parties.

Regarding Houck’s comment on meetings, her former organization, BSCNHA Inc, failed to support any open dialogue in their three so-called “community conversations” where the community wasn’t allowed to ask questions or comment during the meetings.

BSCNHA Inc gave presentations to some groups and organizations in order to gain their support, but then listed groups and organizations as potential partners in their Draft Feasibility Study that never expressed support for the NHA, like the Montana Grain Growers.

I and many others don’t want more so-called “community conversations” held by the BSCNHA corporation where members of the public have no voice.

I also don’t want BSCNHA Inc’s idea of an open dialogue where “we have both parties invited to represent” their views. Invited—that’s merely BSCNHA Inc handpicking who represents NHA opposition in order for them to control the dialogue in some quasi-stakeholder meeting.

Any and all members of the public have the right to be heard in open public forums on this important issue.

Foot In The Door: More Great Falls Cronyism?


In 2018, Great Falls’ only indoor swimming pool, the Morony Natatorium, or Nat as it was affectionately known, was closed after 52 years of service to the community. It replaced an older Natatorium which was demolished in 1963. You may be reminded of the original Nat with frozen haired students walking back from swimming class to Paris Gibson Junior High.

Both structures were plagued with structural problems resulting from poor soils conditions at the site.

A 2016 Park and Recreation Master Plan identified the need for a new aquatics and recreational facility and earlier this year the city learned of a possible grant that could bring the dream to reality. The Defense Community Infrastructure Pilot Program administered by the Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) provided the opportunity.

In short, the facility would also fill unmet training needs for Malmstrom and MANG airmen and contribute to the quality of life for airmen and their families. The pool and recreation center would be owned and operated by the City Park and Recreation Department and located on City property.

The City would fund 50% ($10M) of the project cost ($20M) using a portion of Park District One funding, and the Federal grant would provide another $10M.

As reported by The Electric, in May, City Manager Greg Doyon informed City commissioners that to complete the 18-page grant pre-application and develop early concept designs, a professional consultant would be needed to make a competitive application and that Park District money could be used to fund those services.

On June 16, in collaboration with MAFB, the City Commission authorized Mr. Doyon to submit a proposal to construct a new aquatics facility to the OEA.

Subsequent to the June 2, commission meeting where the City Manager was quoted as saying, “There’s a lot of hoops to jump through” relative to the Federal grant pre-application, City Park and Recreation Director Steve Herrig solicited proposals to complete the pre-application from three hand-picked architectural firms. A fourth invitation was made to a firm who contacted the Mayor.

Since the project was initiated without a public notice being issued, several local architectural firms were excluded from consideration.

By June 16, a joint venture firm and been chosen to complete the pre-application, and by the deadline of June 26, it was completed.

On August 10, the City of Great Falls was invited to submit a complete grant application due August 26.

Late in August the City advertised the Request for Proposal (RFP) for the architectural and engineering services for the $20M Aquatics and Recreation Center. Proposals were due September 21.

Ten firms submitted proposals, one was chosen by the selection committee and approved by the City Commission with a 4 – 1 vote on October 13. Ironically, the firm chosen was the same firm who was selected to complete the grant pre-application in June. At the meeting, two local architectural firms raised concerns about the City’s selection process.

Questions that need to be addressed:

  • Did the winning firm have an unfair advantage by having been awarded the unpublished pre-application commission in June?
  • Did the winning firm benefit from a longer time period to work on their design?
  • Why didn’t the only woman owned architectural firm receive affirmative consideration as required by Federal, and City requirements?
  • Why is the new facility planned to be located on a site with the worst soil conditions in the City?
  • Why did the City trade city park property for a swamp owned by the school district when a more centrally located city owned site with ideal soil conditions was available?
  • Why weren’t City Commissioners allowed to see the other nine design solutions?

Is the result that a “Foot in the Door” is good strategy, or is it just the “Good Ol’ Boys” at work again?

Local Company Offers Full Range Of Digital Transfer Services

Stray Moose Productions is a local one-stop audio-visual production, duplicating and transfer specialist.

“Why send your memories out of town when we can do it all right here in the Great Falls area?” – Stray Moose

Stray Moose Productions can transfer your VHS and SVHS video tapes of movies, home movies and other content to DVD for you quickly and affordably. They are located in Black Eagle.

They also transfer 8mm and 16mm home movies to DVD, Beta to DVD, and cassette, reel-to-reel and vinyl to CD.

Stray Moose Productions also does professional video work for your special events such as weddings and memorial services.

Call 406-727-6670 or email info@straymoose.com

They are located at 3 Anaconda Hills Dr., Black Eagle, MT – next to Anaconda Hills Golf Course and across from the Black Eagle Community Center.

Correction On Our Jon Tester Email Fundraising Blog Post

We just a call from the Montana Democratic Party informing us that the screenshots we provided of a fundraising email for Jon Tester do not match any fundraising email they have sent out.

We are triple checking with our source, the individual who sent us the email screenshots and text, to confirm what we were originally told as to the emails original source. We are also waiting for a statement from the Montana Democratic Party which we will publish as soon as we receive it.

In the meantime we have taken down the original post and offer our sincere apologies for posting the information we thought was accurate when indeed it may not have been.

City Of Great Falls Caves To School District



More trees to be destroyed at Great Falls High

Just when you thought the City of Great Falls was prepared to do the right thing and tell the school district that no more City trees would be sacrificed for the misguided alterations at Great Falls High, the City lifted the Stop Order and the Design Review Board approved the District’s plans.

DRB Chairperson, Dani Grebe was the only voice of reason, when she commented, “This isn’t all finalized and it is too early to vote if the plans are changing”.

In spite of the fact that GFPS plans are not finalized and are changing, City staff reported that the issues prompting the Stop Order have “been resolved”, and that the District’s plans are mostly consistent with City codes.

One condition included in the DRB’s approval was to examine the blocking of east-west pedestrian traffic along what was 4th Avenue South.

Presently, the connection of the Hub addition design would not allow pedestrians from east of GFH to access Memorial Stadium without traveling to either 2nd or 5th Avenues. Independent architects raised the concern at the June 13th meeting of the Historic Preservation Advisory Commission and cautioned that the District’s plan was not an example of good campus planning and that a better design solution exists.

In fact, the District’s own Seattle architectural firm wrote this concerning their work at Stadium High school in Tacoma, WA:

“Critical to the design was the physical separation of the addition from the landmark.” –Bassetti Architects

Doesn’t Great Falls High School deserve the same respect?

How could this all be happening?

One has to understand the “special” relationship between the City Commission and the Great Falls Public School District. In many respects, I think the school district has more influence on what goes on in Great Falls than does City government.

I’m sure City staff tries its best to uniformly apply City ordinances and guidelines, but when you are talking about the school district, the reality is that the process gets politicized. So, it would appear that streets will be altered, parks will be converted to parking lots, requirements for sidewalks and landscaping will be modified, trees will be destroyed, historic buildings will be degraded, or demolished, and rules will be enforced to the convenience of the school district.



Treasured Presidents Day Memories

This is a special time of year for me and my family. Presidents Day holds so much meaning and so many great memories for me even now as an adult.

When I was a kid, every year my brothers and I, with barely contained excitement and anticipation, would count down the days until that magical, magical day – Presidents Day! And now that I have children and even grandchildren of my own, the wonder and excitement is still there.

Of course almost as great as Presidents Day was Presidents Day Eve for my brothers and me.

It was a treasured tradition in my family that every Presidents Day Eve my dad would dress up like Lincoln and my mom would put on her George Washington nose and wig and we would fill a thermos with sugared hot tea and drive through town looking for all the streets named after presidents so we could gaze at the street signs all lit up by the street lights.

“Then, after we came home, us kids would get ready for bed. But we could barely sleep. Because the next day was Presidents Day and we knew that while we slept the current President, LBJ or Nixon at the time, would come to our house and hide one and five dollar bills for all good children.”

And oh what a glorious morning every Presidents Day morning was! We’d get up at 5:00 AM and search for the bills with Washington and Lincoln pictures on them.

Yeah, we knew we were just lower middle class kids and that some rich kids were probably finding Jeffersons and even Franklins (even though he was never a President). But it didn’t matter, we were just thrilled that another Presidents Day was finally here!

We’d spend the day enjoying our ones and fives while mom and dad lounged around in their pajamas drinking more sugared tea and preparing the big Presidents Day dinner, usually followed up with a dessert consisting of a chocolate cake shaped like the Whitehouse.

To cap off the evening dad would read the Gettysburg Address or Washington’s Second Inaugural. Then to bed we’d go and start the countdown for next year.

On this Presidents Day Eve, as I think back on those happy days, I can’t help but be a little sad. Presidents Day has become so commercial and shallow. It’s just a paid government holiday and excuse to have a Presidents Day Sale at mattress stores.

So I guess my biggest wish this Presidents Day is that we all take a moment to reflect and try to keep the ‘Millard Fillmore’ in Presidents Day.

Oh, and I’m sure that many folks are relieved, and many disappointed as well knowing that it’s Biden, not Trump,  who will be sneaking into your house and hiding Lincolns and Washingtons for the next four years…maybe.

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