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Work begins on feasibility study for Missoula Fairgrounds changes

(MISSOULA)- Work has started on a study which should help community leaders decide what future developments are feasible at the Missoula County Fairgrounds. And that could help refine ideas that have ranged from expanded ice sports to a multi-events center.

For the past three years, the Missoula County Fairgrounds Advisory Committee has been working through a long list of concepts for the fairgrounds' future, from new new facilities like a year around events center, to more updated facilities for agriculture activities and the Western Montana Fair.

However, throughout those discussions the question keeps coming up of what will actually fit on the existing acreage. 

The new report is being handled by a Minnesota-based consultant and is scheduled to wrap up in May. Consultant Rod Markin told the committee Monday the study will not only analyze existing buildings and facilities, but other factors like population growth, and marketing of an events center or other new developments. 

The report is set to be finished in May. 


New Missoula department store to start hiring process

(MISSOULA)- It's still going to be a while before the store opens, but managers with Kohl's Department Stores say they're ready to start hiring people to work at their new Missoula location. 

Kohl's is the last anchor store to open in the new South Crossing development, joining Cabela's and other retailers who have opened over the past year. 

Kohl's announced Monday it's starting to recruit for about 100 part-time positions at the new store, starting on Saturday January 10th and continuing through Wednesday, January 14th. 

Positions at the new store will include register operations, department associates, customer service associates, early morning freight unloaders and evening ad set associates. 

The company has posted full information on the openings at the company's website.

The new Missoula Kohl's will open in March


Sands holds on to win Missoula recount

(MISSOULA)- Diane Sands of Missoula will be heading to the State Senate after holding on to win a hand recount in Missoula County.

Sands had the edge after the results of the November General election. But challenger Dick Haines thought there might have been a problem with a few of the ballots and petitioned the Montana Secretary of State's Office for a hand recount.

Missoula County elections staff started the recount Thursday afternoon, continuing into Friday. Finally on Monday, it was was announced the outcome hadn't changed. Sands wins 3,932 to 3,897. 

The recount didn't reflect any animosity between the two candidates, who were seen hugging and joking with one another after the first tally of the ballots last month. 

Haines paid for the hand recount. 


Report: Missoula housing market strong, sales off slightly

(MISSOULA)- The latest report on the Missoula housing market shows home sales remain strong in 2014, although deals are running behind the pace we saw last year. 

The Missoula Organization of Realtors say the changes are actually driven by a combination of factors, including fewer homes on the market, higher interest rates and last year's harsh winter. 

During the first three quarters of 2014, 836 homes sold at the median sold price of $227,000 compared to 947 homes sold at the median sold price of $215,000 during the same time period in 2013. Although sales numbers in 2014 are lower compared to last year, they are higher compared to the first nine months of 2012 and 2011, revealing slow and steady growth in Missoula’s real estate market. 

“Comparing 2014 to 2013 in Missoula is somewhat unfair,” says Brint Wahlberg, President of the Missoula Organization of REALTORS®. “Interest rates are nearly 1 percent higher, supply of active listings is even tighter than last year, and we had a very cold and snowy winter that delayed buyer and seller activity.”


"Disco BloodBath" called off in Missoula

BFK Productions logo(MISSOULA)- It looks like organizers of the "Disco Bloodbath" are canceling plans for the annual Halloween party, citing a lack of city support. 

Now in its' 5th year, the "Bloodbath" has both its fans, and its detractors, who have been critical of the event being the scene of drug use and other illegal activity in past years. Thousands of people have shown up at the past parties, and while the vast majority haven't caused problems, law enforcement has made arrests of people coming and going in the past. 

Tuesday afternoon, the promoters, BFK productions of Missoula posted on their Facebook page that this year's event was being canceled because the City of Missoula had withdrawn its support for the party. The statement implied city officials had wanted some changes in the event that the promoters couldn't agree to without "fundamentally altering the Disco Bloodbath experience."

BFK had changed its plans to use a 30,000 square foot warehouse close to downtown Missoula in hopes of allowing party goers to use shuttles, ride bikes or walk to the event, thereby alleviating some of the concerns about impaired driving.