Blog Cabin

New Missoula grocer set to open soon 

(MISSOULA)- Lucky's Market is confirming it will be opening its new store at Missoula's Southgate Mal; this spring.

The company's new store has been under construction in Missoula since last summer, with crews retrofitting the former space occupied by Sears since the mall was first built. The store will be a major anchor on Southgate's current expansion project on the south end of the mall, which includes other new commercial spaces and an AMC Theater. 

The natural foods grocer isn't giving a specific opening date just yet. The Boulder, Colorado-based chain is known for features such a fresh juice bar, outdoor dining and cafe, a "DYI" apothecary where people can find their own ingredients for teas, salves and other personal products, and in-house bakery and meat departments with an emphasis on local products. 

It will be the second Lucky's Market location in Montana, joining another store in Billings. 


Missoula looks at updating no smoking rules to include e-cigs

KPAX-TV photo (MISSOULA)- The Missoula city council plans to update the city's smoking ordinance, adding e-cigarettes to the list of products that can't be used in public places. 

The popularity of electronic cigarettes used for "vaping", or as a replacement for regular cigarettes, has been growing in recent years. But until now, the city's smoking regulations haven't specifically dealt with the new technology. 

The Montana Clean Indoor Air Act, which went into effect in 2005 required indoor spaces to be "smoke free", but excepted bars, casinos and taverns. However that changed to include all businesses 9-years ago. 

Health Department officials are recommending the council change the current rules to not only reduce second hand smoke and "vape" exposure, but also to discourage people from "vaping", especially teens. They say e-cigarettes are now the most commonly used tobacco product among Montana's youth. 

The changes would not only ban electronic smokes used for vaping, but give business owners the right to ban them within 25-feet of their entryways. 

The council's Public Safety and Health Committee has voted unanimously to have a public hearing on the changes before the full council February 26th. 

Missoula's original smoking ordinance was enacted in 1999. 


Russell Street Bridge to be shut down for paving

(MISSOULA)- Commuters who use the Russell Street Bridge will need to use alternate routes for a couple of days this week. 

The aging bridge over the Clark Fork River in Missoula is set to be replaced over the next couple of years. However, the bridge needs to remain in service and that means it needs some attention for continued use.

Starting Tuesday morning, and lasting in Wednesday, the bridge will be closed to all traffic so crews can repave the bridge. Montana Department of Transportation says the work will help smooth the rough deck of the bridge and give it enough life to last until the bridge is replaced.


Missoula taxes will rise again under Engen's new budget

Engen's budget would hike property taxes 3.8% (MISSOULA)- Missoula residents already complaining about skyrocketing taxes will need to brace themselves for another hit.

The Missoula city council is considering a new budget that includes hundreds of thousands of dollars more in new tax hikes, which Missoula Mayor John Engen says would pay for "organizational excellence", enhanced "economic growth and sustainability" and "infrastructure and assets." 

Engen's budget recommends increases of 3.87%, totaling over $232,000 from property taxes. That works out to an additional $28 per year on a home valued at $250,000. Overall, Engen is recommending over $1.2 million in increases to the city's "baseline budget" paying for everything from street projects to "community service specialists" in the police department. 

Engen says city departments actually pitched over $6-million worth of new budget requests, which would have required an 18% hike in taxes. 

The city council will hold a public hearing July 17th on the budget and included tax increases. 


Tower Pizza last day next week

Tower Pizza Facebook picture(MISSOULA)- Missoula's popular Tower Pizza will close it's doors after the close of business on February 25th. 

The pizzeria, which has been a landmark on South Reserve since the early 1970s had announced it was closing for good earlier this month following the company's recent purchase. The news has generated a rush of business for the restaurant as Missoulians scramble for a final slice of pie. 

Now, Tower's operators have announced on Facebook that "sadly the day is almost here" and the restaurant will close for good on Saturday the 25th. Customers are being invited to "drink and eat until the beer is gone at 2 a.m."