Names and faces

Pediatric endocrinologist Alan Rice, M.D. has joined the staff at Kalispell Regional Healthcare. He joins Dr. Sharon Zemel at the Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes Center and specializes in the treatment of children and adolescents with conditions like diabetes, weight management, thyroid disease, bone metabolism disorders, adrenal disorders and other endocrine disorders.

After earning his medical degree from the University of Miami School of Medicine in Miami, Florida, Rice subsequently completed his residency with a focus on pediatric care at Tulane University in New Orleans. He followed this training with a fellowship in pediatric endocrinology at Yale-New Haven Hospital, part of the Yale University School of Medicine.

His home practice will be in Kalispell, however, Rice will see patients at outreach clinics in Polson, Missoula, Anaconda, Bozeman, Helena and Great Falls.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call 406-758-7888.


Montana Audubon has announced the appointment of Larry Berrin as its new executive director. An avid birder, Berrin has dedicated his career of more than 25 years to conservation science and environmental education in multiple states including Pennsylvania, Vermont and Oregon. Montana Audubon is a leader in wildlife conservation in Montana and one of the largest conservation organizations in the state.

Berrin comes to Montana Audubon from Asbury Woods Partnership in Erie, Pennsylvania. As president and CEO, he led a major acquisition of the 205-acre Asbury Woods and Nature Center, which included securing over $1.3 million in government grants, representing some of the largest acquisition grants ever awarded to Erie County. During his tenure, he helped launch a $4.5 million capital campaign with $3.6 million raised to date.

Berrin holds a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources from the University of Maine and has completed the graduate level program in environmental education at Antioch University.

Berrin will begin his duties at Montana Audubon on Aug. 31.


First Security Bank has announced that Tyler Armstrong, the bank’s chief credit officer, has been recognized by the Montana Independent Bankers Association with the 2017 Graduate Banking School Scholarship. Armstrong was selected for the scholarship based on his qualifications and his many years of success as a banking professional. Armstrong served as a consumer loan officer and assistant vice president/commercial loan officer before becoming CCO for First Security Bank of Helena.

He is a 2017 Graduate of Leadership Helena, remains active in the Helena Exchange Club and Boy Scouts of America.


Two sonographers have joined the Echocardiography Department at the Helena Cardiology Clinic (HCC) owned by Dr. Richard D. Paustiant.

Devin T. McNellis, RDCS, RT (R), a Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer (RDCS), graduated from the Florida Institute of Ultrasound in June 2016. McNellis joined HCC in May, upon returning to her hometown Helena. McNellis performs transthoracic echocardiography studies, trans-esophageal echocardiography studies, stress echocardiography studies and carotid ultrasound studies. She was previously a sonographer with Livingston HealthCare. Prior to her career in Sonography, Devin was a Registered Radiologic Technologist with Missoula Bone and Joint after graduating from the University of Montana.

Christy L. Witham, RCS, a Helena native, joined HCC in July. She graduated from Spokane Community College in 1996 with a degree in cardiovascular technology. In her employment with HCC, Christy performs transthoracic echocardiography studies, trans-esophageal echocardiography studies, stress echocardiography studies and carotid ultrasound studies. Prior to joining HCC, she was employed by St. Peter’s Hospital as a Registered Cardiac Sonographer (RCS) from 1996-2004 and also worked with Paustian in the cardiac catheterization lab during those years. She has also worked for Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Polson managing the echocardiogram lab. She also preformed echocardiograms for the International Heart Institute in Missoula. 

The Helena Cardiology Clinic continues to be an Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC) accredited echocardiography lab and is the only lab in the area with this designation.


Hailey Fitterer, EIT has been hired for the position of project engineer at Great West Engineering as part of our Boise Solid Waste group. Hailey graduated from Gonzaga University in May 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering with an environmental focus. She recently moved from Seattle where she gained two years of experience in solid waste. 


Rich Aarstad, of East Helena, was elected recently as MEA-MFT secretary-treasurer. Aarstad is senior archivist at the Montana Historical Society. He is a member and leader of the Federation of Historical Society Workers, his local MEA-MFT affiliate.

MEA-MFT is the state’s largest union, representing 18,000 Montana k-12 teachers and support staff, state and local government employees, higher education faculty, Head Start, and health care employees. MEA-MFT is a merged affiliate of the National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers and is the largest affiliate of the Montana State AFL-CIO. 


Rocky Mountain Credit Union has announced that Ally Haegele and Lindsay Cannon are Certified Credit Union Financial Counselors.

To obtain a CCUFC Designation recipients must complete a FICep course that is ACE-accredited and pass eight exams. CCUFC Designated employees offer free financial counseling to members. RMCU now has three certified counselors on staff to help members.

RMCU is not-for-profit financial institution owned by its members. RMCU has branches in Helena, Bozeman, Belgrade, and Butte.

Awards and honors  

GarageExperts® of Montana recognized

GarageExperts® announced that Greg Snortland with GarageExperts® of Montana has been awarded a Gold Franchisee Badge for the second quarter of 2017. The award recognizes franchisees who have met certain benchmarks designed to help ensure success. 

Snortland is one of six other franchisees to win the award.

GarageExperts® of Montana, serves Helena, Missoula, Bozeman and beyond.


Doctor wins best of America award

Dr. Richard D. Paustian has been named as a recipient of the Best Doctors of America Award©, his 22nd consecutive annual Best Doctor designation. Only 4 percent of the physicians in the United States are selected for this award, which is made by the doctor’s peers. He was recognized in the following areas: 1) general cardiology, 2) management of congestive heart failure, 3) echocardiography, 4) pacemakers and 5) interventional cardiology. The Helena Cardiology Clinic is one of the few independent cardiology practices in the Pacific Northwest. Paustian and his staff begin their 35th year of practice in Helena.

News and notes

Property damaged by wildfire may qualify for tax relief

The Montana Department of Revenue reminds Montana property owners whose businesses, homes or other property are damaged or destroyed during wildfire or other natural disaster that they can apply for property tax assistance.

A property or land owner whose home, business or office buildings, outbuildings or forest land are partially or totally destroyed by the natural disaster, making the property unsuitable for its previous use, may be eligible. Businesses equipment destroyed may also qualify.

The tax relief is prorated based on the number of days the property is unusable. The assistance is available for the current tax year.

To apply, property owners need to complete Form AB-25. Forest land owners should do Form AB-26.

Application forms are available at all Department of Revenue local offices and on the department's website at revenue.mt.gov. You can find the department’s local office contacts, phone numbers and addresses for your area at revenue.mt.gov/property-assessment.

For more information, property owners can contact their local Department of Revenue office or the call center at 444-6900, or visit revenue.mt.gov


New day care opens

GG and Tatiyana Grotbo have joined forces to open a day care center in Helena. Just for Kids Inc. is located at 3108 McHugh Lane. They also offer after school pickup for school-age children. Just for Kids has openings for infants, toddlers, a preschool for 3 year olds, and a pre-K for 4 and 5 year olds to get ready for school. Call 422-5660 to schedule a tour.


Travel agent owner attends event

Travel Weekly and TravelAge West announced that Lesley Egbert owner of Live Longitude Travel was selected from among hundreds of applicants to attend the fifth-annual Global Travel Marketplace (GTM), which took place at the Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood/Fort Lauderdale, Florida, July 9-11. GTM is a two-and-a-half day appointment-only event for top-producing travel advisers in North America and leading river and ocean cruise, hotel, tour and destination suppliers seeking to conduct business face-to-face.

GTM advisers exhibit industry expertise and have relationships with key individuals in hotel, cruise, tour and destination organizations, allowing them to best meet their clients’ needs.


DOR accepting alcoholic beverage lottery applications

The Montana Department of Revenue’s Liquor Control Division has reviewed the latest population estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau and determined the availability of seven alcoholic beverage licenses in three communities. The department is currently accepting applications to participate in its lottery for the licenses.

The available licenses are as follows:

  • Bozeman/Belgrade: 2 all-beverage floater licenses, 1 beer license, 1 restaurant beer and wine license
  • Broadwater County: 1 all-beverage license
  • Missoula: 1 beer license, 1 restaurant beer and wine license

Lottery application forms are at revenue.mt.gov. Completed applications must be received by the department by Aug. 28. A lottery will be held in September, if the department receives more applications than licenses available.

Please note that lottery winners will then need to complete a license application, which is separate from the lottery application.

For more information about the lottery and license applications, and alcoholic beverage license types and requirements, visit revenue.mt.gov or contact our call center at 444-6900.


The IR welcomes reports of hiring, promotions, awards, recognition, learning opportunities and other news from local companies and nonprofits. We accept press releases and photos (digital images at 300 dpi or more are preferred). Email your information to irstaff@helenair.com.

There is no charge for items appearing in the Business Briefcase. Items are run on a space-available basis, and we reserve the right to edit and use information as we see fit.

The deadline is Tuesday at noon to be considered for publication the following Sunday. 

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