Page 10 - Flathead Beacon // 4.13.16
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Habitat for Humanity Breaks Ground on 50th Flathead Home Davidson family expected to move in by December
Brendan Davidson, a 4-year-old who loves orange, is moving to a new home. For the  rst time in his short life, he’ll experience one of childhood’s most exciting cre- ative joys: choosing the color of his room. The color he wants is no surprise, but he still has a few months to pick out the exact shade. The house needs to be built  rst.
Recently, Brendan – wearing an orange shirt – his father, Korey, and his sister, Briena, dug into the dirt at an empty lot in a Kalispell subdivision. As part of a Habitat for Humanity ceremony, they were celebrating the groundbreaking of their future home, which will be the 50th house constructed in the valley with help from the nonpro t organization.
“It’s been a prayer and a dream for us to own our own home,” Korey’s wife, Mary, said during the cere- mony. “Habitat for Humanity is making that happen, and we’re grateful for the opportunity.”
Habitat for Humanity rallies volunteers to build “simple, decent and a ordable [houses for] low-income
Ryan Davidson,
center, smiles during
a groundbreaking
ceremony with his
brother Brendan,
sister Brieana, and
parents Korey and
Mary. Habitat for
Humanity celebrates
the groundbreaking
on its 50th house in
the Flathead Valley on
April 6.
families” who, after putting in roughly 500 hours of “sweat equity” build time during construction, pur- chase it from Habitat with a 0 percent-interest mort- gage. Work on the Davidson’s home will start soon, in order to  nish by December and get the family “home for the holidays.”
“It’s very exciting [to break ground on our 50th home],” Erin Falcon, executive director of Flathead
Habitat for Humanity, said. “We’ve moved from di er- ent communities – White sh, Columbia Falls, Kalis- pell – wherever there’s need. It’s nice to take time from the hustle and bustle of the build and re ect on the families we’ve helped.”
The Davidsons came to the valley  ve-and-a-half years ago from Massachusetts and have spent much of their time in the Flathead bouncing from apartment to apartment.
“We have been talking about owning a house since we got married eight years ago,” Mary said. “But it was always two steps forward and one step back. We moved a lot. We want a stable home with room to grow.”
Korey, who works for a Kalispell dialysis clinic and does construction jobs on the side, is eager to begin work. “I’m always the one building for other people,” he said. “It’s amazing to actually build my own house, be on the other side. I want my kids to grow up in a house that’s ours. If they want to paint a wall, then they can
paint a wall.”
Bears Emerging from Dens Across Flathead Valley Residents are encouraged to secure food attractants as bears descend into lower valleys
With the arrival of spring, bears are emerging from their mountain dens and descending into the lower valleys in search of food, and one young bruin has already pried its way into a White sh home to snack on leftover Easter candy.
As local black bears and grizzlies begin to stir in the Flathead Valley, wild- life managers are receiving an uptick in reports of bear sightings and con icts, prompting wardens to issue a stern reminder to residents who forget to lock up pet food, bird seed, trash, and other food attractants.
“It is entirely avoidable if we start at the beginning of the season and make a conscious e ort to secure these food
attractants,” Erik Wenum, bear and lion specialist with the Montana Fish, Wild- life and Parks, said. “Bears don’t just go from wandering around in the woods doing bear things to going into homes. It’s a taught learning curve.”
Last week, a homeowner in the Haskill Basin area in White sh reported that a small bear entered the kitchen through a pet door and consumed candy left over from the Easter holiday. The break-in occurred a day after the bear reached through the pet door to access cat food, having been drawn to the back yard due to the presence of birdseed.
The bear has not yet been caught, though Wenum said a trap was set.
Wenum said bears gain con - dence with each incremental learning
experience in which they receive a pos- itive food reward, and urged residents to take steps to avoid con icts by reducing attractants.
Wildlife managers recommend bear-resistant bins in communities and on ranches; electric fence systems to pro- tect chicken coops, bee yards and sheep bedding grounds; and random redistri- bution of livestock carcasses each spring.
Domestic chickens have been a partic- ularly serious problem the past few years, according to wildlife managers.
After a spate of unseasonably warm weather, grizzly and black bears are roaming the Flathead Valley in greater abundance as they scour the valley  oor for green, succulent vegetation to jump- start their digestive tract.
If they encounter birdseed – an ideal source of fat and protein – in a residential backyard, they’ll become increasingly adventuresome and comfortable around homes, Wenum said.
“Bears don’t just go from zero to breaking into houses,” he said.
FWP’s Be Bear Aware website (http:// WithWildlife/beBearAware/) provides homeowners and landowners with infor- mation about preventing bear con icts.
Visit the site for tips and tools on obtaining and using bear spray, safe camping and hiking, access to bear resis- tant produce and a guide to the many food-related and other items that attract bears to a property.
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