Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tips on homes for evacuated kids, pets and frozen food; air quality concerns

Concerns about air quality

The Helena area saw dramatic swings in air quality in recent days due to the wildfire activity and varying wind conditions.

The Lewis and Clark County Health Department is encouraging those sensitive to poor air quality to avoid strenuous activity, prolonged outdoor activities and stay inside, if possible.

The department recommends using visibility guidelines to gauge air quality. Visibility of 10 miles or less is considered unhealthy with breathing or heart problems. As a general rule, if you cannot see the North Hills area from Helena, then the air quality is poor, the department notes.

The health department’s air-quality hot line is 444-1644. It will be updated twice daily during periods of questionable air quality. More information is available at the Montana Department of Environmental Quality web site at

Shelter for animals

There are several options for pets and other animals needing a place to escape the Corral Fire.
Total Dynamic Balance Veterinary Clinic on Tuesday was still taking on dogs, cats, cattle, horses and other critters needing a temporary home. The clinic is located at 3386 Highway 12 East.
The Lewis and Clark Humane Society also opened its doors to dogs and cats needing temporary shelter Tuesday. The humane society shelter is located off Custer Avenue across from Costco.
“We are concerned that all animals have a safe place to go to as homes are increasingly under evacuation order,” said Gina Wiest, the society director. “The shelter is equipped to handle an influx of dogs and cats that need this help.” The shelter can be contacted at 442-1660 or after hours by calling the sheriff’s department at 447-8293.

Home for evacuated food and meat

Tizer Meats has turned on its freezer and cooler, and will allow people impacted by the Corral Fire to store perishables for free.

The offer will last until “people get their lives back,” noted business manager Janet Fadness.
“We don’t have a lot to offer, but will do anything we can to help our community,” Fadness said. “I have a big freezer and two walk-in coolers. We’re offering free storage to anybody who is evacuated or whose power is out.”

If possible, people should put their goods in coolers, boxes or other containers, and they can label their items. Tizer also has freezer baskets they can loan people.

Fadness said they are adamant about their organization, so people’s items will remain separate.
She notes that anyone coming to the business at 3558 Tizer Road (next to Warren School) after 5:30 p.m. can call some of the cell phone numbers that will be posted on the door and someone will assist them.
“All of us live next door, so we can come right in and help them put things away,” Fadness said. “I know there are people with freezers full of stuff wondering what to do with it. We’d like to help.”

Gym open for kids Tuesday evening

The HAC and Gymtrix at 3370 Colton Drive is open Tuesday evening for children of evacuated families who need help with child care while evacuating homes and other matters. Staff will be available from 4 to 10 p.m.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Kerdyk still making a difference with golf tournament in Japan

Golf can take you here, there or anywhere. In Bill Kerdyk Jr.’s case, he has opted for an unusual “anywhere.”

That would be Japan.

Kerdyk, some 20 years ago, became the founder of the World Junior Golf Team Championship tournament in Japan. He was mesmerized at what happened that first year, and now he’s devoted to what the tournament has become and what it can be. 

Kerdyk is devoted to a lot of things — he’s the father of three, a Coral Gables commissioner, runs Kerdyk Real Estate and is the chairman of the Bank of Coral Gables.

A couple of days ago, Kerdyk was on a plane flying over the Pacific to Nagoya, Japan, to run his junior golf tournament for this year that will go from June 19 to June 22.

Competitors of the past? Try Charles Schwartzel, Trevor Immelman, Justin Rose, Anthony Kim, Hunter Mahan, Camillo Villegas and Louis Oosthuizen.

“This tournament gives an overview of the world,” Kerdyk, 51, said. “Ninety-nine percent of the players in it have never been overseas, and then years later you see the kind of players that come out of it. That’s rewarding”

Oosthuizen played in it, and 11 years later Kerdyk happened to be walking past him at the Masters.
“He stopped me,” Kerdyk said, “and he recognized me. Then he started saying how much he enjoyed the tournament we had put on and what it meant to him. This was 11 years later and we had never met in between. That made me think about what we were achieving.”

With all his other duties, Kerdyk doesn’t play much golf anymore, but he did growing up, eventually winding up on the Western Carolina team. The Kerdyks are a well-known and homegrown South Florida family, and athletics was a big emphasis from the parents.

Bill’s sister, Tracy, was the most successful on the golf circuit, competing on the LPGA Tour for 11 years.
How did Bill perform against his sister? It’s a mixed golf bag of results.

“We were highly competitive in our family, and she had never beaten me,” Bill said, “but one day she was ahead of me and I had to shoot a 34 on the back to beat her.” 

He knew it was only a matter of time until a humbling defeat, so he concocted a plan. 

“At that point, I decided I would never play her again — that way she would never beat me,” he said. “But one weekend, a friend of mine called and wanted me to play, and I went out there, and at the last minute up trots Tracy with her bag slung over her shoulder. She beat the heck out of me. So much for being undefeated against her.”

Tracy went on to her LPGA career, and Bill took a more low-key, behind-the-scenes approach with his Japanese tournament.

“We model it after the Ryder Cup,” he said of his tournament, sponsored by Toyota. “We try to bring in developing golf countries, and we are trying to develop golf worldwide.” This year, the one developing country chosen for the finals is China.

“We are trying to develop golf programs around the world,” Kerdyk said, noting that an estimated 65 countries and six continents take place in qualifying and try to make it to the finals in Japan. “We feel like this has been a success, and we want to keep it going.” 

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