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July 2007

Pacific Northwest News

Next Stop: Big Sky Country
Another opportunity, another Great Northwest Adventure

By Duane Shimogawa  

Most people from Hawai'i don't put the state of Montana on their vacation checklist. I wouldn't be going out on a limb if I said it was probably one of the last places kama'aina book in advance to visit. But from one kama'aina to another, it's just as the state's motto says, "The Last Best Place!" It truly is.

The last time you heard from me, I was more than seven hours away from where I am at right now. From Yakima, Washington to Kalispell, Montana. Just a short (if you live here in the Mainland) drive east through Spokane .

So why the move?

Well, the main reason why I moved to Yakima from Kaua'i about a year ago was a job opportunity (KNDO-TV as a news reporter/photographer). After six months of excitement in Eastern Washington, I felt a need to take on new challenges. Not only did I want to explore more than just the Evergreen State, I wanted to see what it was like further east.

I began sending resume tapes to areas all around the country, with my heart set on staying close or in the Northwest. After about a month, KCFW-TV in Kalispell offered me a job (reporter) and I jumped at the chance to make the move.

From the time I first started talking to the news director at KCFW, I knew it would be a good fit. And boy was I right. I've been here only two months and it feels like in the short amount of time I've been here, I've learned more about the media industry and reporting than at other jobs where I've spent years.

The area is almost as nice as Kaua'i. It's situated by the Flathead Lake which is the biggest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi. It's also a short drive to Glacier National Park, which is one of the most beautiful parks in the world. I know I probably sound like a public relations person for the area, but I only speak so highly of the place because it truly is a great place to live.

Part of the reason for the move was the opportunity to anchor, which is what I'll be doing in the next couple of weeks. KCFW's news director is the main anchor, but he has trusted me to take on that challenge. He's expecting his first baby soon, so he'll be off for at least a week, which means I'll get to fill in for him.

Kalispell, which is located about a few hours north of Missoula where the University of Montana lies, is one of the fastest growing cities in the state, mostly of it because of the unending outdoor activities the area has to offer.

I plan to take advantage of that as much as I can and when the white stuff comes around later this year, I'll be ready with my snowboard and skis.

It's just another opportunity for me and I'm just enjoying every minute of it. Montana is the fourth largest state (area-wise) in the country, yet it is one of the least populated states, which means that there's a lot of room for development and more people.

But what makes this place so special is the very fact that not many people live here. Yeah, Maury Povich and Connie Chung have a place here and David Letterman frequents Eastern Montana during the summer months, but it is home to a lot of people who are small-town in nature and by heart.

And that's why living here has definitely exceeded this Kaua`i boy’s expectations so far.

My next stop may be home on O`ahu at one of the TV stations in Honolulu, but for the time being, I'll just enjoy Big Sky Country while it lasts.

Duane Shimogawa was born and raised in Lihu`e, Kaua`i and graduated from Central Washington University. After a stint as reporter-photographer for a TV station in Yakima, Washington, he has now relocated to Kalispell, Montana to work forKCFW-TV. His parents Duane Sr. and Cynthia Shimogawa, and sister Shantelle still live on Kaua`i.



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