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Brian Gilmore Msu Law First Assignments

GREAT FALLS -

Lissie's Luv Yums in Great Falls uses Treasure State ingredients to create gourmet dog biscuits for four-legged friends.

But as MTN's Julianne Dellorso reports in this week's Montana Made, it provides a helping hand for humans as well.

Melissa Clark is hard at work doing the job she loves - making gourmet dog treats.

"I've looked forward to baking every single morning," said Clark.

As the sole proprietor of her business, Lissie's Luv Yums, she bakes the goodies from scratch almost every week day at her home in Great Falls.

“I want to do something that's unusual and creative, and that's what my business gives me is something unusual and creative,” she said.

But being a business owner is something that didn't seem attainable for her growing up. Melissa was born with fetal alcohol syndrome. She was one of the first in Montana to be diagnosed with the disorder. Clark suffered from what doctors called "a failure to thrive."

"I had a heart condition on top of that and I had brain damage,” said Clark. “I mean once the doctors and nurses put that all together they realized it's going to take a lot for this child to make it, grow up."

With the support of Sister Johnelle Howanach, who is her foster mom and job support specialist, Melissa has overcome many obstacles.

"For somebody with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, the one thing they say they have got to have (is) one constant steady support person who knows them and will guide them," said Howanach.

Melissa, or Lissie, graduated from CMR High School and performed a handful of jobs before realizing 9-5 didn't work for her.

So she turned to dog walking and baked goodies for the pups at Christmas time. When she realized she might be able to make that her living, Lissie's Luv Yums was born.

Lissie and Howanach make the goodies in their kitchen, mixing the ingredients, cutting out the treats, and baking them.

They source all of their ingredients locally.

"I wanted a product that would be made by somebody that had that support for our community," said Clark.

They make the treats with flour from Wheat Montana and all-natural components that even dogs with sensitive stomachs can enjoy.

"Nutritionally, our treats are just top of the line," said Howanach.

The Luv Yums come with a healthy message for humans, as well: "If you are pregnant, please don't drink," said Lissie.

The business has helped Lissie, who lives with the daily challenges of FAS, in a handful of ways.

"It helped me develop my right hand as far as using it,” said Lissie. “I've kind of come up with my own therapy for my right hand."

But perhaps most importantly, it's a recipe for inspiration.

"To give others with your challenges, to give them hope," said Howanach.

Lissie and Howanach hope to be able to help others with disabilities by being able to employ them to help make their gourmet dog biscuits.

Lissie's Luv Yums are sold at farmer's markets and trade sows, as well as online here.

BILLINGS -

The former Billings federal courthouse is for sale, and for $33 million dollars and some change, it could be yours.

The building located on the corner of 26th Street and 4th Avenue is listed for sale, but there may be some major strings attached to the deal.

The listing by Fan Realty, a California-based agency, boasts "most accessible property," "located near airport," and a "luxury, unique office building."

But the 214,000-square-foot space also carries a major back-log in payments.

The 50-year-old building served as the Battin Federal Courthouse for 47 years before it was purchased in 2013 by Colorado Tire Company in a government auction.

The company won the bid for the building for $3.2 million, a much lower amount than its current asking price, and changed the name to the "Kono Building."

While the company website offers "virtual office space," much of the building went undeveloped because of asbestos.

Now, it would appear the owners of the building are facing hard financial times.

The Tennessee-based money lending firm Riverdale Funding LLC is suing the owners of the building for lack of payments.

David Pennington, involved with sales for the funding company, confirmed Wednesday that legal action is being pursued, but would not offer further comment on how much money is owed.

The Kono Building is even listed on a crowd-funding website, where people can donate money to support the building. The listing calls it a "great success in the making."

Calls to the American Kono Company on Wednesday were not returned.

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