Kampgrounds of America, Inc. (KOA) welcomes Emily Cross, who will serve as in-house legal counsel as the company’s attorney. As general counsel, Cross will ensure that the company maintains legal compliance and manages risk and safety in its operations as a corporation and its owned campground properties.

Cross’s work will encompass several legal duties, including working with contracts, governance and intellectual property. She will also be the primary contact point for external attorneys and law firms.

“With our continued and projected growth, Emily’s expertise will be critical,” said Chris Scheer, chief financial officer of Kampgrounds of America, Inc. “She brings a wealth of knowledge in a commercial capacity that will help move our company forward in a responsible and ethical way.”

 Cross brings extensive experience practicing commercial litigation, working in the discipline in both Los Angeles and Montana. She also worked as a clerk in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

 A native of Glendive, Cross earned her Juris Doctor at the University of California, Irvine School of Law. Prior to this, she attended the University of Montana, where she earned a bachelor’s of philosophy and minors in music and economics.

Not everyone loses money because of inflation. When a business’ revenue is determined as a percentage of another business’ prices, profit margins automatically increase rapidly without relevance to costs. Such is the reality for a credit card company, whose fees are automatically included in the tab. Unaware of the invisible credit card charge, consumers tend to assume the higher prices are part of the profit margin of the small business with whom they are purchasing products and services.

In every case the small business takes it on the chin, often with little recourse.

Increasingly, small businesses are pushing back by itemizing the cost of credit card processing on the bill for customers paying with credit cards. Business owners report that actually seeing what they are paying to use a credit card often makes the customers angry –at the proprietor and not the necessarily the credit card company.  Fees can range from 2 percent to 4 percent.

Some businesses offer discounts to customers paying cash. And, increasingly, when possible, some businesses are refusing to accept credit cards, but not all businesses can do that.

Service providers who depend on tips also dislike it when their employer choses to itemize credit card fees because they tend to get smaller tips.

It’s a situation that largely exists because there is little competition in the world of credit card companies. Two bills in Congress are aimed at introducing more competition into the industry.

Small business owners often operate on razor-thin profit margins, margins that have been cut further in recent years as credit fees have more than doubled since 2012.

Explains the National Federation of Small Businesses Small (NFIB), businesses do not have the market power to negotiate with large credit card companies on swipe fees, so two identical pieces of legislation have been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate that would promote freedom of choice and allow small businesses the ability to choose between at least two credit card network options to process transactions.

NFIB has written letters of support and are urging members to also write letters to the House and Senate for H.R. 8874 and S. 4674. “The Credit Card Competition Act of 2022 would inject much-needed competition into the credit card processing market by allowing small businesses the freedom to choose between multiple processing networks,” said Jeff Brabant, NFIB Director of Federal Government Relations. “This legislation injects competition into the credit card processing market and reins in rapidly rising ‘swipe fees’ charged to small businesses that accept credit cards. It will harness the power of competition to give small business owners real choices when it comes to credit card processing networks. This competition will force networks to compete for business the same way that small businesses must compete for customers every day.”

Giving small business owners more credit card network options will force larger credit card companies to compete with each other to lower swipe fees and provide more options for small businesses.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that increasingly businesses are charging fees to process credit cards. Whereas five years ago only about two percent of the eight million US businesses that accept credit cards charged fees for processing credit card payments, that has been increasing, and now stands at about five percent.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) is also backing greater competition in the credit card industry, pointing out that the fees disproportionately impact small retail businesses. “It is small retailers who are calling for swipe fee reform more than any other segment of our industry. They pay the highest swipe fees and have the fewest resources to fight back against global credit card networks and Wall Street banks.”

Earlier this year Visa and Mastercard announced that it is imposing a $1.2 billion dollar increase in swipe fees. According to statistics from the NRF, credit card fees already account for more than $700 a year spent by the average American family.

Visa and Mastercard, which control 80 percent of the U.S. credit card market, centrally price-fix the swipe fees charged by banks that issue their cards even though many legal experts have said the practice violates federal antitrust law. The credit card “giants prevent their credit cards from being processed by competing independent networks, some of which could “do the job more securely and at lower cost,” according to NRF.

Not all of the fee charged goes to the credit card company some of it goes to the issuing bank.

 Visa processes 24,000 transactions a second, which in 2020 generated $21.8 billion in revenues.

South Carolina is the third worst state to have a baby, writes Dean Clancy, Senior Fellow, Health Care Policy for Americans for Prosperity. The key driver to the problem, he states, is government red tape “that creates artificial shortages for hospitals, obstetrics services, perinatal services, and intensive neonatal car.”

Clancy sites an associate analyst, Thomas Kimbrell, whose data shows that in South Carolina families use neonatal intensive care units (NICU) 30 times more often than what government estimates claim is needed under the state’s “certificate of need” plan.

He goes on to say that State and local “certificate of need” or CON laws are well-named: they’re the biggest “con” in American health care today. For Montanans that’s problematic because Montana is one of the handful of states that still requires “certificate of need” to expand health care.

“These unnecessary, harmful laws require hospital systems and other health facilities to get approval from a government agency before they can open or expand their facilities in a given area,” said Clancy.

Often, just adding a single new bed or MRI machine requires government approval, a process that can add years and thousands of dollars in costs.

“All Certificate of Need laws should be repealed to boost competition and reduce costs for patients,” claims Clancy.

Kendall Cotton, President and CEO of Frontier Institute, reports that, “Under Montana’s “certificate of need” program, the government gets to determine if a new health care business is ‘needed’ in a process that lasts at least six months and charges a fee of $500, or 0.3% of the intended expenditure. The effect is to limit competition that could give residents more choices and lower costs.”

For example, in 2019 Montana denied new applications for home health businesses in Yellowstone County, despite the government’s own estimate of 795 patients in the county with an “unmet need” for home health care. Those new services could have opened up beds at hospitals and increased access to care during the pandemic.

In addition to home health, Montana requires certification for outpatient surgery centers, nursing homes and even drug rehabilitation facilities.

Certificate of need programs were pushed by the federal government in 1974, but by the mid-1980s the program was declared a failure and Congress withdrew it.

While 15 states dropped their certification programs, Montana did not. Existing health care facilities benefit from keeping out new competitors, so the programs remain stubbornly in place.

Research by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University shows abolishing certificate of need laws could help reduce health care costs, potentially saving each Montanan $214 per year.

An effort in the 2019 legislature to repeal Montana’s certification program was vetoed by Gov. Steve Bullock, who said the certification laws “prevent the creation of excess capacity in health care facilities.” In other words, the laws reduce competition that could increase access and decrease costs.

“With health care capacity at critical levels for many Montana counties, state lawmakers should repeal harmful and anti-competitive certificate of need laws,” advises Cotton.


Lifeway Church Of Billings/ U.S. Roof  LLC, 3100 Rimrock Rd,  Com Fence/Roof/Siding $92,000  r

Downtown Billings Partnership/ Restore Masters Contracting LLC, 102 N 29th St, Com Fence/Roof/Siding, $119,436  r

Lai, Khoon Eng/ Chapel Custom Handywork Roofing Units 1-5, 3131 Iron Horse Trl, Com Fence/Roof/Siding $47,430  r

Susan L Mulkey Trust/ Chapel Custom Handywork Roofing Units 13,14 & 15,

3131 Iron Horse Trl, Com Fence/Roof/Siding,  $34,410  r

PC Central Court LLC/ Wegner Homes, 78 27th St W, Com Fence/Roof/Siding, $24,690   r

McCall Homes, 6071 Northstead Ave, Com New 3+ (Multi Family), $80,000

RT Investments 25% Int/ Team Construction LLC, 1124 Shiloh Crossing Blvd, Com New Restaurant/Casino/Bar, $600,000

N A V Properites Llp, 2111 4th Ave, Com Remodel, $19,000

2316 First Ave North LLC/ T.W. Clark Construction LLC, 2316 1st Ave N, Demolition Permit Commercial, $50,000

Jordan Hill/ Cafe Rio Drive Thru. 2816 King Ave W, Com Addition, $350,000

Robson Family Trust/ Mjb Trades Inc., 206 4th St W, Com Fence/Roof/Siding, $30,000   r

513 2nd Mt Llc/ Mjb Trades Inc.,  513 2nd St W, Com Fence/Roof/Siding $7,200.00

Mccall Homes/ Mccall Development, 1710-1714 St George,  1710 St George Blvd,  Com New Other, $40,000

Mccall Homes/ Mccall Development, 1718-1726 St George Garages, 1718 St George Blvd, Com New Other, $60,000

Mccall Development Inc/ Mccall Development, 6117-6119 Northstead Garages, 6117 Northstead Ave, Com New Other, $40,000

Mccall Homes/ Mccall Developmen,t 1730-1734 St George, 1730 St George Blvd, Com New Other $40,000.00

Mccall Homes/ Mccall Development, 1738 St George Blvd, Com New Other $60,000

Mccall Development/ Mccall Development, 1710 St George Blvd, Com New Townhome Shell, $1,000,000

Montana Rescue Mission, 2822 Minnesota Ave, Com Plan Revision, $379,865

Montana Rescue Mission/ Dick Anderson Construction, 2822 Minnesota Ave, $80,000

Rich Romersa/ Stocky’s Custom Carpentry Llc, 960 24th St W, Com Remodel $18,800

Sysco Food Services Of Montana/ Sigsys Inc, 1509 Monad Rd, , Com Remodel, $590,083

Josephine Corner Apartments Ll/ Mccall Development, 1577 Mullowney Ln, Com Remodel, $2,500.


McCall Development Inc/ McCall Development, 6141 Northstead Ave,  Res New Accessory Structure, $40,000

Diverse Construction LLC/ Diverse Construction LLC, 2035 Gleneagles Blvd, Res New Single Family, $159,432

Mike Christensen Enterprises M/ Michael Christensen Homes, 4913 Gold Creek Trl, Res New Single Family, $314,687

Had Construction/ Had Inc, El Rancho Dr,  Res New Single Family,  $276,349

Steve Gountanis Home Inc/ Steve Gountanis Homes Inc, 3965 Bushwood Dr, Res New Single Family, $450,000

Na/ Image Builders, 5307 N Iron Mountain Rd, Res New Single Family, $534,544

Edward Earl & Lesley L Jorden / Jorden Construction, 2979 Colonial Pl , Res New Single Family, $300,000

Mccall Development/ Mccall Development, 1710 St George Blvd, Res New Townhome, $0.00

Mccall Development/ Mccall Development, 1722 St George Blvd, Res New Townhome, $0.00

Mccall Development/ Mccall Development 1714 St George Blvd, Res New Townhome, $0.00

Mccall Development/ Mccall Development, 1718 St George Blvd, Res New Townhome, $0.00

Adaptive Performance Center (APC), a phenomenally successful veterans’ support organization that was founded in Billings just over two years ago, has received a $750,000 grant that opens wide the doors for its future and to be able to more completely meet the needs of its veteran members. One of APC’s  expansion goals is to open a similar facility in Helena.

The grant was part of $2.15 million in federal funding for Montana by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) under the Staff Sergeant Parker Gordon Fox Suicide Prevention Grant Program . Also receiving grants were the America Northern Rockies ($750,000), and the Rocky Boy Veterans Center in Box Elder ($650,000).

APC founders Karen Pearson and Mitch Crouse are ecstatic about winning the grant and the promise it holds for them to be able to expand the training and support they provide veterans and to expand those services.

APC is a gym for veterans and enlisted military, where they can meet and talk with like-minded individuals whose association helps to build inner strength and peace while building physical strength. Pearson and Crouse launched APC as a new concept, with no guidelines or guarantees or members. Today the non-profit organization has over 500 members.

So on- target was their concept that from Day One they began signing up members, and gaining sponsors who wanted to make sure no potential member has to be turned away because of any financial concerns. And, almost every day the APC trainers witness incredible success stories as one member or another achieves a goal.

The gym is almost a front for helping veterans get support and connection with other veterans and military people that they need, explains Pearson. And, it just happens naturally, as they regularly attend to work out.  The gym becomes a safe and comfortable place for them, where they find others who understand.

That they actually have an impact that helps troubled veterans who are struggling or who might even be suicidal is exactly the kind of outcome that Pearson and Crouse believed was possible given the opportunity for regular physical exercise. Now they can prove it.

Part of the grant requirements include the collection of data and documentation to prove their theory. Depending on how the first year goes with the grant funding they are eligible for grants in each of the next two years.  Pearson said that one of the purposes of the grant program is to show that there is programming available to impact the suicide rate and to demonstrate how APC can impact the suicide rate and help with mental health.

Pearson and Crouse each bring their own knowledge and unique experiences to APC. In each of their experiences in providing physical training for people, who had traumatic situations to deal with, they realized that physical exercise was hugely beneficial in that process. As Crouse frequently reiterates, “Move your body, heal your mind.”

Crouse learned that reality first hand in struggling to recover from a severe injury he suffered in a car accident. Pearson recognized the connection in dealing with patients who were veterans trying to integrate back into families and adapt to regular life after serving in the military. She saw them struggle with PTSD and knew those, who believing there was no hope, committed suicide.

With the grant funding, the first order of business has been to fill gaps in the support and services that they have identified over the past couple of years. “We can hire people to fill those gaps,” said Pearson.

They have hired four additional trainers in the gym, which means they don’t have to rely on volunteers and always have trainers available.

Two of the people they are hiring are Veteran’s Advocates – a man and a woman who will share a full-time position. The advocates are needed to help direct veterans how to deal with getting their needs met, and where to go, what processes are necessary. To help them fill out forms, etc. – “anything they need that is intimidating and frustrating and prompts them to give up,” said Pearson.

They are also hiring a part time therapist and acupuncturist, and a full time occupational therapist who will split their time between the gyms in Billings and Helena.

Getting a second APC off the ground has been a struggle because there is a shortage of the kind of space they need in Helena. But they have finally found a 9600 square foot building in which they will be able to duplicate the facility in Billings. They will also be hiring the same level of staffing in Helena.  Funding for most of the equipment and fixtures that will be needed has already been acquired from an early sponsor, said Crouse, and it is sitting in escrow waiting for a building. They plan to be open in January.

Montana ranks right at the top of having the highest suicide rate in the nation. Pearson noted that from 2018 to 2020 active duty suicide increased by more than 40 percent, and in 2020 in Alaska it jumped 15 percent.

The founding duo of APC urged that anyone who knows a veteran or active duty military, to urge them to check out their gym and services.

Anyone who has their D2-14 discharge papers can join ACP. It doesn’t matter where or when or how they served, they simply have to have served. The cost is $19.95 a month, but no one is turned away because of inability to pay. In fact, APC has numerous individuals, businesses and organizations, who have will pay the dues of anyone who can’t afford to do so. Between 35 and 40 percent of their members depend on such contributions, and they are very appreciative.

APC gym is located at 1420 Broadwater in Billings