Tuesday, Jul. 9th, 2019

FWP reminds boaters of hazardous river conditions

Two recreationists were caught in a hazardous spot on the Gallatin River in separate incidents last week where a cottonwood tree recently fell into the river. Both boaters were uninjured, but their watercrafts — a canoe and a paddle boat — became stuck in the log jam.  

This hazard is new and appeared recently between Logan and Missouri Headwaters State Park. But similar hazards exist in all rivers across the state and, like this one, are altered by constantly changing river flows. 

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks reminds boaters to use caution everywhere they recreate. Boating, while enjoyable, is inherently dangerous. Boaters and other people who recreate on Montana’s waterbodies do so at their own risk. 

Historically, boating accidents are not uncommon in Montana. Between 1998 and 2018, 134 people died in boating accidents in the state. Of those fatalities, 71 occurred on a river. And in 73 percent of Montana’s drowning deaths, the victim was not wearing a life jacket. 

Here are several recommended precautions boaters can take to avoid accidents and injury: 
• Always wear a life jacket.
• Make sure the type of life jacket is appropriate for the activity.
• Montana law requires that children under age 12 wear a life jacket when they are in any boat shorter than 26 feet.
• Avoid downed trees and other visible hazards in the water.
• Practice situational awareness and know that dangerous conditions can appear and evolve without warning.
• Abide by Montana’s boating regulations. A copy of these regulations can be found online at fwp.mt.gov or at any FWP regional office.
• Follow vessel safety checklists provided by FWP and the U.S. Coast Guard, including an inventory of necessary rescue equipment. These checklists can be found online at fwp.mt.gov/recreation/safety/boating.
• Consult the U.S. Geological Survey for daily streamflow conditions. Avoid recreating on rivers during high flows.

Add a Comment »

Wednesday, Jul. 3rd, 2019

Taking Care of Your Home Appliances

We’ve all had those crazy, super hectic situations where you’re running around, trying to do a million tasks all at once. Every time you finish one thing, the next item on your list is staring you right in the face.

No matter how many things you cross off, the list keeps coming. But then, the unexpected happens. Just after putting in a load of dishes, your dishwasher starts foaming at the seams. Soon, there’s a puddle of water and suds in and around your kitchen. It’s just another thing that needs to be added to the list.

You may have heard your parents, grandparents or yourself say “they don’t make ‘em like they used to.” Furniture always seems to get brought up in this conversation and so do any tech items. While a Nokia phone could withstand an atomic bomb, your new iPhone is being replaced every few years. But home appliances shouldn’t fall in that category. You’d rather not be shelling out money every year for a new dishwasher.

We need them to be reliable as we’re using them every day, often multiple times a day. They are supposed to stand the test of time.

Before calling a professional, what can you do to make sure you’re getting the most out of your home appliances? Check the list below to get started.

Regular Cleaning
Just like you need a shower every day, your appliances need regular cleaning as well. Amazingly enough, cleaning your everyday appliances is much easier than it may seem.

Take your fridge for example. While you should be cleaning the shelves and vegetable trays on a regular basis already, one of the best ways to ensure long life is by vacuuming the coils. Refrigerators and freezers don’t make stuff cold, they remove heat from inside the fridge. Take a small vacuum brush and do a one-two on the coils to remove all dust and debris. Bam, you’re finished!

Going to that tricky dishwasher, make sure you’re cleaning out the filter. It’s what catches large pieces of food and other debris and too much can block the drain hose. If the drain hose is blocked, expect to see more water outside the dishwasher than inside it.

With your oven, you can use the self-clean feature and simply brush away all the crumbs when you’re finished. On the top side, just clean your stove after you use it. Make sure nothing is blocking the gas burners, if you have them.

Last but not least, your water heater. Make sure you check your pressure relief valve to remove any excess pressure. If not, your water heater may start making bizarre sounds every now and then and you won’t be getting the desired pressure you need.

Take care of these small things first so you can get out and enjoy different fun activities.

Channel Your Inner DIY
If you see a problem, don’t immediately call a repairman. While you may know as much about appliance repair as you know about rocket science, there are still plenty of things you can do first.

Head online to look at YouTube videos and go onto some DIY forums. Chances are, there are plenty of other people who have had the same problem you have at one time or another so check online before reaching for the phone.

Choosing a Repair Service
There will be problems, however, that you just won’t be able to repair on your own and it will be time to call in an expert. Appliance repair companies are usually much cheaper than having to buy new.

If there are issues where you feel your appliance is affecting your safety, like your dryer giving off a burning smell, then it’s time to pick up the phone. Or if it's better half, the washing machine, is violently shaking and jumping out of place.

When it comes to your fridge, if it’s becoming hot to the touch or food is spoiling prematurely, that could be a sign of a bigger issue that will need an expert’s opinion.

When it comes to choosing a service, the best way is to look at online opinions and prices. Those with past experiences can shine a light on how responsive the company is, how willing they are to work with you and what else they can offer. In this business, online reviews and word of mouth are great ways to find your repairman.

Add a Comment »

Friday, Jun. 28th, 2019

Fishes of Montana app brings field guide to mobile devices

If you were to catch a lake trout or a bull trout in Montana waters, would you know which is which?  A new app may be able to help.

“It’s harder than most people think to identify fish correctly,” said Tom McMahon, a professor in the Fish and Wildlife Ecology and Management Program within the Department of Ecology in the College of Letters and Science at Montana State University.  “There are a lot of fish that kind of look alike.”

In 1971, long before the university became known as Trout U, MSU published “Fishes of Montana” by C.J.D. Brown, and the field guide has since remained a vital resource for identifying species in the field. It includes 80  varieties of fish in the state, with histories, distribution maps and characteristics, but in nearly half a century, the book has never been updated.

For years, McMahon and ecology department colleagues Alexander Zale and Christopher Guy, leader and assistant leader of the U.S. Geological Survey Montana Cooperative Fishery Research Unit,bandied the idea of a new edition of the book. However, a different opportunity presented itself when Guy met Whitney Tilt, a Bozeman conservationist whose previous collaborations with Matt Lavin, a professor in the Department of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology in MSU’s College of Agriculture, led to two field identification smartphone apps, Montana Grasses and Flora of the Yellowstone Region.

Rather than revise and reprint “Fishes of Montana,” the book has been given a 21st century update with the release of its namesake Fishes of Montana app. The app, now available for Android and iOSdevices, includes information on 90 native and introduced species. The app is free to download, funded by a $10,000 grant  from retailer Patagonia that was awarded to the Department of Ecology to promote the restoration of native fish populations as part of the Trout and Cold Water Fisheries Initiative.

The app includes a comprehensive species list for quick reference, which includes the common and scientific names. It tells whether the fish is native or introduced, threatened or a game fish. Fishes of Montana also contains a glossary, a map of major drainages in Montana, diagrams on fish anatomy and links to more resources.

To develop the app, the MSU team enlisted Tilt as project manager and Katie Gibson of the Bozeman company MountainWorks as the developer. They then called on Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, partners in the Cooperative Fishery Research Unit, to provide expertise. 

“This partnership is really neat,” Guy said. “It allows us to bring it all together and develop a product with the best resources available in the state.”

Printed guides have been important for those doing field work in places without an internet connection. The new app is equally portable; Fishes of Montana does not require cellular coverage or a wireless connection for basic identification. The app’s information draws from both books and FWP’s online field guide, FishMT.

“The app is now the most current resource for contemporary taxonomy,” said David Schmetterling, a fisheries research coordinator with FWP who was part of the development team.

It also relies on the knowledge base of the fisheries community, FWP and the university.

“The faculty at Montana State University are the best ichthyologists we have in the state,” Schmetterling said. “For generations, MSU has been looked at for those skills and that knowledge.” 

Making correct identifications is important. FWP’s fishing regulations center around being able to identify the species. For example, Guy said lake trout are considered at risk of becoming endangered due to declining populations in their native waters, but invasive when introduced elsewhere. Bull trout are listed as a threatened species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Daily limits, or fishing bans, reflect these designations.

“Lake trout we want gone in many waters,” Guy said. “Bull trout must stay. But they look similar.”

Lake trout have more spots than bull trout and their tail fins have deeper forks, according to Fishes of Montana. Bull trout’s spots are a pale yellow on their back and red or orange going down the side. Lake trout have light gray spots, never red or orange.

McMahon teaches an ichthyology class each spring. His students learn to identify fish species using a dichotomous key, which gives a couplet, or pair, of statements and asks the user to pick one of the two choices leading them to another couplet. Those choices become increasingly specific until a match is found. Students learn the key, but often don’t rely on it in the field.

The broader approach of Fishes of Montana “might actually fit better,” Zale said.

The app invites users to identify fish species through a polyclave key, which uses a process of elimination based on observed characteristics. Choose the location within the state, the shape of the tail or if an adipose fin is present. If you don’t know what an adipose fin is, a graphic with an arrow points to its location (between the main back fin and the tail). The ­app then provides a list of fish meeting the specified characteristics.

“The polyclavel approach is user friendly,” Tilt said. “It encourages the user to explore and not worry about making a mistake.”

McMahon plans on using the app in his next ichthyology class.

Aside from students and scientists, the app is useful for anglers of all ages. According to Schmetterling, one FWP employee took a beta version on a Missouri River fishing trip and his 10- and 13-year-old children were able to identify the six or seven different species.

“The unique thing about this app is it serves many different purposes to different audiences,” he said.

Fishes of Montana users could also lend insight into changes in distribution or the presence of fish species, including aquatic invasive species. For this reason, the app has information on 10 species the State of Montana hopes never to see in Montana waters, such as the snakehead, round goby and bighead carp. If a user is unable to identify a species or wants to share information, the app contains a direct email link to Schmetterling inviting the user to attach a photo.

“What I especially like about the way Fishes of Montana was developed is it promotes communication from people using the app to us,” he said.

Add a Comment »

Thursday, Jun. 27th, 2019

Big Sky Chamber Black Diamond Award winners inspire us to get involved

The first business event at The Wilson Hotel held on Tuesday, June 26th spotlighted this year’s recipients of the 22nd Annual Black Diamond Business Awards, which honored those working hard to build Big Sky into a world-class resort destination and sustainable community. 

In front of a sold-out crowd of 150, the Big Sky Chamber recognized a courageous entrepreneur, a devoted nonprofit leader, a role-model business leader, an outstanding business and a dedicated local with a long track-record of remarkable community involvement. The Chamber board also approved the FY20 budget and elected new board members to govern the organization for the upcoming year.

Emerging Entrepreneur: Kara and Ben Blodgett of The Rocks. “Having the bravery to turn your passion into a business and having the grit to work the long hours to make it a success is no small feat, but Big Sky thrives on a community full of businesses driven by passionate, hard-working entrepreneurs,” said Caitlin Quisenberry, programming and events manager at the Chamber. Quisenberry told the crowd gathered in the Sapphire Ballroom of the Residence Inn by Marriott, “This year’s winner has managed to keep their doors open and thriving through peak and shoulder seasons, greeting our locals and guests with charm and hospitality.” 
Nonprofit Person of the Year: Ciara Wolfe, who has, “Put in countless hours to ensure the longevity of our community’s vitality and livability,” said Quisenberry. Thanks to Wolfe’s leadership of the Big Sky Community Organization, “Our lands and public spaces have been secured for true community use and access including years-long work to prepare to raise $12 plus million to buy land and build a Community Center in the heart of town.”

Business Person of the Year: Tim Kent of First Security Bank has shown the determination and strength of character to push difficult projects across the finish line. “Big Sky has taken landmark strides in beginning to address our access to workforce housing,” said Quisenberry, describing Kent’s involvement with the MeadowView project. 

Business of the Year: The Simkins Family and the Big Sky Town Center. “As a business membership organization, the Big Sky Chamber is honored to recognize the vast impact that businesses have on Big Sky’s growth and development,” said Quisenberry, describing how the Simkins family sold 3.3 acres of land in the heart of the Town Center to the Big Sky Community Organization dedicated to a future Community Center. The Simkins were also congratulated for the thoughtful design and significant investment in the new Town Center Plaza in front of The Wilson Hotel where Big Sky Comes Together.

Chet Huntley Lifetime Achievement Award: Philanthropist Loren Bough has dedicated himself to creating and supporting major building blocks in Big Sky. This includes his significant involvement in the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center, the creation of Lone Peak High School and the development of Big Sky Medical Center. Bough has served on numerous boards including the Big Sky Resort Tax Board, WMPAC, Friends of Big Sky Education, Yellowstone Club Community, and currently is in his third term as Chair of the Big Sky School District Board.

Kevin Germain, Big Sky Chamber Board Member, presented Bough with the award, and said, “I can think of no person more deserving of this award. Loren, and his wife Jill, are committed and dedicated community members. The Boughs have focused on making Big Sky a world-class community by focusing on education, the environment and the arts. He cares deeply about this community. His positive efforts to help build a community have been thoughtful, thorough and fair. Best of all, this year Loren coached the 7th & 8th girls basketball team to a 27-0 record!”

The keynote speaker for the Black Diamond Awards Dinner was Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Cam Sholly, who shared his top five strategic priorities for YNP. These include investing in infrastructure, focusing on the people who work at the park and how to deal with increased visitation. These mirror much of what Big Sky is focusing on as well. For the Chamber specifically, telecommunications is its next key priority for 2019, having received $80,000 in resort tax funding to commission a study of current capacity and gaps in both cell and internet service (click to see video).
“Highlighting the best of us and our business community was the perfect way to celebrate the landmark opening of The Wilson Hotel,” said Candace Carr Strauss, CEO of the Big Sky Chamber. “Those honored should inspire us all to roll up our sleeves and get involved with the continued build out of our community. Big Sky is a unique and special place, and it’s powered by passionate people who chose to live here and are willing to show up and get things done to make it better.”

Newly elected board members and those continuing their terms were also recognized for their service to the Big Sky Chamber and the community.  

They include:
·       Scott Johnson, Chair – At-large
·       David O’Connor, Past Chair – Buck’s T-4
·       Katie Grice – Vice Chair – Big Sky Resort 
·       Ken Lancey, Treasurer – Grizzly Outfitters
·       Shannon Sears, Secretary – Montana Title & Escrow 
·       Frank Acito, Yellowstone Club
·       Sarah Gaither, Big Sky Community Food Bank
·       Kevin Germain, Lone Mountain Land Company
·       Greg Lisk, Gallatin Riverhouse Grill
·       Joel Nickel, Suffolk Construction
·       Bill Simkins, Big Sky Town Center

Inspired to get involved? Start by filling out a “Big Sky Opportunities Questionnaire.”It’s part of the “Our Big Sky” strategic visioning process now underway, thanks to support and leadership from the Big Sky Resort Area District.  

About the Big Sky Chamber of Commerce
The Big Sky Chamber of Commerce is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit membership organization representing 450+ businesses from throughout Gallatin and Madison Counties, Montana and the U.S. Serving as the VOICE of Big Sky business, the Big Sky Chamber CHAMPIONS a healthy economy and works collaboratively with community stakeholders (CONVENES) as a CATALYST to improve the overall quality of life in the region. Elevate Big Sky 2023, the Big Sky Chamber’s Strategic Plan, highlights its focus on advocating for and working to create a positive business climate in the greater Gallatin Valley, encouraging community infrastructure investment and facilitating local governance for the Big Sky community. For more information visit www.bigskychamber.com

Add a Comment »

Saturday, Jun. 22nd, 2019

Music Director Search Receives over 200 Applicants

The Bozeman Symphony continues their search for the position of Music Director having received 228 applications for the position – doubling expectations for the organization. The position serves as the organization’s principal conductor, artistic director, and performing arts advocate within Bozeman and surrounding areas.

Screening of applications began immediately upon publicly announcing the position earlier this year. Over the past several weeks, search committee members have worked diligently aiming to identify and invite finalists to participate as part of the Symphony’s new season which begins September 28th at 29th. The search committee’s membership includes representatives of the Symphony Board of Directors, community members, administrative staff and performing musicians. The committee aims to publicly announce finalists by mid-August. A new Music Director will be appointed in 2020 at the conclusion of the Symphony’s concert season.

The Symphony has just announced the 2019-2020 concert season which includes world-class guest artists such as pianist Marika Bournaki, violinist Angella Ahn, and Clarinetist Jon Manasse among many local favorites such as Elizabeth Croy, Melina Pyron, Concertmaster Carrie Krause, Pico Alt, and Tristan Hernandez – the senior division runner up from the Montana Association of Symphony Orchestras’ 2019 Young Artist Competition. Music Director finalists will participate in the season’s programming as they present a “conductor’s choice” highlighted at each concert series performance held at Willson Auditorium.

The Music Director selection process will provide the opportunity for the community to participate in a landmark event for the Bozeman Symphony. Information about the search will be updated regularly on the Symphony’s website, www.bozemansymphony.org. For more information, contact the Bozeman Symphony at 406-585-9774 or emily@bozemansymphony.org.

Add a Comment »

Thursday, Jun. 20th, 2019

MSU named most LGBTQ-friendly college in Montana

Montana State University was recently named the most LGBTQ-friendly college in the state of Montana. The university also increased its campus pride index score – an LGBTQ national benchmarking tool for colleges and universities to create safer more inclusion campus communities – to four out of five stars.

The rankings were made by BestColleges.com in partnership with the nonprofit organization Campus Pride. The universities featured on the list were chosen based on their inclusion features by a panel of experts from the nonprofit.

In its accompanying write-up about MSU, BestColleges.com noted that MSU offers numerous resources to help LGBTQ+ students succeed. LGBTQ refers to individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and/or questioning. The plus sign in LGBTQ+ is intended to include individuals who identify with other communities, such as intersex, non-binary and pansexual.

“The school has an LGBTQ+ resource directory that offers education, advocacy and support resources for students, including social programs and events hosted through the school's (Diversity and Inclusion Student Commons),” BestColleges.com wrote, adding that the commons creates a safe space for LGBTQ+ students on campus. It also noted that in 2016, MSU also designated 25 gender-neutral restrooms on campus, creating gender-inclusive facilities for students.

The write-up also noted that LGBTQ+ students at MSU can also participate in a mentor program that connects students or take part in multiple student organizations dedicated to LGBTQ+ issues. And the university’s chosen name pilot project is currently testing the capacity for students to use a chosen name for university documents and resources.

Ariel Donohue, MSU’s senior diversity and inclusion officer, said the university’s ranking went up from last year’s three out of five stars to this year’s four-star score due to significant progress in areas such as LGBTQ support and institutional commitment, LGBTQ academic life, housing and residence life, and more.

“The MSU community’s sustained dedication to inclusion is producing real results,” Donohue said. “Our LGBTQ students are more supported and embedded in the MSU community than they have been in the past, and I thank our community of caring individuals working toward a common good. We look forward to continuing to strengthen our support services for all underrepresented students, including those within the LGBTQ community.”

More information about the campus pride index is available at campusprideindex.org/.

Add a Comment »

Tippet Rise Art Center will open for its fourth season on July 5, 2019

On July 5, 2019, Tippet Rise Art Center will open for its fourth season of classical music concerts and tours of its monumental outdoor sculptures and architectural structures. This year, visitors can also explore a new scenic pavilion, Xylem, designed by the celebrated architect Francis Kéré. The pavilion is the first site-specific commission to be added to the art center’s collection since Tippet Rise opened in 2016.

Xylem, Designed by Francis Kéré
World-renowned architect Francis Kéré has designed Tippet Rise’s new 2,100-square-foot pavilion, Xylem, drawing inspiration from the wooden and straw toguna structures sacred in Dogon communities in West Africa. Nestled in a grove of aspen and cottonwood trees beside Grove Creek and the art center’s central campus, Xylem is constructed of locally and sustainably sourced ponderosa and lodgepole pine and features a canopy of vertical logs, which filters shafts of light onto the seating areas. The seating elements’ organic shapes are inspired in part by abstract paintings that artist and Tippet Rise co-founder Cathy Halstead created based on forms of microscopic life, in addition to the sinuous topography of the surrounding hills. Visitors to Tippet Rise may gather within Xylem to converse or contemplate the views, or sit and meditate in solitude. Future plans for the pavilion include poetry readings and musical performances.

Music at the Art Center
The summer’s concert season begins July 12 and continues for seven weeks, through September 7, 2019. The 2019 concert season brings together accomplished artists and up-and-coming stars for 23 recitals and chamber music performances, spanning more than four centuries of repertoire. Highlights include world premieres of John Luther Adams’s Lines Made By Walking (String Quartet No. 5), a Tippet Rise commission performed by the JACK Quartet, and three compositions by BBC Music Magazine’s 2018 Newcomer Award Winner and pianist Julien Brocal, who returns to the art center for his second season. Other artists returning to Tippet Rise include celebrated pianist Behzod Abduraimov, the Rolston String Quartet, the St. Lawrence String Quartet, and Jenny Chen, who recently made her Carnegie Hall debut and has performed at the art center every year since the inaugural season.

A special festival weekend will be held August 23-25, featuring Tippet Rise’s Artistic Advisor, the renowned pianist Pedja Muzijevic, joined by seven musicians—Benjamin Beilman, Jennifer Frautschi, Ayane Kozasa, Anthony Manzo, Nathan Schram, James Austin Smith, and Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir. Tippet Rise will cap the season by welcoming members of Ensemble Connect, a two-year fellowship program of Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School, and the Weill Music Institute in partnership with the New York City Department of Education. Piano duo Anderson & Roe will perform the summer’s final concert.

Performances take place in the 150-seat Olivier Music Barn, its scale and proportions inspired by the intimate and acoustically pristine concert spaces of the 18th century where Haydn’s and Mozart’s works were performed. Weather permitting, Saturday morning concerts take place at the open-air Domo (2016), a 98-foot-long, 16-foot-tall, acoustically rich sculptural structure designed by Ensamble Studio. Pre-concert talks are presented Friday and Saturday evenings at Tiara, a 100-seat outdoor acoustic shell.

Season Four’s concert tickets sold out through a randomized drawing. Tickets that are returned to the box office will be placed for sale on the Events page of the Tippet Rise website the week of the ticketed concert, and will be sold on a first come, first serve basis. Tickets are $10 each, free to anyone 21 and under. For those who are unable to attend concerts in person, recorded performances are added regularly to the Tippet Rise website and to the art center’s YouTube channel. Other happenings, such as art workshops and concerts for children will be added to the Events page through the summer and fall.

Words from Tippet Rise Co-Founders and from Xylem Architect Francis Kéré
Tippet Rise co-founders Peter and Cathy Halstead said, “We are eager to welcome our incredible visitors to Tippet Rise again this summer. The fourth season offers a variety of special experiences from world premieres to Francis Kéré’s new gathering place—a quiet place to contemplate nature. We are thrilled to have collaborated with Francis on such a meaningful piece of architecture. We also hope that this pavilion will forever create a link between Montana and Burkina Faso, where the Tippet Rise Fund of the Sidney E. Frank Foundation is supporting the completion of a secondary school built in Francis’s unique, context-specific language.”

Francis Kéré said, “Standing on the high meadow of Tippet Rise Art Center, looking out at the mountains under a vast sky, people can face nature at its widest scale. But with this pavilion, Tippet Rise offers a more intimate experience of its landscape within a quiet shelter, where people can access the most secret part of nature: the heart of the trees. I am honored that Peter and Cathy Halstead invited me to contribute to their magnificent art center, and I am deeply grateful for their generosity in linking the creation of this pavilion to the construction of a new school in my home of Burkina Faso.” In keeping with the educational mission of Tippet Rise, the Tippet Rise Fund of the Sidney E. Frank Foundation is supporting Francis Kéré in building environmentally sustainable and climatically appropriate schools in West Africa by funding the construction of a new school he designed in his birthplace, the village of Gando in Burkina Faso. Opening in January 2020, the Naaba Belem Goumma Secondary School will accommodate approximately 1,000 students. More details about the school, which is named for Kéré’s father, are available here.

Land Art and Architecture at Tippet Rise
The new pavilion by Francis Kéré joins other large-scale works at Tippet Rise. Site-specific artworks set within the landscape include two other sculptural structures by the innovative Ensamble Studio: the 25-foot-tall Beartooth Portal (2015), composed of two vertical rocklike forms that lean together at the top, and the similarly designed 26-foot-tall Inverted Portal (2016). Tippet Rise is also home to Daydreams (2015) by Patrick Dougherty and Satellite #5: Pioneer (2016) by Stephen Talasnik. Also set in the landscape are two monumental works by the internationally renowned sculptor Mark di Suvero, Beethoven’s Quartet (2003) and Proverb (2002), and two works by Alexander Calder on loan from the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Two Discs (1965) and Stainless Stealer (1966). Two works by Modernist painter Isabelle Johnson, an original owner of part of the land on which the art center is situated, have been acquired by Tippet Rise and hang in the Olivier Music Barn. Additionally, two smaller works by Stephen Talasnik frame the Olivier Music Barn’s performance space—Galaxy (2014) and Archeology (2012).

Sculpture Tours at the Art Center
Visitors can tour the 12,000-acre working ranch and its outdoor sculptures and architectural structures via 10.5 miles of hiking and biking trails, or by shuttle van. Tours via shuttle van are $10 each, free to those 21 and under and are available first-come, first-serve (space is limited). Hiking and biking at the art center are free for everyone; however, registration via the Tippet Rise Tours page online is required for admission for all tours.

Dining at Tippet Rise
For concert ticketholders and tour guests, morning pastries, coffee and tea, lunch and dinner options, as well as wine and craft beer, are available for purchase in Will’s Shed. All fare is prepared by Cordon Bleu-trained Chef Nick Goldman and Chef Wendi Reed of Wild Flower Kitchen.

Getting to the Art Center

Located in Stillwater County, Tippet Rise is approximately one hour southwest of Billings, two hours southeast of Bozeman, and two-and-a-half hours north of Yellowstone National Park.
All visitors to the art center must have concert tickets or have registered for a tour, workshop or other event via the Tippet Rise website.

Add a Comment »

Big Sky Resort Opens for Summer Season

Big Sky, Mont. (June 20, 2019) – Big Sky Resort, southwest Montana’s premier summer playground with over 50 miles of hiking and biking trails, is open for the summer season. Big Sky’s proximity to Yellowstone National Park makes it the perfect basecamp for summer adventures of all kinds.


Big Sky Resort has more than 50 miles of hiking and biking trails available right out of Mountain Village. Enjoy chairlift-serviced downhill mountain biking for all levels and abilities, with connector trails that allow bikers to ride six miles of flow trail through forests and meadows to Big Sky Town Center. Big Sky’s biking trails offer a diversity of beginner flow trails and steep technical trails, where every rider can find a trail that suits their ability and stoke.

Many existing trails are being improved this summer season, including a complete rework on Tango to better fit in the progression between Rabbit Run and Gambler.

“We are identifying gaps in our trail progression and adding trails to fill the gaps. Tango, one of our existing trails, is being reworked as a machine-built freeride trail, maintaining its current corridor and shifting corridors when needed to maintain a lower grade. The goal is to create an easier blue freeride trail. Big Sky Resort is a family-friendly destination, so making our mountain more accessible to everyone, especially those new to the sport, is essential,” said Christine Baker, Mountain Sports manager, Big Sky Resort.

Bike rentals are available at Different Spokes, Big Sky’s bike shop located in Mountain Village. Rentals include mountain bikes and Strider bikes for children. Different Spokes is a one-stop shop for all biking needs, including downhill bike coaching, bike haul tickets, and scenic lift tickets. Additionally, RAD Bikes will be open in Mountain Village this summer for bike tuning and repairs.

With more than 30 miles of hiking trails at Big Sky, escaping the rigors of everyday life is just a few steps away. Guided hikes with expert guides introduces hikers of all ability levels to the tranquil summer trails, plus information about local Big Sky flora and fauna. Many hiking trails connect to U.S. Forest Service lands, which allows for full-day treks into Montana’s beautiful backcountry.


Escape the heat this summer to Montana’s highest scenic overlook: Lone Peak. Ride a chairlift, expedition vehicle, and tram to 11,166 feet - no hike required - to the summit of Lone Mountain for views of three states, two national parks and mountain ranges for miles. Additionally, guides are available daily for the Nature and the Adventure zipline tours, guided hiking and downhill mountain biking.


An abundance of family-friendly activities are available in Mountain Village. Parents and children alike will enjoy the bungee trampoline, climbing wall, giant swing, miniature golf, gemstone mining, jungle gym playground, marble run, archery, and disc golf.

Big Sky Resort is located just one hour from the west entrance to Yellowstone National Park. If geysers and wildlife top your summer bucket list, but roughing it isn’t exactly your thing - enjoy the creature comforts of a resort stay at Big Sky. This summer, the Big Adventure package offers a complimentary activity for each night of lodging booked, for each person on the reservation. Complimentary activities include the Lone Peak Expedition, ziplines, guided hike, horseback riding, whitewater rafting, and more. Resort accommodations, a full-service spa and salon, pool, and dining are the perfect complement to your trip to Yellowstone National Park.


Complete your big mountain adventure with body treatments, facials, massages, and salon services. Transcend into an ultimate state of relaxation with an Elevated Escape package, which includes a CBD body treatment and CBD massage combination. Rebalance, reset, and relax with full spectrum hemp infused treatments and Phia energy enhancement, a line of wellness products engineered with bioenergetics to fit your signature frequency. In addition to warm relaxation and treatment rooms, spa treatments include full-day access to the resort’s steam room, sauna, fitness center, pool and hot tub.  Located in the Huntley Lodge in Mountain Village, browse around Solace Spa’s retail storefront for women’s clothing, jewelry, accessories, and unique gifts for the body, mind & spirit.  


New this summer, Andiamo is open for lunch and dinner, serving up classic Italian trattoria dishes inspired by Executive Chef Ryan Solien’s experience studying Italian cuisine in Rome. Chef Ryan has completely reimagined the crust and tomato sauce recipes in Pizza Works and Andiamo pizza to emulate a more traditional Neopolitan-style slice. For your espresso fix, head to Mountain Mocha’s new location in the Firehole Lounge in the Huntley Lodge lobby. Chet’s, also located in the Huntley Lodge, is open for breakfast and dinner. Carabiner, located in the Summit Hotel, is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.


The Big Sky Golf Course is an 18-hole, par 72 course at 6,300 feet above sea level, offering spectacular views of Lone Peak. The golf course, which winds along the wildlife-rich banks of the West Fork of the Gallatin River, was designed by the late great Arnold Palmer. Don’t miss an al fresco brunch at the Bunker Deck & Grill before or after heading out on the course. Big Sky Golf Course and the Bunker Deck and Grill opened May 18, 2019. Bunker Brunch will begin on June 29, and continue throughout the summer.

Add a Comment »

Wednesday, Jun. 19th, 2019

Montana Science Center hosts Women in Engineering Day

The Montana Science Center (MSC) is proud to announce the Women in Engineering Day on Saturday, June 22nd, 2019 from 11am to 2pm.  The Montana Science Center is hosting this event as part of their Women in STEM Series to honor International Women in Engineering Day, recognized as June 23rd each year.

During this time, the Science Center will feature local women engineers and scientists who will be leading activities and experiments that represent their field of study. The featured scientists and engineers include women engineers from local engineering firms including Northwestern Energy; HDR, Inc; and DCI Engineers. CEO of Wavelength Electronics, Mary Johnson will also present an activity.

MSC’s Executive Director, Abby Turner, states, “Creating gateways for students, particularly females, by introducing them to the extensive topics that encompass STEM, is a driving mission of the Science Center. We recognize that an introduction to engineering and technology is about much more than just tasks, it’s about creating a lifelong interest in exploring the world with a curious mind. Through our various programs we aim to introduce those students to a wide range of STEM activities in order to spark creativity and critical thinking.  It is events like Women in Engineering Day that connect families with local engineers to seize the interest of children at a young age; which allows them to connect lessons learned at the Science Center or in class to real world application and the amazing places a STEM career can take them.”

Women in Engineering Day is open to the public and free with admission. Families will be able to explore the science center as well as the displays provided by the guest engineers.

The Montana Science Center is located at 202 S. Willson St.  For more information, please contact Abby Turner at (406)522-9087, or see our website at www.montanasciencecenter.org.

Add a Comment »

Introducing the World’s Most Advanced Aerial Firefighting Surveillance Tool

Bridger Aerospace has integrated technologies from Ascent Vision Technologies (AVT) and Latitude to introduce the world’s most advanced aerial firefighting surveillance system. To tackle the country’s most extreme fires, the Gen V system will be used by Bridger’s highly skilled and trained team of operators to better support wildfire management and relief missions.

The fully integrated system combines AVT’s revolutionary lightweight CM142 imaging payload; AVT’s Fire Mapper; and Latitude’s FVR-90 VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) unmanned aerial system. The CM142 optic delivers real-time aerial data, transferring high definition daylight and crisp long-wave infrared imagery directly to the remote ground station. The footage highlights hotspots, areas affected and areas at risk of damage. The Fire Mapper includes short-wave infrared, long-wave infrared and a 13-megapixel daylight sensor. Real-time fire mapping with live locations facilitates better decision making when responding to the fire.   

Latitude’s next generation VTOL provides greater flexibility in deployment, allowing take-off and landing to take place from any location, at any time. With an endurance of up to 15 hours, the system can perform for long durations to ensure the team collects the data required for the mission.

Using a fully integrated, user-friendly rover system, Bridger Aerospace will provide firefighters with remote access to live video with real-time overlays of telemetry and metadata. Operators can communicate to the aircraft using the primary datalink and a small portable handheld radio device. The system uses a MIMO (multi in multi out) data link, which extends the range from the ground station out to over 50nm.

The fully integrated system combines everything needed to support the US Government in tackling the country’s most dangerous fires, helping firefighters save lives and reducing damage. Bridger Aerospace is one of the two companies in the United States authorized to conduct BLOS (beyond line of site) flights in active fire zones. With over 13 years of experience in providing solutions for wildfire management, Bridger delivers revolutionary equipment and a skilled team of operators to tackle each firefighting mission.

CEO at Bridger Aerospace, Tim Sheehy, said

“We have developed a world leading aerial firefighting surveillance tool that will transform aerial data collection for fire management and relief missions in the United States. The system includes Latitude’s FVR-90 VTOL, which is fitted with AVT’s high-performance CM142 sensor and Fire Mapper to support the US government in managing the country’s major wildfires.

This system will have a huge impact on wildfire management by providing all the essential tools needed to help save lives. This revolutionary firefighting surveillance solution will be controlled by Bridger’s highly-trained team of UAS operators to provide a world-leading service to combat wildfires.”

Integrated Systems Manager, Weston Irr, said

“This marks the second year where Bridger Aerospace supports firefighting missions in the US using an unmanned aerial system. With our new Gen V fully integrated UAS system, we can provide firefighters with remote access to accurate, real-time imagery. This data will have a huge impact on the efficiency of their operation by facilitating fast and informed response to the fire.”

Add a Comment »