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Monday, Jul. 9th, 2018

New MSU lab focuses on the study of human movement

Inside a Montana State University laboratory on the south end of campus, a student lies prone on a table and flexes her calf. Her muscle activity appears as a burst of blue lines on a screen across the room, and her movement is captured via cameras mounted on the wall and thimble-sized sensors placed on her body.

The data transmits to a computer and, along with other information collected, allows researchers in the laboratory to analyze the motion. The information could be helpful in studies seeking to understand more about the mechanics of human motion, as well as in developing a rehabilitation plan for an injured person.  

The new laboratory – called the MSU Neuromuscular Biomechanics Lab – is headed by Jim Becker, an assistant professor in the Department of Health and Human Development in the College of Education, Health and Human Development, and Scott Monfort, assistant professor in the Norm Asbjornson College of Engineering’s Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering. Biomechanics is the science that is concerned with analyzing how and why bodies move in the way that they do.

Becker said the laboratory will enable a new kind of research at MSU.

“This modern, state-of-the-art biomechanics facility opens a lot of doors for things that couldn’t be done on this campus previously,” Becker said.

The facility, located on South Seventh Avenue near Bobcat Stadium, features several different types of equipment for gathering data, including four in-ground force plates that measure force when an individual steps or jumps on the plate, as well as a large treadmill with its own built-in force plates used for analysis of walking and running. Surrounding both the plates and treadmill are motion-capture camera systems that are used to record an individual’s movements.

The researchers plan to conduct studies related to a range of movements, including walking, squatting, running, changing direction and daily activies such as obstacle crossing or sitting-to-standing movements, Monfort said. He added that sports injuries – as well as screening services for local athletic teams – will be another focus.

Monfort, who earned a doctorate in mechanical engineering at Ohio State University, came to MSU in fall 2017. At Ohio State, his research involved understanding how neurological factors influence the way people move. That work ranged from examining impaired balance and walking in cancer patients to musculoskeletal injuries in high-performing athletes.

“That background will provide a nice base here, and we’ll be collecting new data that continue to investigate these relationships,” he said.

Becker’s doctorate, from the University of Oregon, is in human physiology, with a focus in biomechanics. His research focused on sports medicine, particularly for runners and track and field athletes. The work included assessments of who is at risk of injury, how to prevent injuries and how to effectively treat injuries.  In addition to injury prevention and rehabilitation Becker also used these same research tools to help athletes improve their performance.

“Those are a lot of the same questions we intend to pursue here,” Becker said.

More than a dozen undergraduate and graduate students will work with Becker and Monfort in the lab, Monfort said.

“This is an exciting opportunity for (students),” he said. “The students come in with different backgrounds but are all motivated by research questions.”

Dan Miller, head of the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, praised the researchers and called the lab an exciting addition to MSU.

“The leadership and vision that Drs. Monfort and Becker are providing is outstanding and a model of cross-college collaboration enabling an exciting research area,” he said.   

“Becker’s and Monfort’s collaboration demonstrates that when we work across disciplines, departments and colleges, we can create unique teaching and learning experiences for both health and human performance students and engineering students, while engaging local health care providers in practical scholarship that is of service to their patients and the professional community,” said Alison Harmon, dean of the College of Education, Health and Human Development.   

The researchers have also teamed up with a local physical therapist, Laura Opstedal with Bridger Orthopedic, who helps connect the researchers with clients who would benefit from additional information. In turn, the clients provide useful data for Monfort’s and Becker’s studies.

“Some (research) questions are associated with a certain (condition), so it’s critical to be able to bring in patients and assess them,” Monfort said.

Opstedal said she is “thrilled” to be part of a research collaboration with MSU.

“The opportunity for a clinician to work with researchers is vital for the advancement in medicine,” she said. “Clinicians often have unanswered clinical questions but lack resources to research ideas or fill gaps in medical literature. To be able to work closely with researchers and share ideas is beneficial for students, the university as well as the medical community.”

Becker said he and Monfort hope to develop collaborations with additional local physical therapists.

“Any clinic that is interested and would like to develop a research partnership is invited to refer patients here,” he said, adding that such collaborations are common at most larger research hospitals. “Given the active population we have here in Bozeman, this would be a great resource and a great fit.”

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Friday, Jul. 6th, 2018

Emerson Center for the Arts & Culture announces the 21st Annual Garden & Home Tour

Emerson Center for the Arts & Culture announces the 21st Annual Garden & Home TourFeaturing Bozeman’s downtown neighborhoods & shared community spaces. 
Friday, July 27, 4pm to 8pm & Saturday, July 28, 9am to 4pm 

A long-time favorite, the Emerson’s 21st Annual Garden & Home Tour will take place Friday evening, July 27th and Saturday, July 28th. This year’s Tour takes a deeper look into the some of the neighborhood gardens and shared community spaces of Downtown Bozeman. The Greater Gallatin Watershed Council, Gallatin Valley Farm to School, City of Bozeman Water Conservation Office, and Linda Iverson Designs have come together to share thoughtful and innovative gardening practices happening right here in the Gallatin Valley. Be sure to check the schedule in the ticket book for times and locations of these special lectures and tours.This year’s poster features Geri Ward’s alcohol ink artwork, Spring Hyacinth. She will be signing Garden & Home posters in the Emerson Lobby during the July 13th Art Walk, 5-8pm.The Garden & Home Tour is a great way to spend the day biking or walking with friends through Bozeman. The Tour promises inspiration for all types of gardening enthusiast, from the experienced gardener, to those just starting out, to observers who simply enjoy the beauty of gardens.$15 Emerson Members | $20 Non-membersTickets go on sale July 9th and are available at the Emerson Center for the Arts & Culture, Cashman Nursery & Landscaping, Heyday, and both Owenhouse ACE Hardware locations.For more information about the Garden & Home Tour, please visit, email, or call (406)587-9797 ext.106.

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Emerson Center for the Arts & Culture’s Lunch on the Lawn Series starts July 11th

Emerson Center for the Arts & Culture in pleased to invite one and all to the newly purchased Emerson Lawn for this year’s Lunch on the Lawn series, starting Wednesday, July 11. Lunch on the Lawn is a free community-oriented event featuring different local musicians, food trucks serving locally sourced and made goods, and fellow organizations. Take a break from the workday, grab a bite to eat, soak up some sunshine, listen to some great tunes, enjoy a good conversation or two, watch the kids dance and play, and share in what makes Bozeman a great community.

Lunch on the Lawn runs seven consecutive Wednesdays, July 11 thru August 22, 11:30am to 1:30pm.

Band Line Up

July 11 – Sharon And the Nomads
July 18 – Milton Menasco
July 25 – The Beautifully Broken

August 1 – John Swendseid Quartet     
August 8 – Kate and the Alley Cats
August 15 – Bridger Trio
August 22 – The Dead Yellers

Food Trucks

  • Genuine Ice Cream - locally made ice cream and roasted nuts
  • Lotte Dogs - locally sourced hot dogs, chips, and drinks
  • Rancho Picante Bison Hut - local bison burgers, tacos, bratwurst, and sides
  • Totally Tasty Food Truck - sliders and assorted hot sandwiches organic and locally sourced

Community Partners

  • Bookmobile
  • Boy Scouts
  • Bozeman Fire Department
  • Bozeman Makerspace
  • Bozeman Police Department
  • Children’s Museum of Bozeman
  • Fins & Feathers
  • Gallatin Art Crossing
  • Gallatin History Museum
  • Gallatin Valley Farm to School
  • Heart of the Valley
  • Mountain Air Dance
  • Museum of the Rockies
  • The Dance Center
  • US Forest Service
  • Verge Theater 

For more information about Lunch on the Lawn, please visit, email, or call (406)587-9797 ext.106.

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Monday, Jul. 2nd, 2018

8th annual Summer SLAM Festival is coming to Bozeman’s Bogert Park August 4th & 5th

The 8th annual Summer SLAM Festival is coming to Bozeman’s Bogert Park August 4th & 5th.  Hours of the festival are Saturday 10am-7pm, and Sunday 10am-5pm. This free family friendly event features artists, live performances, demonstrations, food and libations from around our great state, kids activities, a silent auction, a free community yoga class, and much more!  Shop from talented artists from around the state of Montana, and learn about what it takes to create some of their offerings during live artist demonstrations.Bring your appetite for delicious culinary creations, from gourmet mac & cheese to artisanal ice cream and everything in between!

Grab a frosty brew or cocktail from our Montana libations garden, and prepare to be amazed by the stage lineup of music, and live performances all weekend long!  Former member of the Mission Mountain Wood Band, Rob Quist and Great Northern will be performing for the first time in Bozeman in nearly a decade on Sunday afternoon, and it’s sure to be a must-see show!Families can make their own hula-hoop and tie dye a bandana at the family activity zone.

Support Local Artists and Musicians at the Summer SLAM Festival, August 4th & 5th in Bogert Park!  For a full event line-up check out:

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Friday, Jun. 29th, 2018

Tippet Rise to Offer Tours Focused on Region's Geologic and Paleontologic History

Poised at the convergence of two vastly different regions, the Beartooth Mountains and the Great Plains, Tippet Rise Art Center is home to a unique combination of geologic and paleontologic features. Thanks to the organization’s partnership with the Yellowstone Bighorn Field Association (YBRA)—located south of Red Lodge, Montana—Tippet Rise will offer Geo-Paleo Tours for the second year in a row. These tours allow guests to learn about and explore the art center’s geologic and paleontologic histories through landmarks and features scattered across the art center’s 10,260 acres. These features not only offer clues to the geologic processes that formed this extraordinary region, they also offered inspiration to the artists who created the site-specific sculptures nestled into the canyons and perched atop the hills at Tippet Rise.

The tours will be led by representatives of the YBRA, lecturers with extensive academic knowledge of and many years of field research in the region’s paleontology (the fossil record stretches back for eons in Montana, from small marine life to enormous dinosaur bones and more recent mammals), structural geology (the distribution of rocks and how different strata lay on top of one another), and other topics.

2018’s Geo-Paleo Tours take place on five consecutive Thursdays beginning July 26 and run from 9AM-1PM. Space is limited, and advanced reservations are required. Tours go on sale Monday, July 9. The cost is $10.00 per person and free for anyone 21 and under. Tour details and reservations are available on the Tippet Rise website at

Touring the Tippet Rise sculptures
The art center’s third season begins Friday, June 29 with Friday, Saturday and Sunday sculpture tours. Visitors can explore Tippet Rise and its breathtaking sculptures by shuttle van, or via nine miles of hiking and biking trails that meander through the art center’s canyons and hills. Van tours cost $10.00 per person and are free for anyone 21 and under; hiking and bicycling tours are free of charge. Whether touring by foot, bicycle or van, space is limited, and reservations must be made in advance. For more information and to register, visit

Other news from the art center
The trail system at Tippet Rise continues to expand! Over the winter, a one-mile pathway was built to connect the Cottonwood Campus, where the Olivier Music Barn and other structures stand, with the trails that lead to the art center’s monumental sculptures. The new path begins at Patrick Dougherty’s Daydreams and meanders along a gentle rise through a grassy meadow.

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Thursday, Jun. 28th, 2018

Fireworks Allowed with Restrictions July 3-5

The City of Bozeman’s Police Department and Fire Department are preparing for another busy Fourth of July. This is one of the few times a year when Bozeman residents are legally allowed to use fireworks within city limits. However, not all fireworks are permitted for use and Police and Fire ask that you pay close attention to restrictions when using fireworks this holiday.

Per the City of Bozeman municipal code Ch. 18 Article 5 fireworks that are permitted include:
    •    Fireworks that go no higher than 15 feet and not designed to explode
    •    Sparklers under 12 inches in length
    •    Wheels with up to 6 "driver" units or tubes
Fireworks can be used July 3-5 during the following times:
    •    July 3 Noon to 12:00 a.m.
    •    July 4 Noon to 1:00 a.m.
    •    July 5 Noon to 12:00 a.m.
Allowed locations for using fireworks:
    •    Private property with permission (fire work type restrictions still apply)
    •    NOT upon major arterial streets or alley’s
    •    NOT within three hundred (300) feet of any public park
    •    NOT within 1000 feet of any hospital, nursing, or assisted living facility
    •    NOT under or upon a motor vehicle, whether moving or not
    •    NOT within 300 feet of any gas station
Remember this Fourth of July to abide by firework restrictions and practice safety first. Police Chief Steve Crawford reminds everyone that, “Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. The Police Department will have extra patrols on duty during the holiday and will be on high alert for impaired driving.” Additional information can be found in the City of Bozeman Municipal Code and on the City of Bozeman website.

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Wednesday, Jun. 27th, 2018

Summit Aviation Helps Young Cancer Survivors Soar!

Summit Aviation is excited to host our 5th Annual Cancer Survivor Flight Camp July 9-13th!  In partnership with Eagle Mount and Big Sky Kids, Summit will give four young cancer survivors - Darla, Emily, Richie and Brett - the experience of a lifetime as they spend the week learning how to fly and taking in Montana's sights from above.

For these individuals, who have braved the challenges of diagnosis and treatment, the Flight Camp is a chance to escape limitations and discover new skills and abilities.  During the course of the week, these campers will learn the basics of flight and how to manipulate aircraft controls, take an awe-inspiring flight over Yellowstone National Park, experience the thrill of a cross-country flight to Driggs, ID and perform their own takeoffs and landings.

Former camper Morgan shares “It was outrageously fun... I had this feeling like we had won.  We had, in some way, triumphed; went from cancer to flying."  The Flight Camp is powerfully life-changing for the participants and goes far beyond aerodynamics.  It’s about rising above challenges and pain, breaking free of limitations and taking back control. 

If you would like to know more about the Cancer Survivor Flight Camp or how to donate, please visit or contact Summit Aviation at 406-388-8359.

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Monday, Jun. 25th, 2018

The Belgrade Community Market starts Thursday, July 5th at Lewis & Clark Park, 4-7pm

The Belgrade Community Market (farmer’s market) will be open Thursdays at Lewis & Clark Park in Belgrade, MT from July 5, 2018 through Sept 6th, 2018. The market will open at 4pm and close at 7pm every Thursday Night. The goal of the Belgrade Community Market is to provide a venue for Homemade, Handmade, and Homegrown Vendors to sell their local products, as well as to provide the community with a fun, family friendly place to buy produce and local goods from their neighbors. The Belgrade Community Market is run by a 100% Volunteer Committee under the umbrella of the Belgrade Community Coalition. Our Second Annual Market will have 35 vendors spaces which cost $10 per 10 foot space per evening, as well as five additional spaces available at a variable cost to be used by business sponsors and non-profits. Currently our market is FULL for the 2018 season, however nightly spaces may become available each week for new vendors.

The Belgrade Community Market will be one of three events happening on Thursday Nights in Belgrade. The Belgrade Community Library will be hosting their summer reading program events in tangent with the market, and the Belgrade Community Coalition will be hosting “Belgrade Summer Nights” which will include lawn game tournaments, bingo, history tours, and much more - also in tangent with the Belgrade Community Market.

“It’s the best time of year to live in Belgrade. You don’t want to miss out on these family friendly, community events every Thursday this summer.” - Christine Stoppa, Market Director

*The market is currently accepting vendor applications for our nightly waiting list. Please contact for more details. We are also looking for local businesses interested in sponsoring our 2019 Market Season. Please contact for more details.

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MSU faculty publishes breakthrough animal health discovery in Nature’s Scientific Reports

A Montana State University faculty member has found that, like most good things in life, a majority of healthy microbes in newborn cattle come from their mothers.

Carl Yeoman, associate professor in the Department of Animal and Range Sciences in the MSU College of Agriculture, recently published findings in Scientific Reports, a publication of the prestigious science journal Nature. The paper, Yeoman said, is the first to demonstrate the maternal influence on calves’ earliest gut microbes, primarily where they come from and how they assemble in differing regions of the gut.

Yeoman, who researches and teaches about the microbial ecosystems in various animals, including cattle and sheep, said the paper is part of a five-year research project he began when he joined the faculty at MSU. He added that its findings “have the potential to contribute greatly to the field of animal health and production.”

“Gut microbes, particularly the earliest gut microbes of livestock and other mammals, play important roles in animal health, including aiding the maturation of the animals’ immune systems and sustaining nutrition,” Yeoman said. “Understanding the routes of transmission of these important gut inhabitants allow us to influence their dissemination to future generations and provides motivation to protect these maternal microbial reservoirs.”

In the paper, Yeoman and his co-authors describe finding that a large portion of microbes that colonize a cattle’s gut were derived from contact with the mother — during and after birth. Additional authors on the paper include Suzanne Ishaq, a former postdoctoral fellow in the Yeoman lab, now a research assistant professor at the University of Oregon; Elena Bichi from the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Leon in Spain; Sarah Olivo, MSU research assistant, James Lowe, director of the College of Veterinary Medicine at at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Brian Aldridge, professor of veterinary clinical medicine at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

By examining microbes present in 10 regions of a calf’s gastrointestinal tract during the first 21 days of its life, the study showed that many important microbes are transferred to the calf from three unique maternal reservoirs.

“We show that, on average, 41 percent of microbes in gut mucosa (surface) and 46 percent in the gut lumen (gut contents) of calves are acquired from their mother’s vagina, colostrum and the skin around the udder,” Yeoman said. “The udder, in particular, had more influence than we expected.”

The gut mucosa is the largest immunological environment of the body. Colostrum is the first form of milk produced by mammals immediately after giving birth.

Microbes such as methanogenic archaea, which remove inhibitors of the break down of dietary fiber, but, in so doing, produce the potent greenhouse gas methane, were also found to be uniquely acquired from the mother cow’s vagina, he said.

According to Yeoman, almost all studies to date have focused on microbes of the rumen — the largest of four stomach chambers in cattle that serves as “a large fermentation vat where bacteria and other microorganisms break down feed.” But Yeoman and his fellow researchers believe there are more “good” microbes to discover elsewhere in a cow.

“We show that the microbes in the rumen are very different from those in other parts of the gastrointestinal tract, and there is good reason to think microbes in other parts of the gut are also important to nutrition as well as health,” he said.

Yeoman published similar results to the cow study about lambs in the Journal of Animal Science last year. Those findings show that microbes vary through differing regions of the lamb’s gut and that fiber-degrading bacteria exist both in the rumen as well as the colon. Yeoman said these microbes, along with other health-promoting bacteria in the small intestine, were all found to be important to feed efficiency of the animal.

Feed efficiency is a measurement to determine the ability of livestock to turn feed nutrients into milk and meat, measured in pounds of milk or meat produced per pound of dry matter consumed.

Both findings pave the way for a better understanding of how to optimize livestock gut microbiota during the early stages of life, Yeoman said, which could lead to healthier and more productive livestock.

“Dr. Yeoman is using cutting-edge microbiological science to find answers to some of agriculture’s big problems,” said Patrick Hatfield, head of MSU’s Department of Animal and Range Sciences. “The overall health of an animal, its ability to reproduce and how well it can fight off disease happens on the molecular level. His research is providing the agricultural industry with insight into the earliest interactions of an animal that has a life-long impact.”

Yeoman’s research is supported by the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station, the Bair Ranch foundation, and Land ‘o’ Lakes. His work has also received funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Health multistate research projects, which connects Yeoman’s research expertise to other groups throughout the U.S. Yeoman’s USDA-NIFA multistate project uses molecular tools in order to enhance the competiveness and value of U.S. beef.

“There are a lot of unseen interaction that you can only pick up through molecular tools,” Yeoman said. “The way microbes interact with the animal host and with each other occur at the molecular level. Understanding these interactions is critical for the success of animal and the producer’s ability to be economically and ecologically sustainable.”

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MSU preschool teacher known to generations to retire

Jean Hannula speaks so softly, you have to lean in a bit to hear her. Listen carefully. She holds decades of wisdom about the big lessons small children can teach us.  

For the last 23 years, Hannula has been a mainstay as a lead teacher in the Montana State University Child Development Center, a laboratory preschool of the Early Childhood Education and Child Services program in the MSU College of Education, Health and Human Development.

Hannula will say goodbye to the “countless little faces and families” she came to know from working in early childhood education for 40 years when she retires from MSU in August. Throughout her time in classrooms over four decades, Hannula said she “hasn’t seen a single carbon copy of any one child” and that “not a day went by” that she didn’t learn something from children.  

Originally from Great Falls and from a family of educators, Hannula holds a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Montana. Before joining the CDC, she worked at several preschools in Massachusetts and then started a parent co-op preschool with colleagues there. She moved to Bozeman in 1992 and worked at a private preschool before joining the CDC in 1995.

 “It just fits when you find your niche,” Hannula said. “I’ve learned so much from the children over the years. Mostly about how to be a human being.”

The philosophy that effective teaching comes first from learning is something Hannula has applied in more than one kind of classroom. A 40-year student of Aikido, a Japanese martial art that’s a blend of philosophy, religious beliefs and martial studies, Hannula holds a third-degree black belt and practices weekly at age 66. She attributes Aikido in her approach to “teaching as a form of spirituality.”

“Aikido is about staying calm in chaos and finding a certain peace, a kind of focus,” she said. “Obviously, there’s a lot of parallel to that in a classroom full of 3- and (4-) and 5-year-olds.”

Other Aikido tenets Hannula says she incorporates in teaching are an openness to learn, respect and reflection.

“You get back what you put into children, the same way you do in just about everything else,” she said. “If you give them hate and anger, that’s what they reflect back. If you give them patience and love, that comes back, too. So much of that begins with respecting them as individuals.”

Hannula’s calm nature and ability to connect with young learners earned her a distinguished staff award from the MSU College of Education, Health and Human Development and the MSU Alumni Foundation last year. Colleagues also nominated her for the university’s Pure Gold award program for her contributions to the CDC, and she received that award last fall.

CDC Managing Director Miranda Wheeler said Hannula’s career longevity, patience and reverence with children are traits hard to come by.

“I’ll miss Jean and everything that Jean represents,” Wheeler said. “This program is truly known for her and in some ways built around her emotional intelligence and her ability to connect with children. She has focused on the value of relationships throughout her career, which has made an enormous impact on this community.”

Calling Hannula one of her own mentors, Wheeler said Hannula has helped countless families and children navigate the transition to preschool and kindergarten, always “providing a sense of calmness and kindness and working with each child exactly where they’re at.”
Miranda Gilham, a recent MSU alumna in elementary education, attended CDC as Hannula’s student 18 years ago. Gilham returned to the CDC in 2015 and worked there as a teacher’s aide before graduating from MSU in May.

“As a child, I vividly remember Jean’s gentle and caring nature,” Gilham said. “As an adult, watching her passion and her creativity in the classroom was a privilege.”  

The support of MSU’s early childhood education faculty, directors and student aides over the years have been especially valuable, Hannula said, as she was able “to experience the gamut” of early childhood education curricula and programs.  
Less concerned about a child’s academic achievement or meeting curriculum standards, Hannula says the most important skill for young children to acquire is emotional capacity. To build confidence and emotional resilience, Hannula said, children need to be given “the good kind of challenges” to work through.

“I think our culture kind of removes the opportunity for young children to understand their feelings and to find their own way through them,” she said. “I was never concerned about getting a child to perform academically. What I always worked on, with every child, was negotiating their own feelings and with others.”

After all, Hannula said, these children are the “people of the future who are going to have to engage with friends, teachers, workplace colleagues and family. They’re going to need a foundation that’s more than skills-based.”

The learning happens in what Hannula calls “lightbulb moments” for the children.

“If a child is crying and upset over something small – that’s very real for them in that moment,” she said. “It may not be real to us, but it’s very real for them. I always tried to use these moments to help them find a way forward. That can be pretty powerful.”  

Waiting to retire until she felt the CDC was in “a good place,” Hannula said she feels confident leaving the children under Wheeler, her fellow lead teachers and within a project-based curriculum.

“Right now, the school is at its very best,” Hannula said. “There have been strong directors in the past, but now there’s a creativity, a joy and a consistency that I feel good about leaving the children with.”

An avid biker and hiker, Hannula says her retirement will be spent quietly and in nature. Responding to the notion that it takes big hearts to educate small children, Hannula said teaching has been a personal calling for her.

“I’ve been so blessed to have received so much love over the years,” she said. “I feel very humbled and honored for that.”

An open house celebrating Hannula's retirement will be held on Thursday, Aug. 23, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the CDC. The public is invited to join. 

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