Wednesday, Sep. 23rd, 2020

HRDC’s Fork & Spoon Struggling Amid Pandemic

HRDC’s Fork & Spoon—Montana’s only pay-what-you-can restaurant— continues to serve Bozeman, providing take-out meals Sunday through Friday from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. In the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the restaurant halted asking for donations at the door on its eighty to 100 meals served each night, since most patrons were unable to contribute anything for their meal.


Fork & Spoon is a vital part of HRDC’s response to address hunger in the area. Last week, the restaurant served 530 meals or roughly 90 people each night. About a quarter of these meals go towards feeding individuals in HRDC emergency housing. Since March, Fork & Spoon has served just over 11,500 free meals to community members experiencing hunger.

Adding to Fork & Spoon’s challenges, the restaurant’s catering enterprise has experienced cancellations and a slowdown of profitable business. Before the COVID-19 outbreak, Fork & Spoon Catering was often booked, with proceeds helping to offset the cost of providing free meals at the restaurant. Fork & Spoon now estimates they will lose at least 75,000 dollars or more in gross catering revenue. That number does not account for previously anticipated growth. Moreover, giving is down at Fork & Spoon. Community members are encouraged to support Fork & Spoon by grabbing a meal from the restaurant and paying it forward or by making a donation.

“Prior to the global pandemic, we were serving about the same number of people, but we had a variety of patrons, including folks who were paying it forward. Now, the vast majority of community members we are serving are in need of a free meal. We simply are not seeing the same number of customers who have the capacity to pay. We are still here to feed our community. Those in need of a meal and those with the ability to pay are welcome to come to Fork & Spoon,” says Rick Hilles, Fork & Spoon’s Program Manager.

For more information about Fork & Spoon or to make a donation, visit https://www.forkndspoonbozeman.org. For information about HRDC, visit thehrdc.org.

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Thursday, Sep. 17th, 2020

MSU Department of Earth Sciences donates fossils to teen who lost collection in Bridger Foothills fire

Adam Mendelsohn and his family watched helplessly on Sept. 5 as distant wildfires crept closer to their house off Jackson Creek Road.

It was just before Bridger Canyon Road closed and mandatory evacuations were ordered as the Bridger Foothills fire raged. The family’s home, which they had lived in for two and a half years, was destroyed that night. They lost everything.

“I was completely terrified and sad and crying a lot,” said Mendelsohn, 13. “But it’s more of the memories and not as much about the house.”

The Mendelsohns went to stay at a family member’s ranch off Bridger Canyon Road. A few days later, buckets in hand, Adam went with his father, Jason, and grandmother, Addie Theisen, to try and extinguish embers across from Theisen’s property and keep more destruction at bay.

Andrew Laskowski, an assistant professor at Montana State University, was struck by the family’s story when he saw it while scrolling through photos on the Bozeman Daily Chronicle’s website.

A caption for pictures of Mendelsohn and his family noted that Mendelsohn lost a large collection of fossils in the fire. “But at least my family is OK,” he told the newspaper.

Laskowski, a member of the Department of Earth Sciences in the College of Letters and Science, brought up the story in a department meeting and suggested they help him rebuild his collection.

“Because I am in the Department of Earth Sciences, I know there are fossils hanging around everywhere, and I was looking for a way to make a difference and help make the situation a little bit better as best as I could,” Laskowski said. “I sent out an email to other faculty members and some grad students to see if anyone had samples to get together.”

On Wednesday, Sept. 16, Mendelsohn and his mother, Ronni, came to MSU to receive the package of fossils. It contained a pouch to help the teen collect more fossils, pieces of petrified wood from across the U.S., bone and shell fossils, and casts of a T. rex tooth and a Deinonychus claw from the Museum of the Rockies. The fossils were donations from the personal collections of faculty members and graduate students.

“I hope this helps you out with the loss of your own fossils. I know when you collect your own it’s probably more valuable than getting gifted specimens, but we really wanted to help rebuild your collection and keep you on that track,” Laskowski said while presenting Mendelsohn with the fossils.

A small group of other members of the Earth Sciences faculty were in attendance. Some explained to Mendelsohn what they donated and where the pieces were from.

“It’s really exciting. When you find fossils yourself, it’s really interesting to see where you can discover them, but when you get them from other people, it just makes it even more special and you’ll always remember where you got them from,” Mendelsohn said.

Mendelsohn, originally from central Florida, has been fascinated by fossils since he first visited the Museum of the Rockies seven years ago while visiting his grandparents. They toured the fossils exhibits, and he was enamored with the specimens and the giant T. rex that commands the room.

Since then, he collected hundreds of fossils and pieces of petrified wood. He even found a wooly rhino tooth and shark teeth in Bridger Creek that ran through his backyard. Although he is not sure about his future, he would like to pursue a career in paleontology when he’s older.

“I think it’s great when the university can do this sort of outreach to our community because we are a part of it, too. And when this stuff happens, MSU is all in,” said Michael Babcock, head of the Department of Earth Sciences. “This is what I love about Bozeman. These are really challenging times for everybody, and it’s great to be able to see so many people come together to help Adam in a time of need.”

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MSU Wonderlust to be renamed Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Montana State University Wonderlust, a lifelong learning program that offers a variety of noncredit courses, lectures and more, will be renamed the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at MSU.

At their Sept. 16 meeting, the Montana Board of Regents approved changing the name, making MSU home to the 124th Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in the U.S. MSU Academic Technology and Outreach received a $100,000 grant from the Bernard Osher Foundation in 2019 to support and enhance MSU Wonderlust. The Bernard Osher Foundation supports lifelong learning institutes across the country for adults age 50 or older who are interested in learning for the joy of learning.

“This is a very exciting opportunity for MSU and the Gallatin Valley,” said Kim Obbink, director of Academic Technology and Outreach. “Based on the high-quality reputation of the Wonderlust program, we were honored to receive an invitation from the Bernard Osher Foundation to become an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Bernard Osher’s philanthropy and dedication to lifelong learning is known nationally, and this recognition exemplifies our dedication to the MSU land-grant mission.”

Wonderlust was established in 2002 by a Bozeman citizens’ group that wanted to establish a lifelong learning program for the over-50 population in the Gallatin Valley. Since then, the volunteer group has established a respected program, offering unique and high-quality learning opportunities to people throughout the valley.

MSU was involved in the program from the beginning, offering guidance and operational support, then adopting Wonderlust as a part of MSU Academic Technology and Outreach in 2017. Today, Wonderlust has over 600 members and offers courses, lectures, book discussion groups and travel events every semester.

Obbink said that the new national affiliation will give MSU’s program a wealth of new colleagues, ideas and resources it hadn’t had before to help increase its dedication to serving lifelong learners.

“Wonderlust will still be Wonderlust, just bigger and better,” Obbink added. “We will always honor our Wonderlust roots and we are grateful for the strong foundation that Wonderlust has built. Looking forward, we will continue to build on the quality content of the courses, expand opportunities for volunteers to be involved and look to grow our membership to meet the diverse quest for learning that exists in our community.”

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MSU Steer-A-Year program seeks donations for 2020-21 academic year

 

Montana State University’s Steer-A-Year program is seeking financial support as well as donations of steers and feed for the 2020-21 academic year.

A student program in the MSU College of Agriculture, Steer-A-Year focuses on teaching students every element of the cattle management industry through hands-on experience feeding and managing cattle during the fall and spring semesters. Students care for the cattle through the winter and spring, collect data including feed efficiency and weight gain and study elements of livestock marketing. The program also incorporates academic courses such as Beef Production and Livestock Evaluation.

Donated steers are housed at the Bozeman Agriculture Research and Teaching Farm. Once they reach maturity and are ready for harvest, the cattle are sold to MSU Culinary Services, where the meat is served in both the on-campus Miller and Rendezvous dining halls.

Benefits are numerous for students in the program, according to Steer-A-Year manager Hannah DelCurto-Wyffels, an instructor in the Department of Animal and Range Sciences and the coordinator of MSU’s livestock judging team.

“Many of the students who join Steer-A-Year haven’t had the opportunity to raise cattle hands-on before,” said DelCurto-Wyffels. “There are so many elements to the process, and this program allows them to see all of them, from start to finish, while also learning about what factors maximize beef quality and important elements of cattle health at the same time.”

When Steer-A-Year cattle are sold, the proceeds fund travel and competitions for the livestock judging team, as well as facilitate trips for students across the College of Agriculture to attend producer events and meet with industry groups like the Montana Stockgrowers Association and the Montana Farm Bureau Federation. The trips allow for networking for students and the opportunity to learn about career opportunities after they graduate.

Steer-A-Year produced 33 steers during the 2019-2020 school year, which were all purchased by Culinary Services during the spring semester. While the onset of the pandemic required some adjustment of the curriculum and in-person activities, several of the program’s students stayed on through the spring semester to continue caring for the calves. Students who did not remain on campus monitored their steers’ progress through weight data and GrowSafe feed intake technology, which remotely measures how much a steer eats.

Producers who donated steers receive regular reports from the students, including growth and health information and more detailed results after the steers are harvested. Awards are given annually to the producer who donated the best initial feeder steer, the steer with the top rate of gain, the steer with the best feed efficiency and the steer that produces the best carcass.

“This program creates such important partnerships between MSU students and our producers around the state, and it’s so exciting to watch,” said DelCurto-Wyffels. “Now more than ever, we can’t support our local producers enough, and this is just a reminder of how critical these relationships are. Steer-A-Year has truly become a mutually beneficial project, and we are so glad to be bringing it back again this year. That’s one of the incredible things about agriculture: No matter what, it doesn’t stop.”

DelCurto-Wyffels said to ensure success in their new setting, calves should be weaned, castrated and dehorned before they are donated and should weigh 500-800 pounds. The ideal pickup period for calves is the first two weeks of November. Those interested in donating or learning more about the Steer-A-Year program can contact DelCurto-Wyffels at 406-994-3752 or hannah.delcurto@montana.edu.

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Why Rodent Infestations Are More Common in the Fall and Winter

As the temperature begins to fall, humans put on thicker clothes and can easily turn on the heater or start a fire in a fireplace. While some animals also go into hibernation or migrate to warmer climates, other animals have no sophisticated mechanism and have to look for other means to survive. Rodents - especially rats, mice, and squirrels - find their way into homes. The constant chattering and squeaking sounds, along with the scratching and scurrying noise as they move behind the cover of the dark is enough to make any homeowner cringe. 



Let’s find out why rodent infestations are common during this period.

The Mechanism Behind Rodent Infestations in the Fall and Winter
During the summer, the wild is bubbling with life; squirrels scampering from trees to trees, mice, and rats running all over the place. The abundance of food sources, as well as the warmth, makes the wild favorable.

However, as we approach fall, the temperature begins to drop. Not only does it begin to get colder, but food sources start to diminish. Rodents know this and they begin to prepare ahead.

Rodents will begin to find ways to get into homes. A mouse can get through a hole about 6 mm in diameter, while a rat can get through one that’s about 20 mm. Even when there are no crevices or cracks, they’ll look for vulnerable points and gnaw through it to gain access. Squirrels, on the other hand, find their way into elevated parts of the home, like the attic or chimney. To learn more about squirrels in the attic visit squirrelattic.com.

Once they gain access, they build their nests from both external and internal materials. Over the next few months, your home will provide them safety from cold, predators, and it may even provide them with food.

Problems Associated with a Rodent Infestation
But if rodents are only interested in surviving the cold, why are they hostile guests?

√ Structural damages
Once they gain access, they’ll rip off insulation materials and any other material to make their nest. But it doesn’t stop there. They’ll keep chewing on woods, pipes, plastic, wires, and more just to keep the growth of their incisors in check. This reduces the structural integrity of your home.

√ Risk of fire
Rodents that chew on electrical wires open up the risk for the damage of appliances or fire incidents.

√ Diseases
Rats and mice are associated with filth, and with filth comes a plethora of diseases. Some of these include hantavirus, tularemia, lymphocytic choriomeningitis, among many others.

What to Do
Rodents are going to actively look for ways to invade your house as fall and winter approaches - there’s no question about that. What you can do is ensure they do not get access or incentives for staying there. Here are some tips.

√ Seal off all potential entry holes with hardware cloth or caulk and repair all weak points around your house that they can break into.

√ Eliminate all potential food sources. Secure all your foodstuff in aluminum cans. Make sure your trash cans are inaccessible. Clear away seed crumbs from under your bird feeder. Do not leave your pet food outside.

√ Keep a clean environment. Tall bushes or the accumulation of leaves provide them with potential hiding spots.  

√ Be vigilant. If you see droppings, gnaw marks, chewed wires, or you hear noises from the wall or attic, these are all common signs of a rodent infestation. Discovering the problem early enough will make it easier to implement control strategies to get rid of them.

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Wednesday, Sep. 16th, 2020

Gallatin River to close temporarily near Nixon Bridge

A small section of the Gallatin River will be closed to recreationists next week during a phase of construction on Nixon Bridge, just north of Manhattan.

The closure will be in effect on Sept. 21 and 22, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day. The closure includes the section of the Gallatin River immediately surrounding Nixon Bridge, as well as Nixon Gulch Road. During this time, construction crews will lift and set the 122-foot-long concrete beams from the transport vehicles. Only beams for the south bridge span will be set during this time.

For more information about this project, contact the project engineers with Stahly Engineering, Kathy Thompson or Nate Peressini, at 406-522-8594.

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Tuesday, Sep. 15th, 2020

Bozeman's Choice 2021 Voting Begins Oct 1

Our big, giant, massive, Valley-wide Bozeman's Choice Reader Poll will be up and firing on all cylinders on October 1, 2020. The poll covers everything from local restaurants to local media to news issues to arts & entertainment and everything in-between. And remember! You get to add your own responses that can, in turn, be voted on by everyone else. We hope you like it.

The creative deadline for advertising in the October print issue of Bozeman Magazine is this Sunday 9/20. Please email angie@bozemanmagazine.com for best placement!

 

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Monday, Sep. 14th, 2020

The Salvation Army Sets Out to “Rescue Christmas” Due to Immense Impact of COVID-19

For the first time in 130 years, The Salvation Army is starting its annual holiday fundraising campaign early across the country in order to rescue Christmas. The funds raised through the organization’s iconic red kettles are at risk this year due to COVID-19 while requests for services are at an all-time high.

Based on the increase in services already provided in response to the pandemic, the organization could serve up to 155 percent more people in 2020 with Christmas assistance, including putting food on the table, paying bills, providing shelter and helping place gifts under the tree – assuming the resources are available.

At the same time, due to the closing of retail stores, consumers carrying less cash and coins, and the decline in foot traffic, The Salvation Army could see up to a 50 percent decrease in funds raised nationally through the red kettles, which would limit their capability to provide services for the most vulnerable. To put this in perspective, last year $126 million was raised nationally through about 30,000 red kettles.

“There are so many more people in need this year than we’ve seen in a long time. I invite our community to come together to rescue Christmas and support our neighbors,” says Lt. Rick Larson, The Salvation Army Bozeman Corps Officer.
 
Since March, The Salvation Army in Montana has provided more than 4,000 meals, 3,600 nights of safe shelter, and emotional and spiritual support to over 1,500 people in need. Now more than ever, they’re making it safer and simpler to donate in order to support the most vulnerable in Montana:
    •    The best way to ensure that these vital services continue is to enlist in Love’s Army with a sustaining monthly gift of $25 per month.
    •    To help ensure the safety of bell ringers, donors and partners, The Salvation Army has adopted nationally mandated safety protocols.
    •    Donate digitally with Apple Pay or Google Pay at any red kettle in Montana.
    •    Ask Amazon Alexa to donate by saying, “Alexa, donate to The Salvation Army,” then specifying the amount.
    •    Give any amount by texting “KETTLES” to 91999.
    •    Donate physical gifts in bulk.
    •    Adopt additional Angels to give hope and joy to kids and families in need through The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program.
 
Every donation provides help and hope to those in need, and all gifts stay within the community in which they are given. Visit imsalvationarmy.org to donate or learn more about how you can help The Salvation Army rescue Christmas this year.
 

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Sunday, Sep. 13th, 2020

Three artists selected to display work in MSU’s American Indian Hall

Three artists have been selected to display major pieces of their work in Montana State University’s American Indian Hall, which is slated to be completed next fall.
 
Artists Bently Spang, a member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe who lives in Billings, Robert Martinez, a Northern Arapaho who lives in Riverton, Wyoming, and Stacia Goodman of Minneapolis were selected by a committee of eight members. The committee was composed of representatives from across MSU’s campus as well as members from Montana’s Native community.

Walter Fleming, chair of the Department of Native American Studies, said the committee distributed a call for artists for the building, which will open next year. Twenty-six artists responded to a request for proposals with projects that would represent the university’s desire to make the American Indian Hall reflective of Native culture as well as the building’s major themes of water, fire, earth and air.

“The major themes reflect the natural elements that many indigenous cultures revere,” Fleming said. He said each one of the artists are significant in their potential to engage visitors to the American Indian Hall and to generate deeper thought.
 
The 31,000-square-foot American Indian Hall will serve as a home to MSU’s Native American community as well as a bridge between American Indian culture and other cultures on campus. The building is planned to open in fall 2021, and classes will be held there beginning spring semester 2022.
 
Spang is a Northern Cheyenne multidisciplinary artist, writer and curator whose art utilizes technology to tell timeless visual stories. His work has been exhibited in North America, South America and Europe. Spang’s proposal is to install a bank of video monitors onto a frame that will be built in the shape of a large Plains Indian war shirt. The screens will display synchronized videos that will include scenes of fire and water as well as highlights of the tribal communities in the region.

“(Spang’s) art will give the hall the ability to create new subject matter for the screens that will make his art timely,” Fleming said.
 
Martinez is a visual artist and designer who will use paintings in vibrant and contrasting colors that transform the standard photo studio style sepia portraits into vivid images.



“We want his paintings to reflect the whimsy and humor of Native culture and represent our students as hard-working and fun-loving,” Fleming said. “We want our students to be able to see themselves in his portraits.
 
Goodman is a non-Native artist who creates mosaic pieces of art glass and tile. Her work will cover a column in the AIH project.
 
“What is exciting about Ms. Goodman’s concept is that, as a column, visitors will be able to walk around it, providing art that visitors can engage in close-up,” Fleming said. “(Her) mosaic style gives her pieces the quality of movement, perfect for water and fire.
 
Fleming said that in addition to the featured artists, members of the community have been generous in donating art from their homes for potential use in the American Indian Hall.

“This has been particularly gratifying as we will have a lot of wall space in our new home,” he said.
 
Major Robinson, the cultural design liaison for the project who is also a member of the selection committee, said that public art is important for most buildings, but particularly the American Indian Hall, which he calls an “environmentally respectful building.”
 
“These art pieces represent and communicate values tribal peoples bring to the campus for the time MSU is their home,” said Robinson, a Northern Cheyenne architectural designer who has also served as a member of the Montana Board of Regents and is the owner and principal of Redstone Project Development.

“Besides creating a sense of home, these very same indigenous expressions of art welcome non-Native students and visitors to learn more about the original pre-Montana inhabitants' culture and values.”
Robinson said that he believes the entire building will be a living piece of art, from the Native plants outside the building that will greet visitors, the eagle feather canopy to the culturally infused drum room that will be crafted from 100-year-old “grandfather spruce, thoughtfully harvested and preserved on site to make room for the new American Indian Hall.”

“Each space one passes through is an invitation for all who enter to discover more about tribal peoples and hopefully realize the value they add to Montana State University,” Robinson said.
 
Swank Enterprises is the general contractor on the project, and the architect is ThinkOne Architecture.

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Thursday, Sep. 10th, 2020

406Cirque announces partnership with Clowns Without Borders


Bozeman, MT:
 Today, 406Cirque announces that it has a signed Memorandum of Understanding with Clowns Without Borders. This Memorandum brings 406Cirque into a fiscal sponsorship agreement with Clowns Without Borders, and further states that a fiscal sponsorship of Clowns Without Borders is consistent with its organizational goals to make circus accessible to children worldwide.

Clowns Without Borders (www.clownswithoutborders.org) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that sends small teams of professional circus artists to perform in refugee camps, conflict zones, and communities in crisis. Its mission is to promote resilience through laughter. 
 
Naomi Shafer, Executive Director at Clowns Without Borders, says: “We are thrilled to provide fiscal sponsorship for Cirque for All, 406Cirque’s scholarship program. Our organizations share a mission to use circus to inspire change. We are delighted to support this program.”
This fiscal sponsorship agreement enhances the mission of 406Cirque, which is to guarantee access to circus and performing arts to communities in the state of Montana, especially children. Through this fiscal sponsorship agreement, 406Cirque will be able to receive donations for scholarships and apply for grant funding for which it otherwise would not be eligible. Paúl Gomex, founder of 406Cirque says,“this program is a chance to share the magic of circus with everyone. In addition to scholarships for our afterschool and summer programs, we will also offer free training days for adults, as well as free shows for the community of Bozeman, when the circumstances allow for that to happen”.

406Cirque is headquartered in Bozeman, MT, and currently operates out of Petra Academy and the Emerson Center for Arts and Culture. The organization has just expanded to afterschool programming on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. Gomex comments “In times of crisis, we step up. The circus is about defying odds, inspiring awe, and coming together as a community. We developed COVID procedures for our summer camps so that kids and families could stay safe, while also having fun.”

About 406Cirque:
406Cirque is a school of circus and performing arts in Bozeman, Montana. It is a place where individuals of any skill level or background can explore their passion. More information at 406cirque.com.

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