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Tuesday, Dec. 9th, 2014

Outdoor Artists Showcased at Sola Café

No, we’re not talking about plein-air painters, stooped over easels beneath a sun-dappled mountainside. These are artists who depict outdoor scenes—in this case, to illustrate stories in Outside Bozeman magazine. After 15 years in business, O/B has published some dandies, and it’s high time we honored these talented artists with a show all their own.
From December 16 to January 31, twenty of our best paintings and illustrations will grace the walls of Sola Café, at the corner of Kagy and S. 3rd. Expect a wild assortment of subjects and mediums—paper-maché skiers, hand-painted Subarus, watercolor winterscapes, and digitally-rendered wild animals drag-racing the streets of Bozeman, to name a few. This may not be the most high-brow art show in town, but it’ll surely be the most interesting.
Art-minded Bozemanites may recognize a few longstanding figures—Parks Reece, Mimi Matsuda, Adair Peck, and Blaise Arsenault, for example—while being introduced to newer names like Stephen Downer, Ted Rechlin, and Mike Russo. What they all have in common is creativity and talent—loads of it.
Here’s the best part: each piece is for sale, with proceeds benefitting Friends of Hyalite (FOH), a nonprofit organization that protects wintertime recreation in Hyalite Canyon. Without FOH, our favorite outdoor amphitheater would likely remain inaccessible all winter, for lack of funding to plow the road.
So swing by Sola this month and next, wander around with coffee in-hand, and enjoy the talents of our excellent outdoor artists—all while supporting Bozeman’s backyard playground.

To learn more about Friends of Hyalite, visit

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Sunday, Dec. 7th, 2014

Three former MSU cowboys compete at 2014 Nationals Finals Rodeo

Three cowboys who once wore the blue and gold vests of the Montana State University Rodeo Team are competing in the 2014 National Finals Rodeo, regarded as the country’s leading rodeo event, which began Thursday and runs through Dec. 13 in Las Vegas.
Ty Erickson of Helena, the youngest of the trio, competes in steer wrestling. Cort Scheer of Elsmere, Neb. and Jake Vold of Ponoka, Alberta, are both competing in roughstock events of saddle bronc and bareback riding, respectively.
“Three (NFR competitors) is a lot out of any one college,” said Mike True, MSU’s head rodeo coach, who will be watching the competition closely along with thousands of other rodeo fans. “I imagine we (MSU) have had three before, but it’s a pretty good representation. MSU has a glorious history of good rodeo hands.”
To qualify for what is often called the “Super Bowl of Rodeo,” cowboys must finish in the top 15 in their event at the end of the rodeo season. Each qualifier will compete each night of the 10-day rodeo, which is attended by thousands of rodeo fans at the Thomas & Mack Center on the campus of University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Millions more will watch it on CBS Sports Network.
True said that Erickson, whom he calls “tremendously talented,” just barely qualified for the 15th spot in his event. Nonetheless, he expects Erickson, who graduated from MSU two years ago with a degree in business, to compete well.
“He got kind of cold there for a while and slipped in there by about $64, but I’m sure he will be good,” True said. “Ty is just a young kid getting going. I think he’ll have a great career.”
True has high praise for Erickson, not only as a cowboy, but also as a person.
“Ty was the best leader I have ever had, and one of the greatest talents,” True said. “He had as good of a work ethic of anybody, he stayed in school in four years and graduated with a good grade point average in business marketing.
“He is the model we want our kids and recruits to look at. He is the one who has done the whole job.”
True said that Scheer and Vold both left MSU after their junior year to compete professionally. True said they wanted to “leave while they were hot,” mostly because the nature of their events favors younger athletes.
True said that Vold was the top cowboy in the college region when he competed for MSU in 2008. He said while Vold has often struggled with injuries, he was the Canadian national champion in bareback riding this year, and is going into the NFR in the 11th position.
Scheer is ranked third in the saddle bronc standings. True said Scheer is “really just a good cowboy. He won this region in all-around when he competed here.” True said Scheer has a legitimate chance to end the season as the world champion in bronc riding.
True said the trio competing this week are just the latest in a long line of great professional rodeo athletes with MSU connections. He said MSU graduate Dan Mortenson is probably the biggest rodeo name to come out of MSU, winning the world championship in saddle bronc riding six times.  A couple of other professionals with a large Montana following were Rod Lyman and Bo Clark. Neither competed in rodeo at MSU, but were both MSU Bobcat football players before becoming professional cowboys in the steer wrestling event. Clark is now an assistant rodeo coach at MSU.
True said that it won’t be the last time that MSU cowboys will compete in Vegas.
“We get good people in this program and we always have,” he said.

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Montana Saves Scavenger Hunt

Montana State University Extension is offering two Montana Saves Scavenger Hunts as part of the America Saves program during 2014-2015. The events are specifically designed for two age groups: 11-14 and 15-19. Students will learn about the benefits of saving and investing, how credit can be a friend or foe, and how to be in control of money.

Students who complete the ‘Montana Saves Scavenger Hunt’ will be eligible for a drawing for one of 33 cash awards of $100 in each age group during America Saves week, Feb. 23-27, 2015. The 66 cash awards for Montana students are courtesy of First Interstate BancSystem Foundation, Montana Credit Unions for Community Development, Montana Consumer Protection Division, Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance, Montana Society of Certified Public Accountants (MSCPA) Legacy Foundation, Montana Bankers Association Education Endowment Fund of the Montana Community Foundation, and Montana 4-H Foundation.
The Montana Saves Scavenger Hunt can be used by parents who want to incorporate learning about finances into interactions with their children, or teachers who want to include financial education in their
classrooms. Youth have until February 20, 2015, to finish the nine hunt activities and print a certificate. The Montana Saves website has a link to enrollment directions -- -- or youth can go directly to the site by age group.

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Wednesday, Nov. 26th, 2014

MSU Extension offers Thanksgiving food safety tips

Thanksgiving is a great time to open your home to new neighbors. However you won’t want to welcome Norovirus, hepatitis A, E. coli and salmonella, which among the latest and most serious of the bacteria and viruses found in food that can cause serious health problems.

These bacteria and viruses are different from others because you only need to eat a small number of these to get sick, not thousands, which is typical for many others that cause us to get sick from contaminated food. Also, these bacteria and viruses prefer ready-to eat foods which are more common on today’s Thanksgiving table.

The symptoms of illness caused by contaminated food are very similar to the flu. So fever, vomiting and diarrhea are typical outcomes of eating foods contaminated by bacteria or viruses. Fortunately avoiding the bacteria and viruses that can cause illness is easily accomplished.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture provides specific information on four simple steps to food safety: clean, separate, cook and chill.

Clean: wash your hands properly to avoid contamination of food. Yes, there is a right way and a wrong way to wash hands in order to stop the spread of bacteria and viruses. The right way to wash hands is rubbing them for 20 seconds with soap and running water. The wrong way is to use only a dab of soap and briefly pass hands under the water.

Separate: after hand washing, keep raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs separate at all times from ready-to-eat foods. Raw foods can still spread around the bacteria and viruses that can change a happy and healthy Thanksgiving into an unhappy one. Start by separating foods at the grocery store, then at home in the refrigerator and especially when preparing foods.

Cook: use a thermometer to take the temperature of a turkey to make sure the recommended safe internal temperature of the bird is reached. If the thermometer reading reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit, this safe internal temperature can prevent your family from needing to take the temperature of each family member after getting a food-borne illness.

Chill: the right way to store recently cooked food is find a spot in the fridge with room for cool air to circulate around the food, as this allows food to cool safely.

Need more information? Call your local Extension office or check out 

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Monday, Nov. 24th, 2014

MSU wins 'Can the Griz' food drive, donates record amount of food

Montana State University and the Bozeman community rallied for a big win in the 15th annual Can the Griz food drive, with supporters donating a record of more than 171,000 pounds of food and more than $74,000 to the Gallatin Valley Food Bank.
Can the Griz and the corresponding Can the Cats food drive in Missoula is an off-field competition between MSU and the University of Montana to see which school can collect the most donations for its local county food bank.
This year, MSU and the Bozeman community donated 171,554 pounds of food and $74,636 to the Gallatin Valley Food Bank, according to Kathy Tanner of the MSU Office of Activities and Engagement, which coordinates Can the Griz. The Can the Cats food drive in Missoula brought in 121,609 pounds of food and $78,272.49 for the Missoula Food Bank, Tanner said. She added that both communities surpassed last year’s totals, which were also record amounts: Last year, MSU and the Bozeman community donated 100,939 pounds of food plus approximately $47,500 to the Gallatin Valley Food Bank, while donations from UM and the Missoula community in 2013 totaled 56,498 pounds of food plus nearly $61,000.
Bozeman and the MSU community have won the competition for 14 out of the 15 years it has been held, Tanner said.
“This annual food drive is one tremendous opportunity for Montana State University and the University of Montana to use our long-running football team rivalry to benefit others. It’s a privilege to collaborate with our area food banks and to engage so many on and off campus Bobcat and Grizzly fans in is such a fun, yet very meaningful activity,” Tanner said.
Tim Trzinski, director of the Gallatin Valley Food Bank, said the food drive will help provide Thanksgiving food boxes to approximately 1,600 households – or between 6,000 and 6,500 people – in the Gallatin Valley, including people served by the food bank’s main office in Bozeman as well as satellite offices in Three Forks and Big Sky.
Some of the donations will carry over and be used after Thanksgiving, he added.
Trzinski called the generosity of the community tremendous.
“Everyone coming together is what makes this happen,” he said. “We’d like to share our most sincere thanks for what the community helps us do. We at the food bank are so very appreciative, as always.”

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Prescription drug abuse poses danger to youth

The Drug Enforcement Agency Administration (DEA) is tasked with combating drug smuggling and use within the United States. In addition to the enforcement mission, the DEA is also committed to reducing the demand for drugs through their Demand Reduction Program (DRP).

A major component of the DRP includes collaboration with community coalitions, fraternal and civic organizations, youth-serving agencies, state and local government, and school districts to reduce the demand for drugs.

During a time when prescription drug abuse continues to be the nation’s fastest growing drug problem and is taking the lives at an increased rate, the DRP is providing brochures, fact sheets, drug abuse curricula, and disseminating information through presentations at conferences and school forums.

The DRP uses three major concepts of drug prevention research as the core of their strategy to develop and disseminate effective drug information to youth, parents, and caregivers:

   1. The teen brain is still developing. The frontal cortex, the area of judgment is not fully developed until the age of around 25; therefore, it is very important that teens do not use drugs.

   2. When youth perceive that drugs are harmful, they will not use drugs.

   3. The longer a child delays using drugs, the lower the chances are of having a substance abuse disorder or getting addicted to the drug.

The DEA also maintains two websites to provide information on the harmful effects of drugs.   provides a wealth of information about various drugs including a section on facts and fiction about drugs, the consequences of using drugs with topics on addiction, and impaired driving.   provides drug education information for parents and caregivers to help identify their child’s drug use, drug paraphernalia, and warning signs of abuse.

For more information about the Demand Reduction Program visit:

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Thursday, Nov. 20th, 2014

MSU’s WTI launches new traveler website for Montana, Rockies region

As Montanans prepare for the winter holiday travel season, a website developed at Montana State University is set to provide motorists in the Rocky Mountain region with up-to-the-minute information on weather and road conditions. 

The One-Stop Shop for Traveler Information (OSS), which was developed at MSU’s Western Transportation Institute and sponsored by Caltrans, offers travelers a website that integrates weather and road information from multiple Western states. Unlike websites for state transportation departments, the OSS provides travelers with current road information that does not stop at jurisdictional boundaries. Combined with real-time weather information, the OSS provides motorists with a seamless decision-making tool for maintaining and enhancing traveler safety and mobility. 
While the award-winning website has been in operation since 2011 for routes in California, Oregon, Washington and Nevada, the WTI team working on the project have now added Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. 
Doug Galarus, senior research scientist and manager of WTI’s Systems Engineering, Integration and Development Program, said the pioneering effort at integrating information from various agencies will be a major asset to motorists in the Rockies, where winter driving can be particularly hazardous. 
“During a storm that hit California over the Halloween weekend, we had nearly 2,000 user sessions and showed over 87,000 roadside camera images to users mostly in California and Nevada,” Galarus said. “With the expansion to other states, including Montana, and with winter having just started, we really think the site will take off.”
With its mission to make rural transportation systems safer for everyone, Galarus said that OSS is the kind work that WTI was meant to do. 
WTI is a collaborative research partnership involving MSU’s College of Engineering, the Montana Department of Transportation and California’s Caltrans, which serves the nation’s most populous state. Now celebrating its 20th year, the Western Transportation Institute at MSU was established to provide innovative solutions to transportation problems at all levels, from local to international. More information about the WTI is available at

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Kaleidoscope Youth Theater's Fall After School Class Showcase

Kaleidoscope Youth Theater’s Fall Class Session culminated in a wonderful Showcase performance where participants in KYT’s after school program, Club Kaleidoscope, strutted their stuff to show off the skills they have been building over the past eight week session. The Showcase included everything from improv and theater game demos to tap dancing and belting out classic musical theater numbers. The various acting classes wowed the audience with their scene work ­ the 3rd­5th Grade class showed attendees how a well timed spider is a great way to put an end to girl’s primping in the bathroom while the Sparks class (ages 4­2nd Grade) struggled as scarecrows trying to escape their poles in order to stop their fellow scarecrow’s snoring. Instructors discussed Kaleidoscope’s philosophy and applauded their students for helping to maintain a safe and positive learning environment where encouragement is an expected norm and teamwork is forefront. The audience left the Kaleidoscope Playhouse smiling, one member even commenting, “There is no better way I could have started my day.”

Kaleidoscope Youth Theater offers quality after school educational programs with a focus on teaching drama, musicality, improvisation, stagecraft and more to students K­12. "Club Kaleidoscope,” has three sessions of classes running from 8­10 weeks throughout the school year and each session ends with a showcase. Kaleidoscope’s Winter Class Session begins the week of January 5th, 2015 with offerings in various levels of acting, dance for the stage, musical theater combo, all­ages tap, and a combo “Sparks” class for K­2nd Grade aimed at teaching theater basics through theater game activities, puppetry, storytelling, script work, musical theater, and art crafts. Please visit KYT’s website ­ ­ or call the theater at (406) 587­3642 for more info on how you can join the fun.

About Kaleidoscope Youth Theater: Kaleidoscope Youth Theater (KYT) is a 501 (c) 3 organization, imagined by Stacy Hostetter in the spring of 2000. Kaleidoscope works on growing people, not just actors! KYT offers theater and fine arts enrichment opportunities to elementary age children through high school age youth using educational theater skill building classes, summer camps, and large musical productions performed for community audiences. With a strong educational focus, Kaleidoscope teaches the skills needed not only to perform a full theatrical production, but also that will add value to their everyday lives. Since the summer of 2000, KYT has produced over 120 class and Players’ shows for the stage with over 700 pieces of music, performing original plays written by Artistic & Program Director, Stacy Hostetter.

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Register NOW for the 2014 Christmas Stroll Gingerbread House Contest - DEADLINE Nov. 28

The Christmas Stroll Gingerbread Contest has been a community tradition for over 20 years!  We invite YOU to participate in this fun activity! The instructions are listed below:

First, CLICK HERE for the Registration Form and CLICK HERE for the Rules!

Then, complete the details on the registration form including your contact information and the age division you fall under.  After completing the registration form, please mail or deliver to the Downtown Bozeman Association Office at 222 East Main Street, Suite 302 Bozeman, MT 59715 by NO LATER than Friday, November 28, 2014.  You may pick up or request rules to be mailed to you before entries are due.  Please call 586-4008, or email if you have any questions.

ALL Gingerbread House entries are due on Wednesday, December 3rd 2014 and must be delivered to Wells Fargo Bank at 211 West Main Street.  No purchase necessary to win!  Winners will be notified by telephone or email address provided on the registration form.  Three winners will be chosen from each of the 5 divisions.  Winners will receive a plaque for 1st 2nd and 3rd place as well as Downtown Dollar prizes that can be used at any downtown business.  Ribbons also awarded for all entries. Entries will be displayed at Wells Fargo Bank from December 4th through the 10th.  Award plaques and ribbons donated by Personalize It.  For more information please call 586-4008.


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Burrowing dinosaurs to be featured in new exhibit to open Nov. 22 at Museum of the Rockies

Discovered in southwest Montana and eastern Idaho, the adult Oryctodromeus would have been the size of a golden retriever but its long tail made it roughly 10 to 11 feet long, said MSU paleontologist David Varricchio, whose findings and those of his graduate students inspired the “Burrowing Dinosaurs” exhibit.

“It’s really bizarre. I never would have thought of a burrowing dinosaur,” said Pat Leiggi, administrative director of paleontology and director of exhibits at the museum.  “What’s cool about it is that it is the first occurrence of a burrowing or denning dinosaur. It’s new. It’s unique.”

Former MSU grad student Yoshihiro Katsura found the first remains 10 years ago while prospecting on public land about 15 miles from Lima, Mont.   The fact that an adult and two juvenile Oryctodromeus were jumbled together in a burrow was significant, Varricchio said in a 2007 paper published by the British scientific journal, “Proceedings of the Royal Society B.”

“The presence of an adult and two juveniles within a denning chamber represents some of the best evidence for dinosaur parental care,” Varricchio wrote. “The burrow likely protected the adult and young Oryctodromeus from predators and harsh environmental conditions.”

The Oryctodromeus lived 95 million years ago. That’s 20 to 30 million years before the more familiar dinosaurs of prehistoric Montana, Varricchio said. The Hell Creek Formation of eastern Montana, for example, holds 65-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex skeletons. The Two Medicine Formation near Choteau yielded 75-million-year-old dinosaur eggs and babies.

The Oryctodromeus that Varricchio and MSU doctoral student L.J. Krumenacker now study came from the Blackleaf Formation of southwest Montana and the Wayan Formation of eastern Idaho.

The “Burrowing Dinosaurs” exhibit will show a cross section of the dinosaur’s burrow with two juveniles and an adult inside of it, Leiggi said. It will also contain a small rodent in a separate area of the burrow. At the top entrance of the burrow will be an adult Lull-mounted Oryctodromeus. A Lull mount is a model that shows a skeleton on one half and a flesh-covered version on the other. On the lower right-hand side of the burrow will be a partially reconstructed oviraptor egg clutch and a cast of the two oviraptor eggs that were discovered nearby.

The new exhibit will sit in the museum’s Hall of Giants where a Titanosaur and two Deinonychus dinosaurs were displayed, Leiggi said. Those fossils will be sent in January to a sister institution, the Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum in Katsuyama, Japan.

“The Siebel Dinosaur Complex was designed to change as we learn new things about dinosaurs,”Leiggi said. “This is a great example of that, what we are trying to accomplish.”

Krumenacker, who has been working more than a decade at the Idaho field site, said that field work is much easier for him than helping create an exhibit. He is excited about the opportunity, however.

“I have never gotten to help with something like this,” Krumenacker said. “It’s nice to see the dinosaur you are working on put together.”

The public will see an accurate picture of the Oryctodromeus, because – between the sites in Montana and Idaho -- the researchers found almost every part of the burrowing dinosaur, Krumenacker said. All that’s missing are its fingertips and pieces of its head.

Varricchio said he, too, is looking forward to sharing the burrowing dinosaurs in a Museum of the Rockies exhibit. Although he now works out of Traphagen Hall and Gaines Hall on the MSU campus, he spent a lot of time at the museum as a graduate student and later as collection manager.

In addition to Varricchio and Krumenacker, former grad students Frankie Jackson, Jade Simon and Jamie Fearon were involved in the research behind “Burrowing Dinosaurs,” Varricchio said. Fossil preparator was Carrie Ancell. Besides Leiggi, those building the exhibit are sculptor Matt Smith and exhibit preparator David Kinsey.

The exhibit was funded completely by private donors, Leiggi said. Among the donors was Varricchio’s 92-year-old father, Phil.  He has joined David Varricchio in the field on many occasions and previously funded the Varricchio Family Paleontology Preparation Laboratory in Gaines Hall.

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