Building a Better Community Since 2007

Sunday, Aug. 21st, 2016

Verge Theatre Fall Classes

September opens our first session of classes for Kids, Teens, and Adults!!

Grades K-5 can express their inner Broadway star with Musical Theater, or crack up themselves and their friends by learning Comedy Improv. Classes run on Saturdays from Sept. 17-Nov. 12. Each class is $120, or you can enroll in both for $200.

Teen Theater is a fun and inspiring after-school program that is perfect for your creative teen. Teens will take part in the entire production process of Once Upon A Mattress which begins on Sept. 12 and culminates in several performances on our Main Stage in November. Teen Theater is for grades 6-12 and costs only $175.

Our Adult Improvisation Classes are based in a 5 Level, tiered curriculum, each class building on the previous one. After completing the introductory class, participants get a chance to hone their skills in the subsequent higher level classes. Level one starts on Sept. 11 and runs on Sundays from 7-8:30pm for 9 weeks. For previous students we are also offering Level 2 and Level 3 this session. Level 2 begins on Sept. 13 and runs on Tuesdays from 7-9pm for 9 weeks, and Level 3 begins on Sept. 11 and runs on Sundays from 5-7pm for 9 weeks. Level 1 costs $175 and Levels 2 and 3 cost $200.

For more information about any of our shows or classes, please visit

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The Bozeman Symphony is currently holding auditions for the 2016-2017 concert season

The Bozeman Symphony is currently holding auditions for the 2016-2017 concert season.  The Bozeman Symphony orchestra is known as “the cornerstone of arts and culture in the Gallatin Valley” and a source of tremendous pride throughout our community.  Bozeman Symphony musicians are part of a winning team that regularly attracts over three percent of the greater metropolitan population of our community.


As a Symphony musician you will perform for sold-out audiences, grow as a musician, play exciting repertoire, engage as a community member, and perform on stage with extraordinary guest artists. Our regular concert season runs September-April with performances in September 2016, October 2016, December 2016, February 2017, March 2017 & April 2017.  Positions in the Orchestra are paid – more information available upon request.  Choir positions are volunteer based.
Current Openings - Orchestra
All String Sections – Violin, Viola, Cello, Bass
Winds, Brass, Percussion – based on availability, inquire for more information
Principal positions – based on availability, inquire for more information
General Audition Requirements:
-String Instruments – orchestral auditions are held at the Bozeman Symphony office by appointment.  Auditions last about 15 minutes and we ask that you bring in a prepared piece that demonstrates your ability/talent.  Please be prepared to play a scale of your choosing and some sight reading may be required.
-Wind/Brass/Percussion – Please call the office for current openings and audition requirements.
Current Openings – Symphonic Choir
Sopranos, Tenors & Basses (no openings for altos)
Choir auditions for the 2016-2017 concert season will take place on Monday, August 29, 2016. 
The brief audition will consist of:
1. My Country 'Tis Of Thee, sung a capella (keys:sop=Ab, alto=Db, tenor=F, bass=Db)
2. Vocalises up and down your range to assess upper/lower range, voice quality, blendability, intonation, etc.
3. Simple scales to sight-read to assess music-reading ability
Please show up 5 minutes early to fill out an audition form.
Auditions are CLOSED for altos – we will be accepting no new altos for this coming season.
If accepted, you will be expected to purchase concert attire (women approx. $65, men $100)
For additional information or to schedule an audition, please contact the Bozeman Symphony at or 406-585-9774.  Auditions will be ongoing until sections are filled.  Once positions are filled, players can be added to our wait/substitute player list.

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Tuesday, Aug. 16th, 2016

MSU Alum Wins Grant For New Hops Farm

Jake TeSelle and Colten Sales are part of a new generation of Montana farmers.

The two grew up together in Bozeman, and both came from multi-generational farming families that grew traditional crops like wheat, alfalfa and barley. Now, with help from Montana State University’s Blackstone LaunchPad and a $38,377 grant from the Montana Department of Agriculture’s Growth Through Agriculture program, they’ve launched a specialty operation growing hops for local microbreweries.

They call their venture Crooked Yard Hops.

In addition, they’ve purchased a mobile harvester—which they say is the first in Montana. They’ll use the mobile harvester for their own crop and will also make it available for other nearby growers.

Crooked Yard began as a one-acre test plot in a back corner of TeSelle’s family’s farm south of Bozeman. It was spring 2015, and TeSelle was a junior mechanical engineering student in the MSU College of Engineering. Sales had just returned home from a tour of duty with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan.

That fall they harvested 20 pounds of hops and got a positive response on the samples they gave to local breweries. TeSelle and Sales said they were on to something, but they weren’t sure what to do next. A visit to MSU’s Blackstone LaunchPad sent them in the right direction.

LaunchPad Director Les Craig said he saw potential.

“They were ambitious, driven, smart, and they were clearly pursuing their passions,” he said. “It’s that entrepreneurial fabric.”

Craig said he helped with business structure, pointed them toward the state grant and pushed them to make a strategic plan.

“Instead of saying, ‘We need to plant 10 acres,’ actually saying, ‘What’s the most prudent growth strategy to step into this, and how do you balance that with your ability to put the financing together?’” Craig said.

Basically, TeSelle says, “He poured jet fuel on our business.”  

As of late July 2016, the hop bines at Crooked Yard were 15 feet tall. With help from the grant, TeSelle and Sales planted six acres. They expect to harvest 200-300 pounds this year, and next year around 4,000. Bridger Brewing has already spoken for this year’s entire crop. TeSelle and Sales also plan to purchase processing equipment, allowing them to bring hops straight from farm to beer.

While hops can flourish in Montana, growing them is not without risk, TeSelle noted. With up to 20,000 pounds of organic matter per acre, a hops trellis essentially acts like a giant green sail and is at risk of being blown over by the wind, explained Tom Britz, chairman of the National Small Growers Council for Hop Growers of America and owner of Glacier Hops Ranch in Kalispell.

That’s where TeSelle’s engineering degree comes into play.

Instead of using a heavy cable and maximizing the cable width like many farmers, which adds to an already top-heavy system, Crooked Yard chose to use a smaller, high-weave cable with a tensile loading strength of 5,000 pounds—which is still more than twice what TeSelle said they’ll need. And when their rocky ground wouldn’t accept the usual blunt trellis posts, they used five-foot driver posts with 13-foot two-by-fours bolted atop them.

“With 40 plants per row, we had to [calculate] how much force that will put on the bolts, the cable and the anchors,” TeSelle said. “It’s just a big mechanics problem.”

TeSelle added that Crooked Yard Hops would like to help other interested growers through sharing information, providing tours and other means.   

“We found when we got started that there was not a lot of readily available information, but we have made a lot of fantastic contacts and learned a lot, and we would love to pass all that on,” TeSelle said.

Crooked Yard is an example of the innovative thinking the MSU College of Engineering works to encourage, said Brett Gunnink, dean of the college.

“[We want] engineering students to gain teamwork experience with non-engineers and think about non-traditional engineering applications, but also to think about engineering as an entrepreneurial, innovative activity—whether that is development of a truly new product, or in the case of Jake, seeing how he can tweak his engineering skills and combine them with his family background in farming and create new industry in Montana.”

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Monday, Aug. 15th, 2016

Yellowstone Area Fire Update

August 15, 2016
Late this afternoon the Forest Service reported a new fire approximately One-Quarter (1/4) Mile inside the Park boundary about 8 miles north of West Yellowstone. It is also burning to the Northeast (away from town) in the fire scar of the '88 North Fork fire. Yellowstone Park and Custer-Gallatin National Forest teams have responded.

The other three fires burning within Yellowstone NP, are now being managed as a single complex, the Buffalo Complex. Buffalo Fire: 97 acres; Fawn Fire: 936 acres; Maple Fire: 1,100 acres.

Park visitors and neighboring communities should anticipate varying levels of smoke from these fires. Usually heaviest in the morning before the temperatures rise.
Updates are posted on the Chamber website:
Additional information will be shared as we receive it from Yellowstone Park and USFS.
As a result of this fire activity, some backcountry trails and campsites are closed until further notice.
If you are flying, then official fire-fighting aircraft cannot. Photos are not worth it!
Please, also discourage your staff and community members from posting photos and inaccurate information on social media - this alarms our current and incoming visitors.
For more details about the fires:

Air Quality Reports:

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Jerry Joseph New Single Premiere: Song about Virginia City, MT


I / we have a long and magically sordid history with Big Sky country. We have been doing a three-night run in Virginia City, Montana for over a decade now…always a peak performance for the band…as well as an inferno of band drama.

3-7-77 is a number associated with the VC vigilantes in the 19th century. If you google the story I’m sure you will be left as confused as I am, but know it’s a pure reading of VC life. How the fuck Passover references got in here is unclear…perhaps watching the Disney cartoon version of Moses with my kids…or a little too much time in Pikesville.

The song is the first release from a series of tracks we recorded last January at Jackpot! Recording Studio in PDX. Dave Schools producing and Dex and Adam Lee mixing.


It’s just the trio.

Dex, Stevie and me…I thought Crosby was on it…apparently, however, he was at an open mic at the Laurelthirst recording a live record between guitar takes.

So it’s just the three of us doing that thing the three of us occasionally pull off like fucking gladiators…we wanted to have this available for the VC shows…as nobody actually buys music anyway…it’s free.

Enjoy and see you at Banditos…bring bullets.

Love and Kisses.

Jerry Joseph and the Jackmormons

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The Bozeman Beautification Advisory Board is preparing for the 2016 Awards

The Bozeman Beautification Advisory Board is preparing for the 2016 Bozeman Beautification Award Ceremony slated to take place on Wednesday, November 2 in the Baxter Hotel Ballroom. The Board will be accepting nominations from the general public now through Friday, September 9.

Nominations can be submitted online at

Nominations can include a variety of beautification projects that have been completed within the Bozeman city limits. These projects can include but are not limited to exciting residential design, neighborhood revitalization, new or improved commercial design, exceptional landscape, public art and much more. There are many categories listed on the online nomination form as a reference but new categories are always welcome.

For more information about the Beautification Award nominations or awards ceremony, please contact Jessica Johnson at or at 406-582-2274.

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Thursday, Aug. 11th, 2016

Joint County/City Law and Justice Center Moving Forward to November Ballot

This week Gallatin County and the City of Bozeman commissions unanimously approved their pieces of a $68.3M bond for a Joint Law and Justice Center project (LJC), leaving the next and final act of approval in the hands of county and city residents on Election Day this November.

The LJC would house County Sheriffs, City Police, Victim Services, District Courts and Clerks, Justice Courts and Clerks, Municipal Courts and Clerks, City Prosecutors, Youth Probation, the Coroner, Drug Task Force Operations, Special Response Team, Evidence, and Records for the criminal justice system. The LJC was designed to maximize shared facilities and foster collaboration between county, city and victim service providers.

The $68.3M bond is divided between County and City residents. Gallatin County’s share is $47,630,481 and the City of Bozeman’s share is $20, 669,519. If approved by the voters, Gallatin County taxes will increase by $20.33 per $100,000 in taxable market value and City of Bozeman taxes will increase by $24.58 per $100,000 in taxable market value.

“The ability to protect child crime victims, domestic crime victims, and sexual violence victims will improve overnight,” Gallatin County Attorney Marty Lambert said.

The new Center has been designed to offer a long‐term solution to the area’s law and justice needs. Our population has more than doubled since moving into the current facility and it is expected to do the same over the next 25 years. The new facility will meet current and anticipated growth needs.

The current facility is unsafe, outdated and has outlived its usefulness. Designed and built as a private school in 1962, it is too small and does not have critical safety elements to protect victims and service providers from their accused assailants. Several professional analyses have concluded that the facility can no longer be renovated or expanded in a cost efficient manner. “I have worked in the building for 34 years and can firmly say it is not safe, secure or functional,” retiring District Court Judge Mike Salvagni said.

If City and County voters support the proposed center in November, construction would begin in the spring of 2017, with the expectation of opening in 2019.

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Monday, Aug. 8th, 2016

GVLT hits milestone conserving 100th property

This week the Gallatin Valley Land Trust, in partnership with the Toohey family, have finalized their 100th conservation easement, protecting 959 acres of prime farmland from subdivision and development. The property is located just north of Bozeman off Springhill Rd., and stretches from wetlands along the East Gallatin River all the way up to mule deer winter range in the Bridger foothills.  The property also includes the access road to the popular Middle Cottonwood Trail.

The Toohey family has been farming in the Gallatin Valley since 1876, when the great-grandfather of the current owners emigrated from Ireland. After four generations of farming the land, the family decided that given the rapid development in the area, they wanted to ensure the property could remain in production for future generations.

The conservation easement protects scenic views from some of Bozeman’s most popular roadways and ensures the productive and unique soils, which make it prime for farming, will always be available for agriculture.  Its proximity to other conserved land and the Custer Gallatin National Forest make it a critical piece in an effort to protect elk and deer winter range, as well as other habitat.  

But more than anything, the landowners say they’re conserving their land to protect a way a life. “Despite considerable pressures, our family has been able to withstand the temptation for developing that land and has continued to operate the property as a family farm and ranch. We want to be able to preserve this land for generations to come because it represents a way of life that once was common in the Valley, but is unfortunately rapidly disappearing” says Tim Toohey.

Private land conservation in the Gallatin Valley is picking up speed in response to ever-growing development pressure. In many ways the Toohey property is representative of our community’s biggest challenges with growth. What happens to our open land when development reaches farther out into the valley? And what does that mean for agriculture?

GVLT has been working with farming and ranching families since 1990 to protect the open spaces and productive soils that have defined this valley for generations. Even with 100 easements totaling over 45,000 acres conserved, there is more work to be done to protect the scenic quality of the landscape, access to local food, and rich agricultural heritage.

The Toohey conservation easement was made possible with funding from the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, Gallatin County’s Open Space Bond, and Montana Travelers for Open Land. These funding sources allow conservation groups to significantly increase the pace of conservation by compensating landowners for a portion of the value of their land. With development pressure growing, and with little money left in the Gallatin County Open Space Bond program, it will be critical to renew the fund to keep pace with development in Gallatin County. The 100th easement is a major milestone for the organization, and for the community, but GVLT is keenly aware of the work that lies ahead.

What is a conservation easement? The Gallatin Valley Land Trust (GVLT) partners with private landowners to conserve working farms and ranches, fish and wildlife habitat, open lands and scenic views.  To protect these special places, GVLT uses conservation easements, which are voluntary agreements with landowners that limit development on a property while keeping it in private ownership.  Each easement is tailored to the specific property and runs with the title of the land in perpetuity. GVLT is responsible for upholding the easement’s terms.  Because a conservation easement limits development rights and therefore decreases the value of the land, landowners may be eligible to write off the difference as a charitable donation. In some cases, landowners receive financial compensation for a portion of the value of the conservation easement.  The public benefits from the protection of conservation values such as prime agricultural soils, wildlife habitat, river corridors and the overall character of our region.

About Gallatin Valley Land Trust
Gallatin Valley Land Trust connects people, communities, and open lands through conservation of working farms and ranches, healthy rivers, and wildlife habitat, and the creation of trails in the Montana headwaters of the Missouri and Upper Yellowstone Rivers. For more information, visit

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Monday, Aug. 1st, 2016

Red Ants Pants Music Festival Announces Winner of Emerging Artist Competition

With attendance topping 16,000, the 6th Red Ants Pants Music Festival, which wrapped up on Sunday, was the largest to date. Proceeds from the festival benefit the non-profit Red Ants Pants Foundation, which has given more than $65,000 in grants to people and projects supporting our rural communities, working family farms and ranches and increasing women’s leadership. More than 200 volunteers helped put on the festival.

The Red Ants Pants Music Festival also announced the winner of their 2016 Emerging Artist Competition: Pollo Loco, of  Great Falls, Montana! The band includes Lonnie Johnson on the lead guitar, Chuck Fulcher playing upright acoustic bass, mandolin, harmonica, vocals and Jeff Christiansen on rhythm Guitar and vocals. The runner up was Feeding Leroy from Duluth, Minnesota.

The Emerging Artist Competition gives festival attendees the opportunity to vote for their favorite band playing the Side Stage – the winner earns the opportunity to play on next year’s Red Ants Pants Music Festival’s Main Stage.

“Music is a powerful tool for bringing people together and we are inspired by this banner year,” said Sarah Calhoun, Red Ants Pants Music Festival founder and producer. “We’re hugely appreciative of the support of the White Sulphur Springs community and the connection that happens when we all come together to celebrate.”

With a record attendance for the festival & campground, the 6th Red Ants Pants Music Festival is proud to also announce there were zero safety incidents and zero DUIs reported.  SAVE THE DATE for the 7th Red Ants Pants Music Festival July 27th – 30th, 2017 on the Jackson Ranch in White Sulphur Springs!

2017 Montana Beard & Moustache State Championship, hosted by John Cordes of Roberts, Montana:
1st    Pat Horvat - Lethbridge, Alberta
2nd   Sean Kochell - Missoula, MT  
3rd    Micheal Keator - West Yellowstone, MT
Partial Beard
1st     George Mcwilliams - Bozeman, MT
2nd    Bryan Holtz - Watford City, ND
3rd     Don Judge - Helena, MT  
Full Beard
1st     Taron Kifer - Helena, MT
2nd    Vinny Contreras - Martin City, MT
3rd     Gus Gustuson - Missoula, MT
Freestyle Beard
1st    Derik Austin - Helena, MT
2nd   Christopher Kirkwood - Bozeman, MT
3rd    Micheal McGuire - Richcrest, CA
Craft Beard
1st    Jessie Vaillancourt - Alberton, MT
2nd   Ellie and Cam - Billings, MT
3rd    Addison Oliver - Ennis, MT
Grand Champion - Jessie Vaillancourt - Alberton, MT
2017 Red Ants Pants Music Festival Crosscut Champions:
The winners of the crosscut competition for all events are a combination of two husband/wife teams from Red Lodge:
Men's division: Hans Howell and Ivan Kazorok with a time of 40.23 seconds.
Women's division: Jessica Howell and Anne Kazorok with a time of 47.8 seconds.
Co-Ed division: Hans and Jessica Howell with a time of 55.6 seconds. 

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Friday, Jul. 29th, 2016

MSU professor publishes popular book on mushrooms of the Rocky Mountains

Years ago, Cathy Cripps found a mushroom atop Loveland Pass, Colorado. Hours later, she boarded a plane for Greenland and found the same mushroom species when she landed.

“I was amazed that the exact same species of mushroom I was holding in my hand 500 miles from the North Pole was one I had found a few days earlier above tree line across the Atlantic Ocean in the Rocky Mountains,” she said.

Now an associate professor in the Montana State University College of Agriculture's Department of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology, Cripps said her research on mushrooms and their habitats has taken her all over the world. She recently published a book highlighting popular mushrooms found in the regions of the Rocky Mountains.

The book, “The Essential Guide to Rocky Mountains Mushrooms by Habitat,” has been trending locally on a top-ten book list. The book is geared toward the public, land managers, naturalists and mushroom enthusiasts, not specifically researchers or scientists, Cripps said.

“We wrote it so that it’s accessible to a lot of people who are observers interested in their own environment,” she said. “It’s a different kind of identification book because the readers are already interpreters of habitat.”

The book is organized by habitat, rather than traditional species taxonomy often employed in mushroom and plant guide books. The book includes bright images of more than 150 mushrooms species, many taken by Cripps herself. Mushrooms and their accompanying environmental markers are categorized by Rocky Mountain habitat zones. Also included are ecological indicators users are likely to find around various mushrooms species, including flowers, birds, animals and landscape features. The book includes notes on mushroom edibility, odor and medicinal properties as well as a mushroom checklist.

“We organized the book as nature, not scientists, would have intended, because it follows nature’s pattern,” she said. “I’m sharing what I might expect to see in a particular habitat.”

The Essential Guide to Rocky Mountains Mushrooms by Habitat” is co-authored with Vera Evenson with the Denver Botanical Gardens and Michael Kuo, English faculty and amateur mushroom expert at Eastern Illinois University. It is published by Illinois University Press and can be purchased locally at the Country Bookshelf or on Amazon.

At MSU, Cripps studies the roles mushrooms have within their larger ecosystems, namely their relationship with trees in Montana and other high-elevation mountain systems. Fungi provide a critical role in plant-based ecosystems by decomposing and recycling a variety of plant materials, sequestering carbon in the soil and providing nutrients to plants through their roots.

In particular, Cripps focuses on the mycorrhizal fungi that support whitebark pine trees and alpine tundra plants by providing roots with essential nutrients, allowing them to live in harsh climates.

Cripps focuses a majority of her research on Suillus sibricus, a fungus that delivers critical benefits to whitebark pine seedlings in the wake of disastrous effects from beetles and disease in forests across the West. Her research is also supported by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service.

Cripps’ book contains a section on alpine fungi and on mushrooms found in whitebark pine forests. However, a warming climate is threatening arctic and alpine environments and the myriad benefits mushrooms bring to their ecosystems, Cripps said. Cripps – who received a National Science Foundation grant that provided funding for researching the role of alpine and artic habitat mushroom populations in the 1990s – is calling for attention to mushrooms as they become increasingly threatened in today’s warming temperatures.

According to Cripps, the tree line in cold-dominated environments is growing closer and closer to mountaintops, effectively expanding sub-alpine environments, eliminating the space for alpine ecosystems to survive and flourish.

“Eight percent of the earth consists of artic and alpine habitat that includes a host of fungi, flora and animals,” she said. “It would be an enormous loss to the world to lose these critical habitats.”

Cripps said still little is known about these small, yet highly critical populations of fungi in cold-dominated habitats.

“We have these mycological blank spots, we don’t even know what’s there, what species, who they’re related to and their greater ecological role,” She said. “These are very threatened habitats and we don’t really have a sound grasp of what’s currently there, so we’re working as quickly as possible.”

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