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Wednesday, Feb. 22nd, 2017

Ivan Doig named ‘Outstanding Montanan’

The Montana Historical Society has named acclaimed author Ivan Doig to its list of Outstanding Montanans.
Doig (1939-2015) is the author of 16 works of fiction and nonfiction primarily set in Montana. Doig’s widow, Carol Muller Doig, awarded Doig’s archive to Montana State University in 2015. The university library has digitized the entire collection; it is now available to the public on the Web as well as in print in the library’s Special Collections and Archives. To view the collection online, visit

The Montana Legislature established the Gallery of Outstanding Montanans in 1979 to honor citizens who have made significant contributions to their selected fields while epitomizing the unique spirit and character that defines Montana, according to the historical society.
Inductees into Montana’s hall of fame are rotated into the gallery on a biennial basis and are honored for an eight-year period. Honorees must have been born, raised or lived a significant period of time in Montana. All honors are awarded posthumously.
For more information on the Outstanding Montanan honorees, see the historical society website at
For more information on the Doig collection, contact the MSU Library at (406) 994-3171, or Jan Zauha, outreach librarian, at (406) 994-6554 or

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Tuesday, Feb. 21st, 2017

MSU architecture students pave the way for Belgrade library’s expansion

In 2015 the Library Journal named the Belgrade Community Library the Best Small Library in America. Now, after a year of planning in collaboration with Montana State University’s School of Architecture Community Design Center, the Belgrade library is on the way to achieving a major expansion.
Under the direction of Tom McNab, associate teaching professor in the School of Architecture in the College of Arts and Architecture and the director of CDC, eight architecture and mechanical engineering students prepared a comprehensive design to remodel and enlarge the library.
“The Belgrade library was voted one of the best small town libraries in the United States but they are in need of more—more space, more books, more opportunities, more everything,” explained architecture senior Darren Brown of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
In the past 16 years alone, Belgrade library cards have increased from 1,788 in the year 2000, to 6,923 library cards in 2016. Feeling the pressure of a needed expansion, library director Gale Bacon approached the CDC to collaborate with the library on the recommendation of former MSU President Geoff Gamble.

Starting in the spring of 2016 and continuing into the following summer and fall semesters, students launched fact-finding investigations to evaluate the library and community needs. They met with community members and stakeholders, toured other libraries and related venues around the state, attended Belgrade library events and then created a design that reflected the community’s needs and desires.

“No matter how many hours it took, [the students] wanted to make sure this project was well done,” Bacon said. “They took this project to heart.”
The new design reflects current library design philosophy that proposes an evolution from library to community centered amenity, according to McNab.  The proposed CDC student design entirely remodels the existing Belgrade building, expanding the size from 9,700 square feet to 20,000. The new building will include an upper-level coffee shop, larger adult, children and teen sections, additional staff space, a technology center and a public meeting room that can seat up to 200 occupants.

The CDC focuses on a community/university partnership approach which includes extensive research and design that supports MSU’s land-grant mission of serving the people of Montana, McNab said.
“The CDC offers a unique opportunity to work with a client to provide services very similar to a professional setting,” said Shane Caye, a graduate student in the School of Architecture from Missoula. “This real world project was a tremendous stepping stone into my first experience of working in a professional office.”

Throughout the process, students took on individual roles, from documenting research, creating the physical library model and developing digital models and drawings, explained Colin Tippett, who participated during the first semester of the process. Originally from Fairbanks, Alaska, Tippett finished his undergraduate degree last spring and is on track to enter graduate school at MSU this fall.

“Most work in studio classes are individual, so designing as a team was an interesting experience,” Tippett said. “Working in a team was very helpful in balancing ideas and developing a way of testing design ideas. We worked really hard to make sure the Belgrade Community Library would be successful."

Students worked with a variety of local professionals, including Sam Fox of Beaudette Consulting Engineers, Kristi Miller of KMD Design and Darren Huls of Pierce Flooring. Additionally, Sherrill Halbe, MSU interior design instructor, donated her time to work specifically with students to develop an interior design for the library that included selection of materials, textures and colors.

“This project significantly shaped my views on architecture as a whole,” said Chaundra Monical, a senior from Billings who will graduate from the program in May. “In studio we are given a building type with a program and everything else is up to us. It was eye opening to be able to design for a client and really begin to understand the psychological aspect of architecture. Architects are expected to analyze what a client says they want and design something they didn't even know was possible. It was amazing to be able to be a part of this process and to see it first-hand.”

With the students’ extensive planning, design and renderings, the Belgrade library has established a capital campaign to fundraise for expansion. In November, Milesnick Ranch kicked off the campaign with a $400,000 donation to the library.
“By connecting with the CDC and bringing in a community task force led by CDC students, we were able to create a vision to address the needs of the library community,” Bacon said. “The models and renderings have given us a chance to help our community and potential donors see the thoughtful and purpose driven planning that went into the process.”

Royce Smith, dean of the College of Arts and Architecture, says the CDC is an important and vibrant initiative in the college.
“The College of Arts and Architecture embraces community engagement as the cornerstone of local and global creative citizenship,” Smith said. “The CDC has ensured that as Bozeman grows and faces new challenges and opportunities, our faculty and students can share their innovative ideas and talents with our community leaders and partners.”

MSU students who worked on the CDC plans for the Belgrade Community Library were: Darren Brown, Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Katie Calderwood, Hamilton, Montana; Shane Caye, Missoula, Montana; Chaundra Monical, Billings, Montana; Jacob Ryan, Belle Fourche, South Dakota; Colin Tippett, Fairbanks, Alaska; Andrew Wagenblast, Springfield, Oregon; and Emilee Williams, Lolo, Montana.

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Thursday, Feb. 16th, 2017

MontanaPBS, MSU film graduates win $500,000 grant to make film about the kilogram

Montana State University has received a $499,988 grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology that will support the making of a feature-length documentary film about the international race to redefine the standard for the kilogram and reboot the international measurement system.
MSU, in collaboration with MontanaPBS and filmmaker Jaime Jacobsen, an instructor in the MSU Honors College and the principal investigator for the grant, are producing the film, “The Last Artifact.” MontanaPBS is based at MSU.
The documentary will detail the scientific race to find a fundamentally new way to define our standard for mass and replace the ‘last artifact,’ an antiquated metal cylinder that has served as the standard of mass for the entire world for more than a century. Since 1889, this cylinder of platinum and iridium, “Le Grande K” or “Big K,” as it is called, has defined the kilogram. The small, polished cylinder, which is about the size of a golf ball, it is kept in a triple-locked vault on the outskirts of Paris.

“Big K” is mysteriously losing minuscule amounts of weight. So, measurement scientists around the world are racing to redefine the kilogram, seeking a constant in nature that can serve as a new base.
Jacobsen said the documentary will showcase the beauty and dynamism of the scientific method, as well as the personal journeys and pitfalls of those involved in the global effort to find a new way to define mass.
Jacobsen will serve as the project’s co-producer and co-director. An assortment of MSU-connected filmmakers will be associated with the project, including Ed Watkins of Abbey Gateway Productions, who is based in Bristol, U.K., who will serve as the co-producer and co-director of the film. Jacobsen and Watkins are graduates of MSU’s graduate program in Science and Natural History Filmmaking. Other graduates involved with the film are Rick Smith, a member of the MontanaPBS team who will be the director of photography; Parker Brown, sound; and Stefanie Watkins, also of Abbey Gateway Productions, who will serve as the film's editor.

MSU graduate Scott Sterling, who is senior producer at MontanaPBS, will serve as the film's colorist and online editor, and Aaron Pruitt, also an MSU graduate who is associate general manager and director of content at MontanaPBS, will serve as the film's executive producer. MontanaPBS will distribute “The Last Artifact” through a variety of platforms, including cable, satellite, Internet, HD, VOD, mobile and educational forums, as well as create PBS Learning Media resources for classroom use in high schools and colleges across the U.S.

“I couldn’t be more pleased to support our talented and creative production team, as they chart this scientific challenge on film, and reveal the surprising wide-spread implications for our world,” Pruitt said.
Jacobsen said work has already started on the film, which is expected to be released in early 2019.
“It is a huge honor to receive this award after going through such a competitive selection process,” Jacobsen said. “I’m thrilled to be collaborating with many talented filmmakers on this endeavor. We are excited to create a beautiful film that highlights the hidden process of science, and the work that goes on behind the scenes to modernize the measurement system upon which all of modern life depends.”

For more information about the efforts to redefine the kilogram, see NIST’s webpage. More information about MontanaPBS may be found on the organization’s website.

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Wednesday, Feb. 15th, 2017

Bozeman Police Department to host Citizen’s Police Academy

The Bozeman Police Department is proud to sponsor the tenth session of our popular Citizen’s Police Academy, beginning in just over a month.

This free class will meet every Wednesday evening from 6:30-9:30 pm for ten weeks, with an additional opportunity to ride along with a patrol officer.   The academy starts March 22 and concludes on May 24, 2017.

One of the main objectives of the Citizen’s Police Academy is to foster stronger communication between the citizens of Bozeman and the police department.  Another objective is to provide information about the department and criminal justice system so students have a better understanding of the services the Bozeman Police Department provides to our community.

Topics will include an overview of the department, patrol operations, the detective division, use of force issues,  DUI and drug recognition, drug task force operations, the K9 unit, the special response team, dispatch center operations, and internet crimes functions.

If you are interested in attending this high-energy event or have questions, contact Community Resource Officer Mike Bachich at or at 582-2969.  You may also find the application on our website.  Click on Community Partnerships, then look for the Citizen’s Police Academy or go directly to

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MSU evolutionary biologist co-authors paper on live birth in an ancient reptile

A Montana State University scientist was involved in a recent discovery of a 250-million-year-old fossil from China that has scientists rethinking how reproduction evolved in a group of animals that includes birds, crocodiles and turtles.

The fossil, called Dinocephalosaurus, is a long-necked, fish-eating marine reptile dating to the Middle Triassic period, and contains an embryo inside its abdomen. This unexpected evidence is the only known example of live birth in this large group of vertebrates known as Archosauromorpha.

“This is the first archosauromorph species known to have given live birth, meaning it didn’t lay eggs” said evolutionary biologist Chris Organ, an assistant research professor in the MSU Department of Earth Sciences in the College of Letters and Science. “The ancestors of Dinocephalosaurus lived on land — live birth was likely an adaptation that helped it reinvade the marine environment.”

The findings were published Feb. 14 in the scientific journal Nature Communications. Jun Liu from Hefei University of Technology in China, was lead author of the paper, “Live birth in an archosauromorph reptile,”  which included Organ, as well as collaborators from England, Australia and the U.S.

The discovery will also be shared in the journals Nature, Science and Science News, among other outlets.  

The specimen was found in three limestone blocks in a field in Luoping County, Yunnan, China.

“We were so excited when we first saw this specimen several years ago,” Liu said. “We first saw the blocks lying at the side of a field. We had to remove the soil and dig out the slabs to take them back to the lab for preparation.”

While the discovery shifts the understanding of how reproduction evolved in animals, Organ and his colleagues predicted as much in a 2009 paper published in the journal Nature, “Genotypic sex determination enabled adaptive radiations of extinct marine reptiles.”

“We predicted that if we found a new reptile fossil completely adapted to life in the ocean, it would also have given live birth and have had sex chromosomes,” Organ said.

Dinocephalosaurus sits on the evolutionary timeline between crocodiles and turtles, Organ said, and its ancestors lived on land.

“Like whales and dolphins, it evolved adaptations to live permanently in water without returning to land to lay eggs,” he said. “Whereas sea turtles are reproductively bound to land to lay their eggs, Dinocephalosaurus was free of this constraint by giving live birth, a trait that was likely preceded by the evolution of sex chromosomes.”

This past year, Organ was also one of three authors of a paper that linked bony cranial ornamentation to dinosaur body size. That paper, "Bony cranial ornamentation linked to rapid evolution of gigantic theropod dinosaurs,” was published in Nature Communications on Sept. 27.

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Saturday, Feb. 11th, 2017

Montana Senator Steve Daines returns to Bozeman, met by constituents


Montana Senator Steve Daines returned to Montana Friday afternoon landing in Bozeman where he was met by a group of constituents seeking explanations on policy set forth by the Trump Administration as well, as reasons for his votes for cabinet key appointments.

The group of roughly 40 constituents gathered at the arrival platform at Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport holding signs saying “we want a town hall meeting”, ”we want answers”, “we just want to talk” and “we want our voices heard”.

As Mr. Daines used a side exit an attempt to avoid his constituents I was able catch Senator Daines and ask a few questions.

KT: What are your feelings on the 9th circuit Court ruling on the Travel ban?

Senator Daines: Happy to be back in Montana.

KT: Senator Daines, is it true Betsy DeVos donated upwards of $48,000 to your campaign, and did that influence your decision on voting for her for education secretary?

Senator Daines: [no comment] Just smiled.
KT: How will Mrs DeVos’ plans to overhaul the education system affect Montana schools particularly rural school communities?

Senator Daines: [no comment] He smiled and waved.

KT: Senator Daines, why did you silence Senator Elizabeth Warren on the senate floor?

Senator Daines:. [no comment] He smiled and waved.

KT: Senator Daines are your morals, values and ethics in line with that of the Trump Administration?

Senator Daines: [no comment] He smiled and waved.

                                                                                   photo courtesy KBZK video

Bozeman Magazine has made numerous requests to senator Steve Daines office for an interview. We have yet to hear back from him or his office. We contacted the office Friday and the spokesman at the office said that Senator Daines said “it felt like an ambush”.

An ambush of constituents wanting answers from one of Montana’s only two sitting Senators. We are hoping we will get answers to these questions in the upcoming days.

See KBZK's full story and video here.

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Friday, Feb. 10th, 2017

Shed Hunters Urged to Hold Off Until Spring


Winter can be a tough time for us humans, whether struggling with a pesky cold or digging out from the latest snowstorm. Now imagine what it’s like for Montana’s elk population. It’s an especially stressful time for elk, with deep snow and limited food options. That’s why Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is asking shed hunters and other recreationists to give elk their space until the snow melts and the animals are less stressed.

Shed hunting has become increasingly popular in recent years and more competitive. In some cases, that has led individuals to try to get a head start by running elk through trees to break off antlers or to trespass on Montana’s Wildlife Management Areas where elk find sanctuary this time of year (most do not open until noon on May 15). Both are illegal.

Snowmobilers, skiers, and snowshoers should avoid areas where elk are bedded down. It is safest to admire them at a distance.
Finally, many elk often come down to lowlands and might be found near homes. It’s critical that dogs be kept on a leash when elk are present. Dogs can cause serious injury or kill animals much larger than themselves. The stress of a chase alone can eventually lead to the death of the animal. And of course, pets can be injured or killed while attempting to take down an animal big or small. Dog owners might be cited for permitting a dog to harass wildlife.

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Thursday, Feb. 2nd, 2017

FWP Updates Extent of Parasite Distribution in MT Rivers

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks released a map today indicating the streams in southwest Montana that have tested positive to date for the presence of Tetracapsuloides bryosalmonae (PKX). PKX is the parasite associated with the large fish kill in 2016 on the Yellowstone River.

The Big Hole River is the latest Montana waterbody to test positive for the presence of PKX. Other rivers already found to test positive include the Jefferson, Madison, East Gallatin, Gallatin, Yellowstone, Shields (at the Yellowstone), Boulder, Stillwater, and Big Horn. Of these rivers, only on the Yellowstone River has there been a documented disease event associated with PKX. Several Yellowstone tributaries (as noted on the map with white circles) were also tested and the parasite was not detected.

“The presence of the parasite alone doesn’t mean disease,” says FWP Fisheries Chief Eileen Ryce. “However, this map gives us a better handle on the extent of its distribution and reinforces the need to ramp up our fight against aquatic invasive species statewide.”

Recent aquatic invasive species findings in Montana include PKX and invasive mussel larvae in late fall of 2016. Ryce emphasized the need for Montana boaters and other recreationists to always employ the Clean. Drain. Dry. protocol to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.

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Monday, Jan. 30th, 2017

Robotics competition a path to engineering at MSU

When the Redneck Robotics team from Sun River turned their robot loose in Montana State University’s Shroyer Gym on Friday, it homed in on blue lights lining the playing field’s edge, deftly extended an arm and hit a button, racking up points right away.
"That was amazing," said Douglas MacLeod, a volunteer at the event, called the FIRST Tech Challenge. "They pre-programmed all of that."
MacLeod, a freshman majoring in computer engineering at MSU’s College of Engineering, which hosted the event, helped tally points as the robots scooped up grapefruit-sized balls and launched them through color-coded hoops.
"Endgame! Endgame!" the emcee announced, signaling that the teams had 30 seconds to crane bigger exercise balls into the hoops.
"The competitions are fun and exciting," MacLeod said. "You get to show off your computer programming and the hardware that you've made."
For MacLeod, volunteering at the event completed a circle that began when he participated in FIRST while a high school student in Belgrade.
"I like to build things and make them come to life, and FIRST was my introduction to that," MacLeod said. "It's what really got me into computer programming, which is what I love to do now."
MacLeod's story is one that electrical and computer engineering department head Rob Maher hears often. He estimated that hundreds of FIRST alumni have ended up in MSU’s engineering programs.
"I think there are a number of them who wouldn't have otherwise realized that this is something that they really love," he said.
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a Manchester, New Hampshire-based non-profit organization designed to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology. After months of preparation, students around the world participate in robotics competitions like the one that took place at MSU on Friday and will continue on Saturday.

According to Maher, who has volunteered as a FIRST judge since MSU began hosting the event a decade ago, FIRST has helped fill a gap in K-12 education. "Until recently, there really wasn't much awareness of what engineering is about," he said.
"If you ask students who are interested in science and math what they want to be when they grow up, they might say 'scientist,'" he said. "Unless they have an engineer in the family, it's kind of a hidden profession."
MSU’s FIRST competitions draw teams from across the state, including from rural towns such as Fort Benton, Nashua and Sun River, whose team won a world championship in 2015 at the FIRST Tech Challenge, in which students grades 7-12 compete using complex robots that they have designed and built.
Haley Ketteler of Pierre, South Dakota, came to MSU to major in mechanical engineering after participating in FIRST throughout middle and high school. "I didn't even know what an engineer was before FIRST," she said.
Maggie Kerr of Helena High School, wearing a red cape emblazoned with her team’s name, "Fusion," plans to study computer science at MSU starting this fall. "I really like the comradery," she said of FIRST. "It’s been a great opportunity to see the (MSU) campus," she added.
MSU freshman and computer science major Jordan Pottruff signed up to volunteer at Saturday’s FIRST Lego League event, in which students grades 4-8 build and program animal-themed robots made from Lego kits, and compete by performing "missions" on pool table-sized playing fields. He reflected on the similarity between his computer science studies and his experiences in FIRST Lego League in Great Falls.

"You have to program the robot," he said. "You have to tell it how far to go, when to turn, how far to turn. It's basically the same thing that I'm doing now" as a computer science student, he said.
For Dorcella Plain Bull, a FIRST coach and 4th grade teacher in Wyola, attending FIRST during the past three years has provided a way for her students to connect with fellow Crow tribal members who are studying engineering at MSU.
"They started talking to them about what they need to do to get into the (MSU engineering) program, about what they're doing, about the different types of engineering." The response from her young students was positive, she said. "They were like, 'we can do that too.'"
Maher, who advises other judges, tries hard to create a positive atmosphere at the event. "This is a competition, but a lot of what we do is encouragement, to celebrate the effort that the students have put in," he said.
"It's very upbeat," he added. "Having bleachers full of parents and friends cheering over a robot competition, as if it were a basketball game, it’s really unique."
MacLeod can relate. He remembered when his team came to MSU for FIRST, and his team’s robot was stumbling from a malfunction. A volunteer approached and helped them solve the problem.
"I wanted to be that person this year," he said. "I can't do the competition anymore, but I wanted to be right up front and watch the robots, and to help out."

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Wednesday, Jan. 25th, 2017

MSU named No. 1 in the nation on list of best colleges for outdoor sports and recreation

 Montana State University has been ranked No. 1 on a list of the 30 best colleges in the nation for outdoor sports and recreation. MSU was the only institution in Montana to make the list.

The rankings were made by LendEDU, which ranked the colleges based on:

Proximity to excellent off-campus outdoor experiences
Frequent weather suitable for enjoying the outdoors
Notable natural beauty on campus
School-sponsored outdoors activities like clubs, teams and equipment rental programs
Opportunities for academic work in the natural world

“There aren’t many other colleges that are so immersed in fantastic natural surroundings,” LendEDU noted in its accompanying write-up about MSU. “With world-class skiing a mere stone’s throw away and rich farmland all around the campus, MSU has much to offer to nature lovers.”

LendEDU also noted that Bozeman is located just 90 miles north of Yellowstone National Park, while Glacier and Grand Teton national parks are also accessible for backpacking, camping and whitewater activities. In addition, LendEDU wrote that MSU organizes trips for students and offers equipment rentals, and it has a number of student clubs devoted to sports ranging from ultimate Frisbee to alpine skiing.

“Many students with an itch for the outdoors think MSU is an ideal place to study and enjoy nature,” LendEDU concluded.

LendEDU was founded in 2014 as a marketplace for student loans, student loan refinancing, credit cards and personal loans, among other financial products. LendEDU has also created original guides, tools and resources designed to help students and graduates make tough financial decisions. It has been featured or mentioned on a variety of websites, including TechCrunch, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN, Bloomberg, CBS News, Fox News, Business Insider, Forbes and Huffington Post.

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