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Friday, Nov. 27th, 2015

Opening a Montana medical care savings account by Dec. 31 to help with medical expenses not covered by a health insurance policy or flexible spending account can help individuals save on taxes, according to Marsha Goetting, a family economics specialist with Montana State University Extension.

Up to $3,000 of a deposit into the account, per taxpayer, is deductible from an individual’s 2015 Montana adjusted gross income, thus reducing taxes, Goetting said.

"This tax advantage does not apply to your federal income taxes, however, and should not be confused with the Federal Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) or Federal Flexible Spending Plans (FSAs)," she said.

To establish a medical savings account, individuals should contact their financial institution, such as a bank, savings bank or credit union, Goetting said. She added that a Montanan with taxable income over $17,100 could save about $207 in state income taxes by depositing the maximum $3,000 in a Montana medical savings account.

"It doesn't matter if you have already paid your 2015 medical bills either by check, credit or debit card," said Goetting. "You can add up those eligible expenses, make a deposit by Dec. 31 of this year and reimburse yourself from your Montana MSA as late as Jan. 15, 2016."

The key word is “paid,” Goetting said.

“You can reimburse yourself for paid eligible medical expenses as late as Jan. 15, 2016. But if you haven't yet paid those bills because your health insurance company hasn't sorted out what it will pay and what you still owe, you still can reimburse yourself for those 2015 expenses after Jan. 15, 2016.”

The amount available to reduce your Montana income is the total deposited, not the amount used for medical expenses during the tax year, Goetting said.

“For example, if you deposited $3,000 in an MSA but only used $100 for eligible medical expenses during 2015, you still get to reduce your income for Montana income tax purposes by $3,000. The remaining $2,900 is available for paying medical expenses in future years.”

A married couple who individually establish medical savings accounts can receive a $6,000 deduction if they file a joint Montana income tax return, Goetting said, and the couple will then save about $414 on their state income taxes. However, joint medical savings accounts are not allowed.

Medical savings account amounts held in the name of a husband or wife can be used to pay the medical bills of either spouse or their dependent children, Goetting said.

“For example, if a husband had $6,000 in medical expenses during 2015, $3,000 from his own MSA and $3,000 from his wife's MSA could be used for his bills,” Goetting said.

Eligible expenses include medical and dental insurance premiums, long-term care insurance, dental care (including orthodontists), eyeglasses or contacts or prescription drugs that are paid during the year. Not covered are medical-related bills that have been already covered by a supplemental, primary or self-insured plan.

Goetting said that Montana generally accepts as eligible expenses any that are listed in the IRS 502 Publication, "Medical and Dental Expenses," which is on the Web at

An MSU Extension MontGuide can help individuals decide if they would benefit from a Montana medical care savings account.  The publication (MontGuide 199817 HR) is free if picked up from a local MSU County Extension office. Or, it can be downloaded for free from the Web at

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Wednesday, Nov. 18th, 2015

The Artists Gallery will feature the work of Janel Acheson, Marie Melton & Tom Wolfe during the month of December

The Artists Gallery in the Emerson Cultural Center will feature the work of Janel Acheson, Marie Melton and Tom Wolfe during the month of December. The show will include a Featured Artist Reception where you can meet the artists and share a glass of wine.

Janel Acheson grew up in Montana and was inspired by her mother’s creativity and artwork along with the outdoors she spent a great deal of time in. It is important to Janel that her work captures honest and unfiltered moments within nature. “Through my artwork I strive to bring a level of respect to my animal subjects, large, small, feathery and fuzzy. I am especially interested in capturing their ‘reality’, which includes every quirk and imperfection.”

Marie Melton was born in Montana but has lived all around the world. She was a photographer for forty years but always enjoyed working with her hands: oil and watercolor painting, wood carving and making jewelry. Marie’s latest interest is the exploration uniting fibers and textiles.

Tom Wolfe’s intent is to forge items that serve a purpose, are pleasing to the eye, and invite touch. After 30 years as head of MSU’s Farrier School, Tom’s interest in traditional blacksmithing has broadened from practical and therapeutic horseshoeing to creating functional art for the home and garden. Tom’s work focuses on traditional blacksmithing techniques. Joinery is done through the use of rivets, collars, mortise and tenon joints and forge-welds.

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Tuesday, Nov. 17th, 2015

MSU business students raise more than $5,500 for GVLT

Teams of Montana State University business students turned $25 into more than $5,500 in just three weeks, and the students then donated those funds to three local non-profit organizations.

The students were participating in the “Entreprentice Challenge,” part of an upper-division class on entrepreneurship in the MSU Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship. As part of the course – which is taught by management professor Brent Rosso – student teams were given $25 in start-up capital and asked to launch real businesses that were as profitable and impactful as possible in just three weeks. Rosso challenged the students to act entrepreneurially and grow those funds for local causes.

The student teams launched a variety of creative ventures, including a homemade bike taxi, a mobile photography service and a dog walking service, among others. Other teams manufactured and sold products like metal bottle openers, apparel, furniture, stickers and jewelry. Some of the ventures continued on as real businesses even after the class project had concluded.

Steel Anderson, a member of the student team that created metal bottle openers to manufacture and sell, said the team’s biggest challenge was the short time period.

“It was a race against the clock to make a profitable venture happen in only a couple weeks’ time,” Anderson said. “At the same time, it was a very rewarding moment when we realized just how much money we had made under the time constraint. Thanks to our creative financing strategies, we were able to sell nearly $1,500 worth of product before we had to shell out any cash for manufacturing.”

Anderson added that there were a few obstacles along the way, but the team “improvised and kept forging ahead, keeping our eye on the end goal."

By the end of the designated three weeks, the student teams had raised a combined total of $5,525 in profit – a record amount since Rosso created the Entreprentice Challenge at MSU five years ago. Contributions from the Entreprentice Challenge to local non-profits over the last five years now totals more than $20,000.

This year, the student groups chose to donate the funds to three local organizations: Gallatin Valley Land Trust, Family Promise of Gallatin Valley and the Community Café.

Gallatin Valley Land Trust received a donation of more than $2,800 from the challenge. The funds will be used to install a bench at the newly expanded Bozeman Pond Park and to provide funding for the development of the park, including a playground and trails, according to Kelly Pohl, associate director of the land trust. Pohl added that the class’s name and year will be engraved on the bench.

“We are so grateful to receive the funds from the Entreprentice Challenge,” Pohl said. “We were inspired by the creativity and vision of (the students’) start-up businesses. The funds they raised will have an impact right here in our community by helping GVLT develop the newly expanded Bozeman Pond Park. We’re excited to have these future entrepreneurs in our community, making this a better place to live.”

Rosso noted that the goal of the project is for students to experience the full entrepreneurial journey.

“They demonstrated a lot of ingenuity and resourcefulness, and I think they surprised themselves with how much they could accomplish with so little,” Rosso said. “It was really meaningful for all of us to see how doing well and ‘doing good’ can go hand-in-hand.”

Anne Cantrell, MSU News Service

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Monday, Nov. 16th, 2015

MSU paleontologist Jack Horner announces retirement

                                                                                         photo Kelly Gorham

A renowned Montana State University professor who is one of the world’s leading experts in paleontology and who has inspired many to follow him in the field, is retiring.

Jack Horner, Montana University System Regents Professor of Paleontology and Curator of Paleontology at Museum of the Rockies, announced his retirement, effective June 30, 2016.

Horner has brought distinction to MSU and the Museum of the Rockies, and he will be deeply missed, said Shelley McKamey, executive director of the Museum of the Rockies.

“During his 33-year tenure as curator of paleontology at the Museum of the Rockies, Jack and his team of staff and graduate students have amassed the largest collection of dinosaur fossils from the United States,” she said. “He opened the science of paleontology to the general public and sparked the imagination of countless aspiring paleontologists.”

McKamey said a public event celebrating Horner’s career is being planned for early summer, with the date to be announced.

Horner is widely recognized as one of the world’s foremost paleontologists and was a leader in the now-common theory that dinosaurs were warm-blooded social creatures more like birds than cold-blooded animals like lizards. He is also well-known for serving as a scientific consultant to the popular “Jurassic Park” movies directed by Steven Spielberg, and his TED Talk, “Building a Dinosaur from a Chicken,” has been viewed more than 2 million times. He is also the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship “Genius Grant” award.

In the 1970s, Horner discovered the first dinosaur eggs in the Western Hemisphere, which led to the understanding of dinosaur parenting. He discovered and named the duck-billed herbivore dinosaur Maiasaura, which means “good mother lizard.”

In 2013, Horner was awarded the Romer-Simpson Medal, the highest honor given by the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, for his lifetime of achievement in vertebrate paleontology. Horner was nominated for the award by longtime collaborator and University of California, Berkley professor Kevin Padian, who wrote, “It is difficult to imagine someone who, rising from such considerable obstacles, has achieved so much, given back so much to the profession, stimulated so much new investigation and supported so many younger colleagues and students.”

Earlier this year, Horner was recognized as one of the world’s top 24 scientists by Newton Graphic Science Magazine along with top researchers in science and medicine, including Nobel Prize-winning physicist Albert Fert.

A national search for Horner’s replacement will be launched in late summer or early fall of 2016, after strategic planning for the museum’s paleontology department that will include opportunity for input from all stakeholders in the museum, university and community, McKamey said.

“It will not be easy to replace Jack,” she said. “The Museum of the Rockies will take the time to do it thoughtfully and deliberately. “

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Stock up Thanksgiving grocery shopping at The Bozeman Winter Farmers’ Market

Stock up Thanksgiving grocery shopping at The Bozeman Winter Farmers’ Market continues this Saturday, November 21st!

The Bozeman Winter Farmers' Market continues in its eighth season on Saturday, November 21st, 2015. Do your grocery shopping at the Bozeman Winter Farmers’ Market! Shoppers can find hot breakfast, coffee, eggs, cheese, artisan meats, fermented products, honey, soaps & salves, wool, and in the Emerson Cultural Center WEAVER ROOM from 9 a.m. to noon. The market dates for 2015-2016 are: November 21, December 19, January 9, 16 & 30, February 6 & 20, March 5 & 19, and April 2 & 16. You’ll be surprised on how much Montana has to offer during the fall, winter, and spring season!

At this weekend’s market, shoppers can stock up on groceries for a perfectly local Thanksgiving meal as well as shop at the Emerson Center’s annual Holiday Bazaar.

The BWFM is sponsored by Downtown, Bozeman, Community Food Co-op, Gallatin Valley Botanical, Montana Parent, Rocky Mountain Gardening, Bozeman Magazine, and Broken Ground. Join us for another season of fine local foods!  Who’s your farmer?

For more information, visit or contact Stephanie Archer, Market Manager, at

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Friday, Nov. 13th, 2015

FREE parking in the parking garage ALL day on Small Business Saturday

Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday sits “Small Business Saturday”, a day dedicated to helping small businesses and their communities.  This November 28th is Small Business Saturday, a day to celebrate and support the local small businesses that boost the economy and invigorate neighborhoods across the country.  Downtown Bozeman and our over 200 small businesses are proud to take part in Small Business Saturday, and we’re encouraging everyone to “Shop Small” in Downtown Bozeman and everywhere on November 28th.

In honor of Small Business Saturday, there will be FREE PARKING in the Downtown Parking Garage for the entire day of November 28th!

Why Shop Small?
For every $100 spent at local businesses, $68 returns to the community.
Small businesses employ half of all private sector employees.
Small businesses represent 99.7% of all employer firms.
For every year over the last decade, 60-80% of new jobs were generated by small business.
The money you spend locally actually pays off for you.  When you shop small, more of your money is reinvested into local schools, jobs, taxes, wages, and other communal needs.
Just last year, 370+ advocacy organizations, 160+ corporations, and elected officials in all 50 states and Washington D.C. declared their support for Small Business Saturday.
To date, more than 3.3 million Facebook users “liked” the Small Business Saturday

*Note: “Why Shop Small?” information taken from:

Visit or to learn about other ways to get involved and support your favorite small businesses. Thank you for supporting Small Business Saturday 2015 and Bozeman Small Businesses November 28th and throughout the year!

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MSU to begin new tradition with Dec. 2 Montana Hall lighting ceremony

For the first time in its history, Montana State University will hold a ceremony to light its iconic Montana Hall in the heart of campus at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 2. The lighting ceremony is open to the public, and students, faculty, staff, alumni, neighbors and friends are invited to attend. 

Known as “Lights On Montana Hall,” the event will take place at the Alumni Plaza and Bobcat Spirit statue just north of Montana Hall. It will feature carols and MSU’s Madrigal Singers, a welcome and brief remarks from MSU President Waded Cruzado, draft horses, drum line and a countdown by MSU cheerleaders before thousands of festive lights illuminate Montana Hall. Refreshments will be provided.

The new, annual tradition is designed to build a sense of community among students, faculty, staff, alumni, neighbors and friends, according to Cruzado.

“An important part of the university experience for our students is tradition,” Cruzado said. “During this dark time of the year, when students are preparing for finals, we wanted to inaugurate a new tradition for them, and for all of Montana State University’s faculty, staff, alumni, neighbors and friends. Lights On Montana Hall will be a historic, celebratory event – one to look forward to year after year.”

Parking for the event will be available on campus for free after 5 p.m. in the East Linfield, West Linfield, Greenhouse, Deer Street, South 12th Street and Antelope parking lots. A map of the MSU parking lots may be found at

Built in 1896, Montana Hall is one of the campus’ central landmarks. Formerly called Old Main, it is the second oldest structure on campus. 

For more information about Lights On Montana Hall, contact Maggie Hammett at (406) 994-2343 or

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Thursday, Nov. 12th, 2015

MSU team finds new dinosaur species

A previously undiscovered dinosaur species, first uncovered and documented by an adjunct professor at Montana State University, showcases an evolutionary transition from an earlier duckbilled species to that group’s descendants, according to a paper published today in the journal PLOS ONE.

The paper was written by that professor, Elizabeth Freedman Fowler, and her mentor, MSU paleontologist Jack Horner, Montana University System Regents Professor and curator of paleontology at MSU’s Museum of the Rockies. Their findings highlight how the new species of duckbilled dinosaur neatly fills a gap that had existed between an ancestral form with no crest and a descendant with a larger crest, providing key insight into the evolution of elaborate display structures in these gigantic extinct herbivores.

“It is really gratifying to see Dr. Freedman Fowler’s work, which is essentially her dissertation, published in PLOS ONE,” Horner said. “It is confirmation that she is an excellent paleontologist, helping further cement MSU’s reputation for offering graduate students a chance to be part of something extraordinary.”

In their paper, Freedman Fowler and Horner named the dinosaur Probrachylophosaurus bergei and suggest it is a previously missing link between a preceding species, Acristavus, which lived about 81 million years ago, and later form Brachylophosaurus, which lived about 77.5 million years ago.

“The crest of Probrachylophosaurus is small and triangular, and would have only poked up a little bit on the top of the head, above the eyes,” said Freedman Fowler, who received her doctorate in paleontology from MSU’s Earth Sciences Department in 2015. She also serves as curator of paleontology at the Great Plains Dinosaur Museum in Malta.

The other bones in its skull are very similar to those of Acristavus and Brachylophosaurus, Freedman Fowler said. However, Acristavus does not have a crest; the top of its skull is flat, while Brachylophosaurus has a large flat paddle-shaped crest that completely covers the back of the top of its skull.

“Probrachylophosaurus is therefore exciting because its age – 79 million years ago – is in between Acristavus and Brachylophosaurus, so we would predict that its skull and crest would be intermediate between these species. And it is,” Freedman Fowler said. “It is a perfect example of evolution within a single lineage of dinosaurs over millions of years.”

During the summer of 2007, Freedman Fowler was leading a crew from the Museum of the Rockies in excavating a bed of earth near the town of Rudyard in north central Montana. The site contained fossils of duckbilled dinosaurs. A visiting school group discovered bones poking out of an old quarry originally worked by a group from the University of California Berkeley in 1981.

Horner recognized that some of the new bones were parts of a skull, which is the most crucial part of the skeleton for identifying the species. Hopeful that more of the skull might be found, he asked Freedman Fowler to switch her crew over to the old Berkeley quarry to see what else might emerge.

“The first bones we uncovered were the pelvis and parts of the legs; which were so large it led to the site being given the nickname ‘Superduck,’” Freedman Fowler said.

After returning to the lab to clean and identify everything the crew had collected, Freedman Fowler and Horner discovered they had most of the skull and postcranium of a new kind of dinosaur.

A nearby site also revealed a fragmentary juvenile of the transitional Probrachylophosaurus, which suggests that successive generations of the Brachylophosaurus lineage grew larger crests by changing the timing or pace of crest development during growth into adulthood. This change in the timing or rate of development is called heterochrony, a process which is being increasingly recognized as a major driving force in evolution.

“Heterochrony is key to understanding how evolution actually occurs in these dinosaurs, but to study heterochrony we need large collections of dinosaurs with multiple growth stages, and a really precise time framework for the rock formations that we collect them from,” said Freedman Fowler.

It is research that has become increasingly possible with recent technical advances in the radiometric dating of rocks coupled with increased intensity of fossil collecting in North America, she added.

“The Late Cretaceous of western North America is the only place in the world where we can do these kinds of intense paleobiological studies on dinosaurs,” Freedman Fowler said. “Nowhere else combines the precise dating of rocks coupled with an exceptional fossil record that has been so extensively collected.”

Horner agreed, adding that he’d begun digging fossils in this particular location at the beginning of his career.

“It is really exciting to see that we are still making significant discoveries there,” Horner said. “And it’s great to see our graduate students taking the lead in pushing for even more.”

The description of Probrachylophosaurus bergei detailed in PLOS ONE is just the first in a series of papers Freedman Fowler and Horner expect to publish based on specimens resulting from the fieldwork in the Judith River Formation.

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Tuesday, Nov. 10th, 2015

STEM role models, sponsors needed for MSU conference

Organizers of a conference at Montana State University are seeking female professionals who can present and serve as role models for junior high-aged girls interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers. The annual conference, called Expanding Your Horizons, takes place Saturday, April 9, on the MSU campus. More than 200 girls from throughout Montana will participate in engaging STEM activities ranging from robotics to fossils to astronomy.

Volunteers who would like to share their expertise and enthusiasm on a STEM topic will develop a 40-minute workshop and hands-on activity. Training is offered for new presenters. The event is designed to expose young women to exciting STEM careers and encourage them to pursue STEM courses in high school and college.

Businesses and organizations that are interested in financial or in-kind sponsorships are also encouraged to participate.

EYH is a national program that, since 1992, is hosted locally by MSU Extended University’s outreach program.

The deadline for applying to be a presenter is Friday, Jan. 15. For more information, contact Nicole Soll with MSU Extended University at (406) 994-6633 or or visit

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Monday, Nov. 9th, 2015

Help MSU celebrate and welcome visitors by decorating your business in blue and gold

Paint your storefront, hang Bobcat flags or signs and/or showcase Bobcat merchandise in the windows.

Businesses that are decorated will have the chance to win prizes, including tickets to Bobcat basketball games, MSU gear, Bobcat cookies, stickers and much more. Windows must be painted and decorated by Wednesday, November 18, to be eligible for prizes. Volunteers on behalf of MSU will visit local businesses on November 20 to pass out prizes to those who show exceptional Bobcat spirit.

And join in on other Cat/Griz activities:November 7–21
The 16th annual Can the Griz Food Drive Help us Can the Griz, AGAIN!
Donate your non-perishable food items at collection locations around the area. Monetary donations may be made by texting CAN to 444999. Visit for more information.

November 21 Bobcat Football vs. Montana, 12:05p.m.

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