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Wednesday, Oct. 15th, 2014

MSU Answers Questions about Montana Spiders

From identifications to cataloging species present in Montana, experts with Montana State University Extension often address questions about spiders. Schutter Diagnosic Laboratory on the MSU campus offers information and help to the public in identifying spiders and other insects.
While there is conflicting information on the Internet and in the media, the brown recluse is not native to and cannot survive in Montana’s cold, dry climate. Its native range is from southeastern Kansas south to Texas and east to western North Carolina and south to southern Georgia.
“It is extremely unlikely that any spider bite from this area is from a brown recluse,” said Lauren Kerzicnik, insect diagnostician at the Schutter Diagnostic Laboratory. “While we often receive submissions from people wondering if a spider is a brown recluse, we have never positively identified one in Montana.”
Identifying a brown recluse is difficult because it has a violin pattern that is common to many spiders. Brown recluse spiders have six eyes that are arranged in three pairs of two behind its head. To be sure, identification of a brown recluse must be done by a trained arachnologist or entomologist.
Brown recluse bites are consistently misdiagnosed in areas where the spider is not present, including Wyoming, Colorado and Montana. The venom of brown recluse spiders contains a component called sphingomyelinase D, which creates mild to severe necrotic lesions in the immediate area of the bite.
Reactions to the toxin in the venom delivered from the brown recluse bite mimic several other types of medical issues, including bacterial infections, chemical and allergic reactions, lymphoma and other conditions. The spider is often erroneously blamed for bacterial-caused rashes and lesions that have nothing to do with spiders or spider bites but, rather, are caused by some other wound or puncture that allows bacteria to enter the body.
Bites from brown recluse spiders do not typically cause body-wide or systemic reactions. The venom itself does not cause infection. Instead, the open wound creates an entry point into the body for bacteria. The only way to confirm that a spider or insect is responsible is if the specimen is captured and identified.
The only spider commonly found in Montana with venom harmful to humans is the black widow. Its venom causes latrodectism, which results in persistent sweating, muscle cramping, and other neurological responses. Bites from black widows are very rare.
The hobo spider, which has also been called the aggressive house spider, is present in most of central and western Montana. It does not cause necrotic lesions and is not directly harmful, despite misinformation on the internet. There has been significant research on this subject over the last decade and any suggestions that hobo spider bites or lesions are dangerous has been discredited. Nevertheless, if a wound becomes inflamed or soreness persists, medical care should be sought as secondary infection can enter the body through the wound.
To minimize the risk of spider bites, take caution when working in crawl spaces, garages, the laundry room, and in areas that are not often encountered.  In general, bites are rare from spiders because they are small, their fangs are small, and they lack the musculature to pierce the human skin. If think you have a spider bite, see a dermatologist if your symptoms persist.
Facts about the brown recluse and other spiders in Montana:
·      The brown recluse has never been positively identified in Montana
·      The brown recluse bite causes localized necrotic lesions on the skin due to a toxin in its venom
·      Necrotic lesions can be caused by several factors, including some spider bites or secondary infections in the bite area
·      The most common cause for such necrotic lesions in areas of the country where brown recluse spiders are not found (such as Montana) is MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphlococcus aureus infection)
·      A brown recluse spider must be identified by an experienced professional
·      The black widow is the only spider harmful to humans that has been identified in Montana
·      Hobo spiders are present in Montana but are not aggressive and do not cause necrotic lesions
If you find a spider or insect of concern, please place it in a leak-proof container and either freeze it or preserve it in rubbing alcohol. Bring the sample to your local county Extension office or send it to the Schutter Diagnostic Lab at 119 Plant BioScience Bldg, PO Box 173150, Bozeman, MT 59717-3150.

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Wednesday, Oct. 8th, 2014

Volunteers Needed for Downtown Trick or Treating Event

Downtown Bozeman is the place to be on Halloween! Join us from 3-6pm on Friday, October 31 for a spooktacular, safe evening of traditional trick of treating in downtown! We are currently seeking volunteers to be intersection attendants during the event to help make it a safe and enjoyable event for our Bozeman families. If you are interested, please call 586-4008 or email Ellie Staley at

And, parent’s let your kids enjoy the brisk outdoors for a little Halloween fun in Downtown Bozeman and gather goodies at over 150 businesses! Hot drinks will be available outside the Downtown Visitor’s Center at 8 East Main Street. We will have patrol cars, Bozeman Police Officers, intersection attendants and “safety sams” located at all the downtown intersections to help slow down traffic and make your experience as safe as possible! See you there!

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Wednesday, Sep. 24th, 2014

MSU alerts students about telephone scam

Telephone scammers targeting students at Montana State University-Bozeman, the University of Montana-Missoula and nationally are telling students they must pay a fine immediately by giving payment information over the phone or they will be arrested by the Montana State University-Bozeman Police Department.
“MSU-Bozeman Police does not conduct business this way,” said MSU-Bozeman Police Chief Robert Putzke. “Any students receiving such a call should not share any personal or financial information with the caller and should call legitimate law enforcement immediately.”
The scammers are predominantly calling foreign students on the University of Montana-Missoula campus, but students at MSU-Bozeman, Penn State and in Georgia and Tennessee have also received calls.
The scam is particularly devious because the caller ID on victims’ telephones shows the MSU-Bozeman Police number. This is known as “caller ID spoofing” and occurs outside of the university system’s technological control.
More than 40 students reported the scam within the span of a few hours on Wednesday. Students report the caller sounds like he is calling from a call center as there are other voices in the background. Students have been told a variety of things: they owe back taxes, have an overdue tuition bill, or a fine and if they do not pay they will be suspended from school, deported, or arrested.
Students receiving such calls are urged to call law enforcement on the MSU-Bozeman, UM-Missoula, and MSU-Billings campuses. MSU-Bozeman Police can be reached at 406-994-2121. UM-Missoula Police can be reached at 406-243-6131. MSU-Billings Police can be reached at 406-657-2147.

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Bozeman Amateur Hockey Info

Online hockey registration: OPEN NOW at
Youth Pre-Season hockey: Tuesday, September 30 - Thursday, October 16
Travel team evaluations: Monday, October 20 - Sunday, October 26
Youth hockey practices start (travel & non-travel): Week of October 27
Online hockey registration: OPEN NOW at
HHL Hocktober Scramble dates: Monday, September 29 - Saturday, November 1
GHOA Referee Clinic: Saturday, October 11
HHL Regular season registration deadline: Sunday, October 12 ($50 late fee after this date)
HHL Regular season dates: Sunday, November 2 - Saturday, April 18

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Tuesday, Sep. 23rd, 2014

The HELP CENTER is Calling for Artists to Participate in the 37th Annual Festival of the Arts, Thanksgiving Weekend

Calling all artists!  Space is still available to be a vendor at the 37thannual Help Center’s Festival of the Arts, which occurs Thanksgiving weekend.  The Festival brings top artists and craftspeople from throughout the northwest to the Gallatin Valley.

Visit or call 406.580.0967 for more information and applications. The Festival of the Arts is the primary fundraiser of Bozeman’s HELP CENTER, a 24-hour crisis counseling and referral center serving the people of the Gallatin Valley. The event will take place Thanksgiving weekend at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds from 12 pm to 5 pm on Friday, November 28 and from 10 am to 4 pm on Saturday, November 29.  Adult admission is $3 for one day.  Children under 12 will be admitted for free.

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M-BAR-T Program offers discounted Moonlight Season Pass and Big Sky Resort Season Pass

Big Sky Resort is encouraging students to strive for academic improvement while experiencing the benefits of outdoor recreation through their M- BAR-T Program and participation in Bozeman High School’s Project Excel Program. Both programs are an incentive-based, designed to encourage students to improve their grades and reward achievement for making the honor roll.

M-BAR-T Program offers discounted Moonlight Season Pass and Big Sky Resort Season Pass to students in 6th through 12th grade attending specific public, private, and home schools in the Gallatin, Madison, Beaverhead, Park, and Sweet Grass counties who achieve a 3.0 GPA or higher for the 1st applicable grading period of the 2014-2015 school year.

Bozeman High School Project Excel Program offers students with a 3.0 GPA or higher from the previous semester a free Sky Card providing free ski dates and daily discounted rates. In addition to being in good academic standing, Bozeman High School students need have to 10- 15 hours of community service.

“We feel strongly about Montana’s youth succeeding in the classroom and experiencing outdoor sports,” said Brandon Bang, Sales and Marketing Director at Big Sky Resort. “Both programs encourage young people to experience the beauty, freedom and physical challenge of snow sports with their friends and family.”
To learn about either program, please visit or

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  The thought of having breast cancer is frightening to everyone, and especially devastating to women. However, ignoring the possibility that you may develop breast cancer or avoiding the processes to detect cancer can be dangerous.  Fewer women are dying of breast cancer, largely due to advances in screening and treatment.  Poorer women, however, are seeing a slower decline in breast cancer fatalities, in part because of barriers and less access to these medical advances and preventative care.
At Bridgercare, we see women of all ages, backgrounds, and socio-economic statuses.  Bridgercare offers annual breast exams and breast lump checks to women and men of all ages regardless of ability to pay.  We can help you determine when to get a mammogram, write the order for a mammogram, and interpret the results for you.  Breast cancer affects us all, whether we’ve had a friend, sister, or mother diagnosed.  Awareness that we need to take breast-cancer prevention seriously is becoming increasingly important.  At Bridgercare, our goal is to make prevention available to all our patients, no matter their income level.
Although there are some women who are at higher risk, the fact is that all women are at risk for breast cancer. That is why it is so important to follow this three-step plan for preventive care. Although breast cancer cannot be prevented, early detection of problems provides the greatest possibility of successful treatment.
What is the three-step plan?

Routine care is the best way to keep you and your breasts healthy. Although detecting breast cancer at its earliest stages is the main goal of routine breast care, other benign conditions, such as fibrocystic breasts, are often discovered through routine care.

Step 1. Breast Self-Examination (BSE)
A woman should begin practicing breast self-examination by the age of 19 and continue the practice throughout her life - even during pregnancy and after menopause.  BSE should be done regularly at the same time every month.  Regular BSE teaches you to know how your breasts normally feel so that you can more readily detect any change. Changes may include:
    •    development of a lump
    •    a discharge other than breast milk
    •    swelling of the breast
    •    skin irritation or dimpling
    •    nipple abnormalities (i.e., pain, redness, scaliness, turning inward)
If you notice any of these changes, see your healthcare provider or call Bridgercare as soon as possible for evaluation.
Step 2. Clinical Examination
A breast examination by a medical provider trained to evaluate breast problems, like Bridgercare’s medical team, should be part of a woman's physical examination.   Although recommendations vary, Bridgercare advises:
    •    Between the ages of 19 and 39, women should have a clinical breast examination by a health professional every year.
    •    After age 40, women should have a breast exam by a health professional every year, including a check of the underarm.
A physical breast examination by a physician or nurse is very similar to the procedures used for breast self-examination. Women who routinely practice BSE will be prepared to ask questions and have their concerns addressed during this time.

Step 3. Mammography
Mammography is a low-dose x-ray of the breasts to find changes that may occur. It is the most common preventative imaging technique. Mammography can detect cancer or other problems before a lump becomes large enough to be felt, as well as assist in the diagnosis of other breast problems. However, a biopsy is required to confirm the presence of cancer.

Because when to begin and how often to have mammograms is controversial, talk with your medical provider about a mammography schedule that is appropriate for you based on your overall health and medical history, risk factors, and personal opinion or preference.

According to the National Cancer Institute, women in their 40s and older should begin having a screening mammogram on a regular basis, every one to two years. Bridgercare’s medical team recommends starting at age 40, women should have a screening mammogram every year. (A diagnostic mammogram may be required when a questionable area is found during a screening mammogram.)

Both the National Cancer Institute and Bridgercare suggest that women who may be at increased risk for breast cancer based on family or medical history should talk with their medical provider about whether to begin having mammograms at an earlier age.

About Bridgercare:
Bridgercare provides excellent, affordable reproductive and sexual healthcare and education in a safe, supportive, empowering atmosphere.  We are a non-profit, family planning clinic that provides services to men and women regardless of ability to pay.  We seek to improve the lives and future prospects of children and families. Our specific strategy is to prevent unplanned pregnancy and promote preventative health.  If we are successful, child and family well-being will improve.
Please visit to find out more.

Bridgercare is a member of Montana Shares and the Montana Nonprofit Association.

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YPF & Xanterra Parks & Resorts Guest Donation Program topped the $1 million mark

The Yellowstone Park Foundation (YPF) and Xanterra Parks & Resorts Guest Donation Program topped the $1 million mark in August.  
Since 2000, YPF and Xanterra have partnered on this program, and as a result, thousands of Xanterra’s hotel guests have donated $1, $2 or more in appreciation of their trip to one of the world’s jewels.  The program is simple.  When checking in, Xanterra encourages its Yellowstone lodging guests to support YPF, the official fundraising partner of Yellowstone.  
​ “The contributions by these generous donors have significantly enhanced a variety of important programs in Yellowstone including wildlife research, trail restoration, and youth programs,” said Karen Bates Kress, president of the Yellowstone Park Foundation.  “Xanterra has been a terrific partner in making this program happen.”
​Jim McCaleb, general manager of Xanterra Parks & Resorts at Yellowstone, said that supporting YPF is one of the most important ways his company can help protect and preserve Yellowstone.
​“This is a terrific opportunity for guests to give back to Yellowstone after a memorable experience,” said McCaleb.  “The number of people who participate demonstrates broad support for the work of the Yellowstone Park Foundation, and the impact it has on all aspects of the Park.”

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The Artists’ Gallery in the Emerson Cultural Center will be featuring Anne Danahy & Matt Piedalue in October

The Artists’ Gallery in the Emerson Cultural Center will be featuring the work of Anne Danahy and Matt Piedalue during the month of October.  The show will include an Artwalk on October 10th where you can meet the artists and share a glass of wine.
Danahy’s Montana paintings exhibit the subtle luminescence of watercolors and the passionate depths and intensities of oil. She likes to see as a small child sees – with wonder and love for people, animals and nature seeking the obscured or innocent.  Her bluebird paintings have become popular with locals and tourists as a way to capture a part of the Montana landscape.
Piedalue  finds that being an artist is an incurable disease. He discovered clay while attending Montana State University and it has since taken over his life. His style is sturdy and comfortable to use but is influenced by science fiction and comic book art.  Many pieces are organice in appearance, ranging from plant-like vases to mugs with monstrous teeth and pitchers with horms and beak-like spouts.
Come and meet these artists at the October Artwalk in the Emerson Cultural Center on Friday, October 10th from 5-8 pm and find out about what inspires them and see the results of those inspirations.

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Monday, Sep. 22nd, 2014

Roadside Marker and Wandering App Developed by Montana Interactive Firm

A Whitefish, Montana company is accepting a limited numer of pre-registered participants in Montana for a new mobile app that allows organizations to easily create and promote walking tours, birding trails, garden tours, scenic drives and more.

The "Wandering App" helps visitors and locals alike to get off the beaten path and immerse themselves in local communities and landscapes through historical walking tours, art walks, birding trails, brewery tours, route and trail ideas, great trip ideas and more. All of these different kinds of point-to-point experiences have been gathered together under the notion of a "wandering."

"Research is showing that mobile applications have a distinct ability to inspire travelers and even locals to discover something new, or explore a place they wouldn't have otherwise considered," says John Frandsen, Chief Product Officer of Old Town Creative, the Montana-based interactive firm that is developing the Wandering App.

There are a lot of local organizations that are spending money to build single, one-off mobile applications for things like historical walking tours and art walks, says Frandsen. "We're providing a platform that allows them to easily build and promote these compelling experiences without having to go through the trouble and expense of custom development."

For the end user, they will only have to download one app and through that they will be able to discover many wanderings through a single platform, says Frandsen.

The Wandering App is being developed in part through a grant from the Montana Office of Tourism. Initially the Wandering App will include historical roadside markers and other interpretive information from across the state. "Users will be able to read and explore the text of the historical roadside markers and natural history markers plotted across the state while they are driving. "I think we have all had the experience of driving down the highway and seeing a roadside historical marker and wanting to know what it says, but not being able to stop at them all," says Frandsen. "The Wandering App will allow you to access that content on the go."

Because of the connection with the Montana Office of Tourism, the Wandering App will get its start in Montana and the content and Wanderings of the State will be expanded and improved before moving on to other states. "We have a good partnership with the Montana Office of Tourism and also received content support from the Montana Historical Society and Montana Highway Department," says Frandsen.

While the Wandering App may have its roots in Montana, Frandsen expects that it will grow beyond the State's borders. We have had a lot of interest in the concept. Old Town has developed several mobile apps previously for destinations across the US and even internationally. The company is a key digital development firm for National Geographic Maps and has special experience in travel and mapping-integrated applications for the web and mobile devices.

Those organizations or individuals that are interested in building a Wandering are encouraged to go to the Web site at Wander.Travel to pre-register.


John Frandsen
Old Town Creative
(406) 730-2533

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