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Thursday, Mar. 5th, 2015

MSU grad Maurice Hilleman to be inducted into Gallery of Outstanding Montanans at Capitol

Montana State University graduate Maurice Hilleman, who saved the lives of millions by developing a wide array of vaccines, will be inducted into Gallery of Outstanding Montanans in Helena at the State Capitol Rotunda on Thursday, March 5.

Hilleman will be honored along with Helen Piotopowaka Clarke, an educator and Indian rights activist, in a ceremony at 11 a.m.

A Miles City native, Hilleman graduated atop his class at what was then Montana State College in 1941 with dual degrees in chemistry and microbiology. His name often accompanies those of Jonas Salk and Louis Pasteur as pioneers who fundamentally changed the game in human health. The abstract on a National Institutes of Health obituary for Hilleman, who died in 2005, describes him this way: “Microbe hunter, pioneering virologist, and the world's leading vaccinologist.”

Over his career he developed dozens of vaccines. According to Paul Offit, who wrote the Hilleman biography “Vaccinated: One Man’s Quest to Defeat the World’s Deadliest Diseases,” history will remember Hilleman as the man who saved more lives than any other 20th century scientist.

Among Hilleman’s scientific achievements:
A hepatitis B vaccine that was the first vaccine to prevent a cancer in humans (liver cancer, or hepatoma).
A measles-mumps-and-rubella combination vaccine that marked the first time vaccines for different viruses were successfully combined in a single shot.
Vaccines for meningitis and pneumonia.
A mumps vaccine that came after Hilleman isolated the virus by swabbing the back of his daughter Jeryl Lynn's throat when she was stricken with the disease (50 years later it is still the basis for most mumps vaccines).
A more complete understanding of the ways different strains of the flu change slightly from year to year, which led to the practice of developing an annual seasonal flu vaccine.
The first successful prediction of a coming influenza pandemic and development of a vaccine that thwarted it, possibly saving close to a million people in 1957.  
Maggie Ordon, curator of history at the Montana Historical Society, said nominations suggesting Hilleman should be included in the Gallery of Outstanding Montanans came from all across the state, with a particular concentration from residents of Miles City, where Hilleman is considered a favorite son.
Hilleman grew up in modest circumstances on his uncle’s farm just across the Tongue River from Miles City. Without the means to pay for college and considering an offer to work at the local J.C. Penney store, a scholarship to attend Montana State College launched Hilleman on the first step of his illustrious career.

A panel of experts in Montana history chooses those Montanans who will be honored. Two are inducted each year.

“The gallery was created in 1979 to honor Montanans who have made contributions of state or national significance to their selected fields while epitomizing the unique spirit and character that defines Montana,” Ordon said.

Both Clarke and Hilleman are fitting inductees, Ordon added. As Gallery of Outstanding Montanans inductees numbers 40 and 41, plaques honoring their achievements will hang in the Capitol’s west wing until 2023.

Mark Jutila, head of MSU’s Microbiology and Immunology Department, will accept the award for Hilleman.

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Bozeman Hawkers need help to get to Nationals

It is a rare achievement in America for a public high school speech and debate team to qualify nine competitors for the prestigious National Speech and Debate Association High School National Tournament.  This year, nine Bozeman students are going to the national tournament in Dallas and they need your help.

The Bozeman Hawkers invite the public to a fun evening that showcases the talents of these bright competitors in rhetorical pugilism.  Please mark it on your calendar:  The event will be held Friday, April 24, at 7:00 PM in the Emerson Cultural Center’s Weaver Room. Admission is free of charge.

“We’re proud that once again we are sending several Hawkers to a tournament where they will compete with the best in the country,” says Hawker head coach Adam Thane. “The showcase we’re hosting is a rare opportunity for the public to see them in action and we guarantee it will be entertaining.”

The Bozeman Hawkers speech and debate team is known throughout the region and its success over the years has made it one of the most successful extra-curricular programs at the high school. Over the years, its alums have gone on to become a U.S. ambassador to Russia, U.S. Legislators, scholars, heads of major businesses, teachers, doctors, writers and more.

The Hawkers who competed in the 2014-2015 season are also extraordinarily diverse. From soccer goalies to physics prodigies, to ballerinas, they are united by a love for going head to head in the non-physical sport of forensics.

Completing an extremely successful competitive season by winning every regular season tournament and placing second at State, the team traveled to the national qualifier tournament in Missoula.  Nine team members qualified for the National Tournament, including two policy debate teams, Kayleigh Abbott and Cameron Tate, and Anna Atwell and Sean Swinford, Lincoln-Douglas debater Blake Dokken, Public Forum debate team Anna Kaveney and Natalie Wilkinson, and Duo Interpretation team Nate Breigenzer and Bryan Kohler.

The showcase promises to be a special evening, featuring performances from these qualifiers as well as other talented Hawkers. Along with entertainment from the team, the night will include a raffle and silent auction. Raffle tickets are $10 each, and among the prizes are two weekend passes each to Targhee Fest and Blue Grass Fest both at Grand Targhee this summer; a Sonos Play-5 wireless speaker; opera tickets and many other items.  

All proceeds will go toward the Hawkers and their trip to the national tournament. Come Meet the Hawkers and be entertained by a talented and engaged group of students while helping them realize their goals. The event will take place on Friday, April 24, at 7:00 PM at the Emerson Weaver Room, admission is free of charge.

If you cannot attend the event but would like to donate here is the link for online donations:

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Tuesday, Mar. 3rd, 2015

Camp Equinox Comes Into Its 20th Year of Theatre Camp

20 Years of Nothing But Drama!

Camp Equinox Comes Into Its 20th Year of Theatre Camp!

What?!?! 20 years of Camp Equinox?!?! How is that possible?

Camp Equinox, Bozeman’s oldest and biggest theatre day camp got their start back in 1996 at Headwaters Academy. From 50 campers that first year, Camp Equnox has grown to 250 kids over two sessions, now held at Bozeman Summit School.

“We really believe in creating community first, and nurturing campers to become amazing young people. Theatre and comedy are just terrific ways to do it,” says Co-Camp Director Soren Kisiel.

Kisiel and his wife Katie Goodman do everything together. They built the camp, ran what is now the Verge Theatre (under the previous name The Equinox Theatre) for over 12 years, co-write and direct the nationally touring professional satire company Broad Comedy, and co-wrote a new musical with the Pultizer-Prize winning political cartoonist of the Washington Post, Tom Toles. You may have seen them in Spontaneous Combusibles, the improv comedy troupe that has performed at Sweetpea for 20 years running, that they founded. They met in a play at college, and have never stopped working to teach and create new theatre since. They were even nominated for a MacArthur Genius Award for their unique work in theatre.

Living in New York, they know the ins and outs of the professional theatre and comedy improv world. They know what it takes to be a creative person in this day and age, and they have found that expressing themselves through comedy is powerful. But they also know how to put process over product when it matters. While the professional theatre scene can be quite cut throat at times, it’s important, they say, to remember why you got into the creative arts to begin with.

“The community that is built creating theatre is one of the most enlivening and empowering things in my life,” Goodman says. “I get so much joy out of creating a character and connecting with other actors to bring a show to life. It’s magical. I learned this when I was a kid doing theatre and now we want to create a safe place where kids support each other and feel really proud of both the creative work they are capable of doing, but also of the friendships and culture that they are a part of. Loving theatre is one thing, but loving your buddies and helping them be their best is really what matters.”

The couple just sold their first funny children’s book, The Night Our Parents Went Out, published by POW! Books and distributed by Random House, coming out September 1st.

“It’s really an improv show in book form,” says Goodman. “It is two kids imagining what happens when their parents go out for dinner – like a giant squid taking over the restaurant – and how they imagine their parents creatively getting out of jam after jam.”

Empowering kids to feel self-confident is what matters most to the Camp Equinox staff. And it’s what matters, it seems, to parents of campers too, who keep sending their kids back year after year.

“Our son dropped a little gem on us at dinner one night last summer,” said one parent who wished to remain anonymous so as not to embarrass her pre-teen. “We asked how his day was and he said that he had forgotten how great it was at Camp Equinox where he could totally be himself versus how stressful school was where you had to be cool all the time. The ‘aha’ moment was the realization that it just might be better to be your real self than to be “cool.” This was the best news a parent of a pre-teen could hear.”

Camp Equinox offers two separate month-long sessions for kids going into grades 1 - 8. Camp runs from 8:30 – 3:30 (except Fridays which end at noon). A fiesta of learning includes acting, musical theatre, comedy improvisation, Shakespeare, dance, puppetry, play writing, hip-hop, costume and set design, and much, much more.

The Camp Scholarship program offers varying scholarship amounts to families in need. These are financial need-based awards. Camp Equinox has never turned anyone away with a financial need based on national income guidelines. Please call for a scholarship application.

Camp Equinox culminates in a giant final performance at the end of camp for family and friends. They are also featured in the Sweetpea Festival and Farmer’s Markets every year performing a smattering of their favorite musical numbers.

For more information or to receive a brochure, please call 406-522-7623 or go to the website at where you can get more information as well as download and printout a registration form.

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Tuesday, Feb. 24th, 2015

Nominations for Historic Preservation Awards sought

The Bozeman Historic Preservation Advisory Board seeks nominations for the Historic Preservation Awards. Nominations are due by 5pm on March 15, 2015 and may be submitted electronically at:

Community members are encouraged to complete multiple forms to nominate numerous buildings, structures, individuals, companies, and projects throughout Bozeman that have been completed in the past three years. Please upload at least two photographs for each nomination. Winners will be selected March 26th 2015 and notified shortly thereafter.

Award-winning preservation projects will demonstrate an exceptional effort in the preservation of a building or structure. Award categories include Preservation Stewardship, Continued Maintenance, Restoration/ Rehabilitation and Infill/ New Addition. Nominations will be judged against the following criteria:
    •    Adheres to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation(
    •    Enhances the character of the property
    •    Respects its context
    •    Maximizes the retention of distinctive features that make the building or structure significant
    •    Contributes to the building or structure’s continued use

The Bozeman Historic Preservation Advisory Board is pleased to reinstate the annual Historic Preservation Awards. The awards ceremony will be held at 6pm on Tuesday, May 19, 2015 at the Baxter Hotel, 105 West Main Street. Community members are invited to attend the ceremony and celebrate Bozeman’s preservation projects.

Contact:  Courtney Kramer
              Historic Preservation Officer

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Monday, Feb. 23rd, 2015

Def Leppard with STYX and Tesla

Def Leppard returns to the road this summer for an extensive North American tour. The tour hitting nearly 50 cities across the U.S. and Canada will make a stop at the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse on October 2nd. Joining Def Leppard on their massive summer outing are rockers Styx and Tesla. For complete details, visit Tickets go on sale Friday, February 27 at 10am MST and will be available at the Bobcat Ticket Office, online at, by phone at 800-808-5940, and all TicketsWest outlets.

Def Leppard's influential career includes numerous hit singles and ground-breaking multi-platinum albums—including two of the best-selling albums of all time, Pyromania and Hysteria, capturing the group's legendary tracks, bringing together classic Leppard hits such as "Rock of Ages," Pour Some Sugar on Me" and "Foolin". The upcoming tour follows on the heels of the band's massive 2014 co-headlining tour with KISS, last summer.

About Def Leppard:
Def Leppard--Joe Elliott (vocals), Vivian Campbell (guitar), Phil Collen (guitar), Rick "Sav" Savage (bass) and Rick Allen (drums)—continues to be one of the most important forces in rock music. With 100 million records sold worldwide and two prestigious Diamond Awards to their credit, the group's spectacular live shows, filled with powerful melodic rock anthems, continue to sell out venues worldwide. For the past thirty years the band's epic live shows and arsenal of hits have become synonymous with their name, leading Def Leppard to be heralded as an institution in both the music and touring industry.

About Styx:
Spawned from a Chicago basement in the early ‘70s, STYX would eventually transform into the virtual arena rock prototype by the late '70s and early '80s, due to a fondness for big rockers and soaring power ballads. Over the course of their 38-year career they've released 15 studio albums, six best-of compilations and four live albums, garnering eight Top Ten singles. STYX has sold over 30 million albums worldwide. Throughout their illustrious career, they've performed more live shows since 1999 than all of the previous years of its career combined. Two Super-Bowl appearances, Pollstar box office chart-topping tours with Def Leppard, Journey, Boston, REO Speedwagon and Bad Company (to name only a few), two more studio albums and no end in sight, STYX continues to conquer the planet, one venue at a time.

About Tesla:

TESLA -- Jeff Keith (vocals), Frank Hannon (guitar), Brian Wheat (bass guitar), Dave Rude (guitar) and Troy Luccketta (drums)— One of Rock n Roll's most respected bands, multi-platinum sellers TESLA have remained true to their "no frills" style since the first day they hit the music scene nearly 30 years ago. Their catalog reads like a soundtrack to the lives of a generation of fans worldwide. With their latest chart topping release "SIMPLICITY" they have proven they are a band that continues to consistently deliver energetic, hard-driving, blues-based rhythms with thought-provoking lyrics that die-hard fans expect and today's generation craves.

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Saturday, Feb. 21st, 2015

Balloon carries two MSU experiments to edge of space

A balloon that traveled to the edge of space this week carried two Montana State University experiments.

One experiment -- launched Feb. 19 and retrieved Feb. 20 after reaching 102,200 feet -- tested a tracking and high-definition link that MSU hopes to use during a total solar eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017. The Montana Space Grant Consortium is organizing a national effort where college students across the United States will monitor the eclipse with high-altitude balloons.

The second experiment tested a computer system that’s designed to resist radiation in space. MSU recently received word that the tiny satellite it designed to carry the system was one of 14 CubeSats selected to fly on an upcoming NASA mission.

“It was just awesome,” Angela Des Jardins, director of the Montana Space Grant Consortium, said about the 7 a.m. balloon launch. “Our students were thrilled to be there and be part of it.”

MSU was one of two universities invited to send experiments on the balloon, an opportunity that arose from connections between MSU’s Dave Klumpar and World View, Des Jardins said. World View is the commercial balloon spaceflight company that launched the research flight from the Tucson, Ariz., area. Klumpar is director of MSU’s Space Science and Engineering Laboratory.

The other university that flew an experiment on the balloon was the University of North Florida. That experiment was designed to measure the ozone gas profile in the stratosphere.

The research and education payloads are part of World View’s commitment to opening routine access to high-altitude balloon flights, as well as its dedication to advancing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs in schools, according to a Feb. 20 press release from World View. All three experiments involved multiple students over multiple years.

Randy Larimer, deputy director of the Montana Space Grant Consortium, said more than 40 graduate students and undergraduate students over eight years were involved in designing the computer system. They are led by MSU faculty member Brock LaMeres in the College of Engineering. Besides flying on an upcoming satellite mission in 2016, the technology is scheduled to be tested on the International Space Station later this year.

More than 15 students at MSU and Iowa State University contributed to the design of the video link that flew on the World View balloon, Larimer added. The video link test verified that the technology setup works well.

Larimer and four MSU students went to Arizona for the balloon launch. The students were Sam Harkness, a graduate student in electrical engineering; Scott Miller, a senior in computer engineering; Tim Basta, a senior in mechanical engineering; and Trevor Clark, a senior in electrical engineering.

To learn more about the balloon flight and MSU’s Balloon Outreach, Research, Exploration and Landscape Imaging System (BOREALIS), go to

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Wednesday, Feb. 18th, 2015

Paul Decker of Music Villa Elected to NAMM Board of Directors

At its Annual Meeting of Members held during the 2015 NAMM Show, the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Board of Directors welcomed second-generation Bozeman music retailer Paul Decker to a three-year term on NAMM’s board. The NAMM Board of Directors provides guidance and leadership to the global music instrument and product industry.

Decker took over Music Villa from his father more than 15 years ago, and during that time has established the Bozeman store as a thriving music school, a full-line, independent musical instrument store, and a vibrant hub for local musicians. He also works with local artists to help them network with other musicians through and, sites created and maintained by his web team. A drummer since childhood, Decker has performed with several bands including Little Jane & The Pistol Whips, and is currently a member of The Kris Clone Band.

Decker views his election to the NAMM Board of Directors as an opportunity to support independent music dealers. “It can be challenging, determining how to navigate social media, marketing and community outreach,” he said. “I have already seen how much passion and dedication the people of NAMM have provided for the industry. I hope to add to the same passion and work towards keeping the music industry a fun and exiting place.  I’m really looking forward to being involved with this group.”

Decker is a member of the Bozeman Chamber of Commerce and the Bozeman Downtown Association, and serves on the marketing committee of The Alliance of Independent Music Merchants.

About NAMM

The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) is the not-for-profit association with a mission to strengthen the $16.9 billion music products industry. NAMM is comprised of approximately 9,200 member companies located in 102 countries.  NAMM events and members fund  The NAMM Foundation's efforts to  promote the pleasures and benefits of music, and  advance active participation in music making across the lifespan.  For more information about NAMM, please visit, call 800.767.NAMM (6266) or follow the organization on  Facebook,  Twitter  and  YouTube.

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Monday, Feb. 16th, 2015

“Creative Nations,” a cavalcade of Native arts and creativity

The Montana State University Office of the President and the College of Arts and Architecture present “Creative Nations,” a series of engaging events held from February through the first week of April to celebrate Native arts and creativity. All events are free and open to the public.
Among the highlights are: a lecture by celebrated Indian author Sherman Alexie on March 28 in the Emerson’s Crawford Theater; a performance of the Sun Dance Opera Recital on March 24; a screening of the film “Winter in the Blood” with Alexie, film directors Alex and Andrew Smith and actor Chaske Spencer, star of the film on March 29; and a screening of a documentary April 1 about Native activist LaDonna Harris followed by a panel featuring Harris, MSU President Waded Cruzado, professor emeritus Henrietta Mann and Denise Juneau, State Superintendent of Public Instruction.  MSU graduate Joe Horse Capture, associate curator of the Collections Research and Documentation Department at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian will lecture on March 31.
"We have planned for this year’s President’s Fine Arts Series since my arrival at MSU,” said Nancy Cornwell, dean of the College of Arts and Architecture. “It feels timely, important, and absolutely humbling to present such caliber of artistic work.  Whether you attend a performance, a lecture, a film or art exhibits, you will leave this year's President’s Fine Arts Series with a sense of wonder and an a deeper appreciation for the creative contributions of Native American artists.
Cruzado said the theme for this year’s series is in keeping with MSU’s continued commitment to Native students, programs, scholarships and issues.
“Each event in the series demonstrates the beauty and strength of the Native American communities through authentic stories, creatively told,” Cruzado said.
The series kicks off on Wednesday, Feb. 18 with a lecture on sacred design featuring MSU alumni and celebrated Native architects, Dennis Sun Rhodes and Richard Wyman Smith. The series ends with the MSU Pow Wow, April 3-4.
For a full schedule and more information, go to:

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Sunday, Feb. 15th, 2015

Pesticide training for homeowners, private applicators and the general public will be held in Bozeman

Pesticide training for homeowners, the general public and people wanting to earn their private applicator license will be held this spring in Billings, Bozeman, Kalispell and Miles City. A private applicator license allows individuals to apply restricted-use pesticides on land they own, rent or lease.

The Montana State University Pesticide Education Program will hold six-hour training sessions on Feb. 24 in Miles City, Feb. 25 in Billings, March 4 in Bozeman and March 26 in Kalispell. Each one is open to any Montanan.

Each program will cover integrated pest management, pesticide movement in the environment, pesticide safety and toxicity, pesticide law, calibrating ground spray equipment, understanding the private applicator license, and reading/understanding pesticide product labels.

In addition, MSU Extension Rangeland Weed Specialist Jane Mangold will speak at Bozeman and Kalispell. MSU Extension Cropland Insect Specialist Kevin Wanner will speak in Billings and Miles City. MSU Pesticide Education Specialist Cecil Tharp will speak at each location. Assisting will be local MSU Extension agents and district officers for the Montana Department of Agriculture.

Cost for the workshops ranges from $10 to $25, depending on whether or not attendees want to earn their private applicator license.

The cost is $10 for those who don’t want a private applicator license or who simply desire private applicator credits. They will qualify for a license by attending the training session, however. People holding a private applicator license can buy and use labeled restricted-use pesticides and will also be notified of future pesticide trainings in their area.

Attendees holding a current private applicator license will earn three private pesticide recertification credits by attending either a morning or afternoon session, and six credits for attending the entire day.

The training costs $25 for those who want to qualify for a private applicator license. The fee covers the six-hour training session, as well as training manuals.

A catered lunch will be available to all attendees, but they must pre-register. When pre-registering, they must say if they want to earn a private applicator license, desire private applicator credits or if they simply wish to attend the event.

For more details, pre-registration information and complete agendas, go to and select one of the workshop locations under “Regional Initial Pesticide Training Opportunities.” For additional information, contact local Extension agents or Cecil Tharp at (406) 994-5067 or

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Friday, Feb. 13th, 2015

High Plains Book Awards - Nominations Still Open

There is still time to submit nominations for the eighth annual High Plains Book Awards. Nominations will be accepted through March 13, 2015.  For information on how to nominate a book, go to More than 90 nominations have already been sent in, with books originating from small regional presses and major national publishers.
Nominations are open for the books published for the first time in 2014 in these categories:  Best Fiction; Best Nonfiction; Best Poetry; Best First Book; Best Woman Writer; Best Art & Photography; Best Short Stories, Best Culinary, Best Young Adult, Best Children's Book and Best Medicine & Science Book. Winners receive a $500 prize.
All nominated books are read and evaluated by community readers in the first round of the selection process.  Finalist books in each category are judged by published writers with connections to the High Plains region.
Winners will be announced at an awards banquet on Saturday, October 3, 2015, at the Yellowstone Art Museum in Billings, Montana. The Awards Banquet is a signature event held in conjunction with the 13th annual High Plains BookFest. Authors interested in participating in the 2015 BookFest should contact the Writer's Voice director Corby Skinner

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