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Wednesday, Jul. 23rd, 2014

MSU’s online Native American Studies courses now open for fall registration

Montana State University’s online courses in Native American studies are now open for fall registration, including two graduate courses and one undergraduate course.
Students do not have to be enrolled in an MSU program of study in order to take the courses.

“Montana Indian Culture, History and Current Issues” (NASX 232) offers three undergraduate credits and is taught by Department of Native American head Walter Fleming. The course covers the establishment of Montana's reservations; treaties and agreements with the federal government; contemporary tribal governments; and social structures including kinship, political affiliations, military, warrior societies and religion.

Fleming has taught at MSU for over 30 years and was raised on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. He is an enrolled member of the Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas.
“Native America: Dispelling the Myths” (NASX 550) is a three-credit graduate course exploring the various “myths” commonly held by non-Indians and sometimes Indians alike. Students will wrestle with these preconceptions while learning the most basic elements of American Indian—which is to say American—history.

The instructor is Francine Spang-Willis, a Northern Cheyenne tribal member who grew up on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Montana. She has a master’s in Native American Studies and a college teaching certificate from MSU-Bozeman. As former director of the American Indian Tribal Histories Project, she has extensive experience in oral tradition. She currently helps the U.S. Forest Service’s Heritage Program protect and maintain pre-historic and historic sites in the Gallatin National Forest.

“Indigenous Nations of Montana” (NASX 552) is a three-credit graduate course offering an introduction to Montana’s contemporary indigenous nations, including exploration of the 11 tribes resident on Montana reservations, as well as the Little Shell, who are without a federally recognized homeland. With instructor Shane Doyle, students will start in the east with the Nakoda, or Assiniboine, and work their way through the state clockwise, finishing up with the A’aninin, or White Clay, in the north. The course examines the traditional culture and history of each tribe, with a strong focus on contemporary life and issues.

Doyle is a Crow tribal member originally from Crow Agency. He holds a bachelor’s in elementary education, a masters in Native American studies and an doctorate in curriculum and instruction. He is also a singer of traditional Plains Indian style music.

These online classes run from Aug. 25 to Dec. 12.
Students who go on to earn an online or campus degree or certificate, including the online graduate certificate in Native American Studies or the online bachelor's degree completion program in Liberal Studies, may be able to apply these credits toward their program. Students interested in this option should speak with an MSU academic advisor.

To register or read more about the courses, visit MSU's Extended University at All courses are listed under Native American Studies. For more information, contact Janine Hansen at or call (406) 994-6683.

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The Brothers Comatose at Sweet Pea Festival 2014

Literal brothers, Alex (banjo and vocals) and Ben Morrison (guitar and vocals) of The Brothers Comatose grew up in a house that was known for its music parties. “The Morrison house was a gathering place for local musicians – everyone would bring an instrument, call out tunes, call out changes, and just play for hours” says Brothers Comatose bassist and Morrison music party goer, Gio Benedetti. “I learned more in that living room than in any class I ever took.” The brothers took this generous, inclusive and rowdy attitude and brought it to stages all over San Francisco. With the addition of members Philip Brezina (fiddle) and Ryan Avellone (mandolin) the string quintet brings their original string music and the feel of an intimate music party to audiences all across the United States.

The environment the band creates with their music and their live shows isn't the exclusive band vs. crowd world of rock and pop, but rather the sing-along, stomp-along, inclusive world that gave birth to string band music. The band – while playing festivals like Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Strawberry, High Sierra, Outside Lands, Kate Wolf, and SXSW, - has not lost sight of their roots, their fans and the relationships that have brought them where they are.

Despite their name, the band is anything but Comatose. They toss alligators (inflatable) into the crowd, they hand out chopsticks for audience-percussion-participation, and are known to jump down and play acoustic encores in the middle of the crowd at the end of a set. It's just one, big, extended Morrison music party. Only now, the living room travels via Chevy G20 Conversion Van from state to state.

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Monday, Jul. 21st, 2014

Volunteers are sought for the 14th annual Montana State University Move-In Day, set Wednesday, Aug. 20.

Volunteers from both MSU and the community will help move an expected 1,850 new students into their residence halls. Volunteers will have a choice of one of three shifts, which are each 2 1/4 hours long: 8:45 a.m.-11 a.m.; 10:45 a.m.-1 p.m.; or 12:45 p.m.-3 p.m. Event volunteers will receive a free MSU polo shirt.
Anyone who would like to volunteer for the student welcome event may RSVP on the Web  or call the MSU President's Office, 994-2341, by Friday, Aug. 8.

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Monday, Jul. 14th, 2014

Did you know that Bozeman has a Coop of artists?

Did you know that Bozeman has a Coop of artists? The Artists’ Gallery in the Emerson Cultural Center is a coop of over 20 local artists and craftspeople. Works range from oils and watercolors to glass, wood, metal, pottery and hand-painted silk.
During the month of August the gallery will be featuring the work of a silk painter and a watercolor artist.  Kaye Light is showing her hand-painted silk scarves.
Kevin Heaney will be displaying his watercolor paintings of Montana landscapes and western ghost towns.
Ever since reading an article in Threads magazine in 1992 about painting on silk Light has been hooked on this medium.  She still finds that watching dyes being absorbed by the fibers of silk to create saturated colors and interesting designs is immensely addictive. Her work at the Gallery is a display of hand-painted silk scarves. Her designs are often bright and bold in both color and pattern. HER WORK can be found at galleries and shops throughout Montana, as well as in Idaho and Washington.
Heaney’s paintings and drawings capture the memories of his Montana roots. He has been capturing ghost towns of the West for over 30 years in his paintings and drawings.  The Bannack Day posters for 1994, 1995, 1996 were painted by Heaney and presented to the Governor of Montana. His work has been in several magazines and is included in the permanent collections of libraries, colleges, schools and offices throughout Montana and Nevada. He maintains a studio in Gallatin Gateway, Montana.
Light and Heaney’s work is featured throughout the month of August and at the Arwalk to be held on Friday, August 8th from 5-8 pm. Come and have a glass of wine and meet the artists at this event. Located in the Emerson Cultural Center, Suite 106.

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Industry and MSU biofilm experts to weigh in on chronic infections during meeting

For Brett Baker, president and CEO of Bozeman-based Microbion Corporation, the interplay of industry and academic science showcased by Montana State University’s Center for Biofilm Engineering is a critical ingredient in the development of new medical technology, particularly in one area of human health – biofilm-related infections.
“I really see it as a matter of saving lives, considering we have close to 100,000 people dying each year in the U.S. from infections they acquired in a hospital environment, and, according to the Centers for Disease Control 2013 report, over 23,000 each year die from antibiotic-resistant infections,” said Baker, who will be attending the CBE meeting of industrial associates and scientists in Bozeman this week.
CBE’s biannual meetings bring members from CBE’s Industrial Associates program, which includes 33 companies, many of which are Fortune 500 companies, together with dozens of MSU faculty and students to discuss the latest science regarding biofilms.
Biofilms are communities of bacteria that mount defenses and attach to surfaces, making them more resistant to antibiotics, cleaning agents and other treatments than individual bacteria that float freely in blood, water or other medium. Plaque on teeth is a biofilm.
Biofilms can be extremely damaging, accounting for billions of dollars yearly in the U.S. in industrial downtime for equipment repair and cleaning, as well as health problems, including chronic wound infections, tooth decay and infections on medical implants. Increasingly, MSU scientists are showing that biofilms also can be engineered for beneficial uses, such as cleaning up environmental pollution.
Whether you are a global energy giant like BP or a small, emerging clinical-stage biotech company like Microbion, Baker said companies join CBE’s Industrial Associates program because it gives them access to leading-edge scientists, both through partnering in research and through the sharing of science during the meetings.
“These meetings are so well attended (by those in the biofilm field) because the Center for Biofilm Engineering is recognized as the world’s foremost biofilm research institute,” Baker said. “In fact, I would have moved my company practically anywhere in order to have such close proximity to the CBE – the fact that it is located in Montana has been a welcome bonus to me and my family.”

Baker said Microbion is getting set to partner with another Bozeman-based company, BioScience Laboratories, to carry out clinical testing of Microbion’s new drug designed to combat antibiotic-resistant, biofilm-related orthopedic infections. The contract work, which is being completed for Food and Drug Administration submission purposes, will be paid for in part by an $84,875 grant from Montana Board of Research and Commercialization Technology, which provides funding through the Montana Department of Commerce. The MBRCT has also awarded Microbion and the CBE a previous, larger grant, which resulted in discoveries that were published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology in 2011.
That state-funded research is just one instance of how the university’s research environment helps industry leverage the best science on biofilms to develop commercial technology, Baker said.
While Microbion is headquartered in Bozeman due to the presence of the CBE, several other biotech companies in Montana are direct spin-offs from research started at MSU, including Bacterin, Biosurface Technologies and Sustainable Bioproducts.
The CBE’s biannual meetings are another example of how the institute provides for collaboration between industry research and development teams and top academic and clinical scientists.
“These meetings are a great way for us to connect the dots between what we do here in our labs at the Center for Biofilm Engineering and what is happening in the clinics,” Stewart said. “We’ll be able to hear from a speaker like Randy Wolcott, who operates one of the only biofilm-centric wound care clinics in the country, as well as those who have conducted preliminary research here at MSU on some of the products that he uses to successfully treat chronic wounds.”
Stewart said the approaches the medical establishment and pharmaceutical industry take on biofilms continue to evolve. The cutting-edge nature of the field underscores the importance of the partnerships between academic science and industry that are fundamental to CBE, he added.
Since CBE was founded, the support of industry has helped fund the institute. In the past year, CBE scientists conduced 73 research projects for 48 industrial sponsors. That relationship also helps to promote further investigation into pure science, as well as the education of undergraduate and graduate students at MSU.
“CBE does many things, from technology transfer, to the illumination of new ways of thinking about how biofilms work fundamentally, to the education and training of the next generation of scientists, who we hope will go on to do their own groundbreaking research or start their own biotech companies,” Stewart said.

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Friday, Jul. 11th, 2014


The Bozeman Film Festival screened 23 contemporary, independent and international films this past season in the Emerson's Crawford Theater. Thank you for supporting our year-round commitment to showing films that entertain, engage and foster an understanding of the world around us. Beginning this fall, we are changing our name to The Bozeman Film Society to better reflect bimonthly screenings of important, original films you won't find at the multiplex, along with fascinating guest speakers and special events.
Our 2014-2015 Season Sponsor Drive is now in full swing! We invite you to join us as a Bozeman Film Society underwriter-it's a great way to show that your business supports quality, independent cinema in the Gallatin Valley. Get some great exposure-contact by July 25th to find the sponsorship commitment / benefit level that best suits your needs.
Kicking off the BFS 2014-2015 season Saturday, August 23rd is our popular outdoor film series, 'Screen on the Green: 2014.' Join us for an evening of free film under the stars on the spacious, west lawn of The Emerson Center for the Arts and Culture. This summer, the event takes a scarier, more mature-themed turn with the wonderfully chilling 1978 Sci-Fi remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

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Popular Music for Piano Camp Openings Available

There are a few openings left for the morning (9am-12noon) session of the upcoming Popular Music for Piano Camp at MSU. Camp takes place the week of August 11-15th. Discounted tuition for early registration (before July 28) is $250. After that date tuition is $275. Materials are included in the tuition fee.

For more information, visit our website. I've also attached the registration form and press release.

To hear the songs the students wrote and recorded at the camp this past June at Concordia University Chicago, please visit:

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Mountain biking is in full gear at Big Sky Resort

Mountain biking is in full gear at Big Sky Resort with a new machine-built beginner downhill trail and a new flow trail connecting the Mountain Village to the Moonlight Lodge. Lift access mountain biking is now accessible from both the Swift Current and Explorer chair lifts.

Easy Rider is the new beginner mountain bike trail accessed from the top of the Explorer chair lift, operating in its first year, which provides an introduction to beginner downhill mountain biking. Easy Rider touches on the aspects of a freeride trail with subtle rollers and gentle berms at a really low angle. The Explorer chair lift has been equipped with sturdy hooks to safely transport bikes to the top of the chair lift.

For the advanced downhill mountain biker, the Swift Current chair lift has been outfitted with new bike carrier trays able to move up to three bikes at a time. The new bike trays are more efficient and safe to transport downhill mountain bikes to the top of the chair lift which has access to 14 downhill trails.

A new connector trail, Otter Way, has been built by Terraflow Trails connecting Big Sky Resort’s Mountain Village and Moonlight Lodge. This intermediate trail is a two mile long singletrack-in- the-woods experience with friendly berms, fun rollers, and ups and downs on this wide dual direction trail. The new Otter Way trail enhances the already 20+ miles of easy to moderate cross country trails on Big Sky Resort’s Moonlight terrain. Guided Scenic Bike Tours are available on the Southside Road on Moonlight terrain. New Specialized FSR Comp EVO cross country bike rentals and scenic bike tours are available at the Different Spokes Bike Shop in the Mountain Village.

Every Tuesday Big Sky Resort hosts the Hike, Bike, Barbeque on the deck of the Moonlight Lodge where Big Sky team members guide an hour and a half complimentary hike or bike ride on the Moonlight Terrain followed by a casual barbeque with live music and family fun.

Gear up for the Lone Peak’s Revenge ENDURO Race presented by Gallatin Alpine Sports on Saturday, August 16th. A scenic, technically challenging and physically demanding, course linking some of the best trails on Lone Peak and Andesite Mountain. There will be timed descent stages linked with untimed climbs.

Visit for mountain bike season pass and lift ticket information and

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MSU team announces new insights about evolving Triceratops in Montana’s Hell Creek Formation

Researchers at the Museum of the Rockies have spent the last 15 summers exploring the badlands of Eastern Montana and excavating dinosaur bones from the Hell Creek Formation. Over that time, they’ve made several new discoveries regarding some of the last dinosaurs to walk the Earth.

Now, in the latest paper to be published about findings from the Hell Creek Formation, Montana State University doctoral candidate John Scannella and three co-authors reveal new insights into the evolution of Triceratops, based on more than 50 specimens that have been collected in recent years.

By recording precise stratigraphic information for each Triceratops, and analyzing the morphological details of the skull, it appears possible to see evolutionary trends in Triceratops, the researchers said in the June 30 issue of the scientific journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).  Stratigraphy is the study of the layer of rocks.

Over one to two million years at the end of the Cretaceous Period, Triceratops went from having a small nasal horn and long beak to having a long nasal horn and shorter beak. The dinosaur with a small nasal horn and long beak is a Triceratops horridus. It was only found lower in the Hell Creek Formation. The dinosaur with a long nasal horn and shorter beak is a Triceratops prorsus. It was only found near the top of the Hell Creek Formation.  Skulls found in the middle of the Hell Creek Formation showed characteristics of both Triceratops horridus and Triceratops prorsus.

“This study provides a detailed look at shifts in the morphology of a single dinosaur genus over time,” Scannella said.

Several other institutions in the United States joined in an extensive survey of the Hell Creek Formation that was spearheaded by MSU’s Museum of the Rockies in 1999. The goal of the Hell Creek Project was to learn everything they could about the geology, flora and fauna of the formation so they could accurately reconstruct the environment at the end of the Cretaceous Period and the lives and evolution of the creatures that once roamed there.

 Over the course of the project, the researchers found that Triceratops is the most common dinosaur in the Hell Creek Formation. The Museum of the Rockies now houses one of the largest collections of Triceratops in the world.

“Most dinosaurs are only known from one or a handful of specimens,” Scannella said. “Some dinosaurs are known from a large number of specimens, but they’re often found all in one place – on a single stratigraphic horizon. The great thing about Triceratops is that there are a lot of them, and they were found at different levels of the Hell Creek Formation.

“So we can compare Triceratops found at different levels,” Scannella said. “When you have a larger sample size, you can learn much more about variation, growth and evolution.”

Scannella was lead author of the PNAS paper. Co-authors were MSU graduate student Denver Fowler, paleontologist Mark Goodwin from the University of California Museum of Paleontology, Berkeley, and Regents Professor of Paleontology Jack Horner of MSU. All have written or co-authored previous papers about their discoveries in the Hell Creek Formation near Jordan and the Fort Peck Reservoir.

Horner and Goodwin discovered previously that the skull and horns of Triceratops changed shape as it grew from a baby to an adult. In 2010, Scannella and Horner suggested that the skull of Triceratops underwent an even more dramatic transformation than had been suspected and that when fully mature, the Triceratops became what had previously been thought to be a distinct genus of horned dinosaur, the Torosaurus.

“The new study finds evidence that not only did Triceratops change shape over the lifetime of an individual, but that the genus transformed over the course of the end of the age of dinosaurs,” Scannella said.

The Hell Creek survey located so many new Triceratops that bones are still being removed from field jackets and prepared for study every day at the Museum of the Rockies. The new Triceratops range from small juveniles to animals with heads the size of a car. Some were found complete and intact. Others were found shattered into countless pieces.

The researchers collected as many specimens as possible in order to put together the most complete picture of the evolution of this famous dinosaur, named by famed Yale paleontologist O.C. Marsh in 1889, Scannella said.

“The study emphasized how important it is to know exactly where dinosaur fossils are collected from,” Scannella said. “A beautiful Triceratops without detailed stratigraphic data cannot answer as many questions as a fragmentary specimen with stratigraphic data.”

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Chalk One Up for Bozeman in HGTV Magazine

FERROUS WHEEL DESIGN is pleased to announce that the popular home décor publication, HGTV Magazine, featured Bozeman’s Ferrous Wheel Design in their current (July/August) issue. The magazine has a circulation of more than 1.25 million.

The article titled, “SHOP THE 50 NIFTY UNITED STATES” takes the reader through state-themed accessories that let you show your home turf pride. Representing Montana is Ferrous Wheel Design’s signature Montana Chalkboard available in Classic School Black and Wood Grain Brown. The chalkboard set includes a  custom eraser, chalk tray, and a colorful array of chalk.

Brian White, Product Developer and Co-Owner says of the article, “We were honored that our Montana chalkboard was chosen to represent Montana. As a fifth generation Montanan, this product line culminates my passion and love of Montana. When designing the piece, we wanted to integrate that rural school board look with a modern twist. The set is a fun gift or terrific way to show your love for Montana.”

FERROUS WHEEL DESIGN, a home décor business, launched in March 2014 on the online commerce site Shortly after, FERROUS WHEEL DESIGN was contacted by an HGTV representative about being featured in the magazine article. Now offering more than forty home décor sculptures and design accessories, FERROUS WHEEL DESIGN products can be found in Bozeman at TART gallery and in Livingston at the BHIVE gallery.  Select sculptures will be on display at the Danforth Gallery in Livingston through July 20 with a launch event this Friday, June 27 from 5:30 – 8:30 pm.

More about Ferrous Wheel Design:  Brian + Suzi White are professional artists and product designers making handmade modern home accessories made of any and all types of recycled metal and wood materials. Products range from faceted metal animal sculptures to reclaimed tractor stools to vertical gardens. Working in conjunction with interior designers and private homeowners, we love to create custom pieces.

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