Tuesday, Apr. 10th, 2018

Montana Gift Corral Celebrates 25 Years By Giving Back

Yearlong anniversary giveaway will donate $6,500 to charity

The Rocky Mountain West is the most generous region in America, and for the past 25 years, Montana Gift Corral, a much-beloved gift store staple, has felt that generosity in the form of its loyal, growing customer base. Owner Bert Hopeman explains, “We started with one store on Main Street in 1993, and thanks to the support from the local community and traveling visitors, we’ve grown to five locations across Bozeman, the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport, and Lewis & Clark Caverns. It’s amazing. We really love the people we serve and the beauty of Montana.”

In the early 90s, Montana Gift Corral’s founder Sharon Hopeman was looking for souvenirs with local flavor to take back to her family in Virginia but came up empty-handed. Sharon and her husband Bert decided to open a store in downtown Bozeman which centered on their love of the rocky mountain landscape, and a philosophy of sharing that love with visitors and locals alike. 25 successful years later, Montana Gift Corral feels like a Main Street staple. Their decades spent serving area customers as part of the Big Sky Country community calls for a celebration, but for the Hopemans, that doesn’t mean a sale or a party. Instead, they are holding a year-long giveaway, celebrating the Montana traditions of giving back, taking care of one another, and appreciating the world around us.

In March, Montana Gift Corral’s giveaway completed its third month of bi-weekly drawings. Based on the philosophy that getting a gift feels good, and giving one feels better, Montana Gift Corral is helping its customers do both: each winner receives a gift card, plus the opportunity to make a financial donation—which matches their gift card dollar amount—to any nonprofit of their choice.

Downtown store manager Mary Kenna has been making the phone call announcements to each winner, and says the response has been overwhelming. “People have been so positive and appreciative. But for me, the best part is when they get to pick the charity that the dollar-matched amount goes to. You really feel how much they care about their community.” Thanks to Montana Gift Corral and their giveaway winners, donations have already been made to Warriors and Quiet Waters, Heart of the Valley Animal Shelter, Meals on Wheel, Right to Life (Gallatin County), and the Snake River Animal Shelter.

In a time when many nonprofits are facing budget cuts, Montana Gift Corral hopes to make a positive impact by putting money back into the charities that their customers care about the most. The company has been a longtime supporter of community events and organizations, donating monthly and annually to area causes. But the 25th anniversary celebration is a different animal, giving locals and visitors the chance to help fund dozens of nonprofits in need—and the people, environments, and wildlife those organizations support. By year’s end, they will have donated $6,500 to charitable causes in this giveaway alone—a milestone for the whole community to celebrate.

To learn more about how these donations have positively impacted nonprofits, or information on how to participate, please contact Montana Gift Corral at GiftCorral.com or visit one of its three Bozeman locations, downtown, in the Gallatin Valley Mall, and inside Walmart.

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New app will help Montanans identify mystifying plants, pests and diseases

Montanans can now turn to their phones for help in identifying weeds, insects and crop diseases.

A new phone app provides an additional tool to Montanans who might otherwise text, email or send samples through the mail to the Schutter Diagnostic Lab at Montana State University, said Mary Burrows, lab director and MSU Extension Plant Pathologist. The MSU lab provides identification services for plant diseases, insects, weeds, native plants, and mushrooms.

Farmers who use the app, for example, could take a digital photo of an abnormal wheat stem, then upload the photo and fill out a form with their questions, extra details and contact information. The app will direct the query to the proper expert to determine the cause and suggest possible remedies for the problem. Burrows said the recommendations are responsive to client needs and use the principles of integrated pest management.

Homeowners might use the app to identify an unusual spider that lives in their basement, Burrows added. Extension agents who monitor the incoming questions might learn that a new invasive weed or pest has entered Montana.

"The app is a great place to start and can really speed things up," Burrows said. "People that use smartphones can use this."

The app will not only help Montanans, but it could give diagnosticians more complete information than they currently receive, Burrows said.

The app was developed by diagnosticians in other states, and 10 states currently participate. They are all members of the United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture National Plant Diagnostic Network.

Funded by the USDA, the app is free to Montanans and available now, Burrows said. For more information and how to use the app, go to http://diagnostics.montana.edu/sample_submission_app.html

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FWP Proposes Madison River Recreation Plan

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is proposing a recreation management plan and administrative rules for the Madison River. The proposal is set to be presented at the next meeting of the Fish and Wildlife Commission as a first step in addressing increasing concerns about crowding and social conflict on the river.

At its April 19 meeting, the Commission will not be deciding on the proposal, only whether to allow the Department to seek public input on the proposal as a start to the process.
The proposed plan addresses the Madison River in southwest Montana from the outlet of Quake Lake to its confluence with the Jefferson River near Three Forks.
It is intended to improve the recreational experience for all users by reducing crowding and social conflicts. As such, it is strictly a recreation management plan, not a resource management plan.
The proposed plan comes as a response to years of public input in the form of surveys, scoping meetings, and informal comments indicating a decline in the user experience on the Madison. Specifically, users expressed concern about crowding both on the river and at access points, the level of commercial outfitting and the impact of the increasing numbers of visitors to the Madison.

The Department’s data also shows that overall recreational use on the Madison continues to increase with angling pressure increasing approximately 15-percent every two years. With that, reported commercial use is up 72-percent from 2008.

Therefore, the Department began developing a recreation plan and convened a citizen advisory committee in 2012 which included individuals representing fishing outfitters, landowners, anglers and local business owners.
FWP’s proposal combines many of the recommendations made by that Madison River Citizen Advisory Committee and that of FWP staff.
The plan as it’s proposed includes:
    •    Establishing a cap on the number of commercial outfitters at 2016-2017 levels;
    •    Restricting commercial use based on the reach of river, and 2016-17 levels of use;
    •    Designating one reach of the river every day for non-commercial use (the rotating closed sections include reaches from Quake Lake to Greycliff Fishing Access Site);
    •    Prohibiting any commercial use from Greycliff Fishing Access Site to the to the Jefferson River to preserve the primitive nature of this unique reach;
    •    Prohibiting the use of any vessel or float tube to gain access for angling in the two walk/wade sections to help eliminate conflicts between boats and wade anglers;
    •    Prohibiting the use of glass containers on the river.
As with similar plans, the Fish and Wildlife Commission would review the rules governing recreational use on the Madison River every five years.
“The objectives of this plan echo the Department’s Vision for the future in protecting the value of this iconic resource and quality of experience for all,” said Region Three Supervisor Mark Deleray.
Deleray stressed that staff went to great lengths to consider the effect the proposal would have on all the interest groups and wants to hear from them all in the process.
Regional Fisheries Manager Travis Horton said, “In putting this proposal together, we wanted to hear from and incorporate diverse voices of interest and we will continue to do that as proposal moves forward. FWP believes this is a balanced first step to addressing recreational concerns on the Madison.”

Fish and Wildlife Commissioners will listen to a presentation on the proposed plan at their April 19 meeting to determine whether to allow FWP staff to start a public input process.
Questions about the proposed plan should be directed to madisonrivercom@mt.gov.

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Monday, Apr. 9th, 2018

Local Entreprenuer Wins "Best in Show" At Made In Montana Tradeshow

Sadie Barac spent months preparing for her third appearance at the Made in Montana tradeshow in Helena, MT at the end of March—preparation that proved successful! The local manufacturer of custom made Tipis and other Montana-made treasures was awarded “Best in Show” among hundreds of other vendors. 

Trade show judges attributed Sadie’s award to her “effective use of space, interesting colors, and great lighting” but the best compliment was the “awesome customer service and customer engagement” that she offered to each and every customer. 

The award is a true representation for Sadie’s entire business. She aims to not only deliver an amazing product but to help as many individuals and other local businesses along the way.  A majority of Little Turtle’s Tipi products are made with the help of clients at Reach, Haven, or even stay at home parents who wish to work from home so they can spend more time with family. The passion for Montana community is evident in everything she does and has now been recognized at the state level. 

Sadie is excited to continue operating her business in Bozeman, MT and has recently expanded her product selection to beautiful custom-made leather bracelets. She looks forward to delivering her products to retailers in Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park and many other local retailers across the state. 

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Friday, Apr. 6th, 2018

Depot Museum Seeks Volunteers

Come and share your talents with visitors and neighbors alike! The Livingston Depot Museum is seeking volunteers to welcome visitors this museum season, starting on May 12th.  

The Depot is often the first place visitors stop when touring our region. Help welcome them and share a piece of railroad history! Historical or railroad knowledge is not required, so come learn about your town and help others have fun.  Volunteering at the Depot is a great opportunity. Volunteering looks good on a resume and can be the perfect way to develop workplace confidence following a career break. Volunteering is also a great way to stay connected with our vibrant community during retirement.  

Don’t forget, we also have opportunities for Park High School students to earn their required community service hours—why not have fun while you fulfill your requirements?

“There’s a kind of camaraderie in helping as a volunteer,” said new Museum Director Laura McCarthy-Cota.  “It’s fun to share the experience of local history with visitors. It’s a good chance to make new friends and meet people visiting from far and wide.”   

McCarthy-Cota said volunteers help out at the front desk greeting visitors and answering general questions, as well as in the gift shop.  Schedules can be flexible but usually involve just one 3.5-hour morning or afternoon shift a week. 

Openings are currently available for both weekdays and weekends, and the museum will be open to the public starting May 12th.  Volunteers can also help with other occasions such as the Depot Foundation’s summer and winter events including the Festival of the Arts pie booth, Roundhouse Roundup outdoor barbecue, and among others.  

General information is available on the Depot’s website at www.livingstondepot.org, and anyone interested in signing up is invited to reach the Depot at (406) 222-2300. 

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Tuesday, Apr. 3rd, 2018

Registration is now open for Bozeman’s spring hunter education course

Registration is now open for Bozeman’s spring hunter education course. Online registration is required, and students under 18 years of age must have the consent of a parent or guardian. The class will take place evenings May 7 through May 11 at Chief Joseph Middle School (4255 Kimberwicke Street)

Students will also complete a field day on Saturday,
May 12 at the Logan Range. A morning or afternoon time for the field day will be assigned to students in class. Students may register by for this course going to FWP’s website at fwp.mt.gov, clicking on Education, then Hunter Education, then “Find a Class or Field Course.” Students must print, sign and bring the Student Agreement Form the first night of class. If the student is under 18 years old, a parent/guardian must sign the agreement.

After online registration, classroom materials must be picked up at FWP’s regional office in Bozeman (1400 S. 19th Ave.). Classroom hunter education courses in Montana are free to students. Students must be at least 10 years old to register.

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Monday, Apr. 2nd, 2018

Bozeman Actors Theatre Presents “The Realistic Joneses” by Will Eno

Audiences will hear one of the brightest voices in American theater as Bozeman Actors Theatre presents “The Realistic Joneses,” a play by Will Eno that The Guardian named 2014’s “Best Play on Broadway.” The local production opens April 19 at The Rialto in downtown Bozeman.

Eno, a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, has collected critical acclaim and the admiration of actors everywhere for his idiosyncratic ear for language and his dialogue steeped in a signature blend of wit and pathos. The New York Times has called Eno “a Samuel Beckett for the Jon Stewart generation.”

“From the very first time I read this play, I was impressed by—no, more intrigued by—Eno's ability to write believable and heartfelt dialogue,” said director Joel Jahnke, well-known to audiences as both an actor (last appearing in “Jimmie and Pete” at The Ellen Theatre) and as the longtime artistic director of Montana Shakespeare in the Parks until his retirement in 2013.

“Eno has a way of gently infusing the way we all talk and communicate normally with the heightened sense that great dramatic writing requires,” Jahnke added. “This is a rare gift and what makes this play rise above most others.”

In “The Realistic Joneses,” Bob and Jennifer Jones (played by Mark Kuntz and Cara Wilder) meet their new neighbors, John and Pony Jones (played by Miles Duffey and Claire Barley), during a starlit backyard encounter in a town not unlike Bozeman. In the days that follow, the couples realize they have even more in common than their suburban neighborhood and their shared last names. As their relationships begin to irrevocably intertwine, the Joneses must decide between their idyllic fantasies and their imperfect realities as they wrestle with ponderous questions of mortality and intimacy—often with subtle humor.

“I’m fascinated with how real these characters are to me,” Jahnke said. “They seem from the outset to be people I know, my neighbors, my friends. They’re funny, touching, complicated and troubled, often in the same moment. Couple this kind of writing with a great cast and the result is a captivating evening in the theater.”

“The Realistic Joneses” is the fourth play in Bozeman Actors Theatre’s 2017-18 season and the first since “I Am My Own Wife” sold out all six shows at Verge Theater in February. Mark Kuntz last appeared in the company’s “Copenhagen” and “Fool for Love” to start the season. Cara Wilder, former artistic director and co-founder of the company, last performed for BAT in “Marjorie Prime” in 2017. Claire Barley appeared in BAT’s 2014 production of “The Language Archive,” as well as the 2016 staged reading of another Will Eno play, “Middletown,” in which Kuntz and Wilder also appeared. Miles Duffey, an actor for Montana Shakespeare in the Parks since 2011, most recently playing Happy in Death of a Salesman, is performing with Bozeman Actors Theatre for the first time.

Bozeman Actors Theatre will present “The Realistic Joneses” by Will Eno at The Rialto, 10 West Main St. in downtown Bozeman. Shows run Thursday through Saturday, April 19-21 and April 26-28, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $24 in advance at www.bozemanactorstheatre.org or $27 at the door.

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Friday, Mar. 30th, 2018

Volunteers Take on Historic Effort to Sign the Continental Divide Trail

It can be hard to find your way along the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (CDT), which runs from Mexico to Canada along the spine of the Rocky Mountains. The trail is completely unmarked in some sections, and in others, blown-down trees and bleaching from the sun have made the existing trail markers, or “blazes,” difficult to spot. But this year, in honor of the trail’s 40th anniversary, the Continental Divide Trail Coalition (CDTC) is trying to change that.

“The CDT is an incredible natural and recreational resource owned by all Americans,” said Teresa Martinez, Executive Director of the CDTC. “By making sure the trail is well-signed, we hope to encourage more people to explore the CDT and the beautiful Rocky Mountain landscapes it traverses.”
Blazing a trail that is 3,100 miles in length is an enormous undertaking, and while the CDT has been marked in various ways throughout its 40-year history, it has never been completely and consistently signed from end to end. To tackle this historic project, CDTC is recruiting volunteers from across the country to take part in a project called “Blaze the CDT.” Throughout 2018, these volunteers will install thousands of blue-and-white signs along approximately 750 miles of trail. Thanks to efforts by the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, youth conservation corps and volunteer trail adopters, over 2,000 miles have already been properly signed.

Less well known than its bicoastal cousins, the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail, the CDT was designated by Congress as a National Scenic Trail in 1978. As it winds its way along the crest of the Continental Divide, the CDT passes through alpine meadows, desert canyons, quaking aspen forests and imposing mountain ranges, making for a truly beautiful journey through some of America’s most dramatic and rugged terrain. Despite decades of work by dedicated volunteers, land management agencies and other trail supporters, the CDT is still incomplete. Over 180 miles of the trail are still in need of federal protection, and hundreds more are in need of critical maintenance. That’s just one reason why the CDT was named as one of 15 national priority areas by the U.S. Forest Service earlier this year.

2018 is not only an important year for the CDT, but for all of America’s trails, as it marks the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System Act. The National Trails System provides outdoor recreation opportunities, promotes natural resource preservation and public access, and encourages the appreciation of America’s history and cultural diversity. Since its creation in 1968, over 81,000 miles of trails have been included in the National Trails System.

To learn more about Blaze the CDT and the Continental Divide Trail, visit www.continentaldividetrail.org/blaze-the-CDT/.
About the Continental Divide Trail
The CDT is one of the world’s premiere long-distance trails, stretching 3,100 miles from Mexico to Canada along the Continental Divide. Designated by Congress in 1978, the CDT is the highest, most challenging and most remote of the 11 National Scenic Trails. It provides recreational opportunities ranging from hiking to horseback riding to hunting for thousands of visitors each year. While 95% of the CDT is located on public land, approximately 180 miles are still in need of protection.

About the Continental Divide Trail Coalition
The CDTC was founded in 2012 by volunteers and recreationists hoping to provide a unified voice for the Trail. Working hand-in-hand with the U.S. Forest Service and other federal land management agencies, the CDTC is a non-profit organization supporting stewardship of the CDT. The mission of the CDTC is to complete, promote and protect the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, a world-class national resource. For more information, please visit continentaldividetrail.org.

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MSU seeks nominations for list of 125 women who have contributed to university’s history

Organizers of a celebration planned for this fall to recognize important women in Montana State University’s history are seeking nominations from the public.
The MSU President’s Commission on the Status of University Women is seeking candidates for its list of “Extraordinary Ordinary Women of Montana State University.” As part of the university’s yearlong quasquicentennial celebration, the commission will recognize 125 women who have been pivotal to MSU’s past, present or future at a reception Nov. 2.

“We want to shine a light of recognition and appreciation on the many women who have had essential roles in the university, from its formation more than 125 years ago, through time,” said MSU President Waded Cruzado. “We would like members of MSU’s community who have been inspired by women in the university to let us know who these women are, whether they worked outside of the spotlight or in it.”

Chatanika Stoop, a member of the PCOSUW committee organizing the event, said women have been central to the university’s development. After all, she said, it was prominent women in the Bozeman community who helped bring Montana’s land-grant college to Bozeman, and for 125 years MSU women have worked to improve the status of women at the institution, around Montana and across the country.

Stoop said that the names of some of those pivotal women are well-known, such as Una Herrick, MSU’s first dean of women, who taught women skills to promote their financial independence in the 1920s, or Cruzado, the university’s first female president. Stoop said that the committee wants to acknowledge the dozens more women who have worked, and continue to work, toward discovering and eliminating institutional barriers to the success of women.

“In this year of celebrating MSU’s 125th anniversary, the PCOSUW is honoring women leaders, problem solvers and innovators from today and throughout MSU’s history,” Stoop said.
Nominations should include a name, affiliation with MSU, how she had an impact on the status of women and inspired others by her example. For more information or to submit a nomination, visit montana.edu/125women. Nominations will be accepted until May 15, and living honorees will be notified in June.

“We invite everyone to celebrate a woman in his or her life by nominating them as an ‘Extraordinary Ordinary Woman’ of Montana State University,” Stoop said.

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Thursday, Mar. 29th, 2018

Bozeman Receives $10,000 and Technical Assistance to Meet Resiliency Goals

The National League of Cities (NLC) announced seven new cities for the Leadership in Community Resilience program. Each city will receive $10,000 in direct financial support as well as technical assistance and professional development opportunities to help them meet community-specific resiliency goals.

The seven cities selected for the 2018 Leadership in Community Resilience Program are: Birmingham, AL; Bozeman, MT; Durango, CO; Indianapolis, IN; Kingston, NY; Nashua, NH; and San Leandro, CA.

“Resiliency is a key value embraced by strong, economically vibrant communities,” said Clarence E. Anthony, CEO and executive director of the National League of Cities (NLC). "We are excited to work with these seven cities through the Leadership in Community Resilience program to help them achieve their unique goals. While each project will be different, we know the value that cities have in sharing and learning from one another.”

Now in its second year, the Leadership in Community Resilience program is generously supported by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Wells Fargo. To apply for this program, officials from each city submitted a proposal detailing a specific resiliency challenge in their community and a proposed event or implementation project designed that could address it.

NLC also announced that the program had established technical assistance partnerships with the Thriving Earth Exchange and ecoAmerica, who will provide additional tools and resources to support the cohort of cities.
“The interest in this program from cities was overwhelming and illustrates the serious challenges cities face when balancing growth and development alongside pollution, water quality, climate change and more,” said Cooper Martin, program director for the Sustainable Cities Institute at the NLC. “Aside from welcoming the 7 cities, we’re thrilled to have such valuable partners in place to help meet these challenges.”

In addition to providing direct assistance to cities, the program gathers new insights related to the challenges and opportunities associated with local resilience initiatives. In the years ahead, lessons learned through this process will be shared with cities throughout the United States.

About the National League of Cities
The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans. www.nlc.org

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