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.
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
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 email@example.com.