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, 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, 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 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
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

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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 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.

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New Native American artists’ gallery transforms MSU student union building into something ‘pretty special’

Butch Damberger said a new set of Native American paintings that line the hallway to meeting rooms in the Montana State University Strand Union Building often have an unexpected and powerful effect on people.
“A couple of months ago I came across a young man who was moved to tears by the art,” said Damberger, director of the SUB. “That was our goal – to create something (all people) can be proud of.”
The Indigenous Art in Time Gallery is a set of large-scale pieces of art by Native American artists saluting Montana’s tribes. The multimedia gallery was installed on Indigenous Peoples Day in October and still catches people expecting a plain hallway by surprise.
The gallery features mural-sized pieces by five artists. They include: Ben Pease, a member of the Apsaalooke (Crow) and Tsitsistas (Northern Cheyenne) nations and former MSU art student who is now successfully selling his multimedia pieces around the world; John Isaiah Pepion, Piikani (Blackfeet), who is also a prominent artist known for his ledger-style art; Carlin Bear Don’t Walk, a member of the Tsitsistas sand Apsaalooke nations who now lives in Billings and whose painting also graces this year’s American Indian Council powwow poster; Casey Figueroa, a Flathead-area artist and educator of Apache, Tohono O'Odham, Yaqui, Mexican and Irish heritage who is pursuing dual master’s degrees in Native American studies and an MFA from MSU; and Alisha Fisher, Tsitsistas and Apsaalooke, a graduating senior art student at MSU. The gallery was coordinated by Marsha Small, Tsitsistas, an earth science doctoral student and Native American studies lecturer who is passionate about seeing a collection of gallery-quality art by Native American artists installed on the MSU campus.

“This is a salute to our Homelands, because this is what this place here is – Homeland for many Montana tribes,” Small said.
Damberger said while he had the idea of hanging Native American art in the formerly empty hallway for some time, the project didn’t get off the ground for a couple of  years until efforts by Small and Pease located artists. The resulting paintings exceeded all of his expectations.

“I had thought for the longest time that we should do something with these walls and I thought I’d like to have a few pieces of Native art in that hallway, but didn’t know how to make it happen,” Damberger said.
Small calls the creation of the gallery over several months last year “one of the greatest family efforts that I have ever been a part of.”

“We all got together and decided the progression on the walls and who would be where,” she said. “All of the artists are really busy, but they made it happen.”
Small said the progression begins on the northwestern wall with a large painting by Fisher of Pretty Woman, a Cheyenne woman. The painting is called “Respect” because “we are a matriarchal society and this is where life begins for us,” Small said. A mural full of Native American symbols and two multimedia pieces by Figueroa follow. The mural merges into Bear Don’t Walk’s neon-colored scene of a white buffalo, called “The Journey Continues.” The art rounds a corner to Pease and Pepion’s “Stories of Our Peoples.” The Pease-Pepion piece, which extends across most of the southern wall, is a vinyl wrap created by SCS Wraps, and it includes symbols from all of Montana’s tribes. The gallery ends with two paintings by Fisher called “Resilience” – one of the historic male Northern Cheyenne leader Red Armed Panther. The last painting is of Fisher’s baby girl.

“It’s the circle of life for us,” Small said of the full presentation.
Two motion-activated monitors in front of the Pease-Pepion piece loop short videos about Montana’s tribes created by Montana’s Office of Tourism. Damberger said the tourism office allowed MSU to download the videos, and Jonathan Dove, the SUB’s technical director, figured out how to make them work with the motion detectors.

Small said the pieces of art are so detailed, and so rich in Native American symbolism “that every time I look at them I see something new.”

Damberger said in addition to the gallery, the SUB also purchased two original paintings from Pease -- one is the original used for last year’s American Indian Council’s powwow poster  -- that now hang outside the SUB ballrooms. While those paintings are beautiful and also add much to the building, he’s grateful for the impact of the larger gallery.

“What I love about (the gallery), what I think is cool, is I now see classes coming up and walking through and looking at it,” Damberger said.  “We’re really proud of how it turned out. It really is pretty special.”

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2018 High Plains Book Award Nomination Process is Complete- Community Readers will Review 207 Books

The 12th annual High Plains Book Awards will take place on October 19-20, 2018 in Billings, MT.  This event recognizes writers and their work from the states of MT, CO, ND, SD,WY, NE and KA  as well as the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan in Canada.  A total of 207 nominations have been received, twenty-two more than in 2017.  Of these entries, an amazing 42% come from Canadian authors.

The twelve book award categories range from Indigenous Writer to Arts and Photography.  This year’s entries include: 9 entries in Arts and Photography, 19 in Children’s Books, 25 Creative non-fiction, 33 fiction, 14 First Book, 9 Indigenous Writer, 10 Medicine/Science, 27 nonfiction, 22 Poetry, 6 Short Stories, 20 Woman Author and 13 Young Adult.

Each of the 207 entries will be read and evaluated by four different community volunteers.  Based on the evaluations, the top three books in each category will become finalists.  At that point, the finalists are forwarded to judges who will choose the winner in each category.  The judges include past winners and published writers with a connection to the High Plains in the US and Canada.

All of the High Plains Book Awards are sponsored by local organization and individuals.  Winners will be announced at the High Plains Book Awards Banquet scheduled for Saturday October 20, 2018 at the Yellowstone Art Museum.
For more information about the High Plains Book Awards visit the web-site or contact Shari Nault, High Plains Book Awards President at 406-672-6223 or via email at

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Tuesday, Mar. 27th, 2018

TRIM & TAILOR Designer Announces New Store in Bozeman

When Bridget Trimble Simonson and her husband Ryan Simonson started TRIM & TAILOR in 2016, Bridget realized a lifelong goal of designing and owning her own fashion line. TRIM & TAILOR’s classic, contemporary apparel has since gained a following through its Gallatin Valley store, as well as its wholesale and online sales. Having outgrown their current location, the Simonsons are moving to a new storefront in Bozeman that will allow them to increase wholesale operations and maintain a storefront for local shoppers. TRIM & TAILOR will open at 875 Bridger Drive – just north of the Cannery District, across the street from Story Mill Park – in mid-May.

At a young age, Bridget had dreams of owning and designing her own clothing line. She studied fashion design at the Art Institute of Colorado and has worked in the industry since 2009. Her professional experience includes work in retail buying, styling, pattern making, fabric and trim sourcing, overseas purchasing and apparel product development for companies such as Von Maur Department Store and Allen Co. She also helped Bozeman-based Simms Fishing relaunch its women’s collection.

The Simonsons started TRIM & TAILOR after moving to the Gallatin Valley in 2016, with Bridget running the design side of the business and Ryan managing the financial side. Less than a year after they opened a retail storefront in Belgrade, TRIM & TAILOR’s operations outgrew the space. The Simonsons decided to move to a new location in Bozeman, where they could maintain a retail storefront and more efficiently meet wholesale demand. The new location will feature TRIM & TAILOR’s contemporary apparel and jewelry, with every clothing item priced below $100.

“We are so excited to open our doors in Bozeman and become part of this vibrant and creative retail community,” said Bridget. “We’re also grateful the Montana & Idaho Community Development Corporation was there to help when we decided we needed to move and expand.”
Like many startups, TRIM & TAILOR was challenged to obtain traditional bank financing despite its strong initial growth. Bridget and Ryan turned to the Montana & Idaho Community Development Corporation, a financing company that specializes in helping businesses at a key moment when they aren’t able to qualify for a bank loan. Montana & Idaho CDC provided nearly 100 loans to small businesses in 2017, almost 40% of them startups.

“It’s amazing to see all that Bridget and Ryan have accomplished in less than two years,” said Montana & Idaho CDC President Dave Glaser.  “It’s a testament to the high-quality designs, but also the way they’ve built their business to be successful across retail, online and wholesale channels. We’re thrilled to provide the financing they need to take their business even further.”

Montana & Idaho CDC loans range from $1,000 to $2,000,000 and can be used for purposes such as purchase of real estate, equipment, inventory, business purchase, remodeling or working capital. Loan clients also receive one-on-one technical assistance in financial management, marketing, sales and other areas of business management.

For more information about Trim & Tailor, visit

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