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Friday, Dec. 7th, 2018

MSU 125th time capsule comes from the campus’ heart

One of the last projects of Montana State University’s yearlong 125th anniversary celebration is one with a lot of heart.

Heartwood, that is, that comes from the heart of the MSU campus. That’s what the MSU 125th anniversary time capsule is made from, according to master woodworker Bill Clinton of the MSU School of Architecture who handcrafted the time capsule that was presented to MSU students at the 2018 Lighting of Montana Hall ceremony on Dec. 5.

Clinton, who is director of the MSU School of Architecture’s Fabrication Space, part of the MSU College of Arts and Architecture, made the 12-by-12-by-18 inch box from wood salvaged from campus trees cut to make room for both the MSU Chemistry and Biochemistry Building and Jabs Hall in the center of campus.

MSU President Waded Cruzado, who shared the box with the president and vice president of the Associated Students of MSU during the lighting of Montana Hall on Dec. 5, said the grace and beautiful simplicity of the box represents the university’s strength and connection to the landscape.
“We are thankful for Bill Clinton’s extraordinary craftsmanship and vision of this artifact, which is truly MSU made, in every sense,” Cruzado said. “The capsule puts a beautiful exclamation point on what has been a memorable year of celebration.”
Clinton said that two types of wood were used for the box, which will be stored in the MSU Library Archives. The body of the box was made from Douglas fir harvested to make room for Jabs Hall in 2015. The white oak that Clinton used to fashion the knob, key escutcheon and plaque came from a tree harvested to build the chemistry building in 2008.

“I’ve been saving this wood for a long time and am so happy to be able to use it for this project,” Clinton said.

He said that he has been using the oak for several MSU projects over the years, including a hand-crafted meeting table in the chemistry building, “nearly exactly where the tree we made it from once stood.
“And that was kind of the last of that (white oak), so I’m glad it is going to something like this,” he said.
Clinton said he and ceramics professor Dean Adams, who is assistant dean of the College of Arts and Architecture, developed a basic design for the capsule. Clinton said he opted for a simple design that wouldn’t take away from the eventual contents of the box. He hand-carved the 125th seal on the lid, which gave the box both texture and three dimensions, he said. All of the dovetailed joints were cut by hand.

“I love to do things like that,” said Clinton, who has been making furniture since 1976 and teaching architecture design-build courses for 15 years. “It got me back to my roots of hand woodworking.”
Among objects already submitted from across campus representing MSU at this point in its history includes a letter from Cruzado written to the Class of 2093 to be read on the university’s 200th anniversary celebration. Other items range from a deck of souvenir cards identifying 125 women honored at the recent “Extraordinary, Ordinary Women” ceremony to the Nov. 18 issue of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle with a story about “The Miracle in Missoula,” MSU’s recent last-second  football victory over the University of Montana. Cruzado said campus entities will have the opportunity to submit items until the end of December.

Clinton said that was honored to make the capsule and be a part of the last bit of history that closes out MSU’s 125th anniversary year.
“It was a joy to do this hand project,” Clinton said.  “I was very flattered to be asked to do it.”

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Wednesday, Nov. 28th, 2018

Skyline Announces Winter Schedule & Introduces New Mobile App

The New Winter Schedule Runs Now - April 21, 2019

The Big Sky Transportation District, working with its partners in Big Sky, has set the new schedule for Skyline’s winter season. The new schedule will run from Monday, November 19, 2018 through April 21, 2019. There will be thirteen round-trips on the Link Express between Big Sky and Boze- man, including early morning and late night service. Local service within Big Sky is provided by the Canyon-Mountain, Meadow-Town Center Circulator and Mountain Loop buses and is fare free.

A fare is charged for rides on the Link Express. In addition to cash fares, Skyline riders can purchase punch cards or a winter pass for the season. Cash fares are $5 per ride, punch passes come in 10, 20 or 40 ride cards for $2.50 per ride, and winter passes are good for rides from now until the end of April 2019 for $400. Passes can be purchased at a variety of participating busi- nesses, see our website for a complete list of locations.

Skyline is very pleased to announce the release of their new mobile app, Ride Skyline. With this app, riders will be able to track Skyline’s buses in real time and receive important information and updates about our services. The new app is called “Ride Skyline” and is available for iPhone through the Apple App Store or for Android Phones through Google Play.

Skyline has continued to provide record breaking numbers of rides year after year, and 2018 was no exception, with nearly 220,000 rides provided, overall ridership is up 8.6 percent. “With local

ridership growing by 9.6 percent and Link Express up by 3.3 percent, it’s clear that residents of southwest Montana are responding to increased economic and population growth throughout the area by exploring alternative means of transportation,” said David Kack, Skyline Coordinator.

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Tuesday, Nov. 27th, 2018

Community Speech & Debate Judges Needed 12/7,8

The Bozeman High School Speech and Debate Team, currently ranked #44 in the nation, will be hosting its Invitational tournament at Bozeman High School on December 7 and 8.  All 14 MT class AA Schools, 10 Class A schools, and several class B & C schools are planning to attend, making this by far the largest tournament in Montana this year, with over 800 students competing.  The tournament is still in need of community judges. There are rounds on Friday afternoon, Friday, evening, and Saturday morning.  To sign up, go to

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Monday, Nov. 26th, 2018

Program for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities opens at MSU

Joan Milkovich had been searching for colleges that would be a good fit for her son Jack, who has learning disabilities, but she couldn’t picture sending him to one outside of Montana.

“I had been dreaming of programs for him, but they were all so far away,” she said. “I wasn’t quite ready to send him to Maine or Texas.” The Milkovich family lives in Great Falls.

Then, in the spring of 2018, she heard about a new program at Montana State University for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Called LIFE Scholars – LIFE stands for Learning Is For Everyone – the program was set to enroll its first group of students in the fall of 2018.

“I felt like it was a miracle,” she said. “Jack had always wanted to go to college. It was his dream. The other miraculous part was he always wanted to be a Bobcat …. This whole thing, the way it came together, there’s no other word I can say except that it was a miracle to our family.”

The MSU LIFE Scholars Program is an inclusive post-secondary experience that opened this fall to its first seven students, according to Christy Sofianek, program director. The program consists of three main components: academics, career development and campus engagement. Students who are enrolled in the program may choose to either audit classes or take them for credit. Students this fall selected courses in meteorology, creative writing, public speaking, horse handling, aviation and tae kwon do, among other subjects, Sofianek said. LIFE Scholars also engage in extra-curricular campus activities and complete an internship in order to develop job skills and explore careers.

LIFE Scholars is a three-year program, but students may complete it in as few as two years or extend it to a maximum of four years. Scholars who successfully complete the program requirements earn a LIFE Scholars certificate and are eligible to participate in the university’s commencement ceremony.

To help support LIFE Scholars, current MSU students serve as peer partners who are matched with individual scholars and meet on a regular basis to offer academic or campus engagement support. Academic peer partners attend classes with LIFE Scholars, while peer partners focused on campus engagement participate in a variety of activities with scholars – anything from having lunch together to attending a sporting event to watching a movie in the Procrastinator Theater. The program also offers monthly events for LIFE Scholars. Recent activities included a pumpkin carving party and zip lining.

“The intent is to support LIFE Scholars in getting engaged in campus life, and to take advantage of getting involved with clubs and activities and being part of the campus community,” Sofianek said.

Joan Milkovich and her husband, David, felt the program was a good fit for their son, who she said had earlier attended both public and private schools in Great Falls and who had benefitted from a combination of tutoring and one-on-one interactions with teachers.

“It was everything we wanted or were hoping to have for Jack,” she said. “Jack was over the moon excited.” He was thrilled to be accepted, she added.

“He was so excited,” she said. “He just felt inside that it was going to be his thing. It was a huge deal.”

And now, approximately three months into the program, Jack Milkovich said it’s going really well.

“I like doing new things,” he said. “I like coming here (to MSU) because I’m a Bobcat fan.”

“My favorite class is intro to speaking because it’s nice to be with nice people,” he added. “I just enjoy doing the presentations.”

He also enjoys meeting with three different peer partners each week, and he said it’s fun to be away from home. While he is a student, Jack is living with extended family in Bozeman. He often gets to campus by taking the Streamline bus.

In the future, Jack looks forward to finding employment as a student worker on campus, perhaps at the bookstore, he said. He also hopes to be able to live in a residence hall on campus someday.

“Then I could be here anytime,” he said, adding that it takes approximately 45 minutes to get to campus by bus. “It wouldn’t take time to get here.”

Joan Milkovich said she hopes that Jack’s experiences at MSU help him to grow academically and prepare him for a career. She also hopes the experiences help him to grow socially and personally.

“College is such a neat time,” she said. “It’s not just about academics. There are other parts of growing up that you learn.

“I really feel this (time at college) will be – maybe in his whole life – the most important four years,” she added. “I couldn’t be happier to have our son in this program.”

Sofianek noted that in order to help customize the program to each student, LIFE Scholars engage in a planning process to gauge where they are in areas such as self-determination, independent living, community engagement, employment and lifelong learning. That process also helps the students to identify what their goals are and to help them move in the direction of their goals, she said.

Sofianek added that the program is very purposeful.

“It’s purposeful in the sense that students are here to learn and gain skills and develop relationships for an outcome,” she said. “That outcome is whatever their individual goals are, but competitive employment is a piece of that, just as it is for any traditional college student.”

And, for her part, Sofianek said it makes sense for MSU to offer the program.

“We are a land-grant university with a mission of access to our community,” she said. “Of course we want to include a wide range of learners in the community.”

Students with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are at least 18, who have completed high school and who have a strong desire to attend college are eligible to apply for the LIFE Scholars program. Individuals who would like to learn more are invited to visit or contact Sofianek at 406-994-3114 or

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Monday, Nov. 19th, 2018

MSU wins Can the Griz food drive, donates record amount of food

Montana State University and the Bozeman community rallied for a win in the 19th annual Can the Griz food drive, with supporters donating a record of the equivalent of 448,720 pounds of food to the Gallatin Valley Food Bank.
Can the Griz and the corresponding Can the Cats food drive in Missoula is an off-field competition between MSU and the University of Montana to see which school can collect the most donations for its local county food bank.
This year, MSU and the Bozeman community donated 263,263 pounds of food and $185,457 to the Gallatin Valley Food Bank, according to Laurynn Olson of the MSU Office of Student Engagement, which coordinates Can the Griz. The Can the Cats food drive in Missoula brought in 211,811 pounds of food and $193,086 for the Missoula Food Bank, for a total of the equivalent of 404,897 pounds of food, Olson said.

She added that both communities surpassed last year's totals, which were also record amounts: Last year, MSU and the Bozeman community donated 257,336 pounds of food plus approximately $131,757 to the Gallatin Valley Food Bank, while donations from UM and the Missoula community in 2017 totaled 255,070 pounds of food plus approximately $139,008. 

Bozeman and the MSU community have won the competition for 16 out of the 19 years it has been held, Olson said.
"The Gallatin Valley never ceases to amaze me with (its) generosity,” said Randi Maiers, community engagement program coordinator with the MSU Office of Student Engagement. “It’s truly amazing to see everyone come together and help their neighbors.”

The significant donations from the Can the Griz drive will help the Gallatin Valley Food Bank provide food for families in the community through the spring and into the summer, said Laura Stonecipher, programs coordinator at the food bank. The Gallatin Valley Food Bank is one of the HRDC Food and Nutrition Program’s initiatives. During the last fiscal year, the food bank served 1,240 households – or more than 3,000 people per month, Stonecipher said. It also helps other nonprofits serve families and individuals in the community.  

“This food will go to benefit a wide range of people,” Stonecipher said.

She noted that the food bank was “blown away” by the generosity of the community.

“We cannot express our appreciation enough to everyone that helped us out,” she said. “It’s just so humbling the way people came out to help. We need more of that.

“There are lots of issues in our world, but as long as people are looking out for each other, we’ll be OK. There are so many people looking out for each other in our valley and beyond.”

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Friday, Nov. 16th, 2018

MSU-Blackfeet Community College collaboration featured in American Indian higher-ed journal

A research collaboration between Blackfeet Community College and Montana State University involving tribal college students that looks at the health effects of stress on Native American communities has been featured in a national journal.

The article, "The Spirit of Our People Runs Deep: How a Program at Blackfeet Community College Offers Students Biomedical Research Experience," was published Oct. 22 in the Tribal College Journal of American Indian Higher Education online. It is the leading scholarly and journalistic publication featuring the achievements of the nation's 38 tribal colleges and universities.

Bill Stadwiser, the program communication specialist for Montana INBRE who wrote the article, said the collaboration shows what can happen when academics and communities discuss problems and solutions on an equal footing.

"The work that the BCC undergraduates are doing on this project is really quite impressive and on par or even more sophisticated than some of the research happening at larger institutions in the state," he said.

Students working on the project investigate the relationship between stress and disease on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation near Glacier National Park and how to reduce stress by building a sense of community, said Betty Henderson-Matthews, chair of the BCC Math and Science Division and INBRE project leader.

The students have surveyed 350 tribal members on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation between the ages of 18 and 80 since the BCC-MSU collaboration began in 2012. The students also collected saliva and blood samples for testing to reveal more about the connection between stress and disease. More recently, the students expanded their research to look for ways to reduce ongoing stress by building community through hikes and talks about the importance of culture, place and staying active.

The project exemplifies long-term, community-based participatory research, meaning that “it fosters a partnership where communities are equitable collaborators in all phases of research and cultivate an environment for producing mutually beneficial goals,” said Ann Bertagnolli, Montana program coordinator and director of the Community Engagement Core.

"Investments in undergraduate research at tribal colleges are building professional, academic and social bridges between institutions like Montana State University and Blackfeet Community College,” Stadwiser said.

"The significance of the collaboration is that it develops the student pipeline into biomedical research and careers, has developed and works to sustain a relationship focused on community-based participatory research and uses this CBPR approach to collaborate on improved health for the Blackfeet Nation," Bertagnolli said.

Founded in 2001, Montana INBRE is a network of 16 tribal colleges, community colleges and universities focused on building biomedical research capacity and a workforce pipeline in Montana. The research is supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number P20GM103474.

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With MSU roots, snow workshop makes the world safer from avalanches

When researchers at Montana State University hosted a conference about snow and avalanches in Bozeman during the fall of 1982, they made flyers featuring ski tracks alongside a math equation, planned a field day and after-party at nearby Bridger Bowl ski area, and called the event the International Snow Science Workshop.

Because most of the 220 participants were Americans or Canadians, "the 'international' part was a little bit tongue in cheek," said Ed Adams, one of the event's organizers and a recently retired MSU civil engineering professor. Still, the name gave the event — which has since been held at least every two years — "room to grow," he said.

And grow it has. Last month, Adams and more than a dozen other locals joined roughly 1,000 attendees from 27 countries at the 2018 International Snow Science Workshop in Innsbruck, Austria, a colorful city often referred to as the capital of the Alps.  
Billed as the world's largest conference on snow and avalanches, the five-day event featured panel discussions, 140 presentations by world experts and 285 posters in an exhibition where researchers, avalanche forecasters and others discussed their work. MSU faculty and students presented a total of 23 papers, including seven papers with students as lead authors.

With topics ranging from the microscopic properties of snow crystals to satellite imaging to best practices for rescue operations, the ISSW covers "the full gamut of snow science," said MSU earth sciences professor Jordy Hendrikx, who attended with four of his graduate students.
Hendrikx chaired a session in which MSU earth sciences master's student John Sykes presented research he has conducted at Bridger Bowl about how skiers and snowboarders make decisions in avalanche terrain. As a result of the project, Sykes was one of three recipients — out of roughly 50 submissions — of the ISSW's Young Snow Professional Award.

Adams chaired a session about snowpack stability that featured presentations by Benjamin Reuter, a Swiss researcher visiting MSU to conduct studies in the university’s Subzero Research Laboratory, as well as Karl Birkeland, director of the Bozeman-based National Avalanche Center.
"Usually these sorts of things are all scientists ... with a separate meeting for practitioners to talk about problems and solutions," said Birkeland, who chaired a session about how forecasters and others communicate avalanche hazard. "The cool thing about ISSW is that it brings those two together."

Avalanche forecasters from Montana and across the U.S. were among the participants at the event, as were ski patrollers, including from nearby Big Sky Resort, according to Birkeland.
"Listening to people talk about the issues they're dealing with in the field helps spur ideas for research," said MSU assistant professor of civil engineering Kevin Hammonds, director of MSU's Subzero Research Laboratory. Hemmonds presented a study on how naturally occurring chemical impurities affect the bonds between ice and snow grains.

According to Adams, the ISSW has flourished because, as snow science has advanced and winter recreationists increasingly venture into the backcountry, the event fills a need for practitioners to exchange information with researchers. The workshop's practical bent emerged from the milieu of MSU snow science, which was pioneered starting in the 1950s by earth sciences professors Charles Bradley and John Montagne, both of whom were avid skiers involved in the creation of Bridger Bowl.

Montagne was the first director of Bridger Bowl's volunteer ski patrol, and he also taught a popular undergraduate class that emphasized practical skills for assessing avalanche danger. His and Bradley's scientific studies — which became more rigorous and internationally recognized after Bradley recruited MSU engineers — often revolved around predicting and preventing avalanches at the community ski area.

Shortly after Adams came to MSU in the late 1970s to study snow science, Montagne spearheaded the effort to create the ISSW, Adams recalled. Building on a tradition of more informal snow conferences in the U.S. and Canada, MSU's snow scientists coined the ISSW name and gave the event its enduring motto: "A Merging of Theory and Practice."

"The motto really says it all," said American Avalanche Association director Dan Kaveney, who lives in Bozeman and attended the Innsbruck event.
Birkeland first attended the ISSW in 1988 at Whistler, British Columbia, where the MSU contingent endured a week of rain while camping on the outskirts of town, he recalled. At the time, he was earning his master's in snow science in MSU's Department of Earth Sciences after working as a ski patroller at Utah's Snow Basin. He found the conference to be "instantly relatable," he said. At the 1990 ISSW in Bigfork, Montana, he presented his master's thesis, which built on Bradley's early experiments about how snowpack stability varies across mountain slopes.

Now, when he returns from ISSW, Birkeland writes a synopsis of select presentations and sends it to avalanche forecasters around the country, some of whom may not have attended the event. The summary includes links to the full text of the conference proceedings. Since 2012, as a result of an effort led by former earth sciences department head Steve Custer, all ISSW proceedings have been housed in a digital archive maintained by the MSU Library.

"The whole avalanche community is so grateful to MSU for doing this," said Birkeland, who is also an adjunct professor in MSU's earth sciences department. "For people looking for practical, scientific avalanche work, it's probably the first place that most people look."
"Ultimately, bringing people together at the ISSW has advanced our knowledge much more than if it never existed," Birkeland said. "ISSW has made people here, and around the world, safer from avalanches."

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Wednesday, Nov. 14th, 2018

2018 Yellowstone Ski Festival Conditions

The 2018 Yellowstone Ski Festival begins next Tuesday. There have been many inquiries about the conditions on the Rendezvous Ski Trails here in West Yellowstone. As of today, the trails have been rolled and finished. We have not groomed, but skier activity on the trails has helped to compact the snow, resulting in faster, early-season conditions. Reports from skiers indicate the skating “good” and classic is “fair.”

Nighttime temperatures hover around zero degrees and often dip down to several degrees below zero. The low last night was -15ºF. Daytime temperatures are also working in our favor, rarely reaching above the freezing mark. These low temperatures help maintain the snow levels. 

Snow conditions are early season with cold, fast powder covering the trails. All trails except Windy Ridge are rolled and skiable. 

Area trails, including the Riverside, Boundary, and Frontier Trails, are all in skiable condition.
If necessary, there is plenty of snow on the secondary venue of the South Plateau. In the event that the snow on the Rendezvous Trails melts out, there will be skiing on the South Plateau. However, at this time, our focus remains on the Rendezvous Trails. The next pulse of moisture is predicted for Thursday night into Friday morning. We will post more information following the result of that potential storm.

We are looking forward to another exciting, fun-filled week. The evening activities at the Holiday Inn offer something for everyone. For more information and up-to-date reports, like our Facebook page, Rendezvous SkiTrails, and bookmark

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Tuesday, Nov. 13th, 2018

Fermentana launches second annual Beer Maven event series celebrating women and beer

Fermentana is excited to kick off the second round of Beer Maven in 2019. As Montana’s first-ever, female-only beer event series celebrating women and beer, Beer Maven offers women the opportunity to expand and develop their beer knowledge through a variety of exciting beer tastings, unique food pairings, and fun, educational discussions with guest industry speakers at local community establishments.

The second annual series will be hosted at the newly-opened Kitty Warren Social Club in downtown Bozeman during the months of January, February, and March. Additionally, 10% of proceeds from tickets sales from this event series will be donated back to HAVEN, a Bozeman-based nonprofit which offers support to women and families affected by domestic violence.

According to the Brewers Association, women currently represent slightly more than half of all beer drinkers. Of that number, approximately 25% of those female drinkers choose craft beer. Through Beer Maven, Fermetana is helping to grow their fellow females’ appreciation for craft beer by bringing women of varying palettes, diverse beer style preferences, and multiple fermented interests together to learn and experience beer in new and interesting ways.

The first event in the series will happen Tuesday, January 15th from 6-9pm. Attendees will be treated to a sensory analysis training with Fermentana co-founder and Beer Cicerone, Loy Maierhauser, during a tasting of a series of beers from Draught Works Brewery of Missoula, MT.

In the second event of the series on Tuesday, February 19th, women will have the opportunity to again learn from Maierhauser about the complex flavors and aromas malt imparts to beer via a tasting of beers from Bozeman Brewing Company. Other industry experts including, Karl DeJonge, founder of Gallatin Valley Malt of Manhattan, MT will also be part of the discussion. Light snacks and plenty of time for mingling and discussion will also be included in both events.

Beer Maven will finish with a Big Beer Pairing Dinner on Tuesday, March 19th. A special hand-picked collection of bold, strong beers will be paired with small plates prepared by the chefs at the Kitty Warren.

Individual tickets for each event in the series (limited to 35 people each) will be offered to beer drinkers at a price of $35 each for the first two events and $45 for the beer pairing dinner. Tickets include entrance to the event, beer samples, and light snacks, or, in the case of the beer pairing dinner, small plated foods. A special Beer Maven Pass, which includes entrance to all three events, is also available for $100 each. Only 20 of these special three-event passes are available.

“Whether you’re a woman who already loves beer or are just getting started, Beer Maven offers something for every female drinker,” says Fermentana co-founder, Jesse Bussard. “These events give women a chance to build their beer knowledge, discover new beers, meet like-minded women, and in general, feel more confident about their future beer decisions. With Beer Maven, we hope to educate more women about beer and continue to build the community of female beer drinkers one pint at a time!”

Complete event details and tickets are available for purchase online at

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Friday, Nov. 9th, 2018

Bozeman serving those who have served this Veteran’s Day

“Serving those whom have served” is the guiding principle of the newly formed V.E.T.S. Treatment Court in the City of Bozeman. The court provides Bozeman veterans that were in the criminal justice system a chance to connect with the resources that they’ve earned through their time in service. Started in February of 2018 through a grant, the court now has 9 participants and continues to grow.

For eight year National Guard officer and V.E.T.S. Court Judge J. Colleen Herrington, starting this court was just the right thing to do to serve the veterans of the Bozeman community. “They choose to be a part of the V.E.T.S. Treatment Court. We give them the tools, structure and accountability that the standard criminal justice system cannot.”

As part of the program veterans are teamed up with a veteran mentor to act as a “battle buddy” and supporter as they navigate through the process. Mentor Daniel Ritter says, “I think the V.E.T.S. Court provides a great service for veterans that may need a little assistance in adapting to their unique situation.  As a retired Marine, I consider it a privilege to have the opportunity to give back to our community by serving as a mentor to other veterans.  As a mentor it is quite rewarding to observe the individual development of all the members assigned to the court.”

The program is in need of community veterans who are interested in becoming a mentor. Anyone interested must be a veteran and can contact Mentor Coordinator Kate Reid at 406-581-3253. Anyone interested in learning more about the V.E.T.S. Treatment Court can contact Court Coordinator Renee Boundy at 406-548-5950.

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