Saturday, Jan. 16th, 2021

HRDC Begins Scheduling for Ninth Year of Tax Assistance

HRDC is set to begin their ninth season of providing tax preparation services through their Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA). Individuals and households with incomes of less than $57,000 are eligible for tax assistance through VITA.

HRDC’s VITA service will start on Monday, February 8 and go through Thursday, April 8, 2021. Appointments are required for tax assistance. In an effort to maintain social distancing guidelines and keep everyone safe, services will be a drop-off/pick-up model instead of face-to-face. Customers will get details when they schedule their appointment. In order to verify their identity, VITA customers must bring a photo ID and Social Security Card to their appointment. Customers must also bring all applicable tax documents for the 2020 tax year (Forms W-2, 1099, 1098, 1095-A/B/C, charitable contributions) including Notice-1444 and Notice 1444-B reporting stimulus payments. If individuals are seeking direct deposit for their refund or payment, they will need their bank account number and their bank’s routing number.

“VITA is one of the most effective ways to provide financial opportunity to individuals and families in our community. Of people we served last year, the average refund was around $1,800. That can mean a lot to a household,” says Marc Graham, HRDC Financial Opportunity Coordinator.

Those interested in receiving tax assistance should call the appropriate location for more information. For appointments in Bozeman, Belgrade, Gardiner, White Sulphur Springs, or at the MSU Vet Center, call 406-585-4848. For appointments in Livingston, call 406-223-4479.

For information about HRDC Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) service, visit For more information about any other HRDC service, visit

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Thursday, Jan. 14th, 2021

MSU students build device to help NASA study clogged pipes on space station

When Montana State University researcher Stephan Warnat wanted to help solve a longstanding problem on the International Space Station, he turned to a group of four mechanical engineering majors.

During a recent Montana Biofilm Meeting hosted by MSU's Center for Biofilm Engineering, Warnat learned from NASA scientists that microbial buildup sometimes clogs the space station's water pipes — a demanding challenge for astronauts to fix. A specialist in tiny sensors used to measure, among other things, water quality, Warnat wanted to study how the microbes grow. He just needed a research device that could simulate the microgravity of low Earth orbit.

That's where the students came in. Working as a team over two semesters, they designed and built a working prototype of the device as their "capstone" project, the task that all engineering seniors must complete in order to graduate. The team included four seniors in mechanical engineering: Spencer Ball, Ryan Davis, Haley Ketteler and Connor Tappe. Ball, Davis and Tappe graduated in November.

Like a small rock tumbler, the tool they made consists of a section of pipe that slowly rotates to prevent microbes from settling with gravity. Fluid is passed through the pipe, and embedded sensors measure biofilm behavior.

"It's really, really cool," said Warnat, an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering in MSU's Norm Asbjornson College of Engineering.

The students presented the device to Warnat's collaborators at NASA in the fall. NASA is very pleased with the design and will use the device in future research efforts, Warnat said. In the meantime, NASA issued Warnat's research team a $100,000 grant that will support using the device to develop sensors for detecting biofilm growth in the space station's plumbing. Warnat will lead the project with MSU's Christine Foreman, professor in Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering.

Warnat said he wasn't surprised by the project's success because he had previously worked with MSU engineering students on four other capstone projects. The projects are structured around design challenges posed by private industry, national labs, organized events like the RoboSub competition and by university faculty.

"What I like is getting a group of young engineers who actually have a lot of experience but who have no idea about my research and come with open eyes to develop something new," Warnat said. "I actually had something completely different in mind for this device, but what they made is perfect."

MSU's engineering seniors have the technical expertise to construct things that faculty wouldn't be able to make themselves and that would be prohibitively expensive to purchase, according to Warnat. "Our students are well trained in our machine shop," which includes state-of-the-art, precision tools for cutting and shaping metal and other materials, he said.

For capstone team member Davis, the project was valuable experience with seeing a months-long, intensive design task through to the end.

"It put to work a lot of what we've learned in our classes," said Davis, who machined some of the components on a lathe and now works at a local manufacturing design business. Warnat "did a good job of presenting the project as something that was really worthwhile to him and other people, so we were motivated to work on it," he said.

Ketteler said the project harnessed her passion for space engineering and dovetailed with a virtual summer internship with NASA's Langley Research Center.

"It really challenged our thinking," said Ketteler, who handled all the electronics for the device. Warnat "gave us a starting point with an idea of what he wanted, but said, from then on, we had to design it and make the final decisions."

Working with a capstone team is a great opportunity for MSU faculty to advance a research idea and get it to a point where they can secure grant funding, according to Warnat, an associate faculty member of the Center for Biofilm Engineering. "This was a really good group," he said. "They didn't need a lot from me."

According to Robb Larson, associate professor of mechanical engineering and a coordinator for capstone projects, there's always a need for new capstone sponsors, and anyone interested in sponsoring a project can contact him.

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Phone Scam Alert: Bozeman's Choice Plaques


Once again an opportunistic company is attempting to scam Bozeman's Choice winners by CALLING and attempting to sell a plaque to display at your business.

Bozeman Magazine & Bozeman's Choice are in NO way connected to this

opportunistic company, we give away certificates to our advertisers and sell certificates to non-advertisers for $10.

If you are a 2021 winner and would like to order a certificate please do so here by Jan 29:

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Wednesday, Jan. 13th, 2021

5 Ways the Family Can Stay in Touch Right Now

We’re entering the pandemic’s second year at the moment. It’s great to think that vaccines are filtering out right now, but not everyone has had theirs yet. Also, the rollout seems slower than everyone would like, so it will probably be several more months till we return to something like normalcy.

That’s hard on people in many ways. Many individuals report feeling isolated and depressed. It’s a public health crisis that exists at the same time as the coronavirus itself.

Part of what’s happening is that families can’t see each other, and if you’re close with your relatives, that might be the most challenging part about all this. Still, some ways do exist for you to remain in contact. Let’s discuss five of your best options.

The Family Text Chain
Some families have instituted what society is calling the “family text chain.” The general idea is that you can text your mom, dad, sibling, cousin, etc., but you can also include them all on a chat and send messages to keep all of them updated at the same time.

This is a smart idea because you can convey what you’re thinking and feeling to several family members simultaneously. You might feel lonely and want to talk to someone you know, and you can reach out to several people all across the country with only a single message.

The family text chain worked well during the holidays for people who could not see their families over Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, etc. There’s no reason not to think people won’t continue to use it for several months to come.

If you do set up a family text chain, though, be sure you only text when it’s appropriate to do so. Don’t ever text and drive. Texting causes 64% of US road accidents right now, so wait till you get home before reaching out via this method.  

Social Media
You can also use social media for family communications. You might use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other platform on which all your family members are active.

You can access social media on virtually any device. You can use your smartphone if you want to message a family member while you’re on the go, or you can use a laptop, desktop, or tablet instead.

Social media is a fun way for you and the family to stay in touch since you can send not only detailed messages but also videos, memes, emojis, and all kinds of other fun content if you’re feeling playful.

The Old-Fashioned Phone Call
You can also call a family member the old-fashioned way. You can even set up a time for a multiple-person phone call.

The only issue there is that it can be a little chaotic with everyone talking at once. That’s why the one-on-one call is usually better.

You can talk to each family member individually this way. You can tell them about what’s happening at work, any hot gossip in your social circle, or anything else that might make you feel normal so you can forget about the anxiety for a while.

This can be a great thing to do for your sanity. You might talk to a parent or sibling once a week, or more than that if you feel the need.

Facetime or a Similar Service
You can also have a Facetime call if you and the other family member both have iPhones, or you can use a similar communication method, like Zoom. There are multiple platforms now that allow one-on-one, face-to-face interactions.

This is similar to a regular phone call, but sometimes it’s nice to see your family member’s face. Maybe you have not seen them in-person for many months. Just seeing them as you speak to them can make you feel better and not so isolated.

The Socially Distanced Meeting
Meeting in-person is one more thing you can do. However, if you decide to try this option, you have to follow rules to make sure everyone remains safe.

You probably don’t want to drive halfway across the country if your family member lives far away. This is only an option if they live in the same city as you do.

You can both wear masks and meet outside, staying at least six feet away from each other. That’s the safest method. You can do this, but it’s winter right now, and many parts of the country are very cold. Still, a brief outdoor visit might be possible.

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Tuesday, Jan. 12th, 2021

3 Tips To Help You Find The Right Food For Your Pet

Pets are essential members of the family, so keeping them healthy should also be a priority. Just like people, feeding pets unhealthy food could make them sick. If you have many pets, determining the right food for each one is essential. One type of diet may work for dogs, but it may not be healthy for birds.

If you don't want to risk harming your beloved animals, here are some tips to help when shopping for their food:

1. Consult With Experts

Many food items out there are available for every pet, but it doesn't mean they're the right ones—even if they’re sold in pet shops. If it's your first time taking care of a pet, it's best to consult a veterinarian. That way, you can receive proper guidance on caring for them, especially on what food to feed them.

Since veterinarians have studied different types of animals, they're knowledgeable about animal health. Some can even give you a diet plan for your pet. Especially if your pet is sickly, your vet will help craft the right menu to prevent the further deterioration of your pet's health.

Aside from vets, you can check out many self-help books and online pet enthusiasts for their opinions. Although they may not be licensed veterinarians, their experience and love for pets made them knowledgeable on what food items to feed animals.

When you find reputable sites on pet nutrition, you can read their recommended food list for various animals. For instance, pet nutrition writer Kate Barrington, who owns three cats, has ample experience in this area to recommend specific nutrients for cats to make them happy and healthy.

2. Consider The Ingredients Of The Food Item

After talking to experts, you'll have an idea of what nutrients your pets need. Thus, you should consider their suggestions when buying, especially if the items are commercially manufactured. Feeding your pets the proper balance of nutrients is essential to ensure their healthy growth.

However, if you overfeed them one kind of nutrient and neglect the other nutrients, they might get sick or develop a disease. That's why their diet should contain a balance of water, minerals, vitamins, fats, carbohydrates, and protein. Before giving fresh raw food or cooked items to your pets, always double-check if those food preparations are safe for their species.

If you want ready-made food for your pets, you can buy products from trusted manufacturers with stellar reputations in the market. Ensure that these companies have good reviews about their formula on the pet food they manufacture. That way, you're assured that you’re feeding your pets the proper nutrients they need daily.

3. Be Wary Of Allergic Reactions

Since you know the ingredients you feed your pets, you could also track which ones will give them an allergic reaction. Most pet allergies might be tricky to detect at first, though, but others have telltale signs. Some pets may be unable to digest food properly. Some could develop skin rashes or gastrointestinal issues. When this happens, try to avoid giving them the ingredient that may have caused the reaction, and go to your vet for a check-up immediately.


Feeding your pets may not be as easy as it seems. Don't get the most popular food out there. Always do some research on each food item. Check the ingredients if they contain the right amount of nutrients your pets need. If you're introducing new food items to their diet, better check with your vet first because they can advise whether it will harm your pets. Moreover, you should be observant when they're showing signs of food allergy. By doing these, you can ensure your pets are enjoying their meals while keeping them healthy and happy.

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Monday, Jan. 11th, 2021

Wilderness Alliance Rings in New Year with Wilderness Proposal

The Gallatin Yellowstone Wilderness Alliance today announced their proposal for new Wilderness designations on the Custer Gallatin National Forest (CGNF) in Southern Montana.

GYWA plans to introduce a Wilderness Bill to the US Congress, tentatively titled the Gallatin-Yellowstone Wilderness Act. The Bill would designate about 800,000 acres of new Wilderness in the northern Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and nearby federal lands. GYWA has identified Montana’s CGNF as the epicenter of some of the most spectacular unprotected wild lands in the nation.

Phil Knight of GYWA said, “It’s a new year, after a very tough 2020, and we all need positive ideas. How about a fresh start by protecting more Wilderness? What could be better for the people, the wildlife and the land?”

George Wuerthner, author, ecologist and GYWA board member, said, “The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is part of the global heritage, and we have a responsibility to do everything we can to preserve it.”

“We are talking about protecting some of the top one or two per cent of wild country in the lower 48” asserted, Phil Knight of the GYWA. These wild lands are some of the best wildlife habitat in the country, providing a home for Grizzly Bear, Lynx, Wolf, Elk, Moose, Mountain Goat, and Bighorn Sheep, and are the source of waters that support genetically pure Yellowstone and West Slope Cutthroat Trout.

Anne Millbrooke, GYWA board member, explained, “Big open spaces are not actually open and certainly not wasted. Nature fills that space and uses it. As byproducts, nature protects our clean air and clean water. It even stores carbon.”

From Cowboys Heaven to the Tongue River Breaks, the Crazy Mountains to the Line Creek Plateau, the Gallatin Crest to Lionhead, the Beartooth Front to the Pryor Mountains, there is no other national forest like it. The CGNF caps Yellowstone National Park like a crown of wild mountains.

GYWA believes that what the CGNF does best is provide for high-quality wild lands. It is not the nation's wood box, nor should it be the nation’s outdoor gymnasium.

Wild lands protection is critical to the quality of life of the region’s communities, and essential to the outdoor economy that draws visitors, as well as contributing to the wellbeing of residents providing clean water, important fish habitat, critical wildlife habitat, scenic beauty, and solace for people in troubled times.

According to Conservation Biology principles, larger protected areas are better than smaller patches of habitat. So it is important to conserve larger unprotected wild lands, especially if they are contiguous to existing protected areas such as Yellowstone Park.

In addition, some wild lands are critical corridors for the movement of wildlife between other protected landscapes. For example, the Bridger Mountain Range can serve as a corridor connecting the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem to other wild lands further north.

You can view GYWA’s draft wilderness legislation at

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Tentacles, Wings, Sparkle & Shine, Purple Fuzz, Flying Bears, Slimy Slugs - Oh MY! Pop Up Sculpture Park “Menagerie of the Imaginary” Opening at Story Mill Park

Starting on Saturday, January 16th, the Great Lawn of Story Mill Community Park will play host to an assortment of life-size sculptures of Imaginary Friends created by 14 Bozeman artists.

The creatures are whimsical, silly, colorful creations straight from the minds of Bozeman creatives including: Mimi Matsuda, Sarah Angst, Kaetlyn Able, Dan Haywood, Jon Lamb, Noah Massey, Cindy Owings, Anna Visscher, Sharon Glick, Cristina Marian, Nick Mask, Claire Kleese, Kirsten Kainz, Adair Peck and Vicki Fish.

Notably, many of these accomplished artists took a leap away from their traditional mediums to create 3D sculptures for this exhibit. Painter Claire Kleese created “Baldor” from foam, chicken wire, paper mache, joint compound, and fabric:

"Baldor, a Norwegian name meaning ‘he who lives in two worlds’ was created merging a few creatures I love the most - bears, wolverines, badgers, and bees! He is a Bumble Bearadgerine! I tried to bring to life all that an imaginary friend should be - a strong creature meant to inspire one to be brave, to have your back in the darkness, to be lighthearted and bring about laughter and whimsy.”

Whimsy, delight, and joy are the main goals of the artists and sponsors of the exhibit! Jamie Saitta is the Recreation Manager for the Bozeman Parks Department, a sponsor of the show.

“When we heard the vision for this project, we knew right away we wanted to be a part of it!  We hope it will bring tremendous joy to people of all ages when they need it the most and will spark a sense of wonder and excitement in everyone who visits.” 

The Bozeman Parks and Recreation Department introduced their new Rec2Go kits this month and January’s kit will include “Menagerie of the Imaginary” inspired activities and crafts for children and families to enjoy in the comfort of their own home! Visit for more information and to purchase your kit. 


Open Saturday January 16 - Sunday January 31

Location: Great Lawn, Story Mill Community Park

This is an outdoor, self guided exhibit - available for visitation anytime during the park’s hours of 5 am - 11pm. *

Follow Random Acts of Silliness & the Bozeman Parks & Recreation Department on social media for more information.

*Social distancing is requested and masks are required if social distancing is not possible.


Random Acts of Silliness: Inspiring Laughter & Play in the Gallatin Valley

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Friday, Jan. 8th, 2021

4 Family Activities You Can Do Together Right Now

2021 will perhaps prove to be the year we eradicate the pandemic. For the moment, though, it’s still around. Until we have as many vaccines as we need for everyone who wants one, life is not going to return to normal.

As Covid-19 continues to impact many of our lives, you might not be sure what family activities are safe right now. You know you can’t take your family to a restaurant at the moment, and many movie theatres remain closed.

We’re here to give you a few fun ideas as to what you and your family can do together. Having a family activity at least once a week is a great way to stay close and connected.

You Can Go for a Family Bike Ride
If all your family members have bikes, you can go for a ride together. That’s assuming you live in a part of the country that snow doesn’t bury during the winter. Bike riding is great because:

• You can explore places you haven’t been before
• The whole family can get some exercise
• It doesn’t cost anything

Once you all have your bikes, you don’t need to pay any additional fee to bike around the neighborhood. That might be ideal if you don’t have a lot of extra money right now.

Traffic is the one thing for which you should watch out when you go on your family bike ride. There are some states where bike fatalities are quite high, and if you happen to live in one of them, you should be doubly careful. For instance, in 2015, in Florida, 7.4% of fatal US bike accidents occurred. That’s the most of any state.

You Can Go to a Drive-In Movie Theater
Since so many movie theaters have had to shut down, drive-in movie theaters have made a comeback. You can check to see if there are any in your area. That’s a fun thing to do because:

• It’s inexpensive
• You can get the children out of the house for a while

Your kids might need some time out of the house, and this is an activity you can drive them to easily enough. The tickets shouldn’t be costly, and you might be able to show the kids a classic film from your childhood. Hollywood is not putting out many new movies now, at least not in theaters, so most drive-ins are showing older releases.

You Can Have Family Game Night
You might decide to have a family game night. Maybe you have some board games, like Sorry, Monopoly, Clue, or Jenga. These are all classics, and if you don’t have them, you should be able to buy them.

If money is tight, you may locate some of them at Goodwill or another secondhand store. This is a fun way to entertain the kids, and it also costs nothing if you own these games already.
If your kids don’t like the board game idea, you might have a video game tournament if you own a PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, or some other game system. You might take turns playing Mario Cart or some other game that’s not scary or violent. That’s ideal if you have younger children.

You Can Have a Family Cooking Project
You might figure out a family cooking project in which everyone can take part. Maybe you can select some options from a cookbook or find them online.

Check out what you have in the freezer or pantry, and plan out the meal. You might make several courses and put different family members in charge of each one.

This can be a fantastic thing to do because you’re teaching your kids some cooking skills. They can take those newfound skills with them and use them when they become adults.

You can explain to your kids how cooking is like an art project, but they get to eat the finished product. They’ll probably feel proud if what they cooked comes out well and everyone enjoys it.

There are some other possibilities you might want to consider as well. You might all read the same book, then get together to talk about it. You might have a streaming movie night if you have Netflix or a similar streaming service. You can take turns letting each family member select a movie to watch.

The point is that you’re spending an evening together. Now is a tough time for so many, and it helps to stay one tightly-knit unit.

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Thursday, Jan. 7th, 2021

MontanaPBS to offer new weekly series about Montana’s legislative session

MontanaPBS is broadcasting and livestreaming a new weekly series, “The Rundown: Capitol Report,” each Sunday at 5 p.m. through the end of the 2021 Montana legislative session.

The program will offer an in-depth look at Montana’s 67th Legislature with weekly updates, analysis and interviews. The series began Jan. 3 and is expected to cover a range of issues, including COVID-19, public lands, education and energy development. The series is hosted by Jackie Coffin.

“The Rundown: Capitol Report” will rely on remote footage and media partnerships to maintain best practices in preventing the spread of COVID-19, Coffin said.

“I’m looking forward to providing timely updates on this legislative session for all Montanans,” Coffin said. “In the midst of so much political change, I believe that these weekly reports from the Legislature will be of immense value to our viewers and help them connect directly with local government.”

Viewers can watch “The Rundown: Capitol Report” on-air, online at or on Facebook Live by following MontanaPBS at To view a full list of viewing options, visit

To view more information, including new and previous episodes of “The Rundown: Capitol Report,” visit

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Wednesday, Jan. 6th, 2021

Community Members Helped HRDC Give Gifts to 227 People this Holiday Season

Thanks to generous community members, HRDC was able to make sure many neighbors in the Bozeman area had a gift to open over the holidays. Donors expressed their wishes to spread happiness and help families impacted by COVID-19.

During the 2020 holiday season HRDC provided holiday assistance for 28 Families (112 people in the families), 60 individuals, 45 Head Start students, and 10 foster youth/blueprint youth. In total, HRDC’s informal “Holiday Giving Program” assisted 227 people in the community.

Gifts included everything from a brand new bike for a young boy whose family is experiencing homelessness, a refurbished laptop for someone wanting to start some online education courses, a car seat for a young mom who couldn’t afford one, holiday treats and handwritten notes for a homebound senior who misses his family.

While delivering Christmas Eve gifts provided by Holy Rosary Church a resident of one of HRDC’s subsidized housing units told a staff member, “I am close to 77 now. No parents, children, brothers, sisters, or even pets. It is a warm, fuzzy feeling that some people in the world have good feelings towards me.”

After experiencing multiple critical health issues this year, a single father was faced with the choice of paying his medical bills or getting holiday gifts for his son. HRDC provided some much needed stress relief by getting the family ‘adopted’ for the holidays. The single father said in response to the holiday support, “I am in tears. I’ve never in my lifetime had such genuine help. I will never forget this Christmas, thank you all from the depths of my heart. First time my boy saw me cry.”

“We are so grateful to the many families and community partners that helped make this holiday a happy one for many families. During a time where many have lost jobs or aren’t making as much, having the ability to open gifts makes such an impact and provides some sense of normalcy in a stressful situation,” said Emma Hamburg, HRDC’s Resource Development Assistant who coordinated the gifts.

HRDC would like to thank the following donors and community partners for their support this year:

  • ●  Billion

  • ●  Delta Airlines

  • ●  Little Tree Montisori

  • ●  Kasting Kauffman & Mersen

  • ●  Gallatin Valley Pediatric Dentistry

  • ●  Wayfare Health Foods

  • ●  Forest Service

  • ●  D.A. Davidson

  • ●  Northwestern Energy

  • ●  Banfield Pet Hospital

  • ●  Crossfit Bozeman

  • ●  Holy Rosary Church

  • ●  Many local families and community members

    For more information about HRDC, visit

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News Comments

Nice info. Now i got the idea of how the plumbing system works & how by hiring plumbing repair service the professional plumber helps to fix the plumbing or sewer line issues.

The Basics Of Plumbing Services

Willis Brooks

Friday, Jan. 15, 2021