Thursday, Apr. 11th, 2024

Invitation for Montana Artists

The Zoot Committee for the Arts is in the process of organizing solo and group exhibitions for 2025. 

The Committee accepts a limited number of proposals each year from Montana artists only, with exhibits rotating every three months. Applications are open, and artworks in any media will be reviewed. Rotating and special exhibitions have played an important part of Zoot’s programming since 2007 and are held in its museum-quality, corporate exhibit space. 


  • Submissions Due: June 29, 2024
  • Notification of Acceptance: On or before August 30, 2024
  • Accepted Mediums: All
  • Application:

Zoot is committed to championing the Montana art community. The corporate exhibit space is open to the public and hosts rotating works for the enjoyment of employees and the community. The gallery has an expansive open area for sculpture and boasts over 100 feet of vertical exhibit surfaces. One exhibiting artist described it as “...arguably the finest gallery space in the area.”

All work sold through the gallery is commission-free.

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Montana State to offer free program in Spanish about higher education opportunities

BOZEMAN —Montana State University is offering a free, five-session program in Spanish this spring to provide the Latino community of the Gallatin Valley with information and the opportunity to obtain a certificate in topics related to higher education.

The program, called La Academia Familia Latina, is offered by MSU’s Latino Pathways Initiative for Higher Education. The program aims to pave the way for bright academic futures for Latino parents and their children, according to Rebecca Turk, director of MSU’s Center for Bilingual and Multicultural Education and co-principal investigator of the Latino Pathways Initiative for Higher Education.

La Academia Familia Latina will include information about the American academic system; career opportunities; how to apply to college, certificate programs and more; how to talk about future educational opportunities with children; financial planning; and ways to connect with other members of the community.

Sessions will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday evenings from April 18 to May 16 on the MSU and Gallatin College MSU campuses in Bozeman. People who would like to attend should register in advance at

The Latino Pathways Initiative for Higher Education, or LPI, is a grant-funded program led by Bridget Kevane, professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures; Turk; and Isabela Romero Navarro, a graduate student in MSU’s Department of Counseling.

LPI works to build pathways for English Language Learner Latino students in the Gallatin Valley, as well as their families and their teachers, to improve educational outcomes. The LPI works to meet these outcomes through research and service for K-12 English Language Learner students, professional development for teachers and familial support for education.

The initiative’s research focuses on the field of second language acquisition; child mental health through sense of belonging; and English language learner pedagogy. Findings from the initiative’s most recent studies are expected to be published in the fall. 

One goal of the Latino Pathways Initiative is to empower Latino families in Gallatin County in their pursuit of better educational opportunities, Kevane said, adding that the goal aligns with MSU’s vision of “transforming lives and communities in the people’s interest.”

One way LPI works to empower families is by offering Noche Hispana en Familia – or Latino Family Nights – in partnership with Belgrade Public Schools. At Noche Hispana en Familia, district stakeholders have an opportunity to meet with families, communicate important announcements and answer questions, with all communication in Spanish.

“Making communication and information accessible has been impactful for Spanish-only speaking families in their efforts to plan for familial education,” Turk said.  

Another goal includes supporting teachers regarding policy and teaching for making learning accessible to non- or limited-English speaking students. The LPI has conducted more than 10 professional development sessions for educators in Gallatin County and across the state, Romero Navarro said.

Finally, the initiative’s La Academia Familia Latina parent certificate program aims to provide educational literacy and information about post-secondary educational opportunities to assist Latino parents and their children with educational planning. La Academia Familia Latina is funded by MSU’s Outreach and Engagement Council and is a partnership with Gallatin College MSU and the nonprofit organization Bienvenidos.

Kevane noted that there is a growing Latino population in Gallatin County and across the state. According to the Pew Hispanic Research Center, the Latino population in Montana has grown by 50% since 2010, and the 2020 Census for Gallatin County shows that the Latino population has nearly doubled since 2010. Today there are close to 46,000 Latinos in Montana, and Latinos make up 4.6% of Gallatin County, which has an overall population of 126,409.

The Latino Pathways Initiative for Higher Education is part of MSU’s Center for Bilingual and Multicultural Education, which focuses on research, teaching and community impact through bilingual and multicultural education highlighting the broad range of linguistic educational needs in Montana. The Latino Pathways Initiative was funded by a Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences Grant awarded jointly to the Department of Education and the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures by the MSU Office of Research Development. More information is available at

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Manhattan/Gallatin River Water Rescue

On 4/10/2024, at 6:23 pm, Gallatin County Dispatch received a call stating two juveniles were missing from Manhattan Elementary School. Manhattan Police Department immediately responded, and were ultimately able to locate the missing juveniles on the north side of the Gallatin River, near Yadon Road. Manhattan Police Officers were not able to reach the cold and wet juveniles due to water conditions, and requested Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue (GCSSAR) respond to assist.

GCSAR volunteers from the Valley section, the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office Deputies, Manhattan Volunteer Fire Department, and American Medical Response (AMR) responded to assist. Due to the unique area the juveniles were located, multiple rescue plans were formulated to most effectively reach the juveniles quickly. While GCSSAR volunteers entered the river using inflatable rafts and dry suits, Deputies gained access to the river bank from the other side of the river. Ultimately, the juveniles were located safely and transferred to an awaiting AMR ambulance, where they were medically evaluated and returned to their parents.

Gallatin County Sheriff Dan Springer would like to thank all responding agencies for their cooperation and quick response. The effective interagency cooperation led to the best and safest outcome for all parties involved. Sheriff Springer would like to remind Gallatin County Citizens that although the days are becoming warmer, temperatures still drop quickly as the sun sets, and can make a seemingly normal evening turn into an emergency. If you plan on enjoying all that Gallatin County has to offer, prepare accordingly, and always ensure someone knows where you are going and when you will be home.

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Flushing flow planned for Beaverhead River

DILLON – Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, the Bureau of Reclamation, and partners from the East Bench Joint Irrigation Board are coordinating to deliver a flushing flow below Clark Canyon Dam.

River users should be aware that the flushing flow regime will be released from April 11 through April 14. Beaverhead River flows may increase from 200 cubic feet per second to up to 750 cubic feet per second during this period. On April 15, releases from the dam will return to about 200 cubic feet per second until the onset of irrigation demand.

Inflows to Clark Canyon Reservoir are forecasted to approach the regulatory flood pool, providing the water needed to conduct the flushing flow. This will mobilize sediment deposited in the Beaverhead River to maintain and improve fish habitat in riffles and pools.

Flushing flows have occurred periodically on the Beaverhead River since 2017 and have been effective in clearing sediment and improving river health.

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Tuesday, Apr. 9th, 2024

Montana State Honors College dean announces retirement

BOZEMAN — Ilse-Mari Lee, the inaugural dean of Montana State University’s Honors College and the longest serving academic dean at MSU, will retire May 15.

Born in South Africa, Lee came to MSU in 1989 as a cello professor. Nearly from her beginning at MSU, she also taught honors students and served on the selection committee for MSU’s prestigious Presidential Scholarship. In 2009, Lee was appointed as director of what was then known as the MSU Honors Program.

In 2013, under Lee’s guidance and leadership, the Montana Board of Regents elevated the program to become the MSU Honors College and promoted Lee to dean. In addition to leading the transition from an honors program to college, Lee was instrumental in reinstating the directed interdisciplinary studies degree in the Honors College, which is designed for highly motivated students to pursue studies at the intersection of different academic disciplines. In 2021, Lee, in collaboration with Assistant Dean Steven Davis, established the Honor Bound Program to recruit and retain highly motivated Indigenous students to the Honors College at MSU. The Honors College now numbers more than 1,700 students, with students coming from Montana and nearly all 50 states, as well as from around the globe.

Lee distinguished herself as a mentor to some of MSU’s most accomplished students and is known for her work preparing students to vie competitively for prestigious major awards, according to an announcement about Lee’s retirement from MSU Provost Robert Mokwa. Under Lee’s guidance, numerous MSU students have won such awards as the Rhodes, Truman, Marshall, Gates-Cambridge, Udall and Goldwater scholarships. MSU is among the top institutions in the country in the number of Goldwater Scholarships its students have received, with 90 such scholars, of which Lee mentored 39.

Lee is also a scholar and a dedicated teacher, Mokwa said. Her numerous awards include the Montana Arts Council Individual Fellowship, MSU’s Wiley Award for Meritorious Research, MSU’s President’s Excellence in Teaching Award and numerous excellence in teaching awards. He added that as a musician, Lee is known as a first-rate soloist, recitalist and chamber musician, as well as an internationally recognized composer. She founded the MSU Cello Ensemble in 1998, and, while she served as its director, the group toured throughout the Northwest and visited Italy, central Europe and China. As an award-winning film composer, she helped establish the music technology program in the School of Music.

“It has been the honor of my life to serve Montana State University, and by extension, the people of the great state of Montana,” Lee said. “Every interaction I have had with a student, staff member or colleague has been a gift. I am forever grateful to have had this opportunity.”

MSU Vice Provost Durward Sobek will serve as interim dean of the Honors College while the university conducts a search for Lee’s replacement.

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Monday, Apr. 8th, 2024

NASA funding powers Montana State research into global biodiversity

Assistant professor Anna Schweiger recently received NASA funding to refine and evaluate the models used for tracking biodiversity on a global scale. MSU photo by Colter Peterson.

– Thanks to new funding from NASA, an assistant professor at Montana State University will spend the next three years using data collected from space to help in mapping global biodiversity and charting a course for environmental endeavors across ecosystems, including agricultural systems. 

Anna Schweiger, who joined the faculty in the College of Agriculture’s Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences in August, received a grant of roughly $700,000 through NASA’s ROSES program, which stands for Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Sciences. With the funding, Schweiger will analyze data collected by a sensor on the International Space Station in preparation for the launch of a new satellite dedicated to collecting such data through a process called spectroscopy.

“Spectroscopy is an old science,” said Schweiger. “In the 1920s, botanists were working with plants to show that leaf reflectance changes as leaves age. An old leaf is chemically and structurally different than a younger leaf. Spectroscopy got a push during the age of space exploration, so spectrometers are now used to estimate the chemical composition of stars and of other planets, and at the same time, NASA is really interested in using that technology to also look at our own planet.”

Spectroscopy is a type of remote sensing that measures the amount of light reflected by various elements, including plants and bodies of water. It can be done at nearly any resolution imaginable, from a sensor focused on a single plant leaf to equipment on a satellite measuring ocean reflectance. Much of Schweiger’s career has been dedicated to bridging the gaps between those spatial resolutions to develop a clearer image of biodiversity across scales.

Sometimes, Schweiger said, variations in that reflected light can help chart subtle changes in plant traits, such as their phosphorus or magnesium content. It can also help scientists map the distributions and health of plants and animals across their ecosystems and examine how those distributions change over time.

During her graduate and postdoctoral studies, part of Schweiger’s exploration involved collecting plant reflectance data at many different scales. She started with individual leaves, then collected data using cameras and rigging about 10 feet off the ground, and finally culminated with airborne data collection. The NASA funding, she said, will allow for even further exploration that will greatly improve scientific knowledge of global biodiversity.

“NASA recognized the need for sensors that are able to monitor our ecosystems, see how they are doing and measure how biodiversity is distributed,” Schweiger said.

In 2018, NASA debuted a project focused on the Surface Biology and Geology Designated Observable, or SBG, to gain further knowledge of Earth from space with a particular focus on vegetation, ecosystem diversity and change over time. Led by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the project will ultimately lead to a satellite-mounted spectrometer that will be able to gather unprecedented amounts of information about ecosystems worldwide, said Schweiger.

“It has been a very, very long effort to get this investment in this sensor approved,” she said. “People have invested their whole careers to get this thing off the ground. It’s a really big deal, and I’m only a piece in the puzzle.”

Thanks to data collected by a spectrometer aboard the International Space Station called EMIT, which was launched in 2022, she has some global data to work with until SBG is spaceborne and operational, which Schweiger said is estimated to be by 2030. By blending EMIT data with higher-resolution metrics collected by the National Science Foundation’s National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), Schweiger will aim to see how far biodiversity can be assessed when remote sensing data is collected at different levels. She will also work with scientists across the country in setting metrics and goals for ecosystems in need of protection or restoration.

“There are many efforts going on globally to protect ecosystems and improve their health; however, these initiatives need measurable outcomes,” she said. “They need to be able to see how they’re doing, if they’re moving in the right direction. A spaceborne biodiversity estimate can certainly help with that, and also help us shed light on areas of the globe where changes are happening fast but we might miss them.”

The new funding will allow for extensive student research opportunities at MSU, she said, from the undergraduate to postdoctoral level. Schweiger called developing metrics for a spaceborne biodiversity observatory a task that needs “all hands on deck.” With a nationwide team of scientists at work, she called it an ideal vehicle for involving students in important and applicable science.

“I’m hoping to increase training at MSU on using spectral data to answer biodiversity and ecosystem function-related questions, and to get our bright minds here really excited about this,” she said. “There’s so much talent here at MSU, and our students want to use their talent in meaningful ways. In my opinion, this is a very good use of your brain and your time.”

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Thursday, Apr. 4th, 2024

Gallatin County Commission Signs Letter Supporting SB 442

County Commissioners from across Montana appreciate the widespread support that Senate Bill 442 enjoyed throughout its legislative process. Marijuana revenues are new to Montana, and the bill’s thoughtful distribution of this higher-than-expected new revenue stream included some funding for county roads.

Bipartisan and impactful legislation backed by such a wide variety of Montanans is a rarity, and we commend Senator Lang and the bill’s many proponents for their efforts. Even after Governor Gianforte exercised his right to veto, we were confident the Legislature would overturn it.

The Governor’s veto letter made clear his belief that State revenues should solely fund State projects. No Governor in the history of Montana has ever taken such a State-centric position that blatantly disregards the needs of Montanans.

Public infrastructure benefits Montana’s economy, the State’s revenue, and Montana’s citizens and visitors alike.

The veto letter stated that SB 442 would create a “slippery slope” by utilizing State funds for local infrastructure.

However, Montanans have always benefited from State resources provided to local governments for assisting with bridges, the secondary road system, and access roads to recreational sites, to name a few.

Given that the State relies almost exclusively on federal funding and gas taxes to maintain the State jurisdictional road system, the Governor’s position that “what’s ours is ours” is ill-informed and innacurate. It is not how our state has operated in the past and doesn’t recognize the fact that ALL Montanans benefit from infrastructure investments, no matter where the money comes from, even the State’s General Fund. SB 442 doesn’t create a “slippery slope.” It provides new dollars to help meet longstanding infrastructure needs.

Governor Gianforte didn’t just veto the bill. He tried to invent a new “pocket veto,” which was specifically rejected by the framers of our constitution. There is no scenario where a governor’s veto cannot be checked by the Legislature, and that check is an important part of Montana’s “separation of powers doctrine.” If a governor vetoes a bill while the Legislature is in session, the Legislature can override that veto. If the veto comes when the Legislature isn’t able to review that action, it is sent to the Secretary of State to poll members of the Legislature.

The procedural framework is simple and straightforward. Every governor in Montana has followed this constitutional process. Yet when asked to submit the bill to the Secretary of State for polling, this Governor refused.

The litigation surrounding SB 442 sought to protect the Legislature’s authority under the Montana Constitution, a right that was violated by the Executive Branch, which in turn required the Judicial Branch to intervene and mandate the Executive Branch into compliance. Any twisting or spinning of the case is pure political gamesmanship.

The Court Order is clear. Judge Menahan stated, “At the time the Senate voted to adjourn, few if any legislators were aware of the governor’s veto. Following adjournment and a request from the bill sponsor, Jacobsen refused to initiate the post session override procedure, claiming she had not received a copy of the governor’s veto and a statement explaining his reasons for doing so. The legislature was thus deprived of an opportunity to override the veto of Senate Bill 442 and draft the policy contained therein into law.”

We respect the right of the Governor to veto legislation. We respect the rules established by the Legislature on how they conduct their business. We respect any legislator’s vote on the poll being conducted on the veto of SB 442. But we do not respect the political spin that when a governor fails to allow the Legislature the opportunity to review his veto action—and the Court is required to compel him to allow the Legislature their constitutional duty—that it somehow justifies a legislator refusing to participate in the poll.

As local elected officials, we take our oaths seriously. We have jobs to do, serving our constituents and our communities. State Senators and Representatives take the same oath and serve the same constituents.

SB 442 was good policy when it passed by a supermajority in both the House and Senate. It was good policy when the Executive exercised his veto authority. It was good policy when the Court ordered the Secretary of State to poll the legislators. And if those legislators evaluate the merits of the bill and vote according to their constituent needs, it will become good policy for the State of Montana.

If legislators decide to play politics and cite claims about “separation of powers” as an excuse to sabotage SB 442, then it is clear that those legislators are more concerned with engaging in political games than they are working to represent you.

The Court ordered the Governor to abide by the separation of powers and respect the role of the Legislature by issuing the veto poll. And as legislators return their ballots on this critical issue, we would urge you to watch carefully to see how your local legislator votes—because a vote to support SB 442 is a vote in the best interests of Montanans, and a vote to let the Governor’s veto stand is proof your local legislator is ignoring you, and just playing politics.

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Warden intercepts mussel-fouled boat after driver neglects to stop at inspection station

HELENA – A Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks warden stopped a driver pulling a ski boat after he drove past an aquatic invasive species (AIS) inspection station near Anaconda last week. The warden noticed some mussels on the boat and had the driver return to the inspection station where many more mussels were detected. A full decontamination was performed at the station and the boat was locked to the trailer. 

This is a good reminder that it’s the law that anyone transporting watercraft (motorized and non-motorized) must stop at all open inspection stations they encounter. Watercraft includes paddle boards, kayaks, canoes, rafts and pack rafts. Nonresidents and residents returning home must have their watercraft inspected before launching in Montana. Watercraft must also be drained of all water before transporting.  

 “Although it might be tempting to drive past an inspection station, boaters need to be aware that it’s up to them to prevent AIS from coming into our state,” said Tom Woolf, FWP’s AIS bureau chief. “An inspection typically takes less than 10 minutes.” 

The driver was transporting the boat from Michigan to British Columbia. It was the fourth mussel-fouled watercraft intercepted in Montana this season. Boats with mussels have also been detected at the inspection station near Dillon, where a fifth boat was found to have mussels on Monday.  

Watercraft inspection stations are Montana’s first line of defense to prevent the movement of AIS, which can have devastating impacts on Montana waterways. AIS are plants, animals, or pathogens that are not native to Montana and can cause harm to our environment and economy.  

“It’s everyone’s responsibility to help stop the spread of AIS to Montana waters,” Woolf said. 

Learn more at or call the FWP Aquatic Invasive Species Bureau at 406-444-2440.  

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Wednesday, Apr. 3rd, 2024

Tricia Seifert named new dean of Montana State University College of Education, Health and Human Development

— Tricia Seifert, professor and interim dean of the Montana State University College of Education, Health and Human Development, has been selected as the college’s new dean after a national search. She will begin her new position April 4.

“I am delighted to announce Tricia Seifert as the new dean of the College of Education, Health and Human Development,” said Robert Mokwa, MSU’s executive vice president for academic affairs and provost. “Her extensive leadership experience, combined with her dedication to student success and innovative research, make her an exceptional choice for this important leadership role.”

Seifert has been at MSU since 2014, when she joined the faculty in the College of Education, Health and Human Development. Since then, she has served as a program leader in adult and higher education, as interim director of the Science Math Resource Center, as head of the Department of Education and, since Aug. 2022, as interim dean of the College of Education, Health and Human Development.

“I am honored to serve and lead the College of Education, Health and Human Development,” Seifert said. “Whether EHHD students, faculty and staff are working with world-class athletes, beginning readers or families saving for their future, we learn by doing to realize MSU’s vision to transform lives and communities.”

Seifert was one of three finalists who interviewed on campus in March. The interview process included meetings with faculty, administrators and students. Members of the public were invited to participate in an open forum and submit comments online.

In addition to her work as a professor and administrator, Seifert researches the experiences students have while attending college, along with the role the college environment plays in students’ learning, growth, development and success. Seifert is co-author of the widely cited book “How College Affects Students” and has published many articles in a wide variety of scholarly journals.

She has received numerous awards throughout her career, including the College of Education, Health and Human Development’s Most Valuable Professor Award and its Outstanding Research Award, both in 2016. She also received the 2015 Award of Honor from the Canadian Association for College and University Student Services and the 2010 Emerging Scholar Award from ACPA College Student Educators International. In 2017, she was chosen to deliver a lecture as part of MSU’s annual Provost’s Distinguished Lecturer Series.

Before MSU, Seifert was an assistant professor at the University of Toronto.

She has a doctorate in student affairs administration and research from the University of Iowa, a master’s in college student services administration from Oregon State University and bachelor’s degrees in sociology and political science from Illinois Wesleyan University.

Seifert replaces former Dean Alison Harmon, who became MSU’s vice president for research and economic development in 2022.

“I extend my deepest appreciation to the search committee, chaired by Brett Gunnink, dean of the MSU Norm Asbjornson College of Engineering, for their diligent and thoughtful work throughout the search process,” Mokwa said. “Their commitment to finding the best candidate has resulted in an outstanding choice for the college and the university.”

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West Bozeman Missing Person Found Safe

On 4/2/2024 at 6 PM, Gallatin County Dispatch received a call from a concerned party whose family member, with cognitive disabilities, had gone for a walk and not returned home as scheduled. Due to falling darkness and concern for the individual’s wellbeing, Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue (GCSAR) was requested to assist with an urban search.

GCSAR volunteers from the Valley section, Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office Deputies, and Bozeman Police Department Officers responded to search the area. After about two hours of searching, the individual was found safely.

Gallatin County Sheriff Dan Springer would like to thank the public for exercising diligence after receiving the reverse 911 if they were in the area. Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office received multiple tips from the public which proved instrumental in locating the missing individual.

Of note, this rescue operation was run concurrently with a rescue effort for a lost and cold hiker in the Baldy Mountain area beyond the “M”. A big thank you to the GCSSAR Command Team, Communications Team, and all our Volunteers for securing positive outcomes in both instances.

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News Comments

This is so typical of a sign in, which we should not have to do to check if we or some one in our party got a permit. I have been working or "creating an account" for 30 minutes and just get the same ...

Smith River permit drawing results available

Sunday, Mar. 10, 2024

Why not leave those cheerful, colorful garlands up longer? What’s the rush?

Main Street Closed Jan 2

Saturday, Dec. 30, 2023