Monday, Sep. 30th, 2019

Montana's minimum wage is scheduled to increase in January

The current minimum wage in Montana is $8.50 per hour.
 
Governor Steve Bullock announced on Monday that Montanans earning minimum wage will see the rate increase to $8.65 per hour beginning January 1, 2020.
 
The 2019 minimum wage in Montana is $8.50 per hour. Currently, 29 states and D.C. have minimum wages above the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
 
A press release from the Governor's office says that an estimated 10,200 Montana workers, or 2.2% of the workforce, currently receive hourly wages less than $8.65 per hour, and are likely to receive higher wages due to the 2020 minimum wage increase.
 
In 2018, the industry with the largest number of workers earning minimum wage was the accommodations and food services industry followed by the retail trade industry.
 
The minimum wage is determined by taking the current minimum wage of $8.50 and increasing it by the CPI-U increase from August of 2018 to August 2019. The CPI-U increased by 1.75% over the year ending August 2019. To keep the minimum wage at the same purchasing power as the prior year, the wage should increase by $0.148 per hour. The resulting wage is $8.648 and statute specifies that the wage must be rounded to the nearest 5 cents.
 
Montana Code Annotated 39-3-409 requires the Montana Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) to adjust the Montana minimum wage for inflation using the Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers (CPI-U).

“This increase ensures Montanans earning the minimum wage don’t fall further behind, but we still have work to do to make a living wage a reality for all Montanans,” Governor Bullock said in the press release. “Montana has the sixth fastest wage growth in the nation over the past decade, and we must build on this trend by continuing to create good-paying jobs, supporting Montana businesses, standing up for employees who negotiate for better pay, and increasing opportunities to pursue education or in-demand skills.”
 

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The Salvation Army Thrift Store Farewell EventSalvation Army hosts “see you later” event

Bozeman, MT – (Sept. 30, 2019) The Salvation Army Bozeman Thrift Store will host a “see you later” event at their store at 425 E. Babcock St., on their last day of operations, Monday, September 30 from 11am – 4pm.  

Everything in the store will be extremely discounted, and flash sales will add to the price reduction. Free hot dogs and water will be available for attendees. 

“We want to give our long-time customers the opportunity to say farewell one more time,” says Lt. Rick Larson, The Salvation Army Bozeman pastor and administrator. “We’re grateful for the support of the community and are excited to see what additional services in Bozeman we can provide.” 

After months of careful analysis, it was evident that The Salvation Army can no longer successfully sustain the Thrift Store. The suspension will not affect The Salvation Army’s other services, located at the Corps Community Center, which include rental and utility assistance, transportation assistance, grocery vouchers, hygiene supplies, laundry vouchers, veterans’ services and afterschool character building programs.  

The Salvation Army has served Gallatin County since 1897 and is committed to continue doing so for years to come. Transitioning the thrift store to a rental space will allow The Salvation Army to reevaluate and reinvest its resources in the community through other programs and services. The Salvation Army currently serves more than 180 people every week through its programs and expects that number to increase with a stronger focus on social services. 

The Salvation Army will soon lease the space, creating an opportunity to partner with another community organization that will positively benefit the Bozeman community. For more information about The Salvation Army in Bozeman, visit Bozeman.salvationarmy.org.

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Thursday, Sep. 26th, 2019

Field Trips 101: How to Plan the Perfect Field Trip

Ask any child about their favorite parts of school and you’re likely to come up with a few consistent answers: lunch, recess, P.E., and going home. All of these activities involve doing little or nothing that is related to education. You press some more and you might get an answer of “well, history isn’t that bad, I guess.”

What many children forget are the joys of field trips. While you technically have to go to school, you don’t have to go over any math homework or take any tests. Essentially, it’s a free day or at least a free half-day. But they do provide incredible educational value and benefit.

Now that you’re on the other side of the educational system, you might be in charge of helping plan the trip. You could be a volunteer parent, teacher, or someone in the administration.

If you’re looking for some quick tips on planning a field trip, check below for your short guide.

Research Places Early
When it comes to field trips, there are plenty of unique options out there for children. You could be looking at taking children to a local event or a destination. If you’re looking to take them to a destination, here are some quick ideas:

Police station
Firehouse
Museums
Radio Station
Farm
Nature park
Theater
Cinema
Factory

Many of these places have field trip packages and are used to guiding curious minds through their workplaces. Others might not have programs designed for field trips, but would be more than willing to help or think of a plan.

Some places might require you to fill out forms, requesting information such as dates, the size of the group, age, and more.

When looking for groups, remember to take care of all that early. You might be competing for time with other schools, small groups, homeschoolers or just interested parties.

The Red Tape
If you’re working at school, you’re going to have to get the trip signed off by an administrator. That could be the principal or vice principal. Hopefully, they knew you were planning a field trip and that part will go easy.

But, you’ll have to make sure and have permission forms printed and passed out so parents can sign off. With this process, it’s best to start early as well as students might forget to hand those slips to their parents. Of course, you might want to wait and hand those out to parents until you have the following sorted out...

The Logistics
Once you plan a field trip, you’re going to be responsible for communicating dates, times, drop-off, pick-up, clothes to wear and more to parents, teachers, and students alike.

Be sure and have this information printed off or emailed to everyone involved so you know that everyone has at least seen the information.

One of the most important steps in logistics is planning the transportation. You’ll need to know how many people are coming and what time everyone needs to be picked up. Be sure and speak with a company that has experience doing similar trips or excursions before. Don’t be afraid to call around and find the best rate as well.

In addition to transportation, you’re going to have to figure out the food side. Does the destination offer a food option? Will you be returning to school? Should kids bring their own lunch and you eat in a public place? Is there a restaurant or cafeteria that serves small groups?

Tie it Into the Curriculum
Your field trip may have already been planned with the curriculum in mind but if not, then you can use your field trip experience to the classroom.

Design an activity around the field trip or do something that encourages learning. Think of a homework assignment that kids could do upon returning home. Maybe they could make a presentation of their time there and what they did.

Field trips can be fantastic learning experiences or they can inspire a student to pursue a certain career or discipline. Do what you can to encourage learning. You never know, you might have a future museum curator or firefighter in your class!

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Thursday, Sep. 19th, 2019

MSU student program seeks steer donations for 2019-20 school year

A continuously growing student program in Montana State University’s College of Agriculture is seeking donations of steers, feed or financial support for the 2019-20 academic year.

The Steer-A-Year program allows students to learn about every element of cattle management through hands-on involvement. Students feed and raise the cattle through the winter and spring, collecting data about daily intakes, feed efficiency and weight gain, while also learning about beef marketing and cattle health. The steers are used in courses like Beef Production, Meat Science and Livestock Evaluation.

Donated steers are raised at the Bozeman Agriculture Research and Teaching Farm. Steer-A-Year program manager Hannah DelCurto-Wyffels said that to ensure success in their new setting, calves should be weaned, castrated and dehorned before they are donated and should weigh 500-800 pounds. The ideal pickup period for calves is Oct. 28 to Nov. 15.

Once they reach maturity and are ready for harvest, the steers are sold to MSU Culinary Services, where the meat is served in both the Miller and Rendezvous dining halls. The partnership is part of the focus on local food that earned MSU’s dining program a number of national awards earlier this year.

DelCurto-Wyffels, also an instructor in the Department of Animal and Range Sciences and the coordinator for MSU’s livestock judging team, said raising cattle is new for some students and the hands-on approach highlighted by Steer-A-Year is the primary reason students sign up for the program.

“The benefit is twofold for students,” DelCurto-Wyffels said. “One is the hands-on opportunity that it provides. They have the ability to work with the steers on a day-to-day basis, and some of them have never been around cattle. The second benefit is that financial aspect, which goes back to support students in the College of Ag.”

The money brought in by the steers primarily funds travel for student teams such as the livestock judging team, which competes in national events as far away as Texas. The funds also help facilitate trips to industry meetings such as the Montana Farm Bureau Convention and Montana Stockgrowers Association meetings, where students have a chance to network and communicate with professionals in the field.

The 2018-19 Steer-A-Year program produced a record 32 steers, all of which were purchased by Culinary Services in the spring. As they care for the steers, students create monthly reports for the producers who donated them, including growth and health information about the steers and a detailed report once the steers are harvested. Awards are given annually to the student who raises the best initial feeder steer, the steer with the top rate of gain and the steer that produces the best carcass.

“Steer-A-Year contributions are important in enhancing the educational experience for MSU students,” said DelCurto-Wyffels. “I am excited about the progress made and partnerships formed through this program, and we are planning for a very successful project this year.”

Those interested in donating or learning more about the Steer-A-Year program can contact DelCurto-Wyffels at 406-994-3752 or hannah.delcurto@montana.edu.

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Tuesday, Sep. 17th, 2019

MSU Library acquires collection of Greater Yellowstone Coalition materials

Minutes from one of the first annual meetings of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition indicate that some of the environmental advocacy’s group’s first discussions centered on fire history and management in Yellowstone National Park, grizzly bears, acid rain and general threats to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

“These planning documents from (the Greater Yellowstone Coalition’s) 1985 annual meeting clearly show the scope and procedural nature of a relatively new environmental advocacy group,” according to Natalie Bond, assistant archivist at the Montana State University Library. The coalition was founded in 1983.

These and other materials documenting the Greater Yellowstone Coalition’s environmental campaigns over the course of three decades will soon be available for the public to peruse at the MSU Library.

The collection, which will be available for the public to view in MSU Library’s Special Collection and Archives, includes both paper and electronic records documenting the organizational history of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition and the environmental campaigns on which it worked. Those materials include newspaper clippings featuring various environmental topics, annual meeting materials, Greater Yellowstone Coalition newsletters and publications, maps and various audiovisual materials. In all, the collection includes 29 boxes of materials.

The materials should be noteworthy to individuals interested in the history of conservation nonprofits and advocacy in the region, as well as in the environmental history of the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem, according to Bond.

“These records document the work and advocacy of one of the most active conservation organizations in the region,” Bond said. “They track the arc of (the Greater Yellowstone Coalition’s) environmental campaigns over three decades, providing a unique look into Montana and regional environmental history as well as providing a level of transparency for the organization itself.”

Caroline Byrd, executive director of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, said it made sense to donate the collection to MSU.

“As our home base for more than 36 years, the Bozeman community has played an important role in the evolution of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition,” Byrd said. “We are proud to share our rich history of protecting and enhancing the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem with Montana State University and the world through the university’s extraordinary archival program.”

“We are grateful to the Greater Yellowstone Coalition board for choosing to donate this collection to the MSU Library,” said Kenning Arlitsch, dean of the MSU Library. “This donation ensures these important historical documents will be available to the public forever.”

Arlitsch added that the Greater Yellowstone Coalition collection joins a number of other collections at the MSU Library that focus on the Yellowstone region. In particular, the library houses the collection of Rick Reese, who was the founding president of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, as well as the papers of Mike Clark, who was a former executive director of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition.

“Along with other collections, the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Rick Reese and Mike Clark collections form a compelling documentary record of both local and regional environmental conservation efforts,” Arlitsch said.

The MSU Library’s Special Collections and Archives has more than 800 active collections. It specializes in collections related to Montana agriculture and ranching, Montana engineering and architecture, Montana history, MSU history, Native Americans in Montana, prominent Montanans, trout and salmonids, U.S. Sen. Burton K. Wheeler, and Yellowstone National Park and the Yellowstone ecosystem. More information is available online at https://www.lib.montana.edu/archives/.

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Bozeman's Choice 2020 Voting through Nov 7


The fifth annual Bozeman's Choice Reader Poll went live on October 1, 2019. Bozeman's biggest, giant, massive, Valley-wide reader poll covers everything from local restaurants to local media to news issues to arts & entertainment and everything in between. And remember! You get to add your own responses that can, in turn, be voted on by everyone else.

If you haven't voted before sign up for an account now to be ready to cast your votes in October: https://bozemanmagazine.com/signup

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3 hunters survive Gravelly Mountains grizzly attacks

Three hunters were injured Monday in two separate grizzly bear attacks on the west side of the Gravelly Mountains. 

The three survivors received moderate to severe injuries. Both attacks involved a single bear, but it’s unclear whether the same bear was involved. Wardens with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks are asking hunters to leave this area while the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest closes Cottonwood Road. 

The first attack happened at about 7:30 a.m. Monday. A bear charged two adult male hunters as they were heading south from Cottonwood Creek, west of Black Butte. Both hunters were injured but were able to drive the bear away and get medical treatment in Ennis. 

The second attack happened in the same general area at about 6:30 p.m. as two adult male hunters were heading north toward Cottonwood Creek. One of the hunters was injured before they drove the bear away. The injured hunter was initially treated in Sheridan and later in Butte. 

Details of these attacks are still unclear. Both incidents are still under investigation. More information will be provided as it becomes available.  

FWP reminds everyone to be cautious when in the field as bears are active during the spring, summer and fall months. Some recommended tips for avoiding negative encounters with bears include: 
•                     Be prepared and aware of your surroundings.
•                     Carry and know how to use bear spray.
•                     Travel in groups whenever possible.
•                     Stay away from animal carcasses.
•                     Follow U.S. Forest Service food storage regulations.
•                     If you encounter a bear, never approach it. Back away slowly and leave the area.

For more information on bear safety, visit fwp.mt.gov/fishAndWildlife/livingWithWildlife/beBearAware.

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Montana Science Olympiad youth competition now open for registration; new teams encouraged


Registration is now open for the Montana Science Olympiad, one of the state’s largest and longest-running science competitions for youth. The event will be held Tuesday, Nov. 26, at Montana State University in Bozeman.

At the event, middle and high school teams from around Montana will compete against other schools in rigorous, standards-based challenges across a range of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) topics. The top middle school and high school teams will go on to compete at the national Science Olympiad in North Carolina next May.

“Like any sports or music competition, the Science Olympiad rewards teams that collaborate, practice and prepare,” said Suzi Taylor, director of the MSU Science Math Resource Center, which hosts the event. “Because so many challenges require diverse skill sets, students with all talents — from building to writing to analyzing maps — can compete and excel. This is also a chance for the 1,400 student participants to get a glimpse of college life as they tour the MSU campus and interact with students, staff and faculty.”

This year, as part of MSU’s Year of Undergraduate Research, the Science Olympiad will honor MSU’s student researchers, many of whom are former Science Olympians or current Montana Science Olympiad volunteers.

Teams can choose from 14 different events for middle school and 14 for high school. New contests this year include astronomy, food science, detector building and chemistry lab, among others.

Students compete as teams, not individuals, and teams must be affiliated with a school. Coaches can be teachers, parents or community members. New teams are encouraged to join. The deadline to register is Friday, Oct. 18.

The Nov. 26 event also requires more than 200 volunteers and relies on sponsorship from industry partners. Potential volunteers as well as business and organizations interested in sponsorship can email mtscioly@montana.edu.

For more information, visit montana.edu/smrc/mtso.

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Give Back to the Symphony, One Apple at a Time

GIVE BACK TO THE SYMPHONY, ONE APPLE AT A TIME!

This fall, Lockhorn Cider House is inviting our Gallatin Valley neighbors to bring apples from their backyard trees to press into a specialty hard cider, the "Bozeman Backyard Blend". 

10% of the proceeds from the finished specialty cider will be donated to The Bozeman Symphony!

Bring your apples (and crabapples) to the Lockhorn Cider House in Downtown Bozeman from Sept. 15 - Oct. 3rd in exchange for a FREE CIDER. 

In celebration of Montana Cider Week, Lockhorn will host a Community BBQ and Apple Pressing Event on Fri., Oct. 4th at the Lockhorn Orchard (7131 Springhill Community Rd). 

Fresh pressed and hard cider will be available!

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Monday, Sep. 16th, 2019

Anderson Haunted House: Forest of Terror


The Anderson School District marked its 125 birthday this year and they'll celebrate by scaring your socks off with their 26th annual Haunted House! The Forest of Terror will be held at the Little Red Schoolhouse on Cottonwood Road, Friday and Saturday, October 25 and 26. The Anderson eighth grade class will transform the 96-year-old schoolhouse into a terrifying Forest of Terror for all who dare to enter.


The Little Red School House is located 5 miles South of Huffine Lane on Cottonwood Road, kitty corner from Anderson School. Plenty of parking is available, please carpool - the more the merrier/scarier.

While you wait for your turn to enter the Forest of Terror there will be plenty of food, treats and drinks available for purchase.
 
Tickets will be sold on site, October 25 and 26.
 
Follow the haunted house on Facebook for more information and updates at https://www.facebook.com/Anderson-School-Haunted-House.
 
 Anderson Haunted House: Forest of Terror

Friday and Saturday, October 25 & 26, 2019
The Little Red School House: 5 miles South of Huffine Lane on Cottonwood Road
Lights on from 5:30-6:30 p.m.: Admission $5 
Lights off from 7-10 p.m.: Admission $8
Fast Pass ticket: $20
Skip the Line ticket: $30
Visa and Mastercard accepted
 
***A LIMITED NUMBERS OF “FAST PASS” AND “SKIP THE LINE” TICKETS WILL BE SOLD***
 
All funds raised from the Haunted House will go toward the Anderson School eighth grade class trip to Washington D.C.

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