Wednesday, Aug. 26th, 2020

5 Tips for Local Business Websites

As we continue to move ever more rapidly into the digital age, local businesses are under more pressure than ever to make sure their online presence is up to snuff. Recent world events, which include widespread lockdowns and the forcible closing of many local businesses, have many business owners thinking hard about how they can use digital technologies effectively to stand out. It’s a more important time than ever for local businesses to find a competitive edge online to safeguard their survival and continued growth in these economically uncertain times.

Moreover, many local businesses, and even established corporations, that have failed to adapt to rapid technological advancements have met a bitter end. Such companies are often left behind by their leaner and more adaptive competitors.

Even corporations so big that they once appeared almost monolithic and indestructible surprised shareholders by how quickly they could crumble when faced with an inability to adapt to changing times. For example, we need to look no further than Blockbuster laughing off an offer to buy Netflix in 2000 for a measly 50 million dollars. Or, we can look to Kodak, which ignored trends towards digital photography even when they had every chance to capitalize on it.

But, aside from these larger-than-life examples, our economy is littered with millions of smaller examples of local mom-and-pop businesses having to close up shop after being unwilling or unable to adapt to technological shifts. The internet is perhaps the most powerful tool local businesses can use to differentiate themselves from their competitors. And, let’s face it: in these times of economic uncertainty, business owners ignore it at their peril.

So, let’s explore 5 tips local business owners can use to improve their websites and maybe even kickstart their digital transformation.

Have a Clear Vision

Many business owners make the mistake of not knowing exactly what they want when they set out to get their website built. Getting clear on the exact features and functions of a website is the first step to building one because it provides direction as to which tools to employ, or what kind of team to work with.

Knowing what kind of website a business owner wants is what will allow him or her to answer other fundamental questions regarding how to get it built. It will determine which website builder, programming language, framework, or other tools must be employed. It will also inform what kind of employee or agency to hire, or if the business owner is capable of building the site himself.

As this piece by the LA Times explains, there are many new ways that business owners can limit their web design costs if they know what they’re looking for.

That is not to say that a business owner should necessarily create this vision for their website on their own. On the contrary, speaking with customers, confidants, consultants, and web developers is often an important step in crafting a vision for the website. Some web development agencies even offer suggestions of possible versions of the website, with approximate pricing for each version, so that a business owner can determine what makes sense for his budget.

Regardless of what forms this preliminary market research takes, the point is that a business owner should arrive at a clear understanding of what he wants his site to be and what he wants it to do before he goes about building it. Neglecting to do so can result in a lot of wasted time and money.

Prioritize Website Design 

After a business owner decides what he wants his website to do and which features he wants it to include, he should make sure that it is designed in a way that is intuitive, mobile-friendly, and impactful. Speaking with a web designer is often helpful to establish the aesthetic of the website’s brand identity. Artistically inclined business owners might even be able to create some mockups that illustrate the look and feel of the website of their dreams.

Depending on the goals of the business owner, he or she can also consider using a prebuilt design template that is offered by many different website builders on the market today. If a business owner decides on a web builder like WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, or another option, it’s worth it for them to spend a few minutes browsing through the design templates of their web builder of choice.

Most web builders on the market today, including the ones mentioned above, feature free or paid templates that can be customized as needed to suit a business owner’s needs. Using a pre-made template can often save time and money, but it’s important to make sure the design template includes the functionality that is needed for the website.

As this piece by the Washington Post explains, the design is crucially important for local businesses like restaurants. Why shouldn’t a restaurant or local business’s website be as well designed as its physical location or interior?

Ensure Mobile Responsiveness

A website’s responsiveness refers to its ability to be viewed on mobile devices such as smartphones. This is a critically important part of modern websites, given the continuous rise in mobile device usage.

Business owners should make certain that the design template they use, or a website built from scratch by a web designer can be viewed seamlessly and easily on mobile phones as well as tablets.

If business owners work with a web developer to build a site from scratch, they should ensure that any code that the web developer uses or writes will allow the design of the site to look great on any device.

Optimize the Website for Search Engines 

When building a website, business owners should ensure that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) best practices are being followed. Doing so will make the website more discoverable by Google and other search engines so that customers can find the site when searching for relevant keywords online.

Internal SEO, or on-site SEO, refers to work done on a website that optimizes its visibility on search engines, and it’s an important part of website development. As part of this process, developers will register the site with Google through a tool called Google Search Console, as well as include metadata on each page of the site. This metadata that is included as part of the code that comprises each web page indicates to Google what keywords the site is relevant to.

Business owners should also consider registering their website with Google My Business, Yelp, Trip Advisor, and other directories to make it more discoverable. Linking it to their social media profiles is also a good step to take.

Consider a Blog and a Content Marketing Strategy

After the website is built, business owners should consider populating the blog page on their site. A blog can be a great way to connect with potential or existing customers.

Creating content that relates to nearby events can be a great way to grow a business’s audience. Keeping up with a good source for local events can be helpful for this purpose.

Publishing relevant content on a website’s blog can also be part of a broader SEO or content marketing strategy that is designed to increase organic traffic to the website. Business owners should consider making the content they publish on their website optimized for search engines by making it part of a larger backlinking or PR effort.

Content that is part of a comprehensive SEO strategy can drive large amounts of traffic to a website, and it is a tactic used by some of the largest media companies in the world.

Hopefully, these five tips will be a good starting point for business owners to build the website of their dreams and keep up with these unpredictable times.

Marina Turea works as content manager at Digital Authority.

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MSU beef specialist honored for Extension work

Montana State University Extension specialist has been recognized for her outstanding community engagement efforts and youth programming by the American Society of Animal Science.

Megan Van Emon, MSU Extension beef cattle specialist, is based in Miles City. Van Emon serves the beef producers of the state by traveling to all 56 Montana counties. She meets ranchers and community members and tailors her research projects as an associate professor in the MSU College of Agriculture’s Department of Animal and Range Sciences to meet their specific needs.

“If an Extension agent or a producer needs answers to any questions, I do the best I can in either answering them or finding the best person who can,” said Van Emon. “Most of my research focuses on looking into those questions I receive, which varies based on the different regions of the state.”

Van Emon arrived at Montana State in 2014 after receiving her doctorate from North Dakota State University and conducting postdoctoral research at Iowa State University. She focuses on questions of beef nutrition for producers in Montana. In the eastern part of the state, Van Emon said, that often takes the shape of examining the effects of water quality on cattle digestion, while in western Montana she often looks into small acreage production and maximizing production efficiency on smaller ranches.

Van Emon received the Animal Science Extension Award from the western section of the ASAS, which includes 12 western U.S. states as well as parts of western Canada and Mexico. The award was presented during the virtual section meeting last month.

“Just to be recognized as an outstanding member really meant a lot to me,” Van Emon said. “Being recognized by my peers both here at the university who nominated me and the wider community of the section is really an honor.”


Van Emon’s programming also includes statewide engagement with Montana youth through 4-H and FFA programs. She helps lead the Montana Steer of Merit competition, an opportunity for students throughout the state to raise cattle and learn about various elements of beef quality. Students collect data on their steers each year at their county fair, such as weight, fat percentage and grade. Van Emon, in partnership with the Montana Stockgrowers Association, evaluates and grades the final animal statistics, selecting the top five highest-quality steers in the state.

“We’re very lucky to partner with MSGA for that program,” said Van Emon. “It helps those 4-H and FFA students learn more about the impacts of what we feed our cattle and looking at the end product, how that’s promoted for the beef industry and how that impacts the beef quality of the final product.”

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, like many, Van Emon has had to adjust her outreach programming and has turned to virtual means to do so. She maintains connections with Extension agents across the state through video conferencing, recorded presentations and social media. Her research continues with an ongoing project examining the impacts of high sulfate and high salt concentrations in cattle drinking water on digestion of forage crops, which are often a primary food source for beef cattle in the state.

"Megan's work is critical to all of the elements of our land-grant mission at Montana State: education, research and outreach," said Cody Stone, MSU Extension executive director. "She works incredibly hard to ensure that our producers and community members are able to get their questions answered using the most accurate and up-to-date information, even if that means conducting the research herself. We are so lucky to have her, and this honor is truly deserved."

While much of her in-person work has been put on hold since the spring, Van Emon hopes to continue her statewide travels this winter, which she says are her favorite part of her work.

“What’s unique about Montana is that we have beef cattle all over the state, so the questions are changing all the time,” she said. “I like the mix of everything that I get to do, meeting producers and learning about their operations. I love getting out and meeting people, learning how I can best help them.”

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5 Hot Gift Ideas for Avid Hikers

Shopping for hikers may seem like a daunting task, especially for the avid ones! You have to think about so many things, including personal style and preferences, and don’t even think for a second that hikers don’t like to show off their gear! They like to be stylish and often have clothes and accessories that are both innovative and practical.

Contrary to popular belief, hikers aren’t tough people to shop for, and while it can stump you at first, there are plenty of cool and useful hiking gifts that every outdoor lover would love to receive. You could get someone who likes hiking all kinds of different gifts, and if you’re thoughtful enough, you just might get them something better than they ever wanted or expected.

A lot of the hiking gear out there are investment pieces and when hikers start they oftentimes don’t have money for all of the gear that they would like to buy. They often would buy a nice down jacket but skimp on the backpack for example. Or they have a really good pair of hiking boots and skimp on the hiking poles!

Here is your chance to pay attention to what the hiker in your life does or does not have. Take a look at their gear and see what is missing or what needs improvement. Whether you’re shopping for the avid multi-day trekker or the casual day hiker, here is a list of gift ideas that you can choose from.

Hiking Backpack
There is nothing worse than going on a hike with an uncomfortable backpack. It is one of the most essential items that hikers take, especially on long treks. Buying a good quality one would ensure that the weight is distributed equally on your shoulders as it going to affect your back and posture.

The perfect backpack depends on what you bring while hiking, so if your hiker is someone who carries only the essentials, a smaller backpack would do. Regardless of the size, make sure that there is plenty of space with multiple pockets that are all easily accessible. It should have deep and densely packed padded shoulder straps and a hip belt along with long padded areas on the back for cushioned comfort.

The key thing you want in your hiking backpack is an external water bottle pouch so that you can have a drink without having to stop and open your backpack every time.

Water Bottle
They say that you can survive for weeks without food, but only days without water. A sturdy, insulated, leak-proof water bottle is always worth carrying on a hike. It makes a perfect gift that keeps the cold drinks cold and warm drinks warm and helps them stay alert and refreshed throughout the day.

Make sure to invest in a bottle that is strong to minimize dents and scratches, and a good size for a long trip. There are many different kinds available on the market including fully insulated ones in which you can keep water, tea, coffee, iced macchiato - whatever your drink of choice. This Kool8 water bottle which is included in this Cool Things Chicago gift guide is a great option.

Polarized Sunglasses
One can’t have too many sunglasses, they are like socks - always disappearing into the void. Polarized sunglasses help filter out the harmful UV rays while you are outdoors thereby protecting your eyes and ensuring that they stay healthy. The sunglasses have to survive the great outdoors so make sure that they are scratch-resistant and sturdy.

Make sure they are lightweight and durable look for acetate or plastic frames, they weigh close to nothing and also handle being dropped a little better. Choose frames that fit comfortably as they will be wearing them a lot. Look for sunglasses that have a high UV protection rating which blocks both UVA and UVB rays. Lenses have ratings from 0 to 4 and it is recommended that you choose lenses that have a rating of 3 or 4 as they provide the best protection.

Portable Solar panel/charger
Every adventurer needs a portable charger to keep all of their devices powered up and a solar one is the best option because it never runs the risk of discharge. These devices can be quite compact and easy to carry around allowing easy and fast charging on the go. You can even attach it to your backpack while you’re hiking and let it charge.

You can find some that have a built-in LED light in them which serves as a convenient solution for when you need a light at night.  They are efficient and reliable and come equipped with up to three USB ports. A solar charger is an excellent gift for every traveler and in this age of technology, we always need power sources to keep all of our devices at an optimal level.

Trekking Poles
Trekking poles are something that many hikers don’t know they need until they have them. Get this as a gift for your friend or loved one and next time you chat you will hear all about how you have revolutionized their hiking.  They are the perfect gift for hikers tackling strenuous trails or those who have weak knees.

Trekking poles have many benefits - it reduces the accumulated stress on the feet, knees, legs, and back, especially when carrying a heavy backpack. It also protects the knees while walking down steep hills, improves your power and endurance when walking uphill,  aids with a balance on uneven trails, and even improves posture - making walkers more upright as they walk, which in turn helps with their breathing. Make sure to buy good quality ones that will last them for years.

Hopefully, this list has given you a few unique hiking gift ideas so you can properly surprise that special someone with a thoughtful and cherished gift. Get any of the above for them, and whether they will be hiking up a mountain on the other side of the world or just beheaded outside the door, they will be kitted out for the next adventure. Above all, make sure you choose a gift that fits right into their backpacking gear, something that will keep them safe and happy on their hikes.

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How to Cope with an Essay on Art

Who concerns the significance of art in our lives those never lose its sights. Creativity is an important part of our daily routine, and people who want to get a deeper knowledge of its magnificence are going to study it in an educational institute. Thereafter, art is a complex system that includes different branching types, such as music, painting, dance, drama, and literature.

Maybe, you are waiting for technical writing recommendations, but remember that the art essay is different. When you are about to write a unique essay on art, you need to follow some rules we represented for you in this list.

1. Start with research.

Try to imagine that text is not so important when defining the main idea of your essay. Create an assignment as a part of your research where you give yourself a task to invent something new in a popular subject. Dive into this journey by setting a goal for your essay.

Look for essential information not only from books, but observe your life around. Maybe you can find and share a uniquely personal experience as Jace Clayton tells in Sarah Urist Green’s project called “Art Assignment.” Similarly, you can create your own aim and buy a reader with a custom essay where you share your research’s originality.

2. Prepare an outline.

Briefly describe everything you want to include in your essay. If you are exploring mechanisms of how sound affects people, start with a thesis statement about the importance of this research. Remember about common essay structure, which consists of an introduction, body, and conclusion. As mentioned earlier, the thesis is a starting point of any essay, usually following after hook and background information.

While writing an outline in advance, keep in mind that this step prevents your essay from revisions. Draft plays a central role in creating any essay, and especially essays on art. Don’t negotiate this step, because it much simplifies the writing process.

3. Mention your references.

For not creating your essay into an article or blog post, remember to cite sources you use in research. Collect information not only from fiction and non-fiction books, but also from video-interviews, documents, archives, articles, blog posts, films, podcasts, and other interesting resources.
Collect them as a bunch of flowers and arrange them into a list like a bouquet due to formatting style requirements you use to write an essay (APA, Chicago, MLA, Harvard). If you have strict instructions from the teacher, it is easier to follow in your essay.

4. Stay outside of the script.

Remember that you are writing about art, that’s why you’d better avoid overwhelming conclusions with long sentences. Usually, readers of artistic essays wait from an author’s outstanding idea. Therefore, the form of presentation matters. If you can’t print A4 paper with text and pictures to show a full extension of your investigation, why not ask the teacher about video or PowerPoint/Keynote presentation?

Except for writing a boring text, some students of recognized art universities have tasks to create art installations, sculptures, or paintings on canvas and represent it in a short way to wide audience.  

5. Complete viewpoint.

The context of any art subject is always shifting. Therefore it is essential to choose one direction where your essay is going. Whether you are exploring an iconic picture or biography of a famous author,  your viewpoint can vary from strong to moderate. Reflect an agree or disagree position concerning your topic or describe concrete opinion using supporting ideas.

Young essay writers often make a mistake trying to embrace different viewpoints. It embarrasses readers and makes them lost in your story. Help yourself by defining the main idea, as we mentioned earlier, and create a meaningful essay.

6. Enjoy working with your supplementary material.

Whether you write an essay about an experiment you take, choose materials that encourage you. Find out the concept of working with paper, canvas, research drawing techniques, or get essential knowledge on writing a short summary of your favorite book. Anything you select to make your essay unique will be the right way to impress a reader with fresh ideas.

7. Fulfill the essay with interesting information.

What concerns the standard essay structure, write a topic for each body paragraph. It is presenting what you are going to tell you about. You can add arguments to confront the current position due to the thesis statement or agree with it. Include an example from a real-life story, article, or book that supports your topic. Assume and illustrate the difference between the original idea and meaning that you propose.

8. Put puzzles together.

This is the mindset you want whenever you are approaching a writing project on art. Always make the process of creating an essay a joyful one.

9. Exercise by observing more.

Expand your outlook with as many artworks as it is possible. This will help you to collect information for further research and upgrade your knowledge of art generally. Stay tuned to the exhibition of modern artists, music concerts, experiments, and other inventors.

Find out more about the collaboration of people from different working areas such as science, music, dance, and technology. For example, you can explore Playtronica. It is the brightest combination of knowledge that connects inventors from all fields of study described earlier. It is not only interesting but essential to explore today in the context of how sound impacts human psychology.

10. Pretend that you are an artist.

Before strictly criticizing somebody’s work, place yourself at the author’s position. Pay attention to details such as light source, contrast, or settings. Compound the elements of art to analyze but not criticize. Describe lines, color, light, shape, figures, space, surface plane, and texture and consider all that in your essay.

As a first reader, your professor will recognize professional sight when you add information about the interior, realistic details, and the situation at painting.

Create your writing not only to reveal the idea of your research but to show the audience that essays on art can be a new type of art of essay writing. Believe in yourself, and be bold to impress everyone with anything new in your class!

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Tuesday, Aug. 25th, 2020

Upper Deer Creek River-Access Restoration Project Breaking Ground

On August 31, the Upper Deer Creek Riparian Habitat and Access Restoration project will begin upstream of the Deer Creek trailhead in Gallatin Canyon. The Gallatin River Task Force, the Custer Gallatin National Forest, and Montana Trout Unlimited are partnering to revegetate riparian habitat, stabilize eroded streambanks, build a user access trail system, develop a formalized parking area, and construct sustainable boat launches.

“This will be the second large-scale project to restore the ecological health of the river and improve river access,” said Emily O’Connor, Conservation Manager at the Gallatin River Task Force. “This location was selected as a priority due to the broad range and volume of use the site receives, as well as the severe natural-resource damage.”

During construction, much of the access site will be closed to vehicles. (See attached map for details.) Once complete, the site will contain sustainable river access points, an accessible fishing platform, improved parking, and 1,414 feet of sustainable user trails. Work is expected to be completed around Halloween, with additional vegetation planting occurring in spring 2021 with the help of volunteers.

The Upper Deer Creek project is part of an ongoing effort led by the Gallatin River Task Force to reduce the level of nutrients and sediment entering the Gallatin River. These restoration projects also enhance riparian vegetation that provides shade to keep water temperatures down and restore habitat for fish.

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Monday, Aug. 24th, 2020

New Zealand mudsnails found at FWP fish hatchery

New Zealand mudsnails were detected at Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks’ Bluewater Fish Hatchery on Tuesday, Aug. 18. This is the first time FWP has detected mudsnails in a state fish hatchery.

The Bluewater Fish Hatchery, located near Bridger in southcentral Montana, is a trout hatchery and is the third largest production facility in the state. Its primary purpose is stocking sport fish into urban ponds, reservoirs and other public waters.

New Zealand mudsnails are an aquatic invasive species. It was first discovered in Montana in 1995 in the Madison River above Hebgen Lake Reservoir. Since then, New Zealand mudsnails have been detected in several major river drainages across the State.

All hatcheries in Montana are inspected annually for AIS and fish pathogens. The mudsnails at Bluewater Fish Hatchery were detected during the hatchery’s annual inspection.

Because of the detection, no fish will leave or be received at the Bluewater hatchery until further analysis and an investigation is complete. FWP staff are working on a containment and mitigation strategy. Testing results will be available next week to help determine the full extent of the infestation.

FWP will be looking at where the hatchery’s fish have been stocked this year and investigate whether the stocking has spread New Zealand mudsnails to any state waters.

The closest New Zealand mudsnail infestation to the hatchery is Bluewater Creek, which the hatchery drains into.

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Friday, Aug. 21st, 2020

5 Tips on How to Boost Creativity with Essay Writing

Creativity is all about finding new ways of solving problems and handling situations. It requires constant cultivation so that nothing can be left to pure luck. Creativity does not fall from the sky just like that. The creative process involves many aspects, from the unique idea to the unusual concept.

When it comes to writing, creativity is mainly defined as the innovative use of imagination to create an interesting and engaging piece of paper. Whenever you write, you’re creating something, but your level of innovation might not always be high enough to perform quality writing. Some days your muse is with you, letting you create masterpieces. But the other days, your muse is gone, leaving you in pursuit of “creativity”. 

Being often labeled as something innate, creativity is actually a skill that can be developed in smart ways. The easiest one will be to ask a professional essay writer for help. By referring to a pro essay writing service, you will get a creative essay you can use as a template for your individual writing. A more complicated way will be to do all the writing on your own by going beyond your capabilities. If you are unable to come up with fresh ideas, here are 5 simple ways to boost your creativity:

Take notes
Creativity is not something you can keep under control. You ask why? The thing is, you never know when a good idea will pop into your head. Usually, it happens at the most inopportune times (while taking a shower or doing sports). No matter how unimportant those ideas may seem to you, you still should keep track of them. 

You never know which idea is going to come to fruition. Creativity is not just about being original, it’s also about making associations in an unusual and even unexpected way. It’s about connecting things or subjects that are seemingly interrelated. By keeping track of your ideas, you can use them whenever you feel like. So, it is highly recommended to keep a notebook and pen next to you all the time.

Try Freewriting
Freewriting is considered one of the most popular tools for writers. While it doesn’t work for professionals hired by creative writing services anymore, it can be super effective for you. This approach is based on the idea of making your subconscious respond. How does it work? All you need to do is to relax and start writing everything that comes into your head for ten minutes. While writing, do not think about possible mistakes. Just keep writing until the time is out. Don’t worry about the content, even if it looks ridiculous. By letting your ideas flow, you make your subconscious expose what’s hiding beneath the surface of your brain.

Proceed with Mind-mapping
Mind-mapping is an outline in a drawing format. The benefit of this tool is an opportunity to develop your own style without following someone else’s steps. To proceed with this technique, you will need a set of colored pens and a piece of paper. Then, you will start writing the keywords and add images related to a particular topic you need to write about. This needs to be done in the format of a mind map. If it is too hard for you to catch the concept, you can use one of the mobile apps allowing you to create mind maps in an online format. When your outline is ready, you can use it as a plan for further writing.

Do a Monotask
Being preoccupied with many other things, you can hardly focus on any kind of creative work. This scenario often happens to students who have to juggle multiple tasks at once. Throughout the creative process, it is best to not interrupt yourself because you won’t be able to express all your ideas orderly. Even if you have 10 minutes to write at a time, you should stay totally focused on writing and no external factors should distract you. Even if you feel overwhelmed with other things, give yourself a small rest to clear your head. Stepping away from the keyboard for some time can really enhance the level of your creativity. In fact, when you’re completely stuck, you can ask an online essay service for assistance. This can be a reasonable solution to the problem when you cannot concentrate on anything.

Do Some Brainstorming
When it comes to brainstorming, the main rule is that there are no bad ideas. When you have a particular topic, you should use every piece of mind. Whether you write a budget plan or a character analysis, write down every idea on a white board or paper. Eventually, you will be surprised by what comes out. Once the ideas start flowing, the process goes faster. If you leave your writing and come back to it in a few hours, you will continue expanding your ideas. You should give up on the idea that you don’t have time for those games. Rather than being a time-waster, brainstorming will turn out to be a time-saver for you.

The Bottom Line
Creativity is the first step toward better writing, efficient time management, and drastic business or academic success. Whether you use an essay service or do writing on your own, you will need to use your creativity anyway. The above-mentioned tips will serve as a starting point for you on the way to becoming a creative and productive writer.

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Wednesday, Aug. 19th, 2020

Recreationists may temporarily see murky water in lower Madison River

Recreationists who use the lower Madison River on Aug. 25 may see a temporary increase in turbidity, or murkiness, between the confluence of Cherry Creek and Black’s Ford Fishing Access Site. 

On that day, the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) will remove a beaver dam on Cherry Creek, a tributary to the Madison River. The dam is being removed so that it does not further undermine the Highway 84 bridge, which is just upstream from the dam. 

Most of the sediment and debris associated with the dam will also be removed. However, these activities will likely increase the turbidity in the river between Cherry Creek and Black’s Ford during excavation and potentially following any rain events shortly thereafter. 

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks will work with MDT to minimize disturbance to the riparian area and the Madison River and to restore vegetation, as necessary.  

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$4,000 in Child Care Relief Per Family

On August 11th, 2020, Governor Bullock announced an additional $50 million to support child care and Montana families stating that, “... a healthy workforce and healthy economy go hand in hand.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has created unique challenges for Montana's families working to balance professional responsibilities, child care, and changes to schooling. There is widespread uncertainty about options for school-age children because of the pandemic. Some families include children or family member with special needs such as health and safety needs, or a lack of child care in their community, which cause them to need in-home child care. This may also include foster and kinship families with unique in-home needs.


A scholarship is available to help parents offset the costs of in-home care for children aged 0-18 who live in a household with a special circumstance.

The scholarship offers a flat award of $4,000 per eligible family, nothing more and nothing less. This award is to be used for in-home care expenses or in another caretaker’s home, such as that of a family member, friend, or neighbor who is providing unregulated care for the child(ren).

This scholarship is administered by Child Care Resource and Referral agencies, like Child Care Connections, and must be awarded and spent by December 31st, 2020. Available on a first come first serve basis, we are eager to get this funding to families. More information at

Thank you for your time and attention to this critical support for local families and the workforce.


Child Care Connections is a 501(c)3 nonprofit advocating for the well-being and quality care of children by supporting early childhood professionals, families, and the communities we serve. We offer services in Gallatin, Lewis & Clark, Park, Meagher, Jefferson and Broadwater Counties.

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Tuesday, Aug. 18th, 2020

Elks Teen Zone Lessons

Drug abuse awareness is an understanding of what exactly substance abuse is, what substance abuse does, what the risks are, how substance abuse can lead to the development of an addiction, how to recognize warning signs of addiction, what kind of consequences addiction can have, and what to do and how to help if a friend or a family member has an addiction.

If you are a teacher, youth group leader or parent, the Elks Drug Awareness Program has developed a set of free lessons for you to use with your students and teens. The materials in these lessons are designed to provide teens with facts and engage them in critical thinking about how drugs affect their lives, behavior, and different parts of the body. Each lesson includes a clear objective.

Current Elks Teen Zone Lessons ( address Alcohol, Bullying, Marijuana, Tobacco, Decision Making, and General Drug Information.  

Upcoming Lessons will address Conflict Resolution, Depressants, Eating Healthy and Exercising, Feelings, Gambling, Grief, Hallucinogens, Self Esteem, Steroids, Stimulants, Stress, and Success.

By completing these online lessons, students will understand how specific drugs can affect the brain and body, possibly causing lasting physical or mental problems, including addiction. They will also learn how an individual’s drug abuse can affect friends and family and have a lasting effect on their future.

Know that the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks welcomes you to their resource center for the Elks National Drug Awareness Program and will continue to invest in our communities through programs that help children grow up healthy and drug-free, and by undertaking projects that address unmet needs.

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News Comments

I honestly hate snakes. Can’t stand them they give me the creeps just to look at them, slithering bastards. Just stay out of my yard you stinky prick and we won’t have a problem

7 Ways To Keep Snakes Out Of Your Property

Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020