Big Sky Connection

Eric Tegethoff

February 14, 2017

BOZEMAN, Mont. - A Montana artist wants to show grizzly bears from a different perspective and shed light on their precarious situation with the stroke of a paintbrush.

Georgia Baker's art show "Connectivity" in Bozeman is displaying her paintings of grizzly bears to help efforts to conserve the species in the Yellowstone ecosystem. Baker is showing their vulnerable side, fighting back most depictions of grizzlies as ferocious killers.

"We have depicted these and misrepresented these bears just even starting with their name," she said. "I don't think it's deserving once you find out more."

The art show comes as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service mulls over whether or not to delist the grizzly as an endangered species. A decision was expected to be made in January, but the agency delayed it after receiving more than 650,000 comments from the public.

Baker says a lot of people don't understand grizzlies. She says they are quite smart and compares them to "large dogs," adding that plants make up over 90 percent of their diet. She also likens their large claws to gardening tools.

Baker says Theodore Roosevelt set a good example for conservationists at the beginning of the 20th century with his foresight in protecting Yellowstone, and she hopes to do the same for the grizzly.

"I want to be an ancestor that had the foresight to not just make this the story of more domination, and land use, and about people, but actually about coexisting with important species that we have yet to come and to appreciate," she explained.

Connectivity runs until February 28th at the ERA Landmark Real Estate building in downtown Bozeman. Half of the proceeds from the sale of Baker's paintings will benefit the Sierra Club's Grizzly Recovery Campaign. Baker is a volunteer for the organization.


Billings, MT--For many, lawn care can be a chore. Another line item on the list of "have-to-do's" cutting into precious time reserved for the list of "want to do's."  But for one lucky MATE Show attendee, that is all about to change.  Thanks to Yellowstone County Implement and its sister stores owned by C&B Operations, this year's grand prize sponsorship is designed to shorten time spent mowing and maybe even make it a little more fun.

The John Deere Z525E Zero Turn mower offers a 22HP V-twin engine, Tuf Torq TZT&-D dual Hydro Drive train that allows for speeds ranging from 0-8.5 miles per hour forward and 0-4 miles per hour in reverse.  A typical riding mower travels between 3-4 miles per hour.  Not only does the mower reduce mowing time with its increased speed but also with its ability to spin 180 degrees, essentially reducing the number of passes required to mow a residential yard.

Other features include the adjustable twin lever drive control that replaces the traditional steering wheel and features easy to operate functionality for responsive direction and speed control. The larger 22x9.50-10 drive tires offer a smooth ride while providing increased traction.  The 525E also features a hand adjusted deck height adjustable in ¼" increments, to ensure a precise cut height and the 15" adjustable seat with arm rests provides a comfortable operators platform.  The 525E is standard with the 48" side discharge deck.

"The industry is transitioning to Zero Turn mowers from tractor style mowers due to the speed and maneuverability," said Yellowstone County Implement Manager, Tim Schulz.  "John Deere has expanded their lineup of residual zero turn mowers for 2017 to offer a unit that will fit most anyone's budget or needs depending on the size of lawn or property being cared for." He went on to say, "Like the commercial says 'it's not how fast you mow, it's how well you mow fast'!"


Tim will have a variety of equipment at Yellowstone Valley Implement booth 47 inside the Expo Center to suit the yard-keepers, recreationists, and ag producers.  To learn more about C & B Operations and Yellowstone Valley Implement, visit

For more information go to the MATE website or contact Traci (406) 651-0440 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

January 4, 2017

Billings, MT – Chill at the museum during the Yellowstone Art Museum’s 49th Annual Art Auction on Saturday, March 4, 2017. The event will be held at the Yellowstone Art Museum located aAt A401 North 27th Street, Billings, Montana. The Annual Art Auction is the YAM’s most significant fundraising event, generating proceeds in support of exhibitions and educational programming for the entire year.  The theme this year is icy with cold cocktails and cool artwork that will send chills down your spine...and all for a great cause!

Everyone is invited to an opening reception for the Art Auction 49 exhibition, which will be held on January 19, 2017. The opening event will be the first chance to view this year’s Art Auction artwork selections from 141 artists from across the nation, including over 100 Montanan artists. There will be live music, cash bar, hors d’oeuvres, and free admission for members. The exhibition will remain open for viewing and silent auction bidding until the event on March 4th.

The exhibition culminates in our 49th Annual Art Auction, which consists of a silent auction, a live auction, a "Quick Draw," cocktails, and gourmet refreshments, all within the cool environment of our beautiful galleries. The Auction begins Saturday, March 4, 2017, at 5 p.m. and features a heavy hors d’oeuvres and dessert buffet catered by Thomas Nelson Catering. The Live Auction bidding begins at 7:30 p.m. and includes a special bidding opportunity to directly support the YAM’s Education Department, providing art education for nearly 50 years. The Auction concludes with a raffle drawing for exquisite jewelry donated by Montague’s Jewelers.

Advance tickets to the Art Auction event go on sale January 19th online and at the museum. General admission tickets are $95 per person and $105 at the door. Raffle tickets may be purchased separately and the ticket holder need not be present to win.

The 49th Annual Art Auction is generously sponsored by:

Title Sponsor

The Oakland Companies

Lead Sponsors

Intermountain Distributing Company

Eide Bailly LLP

Supporting Sponsors

Kibler & Kirch/ Stapleton Gallery

Yellowstone Surgery Center

Wipfli LLP

Community sponsors include Hardy Construction, Montague's Jewelers, Payne West Insurance, Sanctuary Spa & Salon, Joy of Living, Simple Family Magazine, St. Vincent Healthcare,

Stillwater Mining Company, Terakedis Fine Art, Universal Vision, YVW Magazine, DiA Events, Exxon Mobil, Party Solutions, and Perkins Family Restaurant & Bakery.


Big Sky Connection

Eric Tegethoff

February 8, 2017

MISSOULA, Mont. - Year over year, Montana ranks near the top when it comes to producing Peace Corps volunteers, and 2016 was no different. The Treasure State ranked third for number of volunteers per capita, and Missoula ranked first per capita, sending more than 12 volunteers for every 100,000 residents.

Denny Bangs is president of the Western Montana Return Peace Corps Volunteer Association and served in the 1970s. He says part of the reason for high participation rates in Missoula is because of the university located there.

"The idea of public service and international awareness has always been kind of a hallmark of the University of Montana and the Missoula community, so I think it's kind of a good fit," he said.

Bangs says another reason for the high service rate from Montanans could be that Peace Corps volunteers used to train in Bozeman. Now they train in the country they serve in.

Bangs volunteered in Ecuador in 1970. He says after growing up on a small farm in Montana, the Peace Corps gave him an opportunity to see the world, and also see it from someone else's perspective. Afterward, Bangs says he had a new sense of independence and realized how cheap and easy it was to travel.

He says there is a multitude of paths once a person leaves the Corps, including work in the nonprofit sector.

"A lot of people actually will be in a country and they'll see a need in their community that was partially served while they were there as a volunteer but realize that maybe we could do something more, and will come back and work with other people and start nonprofits and stuff," he explained.

He adds that volunteering especially is useful for starting a career in foreign service. Americans who serve for two years in the Peace Corps receive preference in hiring for government jobs. Of his own experience, Bangs says he's made lifelong bonds with some of the Ecuadorians he worked with and still is in contact with them today.


by Tyler Morrison

A Montana February is still far enough away from spring that we have plenty of time to focus on the things that really matter in life. Our hearts and minds turn to within our own homes and prompt us to appreciate those who really mean the most. In fact, every February has a special day on the calendar reminding us to take some time from our busy schedules, to love and adore, with all our heart, what should really be most important in our lives; tailgating food.

I love any occasion which provides a chance to binge, with impunity, on American classic finger foods. Hot wings, bagel bites, (insert absurdly high number here) layer dips, and any dish containing American cheese. I never have quite understood why processed cheeses get such a bad rap. Having spent some time working as a cheese monger, I can assure you gaining familiarity with the manufacturing process of even the snootiest European cheeses will cause an arched eyebrow or two. So, let’s take a brief moment from our football watching and groundhog catching, and learn about the comfort food that no American should be hesitant to serve at their next party.

What is a processed cheese? Well, processed cheese is made from any number of natural cheeses that may vary in sharpness and flavor. These traditional cheeses are shredded and heated to a molten mass. The molten mass of protein, water and oil is emulsified (particles evenly distributed in a fluid) with suitable emulsifying salts to produce a stable oil-in-water emulsion. Depending on the desired end use, the melted mixture is then reformed and packaged into blocks, or as slices, or into tubs or jars.

Interestingly enough, American cheese isn’t really American at all. Although somewhat uncertain, the origins of processed cheese are thought to date back to Swiss cheese fondue. German Kochkase (cooked cheese), French Cancoillotte or Canquillotte and Welsh Rarebit. Kochkase and Cancoillotte were made with coagulated sour milk or skimmed milk; Fondue was made from Swiss cheese, which is a rennet cheese. Soda was added in the preparation of Kochkase, and eggs were used to make Cancoillotte. Wine and/or beer were used to prepare Fondue. Now, admittedly, that all sounds pretty fancy, but the point is the idea of adding other ingredients, (especially salty, acidic ingredients) to adapt a natural cheese for various uses has been around for a long time.

Commercially, the first processed cheese was developed by Walter Gerber and Fritz Stettler in Switzerland in 1911. In this process, natural Emmentaler cheese was shredded and heated with sodium citrate to produce a homogeneous product which firmed when cooled. The initial intent of this product was to improve shelf-life of cheese shipped to warmer climates. This proved to be a huge hit as the now solidified cheese would keep far longer than a traditional cheese, and because of the stabilizing agents added for homogenization, the cheese could be melted without separating into a greasy disaster.

Domestic cheesemaking was transformed forever when Jesse Williams created the first American cheese factory in 1851, in New York. It started as a father-son venture, conceived, in part, to cover for his son's poor cheesemaking skills. By buying up milk from surrounding herds and pooling it to make cheese at one location, Williams made commercial cheesemaking more viable and American cheese more reliably decent. From New York outwards, these new, distinctly American cheese factories spread. Generic, factory cheddar became so common that Americans simply called it "store cheese," or "yellow cheese." Then came James L. Kraft, who in 1903 moved from Canada to Chicago, bought a horse and wagon, and started…well, you know the rest.

Over a hundred and fifty years later, what was known as "American cheese" moved from farmhouse to factory to laboratory, from wheels to waxed blocks to single-serving packets. In the last few decades we've started importing more cheeses of more varieties; and a new wave of "artisanal" cheesemakers promise to revamp the image of American dairy. Still, it's hard to believe that the generic title, "American cheese," will ever be wrenched from the most generic of all cheeses, the topping on Big Macs and grilled cheese sandwiches. What other product could epitomize with such grace this essential tendency in culinary history and the American identity?