406 Woman VOL.14 No.1 Business

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10. The Event at Rebecca Farm

32. Stay Healthy this Summer

14. Erica Von Kleist

34. Wellness Strategy

28. Golf Analysis with Cristy Wells

38. Emergency Room or Walk-In Clinic


42. Exercises for Cyclists and Hikers

18. Master Swimmers

48. Management of Heavy Periods

26. Elyse Knudsen, Whitefish Mountain Resort

54. Dr Miller

Nonprofit 24. NW Montana History Museum 52. Changed Lives

Law 36. How a Real Estate Attorney Can Help

View current and past issues of 406 Woman at


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w w w . 4 0 6 W o m a n . c o m Published by Skirts Publishing six times a year 704 C East 13th St. #138 Whitefish, MT 59937 info@406woman.com Copyright©2021 Skirts Publishing



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20 Years of

The Event at Rebecca Farm

A Conversation with

Sarah Broussard by Alexandria Wilson

I’m a Midwesterner. I attend a land grant college - Kansas State University. I’ve been around horses...a little. But when I was given the opportunity to write this story on one of the Flathead’s biggest events of the summer that included horses - The Event at Rebecca Farm - I had a lot to learn about a sport that’s been around since 1912. While my conversation with Sarah Broussard, Event Organizer for The Event at Rebecca Farm left me with a far better understanding of eventing, I also realized this event runs much deeper than a competition - filled with passion, altruism, and plenty of information - there is no surprise this is one of the most magical weeks of a Flathead summer.

Q. 20 years ago you had a vision for The

Event at Rebecca Farm. What was it and has it been realized? “Technically it wasn’t my vision; it was all about my mom. She started to get involved with horses when I was young. As I started to fall in love with horses, she actually stepped back so that I could pursue riding.


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When we lived in Jamaica, we were first exposed to this concept of three-day eventing, got into it, and really enjoyed it. When we moved here, there was an event in Kalispell - Herron Park Horse Trials. I got really into three-day eventing and my mom got really involved with Herron Park and the horse trials there.

Twenty-two years ago, Herron Park was very limited. It was limited in space for the course, stabling and it was limited because it was a county park, and we did not have autonomy there. Everything had to be approved which made it difficult to push for what my mom wanted. She and my dad started to look for a piece of property that could handle the event that she had in mind. In her mind she wanted to create a world class competition here in Kalispell, that was her

impetus, she had this vision. My mother thought that everyone in this area should learn about eventing. It’s always been free to the public because she wanted people to be able to come and see these horses and what they’re capable of.“

Q. Your

mom passed away in 2010 from breast cancer. What do you think your mom would have to say about what the Event is today? Is it living up to her dreams?

“I think she would be proud of our growth and what The Event has become. When she passed we had probably 200 competitors whereas now we have over 600. It has become a family affair and our number one social event of the year. It's brought together some really great people. That’s what makes this event different - we aren’t a board, we're not a


Sarah Broussard

Yes it’s huge, 650 competitors is huge but it still feels like just this fun friendly event. In the West in general it’s much more social. It’s the time of year when I get to see 700 of my favorite people. Even though it’s a very large event, we can still provide that hometown feel, at least for the competitors.” governing board, we’re all family and friends and that’s the atmosphere of the event.

Yes it’s huge, 650 competitors is huge but it still feels like just this fun friendly event. In the West in general it’s much more social. It’s the time of year when I get to see 700 of my favorite people. Even though it’s a very large event, we can still provide that hometown feel, at least for the competitors.”

Q. I

understand this is a fundraiser for Halt Cancer at X. Tell me more about this organization and its mission?

“Ten years ago when my mom died, I was working at an event in Michigan. They were raising money to go towards a therapeutic riding program and I thought it was really cool to give to a cause. I thought, ‘What will take The Event to the next stage?’ I wanted to find a way to make the event more impactful. Obviously, my mother’s death was still fresh in my mind. I had the idea of creating a breast cancer organization and thought everyone could get behind that.

The first year we did competitor pledges and through those pledges we raised almost $50,000. As the years have gone by we have added other things and have raised over $750,000 in the 10 years of its existence.

About half of it stays locally where local programs apply for grants. The other half of the money goes to a research program. Everything we can learn about cancer and breast cancer helps.”

Q. I don’t know anything about three-day

eventing or horse triathlons as they are called. Can you give me the quick high points of what I need to know? And why these three events?

“To me it’s funny because I’ve been doing it for 40 years and I have to remember, it’s kind of a weird, convoluted sport for people to understand. It’s not like anything they’ve ever seen.

It comes from the military, and it used to be a way that the military would test and show off their horses. The first phase is dressage where competitors memorize a pattern which may consist of 20 different movements pieced together

and you’re scored on each movement out of 10 (points). Dressage showed how well the horses were trained and the relationship that the soldiers had with the horses to have them do these very precise movements.

The next day is cross country where you’re outside galloping over solid wooden obstacles, going through water, over ditches, off banks, all that kind of stuff. That phase was created to show the boldness and the bravery of the horses. The final day is showjumping and that is in an arena of some sort. You do a course of about 1215 fences. They are all rails in cups so if you hit the rail it falls down and you get penalized if you do that.”

Q. It’s Montana - there’s horses everywhere

around here. How do you know if you’ve got an eventing horse? What is it about these horses - are they a particular breed?

“Like high school track, every horse has the ability to compete in these events - how well they do it is a different story. You’re going to see all kinds of different breeds. Almost any horse can do train-



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featured}Sarah Broussard

I think everybody should come. I think that just about every person could come here during that week and find something that they enjoy, whether it be watching the actual competition, hanging out at the food court, or the shopping fair. ing level eventing; they may not be competitive but they can all at least do it. In stronger competitions you see more thoroughbreds because they have the stamina and the bravery.”

Q. Five days, more than 600 world class riders and horses, 8,000 spectators, food vendors, kids carnival, vendor fair. How do you do it? How does it all go off?

“There’s an amazing team of people that pull this off. All of us are emotionally tied to The Event and everyone is extremely personally invested. Everyone from staff, to family, to volunteers - everyone takes a bit of pride and ownership in that and they should. There are volunteers that have been coming for 20 years and they take pride in it, they know that they are important and needed. We have about 250 volunteers, 12 course staff, 15-20 family/support staff, and 30 officials.”

Q. 20 years brings a lot of memories - what are some stand out moments from 20 years of The Event?

“When we did run the World Cup, that's when the landscape really changed, and The Event clicked into what mom wanted.


The year that we had over a hundred people on the waitlist and Dad said ‘Nope, we have to figure out

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a way to get them in.’ So, at the last minute I found some barns. We didn’t have enough stabling. My mom's memorial was a great year, so many people came that year.”

Q. What do the next 20 years look like?

“People have already given this event 20 years of their lives so I can see the players changing a whole lot over the next 20 years. I see it still fulfilling the role and the need for a competition of this caliber in the West. We are as big as we can get right now unless we change format or add more land. “

pony rides for the kids. We’ve set up a bouncy house, miniature golf, little jumps for kids. There’s a lot more than just sitting in a field watching horses go by.”

More than horses, more than just another summer experience, The Event at Rebecca Farm is steeped in excellence, family, community, and joy. This year’s free event is July 21-25 in Kalispell and events start at 9 a.m. Find more information at www.rebeccafarm.org.

Q. What does a perfect day at The Event look like to you? Who should come? What should they watch, eat, experience?

“You bring the family. You bring the blanket. On your way in you can visit the hospitality area and learn a little bit about The Event.

Come through the shopping fair and the food court. You can head out on the course. That’s the great thing about cross country; it’s out and about across the field so you can actually go out to jump on the course and sit to watch horses go by. I think everybody should come. I think that just about every person could come here during that week and find something that they enjoy, whether it be watching the actual competition, hanging out at the food court, or the shopping fair. We have

Alexandria Wilson is a senior at Kansas State University studying Strategic Communications. This summer she is interning for Aspen Communications in Kalispell, Mont.

The Many Faces of Erica von Kleist By Gwyneth Hyndman Photos by Mandy Mohler

For much of the world, 2020 was a rough year - especially for performing artists who depend on live audiences in packed venues. But for local award-winning instrumentalist, playwright, educator, and entrepreneur Erica von Kleist, it became an unexpected opportunity to take a more holistic approach to her background in jazz. “Yes, there was the wind getting sucked out of your lungs in the beginning,” von Kleist says from her Whitefish condo which has also doubled as her primary creative lab after trading New York City for the Flathead Valley nine years ago. “But I’m an improviser,” The Juilliard School graduate adds pluckily. “This is actually what I’ve been trained to do.” Hence both the material and the time needed to create a musical, then embark on a maiden voyage into filmmaking, just to give that project an audience. One year later von Kleist and her writing partners are winning awards for their filmed musical, appropriately titled “Your Musical is Cancelled. The Musical!,” which premiered at the New York City Independent Film Festival in June. The project is a follow-up to her one-woman show “BOOBS! With Erica von Kleist,” which debuted on the New York City cabaret scene four months before Covid-19 stopped the world cold and cleared von Kleist’s touring schedule. “I had a whole tour booked that all went up in smoke in 2020,” von Kleist says. “It was surreal. I know so many artists who had their entire lives stripped away - their entire careers.” But she remembered that she had always wanted to collaborate with Montana writers and comedians David Blair and Mikey Winn, “just to write and be creative and see what happens.” All of the sudden, they had their window.

“It was April of last year and there’s nothing going on,” she recalls. “We’re just all sitting on our porches without anything to do. Mikey called me and said, ‘Hey let’s write something.’ So, we started writing a song called ‘The Earth is Healing’ - just a funny song about the Covid memes that were going around, like ‘There’s dolphins in the Venice Canals - the earth is healing!’ - and that snowballed into more songs.” By June the trio had so many songs, they decided to make it a musical production that


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would be filmed. From there they went into production mode - all of it remotely, with funding sourced through the Alpine Theatre Project, the Whitefish Theatre Company and Whitefish-based actress and arts advocate Becky Rygg.

“I wrote all of the music and all of the music parts,” von Kleist says. “We assembled an orchestra and had everything remotely recorded with the cast. There was actually no down time last year. When we found each other and started writing this, it became this shining light of humor and creativity. It was so much work to get this together and then to release it - but to have that focus during the pandemic was just a lifeline.” A Connecticut native, von Kleist started her music career as a saxophonist and flautist in New York, graduating from The Juilliard School in 2004 with a jazz bachelor’s degree - the first of its kind in the school’s history. Mentored by renowned jazz legend Wynton Marsalis, von Kleist would go on to perform Grammy-nominated recordings with the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and numerous other artists, ahead of the release of three albums with von Kleist as bandleader - Project E, Erica von Kleist & No Exceptions, and Alpine Clarity. Her fourth album

with tap dancer DeWitt Fleming Jr. was released in 2020.

As a go-getter from a young age, von Kleist says that it wasn’t until a gig came up in Montana to perform in the orchestra pit for the Alpine Theatre Project’s summer production in 2012, that she experienced her first true summer vacation.

“At the time, I was in the orchestra for The Addams Family on Broadway - and you know, the show closes and there’s this lull where you’re not doing much and I had had enough of the city,” she remembers. “And then I got the call to come out to Whitefish for a month.” “It was magical,” von Kleist describes.

“In my summers in middle school and high school, I would do band camp or take classes. I’d never let myself go and have that reckless abandon kind of fun like kids normally do. It was fresh, sweetsmelling pine air, it was the reality of being able to actually push your grocery cart down the aisle and actually have room for it, and not having to walk, like three bags of groceries a mile home. “It’s the little things,” von Kleist laughs. “But also, the big things - like mountains and the fact that this is a very healing place. I think that’s why so many are gravitating towards Montana right now. People have been hurting a lot in the last few years and I think people are drawn to the expanse, the beauty, the serenity of it all.”


Erica von Kleist

Life throws you a major curveball and you figure out how to deal with it. That’s been this whole year.



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Erica von Kleist She kept her apartment in Brooklyn for another two years but found herself more and more at home in the Flathead Valley, where etching out a living as a musician was surprisingly easier than in New York. “I came from the world of getting a restaurant gig and you’re lucky if you make $30 dollars (per musician) and you still have to pay for your dinner. Here, musicians make a decent living going from restaurant to restaurant playing gigs. I don’t know if it’s rare but coming from New York, it’s just exponentially harder.

“It's that support for local talent and creative endeavors that has allowed the Flathead Valley arts scene to evolve and flourish,” she says.

As life begins to carefully creep towards normalcy again, von Kleist is also looking forward to continuing her work in music education. Her theory textbook “A Cool Approach to Jazz Theory” is a curriculum for middle and high school jazz programs, and she has taught music business and performance at the University of Montana as well as The Juilliard School, Stanford University and continues to be a faculty member for Carnegie Hall’s NYO Jazz Program. “I love it,” von Kleist says, describing a web series she is developing that would help musicians better navigate the business side of music. “It’s a whole other angle on what I do.” Right now, she teaches piano, saxophone, flute, and theory to students ranging in age from 6 to 65. von Kleist said that while music came naturally to her when she was young, she also flourished under private teaching as well as a public school program that had an emphasis on the arts and put her on the path to Juilliard. Teaching will always be a passion.

“My mom was a single parent when I was in high school and we needed to pay the bills,” von Kleist remembers. “I started my own private teaching studio at age 16, teaching fourth and fifth graders in town - at one point I had 20 students a week. I would get home from school at 3 p.m., have a snack, and there’d be a knock on the door and it would be a little kid with a saxophone coming for a lesson. So, teaching came out of necessity as well.”

She is also simply excited to return to a world of live audiences. As well as teaching herself the bass (“Because I needed something more to do”) and joining up with fellow musicians Halladay Quist and Sarina Hart to form the glam rock band MYNXX. She is also circling back to her show, “BOOBS,” returning to the idea of it being a full cast production, rather than a one-woman show, under the new name, “Sorry! A New Musical (It’s the Tits)” which will premiere at the Alpine Theatre Music Project on the first weekend in October. A staged performance of “Your Musical is Cancelled” will follow on November 11 and 12 at the Whitefish Theatre Company.

It was fresh, sweet-smelling pine air, it was the reality of being able to actually push your grocery cart down the aisle and actually have room for it, and not having to walk, like three bags of groceries a mile home.


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“It’s not in my nature to ever stop,” von Kleist says. “Life throws you a major curveball and you figure out how to deal with it. That’s been this whole year. Now we’re coming out of it with this movie. A year ago if you had ever thought I’d have a film premiering in New York - I’d be like, ‘you’re crazy I’m not a filmmaker.’ “But all of a sudden here we are.”

For more information on Erica von Kleist and her projects, visit ericavonkleist.com.

Gwyneth Hyndman is a freelance writer based in Philipsburg, where she lives with her husband, two daughters under 2, and a 100-pound rescue dog named Gabe.


Together, Seasoned

Master Swimmers Embrace the Open Waters By Alanis Stallknecht Photos by ACE Photography & Design

On a Friday evening after a typical workday, a group of ladies, ages ranging from 30 to 70 can be found gathering for a potluck in a single household. Located within the Flathead Valley and beyond, the ladies commute with food and drinks in hand. A potluck with all of them can sometimes be hard to come by, but when it happens, a common ease and laughter of conversation and stories commence. This tight group is built on stories, experiences, and friendship and they all come together with one thing in common: open water swimming. Open water swimming can have many meanings but is normally performed by a Master swimmer. Master swimmers, 25-years-old and up, are athletes who began swimming in a pool at a young age. After spending hours in an indoor pool, the outdoor scenery and endless possibilities tease them. The need for more, is where open water swimming begins. Open water swimming can be performed in nearly any body of small or large water, including a pond, a river, a lake, or as large as a vast ocean. The time endured, the length achieved, and the goal is up to each Master swimmer. There is no limit to open water swimming and the possibilities to push yourself physically and mentally are endless. The goal, however, is not necessarily to perform in a competition. For the ladies who swim and meet at either The Wave Aquatic and Fitness Center in Whitefish, Mont., or The Summit Medical Fitness Center in Kalispell, Mont., the focus is the present moment and the exhilarating feeling of self-accomplishments.


Master swimmer Natasha Westphal, 62, was born in the former Soviet Union and moved to the United States. For her, Master swimming was a grand discovery. It wasn’t

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Les Mason Park Whitefish Lake. Left to right: Suzanne DeVore, Liz Makman, Holly Apple, Natasha Westphal, Debbie Ploeger, Nancy Schuber, Karina Novokhovsk

profile} Master Swimmers

Waikiki Roughwater Swim. Left to right: Alice Ford, Tara Trotter, Natasha Westphal, Patti Kaszuba, Debbie Ploeger, Jessie Ford

When you get into open water swimming, you’re searching for that zone or meditative state. At that moment, you are dissolved; sometimes it's pleasant and the water is like glass, and other times, there’s the waves and the wind. When you’re in that zone though, your head is completely clear. until 2005, when she moved to Whitefish, that Westphal found a group of ladies with a passion for open water swimming and a welcoming aura. “When you get into open water swimming, you’re searching for that zone or meditative state. At that moment, you are dissolved; sometimes it's pleasant and the water is like glass, and other times, there’s the waves and the wind. When you’re in that zone though, your head is completely clear,” said Westphal.

In 2000, Master swimmer Holly Apple, 56, founded the Whitefish Lake Swim, which is now owned by The Wave. This initial group was where new Master swimmers, like Westphal, could meet and share a goal. With one major interest in common, the group of Master swimmers is a community of nearly 50 women, and the numbers continue to grow. Over time, the numbers have sprouted many friendships that reach outside the perimeter of the pool. Master swimmer Nikki Randall, 38, expressed how critical the group of ladies has been for both her and her family.

“The reason I get to swim is because I have so much support from these ladies and the community. Alice Ford will watch my kids while I go and swim with two other people. Liz Makman’s daughter babysits for me, and another friend watches my kids on the shore while I go out for a swim. It’s been an awesome, really supportive community to be a part of,” said Randall.

Support, like having a partner to accompany a swimmer in the water, is crucial for both beginning and advanced swimmers. In preparation for longer duration swims, the Master swimmers will train together. Swim distances can be anywhere between half a mile, a mile, a 5K, or as far as a 10K; roughly one hour of swimming accumulates to two miles in distance.

While open water swimming may sound intimidating, one perk is the location. In cases where the Master swimmers train, the competitions take place in locations, such as: Saint Croix, US Virgin Islands; Waikiki, Hawaii, Chicago, Ill., Seattle, Wash., Coeur

Whitefish Lake Swim 2005, photos by Andy Apple

d’Alene, Idaho, and Bermuda. In Waikiki, the Roughwater Swim, approximately 2.4 miles, is a precursor to the Iron Man triathlon.

Even with competitions all over the country, it’s hard to beat the view and the water within and around the Flathead Valley. Many of the Master swimmer’s favorite locations include Yellow Bay State Park, Blue Bay State Park, Lake McDonald, Bowman Lake, and Ashley Lake.

“There are so many beautiful places to swim here that I can’t wait to swim in all of them,” said Master swimmer, Patti Kaszuba.

Sometimes, there’s too many options and the group of women will collectively jump in a car and drive out to the Swan Valley. Near and around the Swan Valley are several lakes and with too many options, why choose? Instead, they will reach each access point, hop in, and swim anywhere from a half of a mile to two miles. When they’re done, the race is on to reach their next destination point. Overall, in an entire day they will succeed at least six to seven lakes, and the feeling is priceless.



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profile} Master Swimmers

With my friends, open water swimming is the most relaxing thing I can do, and I think of it as meditation. When I’m in the water I relax, and my brain is cleared. It’s amazing, “With my friends, open water swimming is the most relaxing thing I can do, and I think of it as meditation. When I’m in the water I relax, and my brain is cleared. It’s amazing,” explained Master swimmer, Liz Makman.

What is also amazing, is the experiences made during their swims. During a swim in Foys Lake in Kalispell, Randall looked forward to sight which direction she was heading and witnessed an eagle dive from above and catch a fish with its talons. In a more startling experience, a Master swimmer was shocked to see a black bear swimming close to her in Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park.

For many reasons, the experiences and the friendships made from open water swimming is addicting. However, it is still important to proceed with caution when either starting out, or for intermediate swimmers.

“Make sure you have someone who can pay attention to you. Don't just jump in, because even if it's warm, you may still easily become anxious. You don’t want to get out to the middle of the lake and have a panic attack, so make sure you’re with someone you trust. Also, start with short distances and stay close to shore,” urged Apple. If you’re interested in learning more about open water swimming, your best bet is to walk into either The Wave or The Summit and build connections with the welcoming group of women Master swimmers. No matter your goals for distance, technique, or time, you’ll be sure to find open arms and welcoming smiles both in and outside the water. Alanis Stallknecht graduated from the University of Montana Western in 2018 with a Bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in Professional Communications. Originally from the Flathead Valley, Stallknecht spends her free time outside, whether that be at the lake or hiking, and time with her friends and family.


Above photo: Dayton marina-Flathead Lake- preparing to swim to Wildhorse Island. Left to right: Holly Apple, Tara Trotter, Liz Makman, Julie Stetter, Debbie Ploeger, Alice Ford, Natasha Westphal, Ade Saunier

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Take a trip back in time

Northwest Montana History Museum Written by Jen Roche & Jacob Thomas Photos by Alisia Dawn Photography

“If you haven’t stopped by yet, you definitely should,” we have said more than once while telling people about the Northwest Montana History Museum, the best place we have ever worked. Of course, we have also had to acknowledge the awkward one-way street on which it is located. The historic schoolhouse was built in 1894, long before Kalispell started growing into what it is today. But once history lovers find their way to this historic Richardsonian Romanesque building in the heart of downtown, the structure beckons at first glance. Everything at the Northwest Montana History Museum is intriguing. That’s an effect of Kalispell’s original Central School, the first permanent home in the town for grades 1 thru 11 (they didn’t attend 12th grade). It towers above the skyline in all four directions, a beacon of knowledge standing tall over the heart of the upper Flathead Valley. And though the reach of the Northwest Montana History Museum stretches far beyond the school’s original walls, it is always good to remember its foundation, which at one time was crumbling, both literally and figuratively. Utilized by the Kalispell School District until 1969, and later housing the still-young Flathead Valley Community College (FVCC) until their move to its current location, the old Central School sat vacant and was quickly deteriorating. City leaders considered leveling the derelict structure. Eventually, a city council vote was taken to help decide whether to turn the area into a parking lot


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Jen Roche Museum manager &

Jacob Thomas Museum Director

Photo courtesy of Northwest Montana History Museum


NW Montana History Museum

By one vote in late 1997, the building was saved and the foundation was laid for a world-class history museum. or renovate it into a museum. By one vote in late 1997, the building was saved and the foundation was laid for a world-class history museum.

Central School is now and has always been the epicenter of the historical collection of the Museum. But to attract new visitors and distinguish ourselves amongst the cultural scene of the Flathead Valley, our organization rebranded in 2019 from the “Museum at Central School” to the current, “Northwest Montana History Museum.” We even partnered with a graphic design class at FVCC to help design our new logo! This new face-lift is fresh, bold, and modern with a direct homage to the past. Instrumental in the settling of the Northwest Montana region, the old Hudson Bay Company used a similar classic branding pattern to depict blanket sizes when trading with the American Indians. The Pendleton Company pattern has also become associated with nearby Glacier National Park.

All these changes have been positive for the Northwest Montana History Museum. Visitation has been climbing and a host of new products

have been introduced to our SchoolBell Books & Gifts located inside the Museum. Our Instagram and Facebook social media pages are growing exponentially, and a YouTube channel was added in early 2021. A new website is set to launch this summer and this past spring we worked yet again with a FVCC marketing focus group to aid us with more online platforms in the future. At the Northwest Montana History Museum, you feel more than welcomed…you feel like you are invited, like a family friend. With more than 60 volunteers dedicating their valuable time to operate the welcome desk, check patrons out in the gift shop, give educational docent tours, and host room rental events; it really does take an army of selfless individuals to create a “museum magic” felt by all who visit. Our mission is focused on preserving and interpreting the past and we remain dedicated to growing and moving into the future. This summer, on every third Friday each month, we are hosting a Trivia Night with tons of prizes donated by national and local businesses. Beer and wine will be available for purchase. It is going to be so much fun! Over the past several years new exhibits have been created and long-standing exhibition halls have been revisited and embellished. Never-before-seen historic artifacts and documents from

Glacier National Park, Demersville*, and American Indian tribes have been added to give our visitors a full perspective of the people, places, and things that molded the Flathead Valley into what it is today. Another exciting gallery will soon be joining our list in early 2022, with an eagerly anticipated opening of an exhibition focusing on early downtown Kalispell. It will feature a pen and ink mural drawn by a local artist along with historical photographs as references. Our guests will soon be able to experience what downtown Kalispell looked like in its formative years. Our exhibit will correlate perfectly with the upcoming Parkline Trail and our exclusive reissue of the Montana Main Streets: Guide to Historic Kalispell book, available for purchase in our SchoolBell Books & Gifts. No, really, if you haven’t stopped by yet…you definitely should! There is always something new to explore at the Northwest Montana History Museum. After all, it is “Where Our Past is Present.”

*A city unlike any other at its time, Demersville was once the premier destination in the Flathead Valley. The once-active community is now a deserted stretch of rural road.



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Knudsen Manages More Than Just Risk By Jonna Mary Yost Photos by ACE Photography & Design

Would you feel safe with a former professional Disney on Ice skater as your risk control manager during a global pandemic? After meeting Elyse Knudsen, you’ll only answer yes. Knudsen began her adult career studying Civil Engineering in Seattle when she realized what she really missed: ice skating. While working for Disney on Ice, she spent a lot of time on cruise ships. A fatality on one of the ships had all employees involved in investigations, reports and future protocol to better the ship’s safety. Elyse said to herself, “This really could be a career.”

winter and summer operations along with major Knudsen’s husband was working in Singapore capital projects such as moving all the chair 8 tow- until February 2020, which gave her interesting ers to relocate them to the new location. insight on the Covid-19 global pandemic from the beginning. Two weeks before Whitefish Mountain “It is lots of fun stuff all the time,” said Knudsen. closed, Knudsen was already talking about how to restrict operations. She spent hours determining Her first year included the first full chair evacua- how to keep people outside, avoid high-touch tion since 1995. areas, and how to build a 3-tier closure process depending on the severity of cases in Montana. “That was where I could first really put my Chev- Knudsen took protocol from her cruise ship ron experience into play,” said Knudsen. experience.

After much research, Elyse found that Montana Tech in Butte, Montana, offered the most reasonable path to get out of college Her feeling of accomplishment was eminent as she “It was fire hose to the face for the next two weeks,” without debt. explained the huge debrief with the forest service said Knudsen. “How do we keep our employees that occurred after the evacuation. “Montana Tech is a fabulous school in terms of payback,” said Knudsen. “The outcome was spectacular,” said Knudsen. With graduation behind her, Elyse worked at Chev- “Our 14 action items became super important and ron for six years. Drill ships on the Gulf of Mexico, you can ask anyone: I keep everyone accountable Africa for two years, then Bulgaria at a port taking for those items!” in big shipping equipment to go through the RusLast summer, 2020, was Knudsen’s first real sumsian Canal. mer. In 2018, Elyse said the Risk Control Manager position at Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort popped up. A serendipitous moment, Elyse and her husband leapt at the opportunity to move back to Montana, where she had grown up. Elyse would manage


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“It was really interesting to see our world as it evolved to when we closed to when we reopened for summer,” said Knudsen. “We were really naïve to what was going on.”

safe and how do we care for the year-round employees?”

Whitefish Mountain paid all employees for the first week of closure, and then worked toward devising a plan. Knudsen managed a massive spreadsheet that not only kept employees financially taken care of, but she managed families who had needs like kids at home due to school closure, or employees who regularly contacted high-risk individuals and needed to take extra precaution. Knudsen was on the phone with the county health department daily and the CDC website often, trying to follow guidelines.


“We had our own ‘chemistry lab’ going, diluting bleach and researching products,” said Knudsen. “Employees had their own personal disinfectant bottle and paper towel rolls, and they were all assigned vehicles and separate work spaces to maintain recommended distance.” As the weeks ticked by, Knudsen said the words of her CEO are what sparked some hope for her.

Whitefish Mountain CEO Dan Graves told Knudsen they could still move forward in trying to open for summer as people could be outdoors and space out. That guidance kept Knudsen afloat and gave her a purpose and some direction. With a Covid Committee meeting daily, Knudsen felt things begin to shift.

“We created a partnership with Glacier Distilling and they designed us big jugs of homemade hand sanitizer,” she said. “We put plexiglass around all point of sale locations and tested patrollers regularly.”

North Valley Hospital allowed ski patrollers to be fitted for N-95 masks. While the masking was required last season, this summer Whitefish Mountain will allow tourists to visit outdoors with no mask requirement.

“Whitefish promotes tourism and we want to do it in a safe way,” said Knudsen. “Our county is offering vaccines to non-locals who are visiting this summer.” Knudsen said a weight was listed off her shoulders as her fellow Whitefish Mountain employees received vaccinations, along with the majority of her friends and family.

“We are lucky enough to have two international employees this season and they got vaccinated immediately upon arriving in Whitefish,” she said. “Vaccination has been a great service to give to employees and provide comfort.” Whitefish Mountain is strongly encouraging visitors to receive the Covid-19 vaccination on their website as well as on flyers on the mountain. “We’ll continue with plexiglass at the points of sale and we’ll have hand sanitizer around as well as disposable face coverings,” said Knudsen in regard to this summer’s plans. “Those who are vaccinated no longer have to use masks or distance. I follow OSHA and CDC – those are my tools – I’m governed by the occupational health administration.”

Elyse Knudsen

“It was fire hose to the face for the next two weeks,” said Knudsen. “How do we keep our employees safe and how do we care for the year-round employees?”

As part of the Whitefish Covid Task Force, Knudsen has channeled her professionalism not only on the mountain, but to her community at large. “It’s been challenging,” Knudsen said. “Looking from a 30,000-foot view, we experienced people all throughout the spectrum of where their opinion of this pandemic landed. That was hard to manage.” Knudsen feels that everything she did during the pandemic was the right thing to do at that time. “I felt in my position, I couldn’t keep everyone happy, but I had to manage risk to a reasonable place.”

Author Jonna Mary Yost is a Montana native with a passion for the outdoors. When she's not on another mountain or river adventure, she's at Roam, her yoga and fitness studio training with clients.

Elyse and the lift operator Dan Hughes.



oman.com  29

Golf Analysis

Can Lead to a Better Game By Cristy Wells Photos by Amanda Wilson Photography

I don’t want to do anything to improve my golf swing…. said no golfer…. ever. Whether you are just starting out in the game or have been playing for 50 years, there are always ways to improve. Being a physical therapist, my favorite way to help people with their swing is to eliminate pain or reduce the risk of injuries. However, if that translates into helping to increase accuracy, consistency, and distance, who wouldn’t mind that as a bonus? I am Cristy Wells and I have recently earned a Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) certification, which allows me to objectively analyze an individual’s body mechanics and golf swing. That is important because not everyone is built the same, can move the same or has experienced the same injuries in life. So instead of trying to train everyone how the perform the same swing, now I can individualize the most efficient and effective golf swing for each person depending on their own unique body type, strengths, and limitations. This is an excellent way to improve a person’s golf swing while reducing risks for injury.

The process is fun, but thorough. I like to break down the evaluation into three main components. One, is performing the TPI physical screen to examine movement patterns and limitations. Two, is performing a slowmotion video analysis and breakdown looking at the swing characteristics. Third, is utilizing K-Motion software to provide 3D data and biofeedback training.


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Additionally, I like to think I can provide a special twist on the way I analyze. My path into physical therapy has been one less traveled. I started out as a civil and structural engineer with 15 years of experience working on analysis and design. I also proudly worked stateside and overseas assigned to civil engineering squadrons in the U.S. Air Force. With a further

Now I can individualize the most efficient and effective golf swing for each person depending on their own unique body type, strengths, and limitations. desire to help people on a more personal level, I transitioned into physical therapy. So now I have the best of both worlds – the ability to analyze/design while helping people continue to enjoy the activities they love with less pain and improved function.

I am not just a TPI golf analysis dealer. I am also a user. Life led me away from the game of golf for many years and I am returning to it quite rusty. I have also had several injuries in my life so that as I return now, I cannot physically swing the club as I once did. To prove the effectiveness of the program, I am posting a series of videos illustrating its application on myself on Facebook and Instagram. I invite you to follow me on my journey as I improve my golf game using the tools that I truly believe will be helpful to everyone interested. Give me a call to learn how I can help you play your game better. Cristy Wells Whitefish Therapy & Sport Center 2006 Hospital Way, Whitefish Montana 406-861-WFPT (9378) www.whitefishtherapy.com



Stay Healthy and Happy this Summer Summer is in full bloom filling meadows and mountainsides with a bouquet of color and life. Like the bear grass, lupine, and Indian paintbrush, the number of out-oftown guests blossom each year bringing more life to the area. More visitors coupled with our valley’s growing population impact our environs, pose safety concerns, and affect our sense of well-being. Yet as with wildflowers, we can all flourish together. As our communities and visitation have grown, North Valley Hospital has grown along with them. Our mission, “to be the center of healing to the communities we serve” extends well beyond our home base of Whitefish with rural clinics in Columbia Falls and Eureka, and seasonal clinics in West Glacier June to September, and at Whitefish Mountain Resort in


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Written by Christina “Riley” Polumbus Photos Courtesy of North Valley Hospital

the winter. North Valley Hospital and its rural health clinics are prepped and ready to care for residents and visitors.

Because Glacier National Park is the number one draw in our region in the summertime, North Valley Hospital established a clinic in West Glacier. The clinic is located just outside Glacier National Park’s west entrance, on the edge of the West Glacier Village. Providing walk-in care and open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. the clinic is staffed with Board-certified Nurse Practitioners and Physicians Assistants. Along with an Imaging Technician and digital X-ray, the clinic delivers prompt attention for cold and flu symptoms, infections, burns, fractures, sprains, and minor cuts. For questions or detailed directions, they can be reached at 406-888-9924. Most patients receive care and get on with their day. For others requiring higher care, and for those residing or recreating outside the

park, our primary care clinics are available by appointment in the communities of Columbia Falls and Eureka.

North Valley Family Medicine is a full-service family practice in Columbia Falls providing health care from maternity through senior adults. Located at 1675 Talbot Road in a beautiful facility, they can accommodate same-day appointments and walk-ins. The clinic also provides covid-19 screening and vaccines. For appointments call 460-892-3248. Eureka’s primary care clinic is a full-service rural health clinic providing a broad range of services for families. Open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., they serve the communities and visitors at the northern end of our region. Call for an appointment at 406-297-3145. No matter where you are, for emergencies, call 911 or come to North Valley Hospital.

Above Photo: Emergency Department Physician Dr. Jeffrey Westensee comforts a pediatric patient at North Valley Hospital.


North Valley Hospital

As our communities and visitation have grown, North Valley Hospital has grown along with them. Minutes from downtown Whitefish, the hospital’s Emergency Department is open 24/7 with a round-the-clock inhouse physician Board Certified in Emergency Medicine. Although small, North Valley Hospital offers nearly all the same services as a big city hospital—CT scans and other imaging, 24-hour laboratory services—and access to a higher level of care at our affiliate Logan Health Medical Center just down the road in Kalispell. The North Valley Hospital Emergency Department is also certified in Pediatric Preparedness. North Valley Hospital also offers covid-19 testing for no symptoms or mild symptoms including testing required for travel 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call 406-862-1754 to schedule an appointment.

If you need prescriptions, Good Medicine Pharmacy is conveniently located in Columbia Falls at Super 1 Foods. Their friendly staff accepts new patients and can help visitors that have lost or forgotten medications, plus

you can shop for groceries while you wait for your prescription to be filled. For questions or to call in an order their number is 406-892-9997. Because this summer will be one of the busiest yet, it will put a strain on the region the likes of which have not been seen before. As we gear up for adventure, packing a positive mindset, and being prepared for the unexpected will make this summer more enjoyable.

Whether you’re visiting, new to the area, or have been here a lifetime, we all share a common desire to experience the beauty and uniqueness of this place. Be mindful that we are all here to enjoy the same thing and connect with kindness. Recreate responsibly and be prepared for a change in weather or making a last-minute change in plans. Flexibility is the key to making the most of your day and the most of our amazing northwest Montana summer.


Photos clockwise from upper left: North Valley Hospital’s helicopter pad and Emergency Room entrance in Whitefish. - Imaging Tech Pam Albrite and Physician Assistant Kelley Price stand outside North Valley Hospital’s West Glacier Clinic. - Good Medicine Pharmacy’s Shalyn Coker, Wendy Sunde, Mindy Otto and Doug Akovenko are ready to fill prescriptions at Good Medicine Pharmacy in the Super 1 grocery store in Columbia Falls.


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What Is Your Wellness Strategy? Written by Keirsten Alton, Holistic Pharmacist

The last year has brought health to the forefront of all our minds. Supplement sales have reached an all-time high and many of us no longer take our health for granted. Leave it to a pandemic to remind us of what is important.

There are several health strategies you can adopt when it comes to preventing illness and maintaining our current state of health. Let’s talk about my three favorites.

• The No Maintenance Plan • The Yo-Yo Approach • The Balanced Approach

First there is the “no maintenance” strategy. Many people adopt this strategy and drive down the road of life just looking at the scenery beside them, not what is around the next turn. When we are younger this works. We heal quickly, our hormones function normally, our thyroid is in great shape and our health is easy to maintain. The problem with this strategy is that sometimes when things break, they can’t be fixed or can be very difficult to fix.


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Imagine a car and that you never changed the oil filter. The car’s engine wouldn’t run properly after a couple of years. Your liver is kind of like your cars oil filter. It is our body’s toxin filter. Abused by environmental chemicals, alcohol, and a whole host of other toxins. A little bit of maintenance on your liver would go a long way to keeping you healthy. Especially when it comes to hormones. Your liver helps make and break down your hormones. Without a healthy liver you will not have a healthy hormone system. Let’s look at bone density. It is much easier to make sure we have super strong bones by taking in adequate calcium and magnesium when we are young than it is to try and fix weak bone structure later in life. Exercise, healthy eating, and supplementation can all be beneficial before there is a problem. Many of my patients followed the no maintenance plan early in life and paid the price later.

The best example I can give is type II diabetes. This happens slowly over many years of your blood sugar creeping up due to a poor diet and lifestyle choices. Then one day you are at your doctor’s office and they tell you your blood sugar

is now 110 and you have diabetes. Next comes a slew of medications to help lower your sugars, which can result in you needing blood pressure meds and down the slippery slope you go. The reality is that had you watched your blood sugars over the years you would have seen them rising. With a maintenance plan we could have addressed them when they were at 90-100 with diet changes, exercise, weight loss, and hormone balance. We could have avoided in many cases the diabetes diagnosis. Don’t fret if this has been your health strategy. There are many ways diet, lifestyle and supplements can alter a bad diagnosis. We can lower cholesterol, blood pressure, increase energy levels and hormone imbalance through holistic means. We can even combine holistic and western medicine when necessary.

The second and most common health strategy I see is the “yo-yo” approach. Many of us including myself have tried this. Gain 10 pounds, lose 10 pounds, just to gain it back. Eat totally clean for 3-4 months then fall off the wagon and end up back at McDonalds. Start an exercise program, get into great shape then miss a couple of workouts and then stop all together. There is no real balance in this approach, just extremes on both sides.

health} Wellness

My favorite health strategy is a balanced approach. I believe we need to be in it for the long haul and that small changes can have lasting health benefits. The biggest challenge with your health is finding a path that works for you. If you love meat and I make you become a vegan, chances are you won’t last long and you will go back to eating meat. What if instead you learned the differences between grocery store beef, wild game, and grass-fed beef. You made some small changes that would have huge health benefits but you did not have to give up meat altogether. Most of us need shorter goals such as 30-90 days rather than feeling like it is forever. Can you start an exercise program that includes three days of

walking outside for 45 minutes per week for 30 days? That is only 12 walks! By the end of the 30 days, you will feel better and be healthier. You will not be overwhelmed and the odds are that you can do it for another 30 days.

The balanced plan includes maintenance for your body. This includes the following: • Some type of body work such as massage, physical therapy, chiropractic • Movement, Pilates, yoga, stretching • Eating in a way that is good for you and good for your body • Supplementation for your major health concerns

betes, breast cancer, or Alzheimer’s. Then, working backwards we can devise a long-term health strategy to combat these health concerns.

I recommend taking the right supplements over a long period of time versus taking handfuls of pills for six months and stopping because you are overwhelmed. Sitting down with a holistic practitioner to map out a beneficial long-term plan is a great place to start your “balanced approach” to a healthier life. It can also save money because you will only be taking the supplements you need.

My favorite approach is balanced and works for you in a way that is sustainable for the long run. Little changes that can last a lifetime will truly create longevity and happiness.

Your body, like a car, needs to be taken care of. Keeping your spine, core and major muscle groups aligned is critical for everything to operate properly. Chiropractic, yoga and stretching were designed to be used before your body is injured. Not just as a “fix it” strategy when we do get injured.

Keirsten Alton, Holistic Pharmacist

I have seen so many patients go see a holistic practitioner to be told they must avoid gluten, alcohol, sugar, and the list goes on. Yes, this would be good for us but oftentimes it is so overwhelming and not truly sustainable. We start and stop, over and over again. It is just too hard. Many of us fail before we get started or don’t make the changes for long enough to reap the benefits. Well, I am here to tell you that living a healthy life does not have to be hard. There is a better way.

Supplements also can be used to prevent long term illness. In the long run, we would be better off if we identified our core health concerns. Looking at genetic, family factors and lifestyle choices. Start with identifying three main health concerns. These might be things like a family history of dia-



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How a Real Estate Attorney Can Help You in Buying or Selling Property By Kelly R. O’Brien, Attorney/Partner, Measure Law

It’s no secret that the real estate market in the Flathead Valley is booming. It’s a fact across the mountain west. This market has caused frenetic buying and selling, which only adds to an already daunting task. In addition to the emotional issues associated with buying or selling a home or property, there are a host of legal issues involved. Seeking legal advice and assistance with your real estate purchase will ensure you understand what you are purchasing, in advance, and provide for a smoother process overall.

Even those purchasing real estate for investment purposes can become overwhelmed with the process of buying real estate, especially in a booming market.

What many people don’t know is that using a real estate attorney as part of your real estate team can alleviate much of the overwhelm and insecurity of what is often one of the more important investment decisions of your life.

Adding a real estate attorney to your team

In most cases, a buyer or seller of property will use a real estate broker or agent to assist with the sale or purchase of property. Adding a real estate attorney to the team provides important understanding to the legal considerations of the purchase:

Realtors can provide helpful insight into the local real estate market, up-to-date listing in-

formation, marketing advice and assist in negotiating a fair price for your home.

Real estate attorneys can review any listing agreement and the buy-sell agreement to

ensure all of the potential legal issues are addressed. An attorney can also help you understand the confusing terms, commissions, and closing costs you will be required to pay.


A real estate attorney can review the title commitment to ensure you are aware of and

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adequately address any title exceptions that may cause a problem in the future. Even if you utilize a real estate broker, you may want to consider bringing on a real estate attorney to review the fine print of titles and contingencies. Contract contingencies and title issues are where real estate agreements can break down and it is best for you to have multiple professional eyes looking out for your best interest.

How to best use a real estate attorney for property sales and purchases

A real estate attorney can assist with all aspects of the sale or purchase of real estate from the initial offer through closing.

Document drafting and review

Buying or selling property requires a mountain of documentation, as you will find at any closing. A real estate attorney can draft or review all of these, including: offers, buy-sell agreements, financing documents, deeds, and other documents of conveyance such as easements or water right agreements.

Even if an attorney does not draft these documents, a real estate attorney can provide review and essential insight for you. Their job is to ensure the contract and associated sale documents are correct, do not omit essential terms, and that you understand the terms contained in the agreement.

Title status and title issues

Most real estate sales require the buyer to obtain a preliminary title commitment for the property. A title commitment will show you any legal restraints on the property, such as easements or restrictive covenants that may impact your use of the property.

Advice from a real estate attorney within this process can be especially valuable. A real estate attorney explains what certain title exceptions mean and how they might impact your property use and value - all essential information purchasing real estate.

For example, one of the most common types of restraints on property is an easement. An easement is a “nonpossessory” interest in the land of another individual that gives the easement holder the limited right to use the land of another.

Many people living outside of the city limits may have some type of road, utility, or water well easement across their property for necessary access to their property. Similarly, many properties may have shared water wells or water rights. This is an especially common issue that can cause problems for real estate owners in northwestern Montana where we had large tracts of land divided slowly over time.


Real Estate

Using a real estate attorney as part of your real estate team can alleviate much of the overwhelm and insecurity of what is often one of the more important investment decisions of your life. do not always work out as planned. If a sale falls through, an attorney can assist in attempting to resolve a dispute and negotiate the best outcome for you. Ultimately, if attempts to resolve the situation are not successful, an attorney can assist with the litigation associated with the transaction and related agreements.

Seek legal advice at the beginning of the process

This is my biggest tip for you - start your real estate process with legal counsel. Your attorney can help you through the process from the beginning, oftentimes saving you valuable time and money in the process.

If you are considering purchasing or selling property, it is important you fully review any easements and related agreements to ensure you understand and agree to the terms. If the title commitment raises any potential issues with adjoining property, an attorney can help resolve the potential issue before you purchase the property.

Zoning restrictions and subdivision regulations

If you plan to purchase a home to use for a particular purpose, such as a home business or farm, a real estate attorney can explain the zoning restrictions on a particular property. A real estate attorney can also determine whether you are able to subdivide the property and the process required to subdivide.

Water rights and environmental issues

A water right is a type of property right, which means it can be bought, sold, or transferred. Water rights are normally transferred with the sale of property, but sometimes the previous owner reserves the water rights from the sale. A reservation of water rights must be specifically written into the deed. If a seller does not reserve the water rights, then a water right transfer certificate must be filed to ensure the water right documentation is updated with the state. An attorney can review the transfer language in the deed and associated documentation to ensure the water rights are properly

transferred with the land and assist in determining the nature and extent of water rights associated with a particular property. Similarly, a real estate attorney can also assist in determining whether there are any environmental issues that may impact the property. If there are existing environmental issues, such as a spill or other environmental contamination, an attorney can explain how this might impact your ownership or future development. They can also provide advice on how to address an environmental issue within the sale process.

Even if you work with a real estate agent, a real estate attorney can assist in navigating the entire process to ensure you understand and agree to all the terms of the agreement, and if not, can negotiate better terms or resolve potential issues prior to the property sale. Research shows that the mountain west housing boom will not be slowing anytime soon. Rapid buying and selling of property can lead to mistakes. Adding a real estate attorney to your team will provide you peace of mind as you embark on life’s biggest decisions.

Liability protection and planning for investment property

If you are purchasing real estate as an investment or rental property, a real estate attorney can provide guidance for how to protect your personal assets from liabilities associated with rental property ownership. For example, an attorney can help you with the formation of a limited liability company (LLC) for the ownership of your investment property. An LLC can assist with protecting personal liability, tax planning, transferring interests to other family members, and establishing guidelines for the use and maintenance of the property.

Resolving disputes and litigation

Even if you thoroughly address all potential legal issues in advance, real estate transactions

If you need real estate counsel, contact the experts at Measure Law. For more than 75 years the team at Measure Law has been helping the Flathead Valley with their real estate decisions. Call 406.752.6373 or visit www.measurelaw.com.


This article is intended for educational and information purposes only, it is not intended to act as legal advice.


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Should I go to the Emergency Room or Walk-In Clinic? By Logan Health (formerly known as Kalispell Regional Healthcare)

When an accident happens or new symptoms appear, we usually have a good idea whether we should seek medical care. If we think someone might be having a heart attack, getting them to an emergency room as soon as possible is basically an instinct. However, there’s a whole range of situations where your choice might not be so clear. Choosing the right place to seek treatment can be even more difficult when you feel sick or are in pain. The medical world calls these types of situations acute care, which means you, a patient, need active and prompt treatment, but only for a short period of time. By short we mean anything from under an hour to a few days or weeks in the hospital, during which time you are receiving constant attention from nurses, doctors and other medical professionals.

Over the course of a year, Logan Health sees around 38,000 patients in our emergency rooms in Kalispell and Whitefish. While some of those patients were admitted to the hospital because of their emergency, others were treated and released. When you come to the ER to be seen, staff use a process called triage, which means “to sort.” ER staff are specially trained to assess each person, consider their health history and assign them a place in the queue. While staff strive to see patients as quickly as possible, wait times in the ER may vary depending on the number of patients and how sick the patients are (or acuity) that are currently being seen.

We want to make sure all patients are able to receive prompt, high-quality care when they need it. Helping you decide when and where to seek care is one way we try to keep our wait times low across the organization.


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When to visit the emergency room

How quickly do you need care? The U.S. National Library of Medicine offers the following suggestions when deciding when to use the emergency room: If a person, child or unborn baby could die or be permanently disabled, it is an emergency.

Call 911 to have the emergency team come to you right away if you cannot wait, such as for:

• Choking • Stopped breathing • Head injury with passing out, fainting or confusion • Injury to neck or spine, especially if there is loss of feeling or inability to move • Electric shock or lightning strike • Severe burn • Severe (intense) chest pain or pressure • Seizure that lasted three to five minutes

Go to an emergency department or call 911 for help for problems such as: • Trouble breathing • Passing out or fainting • Pain in the arm or jaw

• Unusual or bad headache, especially if it started suddenly • Suddenly not able to speak, see, walk or move • Suddenly weak or drooping on one side of the body • Dizziness or weakness that does not go away • Inhaled smoke or poisonous fumes • Sudden confusion • Heavy bleeding • Possible broken bone, especially if the bone is pushing through the skin • Deep wound • Serious burn • Coughing or throwing up blood • Severe (intense) pain anywhere on the body • Severe allergic reaction with trouble breathing, swelling or hives • High fever with headache and stiff neck • High fever that does not get better with medicine • Throwing up or loose stools that does not stop • Poisoning or overdose of drug or alcohol • Suicidal thoughts • Seizures

health} Logan Health

Logan Health Medical Center Emergency Room 350 Conway Drive Kalispell, MT 59901

North Valley Hospital Emergency Room 1600 Hospital Way Whitefish, MT 59937

Primary Care Walk-In

1287 Burns Way Kalispell MT 59901 Monday-Friday 7 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday-Sunday 9 a.m. -5 p.m. 160 Heritage Way Kalispell MT 59901 Monday-Friday 8 a.m.- 6 p.m.

Nurse Call Line (406) 890-7272 Daily, 7 a.m.– 7 p.m.

Symptom Support

(406) 752-8672 Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.


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When to use walk-in clinics

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, when you have a problem, do not wait too long to get medical care. If your problem is not life-threatening or potentially disabling, but you are concerned and cannot see your provider soon enough, get immediate care at a walk-in clinic.

Walk-in clinics can treat problems such as:

• Common illnesses, such as colds, the flu, earaches, sore throats, migraines, low-grade fevers and limited rashes • Minor injuries, such as sprains, back pain, minor cuts and burns, minor broken bones or minor eye injuries

If you are not sure, talk to someone

If you are not sure what to do, and you don't have one of the serious conditions listed above, call and speak to a medical professional. Logan Health has multiple opportunities for you to get advice from our staff.

• Nurse Call Line – Free community resource staffed by nurses to help you triage your symptoms and either treat you or get recommendations on where to seek treatment.

• Cancer Symptom Support Hotline – Free resource to cancer patients staffed by

nurses and advanced practice providers who can help you manage symptoms. • Your provider’s office—Free resource offered by both primary care and specialists have an on call provider available 24/7. Describe your symptoms to the provider and find out what you should do. Patients are encouraged to contact their primary care physician for nontraumatic needs to see if appointments are available right away.

Be prepared for emergencies

Before you experience a medical problem, learn what your choices are. Check the website of your health insurance company. Put these telephone numbers in the memory of your phone:

• Your primary care provider • The closest emergency department • Local urgent care or walk-in clinics

Recognizing a true emergency can be challenging, but knowing the options available for situations when there are sudden health care needs can help you determine when and where to seek treatment.

Note: The information provided is intended only as general summary information made available to the public. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Exercises for

Happy Hips and

Healthy Spine

for Cyclists and Hikers By Gabrielle Cahoon Photos by Amanda Wilson Photography

One of the many draws to living in Northwest Montana is the abundance of hiking and biking trails. With over 700 miles of hiking trails in Glacier National Park, 42 miles on the Whitefish Trail System, and endless miles to road bike, our options are nearly limitless to get outdoors and exercise. According to ACE Fitness the benefits of exercising outdoors include improved mood and reduced depression, enhance self-esteem, low cost, ease of access, and connecting to mother nature. While all these benefits sound amazing, it is important to remember to stretch over used muscles to keep your hips happy and your back healthy and strong while you are enjoying the outdoors. Try some of the following exercises before, during, or even after your outdoor adventures to keep you doing what you love pain and injury free. The beauty of these exercises, primarily from Foundation Training, is you can do them anywhere. Exercise 1:

Head Nods

Purpose: Correct forward head position from cycling or wearing a backpack hiking.

Set Up: Begin standing with your middle fingers at the occiput (base of your skull) and your index finger along the outer edges of your C1/C2 (top of the neck).

Action: As if you are nodding your head to say “yes,” draw the chin up and feel the chest lift creating extension at the neck. Then reverse the action, draw the chin down and feel the back of the neck elongate, creating flexion. Create as much length from the base of the skull to your tailbone as possible, as if you are trying to reach the crown of your head to the sky.


Repeat 10-20x

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Exercise 2: (above)

Foundation Training’s Lunge Decompression

Purpose: Lengthen the front of the body under tension

Set Up: Splint stance. Three points of contact on your front foot with the heel of your back foot lifted off the ground 2-3 inches. Outside Edges of your feet parallel. 50/50 weight distribution between legs. Knees unlocked. Pelvis and Spine Neutral. Hands long by the sides with palms forward.

Action: Anchor the pelvis by scissoring legs towards each other, creating tension between the two legs. Plant the three points of contact (ball of your big toe, ball of your pinky toe, and the heel) firm into the ground and feel the front heel pulling back towards your back foot as your back foot pulls forward towards your front heel. Take 10 decompression breaths, elevating and expanding the ribs away from the pelvis while you continue to anchor the legs towards the pelvis. You should feel length happening at the front of the toro, especially in the hip flexors and quadriceps of the back leg.

Progress to reaching hands in front to the Sphere of Tension chest height, then slightly above the forehead.

Try some of the following exercises before, during, or even after your outdoor adventures to keep you doing what you love pain and injury free. Exercise 3: Calf Stretch

Purpose: Lengthen the calf muscles (soleus and gastrocnemius)

Set Up: Return to the Foundation Training’s Lunge Decompression Set Up

Action: Start by bending the front knee like a lunge and straighten the back leg as your heel lengthens to the ground (this targets the gastrocnemius). This will give the upper to mid part of the calf length. Next move the back leg forward a few inches and bend your knees, leaning towards the back leg more as if you are sitting in a tall chair. This will create length at the lower calf and the Achilles tendon area and target the soleus. Repeat 10 times at a playful, bouncy pace before switching to the opposite side.

Exercise 4:

Foundation Training’s Founder

Purpose: Activate the Posterior Chain and Develop the Hip


Set Up: Standing about 2x the distance of your hips with

outside edge of the feet parallel. Find the three points of contact of the feet into the ground. Place weight towards the heels. Legs internally rotated as if your unlocked knees are cross-eyed eyeballs. Pelvis and spine neutral. Hands in the measuring stick position.

Action: Set an inward anchor by pulling the feet towards each other as if to make a long skinny “X” between the ball of the big toe joints and the opposite heel of each foot. Keep your glutes relaxed as you establish the anchor. Think you have your right foot on a boat and your left foot on a dock, pull the boat and the dock together.

Take expansive breathes elevating and expanding the ribs away from the hips before you begin to hinge. Start the hinging action by pulling the hips back, unlocking the knees, and then lengthening the torso forward as your hands reach out to the sphere of tension.

Hold the anchor of the legs while you keep the hips pulled back into a hinge and the torso lengthened for 10 decompression breath cycles. You should start to feel the hamstrings, glutes, and back muscles actively lengthen under tension.



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Hips and Spine

Exercise 5:

Piriformis Stretch

Purpose: Stretch the piriformis muscle (a small muscle located deep in the buttock, behind the gluteus maximus). Sometimes when this muscle is stressed it can irritate the sciatic nerve and cause pain, tingling, and even numbness along the back of the leg and into the foot.

Set Up: Find an elevated surface like a park bench. Place right leg turned out on the bench, so the shin is parallel to the back of the bench and the knee is pointing out to the side. Keep the left leg straight behind you and foot on the ground. Pelvis and Spine Neutral. Action: Lengthen the base of the skull away from the back of the pelvis. Hinge forward with the torso and maintain the spine in neutral. Try to avoid rounding the lumbar spine (lower back) to isolate the piriformis. Walk hands forward and slide back leg further back to increase the stretch. Take 10 expansive breaths to fill the side and back of the ribs. Switch legs and repeat on the opposite side.

Gabrielle Cahoon is a STOTT PILATES Instructor Trainer, Level 2 Foundation Training Instructor, ACE Personal Trainer, owner of Studio 48 Pilates and Fitness in Whitefish, and founder My Daily Reform (an online Pilates and Fitness studio). With a Bachelor of Science in Health, Leisure, and Exercise Science from Appalachian State University and over 16 years in the fitness industry, Gabrielle is devoted to helping her clients achieve their health and fitness goals through functional, mindful, and creative movement.


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Here’s to sharing smiles. Come see us for more!

Sage & Cedar pure - natural - organic

The finest skin care and so much more. 214 Central Ave. Whitefish, MT 59937 (406) 862-9411 227 Main St. Kalispell, MT 59901 (406) 890-2299

Follow us on Facebook & Instagram www.sageandcedar.com (888) 863-9411


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Management of Heavy and Painful Periods Have you ever had to leave work, or school, because period pain had you bending over or you were worried about saturating your clothes before you could make it to the bathroom? Or, even mild or bothersome pain associated with your period? Well, this article is for you friends! Oftentimes, patients present to our clinic with heavy and painful periods. Scenarios can range from a desire to know what is normal to a desperate call for help as relationships, mood, and even employment can be affected. Those that can relate to the latter, are picturing themselves curled up in the fetal position in bed, clutching a warming pad to their abdomen, and thinking about the mountain of period products’ cost hitting their bank account each month.


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Written by Austin Rusher, WHNP

To begin, let’s talk about baseline interventions, this is a great place to start. The first baseline intervention – exercise. I can hear the groans coming from those currently curled up in the fetal position! In medicine, we love encouraging exercise. When we exercise endorphins are released and we can see both a reduction of painful symptoms and an improvement in our mood. Another great baseline intervention is heat therapy. It is simple in concept and utilization by helping to relax tense abdominal muscles. Using a rice heating pad or electrical heating pad are great heat therapy tools. Ideally exercise and heat, if not adequate on their own, can be paired with further necessary treatment, as described below. First tier therapy takes us into the realm of drug therapy. We have a few options here. Over the counter, Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS) and Tylenol are both good initial options for pain relief. NSAIDs, such as Ibuprofen, have the added bonus of potentially

lightening the menstrual flow by interfering with the cascade of prostaglandins associated with our cycles. Prostaglandins are the buggers responsible for causing our uteruses to contract (i.e. cramp) and shed our linings when the time is right. Medication therapy should be started the day before, or the day of your period for optimal results. Continuation for a few days is often necessary as symptoms persist, and as NSAIDS can be hard on the old gastro-intestinal system, they should be taken with food and caution. Our next pharmacological option is the poorly titled category, in my opinion, birth control (BC). Hormonal BC is not just for the prevention of pregnancy. It is commonly used by individuals that are not sexually active or are not at risk for pregnancy. However, some of these individuals are suffering from painful, and or, heavy periods. There are actually numerous types of BC and mechanisms of action. Options are a good thing, and they allow us to cater our care to individual needs and symptoms. For the sake of the article, we will be discussing hormone containing BC.


To begin, let’s talk about baseline interventions, this is a great place to start. The first baseline intervention – exercise... Another great baseline intervention is heat therapy. Oral contraceptive pills are what most people think of when they think about birth control and we have many options. Essentially, all birth control is a problemsolving method of trial and error. The true test of an individual fit, is by giving you, a unique and awesome individual, a trial run. Yes, skinny jeans are a popular style made for all body types, but they are not a preferred choice for numerous individuals for numerous reasons. Still, usually a person has to try them on to know for sure, or at least find out, why they are not a good fit. The same concept is true for birth control.

The goal with BC for heavy or painful periods, is essentially to regulate your cycle. This can often present as a “quieting down” of the process overall. Ideally, our cycles become more regular and predictable. BC can lighten the menstrual flow or get rid of it all together. Some of you are thinking “whoa, is that safe?” The answer in that scenario is, yes! Progesterone, one of the hormones in hormonal BC, acts, in part, to

thin out the lining of your uterus and calm your reproductive-system down. Effectively, protecting the lining of your uterus from cancer. If you are not having a period, without a reason, you need to be evaluated further. Again, another topic for another article, or an appointment in our office! Typically, we start with an Oral Contraceptive Pill (OCP) that needs to be taken every day at the same time. Missing pills, or not regularly taking them at the same time every day, can actually make our symptoms worse. Our cycles usually have a predictable rhythm and flow, and that can become out of tune if we are not routinely careful. I can hear theoretical laughter coming from those that understand themselves well enough to know that this would not be a good fit for them. For those of us that would prefer, or more honestly, not be capable of such a strict routine, we have other options. These include the patch, vaginal ring-insert, shot, and Long Acting Reversible Contraceptive (LARC) methods. With the patch and vaginal ring, we decrease the daily mental load of remembering a pill every day, to remembering to replace the patch or ring every month. No procedure required, just set a

monthly reminder in your notifications, or mark it on your calendar. A great option for a lot of people! A short note on the shot. As with all people, this is an option that can work great for some people and not so great for others. It can thin the lining of your uterus, and actually stop ovulation, that is one culprit of pelvic pain associated with menstrual cycles but not menses. In doing so, it can lighten or halt your menses and quiet the reproductive cycle, effectively relieving both the heavy and painful aspects of periods. Unfortunately, the trial period is three months from injection, as it stays in your system that long. Also, the shot isn’t something you can give yourself, so you have to make appointments with your provider/clinic every three months to stay up-to-date on your medication. Admittedly, I see a lot of benefits with the hormonal Long Acting Reversible Contraceptive (LARC) methods for the management of heavy and painful periods. One such LARC is an implant known as the Nexplanon, that is inserted into your arm under local anesthetic. Other great LARC options are hormonal Intrauterine devices (IUDs), which are inserted into the uterus, examples include Mirena and Kyleena.



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LARC methods are great for people that would prefer to have a procedure at insertion and removal, rather than having to remember something every day, or even once per month. health} The hormonal IUDs differ in size, amount of hormone contained, and approved length of efficacy. LARC methods are a progesterone only form of contraceptive that have benefits of being less overall hormone, and therefore, less negative hormone related side-effects. Their effectiveness, approved by the FDA, lasts three to six years from insertion. Also, I know that this is not the topic on hand, but they deserve a nod for being what we in the medical profession call “tier one birth control.” They are, at or over, 99% effective! LARC methods are great for people that would prefer to have a procedure at insertion and removal, rather than having to remember something every day, or even once per month. As another benefit, and as the name implies, they are easily reversible. Once removed, the active ingredient, progesterone, is out of your system in a matter of hours. Ideally, LARC methods lighten or even halt your period, thereby relieving the painful and or heavy flow causing debilitating effects of periods that can be distressing. With all of these options, BC should only be started after careful consideration, an individual analysis, and evaluation by a medical provider. Often times, the first visit to your providers office is just gathering information and learning more about available options. Part of the discussion should always include the risks, benefits, and instructions for use. Luckily, painful periods and heavy bleeding can be effectively managed for most people. Call our office to schedule an appointment! We’re happy to discuss your concerns and help find the best period management option to fit your lifestyle, just like those elusive skinny jeans. Austin Rusher, WHNP joined Kalispell OB/GYN in December of 2020, returning to Montana to be closer to family. She received her nursing degree from Montana State University in 2012 and her degree as a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner from Frontier School of Midwifery and Family Nursing in Hyden, Kentucky in 2020. Austin worked for f ive years as a labor & delivery nurse taking care of mothers and their families throughout the process of pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum care. Striving to provide respectful and empowering care, Austin is passionate about all aspects of women’s health and creating a partnership to meet healthcare needs. Her training includes wellness exams, family planning, STD screening and treatment, IUD and Nexplanon insertion and removal, menopausal management, and, of course, obstetrics. She strives to provide evidence-based, individualized, and inclusive care. Austin was raised in Helena and grew up on a small ranch. She admires and respects the rural communities of the Flathead Valley and looks forward to developing long-lasting patient relationships. She and her husband, Reicher, have two young children. They enjoy hunting, f ishing, hiking, skiing, and all the outdoor recreational opportunities offered by the Flathead Valley and the great state of Montana.


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Changed lives By Emily Christiansen Photos provided by Child Bridge

If you’re fortunate enough to know the Geer family in Kalispell, MT, you know life with them is never boring. As the lead pastors of Canvas Church, Kevin and Tiffany are making a powerful impact in the Flathead Valley. They are loving, passionate and exhibit a true zest for life in everything they do. One of their family’s themes is to “bloom where you are planted.” With a large, beautiful family of five children and nearly two decades of raising them under their belts, they felt they could help other children. With humility, they decided to use their gifts and experience to impact the lives of many vulnerable kids in Montana by saying yes to foster care. A few years ago, Child Bridge was invited to Canvas Church to share the urgent need for foster families to care for children who have experienced abuse and neglect. That message resonated deeply in the heart of the Geer family. Tiffany dug in and gathered information and their family began to pray over when and how they could become involved. With their active children, their hands and schedules were full. They waited a few years, and then, as a family decided it was time to jump all in. “We hesitated for a bit due to the busyness of our lives,” Kevin honestly answered. “Ultimately, we feel strongly when the Bible says to take care of widows and orphans, it is our job to steward what we have to help in this task. It was not a question in our minds if we would do it or not. It was a question of when.” With five kids already in the house, Kevin and Tiffany wrestled through many details of honoring all the hearts in their home. They wanted to be sure all their biological children would feel a part of the process. “Is it going to be wise for us? Do we have time to invest in the lives of extra children in our home? What concerns do our children have?” These were questions Kevin and Tiffany walked


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Tiffany and their girls Kaedence, Morgan, Kyla, and Meara


Child Bridge

Tiffany and sweet Kaedence enjoying time at Lawrence Park

“We understand we may not be asked to raise these kids completely. The time we do have with them however, we are going to give them our whole hearts.” through. Another main question they grappled with was, “How do we make our children feel like a part of this process without becoming resentful of the time and commitment involved?” As a family they actively continue to ask these questions as children have come and gone from their home.

Foster care is an emotional rollercoaster. The Geers have welcomed multiple children into their home and helped them journey through visits with biological parents, court dates, meetings with social workers, and ultimately the kids being reunified with their biological families in some capacity.

Kyla with Penny the family dog

Morgan and Connor Geer, the oldest siblings

pangs of love and attachment to these children? That is what they desperately need and deserve.” “Watching parents become more able to care for their children is a beautiful thing.” Kevin adds, “We understand we may not be asked to raise these kids completely. The time we do have with them however, we are going to give them our whole hearts.” Kevin continues, “serving as a foster parent is a choice to sacrifice your own heart. I knew I never was going to be ready. It is a commitment and an offering up of our own comfort. To anyone hesitant to embrace foster care, know that you cannot outgive God. When you walk in obedience to God, there is peace.”

Currently they have multiple young children in their care. They have a heart to keep siblings together and be a support to the entire family unit. The goal of foster care is for children to be reunified with their birth family whenever that is safely possible. The Geers see themselves as bridging that gap for however long it takes.

The Geer’s are a busy family, but they’ve figured out and prioritized how to live out this calling to love people. Tiffany color coordinates everyone’s schedules so they know who is picking up which child when. Kevin and Tiffany use the times that the kids are at visitations with their biological parents to steal away for lunch dates for just the two of them. Their older children are helpful with pickups and assisting with bedtimes and dinner time.

Many times people say to foster parents, “I could never give the kids back, I’d get too attached.” Tiffany counters this thought by sharing “I would want someone to fight for me to get healthy and clean so I could safely raise my children. But, even so, saying goodbye is never easy. Really, why should we expect to not feel the

“For years, Tiffany has been my support as I have led Canvas Church. Now I am at her beck and call to help run the home front in this part of ministry. She runs point on the foster details, and I make sure we all have what we need,” says Kevin. “We cannot do anything unless we do it in unity together.” With hands full, they

continue to press into the strengths of each other, their community and create safe places for kids for as long as they are in the home.

There never will be a perfect time to engage in foster care. Many more wellequipped foster families who are called to do this work are needed. Large families like the Geers are welcome. Couples or singles with no children at home are also needed and welcome. The more people who can be equipped to be a part of the solution, the better for the vulnerable children needing safety in Montana. The fruit of foster care is the smiles of the children who are safe, seen and loved. Child Bridge is a great resource to answer the questions specific to your family and your situation. They will journey with you, encourage, and equip you with invaluable resources and relationships as you create safe places of refuge for the children of Montana. May you not miss out on the opportunity to deeply impact a life for a short season, or forever, by saying yes to foster care.


For more information, contact Child Bridge at info@childbridgemontana.org or 406-837-2247.


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NEVER MEET YOUR HEROES There is an old adage that states, “Never meet your heroes.” This statement assumes that our heroes will not live up to the character we have created for them in our imaginations. Therefore, leaving us disappointed with reality. I imagine most of us have had the opportunity in our lives to meet a hero or two, and hopefully, it went better than it did for the person who coined the phrase.

It’s easy to have heroes in this, the information age, the instant gratification age, the influencer age. This still holds true and will for years to come. Young children and teenagers undoubtedly each have their YouTube heroes that they love. The ladies follow their blogs and Instagram gurus, whether it be for style, parenting, fitness & nutrition, homemaking, etc. The fellas will do the same with perhaps some professional athletes thrown in the mix. We consume carefully curated


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by Dr. John F. Miller DDS - SMILE MONTANA snapshots that are being presented to us as “reality.”

full reality and still be in love. As I still am with Montana, even more so today.

A hero does not necessarily have to be an individual. A big hero of mine throughout my early life into adulthood was Northwest Montana, and I consumed it much like we do today, in small idyllic doses. In other words, I spent a couple of weeks here every summer for 20 years in a row without fail. Do any of you see the problem there, leaving Arizona only in the summer to come to Northwest Montana? I didn’t stand a chance; I was under the spell.

Where am I going with this? This is supposed to be about dentistry after all. Hopefully, it’s like a Bob Ross painting and will work out beautifully in the end, happy trees and all.

What happened after the 20 years? Well, I made Northwest Montana my permanent residence. Like it or not, I was going to meet my hero. I was going to be introduced to the months of November & April (thank goodness for Big Mountain), the calendar equivalent of seeing Montana in the morning without her makeup on and then meeting her crazy family. But every relationship is like that right, you have to see the

Some years back in this same magazine I said that there “is nothing better than the real thing.” This still holds true still and will for years to come. And while I practice “Dentistry” another big word that is used to describe my profession is “Prosthodontics.” This is the combination of the words prosthetic and odontic. A prosthetic is something artificial that replaces something real or natural, and odontic simply means “related to the teeth.” With that in mind, there are very few procedures I do that couldn’t be classified as a prosthodontic procedure. Fillings, Crowns/Bridges, and Implants are what we call a fixed prosthodontic,

Every day I have the opportunity to manage a patient’s expectations and discuss their dental “reality.” I have to introduce them to the Novembers and Aprils in their mouths. (Did I just write the weirdest sentence ever?) There are forces and factors that stand as obstacles between their current dental situation and where they would like their smiles and oral health to be. health} meaning it is a permanent fixture that is not removable which replaces teeth or portions of teeth. Dentures fall into the removable prosthodontic category. These are the options for replacing decayed, broken, or lost teeth and are very very rarely equal to your Godgiven teeth in look, function, and feel. Every day I have the opportunity to manage a patient’s expectations and discuss their dental “reality.” I have to introduce them to the Novembers and Aprils in their mouths. (Did I just write the weirdest sentence ever?) There are forces and factors that stand as obstacles between their current dental situation and where they would like their smiles and oral health to be. Some of these are cosmetic and some are functional, but the majority involve both. I have discussed these forces and factors over and over during my six years writing for 406 Woman Magazine. Such as risk levels for developing tooth decay, the presence or lack of available bone, the presence or lack of healthy gum tissue, tooth alignment, and placement, financial limitations, etc. My job as your dentist is to discuss the steps needed to maintain, reduce, or eliminate these obstacles. Dentistry is no different than anything else on the internet. You will see the 10% of cases that turned out perfect because the doctors are very proud and happy with their results, and rightly so. These are cases that had a prepared dentist, but also those factors mentioned earlier lined up nicely and were conducive to an ideal outcome. What we won’t see is the 90% of the day-in and day-out reality of dental outcomes. Pretty dang good, but not perfect enough for Instagram. You have survived another Dr. Miller article. Thanks for taking the time to read. I really appreciate 406 Woman Magazine for giving me an outlet to ramble on and philosophize about life, dentistry, and Montana. You all are perfect enough for Instagram in my book. And speaking of Instagram feel free to follow us @smilemontana if you don’t already.


This column f irst appeared in our August/September 2019 issue of 406 Woman magazine.


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406 w o m a n


16. Susan Gibson & The Whitefish Songwriters Festival

Food & Flavor 22. In the Kitchen

26. Pickle Corn Dog 30. Tequila



34. American Made Furniture


37. The Skirt 3 Ways

Love Story

40. Charlese & Francis


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View current and past issues of 406 Woman at

w w w . 4 0 6 W o m a n . c o m

Publisher's Note Unity Is Strength

We are not a Team because we work together. We are a team because we respect, trust and care for each other. Vala Alshar

406 Woman magazine just celebrated her 13th year. Looking back on the success we’ve had we know one thing for sure, we could not have done it without you! We have a community full of talented, giving, wonderful people that we have been honored to feature, collaborate, and work with over the years to make us what we are today. It’s all about working together, supporting one another, and becoming one. We are excited to see more wonderful things achieved! With gratitude, Cindy, Amanda, and Kristen


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406 w o m a n

Cover Girl

Business Girl

Susan Gibson

Sarah Broussard

Grammy winning songwriter Susan Gibson has had an amazing career so far and we can only imagine there is so much more to come. She was interviewed at her home on Flathead Lake as an introduction to the new Whitefish Songwriter Festival this September.

As the Event Organizer for The Event at Rebecca Farm, Sarah Broussard has a big job but she’s the first to admit that she couldn’t do it without an amazing team. Be sure to make plans to attend and enjoy three days of magic in the valley celebrating 20 years this July.

Read this month’s feature story to learn more.

Read more about Broussard and The Event at Rebecca Farm in our business feature this month. photos by

Amanda Wilson Photography www . amandawilsonphotos . com


Cindy Gerrity


Published by Skirts Publishing six times a year 704 C East 13th St. #138 Whitefish, MT 59937 info@406woman.com Copyright©2021 Skirts Publishing

business manager Daley McDaniel


managing editor

Want to know about great events, open houses, and more? Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/406 Woman 406 Woman is distributed in Bigfork, Columbia Falls, Kalispell, Missoula, Whitefish and every point in between. Check out www.406woman.com for our full distribution list. Have a great story idea or know someone that we should feature? Email us with your comments & suggestions. Interested in increasing your business and partnering with 406 Woman? Check out www.406woman.com.

View current and past issues of 406 Woman at

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Kristen Hamilton


creative & social media director Amanda Wilson



Sara Joy Pinnell



Daley McDaniel Photography Amanda Wilson Photography ACE Photography Carrie Ann Photography Alisia Dawn Photography Mandy Mohler

Editor’s Letter


If given the choice, I think I’d pick humor as a trait over just about everything else. There is a lot going on in the world right now and it may be hard to keep things light but I’m here to tell you, your health and wellbeing depend on it. I’m sure you’ve heard “laughter is the best medicine.” Well, that is no joke. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are many positive benefits to having a good laugh.

Short-term benefits

• Stimulate many organs. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs, and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain. • Soothe tension. Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.

Long-term effects

• Improve your immune system. Positive thoughts can release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses. • Relieve pain. Laughter may ease pain by causing the body to produce its own natural painkillers. • Increase personal satisfaction. Laughter can also make it easier to cope with difficult situations. It also helps you connect with other people. • Improve your mood. Laughter can help lessen your depression and anxiety and may make you feel happier.

Here’s a few ideas to keep things light

• Keep humor on your mind. Clip jokes or funny cards and hang them up to remind yourself to laugh a bit each day. • Laugh at yourself. Do something silly or even ridiculous? Laugh about it and miraculously your stress will fade away. Please don’t laugh at the expense of others though. • Hang out. Spend time with friends that make you chuckle.

“He who laughs, lasts!” Mary Pettibone Poole Have a terrific summer! Managing Editor

What did I learn in this issue?

That the Northwest Montana History Museum will be hosting a Trivia Night this summer on the third Friday of the month. Read all about the museum on page 24 (business side) The Whitefish Songwriter Festival this September features 24 songwriters from around the US and Canada performing in over 30 shows. This inaugural year is shaping up to be a terrific event! Read Cari Klepper’s story on page 16 and learn about Grammy winning songwriter Susan Gibson and details on the event.


Cristy Wells recently earned a Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) certification and is looking forward to helping golfers improve while reducing the risks for injury. Read all about it on page 28 (business side) 72 406


Wide Open Spaces… The Journey Of A Hit Song Written by Cari Klepper Photo by Amanda Wilson Photography

Susan Gibson’s story & The Whitefish Songwriter Festival


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Susan Gibson didn’t just wake up one morning and decide to write a hit song - quite the contrary. During Christmas 1992, she was on her first visit home to Amarillo from forestry school at the University of Montana. She’d had a taste of independence by living so far from home. “The first time I found myself back under my parents' roof, it felt like that big old house I grew up in had gotten so much smaller.” So, instead of walking out the door and telling her mom that “she was an adult, and that it was none of her mom’s business as to why she was out until all hours of the night,” Susan sat down in her mom’s kitchen with a notebook and jotted down her thoughts for a song. After she made it back to her dorm room in Missoula, Montana she received a care package from her mom that included the notebook she had mistakenly forgotten at home. Inspired by her mom’s gesture and the thoughts of leaving home, she finished the song. Fast forward six years! Susan is back in Amarillo crooning as the lead singer in a country band, The Groobees. They just recorded an album entitled Wayside which included her homegrown song.

The album was produced by Lloyd Maines, who just happened to be the father of Natalie Maines the new lead singer of the then Dixie Chicks (they changed their name for political reasons in 2020 to simply The Chicks). Lloyd related to the song and felt the sentiment of his own daughter leaving home, and he shared the song with Natalie.

The Groobees

If you’re looking for a career that allows you to impact American culture, touch the hearts and souls of hundreds of millions of people across the globe, and you still want to walk down the street and not be stalked by paparazzi and adoring fans – you may want to consider songwriting. For most songwriters, their songs are far more famous than they are. The bulk of hit songs are not solely written by the performing artist. Many are composed by songwriters who never see the spotlight. But, do not for a second think songwriting is an easy profession. If you want to create a musical masterpiece that will hit No.1 on the Billboard charts, you’re going to need to have incredible talent, unshakable resilience, and all the stars aligned. Or at least that’s how it seems when you hear top hitmakers tell their remarkable stories.

A short time later, The Groobees were performing in a Lubbock bar when in came three beautiful women - it was Natalie's bachelorette party! The three requested Wide Open Spaces by sending a cocktail napkin up to the stage. At the break, The Chicks came up to the band and said that they were

Through the roller coaster of record producing, Susan nearly gave up hope that the song would make it on the album, and decided she was featured} Susan Gibson gathering songs for a record that they were cutting for the Sony record label. They had already been playing the song in their live shows and were interested in recording it. “I remember that I was so attached to the song, I almost said no...hell, I didn't even want the Groobees to record the song. I was just too sentimentally attached to it. But, of course, I said yes!”

Susan remembers Scott Melott, a fellow writer and band member, say, "Man! They could maybe sell 50,000 copies of that record!" This was mind-blowing for a local country songwriter. Several months later, Susan got her hands on a cassette with The Chicks recording of the song from Natalie’s husband. “We listened to it in the back of his Suburban. That was the first time I had ever heard someone else sing the words that I could still picture in my handwriting on those notebook pages, and I cried,” says Susan. The Chicks ran with the song and POOF! Wide Open Spaces was on a sturdy path to the top of the charts... or was it? Susan had proven she had the incredible talent to be a songwriter, but even with her song on the rise, the destiny of the song was out of her control. Did she have the unshakeable resilience she needed for the next phase of the songwriting process?

“The label would call and say, "It's on the record!" and then they'd call back and say, "It's been bumped off." And then, "It's going to be the first single!" Then, "Dang! It didn't make the cut." And then "They're filming a video!" And, once again, "Never mind, it got cut from the record." Through the roller coaster of record producing, Susan nearly gave up hope that the song would make it on the album, and decided she was content with whatever happened.

Wide Open Spaces became the title track and the 2nd single on The Chicks’ 4th album, which catapulted the group’s career into the mainstream. The first time Susan heard it on the radio (she had been listening to the CD for 3 months), she was in Los Angeles on her way to the Grammys where Wide Open Spaces was up for Country Album of the Year. “I had never been to an event like that and, needless to say, I was overwhelmed. There are hilarious stories about that trip… come to a live show and I'll tell you a few of them.”

The Chicks sold millions of that record. Remember, this was the late 90's and people still bought whole record albums. Music stores like Tower Records were a part of American culture. Downloading was uncommon and streaming was unimagined. It was the convergence of the right song for the right group at the perfect time. Susan had proven her talent, her resilience remained unshakeable, and, last but not least - the stars were all aligned. She had done it! In 1999, Wide Open Spaces earned Susan a BMI award and she won the American Songwriter - Professional Country Songwriter of the Year award in early 2000. In addition to the song gaining Nashville respect and notoriety, The Chicks’ recording of the song stayed at No. 1 on the Billboard charts for four weeks and won the 1999 Single of the Year trophy from the Country Music Association.

Susan’s penned thoughts had leapt from her notebook in her mom’s kitchen onto the top of the charts and, although she did not take the traditional path through Nashville, her song would stick in the minds of millions of music lovers and fans for decades.

September 2020 Songwriter Showcase

content with whatever happened.

The Whitefish Songwriter Festival

is September 16 – 18 and it will create the opportunity for music fans to experience the art of songwriting first-hand. Twenty-four songwriters from around the US and Canada will be performing 30 plus shows in Whitefish’s downtown bars, restaurants, theaters, and Depot Park. Each show will feature two or three songwriters telling stories, trading songs, and showcasing their creativity. For three days and nights, the streets of Whitefish will come alive with friends, family, artists, warm hearts, guitars, conversations about life’s journey, lyrical heartbreak, and how we can change the world through songwriting.

For Songwriters – Master Class

Susan at the Grammy Award ceremony

If you’re a music junkie, or you just want to hear Susan’s Grammys stories, you do not want to miss the Whitefish Songwriter Festival. Everyone loves a music festival, but if you want to follow the journey of a song, and to hear the stories and conception of that song from the voice of the songwriter who wrote it, you need to experience a songwriter festival. We have all tuned-in to our favorite song on the radio but sitting in a listening room while a hitmaker shares their inspiration and soul of a song and how it became a hit, and then sings that song from their heart – THAT is magic!

The festival will include a master class for songwriters. In this two-day master class instructors Susan Gibson and Jackson Emmer will work with 20 students of all levels to help them clarify the aim of their writing and discover their own, unique voice. The class will begin with an inspiring conversation that will add new tools to an aspiring songwriter’s toolbox. The students will get down to the business of writing and working on their own songs. They will focus on lyrics, music or whatever they are working on in a group support setting. The instructors will suggest how to make a song stronger, find the melody to support it, and how to get to the songwriter's truth and unique voice. And the students can expect surprise guests throughout the class!


Visit https://whitefishsongwriterfestival.org/master-class for more information.


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profile} Whitefish Songwriter Festival The inaugural Whitefish Songwriter Festival was planned for 2020, but like most events due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival was postponed until September 2021. This festival will be an annual event in Whitefish with hopes to expand further into the Flathead Valley over the years. It is an event that will offer its audience the chance to learn about the art of songwriting and hear countless stories just like Susan’s.

The Line up!

The Whitefish Songwriter Festival is a production of the Rocky Mountain Songwriter Festivals, Inc. (RMSF). The RMSF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation dedicated to promoting music education in local communities and universities. The RMSF’s original festival is the Red Lodge Songwriter Festival now in its fifth year. Since its inception, the Red Lodge Songwriter Festival has gifted more than $40,000 to the Red Lodge Public Schools music department. As in Red Lodge, the proceeds from this festival will go to promote music education in Whitefish and the Flathead Valley.

Cari Klepper is the Executive Producer of the Whitefish Songwriter Festival and owner of The Chinook Group, LLC, a corporate events company she founded in 1997. She lives in Whitefish with her husband Kevin and two children, Christian and Kellie. Special thank you to Andrew Krop for reviewing and editing this story. Andrew is a Freelance writer and lives in Whitefish with his husband Eric.

These six songwriters have touched the hearts and ears of music lovers in all corners of the globe. Combined they have charted more than 30 No. 1 hit songs and hundreds of top hits. Here are some of their top hits and the performers who cut them.

Even Stevens Nashville Songwriter Hall of Fame Nashville, Tennessee Top Hits:

Randy Montana Nashville, Tennessee Top Hits:

James Dean Hicks Leipers Fork, Tennessee Top Hits:

When You’re in Love with a Beautiful Woman by Dr. Hook I Love a Rainy Night by Eddie Rabbitt Lovin Only Me by Ricky Scaggs Drivin’ My Life Away by Eddie Rabbitt No Matter How High by Oak Ridge Boys Love will Turn You Around by Kenny Rogers Suspicions by Tim McGraw Black Coffee by Lacy J. Dalton Crazy in Love by Kim Carnes Cotton Pickin’ Time by Blake Sheldon

Beer Never Broke My Heart by Luke Combs I Hope Your Happy Now by Carly Pearce Better Together by Luke Combs For a Boat by Luke Bryant The House That Built Me by Miranda Lambert Like a Cowboy by Parker McCollum

Goodbye Time by Blake Sheldon National Working Woman’s Holiday by Sammy Kershaw Jesus & Mama by Confederate Railroad

Kostas Nashville Songwriter Hall of Fame Belgrade, Montana

Angela Kaset Nashville, Tennessee

Brett Jones Franklin, Tennessee

Top Hits:


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To buy tickets and to learn more about Whitefish Songwriter Festival visit https://whitefishsongwriterfestival.org or contact Cari Klepper at cari@chinookevents.com


Blame it on Your Heart by Patty Loveless Ain’t That Lonely Yet by Dwight Yoakam Timber, I’m Falling In Love by Patty Loveless Lord Have Mercy On the Working Man by Travis Tritt I Can Love you Better by the Chicks (formally the Dixie Chicks)

Top Hits:

Something In Red by Lorrie Morgan Jones For You by Delbert McClinton Feeling ‘Bout You by Suzy Bogguss Let’s Try Goodbye by Amy Dalley Resurrection by Angela Kaset

Grandpa Told Me So by Kenny Chesney The Hole by Randy Travis Sweet Kisses by Jessica Simpson It Just Has to be This Way by Reba McEntire

Top Hits:

Crazy Town by Jason Aldean A Little Past Little Rock by Lee Ann Womack That's How Country Boys Roll by Billy Currington If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away by Justin Moore Natural Man by Jon Wolfe What Do You Think About That by Montgomery Gentry

In the Kitchen with Lane

A Little More Every Day

From left to right: Anabelle Seybert, Bristol Smith, Lane Smith, MaryBeth White, Deena Brenden


By Lane Smith - Sponsored by

Cooking can be therapeutic. Need to release some stress? Grab a meat tenderizer and start pounding. Need to shift focus from something weighing on you? Chop something…fast. Maybe you need to renew your faith in humans? Feed them. Given the opportunity, I would cook for anyone. As my number of trips around the sun continue to mount, I find myself looking forward to spending time with family and friends sharing a home cooked meal. Cooking has always been an outlet for me that has recently gifted me the opportunity to cook in some of the most amazing kitchens in Montana. This time I was at Deena Brenden’s home. Deena and her husband built their home on the site of her great grandparent's house and as you can see in the photos, it is stunning. Deena is the Principal Designer and Owner of Piney Creek Interiors and a Whitefish native.


Still reeling from my menu choice for the March/April story, I was relieved to find out that all in attendance 82 406


Photos by ACE Photography & Design

this time loved what was on the menu: Carne Asada street tacos. Like the last time, things did not go as I had planned but somehow what happened turned out better. My daughter Bristal recently returned from Texas and began a job as a design assistant for Direct Source Cabinets. Bristal and I have literally cooked for hundreds of people together. From rehearsal dinners to hunting camp, she has been my right hand in the kitchen since she began flipping French toast at the ripe old age of five. Being new in her career I thought the opportunity for her to meet one of the best interior designers in northwest Montana was too good to pass up. Having an extra set of hands would be a bonus too. Little did I know that I would end up being the right hand, the left holding a dish towel, to a young woman that confidently took charge with grace and poise in a kitchen full of design professionals (and one old appliance salesman). As I started unpacking the ingredients, the conversation, much to Bristal’s delight, was joined by Deena’s design assistants Anabelle and MaryBeth. Both young ladies in the early stages of their careers like Bristal. They immediately hit it off and the conversation progressed from me being dressed for a “Yacht Rock” Concert to

cooking tips from a twenty-year-old design assistant. Deftly swinging my grandmother’s meat tenderizer on a flank steak from the new Chopp Shop in Whitefish, Bristal was listening intently to Deena’s explanation of layers in design. “It’s just like cooking, what do you want to taste first or last? You layer flavors too,” Bristal offered. Both MaryBeth and Anabelle nodding in agreement while pouring ingredients into the marinade I had asked them to help me prepare. I was, at this point, acutely aware that I was now just along for the ride and a bit of color commentary. And I could not have been happier. The marinade progressed rapidly at the hands of the three young ladies. While I was chopping cilantro, Deena made us amazing margaritas. Designed around a large island, Deena’s kitchen is the perfect combination of workflow and conversation space. Laughter with the occasional cooking tip thrown in became the therapy I had always found while cooking. Tidbits like “Cut across the grain of a flank steak to make it easier to bite into” and “Have you tried the Genesis Kitchen olive oils yet?” were interspersed with conversations about lighting and hidden spaces in homes. Happily running a dish towel and cleaning the counters, I listened to Deena’s experience blend with the enthusiasm of the three young ladies sitting at her kitchen island with great delight.


In the Kitchen

Both young ladies in the early stages of their careers like Bristal. They immediately hit it off and the conversation progressed from me being dressed for a “Yacht Rock” Concert to cooking tips from a twentyyear-old design assistant.



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In the Kitchen

Note to self: Plating in front of design professionals is nerve wracking. A standard joke in my family is that “presentation is key,” no one gets that better than an interior designer and a designer I am not. Assembling street tacos with four sets of color adept eyes on me was a bit unnerving to say the least. Thankfully Bristal saved me yet again by dicing a tomato up “for a splash of color.” Pictures taken, the street tacos were finally served to all. The conversation was replaced with nods of approval from everyone but MaryBeth, who politely asked if she could assemble her own taco. I continued wiping counters while the conversation transitioned into the differences between Montana and Georgia barbecues, summer plans, and career goals. As I began to pack up, selfies and group pictures were taken. Contented smiles and plans for future gatherings were shared. More than a meal had been prepared today. Friends were made, traditions were shared, and I reflected on the lead into this piece. “A little more every day.” A simple phrase that reminds me to breathe, share, appreciate and love a little more every day. Or a lot. Deena, Bristal, Anabelle and Marybeth— thank you all for that. Oh, and Deena! I left my grater at your home…

Carne Asada Ingredients ¾ cup orange juice ½ cup lemon juice ⅓ cup lime juice

¼ Cup Tequila (opt.) ¼ Cup Orange Flavored Vodka (opt.) 4 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup soy sauce

1- 7 oz. can chopped canned chipotle pepper

1 tablespoon chili powder 1 tablespoon ground cumin 1 tablespoon paprika 1 teaspoon dried oregano

Tasting Notes Chipotle Infused Olive Oil Genesis Kitchen


Remove the steak from the marinade and grill to desired doneness, about 5 minutes per side for medium rare. Discard used marinade. Remove meat from heat and slice across the grain. Pour the one cup of reserved, unused marinade over the hot meat and serve immediately on a street taco or tortilla with all your favorite toppings.

Recipe Sponsored by

3 pounds flank steak Directions

Sassy Steak SpiceWorld Spice Merchants


1 tablespoon black pepper 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped ½ cup Genesis Kitchen Chipotle

Preheat an outdoor grill or your favorite cast iron pan (I used a Blackstone for this) to medium-high heat, and lightly oil the grate or cast iron.

Infused Olive oil

Genesis Kitchen 270 Nucleus Columbia Falls, MT Mon-Sat 10am - 6pm 406-897-2667 Info@genesis-kitchen.com

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(Note: In place of the four dried spices listed above, I used 3 tbsp. of World Spice Merchants “Sassy Steak Spice” with extra Oregano-- It was amazing!)

meat mallet to a thickness of 1/4 inch. After pounding, poke steak all over with a fork. Add the meat to the marinade in the large bowl, cover, and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours.

Genesis Kitchen 270 Nucleus Columbia Falls, MT Mon-Sat 10am - 6pm 406-897-2667 Info@genesis-kitchen.com

Combine the liquid ingredients in a large glass or ceramic bowl along with the garlic, the spices listed above (Seriously find World Spice Merchants!), black pepper, and cilantro. Slowly whisk in the Genesis Kitchen Chipotle infused olive oil until marinade is well combined. Remove one cup of the marinade and place in a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for use after the meat is cooked. Place the flank steak between two sheets of heavy plastic (resealable freezer bags work well) on a solid, level surface. Firmly pound the steak with a

Chopp Shoppe No hormones or antibiotics Choice to Wagyu Grade Hours 9am-7pm…all week long 721 Wisconsin Ave in Whitefish

FH Fish & Seafood Company Wild caught seafood

3820 MT Hwy 40 W in Columbia Falls www.flatheadfishandseafood.com



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Pickle Corn Dog By Carole Morris Photos by Sara Joy Pinnell

I thought it would be fun to gratify our feelings of nostalgia about fair foods with this recipe. Every state has really popular fair foods, like deep fried oreos, fried candy bars, elephant ears and funnel cakes. Therefore, it should come as no surprise (that in the spirit of fair food originals) Disneyland kicked lockdowns to the curb and started serving pickle corn dogs (with a side of peanut butter to dip in). Step out and serve this yummy recipe to your family and friends, then you can have your own fair day (without the crowds). INGREDIENTS 3/4 cup sugar 3 cups flour

2 ¼ tsp salt

3 ½ tsp baking powder 1/3 cup cornmeal 3 eggs

1¼ cups milk 6 whole pickles 6 hot dogs

1½ cups bread crumbs 8 cups oil (for frying) 1 cup peanut butter thick skewers apple corer toothpicks

Directions 1. Select six large whole pickles, dry

off with a paper towel.

2. Using an apple corer, core the pickles (lengthwise).

3. Next, insert a hot dog into the hollowed out pickle (cut off any excess).

4. Remove the trimmed hot dog from the pickle, and insert a thick skewer

through the hot dog (leave a couple inches for handle).

5. Insert the skewered hot dog into the pickle (secure with a toothpick). 6. In a large bowl mix flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and cornmeal.

7. Lightly beat the eggs (in a separate bowl), stir in milk.

8. Pour the egg & milk mixture into the dry mix and mix together creating batter. 9. Using a large glass or tall jar, fill ¾ full with the batter.

10. Dry off the pickle dog, using a paper towel.

11. Pour breadcrumbs into a pan. 12. After dipping the pickle dog in

batter, slowly pull it out.

13. Heat four inches of oil in a pan to 360˚F.

14. Roll the battered dog in breadcrumbs and cook in the preheated oil.

15. After frying for a few minutes on each side (until evenly browned) remove from oil and drain on a paper towel.

16. Remove toothpick (after cooking). 17. Serve warm with a side of smooth

peanut butter.



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Not Our Parents’ Tequila By Mary Wallace & Hailey Osborne

We Say Tequila, you say Margarita. But wait . . . Today’s tequila is SO much more than just searching for that lost shaker of salt! Most of us have experienced tequila with an inexpensive well or Mixto tequila—usually in the form of shots. But today’s tequilas are much more sophisticated. There is also an added bonus - the lack of hangover experienced with highquality tequila might catch your attention.

then transferred to fermentation tanks and yeast is added.

In the past decade, tequila has become increasingly popular and discerning fans have found themselves trying and sipping different varieties of tequila over their normal bourbon or vodka. Indeed, a whole new movement to tequila cocktail recipes are trending these days.

Blanco, also known as plata or silver tequila -


Tequila, like other spirits, begins with a naturally sweet plant as its base product – in this case, agave. The blue weber agave plants are grown in the highlands and the valleys surrounding the town of Tequila, in Jalisco, Mexico.

Proving, once again, that good things take time, agave itself, is an exercise in patience. The plants take 7-10 years to mature to the point they can be harvested. Once they do, jimadors remove the leaves and harvest the piñas (which resembles a huge wooden-like pineapple) from the center of the plant. Each plant only has one piña to give during its life cycle.

The harvested piñas are then split in half and cooked in brick ovens at 194 degrees for 15-48 hours. The baked piñas are then milled to reduce them to plant fibers and extract the juices. The resulting liquid is


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After 72 hours, the product is ready for the distillation process. Tequila is distilled once to cut the tails and heart from the liquid, and then a second time to create the first type of tequila: Some blancos are bottled and ready to drink immediately and some are rested in stainless steel tanks for a month or two. This freshly fermented spirit has a pronounced agave flavor with a natural sweetness and a light, fresh taste, and is the variety typically used to concoct a tequila sunrise or margarita. A popular variety at the Bigfork Liquor Barn is Espolòn Blanco. Named for the spur of the rooster (a powerful symbol of national pride), Espolòn Blanco has a clear platinum cast and a delicate, sweet agave, floral & tropical fruit/lemon zest aroma with a hint of pepper. Serve this tequila with chips and guacamole, or pair with seafood or salads.


Aging tequila takes the spirit to a whole new level. A series of aging classifications of tequilas are produced based on the length of the aging process as well at the type of wood barrel they are aged in. Some tequilas are aged in retired bourbon barrels, some in wine barrels.

Reposado is aged between two months and one year. Reposado can vary in color, but it is generally more amber tinted. It has a full-bodied flavor that is sweeter and more intense than the blanco

variety. Reposado lends itself well to a Reposado la Paloma. Reposado’s woody, oaky flavor pairs well with soups and stews, or heartier dishes like tacos or enchiladas. Additionally, Joven (or oro) is a gold tinted tequila, which is created by mixing a blanco with older tequilas. A favorite Reposado at the Barn is El Mayor Tequila Reposado Barrel Select, which is exclusive to Bigfork Liquor Barn and cannot be found anywhere else in the world. It is double distilled and then fermented using a highly guarded,

food} family-owned yeast strain. It features a brilliant amber color and an aroma and flavor of cooked agave with oak notes and hints of pomegranate, vanilla, & spice.

Añejo is aged in oak barrels for a minimum of one year. Añejo is the boldest of the tequilas, having a more intense taste and color; it is bolder, spicier, and sweeter still. Añejo can be used to make tequila’s version of an Old Fashioned or an Agave Mexico City style. Añejo will make a grilled veal chop with a creamy mushroom sauce taste that much richer. Añejos will also pair well with cookie or cake desserts. Rumor has it that a good Añejo is great to spike your hot chocolate drink. Look for Casamigos Añejo on the shelves at the Bigfork Liquor Barn. This premium Añejo is made with pinas that are roasted for a full 72 hours in brick ovens (instead of steamed), and then fermented for upwards of 80 hours, compared to the standard 48 hours. It has a rich, caramel color and a soft caramel and vanilla scent. The flavor is a perfect balance of sweetness from the Blue Weber agaves, layered with hints of spice and barrel oak.

Extra Añejo (or ultra Añejo) is aged a minimum of three years, often in old wine barrels, giving it a completely different finish. Its even more intense flavor is delicious sipped straight, alongside some chocolate or hard cheese. A local favorite in this variety is Codigo 1530 Origen Extra Añejo. It is aged a full six years in the finest Napa Valley Cabernet French white oak wine barrels, making it one of the oldest and most refined Extra Añejos on the market. Its spicy vanilla sweet oaky aroma lends a robust palate teeming with flavors of dried fig and cinnamon.

Mezcal, once thought of as a poor man’s spirit is becoming increasingly sought after and uses a variety of different agave plants to create its unique, slightly smoky flavor. While the varieties listed above may contain both blue agave as well as other sugar derivatives (molasses, cane sugar, corn syrup), Mezcal is produced from 100% agave. There are over 200 varieties of agave, but only a select few are approved for use in spirits. Del Maguey Mezcal Single Village Expressions offers a wide array of mezcal flavors, each harvested and produced in a single village, celebrating and supporting the families that create them. The Barn carries nine varieties of Del Maguey Mezcal but three favorites are Santa Catarina Minas – a unique blend of flavors of melon, fresh green beans, and citrus; San Balzatar which smells of roasted agave and toasted corn and tastes of dried fruit & sweet almond with a finish of chocolate and mint; and Tobalá, which has an aroma of fruit & florals and a palate of mango and cinnamon and a long, creamy finish.

Here are a couple of Tequila Cocktail Recipes to try Añejo Old Fashioned ¼ ounce agave nectar dash Angostura bitters

Reposado la Paloma

Orange peel

(rim the glass with lime juice and salt)

3 oz añejo tequila

2 oz reposado tequila

Muddle agave, bitters, and orange peel

Juice of 1 lime

Splash of grapefruit soda Add tequila, fill with ice and stir. Shake with ice and strain Garnish with brandied cherry over rimmed glass



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The Benefits of

American Made Furniture By Sydney Munteanu and Wright’s Furniture

Brands that are made in the USA are always a top request from Wright’s Furniture customers. Carrying quality American-made brands (and products from local Montana makers) is something that is always top of mind for the Wright’s team. Whether it’s because you're seeking a specific style or want to support local businesses, purchasing American-made furniture — especially from the brands highlighted below — often means you’ll get a product made with high-quality materials and expert craftsmanship. Buying locally is also far better for the environment as your furniture doesn’t have to travel across the globe to reach your home! Here are some reasons to consider American-made furniture. King Hickory Furniture Company is a family owned company that has been manufacturing fine upholstered furniture in North Carolina for over 50 years. They continue to be some of the highest quality, upholstered fabric furniture Wright’s can find! kinghickory.com

Custom-built furniture designed around you


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Wright’s Furniture offers complimentary design services and a large in-store design center to help make the custom ordering process as easy as possible. Many of the American-made brands carried by Wrights can be fully customized. Because the products are made in the USA, producers are able offer options for colors, fabrics, sizes, and more that can be ordered for you through Wright’s expert design team. Wright’s Furniture always offers complimentary design services to help make your custom ordering process as easy as possible.


Hand-crafted quality with excellent attention to detail

American made furniture is known for careful craftsmanship using quality materials that can handle lots of use. Afterall, your furniture should last for a long time! Products made overseas don’t always abide by the same rigorous safety standards as those made in the United States. American-made products are often constructed to meet third party standards quality and safety standards.

Green Gables makes their furniture from reclaimed and sustainable woods. By taking wood from old, dilapidated Midwestern barns, the wood is re-purposed and given new life through unique furniture designs. greengablesfurniture.com

A reduced environmental footprint

Buying American-made means products don’t need to be imported overseas or shipped around the globe, reducing both shipping costs and carbon waste. Additionally, many American furniture companies have adopted sustainable business practices and source environmentally-friendly materials that are clearly listed through their manufacturing.

Supporting American manufacturing and local businesses

Though we live in a global economy, buying products manufactured in the United States helps to support and grow the American economy. Not only does money invested in American-made furniture help support a local American business, it also provides jobs for American workers, Wright’s Furniture suppliers, and store reps.

American Leather - Experience timeless details and refined relaxation. American Leather’s sleeper sofas and comfort recliners continue to be popular items at Wright’s year after year! www.americanleather.com

Curious about checking out some of the favorite American-made brands at Wright’s Furniture? Come check out the showroom! Wright’s Furniture is one of the largest and most respected home design retailers in the region specializing in luxury indoor and outdoor furnishings.

Wright’s Furniture offers complimentary design services with free local delivery and install. Visit the Wright’s Furniture showroom in Whitefish or learn more at wrightsfurniturestore.com 6325 HWY 93 South, Whitefish, Montana 59937 | 406.862.2455 | Open Daily |Free Local Delivery | Free Design Services



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201 Central ave. whitefish Montana 59937 - 406.862.3200

love} stories

Charlese&Francis with

Daughters, Naiomi and Olive

Who are you?

Charlese- I grew up in a small town on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and I am truly a country girl at heart, always ready for an adventure. I’m a high school digital photography teacher and a coach for our school’s track & field team. I spend most of my free time creating things, making art, and taking pictures. I love spending time with my family and exploring new places with them. Francis: I grew up in a small town in Delaware. I am an arborist by trade, and I own a tree care company. For the past decade, I have been training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and I’m an avid hunter and outdoorsman.

How did you meet?

We met at a previous workplace in Delaware and worked together for many years before our first coffee date. We have been together ever since. We were so nervous about introducing our daughters to each other. Looking at them now, it’s crazy to see how much they love each other, and we could not wait for them to officially become sisters!


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August 19, 2020

Photos by Carrie Ann Photography location Glacier National Park (West Glacier)

The proposal?

We took a trip to New Orleans in June of 2019. We stayed at the Blue 60 Guesthouse, which was amazing! Each morning we would walk to Loretta’s for beignets and spent our evenings on Frenchman St listening to music and taking in the whole experience. On Wednesday, June 26th we went on the Natches Steamboat ride on the Mississippi River, had lunch, and toured more of the city. All day Francis kept asking me, jokingly, if I would marry him. I replied “yes” each time, not knowing what he had planned all along. I was just about to lay down for a nap after we returned to the guesthouse when we asked me again if I would marry him, but this time after I said “yes,” he pulled out a box and my jaw dropped. I was so surprised! I fell more in love with him, and I could not be more obsessed with my gorgeous ring he picked out!

What is love?

Charlese: Love is growing together. Supporting and encouraging each other. Continually finding new ways to love each other over the days, weeks, months, and years. Love is always

thinking what you can do for your person, just because, and not expecting something in return. Love is finding peace in each other’s company and holding on to one another through all life can bring your way, the smiles and the tears. Francis: It’s that sensation you get when your partner looks at you and without saying anything, you know she loves you. Love is moving toward goals together and being there when your partner needs you. Love is the feeling of home you find when your partner is in the same room.

What do you love most about each other?

Charlese- Francis is the epitome of unconditional love. He is so understanding, caring, and truly dedicated to the things he loves. He has supported me in achieving my goals and given me unwavering encouragement whenever I’ve needed it. And he is the best dad to our girls! Francis: My wife is an incredible woman. She can see all the best in me and brings it forward.

Love is

growing together. Supporting and encouraging each other. Continually finding new ways to love each other over the days, weeks, months, and years.



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love} stories

Love is the feeling of home you find when your

partner is in the same room. She motivates and challenges me to be a better father and husband. Charlese makes me feel that there is nothing I can’t do.

When did you know you were in love?

Charlese- I knew I was in love with Francis when he took me out for my birthday our first year together. I had never felt so special before. He took me to Philadelphia to the Philadelphia Magic Gardens, Longwood Gardens and that evening we had dinner and some laughs at Helium Comedy club. It was literally the best day full of all things that I love. And when we could both laugh off the fact that our car almost got locked in a parking garage because we lost track of time, I knew we were meant to be.


Francis: The first year of our relationship, we were snowed in together. It was three days of constant laughs and great conversations. I

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knew then that I was crazy about her, and our love has grown ever since.

Wedding details:

Once we made the decision to elope, we started looking at all the destination options and fell in love with Glacier National Park and its breathtaking views! I made all our wedding details including our ring boxes, the floral hair pieces for our girls, and my bouquet. I was most nervous when we shipped everything out to Whitefish to be there in time for our special day. Francis and I wrote our own vows to each other and each other’s daughter. And our mothers wrote us surprise messages that were shared during our ceremony, on the shores of Lake McDonald, which made the moment even more special. Traveling up to Logan Pass was so amazing! Hearing our girl’s excitement at all the views was so wonderful and I could not believe how vast the scenery

was. But the best moment had to be the family of mountain goats that crashed our photo session! I can’t even describe the feeling I had when I realized they were coming our way!

Fun facts:

We had to make an impromptu trip to Kalispell the day before our wedding because we almost forgot to get our marriage license! When we first got up to Logan Pass and were getting out of our car, we saw our first mountain goat! In our excitement, we forgot to shut the doors and trunk and didn’t realize it until we were walking back to the car after taking pictures by the waterfall!


We like to look at our entire wedding experience as a kind of mini honeymoon. But we are planning a trip to Utah for a week this year, just us two, to celebrate our first wedding anniversary which we’ll claim as our official honeymoon.

Maria D'Angleo, Spirt of the Mesa

Going To The Sun Gallery Proudly Features,

Maria D'Angleo and Molly Sims

Maria D'Angleo

Molly Sims

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