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DO you believe in miracles?

Forget New year’s resolutions

3 amazing stories

train your brain for change

Holiday hotties

gifting made easy

stay warm with these toddies

find everything for everyone

our 3RD ANNUAL Most inspiring people MAGIC CITY MAGAZINE I HOLIDAY 2013 I 1

Billings Clinic ExpressCare at an Albertsons Near You Our new retail clinics will offer patients quick access in convenient locations to primary care for minor medical issues.

Benefits of ExpressCare include: E-scheduling through your mobile device, online or at the location

Easy parking at convenient locations

Decreased wait time

Simple pricing – service prices range from $25 to $70

Opening December 2013 Billings West End 3137 Grand Avenue (inside Albertsons) Additional locations are planned to open in Spring and Summer of 2014.

Scan this code with your smartphone to view the app.

2 I HOLIDAYGo 2013 Ito MAGIC CITY MAGAZINE for more information.

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for service and experience, contact our home loan experts today teresa Gilreath lisa Jordan Loan Originator ID 708013 Loan Originator ID 707960 Billings Heights Billings West 2501 Central Ave. • 255-6109 730 Main St. • 255-5833 sara mains Loan Originator ID 707785 Billings Downtown 401 N. 31st St. • 255-5177

roByn Barta Loan Originator ID 609679 Billings Downtown 401 N. 31st St. • 255-5176

cindy reiss, manager Loan Originator ID 901291 Billings Downtown 401 N. 31st St. • 255-5148

tiffany mcneff Loan Originator ID 707795 Billings Downtown 401 N. 31st St. • 255-5185

natalie piGG Loan Originator ID 298633 Lockwood Branch 2850 Old Hardin Rd. • 237- 1805 competitive rates • online applications construction-perm loans • rD loans • conventional FHa • va • First-time Homebuyer programs

experience what does

look like?



holiday 2013


most inspiring

Miracles: Do You Believe? By Allyn Hulteng

70 Warblers Welcome:

What does your favorite Christmas song reveal about your personality?

By Brittany Cremer

83 Most Inspiring People of 2013: Meet 13 people whose quiet actions make Billings a better place By Allyn Hulteng, Brittany Cremer and Brenda Maas

75 The Science of Snow:

A close look at those freezing, fluffy flakes

By Jason Burke

79 Chinese New Year 2014: The Year of the Horse By Gail Mullennax Hein


Turn Back Time: Age gracefully on a cellular level with healthy eating, exercise and a little red wine

By Julie Johnson


Time Savers that Aren’t By Julie Green






Forget New Year’s Resolutions: Train your brain for real change



















o u r E x pa n de d G i f t Gu i de







22 24


H e a r t of C h r i s t m a s



T he G i v i ng S e a s o n

Mon ta n a- m a d e M u s i c








Why Magic City?









C rys ta l l i ne C h r i s t m a s

W i l D G a m e Go e s Go u rm e t

Ho t Todd i e s









W i n t e r Wonde rl a nd


Christmas in Algeciras

—T he C h i l d





Mo n ta n a’s Lo s t Me t rop ol i s



In the early 1880s, immigrants and adventurers came in droves to seek their livelihood on the verdant land along the Yellowstone River. The hastily constructed tents and log cabins made it appear as if Billings materialized overnight – thus earning the name “The Magic City.” Today, as the largest city in Montana, Billings proudly retains its ‘Magic City’ moniker. As for Magic City Magazine, we promise to continue our mission to uncover all that is unique and wonderful and changing in this great community ... and we guarantee a few surprises along the way.

Holiday 2013 I VOLUME 11 I ISSUE 5

Michael GulledgE Publisher 657-1225

We Make Your We Make Banking Your BankingeasY... Easy...

e di t ori a l

Allyn Hulteng Editor-in-chief 657-1434 Bob Tamb0 Creative Director 657-1474 Brittany Cremer Senior Editor 657-1390 Brenda Maas Assistant Editor 657-1490 Evelyn Noennig asistant Editor 657-1226 pho togr a phy

Larry Mayer, James Woodcock, Casey Page, Bob Zellar, Paul Ruhter Adv e r t ising

Dave Worstell Sales & Marketing Director 657-1352 Ryan Brosseau Classified & Online Manager 657-1344 Shelli Rae Scott SALES MANAGER 657-1390 LINSAY DUTY ADVERTISING COORDINATOR 657-1254 MO LUCAS Production/Traffic Artist 657-1286 Con tac t us: Mail: 401 N. Broadway Billings, MT 59101 F ind us onl ine at

So you have more time to do what you enjoy.

F ind us at va rious r ack loc at ions t hroughou t Bil l ings: Billings area Albertsons I Billings Airport I Billings Clinic Billings Gazette Communications Billings Hardware I Copper Colander Curves for Women I Evergreen IGA I Gainan’s I Good Earth Market Granite Fitness I Kmart I McDonald’s (select locations)neecee’s I Pita Pit Real Deals I Reese and Ray’s IGA (Laurel) I Sidney Airport Stella’s St. Vincent’s Healthcare I The Y I Valley Federal Credit Union (Downtown location) Western Security Banks (Downtown location) I Williston Airport Yellowstone County Museum I Plus many other locations Subscriptions are available at the annual subscription rate of $29 (5 Issues). Single copy rate $4.95. Mail subscription requests and changes to address above, ATTN: Circulation Magic City Magazine is published five times a year by Billings Gazette Communications Copyright© 2013 Magic City Magazine All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without express written consent is prohibited.

Your brand of bank... big enough to help, small enough to care.

BILLINGS 2900 Central Avenue Billings, Montana (406) 656-5148

HARDIN 835 N. Center Avenue Hardin, Montana (406) 665-2332




Heart of Christmas With the holiday season in full swing, the days on my calendar are rapidly filling up. Family dinners, Christmas parties, shopping dates with my daughters, volunteering – not to mention cleaning, baking, wrapping and decorating. As the entries start to crowd one another, I begin to feel a familiar sense of panic, “how am I going to get everything done?!” It doesn’t help that this year the holiday season is truncated, having been delayed by a later-than-usual Thanksgiving Day. And it really doesn’t help that I tend to be a perfectionist. Martha Stewart’s Christmas, her classic cooking and decorating guide, is both my inspiration and my nemesis. Try as I might, my dishes never quite have the same visual appeal. And while our home décor looks plenty festive, it just doesn’t have the same pop as it would if 20 talented, young interior designers spent several weeks strategically placing a boatload of decorations into carefully designed groupings, which when all together don’t have the appearance of having “been done.” Sigh. Exactly when my drive to create the perfect holiday backdrop started, I’m not quite sure. It was probably honed over years of poring over glossy magazines featuring exquisitely decorated living rooms, kitchens, dining rooms and bedrooms. Sometimes there was even a decorated bathroom. Personally, I stop short of decorating my bathroom. A clean basin and fresh towels are good enough. The reality is, I am not alone in this mad frenzy of holiday preparation. Several of my friends and co-workers describe similar scenes in their homes. Like generals in a war room we strategize together, sharing quick tips and shortcuts to divide and conquer. Somehow, it all begins to feel so un-Christmas like.

The givers

As we put together this issue of Magic City Magazine, a renewed sense of the real meaning of the season began to take root. Inside, our third annual Most Inspiring People segment features 13 individuals whose selflessness, tenacity, bravery and dedication both amaze and motivate. Some names you may recognize; others you may not. Regardless, these people have had a profound impact in our community. Their stories are a testament that the holiday spirit doesn’t exist just in December; it exists in the expressions of kindness, compassion and service that take place all year long. The best part is that we just scratched the surface. Billings is blessed to have a generous and engaged citizenry. Despite the harried pace of life, folks here still take time to stop and ask, “Can I help you?” And they mean it. If you’re still looking for more inspiration, we also have a trio of amazing stories you won’t want to miss. We don’t want to spoil anything, so we’ll simply say that sometimes things happen that are so far beyond rational explanation we’re left to ponder, what if…. Do you believe?

Rediscover the magic

Now that our holiday issue is wrapped up, it’s time to tackle preparations at home. But this year I’m inspired to do things just a little differently. Instead of working feverishly to create a Hallmark moment, I’m going to throttle back and allow the season to unfold following its own beautiful rhythm. You see, in my push to be perfect, I’m afraid I’ve missed the many subtle wonders which are meant to connect me with something greater. That’s a tradeoff I no longer wish to make. This holiday season, give yourself permission to unplug from the frenzy and rediscover the joy. Miracles big and small are waiting.

Allyn Hulteng


c ontributors

Jennifer Williams is a relationship and emotional fitness coach with decades of experience helping organizations, couples and families grow and thrive. In her passionate desire to help people transform their lives and relationships, Jennifer has studied the brain for more than 10 years, applying the discoveries of cutting-edge research in her work. Jennifer is the founder of Heartmanity, and her fulfillment in her thriving business is exceeded only by her joy in being the mother of three grown children and married to her beloved husband for 33 years.

John Clayton

is the author of The Cowboy Girl, Images of America: Red Lodge, and other books. His featured story this month is excerpted from his new book, Stories of Montana’s Enduring Frontier: Exploring an Untamed Legacy.

Julie Johnson Rollins

returned to her hometown of Billings in 1996 after a decade and a half living in Boston and New York City. A physician, mother, wife, musician, nonprofit devotee and writer, she desires to write about “anything and everything that piques my curiosity.”

Jason Burke

writes for the discoverer in all of us. As a Professional Engineer, management consultant and freelance writer, work keeps him on the move, meeting interesting people everywhere he goes.  Originally from San Diego and recently returned from Australia, his background includes degrees from UC Berkeley and Montana Tech, a private pilot certificate and sharing the wonders of engineering, aviation and technology. In Montana for 10 years, he lives in Billings with his wife, Christy, and their three children.

Karen Kinser

loves the wizardry of words. She also enjoys travel because of that present-moment sense, which travel conveys so well, that each day is a gift to unwrap. Other passions include hiking, gardening, photography and entering recipe contests. Both she and her husband are fascinated with factory tours, literary landmarks and seeking restaurants mentioned in novels— just to see if they exist.

NOW OPEN Wait ‘til you see what’s inside Join us as we unveil our third annual Christmas Dream Home We’re creating a model holiday home featuring the latest in modern, stylish furnishings. Enter through the south atrium. Wander. Discover. Imagine. Let our dream inspire yours.

Jim Gransbery is a retired agricultural and political reporter of The Billings Gazette. Since 2008, he has spent his time teaching, writing magazine articles for Montana Magazine and regional publications and working on short fiction. He also looks after the well-being of his wife, Karen, who has made the whole trip possible.

Julie Green’s

life-long passion has always been writing and eventually became her profession. During her career, she has done technical, legal, business and creative writing (some all at the same time!)  A native of Cowley, Wyo., Julie is a part of the copy/concept/ creative team Billings-based Kinetic Marketing & Creative.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband Dave and their two children.



















Check your list to see who’s been naughty or nice, then browse through the next few pages to find great gift ideas for everyone in the family including Fido and Fifi.


for the HARD TO

BUY FOR Gift yourself…

…and that someone special in your life with the S820 two-person finnleo sauna. Using infrared technology with the exclusive EvenHeat system, you can detoxify and relax at the same time. Spa-on! Available at Montana HotSpring Spas $2,995

Where in the world?

Never forget where you came from with this geographic pillow of Montana from catstudio. Made of 100 percent organic cotton and handembroidered, each piece is a work of art, personally signed by the artisan. Available at Western Ranch Supply $140

Finishing touch

The person who has everything still needs to eat, right? Montana Cattle Co. has the perfect gift: A trio of condiments. With names like “Roping a Grizzly” and “Whiskey Smugglers” you can’t go wrong—plus, they are made right here in Montana. Score! Available at Western Ranch Supply $7


Vinters’ delight

Start with a good bottle-o-vino, like this 2010 Figgins Estate red blend from Walla Walla Valley. Add a new gadget—the Cooling Pour Spout from HOST that chills while pouring your whites—and a bottle stopper (like there will be some left, right?). Put in a bonus of something sweet, and you have the perfect gift for 99 percent of your best friends. Available at City Vineyard Prices vary

The gift of giving

This one-size-fits-all gift defines the true spirit of the season. We suggest checking out Magic magazine’s “Giving Back” section for a true gift from the heart—the gift of community and sharing. Happy Holidays. Available on page 18. Prices are what speak to you.


gUYs Zip up in style

Give your guy warmth without bulk with the hitech down jacket from Bugatchi UOMO. This coat is ultra-light, durable, crease-resistant, hypoallergenic and easy to care for. Perfect for wearing to the office or to the football game. Available at Desmonds $350

relaxation station

Fire up the game and kick up your feet in this two-position Richardson Recliner from Flexsteel. Covered with leather in chocolate, mushroom or burgundy, the wide rolled arms and adjustable back cushion will find him still in the chair, long after the game. Available at Stone Mountain Leather Furniture Gallery $1,952

What’s in the box?

My flies, of course. Handcrafted right here in Billings, Karla and Dan at Stonefly Studio combine personality and quality in one unique little fly box. Using hand-picked boards of beech, cherry, mahogany, maple or walnut, they are 4-3/4 by 6-inches with a waterresistant lacquer finish. Customize the box with your favorite river map, a personal name, inscription or artwork for a true one-of-akind gift. If you order by Dec. 21 in Montana, they promise Christmas delivery. Available at $89-109

What a cut up

What do you get when you combine a knife from Mora of Sweden with a Swedish FireSteel fire starter? An ingenious, must-have called the LightMyFire by Swedish FireKnife—it’s an extremely sharp, flexible and sturdy all-around knife with fire starter in the handle. So go ahead; we dare you: gut and clean your fish, cut the kindling and start the fire, all with the same tool. Available at Army Navy $40

Now where’s that bit again?

If you give him the 148-piece master bit set from Performance Tool, you should never hear those words again. If it’s not in this set, you don’t need it. Available at Shipton’s Big R $30

1430 Grand Ave.

245-9728 www.FAcebook.coM/TheFrAMehuT

MAGIC CITY MAGAZINE I HOLIDAY 2013 I 13 Mon-Fri 9-6 • Sat 10-5


KIDs Christmas cuties

Adorable doesn’t even cut it when you see your kids or grandkids in these “mini-me” outfits. Picture your little man in this pin-striped slacksvest combo complete with big-man tie or your little lady in the animal-inspired dress and matching shrug. They are sure to be the cutest thing on the planet… well, next to the Big Jolly Guy, that is. Available at Cutie Patootie $40-50

They grow like weeds

Or is it giraffes and dinosaurs? Kids will love being “big” with these unique growing charts. Locally made, they are cute, colorful and completely customizable. Available at Prairie Spirits Design via Facebook $135-175

Humor in a box

This is not your ordinary board game. You pick a card, like “Things you shouldn’t keep in your pocket,” or “Things a chimp thinks when he sees you at the zoo,” write your response and then try to guess-match responses with players. Perfect for all ages. The combinations are endless, as are the laughs. Available at Target $30

Stuff the stocking…

24 days of happiness

You will be “the bomb” if you get your kids a nifty Advent calendar from Lego. Designed for ages 5-12, we won’t tell if we see you playing, too—after all, who doesn’t love Legos? With 24 days of surprises from the “City” or “Friends” themes, Christmas starts early at your house. Available at Bricks & Minifigs $35


….with these Magic Socks. Made of 90 percent cotton, 8 percent nylon and 2 percent spandex, just add water and these mini socks grow into the real deal. The kids will love them! Can you say “socks shrinkydink-style?” Available at Western Ranch Supply $6


PETs Where’s Kitty?

If you give your cat this unique cat tree, you will never have to ask again. The puddy ‘tat will love the natural wood and rope, plus the platforms provide the ultimate spot to bird watch. Locally crafted, no two cat trees are alike and sizes vary. It’s the next best thing to the real deal for kitty. Available at Exotic Pets From $125-350


Something fishy

Your kitty will love your forever if you put this in her stocking. Smittens cat treats, from The Honest Kitchen, are made from pure, wild haddock line-caught off the coast of Iceland. Available at Lovable Pets $15

No more! If you tend to lose sight of your pooch in the cover of darkness (nice trick, Spot!) then you will love the Nite Dawg LED Collar from Nite Ize Innovation. It’s fluorescent during the day; at night press the button once for a steady glow and press it twice for a flashing light. This puppy is water-resistant, adjustable and includes a 200-hour replaceable battery. Available at Shipton’s Big R $17

Y ou r Be s t

Bring it on, pup!

Does Fido destroy every toy you buy? Ever wonder what he might ingest? There’s no worry when he plays with the Tizzi by Zogoflex. This fun, flexible toy is made in the USA, is 100 percent recyclable, nontoxic, buoyant, dishwasher-safe and available in two sizes. Plus, it is guaranteed against dog damage. Fetch! Available at Lovable Pets $12-19

oRE T S L a Loc URaL aLL NaT

FooDS T a c & DoG


Our Areas Largest Selection Of All Natural Pet Foods, Toys, Collars, Leashes & Harnesses. Self-Serve Dog Wash. Professional Grooming & Training Classes. ay Fresh-Baked Holid e bl la Treats Avai in our Bakery!

Earth dogs

Give the pups a treat this holiday season with food from Holistic Select. Their head-to-tail health starts in the middle with chow that is free of meat or poultry by-products, artificial preservatives, colors or flavors, wheat or wheat gluten. It’s bowl-licking good. To give Fido his daily exercise and still be a great earth steward, check out the Wood Chuck. Made by Planet Dog from sustainable bamboo and reused cork scraps, this ball “chucker” is ergonomically engineered to be sleek and strong. Two percent of purchases fund the training, placement and support of service dogs nationwide. You will be rewarded with barks, wags and slobber. Available at Classi Pet Center Dog food: $20 Wood Chuck: $25

Visit us on the web at: Ask us your pet nutrition questions anytime on Facebook!



GALs Fountain of Youth

Keep your skin looking young and beautiful with Youth Shield Antioxidant Complex by Éminence. Naturally derived from red currant, elderflower and magnolia bark, this antioxidant-rich combination maintains a fresh-looking appearance by hydrating, invigorating and reducing the signs of breakouts. Based in Hungary, Éminence has been hand-making organic skin care products since 1958. Available at Tallman Medical Spa $38-68

Classically stunning

Winterize in style

Just because you need to warm, doesn’t mean you can’t look fabulous. Try this wool-flannel motorcycle-style jacket from Kenneth Cole over a grey tweed V-neck sweater from ISDA. Add a classic like the zebra-print scarf to ward off the chills— you will turn heads. Available at Cricket Clothing Co. Scarf $29 Sweater $161 Jacket $149

Where’d ya get those shoes?

Next to diamonds, shoes are girl’s best friend, and she’s sure to call these mules her BFF. With a sassy heel, decorative rivets and just enough faux wool to look warm— or, is it cool—these Italian-made beauties will love America. Available at Beauty Outlet $85


With pieces as old as the earth itself, The Le Vian collection simply speaks volumes. A piece from the Le Vian chocolate collection is a truly timeless and priceless gift that she will always cherish. Available at Goldsmith Jewelry Prices vary

Link-Up Fun & Funky

Hand-crafted from recycled light aluminum or copper by the “Artist Jay,” these unique pendants, bracelets and scarf rings are show-stoppers for both their statements and their beauty. She’s sure to be asked, “Where did you get that fabulous necklace?” You can even buy her the tree to hold all her jewelry—it is art in and of itself. Available at La Mer From $32-100

Talk about a chain reaction – links lead to glam

Always open Sundays 12 – 4 Shop Local, Shop Downtown 2814 2nd Avenue North




BY chris rubich

The Giving Season

Each day, hundreds of Billings-area residents are served by local nonprofits that provide everything from food and shelter to education and child care. During the holidays, these organizations give to so many. Read on to find out how you can lend a hand, helping even more in need.


245-2582 505 Orchard Lane The after-school youth-development program provides activities with an educational basis, character building, leadership skills, arts, sports, nutrition and health information for ages 6-18. It has on-site programs on Orchard Lane and at Lockwood Schools, Castle Rock Middle School and Bench Elementary and serves about 650 kids daily. The programs can use volunteer mentors, monetary donations, scholarships for kids, art supplies, gym balls, markers, crayons and board games. FRIENDSHIP HOUSE OF CHRISTIAN SERVICE 259-5569 3123 Eighth Ave. S.


Faith-based Friendship House provides education enrichment for at-risk children, ages 5-12. It offers family encouragement and training, tutoring, mentoring, homework help and character development. Needs include sponsors for the holiday Dress A Child project, financial assistance and volunteers to work with children and families. HEAD START 245-7233 615 N. 19th St. About 360 kids, ages 3-5 and not in kindergarten, receive early childhood education, preparation for kindergarten, nutrition, transportation, family support services and more through the program. Volunteers are needed in classrooms, as are monetary donations, including for the literacy program where books are purchased and go home with the kids. Head Start also can use gently used Christmas decorations, paper, school supplies, kids’ exercise equipment, balls, tricycles, wagons, nutrition-

training meal items, grocery cards for holiday meals, cash cards and donations for kids’ gifts.


670-9146 2913 Gabel Road The Marine Corps Reserve and Young Marines provide toys at the holidays for needy children. Donations of new, unwrapped toys and money are needed and will be accepted through Dec. 23. Volunteers are needed to wrap and distribute gifts.

YMCA 248-1685 402 N. 32nd St. The Y offers after-school and preschool programs, tumbling, dance, kids’ yoga, cycling, basketball and Tiny Tots sports programs for ages 3 and older. The after-school program picks up kids from 26 School District 2 schools, Independent School and St. Francis School and operates at some

rural schools, reaching about 365 students. The Y needs volunteers and donations for its scholarship program, books for preschoolers through junior-high age and supplies.

YOUNG ADULTS BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS 248-2229, 2123 Second Ave. N. The one-to-one mentoring program matches ages 5-18 with community volunteers and older students. Almost all of the children served are from single-parent families, have incarcerated parents or live with grandparents and need an extra person to show them the way or alternatives to troubled lifestyles. The program needs volunteers as mentors or at activities and monetary donations for home visits, match support and monthly activities for matched pairs.


259-4513 409 Arnold Ave. Boy Scouts works year-round to instill values, build character and develop leadership skills in boys, ages 7-18. It offers a Venturing program for boys and girls, ages 14-20; day and overnight camps; outdoor activities; and opportunities to give back to the community through civic projects. The organization needs ideas for service programs for youths, adult volunteers and money for programs and scholarships so low-income youths can participate in programs.


252-0488 2303 Grand Ave. The program for grade school through high school works to build girls’ courage, confidence and character. Activities year-round range from healthy living, antibullying programs, leadership skills, day and night camps, action adventures such as recycling and food baskets, robotics and the STEM program focusing on science, technology, electronics and math. The Destinations Program offers travel opportunities for girls. Girl Scouts can use volunteers as role models and financial donations for equipment, scholarships, robotics and camp scholarships.


591-9535 2317 Montana Ave. The performing-arts program provides movement, voice, acting and youth productions for kids, high-schoolers and adults. Youth programs include the Youth Conservatory, Summer Education Program, Funky Bunch improv comedy and Venture Into Schools, which sends a director into a school to cast and stage a production in just two weeks. NOVA can use monetary donations and volunteers to work on sets, costumes, ushering and concessions. It also needs audiences for its holiday productions – “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” Dec. 6-15, and “Christmas Cabaret,” Dec. 20-21.


259-2558 505 N. 24th St. Tumbleweed helps families in crisis and works to prevent homelessness and running away. It provides counseling and serves

homeless youths with street outreach, a drop-in program for homeless and at-risk youths and transitional living. Tumbleweed serves ages 10-24. The organization needs more independent living options for at-risk and runaway youths, money, food, volunteers at its drop-in center or as mentors and clothing in teen styles and sizes. Call the group for an opportunity to fill a holiday wish list for an at-risk teen or young adult.


BILLINGS FOOD BANK 259-2856 2112 Fourth Ave. N. Billings Food Bank gathers about 10 million pounds of food per year and other necessities for people in need. In fiscal year 2012, it handed out 93,885 food boxes and served 61,600 people in the Senior Nutrition Program, as well as giving out 11,038 holiday food boxes and much more. The Food Bank operates a culinary-job training program, a pet food bank, baby pantry, café and gift shop. The Food Bank needs monetary donations, volunteers, holiday food such as turkeys and ham, canned goods and baby formula, especially Similac Sensitive. FAMILY PROMISE OF YELLOWSTONE VALLEY 294-7432 40 10th St. W. Formerly Interfaith Hospitality Network, Family Promise helps homeless families with infants through teens in high school with transitional shelter. A day center provides a case manager, information about finance and parenting classes. Clients are hosted in churches for evening dinners and overnight shelter. Family Promise can use financial donations, car donations, beds, couches, tables, chairs and dressers along with volunteers at host churches and day centers.


259-2269 1824 First Ave. N.,

The organization safeguards families from homelessness and alleviates poverty by providing food boxes, help with rent or utilities, clothing and more. For the holidays, it will distribute Toys for Tots in conjunction with St. Vincent De Paul.

Family Service needs turkey, canned goods and other holiday food items and money for holiday food boxes, as well as volunteers as Santa helpers at the Toys for Tots shop. Throughout the year, the organization can use gently-used seasonal clothing, canned goods and volunteers in its Treasure Store, where it accepts and distributes clothing and household items. FAMILY TREE CENTER 252-9799 2520 Fifth Ave. S. The center’s goal is to prevent child abuse and neglect through education and support for parents, in-home mentoring, help in accessing community resources, parenting classes, free respite child care and providing child care so parents can reach services. The organization provides kindergarten-preparedness classes, as well as family fun nights and coordination of a Women’s Prison program to support children of incarcerated parents. The group also presents public education about abuse prevention. Family Tree Center can use volunteers at fundraisers or other events and as parent monitors, food for programs, table goods, clothing donations, gas cards and monetary donations. YWCA 252-6303 909 Wyoming Ave. YWCA works to improve the lives of women and families through three programs. The Gateway Program provides about 7,500 nights of safe shelter for women and children escaping violence and helps families toward lives free of violence. The YWCA Child Center serves about 100 kids, ages 6 weeks to 6 years old, get licensed child care and has a schoolreadiness curriculum. The Employment and Training Center helps adults overcome barriers to full employment. The YWCA can use money to match with specific needs of clients and new educational toys, new personal items suitable for use by any age and new gifts for women and children.



The center is an umbrella agency for many programs serving ages 60 and older, including volunteers through Retired Senior Volunteer Program, senior meals at congregate sites, senior transportation, help for senior centers and other programs. The center gives presentations every other month for people new to Medicare. During the holidays, the public can pick names from Love Trees at local businesses to fulfill wishes of senior citizens living in nursing homes, assisted-living sites or far from their families. Volunteers are needed for the rides program, transporting seniors to shopping and other errands. Money is needed, and gift cards are available for meals at meal sites and the transportation program. PREVENTION OF ELDER ABUSE 259-3111 937 Grand Ave. This program is part of Big Sky Senior Services and raises awareness of elder abuse and neglect and works for its prevention. Senior citizens and vulnerable adults with disabilities can be paired with representative payees and case-management services. And the program offers education and outreach. Donations for services and volunteers to match with clients and for outreach are needed. MEALS ON WHEELS 259-9666 1505 Ave. D This program helps keep senior citizens independent and living safely in their own homes, as well as providing more than 200 nutritious meals on weekdays for the homebound who may not be able to prepare meals for themselves. The program needs substitute drivers to deliver meals and monetary donations.


259-3111 937 Grand Ave. Part of Big Sky Senior Services, Senior Helping Hands assists senior citizens and adults with disabilities with light homemaking, personal care and nursing services. The program can use volunteers to match with clients and donations for costs of services. Big Sky Senior Services serves more than 200 people. For the holidays, volunteers are needed to “adopt” a specific client to buy presents. General wish lists include sweaters, slippers, stationery, candy and other personal-use items.




Montana-made Music The area brims with talented musicians whose offerings act as the perfect soundtrack for any season. Whether your taste is indie-rock, jazz, classical or Celtic, this sampling of local music is sure to wow the out-of-state buddies on your gift giving list. BONUS: your kids will never again doubt how cool you are if “Santa” deposits one of these as a stocking stuffer.

Jerod Birchell “Street Corner Dreamer” Birchell, a talented singer-songwriter, contemporizes his folk-rock genre with tender lyrics and a soothing, raspy tone. Available at

Daniel and the Blonde “Daniel and the Blonde” Their debut, self-titled album will release just in time for the holidays. You will fall in love with the duo’s folksy, organic style and salt-of-theearth lyrics. Available at danielandtheblondecom

No Cigar “Monsters” Celebrating the success of their debut CD, Billings-based punk rock band No Cigar has garnered quite a following. Powerful vocals and razor-sharp lyrics evidence their success. Rage on! Available at and iTunes

Cure for the Common “Cure for the Common” Cure for the Common is the antidote to standard house band cover songs. Their soulful, funky style is enmeshed with jazz musicality, creating an irresistible fusion of fun. Available at

Céilidh Fiddlers Céilidh Fiddlers’ Greatest Hits If it’s the luck of the Irish you’re looking for this holiday season, seek no further. Performing traditional Celtic folk music, their spritely tunes will have you tapping your toe in no time flat. Available at Kirk House of Music in Billings

Alex Nauman Organ Trio, or “ANT” “Too Damn Tight” (on vinyl) Talent oozes from the fingertips of Billings’ own Alex Nauman, virtuoso jazz, funk and experimental music artist. The ANT experience will ensnare your ears with its avant-garde, bluesy sound, unlike anything else on your iPod. Available at

In addition to group websites, check in with local music distributor and vendor, Ernie November, as titles become available. Ernie November is located at 919 Grand Ave. in Billings; phone is 248-5821.








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Heart of the Home Add these to-die-for-pieces to your dream kitchen wish list Bon Appétit!

This is it—your chance to have mountains of recipes from your favorite chefs and restaurants around Montana, all in one beautifully artistic cookbook. A Taste of Montana: Favorite Recipes from Big Sky Country by Seabring Davis covers secrets from Buck’s T-4 Lodge’s truffle risotto in Big Sky to the dark chocolate stout cake at the Grand Hotel in Big Timber— and all points in-between.

Available at $30

Home on the Range

It’s not love—it’s lust. Anyone who knows their way around a kitchen knows that the GE Monogram professional dual-fuel 48inch range is the cat’s meow. With four reversible burners, grill and griddle, the multi-use range delivers a full spectrum of heat settings from an ultra-low 140 degree simmer to an intense 18,000 BTUs. The oven combines European, reverse-air convection technology and six heating elements in each oven for superb baking results. Plus, it may be the only oven that fits full-sized catering trays inside. Meow!

Available at American Appliance $9,800

Like oil and water…

…wait, it’s oil and vinegar. No kitchen is complete without these basics. Turn it up a notch with the ever-popular sundried tomato balsamic vinegar and garlic and herb extra virgin olive oil by Olivelle. We dare you to find something these staples do not complement. Plus, they stack. How cool is that?

Available at Yellowstone Olive Company Stackable bottles $6 for pair Dipper $10 Oil and vinegar prices vary

Fast food

No time to cook? You can’t use that excuse if you have the GE Advantium speedcook oven in your kitchen. With technology that harnesses the power of light, this quick little cooker browns and evenly cooks while retaining the food’s natural moisture. Using 240 volts in the 30-inch model, this speedster shakes-and-bakes eight times faster than a conventional oven. The combinations of proofing, warming, microwaving and convecting make the Advantium four ovens in one. Enough said.

Available at American Appliance $4,000


You’re invited! Destination: NYC


He likes red. She prefers white. If that scenario sounds familiar, then you will love the dual-zone wine preservation column from Thermador. Available in stainless steel or outfitted with custom-panels, choose from 18-inch or 24-inch wide by 84-inches high. The oenophiles will drool over this tall toy. Cheers!

Available at Kitchens Plus $4,549-5,200

Dish it up

Brighten up your table with these colorful dishes from tag Sonoma. Sold as individual pieces instead of sets, buy what you use and lose the rest.

Available at Western Ranch Supply $7-8

Knife & Cutting Board

A chef is only as good as his knife. The eight-inch precision deli knife by Wüsthof is the preferred knife for professionals who carve meat in famous delis in Chicago and New York City. If it’s good enough for them, then it’s perfect for you! Plus, Wüsthof has been making quality knives in Solengen, Germany, since 1814. Pair it with this reversible round slab cutting board made of sustaining domestic hardwoods by Catskill Craftsmen. Weighing in at 17 inches in diameter and three inches thick, this is one serious cutting board. Both items can be delivered directly to Billings.

Available at Swanky Fork Kitchen Store Red Lodge $130 (cutting board) and $80 (knife)


$1,995 September 26-29, 2014 Who: Women of all ages! What: Shopping, dining, coffee, 9/11 Memorial, sight-seeing, and a Broadway show. When: September 26-29, 2014 Where: New York City Includes: Round-trip air from Billings to New York City, Broadway Show, Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, excellent Manhattan hotels based on double occupancy, ground transportation, dedicated tour director for the entire trip, monthly payment schedule.

For more information, please call

Brian atMAGIC GlobalCITY Travel Alliance at 406-206-0550 MAGAZINE I HOLIDAY 2013 I 23 or stop by our office at 1645 Parkhill Drive, Suite 1



Reflections of a Country Doctor

Buon Natale: The Christmas Album By Il Volo

By Jimmie Ashcraft, M.D. Ehh? Ehh? Imagine it: grandpa has been feigning deafness for years just so he can hear the dirt his family has been saying about him. This scenario and others like it fill the fascinating and wildly entertaining pages of “Reflections of a Country Doctor.” As one of Sidney, Montana’s most beloved doctors, Jimmie Ashcraft offers a fascinating glimpse into the everyday life of a country doctor in rural Montana. The doc’s stories create situations for the reader to contemplate, discuss and enjoy.


Tarantino XX boxed set

In May 2009, three fresh-faced teenagers appeared on the popular Italian talent show “Ti Lascio Una Canzone” and dazzled television viewers with their flawless rendition of the Neapolitan standard “O Sole Mio.” The boys, who won the competition easily, decided their group needed a name. “Il Volo,” meaning “flight,” was chosen to signify the feeling that these three young tenors were about to spread their wings and fly. Their sound is uplifting and joyful, with rich, buttery tones hallmarking traditional holiday favorites like “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” and “Silent Night.” Il Volo will have you dreaming of a white Christmas in no time.


Directed by: Quentin Tarantino It’s hard to believe that we’ve been watching Tarantino’s brand of bloody, verbose, post-modernist mayhem for 20 years now. But that’s exactly what the new Tarantino XX Blu-ray box set is celebrating. Gear up for “Django Unchained” by revisiting other Tarantino classics, from the Tony Scottdirected “True Romance” to the WWII-revision, “Inglourious Basterds.” The set (which makes an awesome Christmas gift) features additional bonus footage and retrospectives from some of Tarantino’s most enigmatic characters.



Available at iTunes He’s makin’ a list, and checkin’ it twice. Your kiddos will be wowed by this jolly little app created by the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). Children eager to track Santa Claus on his annual yuletide journey across the globe can download the app to see if he’s delivering presents in Billings or Bangladesh at that very moment. Santa’s GPS will keep them busy, and keep the spirit of Christmas alive for years to come.

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hristmas BY Julie Green I Photography by Kelvin I exterior photo by paul ruhter

As a realtor, Ron Thom has seen hundreds of homes in his career. But the day he walked into this stunning West End rancher, he instantly knew it was something his wife Audre would love. He was right. “Ron had actually seen it nearly two years before and told me about it,” Audre says. “I was finally able to do a walkthrough with him and that was all it took.”




It’s not difficult to see why the Thoms fell in love with the home so quickly. A curved walkway guides visitors to an arched front door framed with large, rounded windows that offer a glimpse into the gracious entry. Inside, the walls are awash in a beautiful palette of browns, which contrast elegantly with the custom white woodwork and crown molding. Flooring includes rich hardwood, thick carpeting and tile swirled with varying shades of brown, gray and cream. The couple’s furniture was carefully selected for every room throughout the house, chosen as much for comfort and function as for style. It was mid-December 2011 when the couple moved into their home. With no time to fully decorate, they set up a Christmas tree in the corner of the kitchen but little else. Audre wanted to take time to get to know the home before deciding how to bring it to life for the holidays. Today, the Thoms’ home gleams


Living Room: Transom windows and large glass doors leading to the patio ensure that the main floor living room is flooded with light during the day while providing a shining backdrop for holiday décor. In the evening, the room is the perfect spot to relax on comfortable leather furniture and enjoy a warm drink in front of the roaring fire. Entryway: A one-of-a-kind entry is one of this home’s most extraordinary features. Floor to ceiling windows stretch gracefully alongside the heavy wood door, while the tile floors and unique architectural details add an air of refined elegance.

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in preparation for holiday festivities, a perfect blend of comfortable warmth and elegant sophistication. In the living room, greenery is carefully strung across the windows and sliding doors looking out onto the patio and in-ground pool. A bough of branches also rests atop the classic white cabinetry surrounding the fireplace, candles glowing on either side. The Christmas tree, placed between the kitchen and living room, expresses the couple’s personal style. Instead of traditional reds and greens, beautiful browns are balanced with shimmering metallics and creamy whites. Glass birds, icicles and pinecone-inspired ornaments pay tribute to the beauty of nature, replacing the snowmen and elves so frequently seen this time of year. “The first time we set up the tree, Jim [Gainan] spent nearly a day on it,” Audre recalls. “Many of the pieces he used we already had; others I found when I went to the annual open house at Gainan’s. I cannot tell you how many pictures


Kitchen: Glass-front kitchen cabinets enclose part of Audre’s glass collection, which includes antique, delicately etched wine glasses handed down to her. “I never buy a set of dishes,” she laughs. “They’ll come to me from my mother or grandmother, and then I’ll add a piece here or there to complete them.” Gourmet chefs would envy the eat-in kitchen, which features a restaurant-quality cooktop, stainless in-wall ovens, a walk-in pantry and expansive granite countertops.


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I took of that tree to make sure I could decorate it again!” Gainan’s also created custom centerpieces and arrangements for Ron and Audre, which can be displayed year after year. Featuring natural elements such as twigs and faux greenery, each is designed to make the most of the space surrounding it. They also created exterior displays, ensuring that the holiday feel could be captured both indoors and out. With their home decorated upstairs and down, the Thoms are looking forward to welcoming their two grandchildren, age 2 ½ and 4 ½ , for the holidays. “They usually come to our home on Christmas Eve,” Audre says. “It’s something we always look forward to this time of year.”

Master Bedroom: The master suite is roomy enough to accommodate large-scale furniture, yet maintains a cozy, secluded feel. Light from the tray ceiling and chandelier provide options for layered lighting. Master Bath The en suite master bath features his-and-her vanities, a deep soaking tub and a separate walk in shower. Upstairs Guest Bath: The Thoms turned to Lindy McGinnis to add a metallic finish to the walls in an upstairs guest bath, which is conveniently located for summer swimmers. The silver walls contrast beautifully with the dark vessel sink and framed mirror.


Beautify your Floors Solid Wood Installation over RADIANT FLOOR HEAT Hardwood Floor Installation Refinish and Restore Swedish No-Wax Finishes Quality Material from the Finest Mills

Free Estimates! 10056 South Frontage Rd. Billings, MT 59101 (406) 656-3613 Wrap Room: Women everywhere would adore Audre’s wrap room, which allows her to contain the mess of paper and ribbons and hide presents from peering eyes. The quilt was created by her mother, a former seamstress. The wrap station was purchased online, and Audre put it together herself. “Ron says that if we ever sell, this will probably have to go with the house,” she says with a smile. “But both of us are pretty happy here and we can’t see moving anytime soon.” Man Cave: Ron’s favorite place is the downstairs family room, where he can escape to watch the Golf Channel and relax in his leather armchair. Holiday touches like miniature Christmas trees can be found in unexpected places around the room.

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wild game goes



This holiday season, indulge guests with something exceptional—a menu inspired by nature and captured by the epicurious talent of Executive Chef Nick Steen of Lone Mountain Ranch in Big Sky, Mont. Steen’s spin on wholesome, farm-to-table victuals will have everyone begging for seconds.




Executive Chef Nick Steen

Nick Steen is the Executive Chef of Lone Mountain Ranch in Big Sky, Mont. He was born and raised in Billings and graduated from Skyview in 2003. He is self-taught, and attributes his passion for food to his mother who spent time cooking with him as a child. He has worked with former James Beard award-winners and uses his experiences in life to inspire his cuisine. Using locally-sourced products, Nick provides diners with an unforgettable and unique experience. He lives in Big Sky with his wife Ashley and son Declan. When he’s not behind the stove, he can be found on the ski hill or at the hockey rink.


Seasonal flavors abound in this rich pumpkin-based dessert. Garnished w local flora and paired with an apple br crème anglaise, this after-dinner treat surely be a hit for the palate and eyes


Bread Pudding

with randy t will s.




Herb-Crusted Rack of Elk

Life is knocking on your


1 elk rack 4 rosemary sprigs finely-chopped 1 bunch of flat leaf parsley finely-chopped 1 tablespoon olive oil salt and pepper

Sheila Larsen 406-672-1130

Start with a 3 to 5-pound Montana elk rack. Rub with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes (depending on size) or until you reach your desired internal temperature. (135 for medium rare; 145 for medium; 155 for medium-well). Once you reach your desired temperature, pull elk from oven and rub with fresh herbs and bake again for 5 minutes. Let Elk rest 10 to 15 minutes, slice and serve.

Truffled Mashed Potatoes

5 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed ½ pound unsalted butter 2 tablespoons white truffle oil 1 cup sour cream Salt to taste

Place potatoes in water with 1/8 cup salt. Simmer potatoes until they are easily pierced with a fork. Put potatoes through a food mill (if you don’t have a mill, use a mixer). Fold in remaining ingredients and add salt to taste.

Candied Whiskey Butternut Squash 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed ¼ cup brown sugar ¼ pound unsalted butter ½ cup whiskey Salt to taste

Place all ingredients (minus the salt) into a baking dish and bake at 350 for 30 minutes, or until the squash is easily pierced with a fork. Let stand and serve.

Apple Brandy Crème Anglaise

1 cup heavy cream 2  large egg yolks ¼ cup sugar 2 tablespoons apple brandy or bourbon 1 cinnamon stick (optional)

Whisk together cream, egg yolks and sugar in a 2-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly (so mixture doesn’t scorch or scramble) for 8 to 10 minutes or until mixture thinly coats back of a wooden spoon. Pour through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a bowl. Stir in apple brandy or bourbon. Add cinnamon stick, if desired. Fill a large bowl with ice. Place bowl containing cream mixture in ice, and let stand, stirring constantly, for 30 minutes. Set aside.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

1 ½ cups heavy cream ¾ cup canned solid-pack pumpkin ½ cup sugar 2 large eggs plus 1 yolk ½ teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon ½ teaspoon ground ginger 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice 5 cups cubed (1-inch) day-old baguette or crusty bread ¾ stick unsalted butter, melted Pinch of ground cloves

Whisk together pumpkin, cream, sugar, eggs, yolk, salt and spices in a bowl. Toss bread cubes with butter in another bowl, then add pumpkin mixture and toss to coat. Transfer to an ungreased 8-inch square baking dish and bake at 350 until custard is set, 25 to 30 minutes. Wait for pudding to cool, then top with Apple Brandy Crème Anglaise.



baby, it’s cold outside


To ward off Ol’ Man Winter, we scouted out locally-crafted hot toddies for a special warm-up— both with and without the extra spirit. Bottoms up!

Winter Wasp The Vig 2 oz. Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey Whiskey 0.25 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice 5 oz. hot water 1 tablespoon honey Rim the glass with honey and powdered sugar, and garnish with a lemon wedge.




The Alpine Red Robin 6 oz. hot water 1 packet of hot chocolate mix 1 oz. peppermint schnapps For the kids: Substitute 0.5 oz. gingerbread syrup for the schnapps Top with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles.

Lewis & Clark Trailhead Spirits 1 oz. Healy’s Reserve Cask Rested Gin 0.25 oz. lemon honey 2 scoops of specialty batter (special “Tom & Jerry” batter from Trailhead Spirits) Fill mug with hot water. Garnish with shaved nutmeg and mint leaf.


Cinnamon Spiced Cider Jake’s Downtown 1 oz. Hennessey V.S. 0.5 oz. Hot Dam cinnamon schnapps Hot apple cider (to fill glass almost to top) Rim the glass with cinnamon-sugar. Top drink with whipped cream, cinnamon stick and sprinkles.

Liquid S’more The Rex

0.75 oz. Stoli Vanilla Vodka 0.75 oz. Bailey’s Irish Cream Mix ingredients with hot chocolate. Top with Rex “house-made” marshmallows and a dash of cinnamon.  


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Preston B. Moss (1863-1947), a Missouri-born financier, arrived in Billings in 1892. He promptly made $400,000 in the sheep business, emerging from the Panic of 1893 as a major investment force in the state. A prominent banker, he also founded a newspaper, a toothpaste factory and a meatpacking plant. He helped develop companies that distributed irrigation water, electricity, heat and telephone service. He co-founded the Northern Hotel and Great Western Sugar company and built a 1903 mansion that architectural historian Chere Jiusto has called “one of the finest residences ever built in the state of Montana.” Illustration above: Mossmain, Montana Town Plan sales brochure, n.d. Walter Burley Griffin, architect. Magic of America, Ryerson and Burnham Archives, The Chicago Art Institute of Chicago. Digital File #1_15_1a. Above right: A 1918 postmark from a post office finagled by P.B. Moss to open after building a small house in Mossmain. Courtesy of Gary Splittberger. Right: P.B. Moss. Photo Courtesy of John Clayton.




But after nearly two decades in Billings, Moss apparently decided he could do better. Sure, Billings was on the railroad, but 14 miles west of Billings was the intersection of three railroads: the Northern Pacific going eastwest along the Yellowstone River plus the Great Northern hooking into northern networks via Judith Gap and Great Falls and the Burlington hooking into southern networks via Worland and Casper. At this spot, near the hamlet of Laurel, the Northern Pacific had just established the largest terminal yards between Minneapolis and Seattle. Moss knew that being located at such a rail junction meant cheap rates and fast service. He also foresaw the Panama Canal creating demand for a new rail corridor from Galveston and Houston through Denver and southern Montana to Seattle. Such forces, he likely knew, had driven the explosive growth of 19th century cities such as Chicago. So as receivership forced him to step down from the bank in 1910, he decided to create a new such metropolis. If you build it…

He called it Mossmain, and he took it very seriously. Mossmain would be “the first garden city in America,” he declared. The Garden City movement, which had originated in Letchworth, England, in 1903, was designed to put “every home in a garden The Industrial setting, not a vegetable garden alone, but ample gardens adorned with flowers, Revolution had shrubbery and shade trees,” Moss wrote. The Industrial Revolution had created created an an ugly dichotomy. Cities brimmed with tenements so grim and dismal that many ugly dichotomy. residents were drawn to communism as a desirable alternative. Meanwhile, small Cities brimmed farms such as those in eastern Montana lacked most emerging technologies with tenements (plumbing, electricity, telephones), but suffered even more from isolation, so grim and with each farm being located far from neighbors and communities. dismal that Moss’ utopian plan, then, was to integrate agriculture and urban life, not many residents only through gardens “to relieve the nerve tension of city life” but also by were drawn to creating a city that would make intensive irrigated farming in the wider area more communism profitable, desirable and social. The city would also improve farm as a desirable economics. With a “value-added” philosophy, Moss believed that Montana alternative. should develop industry to turn its agricultural products into finished goods. For example, he believed the Mossmain area would be particularly good for apple orchards (and indeed, to this day you find remnants of orchards up the Clarks Right: Mossmain, Montana Town Plan Prospectus, n.d. Walter Burley Griffin, architect. Magic of America, Ryerson and Burnham Archives, The Chicago Art Institute of Chicago. Digital File #1_20_22_01a.


Fork)—but he also believed that Mossmain should have a facility to turn those apples into applesauce. To express his philosophy on the ground, Moss turned to Chicago architect Walter Burley Griffin. A former associate of Frank Lloyd Wright, Griffin won a 1912 contest to design the brand-new Australian capital city of Canberra. In 1913 Griffin visited Australia, and on his way home he met P.B. Moss at Mossmain. In a later lecture, Griffin gave equal time to his plans for the Australian capital and the “railroad center of an orchard region” in

Above: Chicago architect Walter Burley Griffin. A former associate of Frank Lloyd Wright, designed the plans for Mossmain. Photo courtesy of John Clayton. Right: Mossmain, Prospectus, Yellowstone Garden City, n.d. Walter Burley Griffin, architect. Magic of America, Ryerson and Burnham Archives, The Chicago Art Institute of Chicago. Digital File #1_20_22_10a.

Montana. Both were complete civic units that considered climate (sunlight, winds, water supply, beauty) and community in balance. Moss, armed with the plans though not yet an official plat, set out to raise money. His idealism may have hampered his results with investors: he bragged that Mossmain would “reverse the usual city building methods which have to do with town lot speculation schemes.” Potential investors probably frowned. Moss did successfully lure a magazine publisher to relocate from Lincoln, Nebraska, to his planned publishing house. Until it could

be built, Richard Haste published the Scientific Farmer from offices in Billings, assisted by his 25-year-old daughter Gwendolen and a secretary.

A dream waiting to be realized

And then—nothing happened. Nobody invested. Moss built a small house in Mossmain, and finagled a post office for the community in 1917. But Moss’ grand plans withered. The commonly accepted story blames the advent of World War I.

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Yet something else happened in 1917, that was likely a far more significant obstacle to Mossmain. That year was the beginning of the failed homesteaders’ exodus from eastern Montana. It marked the slow, sad, culture-wide realization that Montana would not fill up with small farms. And yet if Montana couldn’t become a Midwestern farming paradise, neither could it develop Midwestern-style cities. The Mossmain prospectus had bragged, “When this territory shall have been developed in the same per The Mossmain Overpass, just east of Laurel, is named for the area where the city was to be built. Photo by Larry Mayer. capita ratio per square mile as in ,Ohio or Indiana, it will have a total population of 1,600,000.” Within a radius of 100 miles, Moss expected, the rural population alone would top half a million, with several large cities accounting for the rest. Those cities, Moss expected, would be powered by outfits like the Scientific Farmer, which promoted the Campbell system of dry farming— When Montana ran out of frontier, the very system many homesteaders blamed for exacerbating the its unique history really began. drought. In other words, the rural boom would fuel an urban boom,

want more montana history?

and eventually southern Montana would look just like greater Chicago. But if the rural boom was predicated on faulty assumptions—that dry farming could support hundreds of thousands of homesteaders—then so was the equally longed-for urban boom. Thus as the homesteaders’ dream was smashed, so too, was the dream of Montana’s urban future. Mossmain would have been located at what is now the Interstate-90 East Laurel exit. Around the tracks there today are a drive-in movie theater, a chemical distributor and a horse arena.

Dashed dreams

After the failure of his city, P.B. Moss ran for Congress in 1922 on an agricultural platform, losing to an opponent backed by the Anaconda company (and thus all of the state’s newspapers). He also lost his Billings mansion to foreclosure, though its subsequent restoration has since burnished his reputation. Walter Burley Griffin moved permanently to Australia, where he is now considered one of the leading architectplanners in that country’s history. Gwendolen Haste, daughter of the magazine publisher, became a noted New York City poet who often wrote about the Montana homesteaders she had met. In retrospect, perhaps the failure of Mossmain was good news. It might have been a terrible modern city: planned without anticipation of advances in railroads, refrigeration and automobile traffic. Meanwhile, the thwarted dreams of the 1920s helped shape the resilient character of all who lived through those difficult days. Montanans of the 1920s and ‘30s, unable to simply replicate the Midwest, struggled to build an economy and culture unique to the state. Their successes and failures create a heritage that benefits everyone who lives here today, more so than any city might have, no matter how beautifully planned.


John Clayton’s new book, published in May 2013, is Stories from Montana’s Enduring Frontier: Exploring an Untamed Legacy. The book collects 27 of Clayton's essays on Montana history, composed over a 20-year timespan. Several of the essays were first published in magazines such as Montana Magazine and The Montana Quarterly. Others are available for the first time. The book also includes more than 30 illustrations.

At the turn of the twentieth century, Montana started emerg-

ing from its rugged past. Permanent towns and cities, powered by mining, tourism, and trade, replaced ramshackle outposts. Yet Montana’s frontier endured, both in remote pockets and in the wider cultural imagination. The frontier thus played a continuing role in Montanans’ lives, often in fascinating ways. Author John Clayton has written extensively on these shifts in Montana history, chronicling the breadth of the frontier’s legacy with this diverse collection of stories. Explore the remnants of Montana’s frontier through stories of the Little Bighorn Battlefield, the Beartooth Highway, and the lost mining camp of Swift Current--and through legendary characters such as Charlie Russell, Haydie Yates, and “Liver-eating” Johnston.

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WINTER WONDERLAND Like a Robert Frost poem, the crisp cool of winter’s breath knowingly blankets the valley. The biting cold bristles the backs of wildlife and freezes flora, but with it, a promise of spring. And so continues the lifecycle of the season. With it, a newfound appreciation for a warm hearth, close companions and nature’s bounty.

Snow covers bare tree branches as a storm moves through the Billings. Photo by CASEY PAGE


Frost covers grass along the Yellowstone River near MetraPark. Photo by BOB ZELLAR




A pedestrian crosses 27th St. in downtown Billings during a snow storm. Photo by CASEY PAGE




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Top: Snow and ice curl off the roof of the Zimmerman Center. Above: Fencing with snow appears to look like candles at a Billings home. Photos by LARRY MAYER


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225 N. 23rd St., Billings, MT 59101

Kim Dyer is an Investment Advisor Representative with and securities offered through Transamerica Financial Advisors, Inc. (TFA) Member FINRA/SIPC and Registered Investment Advisor. Cornerstone Financial and Mark Cain are Independent from TFA LD047434-08/13




Life Cycle of a Land Shark By Gene Colling I Illustration by lee hulteng

Cross-eyed headlights stared out at us from beneath a pile of rusted and busted tractors, combines, wagons and random scrap metal. It had come to this spot in the junkyard some time ago, and rust was beginning to eat away its green paint. Something about that stare was fascinating; my brother Fred and I were hooked. It was a crisp fall day, and we were with our dad on a junkyard expedition. He was looking for angle iron and other bits that could be used to cobble together his machinery. After some haranguing, we convinced him to look over the car behind the headlights. It turned out to be a 1950 Studebaker Commander coup. The engine looked like it would run, but the drive shaft was broken. A $20 bill bought the car, and we dragged it back to the farm. One of Dad’s mantras was, “give a farmer angle iron, wire and


a big enough hammer, and he can fix anything.” He probably used all three to fix whatever was broken on the old car, giving us one of the best toys a couple farm kids could have. Fred and I were both well under the legal driving age but that wasn’t a problem. We had been driving since we could see through the slit between the dash and the top of the steering wheel. The Studebaker had a distinctive look. The bullet-shaped front fenders and hood reminded me of a P-51 Mustang– the kind fighter pilots painted shark teeth on to make them look even more menacing. We found some white paint and added shark teeth to the fenders. The Studebaker was reborn as the Land Shark. Dad said we could use it to haul parts out to the machinery in the fields as long as we kept it off the road. Since I was the younger brother I mostly rode shotgun, impatiently waiting for Fred to exhaust his first-born rights. The Shark didn’t have much power and had an old fashioned three-speed transmission with a column shifter. Its muffler was only a vestigial organ, so it sounded much worse than its bite.   Soon, the first winter snowfall dusted the grain fields. One frosty night we dropped in a recharged battery and headed out into the field to let the Shark run. The thunderous growl of the unmuffled engine drowned everything but shouts. As we picked up speed, wind caterwauling through the missing windows added to the decibels.   Fred pulled the light switch, and a cross-eyed beam lit a narrow swath. Suddenly the light flashed on a jackrabbit that froze for a moment then rocketed away. “Let’s chase it!” I yelled. Fred floored the accelerator and shifted into third gear as

Gene Colling claims dual residency in both Billings and Missoula. He recently retired after a career with the U.S. Forest Service. For 25 of those years, he produced video programs including ones on such Billings area topics as the Beartooth Highway, Pryor Mountain wild horses, Lewis and Clark expedition, Hebgen Lake earthquake and Nez Perce Trail.

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the clutch let out a metallic scream. The jackrabbit zigged and zagged across the field in and out of the light beam. It had a 20-yard lead when it came to the neighbor’s fence and bounded across. Fred threw the car into a slide, down shifted and negotiated a perfect 180-degree turn. Adrenalin was pumping through me.  “Let me drive now!” I pleaded. The excitement had altered his judgment, and Fred relented but with the admonition, “Don’t forget to pump the brakes.” After a couple tries to get the gas and clutch in sync, I began cruising through the stubble field. I didn’t think I was doing too badly for a 12-year-old kid with limited driving experience and visibility. “There’s one!” Fred yelled as a dust-colored jackrabbit streaked across the light beam. Jackrabbits are born to run and have few peers in the open field. The Shark bounced or swayed depending on the choreography between car and rabbit. I soon got so turned around I had no idea where I was. Then The Studebaker the jack changed tactics and made a straight line run. I jammed the pedal to the floor to close the gap –30, 20, had a distinctive look. 15 yards. The bullet-shaped The fence seemed to materialize out of nowhere. front fenders and What was that thing I was supposed to remember? I hood reminded me thought as the brake hit the floor with a thud. I could barely hear Fred screaming, “Pump the of a P-51 Mustang– brakes! Pump the brakes!” as the Shark hit the fence the kind fighter like it was attacking a fat seal. We rolled to a stop in pilots painted shark the neighbor’s hay field. Wire was wrapped around the teeth on to make bumper and shards were hanging from the painted teeth. The engine sounded like it was trying to chew them look even more what it had just bitten. menacing. We found We camouflaged the damage as best we could and some white paint over the next couple nights, we fixed the fence and and added shark swore to each other to let this story age until our dad would find it funny—maybe in 20 years or so. teeth to the fenders. After the incident, neither the Shark nor us could The Studebaker was stand any more of this kind of fun. We kept our travels reborn as the to the yard and along the tractor paths to the fields. Land Shark. But even then the Shark never had an easy mile. Every start was punctuated with flying gravel, and every turn had a fishtail flare. The life cycle of the Shark came to an end in the spring. On a run out to the fields, Fred had the Shark going flat out taking twine to the baler. He barreled down a ravine and as he came out air born on the other side, a couple pistons hemorrhaged and the Shark was dead before it hit the ground. We dragged it into the shelter belt of trees surrounding the buildings and there it sat for another 10 years until it was hauled to another junkyard. I like to think that it survived long enough to make it to one of these reality TV car flip shows, where it got a whole new life. They would even have fixed that cross-eyed stare.

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Christmas in Algeciras – The Child Christmas morning in Algeciras, Spain

Softly strummed malaquena notes floated through open shutters. The rain had

dispersed. Mid-morning light shimmered on the Bay of Gibralter. The harbor was asleep as if it celebrated the holyday as enthusiastically as revelers after midnight Mass. The sombra side of the Pillar of Hercules stood stolid in the background.

The couple’s sojourn to the southern tip of Iberia, looking for some sun, began

in Seville three days before. The rain in Spain stayed mainly wherever it wanted the past week. It was incessant. It was winter after all. Like snow in Montana.

By JIM GRANSBERY I illustration by lee hulteng


What did one expect? A young Canadian from Nova Scotia asked if God was knowable. The discussion, sparked by a copy of The Source by James Michener, was engaged as the train pulled from Seville, continuing through to the mouth of the Mediterranean. The conclusion was that He was knowable only through manifestations, like having a earth-born Son, but not directly. God is God, beyond human knowledge or understanding. The youth was headed for Morocco, but politics intervened. The Yom Kippur War and Arab embargo had disrupted world order, engendering chaos because of an addiction to oil. The ferry to Cueta on the tip of Africa was backlogged for days as hundreds of Moroccans attempted to return home, having lost their jobs as guest workers in northern Europe. Meeting up with a friend, they opted for Malaga. The sun came out for Christmas Eve. Sea and sky competed for the blue trophy. The harbor bustled with activity – stevedores scurried to close out the work before sundown. Algeciras was an outpost of the Phoenician seafarers. Founded in antiquity, the Romans held the strategic point throughout the empire. Its name came from the Moorish invaders in 711 and over centuries, the city hosted numerous battles. A Spanish international trade center, The Rock on the other side of the bay remained a British enclave. The open-air market provided the elements of a picnic and the afternoon was soaked up with bread and wine on a bluff surveying the sea trade – a panorama of ships from everywhere. When Christianity came ashore is lost in the wounds of religious-politico warfare. In the central plaza is the Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Palma. Graceful palms stand sentinel around the city’s main church. Out front, a life-sized creche awaited the birthday child. A procession before mass would place the infant in the crib surrounded by the characters envisioned by


Francis of Assisi. Christmas was not celebrated until early to mid-Fourth Century, mainly as a counterpoint to pagan festivals. In early evening, the couple wandered into the side streets off the plaza looking for dinner. A meal of roast kid seemed appropriate. Chevon was probably on the menu along with lamb in Bethlehem the night the carpenter and his pregnant wife were looking for shelter. Meandering back to their hostel, they stopped at a corner bar. It was closed. Looking under the drawn shade revealed a private party. Noticed from the inside, a young man came out and invited the pair in. They were welcomed with champagne and Feliz Navidad. The Spanish are nothing if not hospitable, regardless of their means. They also know how to celebrate. During the night, groups of young people moved through the streets, singing and clapping the staccato rhythm of flamenco in praise of the Nativity. Christmas is for families even if they are on the other side of the world. The day was planned two days before. A chance encounter on the streets introduced the traveler couple to the McGowans of Pacific Palisades, California, who invited them to join them for Christmas dinner. With a bottle of fine red, the afternoon was spent exchanging stories of life and how their paths had intersected in a Spanish city that hosted visitors since Neanderthal times. It’s a small world after all. Wayne McGowan was a retired aeronautical engineer from North American Rockwell. He had worked on the Apollo Project sending humans to the moon. His wife, her name escaped notation in the journal, was a clinical psychologist at UCLA. Her research was looking for a genetic cause for alcoholism. The younger couple went out to phone home, checking on those gathered in Montana. Over dinner at the McGowans’ hotel, talk turned to families again, to children and grandchildren. Wayne McGowan missed his grandchildren, as well he should. Christmas is for children because it is about the birth of The Child.

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Do the icy artic winds have you dreaming of a mid-winter tropical escape? by karen kinser


If so, now is the time to heed the call and plan

a trip to the Hawaiian islands– Maui, Kauai or Oahu.

At any of these locations, you’ll be entranced with

a kaleidoscope of colors and sensual delights – towering mountains, lush rain forests, emerald valleys, cascading waterfalls and the poetic grace of Hawaiians performing a traditional hula. Your toughest decision?

Choosing which island to visit. We’ve done a little

homework for you to help you make that choice:


Nicknamed the “Garden Isle,” Kauai is often considered the tropical centerpiece of the Hawaiian Islands. You’ll find everything from mystical jungles with plunging waterfalls to charming Hawaiian towns, dazzling beaches, wildlife refuges, the quilt work patterns of agricultural life and set locations for a massive amount of movies, including Jurassic Park. Keep an eye out for velociraptors as you explore the highlights of Kauai:

Waimea Canyon. Called The Grand Canyon of the Pacific, this geologic wonder on Kauai’s west side will treat you to million-dollar views of valley gorges, crested buttes, waterfalls and rugged cliffs of the Napali coast. More than 3,600 feet deep, a mile wide and 14 miles long, this canyon was formed by erosion from the more than 400 inches of rain that cascade down the slopes of Mount Waialeale. Left: The majestic beauty of Waimea Canyon. Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority/Tor Johnson



BEYOND BILLINGS Napali Coast. This chiseled green

coastline on Kauai’s North Shore features waterfalls, emerald cliffs, deep chasms, bamboo forests and towering green pinnacles along its 17 miles. Its interior can only be accessed by the 11 miles of the sometimes-treacherous Kalalau Trail. For the less intrepid, you can still enjoy the coastline’s mystical beauty with a boat tour, a guided kayaking trip or a helicopter tour.

Activities. Explore the waterfalls and jungle landscapes of the Wailua River by kayak or outrigger canoe. Try tubing in Lihue and go horseback riding in Princeville. You can also experience zip lining above rainforests, golfing at one of the island’s 10 courses, hiking, snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing and whale watching. Tour one of the four botanical gardens on the island, take a tour of film locations or a coffee plantation and relax on some of the 50 miles of white sand beaches on Kauai. Insider Tips. Stop at Duke’s Canoe

Club (at the Marriott Kauai’s Beach Club, near Lihue) for drink specials, appetizers, live music and spectacular views at the Barefoot Bar during Aloha Hour, 4 to 6 p.m. most days. On Tuesday Taco Night, you’ll love the fish tacos for $3. Save room for the ginormous Kimo’s Original Hula Pie, made with vanilla macadamia ice cream and hot fudge.

Left: Be captivated by the views of the Kalalau Valley at Kauai’s Kokee State Park. Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority/ Ron Dahlquist. Bottom left to right: Do some storefront shopping at Kauai’s Hanalei. Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority/Tor Johnson. Visitors stroll along the historic Hanalei Pier, located at Hanalei Beach Park. Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority/Robert Coello. Melt into the vivid Kauai sunsets. Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority/Tor Johnson.



Known as the “Gathering Place,� Oahu is home to the state capital as well as the majority of the state’s population. With a unique blend of urban and rural life, you’ll find yourself hiking in a rainforest, climbing mountains, snorkeling in a volcanic crater, listening to a ukulele concert, experiencing U.S. and native Hawaiian history, soaking up the sun on a tropical beach or learning a little native pidgin in a mom-and-pop restaurant. While there, don’t miss these highlights:

Honolulu and Waikiki. Sure, you’ve got your skyscrapers and nightlife here, but Honolulu is also full of history and culture. Tour the Iolani Palace, the only royal palace in the United States or visit King Kamakameha I’s statue. Don’t miss the shopping, temples and cuisines in nearby Chinatown. On Waikiki Beach, you can learn how to surf in the shadow of Diamond Head as a statue of Duke Kahanamoku (the father of modern surfing) looks on.

The Aloha Festival court walks down Kalakaua Avenue. Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority/Tor Johnson.

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BEYOND BILLINGS Pearl Harbor. On the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, 353 Japanese fighters, bombers and torpedo planes launched an attack on U.S. Navy battleships stationed in Pearl Harbor. With all eight ships damaged (four were sunk) and more than 2,400 deaths, this surprise attack also launched the U.S. into World War II. We all learned about it in history class, but it’s a whole different depth of experience when you visit the site. Activities. If golf is your game, you’ll love Oahu and its choice of more than 40 different courses. But you also have shopping, boating, fishing, parasailing, whale watching, 112 miles of coastline with gorgeous beaches and even (gulp) shark diving. For an authentic cultural experience, visit Byodo-In, a Japanese temple where you’ll ring a three-ton brass bell as you enter. Insiders’ Tip. Get a real feel for Hawaii by attending a

Hawaiian language church service at Kawaiahao Church in Honolulu. Known as the Westminster Abbey of the Pacific, this coral church holds most of the service is in English, but there’s always one Hawaiian song and a recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in Hawaiian.


Top: The USS Arizona Memorial straddles the sunken hull of the battleship USS Arizona and commemorates the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority/ Kirk Lee Aeder.Bottom left: Waves break and curl at Waimea on the north shore of Oahu. Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority/ Kirk Lee Aeder.Bottom right: Duke Kahananmoku, the father of modern surfing, statue at night. Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority/Tor Johnson.

In reader surveys, the island of Maui consistently ranks as the number-one island... in the world. Maybe it’s because it’s known as the Valley Isle and its lush emerald hillsides hold sway with the voters of these surveys. But this steeped-in-mystique island also has stunning volcanic craters, blissful beaches, coral bays, waterfalls, bamboo forests and even fields of lavender. Don’t miss the best of Maui:

Haleakala National Park. This National Park is home to Maui’s highest peak. At more than 10,000 feet, Haleakala can be seen from just about any point on Maui. And the Park is large – 30,000 acres with everything from deserts to lush tropics and waterfalls. An iconic experience is to view sunrise from Haleakala summit. It requires some pre-planning (a 3 a.m. wake-up call and a two-hour drive; take warm clothes, water and food, too), but it’s an adventure you’ll never forget. Hana. Driving the winding, 52 miles of the Hana Highway should definitely be on your “to

do” list. The drive can take from two to four hours as you wend your way through 620 curves, and past lush rainforests and plunging waterfalls. Just outside Hana, you’ll find Hamoa Beach, described by James Michener as the most beautiful beach in the Pacific.

Activities. You’ve got your usual Hawaiian activities on Maui – snorkeling, diving, hiking, golfing (14 courses), hiking, surfing, beach-sitting and outstanding whale-watching. Maui is also at the center of a farm-to-table movement. Pick a Maui onion, stop at the Surfing Goat Dairy and be sure to visit the Upcountry Farmers’ Market. You can tour the Oo Farm, which supplies many of Maui’s restaurants, and enjoy a gourmet al fresco luncheon. Or take a tour of the Alii Kula lavender farm, where the picnic lunch includes a lavender-infused dessert.



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to isolated Kahakuloa Village, and enjoy Julia’s banana bread from her roadside stand. It is purportedly the best banana bread on the planet. Can’t make the trip? Then go to the Bon Appetit website, and search for Julia’s Best Banana Bread; you’ll find the recipe to make it at home.

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RESOURCES. Left: Entrench the senses at Haleakala National Park. Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority/Ron Dahlquist. Top: Wailua Falls, Hana Maui. Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority/Tor Johnson. Inset: The islands feature ample opportunities to golf. Try Wailea Golf course on Maui.

A multitude of carriers fly from Billings to the Hawaiian Islands, and all with changeovers in hub cities – usually Seattle, Denver or Los Angeles. Full-service airports are on all of these islands, with the major airport being Hawaii International Airport on Oahu. Be sure to visit the Hawaii Convention and Visitors Bureau's outstanding website, Go And, once you make an island choice, pick up one of the Blue Books (at, at a bookstore, or as an ebook) for that island.

For more information contact 406-259-0999 – 888-404-0999 313 N. Broadway, Billings, MT 59101


Do you believe? There are moments in everyone’s life when something extraordinary happens. Something that profoundly changes the way we measure our life experience. While our mind works to find a rational explanation, another part of our being simply accepts that what just took place was not attached to this earthly plane. We ponder, was it divine intervention? An answer to prayer? Or simply a wonderful coincidence? The answer lies deep down, in the stillness that is the font from which our spirit pours forth. Listen and you will know.

By Allyn Hulteng


FATHER ’ S DAY 2 0 1 0 It was a glorious day in June, and Rebekah McCuen had spent the afternoon celebrating Father’s Day with her dad, her two daughters and their extended family. As the festivities wound down, Rebekah volunteered to take her father home. She strapped Delaney, her two-month old, in the car carrier and buckled her into the back seat. Four-year-old Avalon sat next to the baby buckled into her safety seat. With her father in the front and Rebekah driving, the foursome headed from Billings Heights to downtown. “We could tell a storm was coming,” Rebekah said. “The sky was ugly, but I figured I could get back to my home in the Heights before it hit.” By the time Rebekah dropped off her father, the storm had unleashed. Torrential rain and whipping winds reduced visibility to almost zero. Adding to the confusion, all the stoplights were out of service. “Traffic was just creeping along, and the wind kept getting worse,” she recalled. Rebekah slowly made her way from Fourth Avenue onto Main Street. As she approached the intersection of Main and Airport Road, traffic ground to a halt. She was four cars back from the intersection. “We were stuck. There were cars in front, cars behind and cars on the lane next to me and the signal wasn’t working.” All of the sudden, Rebekah heard a thunderous roar like an airplane was directly overhead and the SUV began rocking violently. Looking out the windshield she saw what appeared to be a roof lifting off Reiter’s Kowasaki. Huge chunks of insulation, metal and other debris were blowing wildly every direction. “I remember thinking, ‘this is so weird – there’s a roof rising in the air.’ It was surreal. Everything was happening so fast, it just didn’t register that this was a tornado,” she recalled. Without warning a large tree blew in from out of nowhere and impaled the car directly in front of Rebekah’s SUV, ramming through the windshield and out the back window. At the same time the air pressure air blew out the back and side windows of her SUV. “The glass just exploded; I shouted to my 4-year-old ‘cover your eyes!’ Shards were flying everywhere and the kids were screaming. It was the most helpless feeling in the world.” Squinting, Rebekah turned to look in the back seat. She could see Avalon’s hair being sucked straight up and out through the blown window. Two-month old Delaney was facing backward. Rebekah couldn’t see if she was cut or injured or if she had glass in her eyes. By then the SUV was rocking wildly and Rebekah thought, ‘we’re going to tip!’” At that instant a man driving a red pickup truck pulled alongside Rebekah, the mass of his truck lessened the force of the wind, helping to protect Rebekah and her daughters from the flying glass and debris. The man and Rebekah locked eyes, he looked at the girls in the car seat and back at Rebekah. “The next thing I know, he’s frantically waiving his arm, motioning for me to drive saying ‘Go! Go! Go!’ I looked up and the cars in front that had been blocking me were gone, so I hit the gas and pulled away as quickly as I could.” A few blocks further down Main Street, Rebekah looked back. “I could see the funnel cloud as it crossed Main Street exactly where we had been stopped. I just thought, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God.’” Frantic and worried that her newborn had glass in her eyes, Rebekah met the girls’ father, and within 20 minutes they headed back downtown to the emergency room. By then, the tornado was spent. “We drove back down Main Street, and when we crossed Airport Road everything had changed in an instant. Buildings on both sides were damaged or destroyed. And then I realized that the Fas Break Auto Glass building that was right


next to where we were stuck was obliterated,” she said. At the hospital, doctors treated Delaney and Avalon for minor cuts. Miraculously, neither girl had severe lacerations or glass in their eyes. Days later, an insurance adjuster declared that the SUV was totaled. As Rebekah told him the stoAbove left: On June 21, 2010, a tornado struck Billings Heights damaging and destroying several ry, his face went pale. buildings, including the Fas Break Auto Glass store. Photo by Larry Mayer Left to right: Delaney, Rebekah “Come here,” he said. “I want to show you some- and Avalon McCuen today. Rebekah and her daughters narrowly escaped serious injury or worse. Photo by James Woodcock. thing.” The adjuster walked to the back of the SUV and pointed at the backseat. Like shrapnel, hundreds of “It’s just a miracle that we weren’t severely hurt or killed,” she said. shards of glass were embedded deeply into the seat. And then he pointed “I’m so thankful for that man in the red truck. To this day I have no idea to the headrest on the seat where the baby was strapped in. who he was, but he saved our lives.” Something had hit the headrest with such ferocity that it took a giant For Rebekah, the experience was life-changing. “Something like this gouge out of the center. makes you take another look at things, at life. It makes you grateful for Rebekah couldn’t believe what she saw. every day.”

A p R e mO n i t i o n p a y s o f f In the mid-1970s, Ann Clancy was following her dream of living and working in Europe. Like many young people of the time, she had traveled to the continent with a backpack and the book, Europe on 5 Dollars a Day. “A lot of people in their 20s opted out of the traditional go-to-collegethen-go-to-work directive of the previous generation. They wanted to see the world, experience life differently,” Ann said. After working in Greece for a time, Ann decided she wanted to learn to speak German. Some friends of hers happened to be traveling to Munich and Ann caught a ride. When the group stopped for a break in Vienna, Ann got out of the car, looked around and said, “I’m going to stay here and get a job.” “My friends thought I was crazy,” Ann recalled. “But it was one of those rare moments when life just takes you over. I knew this was where I was supposed to be.” That fall, an Australian friend of Ann’s left Vienna to go to Switzerland to work for the ski season. He invited Ann to come and ski over Christmas. “I took the train to Davos and stayed at the house he shared along with a several roommates who also worked at the resort. Gene

was one of his roommates,” she said. Gene Burgad had been living and working in Europe for more than three years. During her visit, Ann and Gene became acquainted, but Gene had a girlfriend and Ann returned to Vienna after the holidays. By spring, Gene was getting ready to move back to the United States. When the ski season was over, he packed his bags and headed to Vienna to visit a friend. While there, he also reacquainted with Ann. By then, Gene had ended his other relationship, and Gene and Ann began dating. “Gene kept delaying his return,” she recalled. “We were deeply in love.” While Gene wanted to go home, Ann did not. She envisioned living in Europe for at least a few more years. After putting off his return for several months, Gene reluctantly packed his bags and headed to the train station. “I remember calling Ann from the station; we were both crying and I said, ‘say anything to make me stay.’ She just said, ‘what?!’ I told her that was good enough and I came back,” Gene said. Not long afterward, the couple realized that that while they cared deeply for one another, the timing wasn’t right. Gene packed his things and left for good. For a few months Ann and Gene corresponded. On a rare occasion they would talk via telephone. “You have to remember there were no computers or email in

Ann Clancy and Gene Burgad together in Europe in the mid-1970s. Photo courtesy Ann Clancy.


the ‘70s; there were no cell phones, either. International long distance phone calls were outrageously expensive – especially for young people with little disposable income,” Ann said. Eventually, the couple lost touch with one another. Years passed. Gene moved to Missoula where he became the co-owner of a successful restaurant. One night, Gene had a deeply disturbing dream. “I saw Ann going down some stairs to an underground subway station. I kept trying to catch up with her, but I couldn’t. Somehow I knew if she went down those stairs she would be lost.” The dream kept gnawing at Gene, but he didn’t know how to get ahold of Ann. And then he remembered. Ann had given Gene a piece of paper with her father’s telephone number saying, “If you ever lose track of me, here is my dad’s number. He’ll know where to find me.” Gene went to a storage unit where he kept some excess furniture. There in a small nightstand was the shard of paper with the telephone number. Nervously, he dialed the phone. “Hello, you don’t know me, but I’m a friend of Ann’s. We met in Europe and I’m trying to find her,” Gene said. To his utter astonishment, her father replied, “She’s right here,” and he handed the phone to Ann. Incredibly, Ann had just arrived in Michigan for Christmas – her first visit home in more than two and a half years. A little speechless, Gene told Ann about the dream. As they talked, it was as though no time had passed. For the next two years Ann and Gene stayed in touch. In May of 1981, seven years after they first met in Europe, Ann planned a two-day layover in Missoula to see Gene. She stayed for two weeks. “We just picked up right where we left off,” Ann says. One year later Ann moved to Missoula where the couple married. Looking back, neither Ann nor Gene can explain the dream – but both feel that they were meant to share a life together. “Life unfolds for your highest good,” Ann says. “So it’s important to be open. What if I hadn’t stayed in Vienna? I tell people, listen to those nudges that are moving you in a direction.”

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632 N 9th St, Suite 110 Columbus, MT 59019 406.322.9073 w w w. m o n t a n a k e y s e r c r e e k . n e t All of our produce comes from Stillwater Packing Co. Ann Clancy and Gene Burgad today. Photo by James Woodcock.


Beyond Words At age 23, Briahna Baker had her whole life ahead of her. A vibrant young they hit me so hard,” said Angie. woman and mother of a 2-year-old, Briahna stayed busy working two jobs That same morning she saw a poem from heaven that someone and caring for her daughter. When she could she also enjoyed spending time had posted on Facebook. Knowing that Briahna’s mom was strugwith her extended family. gling, she re-posted the poem for her to read. Less than an hour later “Briahna had such a fun, bubbly personality,” recalled Angie Wagner, her Angie got the message that Briahna’s mom read the poem. aunt. “She loved to laugh and act goofy – people couldn’t help but love her.” “I was just trying to ease her pain. It was so hard for all of us.” Like her peers, occasionally BriLater that night, Angie reahna would go to clubs to party and ceived a request for a Words With hang out with friends. On the night Friends game on her iPod from a of Aug. 30, 2013, Briahna was out late friend she hadn’t played with bewith a girlfriend. The pair had been fore. drinking, and on the drive home the Words With Friends is like girls got into an argument. Briahna an electronic version of Scrabble. insisted that her friend pull over on Players get seven random letters to the interstate. When she did, Briuse to spell a word, once the player ahna got out of the car and started posts the word the game automatiwalking against traffic. cally alerts the opponent that it’s “Her friend shouted to Briahna his or her turn. Players can have to get back in the car, but Briahna several games going with different ignored her and kept walking,” said opponents at the same time. Angie. Finally the friend drove off When Angie clicked on the rewith the intention of turning around quest for a new game, she was diand coming back to pick Briahna up. rected to an ongoing game she was Before she could turn the car playing with her husband. around, Briahna stumbled into onIt was Angie’s turn to make coming traffic and was hit by a car. a word. When she looked at the The vivacious young woman died inbottom of her screen, the seven stantly. randomly selected letters spelled: “When someone dies like that, B-R-I-A-H-N-A. you struggle to make sense of things. In that order. We all kept saying if only she hadn’t I started crying. Thinking made that decision… if only her friend about Briahna all day, the song, Seven random letters on Angie Wagner’s Words With Friends hadn’t pulled over, if only…. But there the poem and then this – I knew it game spelled B-R-I-A-H-N-A, the name of her niece who died tragically. aren’t any answers, it’s just incredibly was a sign from Briahna that she painful,” said Angie. was OK. That she was watching over us,” Angie said. Angie’s daughter offered a poignant observation. Angie immediately sent a screen shot to Briahna’s “You read about people who’ve had a tragedy in the newsmom and dad. When she showed her husband he paper and you feel so bad for them, and now we are that shook his head. The odds of getting those letters in family.” that exact order were incalculable, he agreed. Time went by. The family’s inconsolable loss did not To this day Angie is convinced that was a message abate. from her niece. She encourages others who are grievOn one particular day a few weeks after Briahna’s ing a loss to keep their eyes open for a sign. death, Angie couldn’t stop thinking about her niece. “As tragic as it was to lose someone so young, I Images of the young woman kept popping in her mind. believe God is good all the time. And when things Sitting at her desk at work, suddenly the song “See You like that happen, it’s our loved one’s way of letting us Again” began to play on her iPod. know that everything will be OK,” she said. “It doesn’t “I don’t listen to country music, but Carrie Undermake the sadness go away, but it does give you hope wood’s song came on… I listened to the words and that they are in another realm, watching over you.” Briahna Baker and her 2-year-old daughter, Aliyah.


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Discover what your favorite Christmas song reveals about your personality


Warblers Welcome Finally, a time of year when my neuroses can be carefully camouflaged within the tenor of the season. And since you’re all in such a cheerful mood, I have a confession to make. I’m jingly. (Not to be confused with jiggly or giggly … which I also am.) I suffer from word association song spurting… at various decibels, depending on my mood and audience. And for whatever reason, when I’m stressed, Christmas tunes come pouring out. What my colleagues wouldn’t give for some peace and quiet. (“Silent Night, Holy Night”) …there I go! This holiday season, while downloading your favorite tunes, stop to briefly consider what your song choice says about YOU. Steeped in mystery, several of these ditties have double meanings. The riddles that lay within are like tiny gifts, waiting to be unwrapped. Find your favorite carol from this list to reveal your secret holiday song avatar. Enjoy! (“Joy to the World…”)

BY brittany cremer


Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

If this is your fav, you are: a sweet, yet misunderstood social outcast who yearns for acceptance, dreaming of the day when a bearded father figure will show the world how special you are.

Song surprise: Rudolph was created as an advertising gimmick. Robert May, the author of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” was an advertising copywriter for Montgomery Ward. The company wanted to create a book as a giveaway for kids during Christmas in 1939, and May wrote a story about a little red-nosed reindeer. Store execs were worried that the red nose would be associated with being drunk, but customers apparently didn’t see it that way. The book, as we all know, became a hit, and Rudolph later got his own song, TV show and merchandise.

Silent Night

If this is your fav, you are: playing it low-key this year after mortally wounding the neighbor’s giant, blow up Santa and musical menagerie of singing elves.

Song surprise: The song, originally titled “Stille Nacht,” was written in 1816 and was later translated into more than 300 different languages and dialects. “Silent Night” famously played a key role in the unofficial truce in the trenches of WWI because it was one of the only carols that both the British and German soldiers knew.

Lord Pierpont, an uncle of the famously wealthy financier John Pierpont Morgan, the song pays homage to the youthful fun of then-popular winter sleigh races.

Let it Snow

If this is your fav, you are: the villain from any number of seedy action movies where the protagonists get mysteriously “snowed in” at their remote, Tundra-like location. Now, only if there was a way to cover the footprints…

Song surprise: “Let it Snow” has been recorded by several artists, but made mainstream buzz when it appeared in the Bruce Willis action thriller, Die Hard. (Please see above)

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

If this is your fav, you are: A time traveler from 16-century England. Song surprise: “God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman” may not mean what you think. The Old English word “merry” best translates in modern English to “pleasant” or “agreeable,” not happy. And “rest” in Old English best translates to “keep.” Thus, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” most accurately means “God Keep You, Pleasant Gentleman.” See, nice guys don’t finish last after all.

The Christmas Song (AKA Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)

If this song is your fav, you are: A kid, from 1 to 92. Song surprise: It was actually written during the middle of a heat wave. Writer Mel Tormé wrote it to distract himself from the summer’s heat and finished the song in 45 minutes.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

White Christmas

If this song is your fav, you are: not traveling anywhere

If this is your fav, you are: a rulefollowing, list-making goody-goody who creepily condones being monitored in your sleep by a judgmental old man.

Song surprise: Haven Gillespie and J. Fred Coots wrote the song in 1932, but no music publishers were interested in it because it was a “kiddie” tune and “kiddie” tunes weren’t known to be commercial. At the same time, Coots was writing special material for comedian Eddie Cantor, to whom he showed the song. But even Cantor was about to turn it down for his radio show until his wife, Ida, persuaded him to give it a try. This was near Thanksgiving in 1934, and of course, it was an instant hit.

Jingle Bells

If this is your fav, you are: aware that Batman is in desperate need of deodorant.

Song surprise: As the most popular Christmas song in America, school children have applied alternate lyrics to “Jingle Bells” for years. This, we know. But you might not know that America’s most popular Christmas song was originally written to be a Thanksgiving tune. Written in the 1850s by James


NEAR the Highline for Christmas.

Song surprise: The Irving Berlin tune first became a hit for singer Bing Crosby in 1942 and then many subsequent years after—which became a problem for Crosby, who had initially doubted the popularity of the song and expressed his concern to Berlin. Berlin responded by making Crosby solemnly promise to take a shot of whisky at the end of the year for each week the song remained on the charts. Crosby downed 11 shots of whiskey in 1943. The song would later go on to sell more than 50 million copies, the most commercially-successful Christmas song of our time. Realizing the cirrhotic danger to the bet, Berlin later relieved Crosby of his promise.

The Little Drummer Boy

If this is your fav, you are: way into onomatopoeia (a rum, pum, pum, pummmm). Song surprise: This simple tune by Katherine Kennicott Davis had a difficult birth. Davis’ archives at Wellesley College feature early draft titles such as “Little Trumpet Boy,” “Little Ocarina Boy,” and “Little Didgeridoo Boy.” Drum is a heck-of-a lot easier to rhyme with than didgeridoo.

Grandma Got Run over by a Reindeer

If this is your fave, you are: written out of the will.

currently being

Song surprise: Song writer Randy Brooks was listening to Merle Haggard’s “Grandma’s Homemade Christmas Card” in which family members anxiously await grandma’s card because of its beauty, and he found himself getting a little annoyed. He realized more than halfway through the song that grandma had died. “I got angry and said, ‘Merle, that’s so unfair to do to people,’” Brooks said. “If you were half the songwriter you think you are, you would admit in the first line of the song that grandma was dead and then if you could come up with three verses and a chorus you’d really have something. So that was my exercise, a parody of a Merle Haggard song.”

Wonderful Christmastime, by Paul McCartney and WINGS

If this is your fav, you are: still mad at your parents for not getting you that synthesizer in 1979.

Song surprise:

The Beatles never had an official Christmas release, although they distributed “Christmas Time Is Here Again” to their fan club in 1967. As solo artists, however, all four members released Christmas songs.

tually reflects the Christmas tradition of showering gifts on the people who wandered from house to house, singing carols. The song mentions the name of a dessert—figgy pudding—which was once offered up as a post-caroling “thank you.”

Sleigh Ride

If this is your fav, you are: a Clydesdale named Philippe who missed the cut for the Budweiser commercials.

Song surprise: It was the era of 45 rpm and 78 rpm vinyl records when the song became a hit record for RCA. The tune, also written during a heat wave, would later grow to become the Boston Pops Orchestra’s signature song.

All I Want for Christmas is You by Mariah Carey

If this is your fav, you are: a holiday diva…unless you can hit that note on the final chorus, in which case you’re a diva for all seasons, and I apologize.

Song surprise: A cover by child star Olivia Olsen was used at the climax of the 2003 holiday feel-good film Love Actually.

I’ll be home for Christmas

If this is your fav, you are: probably sobbing in your eggnog right about now.

Song surprise:

In December 1965, astronauts Frank Borman and Jim Lovell requested “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” be played for them by the NASA ground crew while on Gemini 7.

Frosty the Snowman

(Straight No Chaser version)

If this is your fav, you are: still trying to convince producers that your concept, “Dingy the Dirt Man,” was vastly superior because in the end, he turns into pottery, not water vapor.

If this is your fav, you are: AWESOME! And…gifting “Pitch Perfect” to everyone on your shopping list this year.

Song surprise:

The 12 Days of Christmas

Song surprise:

The fifth gift of the “five golden rings” doesn’t mean jewelry—it refers to ring-necked birds, such as pheasants. Also, it wasn’t originally “four calling birds,” it was “four colly birds,” which is a rather old-fashioned term for blackbird.

We Wish You a Merry Christmas

If this is your fav, you are: one of the few blessed people on this earth who is neither disgusted, nor perplexed, upon hearing the phrase “figgy pudding.”

In the 1969 made-for-TV movie “Frosty the Snowman,” Frosty exclaims “Happy Birthday,” not “Merry Christmas” when he’s awakened. Another popular misconception, the original Frosty had a button nose—not a carrot.


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Song surprise: “We wish you a Merry Christmas” ac-



Family Tree Center presents the

28th Annual

creating tomorrow’s


A Benefit for Children & Families Thursday, December 5th

Saturday, December 7th

Gala- Dinner & Tree Auction 6pm

Public Viewing 9am - 8pm

Friday, December 6

Craft & Gift Show 9am - 8pm

Special Viewing 9am - 11 am Tea in the trees 1pm - 3 pm Craft & Gift Show 1pm - 8pm Public Viewing 3pm - 8pm Entertainment 5pm - 8pm Family Fun Night 5pm - 8pm

Arctic Art & Playland 9am - 8pm


Entertainment 9am - 8pm Brunch with Santa 11am - 1pm MSUB Writer’s Roundup 12pm - 5pm

Sunday, December 8th Brunch Among the Trees 11am - 2pm

Shrine Auditorium Dec 5 - Dec 8, 2013 2923 2nd Ave. N. Billings, MT 59101



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Benefiting The Family Tree Center – Billings Exchange Clubs’Child Abuse Prevention Center For more information call (406) 252-9799.

the science of snow A close look at those freezing, fluffy flakes I By Jason Burke

It starts out miles above the surface, in sub-zero air with just the right amount of moisture. A few water molecules just a little colder than freezing cling together, forming an invisible nucleus. Carried by small variations in temperature, humidity and air currents, the unseen cell gradually collects other supercooled molecules onto its crystalline form. In just minutes, trillions of its neighbors are transformed from vapor to solid and now reflect sunlight as a tiny white speck – a thin wisp forming just a hint of cloud. Another tiny snowflake, still barely a hair’s breadth wide, is born.


Covering about 18 million square miles, about 9 percent of earth’s surface, ice and snow have a greater influence on weather and climate than their relative area might suggest, due in part to their water being close to the melting point.


Now large enough to fall under its own weight, the ice crystal grows as it bonds with others nearby. This tangled mass falls more quickly, still but a fraction of a gram and taking hours to travel thousands of feet from its birthplace in the upper atmosphere. Along the way, it may be broken apart through collisions, or melt slightly, turning into a small pellet. Perhaps this bit of snow lands in your yard, to be shoveled aside until the next warm day before percolating into your flower bed. Perhaps it finds its way to a local mountain, doing its small part to sustain the ski slopes for the season. Or maybe it joins those from winters’ past on a high-altitude snowfield, built up over decades and taking just as long to finally melt into an alpine stream, eventually becoming your drinking water.

The power of millions

Though individually insignificant, every snowflake’s existence depends on small weather variations, which are in turn subject to longer interval climate changes—but working together, the combination of snowfields, glaciers and other icy deposits in turn affect that very climate. Ice ages and other climactic cycles are influenced by the location and extent of these parts of the planet’s cryosphere—the collection of all areas comprised of frozen water. Since snow is naturally one of the most reflective substances on the planet, even a thin cover can dramatically alter local weather. Just as high clouds cool the air as they move in front of the sun, snow cover bounces much of our low winter light back into space, keeping temperatures low and reducing solar convection currents. Not only is the land prevented from warming the near-surface atmosphere, the snow itself tends to chill the surrounding air like a refrigerator. What looks like a sunny day from inside can turn into a brisk surprise when you open the front door. These effects can be felt day to day as cool breezes at the base of a snowcovered mountain or glacier. But they also serve as the foundation for alpine environments, with animals and vegetation adapted to the regular flows of cool air and cyclical stream levels. As glaciers and snowfields grow or shrink, observable changes to foliage, animal migration patterns and soil chemistry follow. Though a snowfield may appear fixed in place, it drives a dynamic engine of weather and environment. Even a distant mountain like Red Lodge pushes cold air into the valleys, triggering frosty, foggy mornings. Covering about 18 million square miles, about 9 percent of earth’s surface, ice and snow have a greater influence on weather and climate than their relative area might suggest, due in part to their water being close to the melting point. As they melt or freeze, significant heat is gained or lost from the surroundings. Combined with air trapped between snow crystals on the ground, snow is also a good insulator. Melting snow saps heat that might otherwise warm the land, enough to keep soil frozen even on an otherwise sunny day. Once the snow disappears, it can be several days before the ground thaws enough for planting – not to mention Montana’s notorious spring storms.

Clues in the deep freeze

Frozen water often overstays its welcome in town, when February and March see gardens still covered by the white stuff. Elsewhere however, snow and ice are permanent residents. They have seen centuries come and go, and there are records of the planet’s past climate in deep ice sheets from Antarctica, Greenland and other stable terrain. When deposited, successive layers of ice and snow trap air, pollen and dust, keeping them frozen in time until researchers carefully extract samples for study. From the deepest cores, scientists can learn about the composition of the

Turning Your Dreams into Realty atmosphere and the patterns of warming and cooling up to 800,000 years ago. For example, carbon dioxide, average temperature and solar radiation exhibit regular cycles every 100125 thousand years. With clues like these, scientists build computerized climate models to help predict likely outcomes given what they know about today’s atmosphere. The next time you have to shovel the walk,

take a moment to consider all that it took to deliver that snow to your door. And think of all the history that could be trapped within a few feet of an ice field or at the peak of your favorite resort. Though perhaps a fleeting existence as the familiar six-sided snowflake, snow’s unique properties make it a significant factor in the weather we experience on – and above – the earth.

Darwin George Vice President

794-4663 Why is snow slippery? You take for granted that ice is slippery, so it seems logical that snow would be also. It’s made of the same stuff, just in smaller bits. Why wouldn’t it be? In fact, the science of snow – especially interesting to ski and tire manufacturers – is much more complicated than just a collection of individually slippery ice crystals. As any skier or snowboarder can tell you, different slopes yield drastically different experiences. Just what makes one slope fast while another is more work than fun?

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The following characteristics (not counting all the variables of the sliding surface such as a ski) drive the overall friction you experience as you glide toward the lodge: Compressive strength: The overall resistance to deformation by a sliding surface; lower strength means your ski sinks lower into the snow. Proportion of Liquid Water: As snow melts, some liquid water remains at the surface of each crystal, acting as a lubricant. Contrary to past theories, most ice tends to melt through simple temperature differences or friction, rather than through pressure. Though it seems slight, the friction of a ski over the snow is sufficient to generate a thin water layer just a few molecules thick – enough to get you down the hill more quickly. Density: An indicator of “fluffiness.” Powdery snow with large crystals also contains a large volume of air. This air circulates, prompting melting further below the surface than might occur from solar heating alone. Composition and Size: At very cold temperatures, ice crystals behave differently when they are large and pointed rather than fractured or rounded. These characteristics affect whether the crystal further breaks or deforms under load, the resulting friction and rate of melting.

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CHINESENEW YEAR2014 THE YEAR OF THE HORSE By Gail Mullennax Hein i Photography by casey Page Fireworks, house cleaning, decorating, family feasting, traditional songs, gift-giving, welcoming spring—these are standard elements of various holidays in America. In Chinese culture, all of the above and more are rolled into one supersized celebration, so big that it lasts for 10 days. Asians around the globe look forward to the arrival of the lunar New Year, and that includes Billings.

Green horses rule

The new Chinese Year begins on Jan. 31, 2014, on the second new moon after the winter solstice. The Year of the Snake is slithering toward its end. The Chinese Astrology Calendar shows that the Year of the Wooden Horse begins on Feb. 4, 2014.

Wood is related to trees or green, thus 2014 is also called Year of Green Horse. To many Montana horse lovers, every year is the “year of the horse.” With the possible exception of green ones. In Asian culture, there is a vastly different meaning. “Horse” occurs every 12 years in rotation with the other 11 animals of the Chinese zodiac. Each sign covers every person born within that lunar year. Previous horse years are 1906, 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002. Predictions vary, depending on the Year of the Horse in which one is born. Babies born in 2014 will be articulate, clear thinking and strong; walking and talking ahead of schedule and getting into mischief in no time.

A firecracker decoration used for Chinese New Year celebration


Eat what you wish, but don’t miss the fish

“When I was a little girl, it always seemed as if New Year would never come. There was so much to look forward to,” said Lin-Lin Lo, owner along with her husband, C. W. Lo, of the former Sweet Ginger Restaurant. “Each child got a new outfit from shoes on up,” she reminisced. “Most garments were sewed and knitted by the mothers; there were no department stores then.” Anticipating the coming holidays with fireworks, feasting and decorated red envelopes filled with currency, the children were dizzy with excitement. The biggest meal happens on New Year Eve. “You can serve any meat, but there must be a fish, preferably complete with head and tail,” Lo continued, “because the word for fish sounds like the word for prosperity and good luck. But showing gratitude for what we have is always the main thing.” Lin-Lin recalls her mother’s preparation of food in massive quantities, because the market stalls for daily fresh items would be closed for the 10-day celebration. There are no longer store closings in modern China. Merchants welcome shoppers eager “to spend their red envelopes and year-end bonuses,” Lo chuckled. “My mother would make 90 or 100 dumplings for New Year Day breakfast for our family of six,” Lo said. “In about 20 of them, she would hide thoroughly-scrubbed coins. We bit our dumplings carefully, hoping each was a lucky one,” she laughed. The coveted red envelopes from family and friends were finally opened, and everyone wished each other ‘Gong xi fa cai!’” (gong she fa tseye).

Commerce in overdrive

Bearing not the vaguest resemblance to the tiny market stalls of bygone years, today’s glittering New Year shopping frenzy is comparable to America’s Christmas season, reports a native Billings woman who currently lives in China. In an e-mail she commented, “Every store is a sea of red, the good luck color; red decorations everywhere, the music is festive—it is hard not to get excited. There is also gift giving. We were expected to give our maid and our driver a month’s wages. I was a little shocked, then quite embarrassed to find out how small the amount really is. In the shops there are gift bags with shampoo, cleaning products, even eggs. I think they are much more practical than Americans. Maybe this is a lesson from the Chinese that we could benefit from; although I doubt I would get very excited over a gallon of peanut oil, a gift my friend received one year.”

Chinese New Year celebrated locally

Alice Parker, of Grand Garden Restaurant in Billings, points out that while they do announce the New Year dates in a Billings Gazette ad and put up decorations, the focus in Chinese culture is all about family. “Our employees are like family. We prepare and enjoy our feast between shifts,” she smiles. The largest local “family” of all actually comprises more than 50

Top: Tally Humphry, right, and Lilly Murphy position themselves under the head and neck of the dragon. Center: The dragon enters the hall during a Chinese New Year celebration at the Knights of Columbus hall. Led by Tia Schlosser, children dance around the room during last year's Chinese New Year celebration.


“When I was a little girl, it always seemed as if New Year would never come. There was so much to look forward to. Each child got a new outfit from shoes on up,” ­— Lin-Lin Lo, Owner of the former Sweet Ginger Restaurant

families, celebrating Chinese New Year together, and sharing a strong common bond: they all have adopted Asian children. It’s one huge party with games, quizzes, demonstrations, crafts and a raffle, along with the feast. “We decorate the Knights of Columbus Club hall and rotate catering from among Chinese restaurants,” Kelly Humphrey explained. Yes, they do the red envelopes, she said, “but mostly with gold-wrapped chocolate coins.” Kelly, her husband, Tom, and their two daughters, Tally and Teddi, see the annual reunion celebration as a deeply meaningful way to nurture the children’s native culture, as well as all-around great fun.

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Zodiac legend and lore The Chinese astrological birth chart is a combination of Yin Yang, 12 animals: Rat, Cow, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Chicken, Dog and Pig; and the Five Elements: Metal, Water, Wood, Fire, and Earth. All animal signs can be converted into Five Elements, thus every birth chart has its own Five Element weights. Chinese Astrologers use Yin Yang balance theory to predict people’s fortune. Past or present, in Chinese society the red envelope is like a wand of hope: suppressing evil, providing health, long life and prosperity. Filled with crisp new currency or gold-foil-covered chocolate coins, they are exchanged among people of all ages. Billings residents C. W. and Lin-Lin Lo used them for their children for other milestones as well as the New Year, such as birthdays and passing a tough exam. Lo replenished her supply of the beautifully-designed envelopes on trips to Asia. In Billings, Chinese New Year items are available at World Market and online novelty catalog sites such as Oriental Trading. Boasting a 1,800-year history, dumplings, “pot stickers,” are widely popular in China. Made of minced meat and finely-chopped vegetables wrapped in thin dough, they are boiled, steamed, fried or baked. Use purchased won ton wrappers to make your own.

Billings Newest Shopping Experience! MAGIC CITY MAGAZINE I DECEMBER 2013 I 81

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most inspiring

In the following pages, we introduce you to 13 people whose quiet actions make our community a better place. Their stories of determination, compassion and service give us one more reason to be proud to call Billings home.

by allyn hulteng , brittany cremer & brenda maas MAGIC CITY MAGAZINE I HOLIDAY 2013 I 83

Actions Speak Louder Than Words


most inspiring

Student, football player, amputee Koni Dole

“It is what you make of it.” Those are the words, spoken by Jay Murray of Treasure State Orthotics and Prosthetics, which Koni Dole needed to hear. The 17-year-old may have lost his leg to amputation, but he never lost his focus or his courage to pursue his dreams. Dole, who has become a household name across Montana, suffered a horrific break to his right leg during a football game in 2012. Even after five surgeries, the compound break would not heal. Dole chose to have his left amputated below the knee. “I’ve always loved football,” Dole said. “I grew up on the sport.” From the time Dole attended a Montana State University (MSU) football camp in sixth grade, he has wanted to play football for the Bobcats. As a way to achieve that goal, Dole was in the weight room two or three times each day prior to his junior season. “I would get up at 5:30, go lift, go to my summer landscaping job, then lift again at six, go home, eat and go to bed to do it all again the next day,” he said. “Once I’ve made a commitment to do something, I’m all in.” For most people, losing half of a leg would be a game-changer. “After I was told I wouldn’t play football again, Jay talked to me,” Dole recalled. “That was the start of my journey.” The following 10 months read as something of a “feel-good” novel—to those on the outside. The real story involves a physical and emotional battle that only Dole knows. After being released from the hospital, he was immediately back in the weight room, then ran track, using a prosthetic “blade,” all for the sake of returning to his love—the gridiron. It was his modus operandi. “I think that’s where my hard-headedness came in,” Dole said of his courage to continue. He also garnered statewide and national attention from multiple media sources—constant interruptions and questions that could subtly undermine even the most confident and determined, much less a teen from a small, rural community. But strong roots run deep. On Aug. 30, 2013, just 10 short months after the injury that could have sidelined his life, the 6-foot, 210-pound fullback/defensive end stepped two feet—one God-given and one crafted for him—onto to the football field. Dole scored two touchdowns and earned a sack to lead his team to victory. Dole is officially committed to play at MSU and plans to major in communications with aspirations to become a motivational speaker. From a boy who dreamed of playing collegiate football, to a courageous, focused and poised young man who amazed a nation with his grit, Koni Dole lives true to an ageless mantra that he literally owns: Nothing worth having in life comes easy. BRENDA MAAS Koni Dole, who can bench press 310-pounds and squat press 380-pounds, is committed to play football at Montana State University next fall. Photo by Larry Mayer


most inspiring

Cause Creating Effects Dustin Askim

Beset by bad news, most of us hunker down, go into seclusion, get angry, then sad, then angry. Time goes by, and we’re still mired in the misery. Then there’s Dustin Askim. Last year, seemingly out of nowhere, Askim was diagnosed with Type I diabetes. At age 20, this is an incredibly uncommon occurrence, with fewer than 5 percent of the entire population of those with diabetes presenting Type I; most are diagnosed as infants or children. After learning that he’d developed this potentially life-threatening disease, the budding journalist and sports enthusiast set out on a mission to out-will and out-last his illness. Almost overnight, Askim became an advocate for diabetes research. He began mentoring and counseling youth with diabetes, completed a five-week trek across southeast Asia, participated in his first half marathon and won a prestigious journalism award. All within 365 days.

“I knew immediately when I was diagnosed that I wouldn’t let it interfere with my life and goals,” Askim said. “It’s been suggested to me that I quit college, slow down and take on less,” he said. “But I couldn’t let this disease run my life.” Since his diagnosis, Askim has become an advocate for Tour de Cure in Montana, which helps raise funding for diabetes research. He also volunteered his time as a counselor at the Riding on Insulin Camp—a special getaway for children with diabetes to ski, snowboard and just have fun. “It was so rewarding and enlightening to be around kids with Type-I diabetes, kids just like me,” Askim said. “We formed an instant connection.” Askim has hit a few stumbling blocks along the way, but he has persevered. “We had a tough time early on trying to find the right care plan and dosage,” he said. But Askim has since been able to closely monitor his condition with an insulin pump and regular appointments with his physician. Askim, who is a senior at the University of Montana, was interning at KULR-8 in Billings when he had his first pick-yourself-upby-your-bootstraps moment. Another young man facing his own set of challenges inspired Askim to persevere. “On my wall in my room I have a sign that says ‘Remember Koni,’” Dustin said. “Koni,” is in reference to Koni Dole, the young football player from Huntley Project whose leg was amputated after a horrific injury occurred during a football game. In less than a year’s time, Dole has gone through extensive rehab and is back on the field with a prosthetic. Fortitude and grit beyond their years are two qualities these young men humbly share. While Askim was interning at KULR-8, he did a piece on Koni. The piece was so well done and so powerful that it earned Askim national recognition and a prestigious scholarship from Sports Illustrated. Askim was flown to Pasadena earlier this year to receive this award in-person by his favorite ESPN sportscaster, Neal Everett. “I found my strength in him, in his battle,” Askim said. “Meeting Koni changed my life.” Looking toward the future, Askim is eager to continue his diabetes advocacy and career as a sports journalist. He’s also eagerly anticipating the arrival of his first nephew. “I can’t imagine anything topping being ‘Uncle Dustin’,” he said. “This life is far too incredible to take for granted.”


Terry Bouck did extensive homework on the Billings School District before he ever applied for the job of superintendent. “I watched the board meetings and followed events closely. I understood there were some issues,” Bouck said. But the veteran educator also saw great opportunities. When Bouck was hired, he hit the ground running. Front and center on the agenda were a trio of tough issues including crowded classrooms, massive amounts of deferred maintenance and a significant need for updated technology. The fact that the State Board of Public Education censured the district stating its accreditation was at risk heightened the sense of urgency. Bouck never paused. Instead, the seasoned educator worked with staff and the school board to craft a facilities master plan to address growing concerns. In his first year, Bouck participated in some 90 community presentations with the goal of getting the facts in front of the people.

Brittany Cremer School District 2 Superintendent Terry Bouck is shown at 56th and Grand Avenue, the site of one of two new middle schools. Photo by Larry Mayer


Dustin Askim. Photo Courtesy of Dustin Askim

Lifetime servant Margaret Ping

His belief in transparency and open communication began to melt barriers and engage the community in a critical dialogue about the future of SD2. Last spring voters passed a $1 million general fund levy and $1.2 million elementary technology levy. It was a signal that the community was beginning to trust the district. “We immediately put those funds to use exactly as we said we would,” Bouck said. “You say it, you do it. We have to be trustworthy.” That forward momentum was put to the ultimate test when school board trustees next put a $122 million dollar bond on the November ballot. No one – least of all Terry Bouck – was sure how the community would respond. Nonetheless, Bouck and his staff persevered, working with the Yes For Kids committee, the business community and general public to disseminate factual information surrounding the need for the bond. “Going into election night, I was very nervous,” he said. When results

were announced, Bouck was elated. “So many people came together to make this happen,” he said. “Yes For Kids co-chairs Jim and Heidi Duncan, and our facilities director Lew Anderson were passionate communicators. The Billings Chamber and business community were so supportive. And trustee Greta Moen really put her heart and soul into making sure that 18 months of planning was clearly, accurately articulated.” Bouck also has great respect for the people in SD2. “The teachers, staff and administrations are all so hard working. No one does this alone.” The real winners, Bouck will tell you, are the kids. “When we look back 20 years from now, this initiative will have set the tone for 21st century learning that blends technology with flexible spaces and a quality environment that inspires students and staff,” he said, adding “I couldn’t be more thrilled.”

Age is just a number. And Margaret Ping defines that adage. On Wednesdays she volunteers at the Big Horn County Historical Museum in Hardin. Thursdays Ping dedicates time to the Mid-Yellowstone County Habitat for Humanity ReStore and main offices. She reads voraciously and goes to a movie or concert many evenings. Ping has recently taken up painting and contributed her work to an art exhibit. She rises at 7 a.m. and rarely goes to bed before midnight. Nothing too extraordinary, except for one small detail. Ping is 101 years old. Although she has not had a driver’s license for nearly three decades, Ping has done more in her retirement alone than most people do in a lifetime. She graduated from Hardin High School in 1929 and was accepted as one of 360 freshman students at the prestigious Oberlin College in Ohio. Upon arrival, she overhead the house mother whisper to someone, “There’s a girl upstairs from Montana!” “They came upstairs and peeked at me. I’m not sure what they thought they were going to see?” Ping laughs. Her logical humor is part of the charm that makes Ping so personable. It has brought her through many situations that would have weakened a lesser person. But Ping doesn’t consider herself ambitious or extraordinary. She just rolls up her sleeves and gets done what needs to be done. At age 98 Ping published her third book, Three Defining Years in a Long Life, which recollects 1933-36 as the most defining years of her life. As an only child, Ping was very close to her parents. She and her mother corresponded via letters during all of Ping’s extensive job-related travels. Those letters, which her mother kept and actually survived a fire, were the basis for the book. “I get asked all the time ‘how do you do it?’” she said, “and I don’t really know the answer to that. I don’t watch TV much. I’m wildly enthusiastic about the art class I’m taking. I’m just always interested in trying new things.” I don’t have a smart phone though, she added. Ping’s resume, if she kept track, would read like a multi-chapter tome of serving others: nearly 40 years with the YWCA across the Northern Hemisphere; League of Women Voters; Rocky Mountain College; Global Village; the Jeannette Rankin Peace Award; Philanthropic Educational Organization (PEO); the Big Horn County Historical Museum; Mid-Yellowstone County Habitat for Humanity; and, participating in a walk (including infected blisters) from Portland to Atlanta to raise awareness and funds for Habitat. While in Georgia learning the intricacies of the Habitat organization, she often had Sunday dinners with President Jimmy and First Lady Rosalynn Carter, who have been Habitat figureheads worldwide. “He sent me a letter for my 100th birthday. Now, mind you, he’s 89 himself but he keeps trying to get me to sign up for projects,” she said of their close relationship. “But I tell him, ‘You don’t make plans when you are 101. You get used to the idea that someday your check won’t dry.’” It is that Montana-born practicality that keeps Ping moving forward. “I just want people to like life,” she said. “My message, if there is one to be had, is to go on living until you die.” BRENDA MAAS

Allyn Hulteng Right: Margaret Ping is shown in the furniture area of the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Photo by Larry Mayer


most inspiring

A special bond jim and heidi duncan


“How could we not say, ‘Yes – we’ll help’?” Jim and Heidi Duncan have very full lives. As the CEO of Billings Clinic Foundation, Jim’s responsibilities are vast. His wife Heidi, a physician specializing in family medicine, has a thriving practice and is frequently oncall. At the center of their lives is their 11-year-old daughter Mara. Despite their busy schedules, when Jim and Heidi were asked to co-chair the “Yes For Kids” committee, they didn’t hesitate. “We had the support of Billings Clinic, and the organizers had already assembled an amazing team of volunteers and community leaders from all walks of life and from all over the city. We would be part of that team of committed individuals,” Jim said. Jim and Heidi clearly understood the magnitude of what was at stake, including the fact that some people, even close friends, would not share their viewpoint. Still, their passion for 21st century education set the course. “When you have an opportunity to make a difference in the community, and you believe in your heart it’s the right thing to do, the decision is easy,” Heidi said. The committee had its work cut out. At stake were two initiatives critical to School District 2. The first was a $1 million general fund levy and $1.2 million elementary technology levy. The second was a $122 million bond to build two new middle schools, renovate two elementary schools and perform a massive amount of deferred maintenance. For Jim, who serves on the Education Foundation Board of Directors, the mill levy was straightforward. “We had accreditation issues; there was a compelling list of reasons why this levy was essential. Our job was to get the facts into the hands of the voters,” he said. The more difficult issue would be passing the bond. In January, Jim, Heidi and the committee members went to work. They attended numerous public meetings, gave presentations and made hundreds

of phone calls trying to educate the community about the issues facing SD2. “We did this as a family,” noted Jim. “Mara watched us at home and saw the work we were doing on behalf of Yes For Kids. It was great for her to experience what real civic engagement is.” As the campaign continued, the youngster became an activist herself, speaking to her friends and teachers about the bond and its importance and putting up signs in yards. For Jim and Heidi, volunteering as a couple had its advantages. “We shared the burdens, and when one of us needed to disconnect from the intensity, the other could step up to problem solve and strategize,” he said. It was a balanced partnership that served them well. When the first levy passed, Jim and Heidi were inspired, but they knew the bulk of the work was still ahead. For the next six months they continued a relentless effort to get information out to the community. “We realized we were asking for a big commitment, and we realized it would be a sacrifice,” said Jim. “Yet there wasn’t one perfect solution everyone could agree on. If you wait for perfect, nothing will ever happen.” On November 5, the anxious couple along with their daughter and a host of Yes For Kids campaign supporters gathered to watch the bond results. No one was more nervous than Jim and Heidi. “You don’t really know how the vote will go. We kept thinking, did we do everything we could? Did we miss something? It was gut wrenching,” Jim said. At 8:04 p.m. the results were announced. The bond passed with a 53.6% vote. “The elation we all felt was just … indescribable,” said Heidi. “Mara was there with us, beaming with excitement and pride.” Reflecting on the outcome, Jim and Heidi look at Billings with a deep sense of gratitude and promise. And while not one day goes by that someone doesn’t stop to thank the co-chairs for their selfless work, both are quick to say the “thanks” belongs to the voters of Billings. “What we’ve done as a community will outlive us,” Heidi said. “One hundred years ago the community came together to build schools, and 100 years from now our grandchildren will look back at this bond as a pivotal change. Each generation has to contribute – this is our time.” Allyn Hulteng

Left: Heidi and Jim Duncan at McKinley Elementary. Photo by Larry Mayer. Above: Heidi, Jim and daughter Mara celebrating after the bond passed. Photo by Paul Ruhter.

A Man of Many Faces Officer Earl Campbell

When Officer Earl Campbell logs on to Facebook, he’s a 9-year girl, just messing around, looking for attention. Or, he’s a 13-year-old boy, searching for direction on who he really is. Perhaps he is a runaway youth, looking for a place to call home. Or, he’s any kid, just like the one walking down the street today. Campbell is all these identities and more. “I’m not even sure how many different profiles I have at any one given time,” he noted. As a member of the Montana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, Campbell is one of the good guys, going after those who exploit children—specifically, child predators and those dealing in child pornography. His beat is the Information Highway. “The Internet really is a physical place,” Campbell noted. “Everyone thinks the cloud is ‘out there’ but it really does reside on a computer. We try to stay ahead of the curve and go where the kids go, because that’s where the predators will be.” Kids like to feel connected, and the gossip circles have gone online. Upon meeting Campbell, one would never know his many “faces” yet it is his ability to personify a child, tween or teen, to keep in character so to speak, that makes him good at his job. It’s not easy, he said in his characteristic matter-of-fact manner, being a young girl online, especially never having been one. But the nature of this work necessitates such role playing. With 15 years experience as a police officer, Campbell has seen many changes, but likely few as rapid as how the high-tech highway creates an autobahn for those with not-so-good intentions. Yet, it is Campbell’s fondness for technology and inquisitiveness that gives him the inside track. He spends about 50 percent of his time cruising the web in “sleuth mode.” But perpetrators don’t give details about their shady past-times in their Facebook profile or Snapchat i.d. “It’s more of an experience thing,” Campbell said of how he identifies potential profiles to watch. “It’s almost a gut feeling that something isn’t right, that it isn’t as it appears to be.” Some would call it a creep alert. While the work may be painstakingly tedious and long, it is invaluable. The Task Force has investigated more than 315 new cases this year, with a total of 2,827 cases from its inception in 2007 through 2012. “It would be easy to be overwhelmed, but I don’t let that happen,” Campbell noted. “When I leave work, I have to detach. I try to leave the images and cases behind. I can’t let that feeling in.” “The Task Force does what it can to keep kids safe,” he added. “We are finding the people online who try to exploit kids.” Score one for the good guys. BRENDA MAAS Officer Earl Campbell, a member of the Montana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, noted, “I have to be able to communicate with all people, even those most of us would rather not make eye contact with.”


most inspiring

Adopting Hope The Crable Family

The Crables speak for those with no voice, the forsaken. They speak for neglected pooches and cast-away kittens, for abandoned and owner-surrendered pets in our area—pets that desperately await adoption. Every weekend amid already hectic schedules, Mandi and Cory Crable bring their children to Billings Animal Rescue Care (BARK) to volunteer.


In these quiet moments, their furry friends find a voice. “Spending time at BARK has taught our entire family that overcoming the toughest things in life is often the most rewarding,” Mandi said, who spends her day working full time as a teacher at Meadowlark School. At BARK, the family spends one-on-one time with animals. Chores and activities vary, but often involve feeding, cleaning, comforting and sometimes, just cuddling the animals. “Animals are just like us,” Mandi said. “They need to feel loved and cared for.” Expanding their hearts is something Mandi and Cory are very familiar with. April, age 7 ½, Ranal, age 7 and Darrius, age 5 are all adopted foster children.

The Crable family volunteers at BARK Animal Rescue. Crable family members Mandi and Cory and their children Darrius, left, Randal and April. Photo by Larry Mayer.

Something Special Tammy Grimm

Tammy Grimm is an advocate for the mighty. “Special Olympics is my heart, and working with these kids inspires me to be better and do more,” Grimm said. For more than 22 years, Grimm has selflessly volunteered her time to School District 2’s Special Olympics program, in addition to her position as a full-time special education teacher at Lewis and Clark School. “I learn right alongside these children, about will, grace and tolerance,” Grimm said. “They teach me as much, if not more, than I teach them. Care and compassion fuel her fire, but searching her past, Grimm points to one person in particular who motivated her to serve others. “Growing up, my sister had encephalitis, and I felt so powerless, unable to help her,” Grimm said. “Doctors kept telling us that there was nothing they could do and that actually, it would be a blessing if she passed away. Every day I wanted to cry.” Grimm took this difficult experience and wielded it into something special, something powerful. She makes a difference every day for the kids in her classroom and for Special Olympians across Montana. Grimm coordinates pick-ups and drop-offs of athletes, schedules time and venues for events and workouts, coaches basketball, track, bicycling, cheerleading, gymnastics and dance. “I do it for the smiles,” Grimm said, “and the hugs, too.” Her favorite thing to witness, though, is

when one of her students is accepted and integrated into the trappings of “normal” teen life. Most recently, one of Grimm’s students had the dream to become a cheerleader. Grimm watched, with tear-filled eyes, as that beautiful little girl’s dreams came true last month. “The other cheerleaders are so caring and accepting of her,” Grimm said. By and large, Grimm said the students in her school are champions for children with disabilities. “I’m so proud of them for accepting my kids, but then I make them think—I put them on the spot and ask them ‘If you can accept someone with a disability, why can’t you accept someone who’s just a little different… someone who wears different clothes or has a different look?’” That starts the wheels turning. “We all have to do battle with intolerance,” Grimm said. “Special Olympics reminds people that there’s a place in this world for everyone.” Grim said she enjoys involving the parents and loved ones of her Special Olympians— seeing the looks of sheer joy on their faces as they watch their child participate. “So much of their life has been filled with people telling them what their kids can’t do,” Grimm said. ”It’s rewarding for them to see their child achieve feats they didn’t know were possible.” And for the kids, Special Olympics serves as a point of pride and valued social outlet, Grimm added. “Happiness, true happiness comes from looking around you and appreciating what you have,”Grim said. “Each day we survive is a rewarding experience.” Brittany Cremer

“Spending time at BARK is great for the animals, but also teaches the kids about love, understanding and acceptance,” Mandi said. “Spreading the message to care for those in need, that’s just being a good parent,” Mandi said. At home, the children enjoy playing with the family’s three adoptive pets: Dolly, a Border collie and German shepherd mix; Jake, a border collie and lab mix and Cooper, an orange tabby cat. “I’ve always been an animal lover and knew I wanted to pass that passion along to my kids,” Mandi said. Brittany Cremer Lewis and Clark Middle School special education teacher Tammy Grimm works with students Emily Lee, right, and Alyssa Ahlgren. Photo by James Woodcock.


most inspiring

Honor and Privilege Tina Vauthier

As the Executive Director of a retirement community, Tina Vauthier spends a great deal of time getting to know each and every resident personally. “These people are truly my family,” Vauthier said. One of those residents, a veteran of WWII, mentioned to Vauthier he heard veterans in North Dakota were being flown to Washington D.C. to see the WWII Memorial. He wanted to go. “I have a great deal of respect for veterans,” she said. “My grandfather was a WWII veteran, my great uncle was a WWII prisoner of war and my son is a veteran of the Iraq War.” Wanting to honor the veteran’s request, Vauthier contacted the head of the North Dakota Honor Flights and was able to secure the last two seats on the final trip out of North Dakota for the gentleman and another WWII veteran. “When they returned, they were absolutely beaming. Both were astonished at the crowds of people who turned out to thank them; they felt so appreciated,” she said. Seeing how moved the veterans were by the experience, Vauthier thought, why aren’t we doing this ? In October 2011, with the full support of her employer, Vauthier put the wheels in motion. She and her colleague, Kathy Shannon, established a not-for-profit organization and recruited a passionate committee

of volunteers. By January the group began seeking financial donations for the newly-formed Big Sky Honor Flight. Vauthier’s employer, The Goodman Group, gave the first $5,000 which was quickly followed by generous donations from many other individuals and businesses. In all, the organization received an incredible $1.2 million in under two years. “The generosity of this community was overwhelming,” Vauthier said. “And none of this would have been possible without the volunteer committee – they deserve the credit for making Big Sky Honor Flight a reality.” The first Big Sky Honor Flight took place on June 15, 2012. Eighty-seven veterans traveled to Washington, D.C. on that inaugural trip. Since then, six more flights have ferried a total of 603 men and women to see the WWII Memorial erected in their honor, and two more flights are scheduled for next spring. “The entire experience is incredibly moving,” said Vauthier who has served as a companion on every one of the trips. “Many of the veterans still carry survivor’s guilt and other wounds from the war, which they haven’t addressed. This gives them the opportunity to start the healing process.” Veterans aren’t the only ones who are moved. At every stop along their tour in D.C., complete strangers reach out to shake their hands and thank them for serving their nation, many with tears in their eyes. Each time an Honor Flight returns to Billings, hundreds of people gather at the airport waving flags and signs, cheering as one by one the men and women make their way down the terminal. Spouses, children, grandchildren and well-wishers offer hugs and handshakes; all are deeply, emotionally moved. “It’s life changing,” said Vauthier. “Our veterans have done so much, yet expect so little. They’re so grateful and humble for the Honor Flight, and they deserve of this recognition.” For Vauthier, the Honor Flights have made a permanent mark in her soul. “The veterans inspire us all to appreciate and value each day. Imagine if everyone looked at life the way these people do – what a wonderful difference it would make in our world.” Allyn Hulteng

The Face Behind “Norm’s Island” Norm Schoenthal

It takes someone special to envision turning an old gravel pit into an experimental outdoor classroom—and then commit to the physical work and management to see it through. Norm Schoenthal is a something special. The end result? More than 200,000 plants, shrubs and trees, nursed by Schoenthal and planted by hundreds of volunteers, on 54 shared acres that represent mini-ecosystems of Eastern Montana, from the oak savannahs to the high, dry Pryor Mountains. Now known as the Norm Schoenthal Field Lab at Audubon Conservation Education Center (ACEC)—he brought a dream to life. It is a literal outdoor learning environment people ages 1-99. Last year, more than 4,000 students


Left: Tina Vauthier is shown with Big Sky Honor Flight veterans, from left, Al Litle, Jack Engleman and Ralph Stone. Photo by Larry Mayer

visited the ACEC. Schoenthal’s lifelong career in education began in a one-room, rural classroom in North Dakota. Though it was interrupted by a call to serve the U.S. military after the Korean War, that interruption, and subsequent G.I. Bill provided the means for Schoenthal to continue his own education, earning a Master’s, then a Ph. D. and eventually landing a position teaching biology at Montana State University-Billings (then known as Eastern Montana College). Spanning more than 34 years at MSU-B, Schoenthal touched thousands of students. But he had the most impact on those who participated on field trips. A small island in the Yellowstone River, just west of the Blue Creek Road Bridge, was a popular local destination. In the 70s and early-80s Schoenthal and students would ferry to the island via john boats and conduct plant-transect studies. “That island was my ecology lab,” Schoenthal recalled, “until it burned and there was nothing left but the large cottonwoods.” But that island, and the thought of a field lab for all, never left Schoenthal’s mind. Throughout his career, Schoenthal actively worked with the Yellowstone River Parks Association (YRPA). The volunteer-driven organization now owns and maintains a trail system on that very island—named Norm’s Schoenthal Island—that is incredibly popular. Outside of the winter season, most sunrises find Schoenthal working in the field lab, preparing plantings for the many volunteers, running irrigation to ensure their success and overseeing the master plan. “Have you ever had a cause that you really believed in, that you were willing to sacrifice everything to see it get done?” explained Schoenthal when asked about his decades of service. He crossed his gnarled hands, which had literally built the dream, and added, “This is my cause.” “I may have spent hundreds and hundreds of hours, but this is something I’m good at,” Schoenthal said. Emphasizing the power of public service and volunteerism, he added “If you have a talent, for God’s sake, use it.”

Brenda Maas Top left: Norm Schoenthal spends a morning bird watching on the island that bears his name. Photo by James Woodcock

Wild About His Work Jeff Ewelt

“I never thought I would live in a zoo,” said Jeff Ewelt with a big grin. “But now I can’t imagine living anywhere else.” Two years ago, Ewelt was recruited as the new executive director for ZooMontana. At the time, the zoo was suffering from a lack of leadership, and the fate of the organization was tenuous. “The community wasn’t engaged. I saw an opportunity to pump new life into the zoo,” he said. Ewelt remembers clearly his first day on the job. “It was overwhelming – just chaos. And then the gates opened and in ran a group of squealing, laughing school children. I thought, this is why we do this. Their enthusiasm made me realize we could and would re-energize the zoo for the benefit of the whole community.” Since that first day, Ewelt and his staff have worked tirelessly to connect the zoo with every stratum of the community. “I am a believer that every great city needs a great zoo,” he said. To Ewelt, a zoo is much more than animal exhibits. “Education is a big part of what we do, and there’s also the economic impact to the community.” To strengthen and grow education outreach, Ewelt brought in Troy Paisley from the Columbus Zoo. Paisley’s vast knowledge of zoo education programs proved invaluable. “We now go into the schools to give presentations, and students

Top: ZooMontana Executive Director Jeff Ewelt. Photo by Casey Page.

flock to the zoo throughout the year,” Ewelt noted. But the education doesn’t end with school-age kids. The Senior Safari outreach program brings animals and education out to a large number of seniors in our community. And every zoo visitor benefits from the learning environment that engages people of all ages. ZooMontana also hosts an impressive number of events year round, and is a popular venue for private gatherings. “We want everyone to know this is their zoo, a place where something is going on all the time,” he said. Ewelt’s mission to engage the community is working. ZooMontana is experiencing true growth, and Ewelt couldn’t be more thrilled. “The zoo is the hot thing right now. It’s so wonderful to have businesses call and say we want to help – what can we do?” Does Ewelt see any drawbacks to living where he works? “The toughest thing is I never get away. If an animal is sick – day or night – I’m responsible for checking on it. That can be a little intense when the animal is a tiger who just had surgery and isn’t very happy.” But being on call 24 hours a day is a burden Ewelt gladly assumes. “We have a clear vision. It’s an exciting time for ZooMontana, and I’m having a blast!” Allyn Hulteng


most inspiring

GENTLE GIANT Paul Kongaika

As a Division I lineman for Weber State, Paul Kongaika was used to taking hard hits. But when it came to youngsters with tough, often heartbreaking family stories, the 6’2” 290-pound man met his match. Born in the Kingdom of Tonga in the Polynesian Islands, Kongaika grew up in Hawaii and attended college on a football


scholarship. During his senior year, he became involved in youth correction services. “I just fell in love with the kids,” Kongaika said. Kongaika spent four years working for State of Utah before relocating to Alaska where he was hired by the Anchorage School District to coach and to work on student disciplinary issues. Eventually, Kongaika and his wife Megan moved to Billings and he joined School District 2 as a Truancy and Attendance Liaison. “My focus isn’t on the kids who are in the classroom,” Kongaika said, “It’s on the kids

who aren’t.” While many students miss school due to illness and other excused absences, an alarming number of don’t show up for three, four, five or more days in a row with no communication from home. When a pattern of unexplained absenteeism develops, Paul Kongaika’s job is to investigate. He starts by checking into what may be going on in the child’s home life and from there, finding resources to reconnect the child to school. “There are a surprising number homeless families. The kids bounce around from place to place with really no support system. Some kids don’t have

rides; others have parents who didn’t go to school so they don’t think school is important. Many haven’t eaten – for those students, school is the last thing on their minds,” Kongaika said. Kongaika noted that getting kids integrated into school in the elementary years is critical. He explained that as a student falls further behind, it gets harder to catch up. By middle school, it becomes nearly impossible. “They’re missing key building blocks, and teachers don’t have as much time for one-on-one instruction. Plus, these kids typically don’t have a peer group; it becomes easy to drop out.” Studies affirm that dropouts face tough life choices, which can lead down a dark path. Kongaika knows this all too well, which fuels his passion. One student at a time, Kongaika does whatever it takes to get the child into the classroom and engaged. He tells the story of one young girl who loved school, and then suddenly stopped attending. Kongaika discovered the family was living in a hotel room, and her parents would not get up before noon so she didn’t have a ride. “We got her a bus pass, and I told her, ‘every time you get up and get to school for the whole week I’ll eat lunch with you.’” The youngster began attending regularly. Before long, she started making friends and became part of a group. While not every effort results in success, Kongaika remains optimistic. He often runs into former students, many of whom share that staying in school made a life-changing difference. “It’s a team effort” he said humbly, referring to the network of professionals that work together to reach these youngsters. “And it’s awesome when you see school become important to them.”

Allyn Hulteng Truancy and Attendance Liaison Paul Kongaika and first graders from Sandstone Elementary School. Photo by Bob Zellar. Right: Gwen Gatzemeier, a volunteer with SANE, is shown at Pioneer Park. Photo by Larry Mayer.

angel in disguise Gwen Gatzemeier

Anyone who has ever met Gwen Gatzemeier will tell you that she’s as close to an angel as can be found on earth. A woman of extraordinary compassion, her gentle spirit and thoughtful nature are part and parcel of the community outreach work she performs on behalf of her employer, Billings Clinic Foundation. Yet Gwen’s concern for others extends well beyond the boundaries of 8 to 5, often into a dark realm of malevolence most of us never see. By day, one of Gwen’s joys is orchestrating the partnership between Billings Clinic and the students at McKinley Elementary. Since assuming that role 10 years ago, the partnership has grown to include events that dot the calendar throughout the year. “It started with the mitten tree,” Gwen said. Students from families that have the greatest need and lowest income receive four gifts, and each of their siblings also receives four gifts, all donated by Billings Clinic employees. When families don’t have transportation to school, Gwen makes a personal delivery. “It’s just so humbling to go to their home and see the joy the kids’ faces,” she said. “I feel so blessed to share that moment.” Santa’s Workshop is another project Gwen oversees. “That idea took root when a school counselor overheard students saying ‘I wish Santa knew where I lived.’” Each year on the last day of school before winter break, every student in the school receives a coupon to go to Santa’s Workshop and pick out a present. “It’s just so fun to share their excitement, to whoop and holler and say ‘Yes! This is for you!” Gwen said. The outreach continues in to the spring with Education Day, where fifth graders expand their vision of future careers by exploring the wide swath of jobs that it takes to operate a health care organization.

In addition, several times a year she arranges Adult Education Night where families can enjoy a healthy supper, and while the children play the parents can hear a guest speaker talk on topics such as nutrition, mental illness and dealing with tweens. A mother of four grown children, and former Girl Scout leader, Sunday school teacher and Cub Scout den mother, Gwen says working with the kids at McKinley “just came naturally.” Her work as a domestic violence and sexual assault advocate for the YWCA did not. “I lived in a sheltered world, but when I heard there was a need for volunteers I thought this is something I should do,” Gwen said. Gwen volunteers to assist victims who are treated through the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program. On call from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. Friday or Saturday night, Gwen waits for the call she hopes never comes. Unfortunately, too often the phone rings and Gwen is asked to cross the vector of social civility into a place of utter despair. “Victims of sexual assault are at the lowest point in their life, and I want them to know that they have value and that someone cares about them,” Gwen said. It takes great courage for a victim to undergo the examination, and Gwen stays with the individual throughout. “In one instance after the assault the perpetrator kicked and beat the woman so badly her teeth broke through her lip, and then he spat on her. It was just so degrading,” recalled Gwen. “I held her hand and told her she was beautiful and brave and we cried together.” Women aren’t the only victims. Gwen has also comforted children who were victims, one under the age of two. With a high volunteer turnover rate, Gwen is the longest serving volunteer of the SANE program. Though emotionally very difficult, she says she remains committed. “To be able to give someone comfort, a bit of hope at the time of great anguish is a gift. Everyone deserves to be valued.”

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turn back time age gracefully on a cellular level with healthy eating, exercise and a little red wine.

By Julie Johnson rollllins Little cheer emerged during October’s disgust-filled days of the federal government shut-down. Civil servants were halted at home. Tourists lined national park perimeters. Americans confronted closed gates at their monuments in Washington, D.C. But spirits, beleaguered by a sclerotic federal government, stirred with stories of resilient World War II veterans, averaging well beyond 90 years of age according to the Department of Veteran Affairs, who stormed the barricades in our nation’s capital to view the memorial erected in their honor. Ninety-year-old Army Air Corp retiree, A.L. Fredericks of Billings, Mont. captured our imaginations, brushing by barriers and scaling the 57 steps of the Lincoln Memorial, cheered on by crowds down below, including gray and grizzled walker- and wheelchair-bound companions grounded by a lifeless elevator. These veterans are living memorials to our increasing longevity, and as the silver set grows, scientists and civilians are increasingly preoccupied with the puzzle of living longer and better, finding clues in recent research.


Live long and prosper

Americans born in 2010 can expect to live 78.7 years according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), a gain of more than 30 years since 1900, 10 years since 1950, and two years since 2000. People who reach 65 can expect to live another 19 years on average, while 75-yearolds should expect another 12. This trend may surprisingly have less to do with care received later in life than health enjoyed at its inception. Dr. Robert Fogel, Nobel Prize-winning economist from the University of Chicago, combed through military health records from some 50,000 Union Army Civil War veterans, comparing them with today’s age-equivalent men. Those serving under the commander-in-chief atop the Lincoln Memorial were shorter by 3 inches, lighter by 50 pounds and suffered more heart disease, lung disease, arthritis, and other chronic diseases at 10 to 15 years earlier than men today. They also suffered more infections and poorer nutrition in early childhood. This correlated with risk of chronic disease later in life. “Something is being undermined,” said Dr. Fogel in a 2006 New York Times article. ”Even cancer rates were higher. Ye gods! We never would have suspected that.” Similar multi-national population data was plumbed by Dr. David J. P. Barker, professor of epidemiology at the University of Southampton in England. Dr. Barker has published multiple studies correlating prenatal and childhood health with risk for mid-and late-life chronic disease. “What happens before the age of 2 has a permanent, lasting effect on your health, and that includes aging,” Dr. Barker has said. Is our shot at longevity a done deal? Not everyone agrees, with promise found in life’s basic building blocks.

Health at a cellular level

Dr. Judith Campisi, a biochemist at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, has long been interested in cell senescence, the stage in a cell’s life when it stops replicating. Cell division allows our bodies to repair injuries and replenish tissues. Paradoxically, breathing oxygen may be toxic, Dr. Campisi recently explained to Scientific American. Oxygen causes production of free radicals in our bodies, substances she believes damage cells over time, interfering with cell division and possibly leading to malignancy, cell senescence or cell death. The free radical theory of aging underpins recommendations to eat foods high in antioxidants, a possible antidote to free radicals. These include vitamins C and E and polyphenols, found in whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and even chocolate. Dr. Campisi cautions against simple solutions like diet alone. “Biology is complex,” she said. Nonetheless, add olive oil, fish and nuts to an antioxidant-rich diet, and you have the Mediterranean Diet, touted to prevent heart disease and cancer and more recently linked to cellular processes that promote healthy ongoing cell division. Italian researcher, Dr. Giuseppe Paolisso of the University of Naples, is keen on telomeres, specialized genetic structures which act as protective caps on our DNA during cell division. Each time our cells divide, telomeres get shortened. Ultimately, like a cellular biological time clock, they become too short to allow cell reproduction. Telomerase is an enzyme in our bodies that revitalizes telomeres. Exercise, stress reduction and a Mediterranean Diet, Dr. Paolisso recently reported, rejuvenate this enzyme’s activity, possibly extending the life of our cells—if not ourselves.

People who exercised moderately, 150 minutes per week of walking or the equivalent, added 2 to 3 years to their life, an advantage extending through their 50s .

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The Mediterranean Diet also offers optional moderate amounts of red wine, but researchers at Harvard University are increasingly convinced that those with longevity interests shouldn’t opt out. More to the point, red wine contains resveratrol, a polyphenol found in the skins of grapes as well as peanuts and berries. Dr. David Sinclair of the Harvard School of Medicine published research in 2006 showing resveratrol extended the lifespan of mice, protected them from effects of obesity and doubled their endurance. Last March, Dr. Sinclair and colleagues revealed results unlocking the molecular mechanism behind these findings. Resveratrol increases the activity of proteins called sirtuins, specifically SIRT1, that rev up mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cell, mitigating cellular aging. To be fair, the dose of resveratrol given to mice in these studies equals gallons of red wine a day. Developments of potent pharmaceuticals targeting these mechanisms are currently fermenting.

Time….is on our side

Tantalizing as cellular studies may be for those anxious to join the 120 Club, studies of longevity in humans take – well – time. While awaiting results, we can rely on one-iron clad fact. Heart disease, cancer (lung cancer leading the pack), and strokes are the triumvirate of mortality in the United States according to the CDC. Reversing the likelihood of succumbing to these diseases involves the same old scolds: don’t smoke, eat right and exercise. Exercise has long been known to lower blood pressure, but a recent study suggests exercise alone increases longevity. Epidemiologists from multiple universities analyzed health data from more than 100,000 Americans. People who exercised moderately, 150 minutes per week of walking or the equivalent, added 2 to 3 years to their life,

an advantage extending through their 50s. Beyond that the absolute return diminishes, but even octogenarians benefit. Rigorous exercise like running confers greater gains, adding up to six hours of life for every hour exercised, although some may find running a four-hour marathon in exchange for a day of life a wash. Is time the ultimate prize? Most favor quality over quantity. If we live to our tenth decade, we want to be the 90-year-old summiting the Lincoln Memorial, not confined to home or a nursing home.

Getting strong, staying strong

Geriatricians have long observed a decline in neuromuscular function as we age, with muscle loss, called sarcopenia, accelerating after the fifth decade. Inactivity leads to sarcopenia, as do many diseases like atherosclerosis. Both can spiral into “frailty,” a syndrome of exhaustion, weakness, weight loss, and loss of muscle mass, strength and ultimately independent functioning. The prognosis is grim. Hope lies in prevention. Resistance training and aerobic exercise are recommended to maintain power and function. Moreover, many studies tout the power of positive thinking and the importance of social connectedness in maintaining mental health, physical strength and life. As studies continue to simmer, take comfort. Activities that make us healthier today will likely continue to make us healthier tomorrow and may yield more tomorrows to boot. Short-sighted politicians in Washington may kick the can down the road, but the rest of us can take a longer view in the New Year. Get moving and raise a glass of red wine over a meal of good food with those you love. That’s a prescription we can all live by, perhaps for a very long time.

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Time Savers that Aren’t By Julie Green

Ah, time. Styx had too much of it on their hands,

Cher wanted to turn it back, the Rolling Stones had it on their side and both Rush and All American Rejects thought it stood still. It was warped in the Rocky Horror Picture Show and went by in Casablanca. For most of us, time seems to fly by (except on those days when it seems to drag on). We think we have too little of it, and we are most definitely always looking for ways to save it. And sure, there have been some awesome time savers developed over the years. But have you ever noticed that so many of the things that promise to save us time really don’t? No? Well, let’s take a closer look.

1. Email and online messaging. It seems like such a great idea; typing a quick message into your computer (or phone) and having it flit away to its destination. No pesky folding or seal licking or crawling through your purse to find a stamp not completely covered with lint that will cling to the envelope long enough to get it in the box. But did you ever receive 100 letters in your mailbox by 8 a.m., each addressed with a series of exclamation points to underscore its importance and the need to respond by 8:30? And, during the day, did you walk away from your mailbox only to have 14 additional letters (including 3 from J.Crew) pop in by the time you returned from the water cooler? Probably not.


2. Smart phones.

Admittedly, smart phones have their conveniences, including GPS for those of us who tend to have unexpected adventures while moving from one point to another. But quite honestly, they don’t save a whit of time. For one thing, we are glued to them like a kindergartener to a construction paper art project because we cower in fear that something will happen without us being aware of it, including whether someone beat our Candy Crush score. And for another, we depend on them for everything. Remember those days when we’d ask “hey—do you know what time it is?” and someone would just look at their watch and answer? Now they have to dig their phone out of their pocket or purse or planner, wipe it on their sleeve, swipe to activate, type in a passcode and…finally…tell you the time. And then show you the latest app they downloaded. Yep, we’re pretty sure Timex has the iPhone beat on that score. Plus there’s that whole licking, ticking thing.

3. The Shiloh Roundabouts.

Now, undoubtedly a lot of work and planning went into determining the exact size and placement of these wonderful wheels of asphalt, but does anyone else wonder if a Super Spirograph could possibly have been utilized in the drawings? Drive a few feet, pause, look both ways, see a Buick from out of town driving around… and around…and around in circles, dart in front of an F150 that blares its horn and hopefully make it to the other side where you drive a few feet more and do the hokey-pokey all over again. A way to get your blood pumping? Yes. Time saver? We say no.

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4. The Double Drive Through.

It’s becoming a more common sight in our community, this two-lane fast food phenomenon. On its face, it would seem that it could save time…but here’s the flaw: two lanes, but only one window. Oh, sure, the good folks at Hardee’s on 27th have long been known to sprint between cars to deliver your breakfast bowl and hash browns, but it undoubtedly annoys them and leaves you feeling guilty. If these establishments wanted to save us time (which, considering we can get a two thousand calorie meal in less than 3 minutes now, ought not really be an issue requiring exploration) they would move to a multi-window system. Here’s the kicker: one of the lane/window combos would be required to be used for those people ordering food for half the county. It would be the HOV lane of caloric intake, allowing the rest of us to zip around, grab our multi-pattied perfection and get out on the road to eat it as quickly as possible while endangering ourselves and others.

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5. Movie Rental Kiosks. Note: we all

know what they’re called because we see them at every grocery store, convenience store and drug store around town. But we’re not mentioning them here in case we hurt their feelings. At first, these seemed to solve our problems once the Movie Gallery went kaput. Head on over, see what movies were available, slide your card, grab the disc and off you go. Except that never happens. Instead, you wait in your car with the lights on while a gaggle of people (one of whom is always in ill-fitting trousers) crowd around a tiny screen trying to pick a movie. They scroll back and forth, up and down, look at the pictures on the outside of the box and attempt not less than four times to slide their card through the reader before they discover they’re doing it backwards. You think they’re done, begin to ease from your car and see that three other people are doing the same thing. So you wait. And wait. And then you’re the one in the ill-fitting trousers trying to find a movie or slide your debit card repeatedly while headlights shine on your back. Save time, save frustration: just go buy it at a big box store and then share it with your friends afterward.

6. Zimmerman Trail.

Before you get up in arms about the ZT, please know that we all agree that, provided we have not been inundated by ice storms, it is a road which provides stunning views of our little valley. And it does, theoretically, appear to be a time saver. You’re downtown, you need to get to the West End and you’re simply not in the mood to engage in a battle for pole position at Poly and Virginia or to follow the SUV Parade down Rimrock. The answer? Shoot up 27th, go through the non-timesaving-life-jeopardizing-roundabout in front of the airport, gain some speed on Highway 3 and head on down Zimmerman. All is well until the couple from another state who a) want to take in those aforementioned stunning views and/or b) have never seen or driven on a grade over about 1 percent. The time you made up on Highway 3? That dissolves along with your good mood as you inch along in granny gear down the trail.

So there you have them, our top six time non-savers. We thought about doing 10 of them…but we just ran out of time.

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Forget new year’s

resolutionS train your brain for real change This year, discover how to make changes that last by replacing New Year’s resolutions and willpower with brain-based strategies that work.

by Jennifer A. Williams When most of us make a New Year’s resolution, we initially feel like we have unbeatable willpower and enthusiasm . . . until they fizzle out, right? In truth, willpower is nothing more than utilizing the power of flow, our flow. We are always going with the flow of what’s most important to us. The problem is that New Year’s resolutions typically go against that flow, which is why they often fail. The way we typically approach change is not only ineffective but also unkind to ourselves. It is futile to expect ourselves to make a major change successfully in our lifestyle or behavior without first supporting ourselves in the process. Have you ever tried to hold an inflated beach ball under the water? How about five beach balls? Even if it were possible to hold all five down at once, you’d have to use a tremendous amount of energy,

focus and strength to do it. That’s what happens when we try to force change or judge ourselves as bad or a habit as wrong. We’re going against the flow. Not only is it ineffective and exhausting, it makes change much harder. But this is what we normally try to do when we make New Year’s resolutions. Every behavior is motivated by a need, a need that we’ve made very important in our life, like safety. For example, maybe you’ve made a resolution to find a more fulfilling job, but then you don’t follow through. Well, guess what—staying in a job that we’re unhappy with isn’t nearly as threatening as not being able to pay the mortgage or the rent. How about resolving (and failing) to stop yelling at the kids? Yelling is much easier than bridling our own emotions and responding to the kids lovingly when we’re stressed.


No amount of willpower is going to outsmart your unconscious mind, which is currently orchestrating more than 5 trillion jobs in your body. Therefore, the foundation of all change is observing yourself without judgment. Get curious. Investigate what motivates you. Figure out what makes you tick. Watch where your unconscious mind leads you, and use your understanding of the flow in your life to your advantage, instead of fighting against it. Here’s a typical short list of resolutions: • Lose weight. • Stop yelling at the kids. • Get out of debt.


Does anything on this list look familiar? How many months/ weeks/days did you keep them? Probably not many, if you’re like the majority of people. The goals are too big, they’re too general and there’s no plan of action for fulfilling them—even for one day. Usually we quickly become discouraged. We may even begin to think change isn’t possible and give up. Change is sometimes challenging, but it’s not impossible—it just takes understanding how the brain works and strategizing to pull it off. Four simple steps will help you get started to make (and keep) the changes you want in your life: be specific when defining what you want; set a small goal and keep to it; mentally rehearse the outcome you want; and link your change to a familiar routine or habit. (See sidebar.)

Putting the four steps into practice using three real-life scenarios:


Be specific when defining what you want. The clearer and more specific you are about the change you’d like to make, the more effective you will be.


Set a small goal and keep it. Once that is a habit, set another small goal. Large changes are harder to sustain and we often abandon them within a short time. By focusing on one small change at a time, we make it easier to move forward, sustain new behaviors and build upon our successes. The brain rewires and changes our behavior by what we do repeatedly, not by what we do occasionally.


Mentally rehearse the outcome you want. Brain research has shown that when we rehearse the result we want, he frontal lobe (the higher, logical part of the brain) is activated. The richer the colors and the deeper the feelings, the more the subconscious experiences your visualization as real; this then catapults you into faster change.


Link your change to a familiar routine or habit. If we utilize well-established habits (or neural pathways), the faster and easier changes happen. When we link a brandnew behavior with a familiar habit, it’s like joining a small stream with a Class 5 river. This maximizes flow, and this one minor tweak adds enormous momentum to any change.

“Lose weight.” How much? When? How?

Step 1: Be specific. “I will lose 10 pounds by May 1, 2014 (2 pounds per month) and keep them off.” This statement is measureable and therefore more effective.

Step 2: Set a small goal. “No more junk food” might last a day. “No afternoon candy bar” is more likely to be sustained. Better yet, be realistic about your need for an afternoon snack to keep up your energy level: “I will eat fruit or nuts or another healthy snack in the afternoon instead of a candy bar.”

Step 3: Mentally rehearse the outcome you want. Visualize how good you feel as the pounds melt away and your co-workers compliment you on how great you look!

Step 4: Link your change to a familiar routine. To increase exercise, allow time for walking the four blocks to and from Starbucks for your weekday morning latté (instead of driving). Linking exercise with a latté adds pleasure, which is a big motivator for the brain plus helps reward you for walking. (And 8 blocks is a mile, so it doesn’t take long to start helping you lose weight!)


“Stop yelling at the kids.”

“Stop” doesn’t work. The brain doesn’t know how to NOT do something. Give it something to do. How about “I’ll talk in a calm tone in the morning”?

Step 1: Be specific. “I will create more ease and harmony in the morning before school/work because that’s our most stressful time.” Step 2: Set a small goal. “I’ll get up an hour earlier to go for a walk and then make breakfast before the kids wake up.” Taking care of yourself ensures you’ll feel more peaceful—and you’re cutting down on the stress of trying to make breakfast and keep track of time and the kids. Step 3: Mentally rehearse the outcome you want. Imagine yourself going for a walk in the crisp fresh air and feeling energized and happy on your return. Now see yourself making a scrumptious breakfast and awakening the kids, eager to see them. (See sidebar.) Step 4: Link your change to a familiar routine. Ask a friend who already exercises to join you on your morning walk. Now you’re piggybacking on their momentum. This increases accountability and gives your brain an extra squirt of pleasure—which increases your commitment, too.

With all forms of change, one of the biggest and most powerful keys is not to try to stop doing anything, but rather to listen to the wisdom driving unwanted behavior. This mindfulness and commitment to listen becomes a great tool to awaken you to your true desires and needs. When you take action in small and consistent ways, you’ll become happier and more resilient in your life and your relationships. If you want lasting change, capture the unstoppable power of your own brain. Find out what motivates you and redirect this force to support you in your goals and desires. And be prepared to be astounded at how easy change becomes!


“Get out of debt.” Too big. Not actionable. What do you plan to do, and how do you plan to do it?

Step 1: Be specific. Setting a specific goal helps us feel like we have more control in our lives and encourages us to act. “We will schedule an appointment with a financial adviser this week and set up a plan to pay off our credit cards by December 31, 2015.” Step 2: Set a small goal. “We will begin immediately to decrease our expenses by $100 per month by eating out only once a month and using up the leftovers one night a week.”

Step 3: Mentally rehearse the outcome you want. See yourself successfully paying down the debt and feeling good about living within your means. Then see yourself making the last payment on your credit cards and reveling in the sight of the zero balance.

Step 4: Link your change to a familiar routine. Every time you get in your car or sip coffee (something you do regularly), call to mind your goal and reinforce your resolve to be debt free.

Constructing visualizations that use all the senses to reinforce your desired outcome is one of the most important tools you can use to get the brain working on your side when you make a resolution. Curiously, the subconscious can’t really tell the difference between the visualization and the actual event, so it’s easily brought on board with your goal, once you learn how to visualize. Be sure to use all the senses in constructing your visualization. For example, in your mental rehearsal of your new morning interactions, smell the fragrance of freshly cut fruit or cooked bacon; see the bright colors of the vegetable omelet and the smiles on your spouse’s and children’s faces while you’re having a calm breakfast; hear their laughter and yours; feel the touch of a kiss on your cheek or a hug or quick cuddle with the little ones; taste the yummy blend of flavors in the food. The more feel-good images you can fit into a visualization, the more powerful it will be.

820 Shiloh Crossing Blvd (on the corner of Shiloh & King)





Alive After 5 at The Rex 1] Tracy & Ralph Arnold 2] Jake Duenow & Paul Rosales 3] Karen Renier & Bonnie Anderson 4] Jessica Kerr & Kasia Harvey 5] Mike Rice, Angie Gonzales &


3 5 4

St. John’s Summer Concert Series 6] JoeDee Shellenberger & Evelyn Cline 7] Kapua Paiana, Katherine Hungerford & Robyn Kramer 8] Brooke Rivera & Jan McCaulay 9] Rich, Shelley, Sydney & Brooklyn Pierce



9 6

8 10

Beaux Arts Ball

10] Kat Heally & Logan Hendricks 11] Bob Durden & Nick Lamb 12] Nancy Standley, Patricia Colebank, Mary Maida & Leona Dillon 13] Adam Restad & Kate Olp 14] Kelly Rickard & Will Thomas Hendricks







15 16 8



Habitat for Humanity Golf Tournament 15] Tim Anderson, Shane Anderson, Terry Lee & Sam Buchanan 16] Joe Burst 17] Jim Woolyhand, Paul Jones, Dave Carroll & Andy Baldwin

18 14

St. Vincent Healthcare Saints Ball




18] Brooke Murphy, Laura Prill Kris Mainwaring, Katie Glennon & Cindy Beers 19] Drs. Kevin & Erica Bruen 20] Ralph and Tancy Spence & Kyle and Jason Barker 21] Dr. Mitch & Rita Gallagher 22] Dr. Amy Fuller, Heather Bergeson & Ceci Bentler






Yellowstone Western Heritage Center Raising Our Spirits 23] Lindsey Meszaros, Jeremy Morris, Marcus Nicola, Lacey Meszaros, Clay Halrorson & Carol Steigerwald




24] Rory Dewald, Sarah Valdez, Curtis Mattox, Rory Fogleman, Diana Baxter & Deborah Singer 25] Lynn Meade Larson, Joan Luna & Lisa Olmsted

Peaks Gala


26] Pam Hoffman & Laurie Johannsen 27] Jeff & Cindy Eggert & Deb Mattern 28] Pam & Carter Schaff 29] Tom and Debbie Savas



Art Walk October

30] Sarah Morris 31] Anita & Michael Fortin 32] Amy & Francisco Aguirre & Melissa Contreraz 33] Gail Tompkins Micah Yeaman



32 Photos courtesy of Alex Faught Ashley Virag BSO&C Callie Eike Drew Bennett Habitat for Humanity Kit Tambo Mallory Hatfield Paul Ruhter


Blues Brothers Revue January 17 • Alberta Bair Theater In the only performance recognized by the Belushi estate, the Official Blues Brothers Revue integrates the humor and songs from the original film and albums to recreate Jake, Elwood and the Intercontinental Rhythm & Blues Revue Band. The show features Dan Aykroyd, Judith Belishi and music director Paul Shaffer in homage to Chicago’s rich history of blues, soul and gospel music.

December December 13 Candlelight Tours at the Moss Moss Mansion

December 13-14 Southern Classic Tournament Rimrock Auto Arena Big Sky Holiday Gift & Craft Show Montana Pavilion

December 13-15 Amahl and the Night Visitors NOVA

December 14 Warren Miller’s Ticket to Ride Alberta Bair Theater

December 14-15 Christmas with the Chorale Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale St. Patrick Co-Cathedral

December 15 Al Bedoo Shrine Chanters Holiday Concert Alberta Bair Theater

December 19 A Christmas Carol Alberta Bair Theater A Pryor Mountain Christmas Music by Almeda Bradshaw & Special Guests Western Heritage Center

December 20-21 Candlelight Tours at the Moss Moss Mansion

December 21

New Year’s Eve Bash! Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale Prescott Hall at Rocky Mountain College Rockin’ the Rims New Year’s Eve Downtown Skypoint MACK Productions

JANUary January 5 Cirque Ziza Babcock Theater

January 9 Paige in Full Alberta Bair Theater

January 10 Twelfth Night Billings Food Bank

January 10-12 The Great Rockies Sport Show Expo Center Dead Man’s Cell Phone NOVA

January 15 We’re Going on a Bear Hunt Alberta Bair Theater

January 17 Blues Brothers Revue Alberta Bair Theater

Chase Hawks Rodeo Rimrock Auto Arena

Paint ‘n’ Sip Yellowstone Art Museum

December 22

January 17-19

Holiday Concert First United Church of Christ

December 31 John Mueller’s ‘50s Dance Party Alberta Bair Theater

Dead Man’s Cell Phone NOVA

January 18 Mixed Media Collage Yellowstone Art Museum


Moss Mansion Candlelight Tours Deccembr 13, 20 & 21 Magic abounds at the Moss Mansion with 17 beautifully decorated trees, the Moss family’s original Christmas dÊcor and a chance for guests to see the decorations sparkle at night. Attend the annual Holiday Party or one of the popular Candlelight Tours.

FEBRUARY February 1 Bead Embellishment Class Yellowstone Art Museum Family Life Expo Montana Pavilion

February 5 Hello Dolly! Alberta Bair Theater

February 8 Billings Symphony Piano Romance Alberta Bair Theater Dress for Success: Sweet Success Yellowstone Country Club

February 11 January 19 The Fantasticks Alberta Bair Theater New Year Concert Yellowstone Chamber Players St. Patrick Co-Cathedral yellowstonechamberplayers. org

January 21 Music of the Sun Alberta Bair Theater

January 22 Music of the Sun: ETHEL Quartet with Robert Mirabal Alberta Bair Theater

January 24 Fam at the YAM Yellowstone Art Museum

January 25 Flat Stanley and the Symphony with Tim Marrone Alberta Bair Theater

January 27 Aladdin and Other Enchanting Tales Alberta Bair Theater

January 28 Ballroom with a Twist Alberta Bair Theater


The Miracle Worker Alberta Bair Theater

February 14-15 All Class State High School Wrestling Rimrock Auto Arena

February 15 International Guitar Night Alberta Bair Theater

February 16 The Band Perry in Concert Rimrock Auto Arena

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Christmas in the City Silver bells and cheerful holiday shoppers—a timeless Billings tradition

“Strings of street lights Even stop lights Blink in bright red and green As the shoppers rush home with their treasures. Hear the snow crunch See the kids bunch This is Santa’s big scene And above all this bustle You’ll hear…”

From all of us at Magic City Magazine,may your holidays be Merry and Bright! Hart-Albin store, Stapleton building, circa 1913, corner of North Broadway and First Avenue North.   Courtesy Western Heritage Center



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Holiday 2013  

Do You Believe in Miracles? 3 Amazing stories; Forget New Year's Resolutions: Train your brain for change; Holiday Hotties: Stay warm with t...