Page 1

Celebrate the Holidays Montana-Style

P lus

The Year’s Most Inspiring People

Savor the Season 3 Local Chefs Share

Are You Ready for Some Football? NFL Fans Square Off

Coming Home: For three young veterans, life has forever changed. MAGIC I holiday 2012 I 1

We found our answers at Billings Clinic. Hear our stories. When you don’t know what’s wrong, it’s hard to know where to look.

Where it all comes together.

But what if there was a place called Answers? A place where you and your physician worked with teams of specialists, in one organization, with all the resources they need to find answers where no one else could. A place where reality is just as powerful as hope. There is. Billings Clinic.




Ana and Triplets


Visit for patient stories and more.



1730 GRAND, BILLINGS 4 I holiday 2012 I MAGIC

Happy Holidays


60 The Big Wish 65 The Long Road Home Sweet Faces, Toasty Toes 72 Fowl Play 76

Instilling hope one child at a time

By Dan Carter

For three young veterans, life has forever changed

By Allyn Hulteng

All about Alpacas

By Jim Gransbery

Curious turkey tidbits and the history of Thanksgiving’s famed bird

By Brittany Cremer



80 84 88 95

On the Cover Celebrate the Holidays Montana-Style

P lus

The Year’s Most Inspiring People

Savor the Season 3 Local Chefs Share

Are You Ready for Some Football? NFL Fans Square Off

Coming Home: For three young veterans, life has forever changed.

Photography by Makrofoto Pheasant in snow by David Grubbs

Best Face Forward

Procedures to keep you fresh and youthful By Allyson Gierke

The Evolution of the Christmas Card By Gail Mullennax Hein

Pigskin Nation

Why fans love their teams By Brenda Maas

Most Inspiring People of 2012 By Allyn Hulteng and Brenda Maas

MAGIC I holiday 2012 I 5



The List Our annual holiday gift guide.................................................................10 Giving Back Optimist Club’s Youth Camp...................................................16 Person of Interest The Grinch.........................................................................18 Artists Loft Carol Spielman................................................................................... 20 Elements for Him Boy Toys ......................................................................... 22 Elements for Her Boot Legging................................................................... 24 Media Room Books, Movies, Music & Web Reviews ............... 26




Fine Living


Great Estates A Christmas Story........................................................ 28 Epicure Savor the Season................................................................................... 35 Libations Pretty in Pink ...................................................................................... 44 28

Montana Perspectives

Legends The Legendary Winter of 1886-87................................. 46 Photo Journal Call of Duty....................................................................... 50 I’m Just Sayin’ The E-I-E-I-O Christmas.................................... 52 55

Travelogue Beyond Billings

Deck the Towns ­­: Christmas celebrations across the Big Sky........................


In every issue

Editor’s Letter ..........................................................................................................................................8 Contributors .............................................................................................................................................9 Seen at the Scene ................................................................................................................106 Datebook Your Calendar of Events..........................................................................111 Last Word ............................................................................................................................................114

6 I holiday 2012 I MAGIC

Why Magic City? 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 2012


Michael Gulledge

Publisher 657-1225


Allyn Hulteng Editor 657-1434 Bob Tambo Creative Director 657-1474 Brittany Cremer Senior Editor 657-1390 Brenda Maas Assistant Editor 657-1490 Evelyn Noennig Assistant Editor 657-1226

still local.

now mobile.

Larry Mayer, James Woodcock, Casey Page, Bob Zellar, Paul Ruhter Photographers Advertising

Dave Worstell Sales & Marketing Director 657-1352 Ryan Brosseau Classified & Online Manager 657-1340 Shelli Rae Scott Sales Manager 657-1202 Linsay Duty Advertising Coordinator 657-1254 Mo Lucas Production/Traffic Artist 657-1286 MAGIC Advisory Board

Jim Duncan, Brian M. Johnson, Denice Johnson, Nicki Larson, Susan Riplett, Nancy Rupert

Contact us: Mail: 401 N. Broadway Billings, MT 59101 Find us online at Find us at various rack locations throughout Billings: Including area Albertson’s, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, City Brew, Hastings Books, Music & Video, Holiday Station stores and Gainan’s. 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© 2012 Magic City Magazine All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without express written consent is prohibited.


Introducing Mobile Banking from First Interstate Bank.

MAGIC I holiday 2012 I 7

Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.


this issue

The Ultimate Gift One of the things I appreciate most about being a writer is meeting new people who are willing to share a personal story. With this opportunity comes responsibility. People trust writers to take something private and bring it public in an honest and respectful manner. It’s a duty I take to heart. Sometimes in the process of putting together an editorial package, I hear a story so profound that it leaves an enduring mark on my soul. Such is the case with the feature inside this issue on young Montana veterans.

Band of brothers and sisters The idea for this story took root more than a year ago. While researching another project, I learned that Montana has a higher number of veterans per capita than almost any other state. This includes a significant number of young people who, over the last decade, have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. I couldn’t help but wonder what compelled these men and women to leave everything that was secure and comfortable and travel halfway around the globe risking their lives in service to their country?

Nothing prepared me for what I was about to become privy to.

Selflessness in service Inside this issue you’ll meet three young veterans who agreed to share their stories. Each spoke candidly about their desire to serve, and offered a glimpse into the day-to-day reality of their military experience. While their service was exemplary, the story of what they had to overcome after they returned and who they are as a result is nothing short of extraordinary. The fact that each of these young people is now pursuing work which will serve humanity speaks to their remarkable character.

A higher calling This holiday season, as I give thanks for the many blessings that have been bestowed upon our nation, I offer a special message of gratitude to those who have sacrificed so that we might enjoy a life of peace and abundance. May your actions inspire us all to be more selfless, embracing humility, compassion and faith.

Allyn Hulteng

From all of us at Magic City Magazine, may the season bring you good health, time with those you love and leave peace at your door and in your heart. 8 I holiday 2012 I MAGIC


Dan Carter

Born and raised in the Gallatin Valley, and found his journalistic roots at the University of Montana. After graduating, he worked at weekly and small daily papers in Montana and Oregon before returning to Billings.  He worked at The Billings Gazette for 14 years and now works in government relations and publications at MSU Billings.

Karen Kinser While loving the wizardry of words, Karen also loves 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, photographing and entering recipe contests.

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. 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 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.

Tim Lehman is Professor of History at Rocky Mountain College where he teaches a wide variety of courses in American, Western and Environmental History. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is the author of Bloodshed at Little Bighorn: Sitting Bull, Custer, and the Destinies of Nations.  He can be reached at by GAINAN’S

Gail Mullennax Hein entered college in mid-life, graduating in 1990 from Eastern Montana College, now MSUB, in the same class as her son. She learned to read at the age of 4, sitting on her grandfather’s lap as he scratched the alphabet on frosty window panes. She has been in love with words ever since. In addition to volunteering with Rimrock Opera, she travels, writes, edits and delights in reading.



MAGIC I september 2012 I 9

Built Kid Tough. New! Summer Carnival 1875K-35

Wilsonart® HD® High Definition™ Countertops The new Wilsonart Carnival designs feature large-scale structure, dramatic movement with mixed coloration like that found in natural granite 130 Riverside Rd | Billings, MT 59101 406.245.6770 | Wholesale To Trade /FabSupply

visit the following retail showrooms ProBuild 542 Main St | Billings | 406.252.9395 Cabinet Works 2495 Enterprise Ave | Billings | 406.655.8955 Kitchens Plus 1010 S 29th St W | Billings | 406.652.5772 Summer Carnival scaled to show full size pattern of laminate sheet. Size shown is 5' x 8'. 10 I holiday 2012 I MAGIC

Appliance & Cabinet Center 2950 King AveW, #2| Billings | 406.656.9168


Fun, fascinating finds, perfect for giving this season

Beautiful Bundles

Stay snug as a bug with these dazzling duos. The women’s North Face® zip-in shell is great for layering or just on own its own. With 100 percent goose down insulation and a polyester shell, Ol’ Man Winter can go blow. Add the Peruvian scarf and become a walking piece of art. These limited edition pieces are created by women’s groups in Peru, a true treasure from the Andes by Little Journeys Hand Knits. Guys, you don’t want it too heavy, so try this Northface Polartec® classic micro pullover on for size. Warm yet lightweight and breathable, it washes up wear after wear. Top it off with a handmade-fleece-lined wool cap by Everest Designs. Created by women’s knitting cooperatives in Nepal, this warm wow-factor is sure to be soft and itch-free. All at Base Camp Women’s jacket - $180 & scarf – $80 Men’s pull-over - $65 & hat - $29

Lose your marbles

Toys are not just for kids. This versatile marble machine by Quadrilla is popular with ages 4-99. No lie! Made from inter-changeable wood blocks and rails, the machines you build are limited only by your creativity. Let ‘em roll!

Hit the Shower!

Well, maybe the tub would be better. Pamper yourself at home with this “Spa in a Box” from Aveda. The set includes hand relief, replenishing body moisturizer, smoothing aqua therapy and smoothing body polish.

Joy of Kids - $150 Sanctuary Spa & Salon - $49

MAGIC I holiday 2012 I 11

Get your game on

Even if you can’t get to the game, act like it! No matter who you cheer for, your team colors are out there to be had. Scheel’s – various prices

Rock on, baby

This is how music was intended to be heard. Fresh Beats headphones; overstuffed leather ear cups pivot to deliver comfortable, distractionfree experience that naturally cancels outside noise. - $400

Crystal Tree Kit from Home Science Tools Who knew that learning science could be so pretty? Have your kids set up their own tree, add a bit of water and read the enclosed instructions to learn about evaporation and crystallization. All they need are the lights.

Home Science Tools - $5

Liquid Lambs’ Wool for your Skin

Soak your body in this all-natural skincare line from Marcha Labs, hand-crafted in Terry, Mont. and formulated with a unique balance of lanolin, emollients and emulsifying agents. Select original, unscented and huckleberry fragrances, always nourishing and never greasy. Call 1-877-966-5929 (1-877-WOOLWAX) for availability in your area and for individual pricing. Bulk shipments also available.

12 I holiday 2012 I MAGIC

Smells like Christmas

Nothing replaces the smell of a real Christmas tree—but this Frasier fir diffuser set by Thymes is a close second! With an attractive pine cone holder, the woody fragrance will outlast your holidays. Gainan’s - $61


My Favorite Mug

…and likely Santa’s, too. This 19-ounce, ceramic mug is too pretty to save just for the holidays, so use it all winter long. By Cypress Home, it travels well and is microwave- and dishwasher-safe. Personalize it with washable markers.

a LIST with RAFT. H IS W R E WATCHC ur LA M Start yo kind watch from gs and Santa hin one-of-a f your favorite t what you want. t. tly eo Add mor to give you exac order off your lis d d a l n g a will be e shop en call th ! v e n a c e H oo wrap it t WOMEN'S CLOTHING We'll gift TM

The Joy of Living - $16 for mug and $3 for markers

Seasonal hand warmers by dci


These cuties are reusable up to 100 times and last about 60 minutes per use. To activate first time, boil then microwave to re-use. ‘Smore is good! The Joy of Living - $4 each

Tuckered out

Santa won’t forget man’s best friend. And your pooch is sure to love this high-quality bed from West Paw Design so much that he’ll fake sleep just to stay snuggled up. Made right here in Montana, its 100 percent recycled IntelliLoff® poly fill gives added volume and resists flattening. The entire bed is machine washable to keep Fido clean and Momma happy. Lovable Pets $115-199 (medium to extra-large)

Local Literary Find

600 Hours of Edward By local novelist Craig Lancaster Step into the curious world of Edward Stanton, a middle-aged man whose mental illness has led him to be sequestered in a small house in a small city where he keeps his distance from the outside world. For the most part, Edward sticks to things he can count on … and things he can count. But over the course of 25 days (or 600 hours, as Edward prefers to look at it) several events puncture the walls Edward has built around himself.



Barnes and Noble $14

MAGIC I holiday 2012 I 13

Bucolic Beauty

Scent-Sational Candles

Made from 100 percent palm wax, Mia Bella candles burn completely clean with virtually no soot. This formulation also creates a longer-lasting, more fragrant burn. Envelop your home in one of Mia Bella’s signature holiday scents or, for a full-on sensorial feast, try burning one of their Cinnamon Bella Buns—good enough to eat.

Adorn your neck and ears with these rustically-inspired pieces by Coolwater Jewlery, handmade in Montana. The perfect gift for an out-of-state friend with Montana in their heart. Neecee’s

Mia Bella $8.95 each

Cherish Coin Necklace $40 Antique Safety Pin Earings $30

Spritely Delight

Add some ROY-GBIV to any holiday ensemble with this rainbow-inspired leather purse and matching glove set by MyWalit. Maybe a “To Mom, From Mom” gift? Neecee’s purse $260 gloves $107

Name it!

Personalize your smartphone or tablet with a cover from Dabney Lee. Add a colorful twist and get noticed in a crowd. Apricot Lane Boutique $56 (phone) & $80 (tablet)

With Love, from the Andes

Want the ultimate in warmth for your tooties? These Montana-made alpaca slippers are hand knitted then felted for amazing cushion and comfort on your feet. Made from 100% Montana alpaca fiber, they are soft and warm and hypo-allergenic alpaca. Alpacas of Montana - $68

14 I holiday 2012 I MAGIC

Chocolate Diamonds




Diamonds and Fine Jewelry         

MAGIC I holiday 2012 I 15

By Nikki Schaubel • Photography by Bob Zellar

Optimist Club’s Beartooth Mountain Youth Camp 47 years of helping special needs kids

The Christmas tree lot—a merry menagerie of evergreens and perma-grins. Purchasing the perfect tree at an Optimist Club lot is a time-honored tradition for several local families. And in between selecting the right tree and strapping it to the roof of your car, something magical happens. Proceeds from tree sales go toward funding a very special program organized by the Optimist Club—the Beartooth Mountain Youth Camp for special needs kids. Started in 1965 and located just outside of Red Lodge, the Beartooth Mountain Youth Camp provides enrichment and activities for special needs children ages 8 to 21. Camp Director Alan Nivens says proudly, “From ADD to the most severe condition and no matter where they live, if the family can complete the application and get their kids to Billings, they can go.” It’s a can’t-miss camp for several local teens, including Will and Tom Moody. Both teens are affected by Jacobsen Syndrome, a condition caused by the loss of genetic material to chromosome 11. Suzanne Moody, the boys’ mom, says the camp is the highlight of their year. “They can’t stop talking about Optimist Camp,” she said. “They’re already counting down for next year.” Summer camp can be the only respite for parents of a special needs child, Nivens said. Volunteers play a huge part in the camp’s success. In addition to the camp cook, five camp counselors, two registered nurses on staff, a bus driver and 25-35 high school and college students volunteer their time to help out. The camp is chock-full of fun and enriching activities, including a carnival night and family night. “It’s a wonderful atmosphere,” smiles Moody. Camp Coordinator Shawn Ashcraft and the volunteers “make the kids feel like they can do anything – there are no boundaries,” she added. One of the most amazing things about the camp is the fact that all participants attend for free. “We ask for a $50 donation, but that has no bearing on whether or not the child can go,” Nivens said. All told, it costs about $15,000 to put on this one-week camp each year. The Magic City Optimist Club and the Breakfast Optimist Club generously donate the proceeds from their Christmas tree sales each year to fund the camp. There is no advertising for the camp. Instead, all

Will, Suzanne, Bill and Tom Moody (L-R) pause for a picture at basketball practice.

funds are reserved to directly benefit the kids. “One of the problems we have had is getting the word out,” Nivens said. “From donors to volunteers to campers, it’s all word-of-mouth.” Campers and volunteers alike return year after year. “That’s why I really love Optimist camp,” said Moody, “the kids make friends for life.”

Buy a Tree, Lend a Hand

Optimist Christmas tree lots will be located at West

Park Plaza and the West End Walmart. Proceeds from tree sales go directly to the Optimist’s Beartooth Mountain Youth Camp for special needs children.

For more information on the Optimist Special

Children’s Camp, or to find a camper or volunteer application, visit To make a donation for the Optimist Special Children’s Camp, contact Shawn Ashcraft at or make a pledge online at www.

The Magic City Optimist Club meets every Tuesday at noon

at Golden Corral Buffet. The Breakfast Optimist Club meets every

16 I holiday 2012 I MAGIC

Friday at 6:40 a.m. at McCormick Café. Everyone is welcome.

Happy Holidays! Sali Armstrong 698-2520

Victoria BrauerKonitz 855-2856

Cheryl Burows 698-7423

Maya Burton 591-0106

Pat Chilton 598-2158

Phil Cox 670-4782

Lance Egan 698-0008

Myles Egan 855-0008

CC Egeland 690-1843

Daren Forsberg 855-9398

Karen Frank 698-0152

Darwin George 794-4663

Rhonda Grimm 661-7186

Barb Haws 860-8198

Blair Johnson 697-2608

Larry Larsen 672-7884

Sheila Larsen 672-1130

Susan B. Lovely 698-1601

Kelly Metcalf 671-8163

Gina Moore 545-9036

Ryan Moore 855-4090

Ginger Nelson 697-4667

Jase Norsworthy 690-8480

Cal Northam 696-1606

Mimi Parkes 698-6980

Dan Patterson 321-4182

Stephanie Patterson 321-0759

Randy Peers 670-1703

Jeanne Peterson 661-3941

Gregory Propp 647-5858

Martha Ridgway 208-4658

Pat Schindele 591-2551

Judy Shelhamer 850-3623

Kerri Smith 690-9061

John Tampazopoulos 697-8454

Ron Thom 860-1284

Linda Wedel 855-6540

Ed Workman 690-0567

Judy Workman 690-2135

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© 2012 BRER Affiliates Inc. An independently owned and operated broker member of BRER Affiliates Inc. Prudential, the Prudential logo and the Rock symbol are registered service marks of Prudential Financial, Inc. and its related entities, registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Used under license with no other affiliation with Prudential. Equal Housing Opportunity.

Uniting Buyers & Sellers Since 1959 406-254-1550 | 1550 Poly Drive, Billings, MT 59102 |

MAGIC I holiday 2012 I 17

Interview by Brittany Cremer

The Grinch:

The holiday’s favorite hooligan Pipe cleaner fingers that once plotted and stewed, Now string up lights with a new attitude. “The Whos up in Whooville were a curious lot— They taught me that Christmas is far from store-bought.” And so he travels from state to state, Spreading holiday cheer, setting everyone straight. “Billings,” he said “is a magical place.” “It’s full of wonderment, hope, love and grace.” Without further ado, I present my new friend Mr.Alowishus Grinch—at least that’s what he penned.

They say you’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch, that you really are a heel—is this true, or would you like to set the record straight?

I’m reformed, rehabbed, rehabilitated….I even attend downtown Billings’ Christmas Stroll to spread holiday cheer (and a few germs). Stealing kisses or stealing Christmas, which is better?

Christmas, I don’t have to steal kisses…Have you seen these lips? How do you take your roast beast? Medium? Medium rare?

The Grinch takes part in the Holiday Parade in downtown Billings. Photo courtesy of the Downtown Billings Association.

Beast tartare…I have a little class. Fruitcake…a festive holiday gift or dump it to Mount

If there was some mistletoe hanging over your head, who would


you like to smooch?

I’m offended by that term. I demand a retraction immediately!

Maybe someone interviewing me...(wink, wink).

We don’t think “stink,” “stank” and “stunk” describe you

You’ve said “Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store.

very well, since you’re reformed. What three words would

Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!” Can you

you use?

please elaborate?

Unstinky, unstanky, unstunky. Who does your hair?

Edward Scissorhands, we go way back. What Hollywood movie star would play you in real life?

Let me think…Jim Carrey. No, that’s a horrible idea, it would NEVER work….Brad Pitt, of course.

18 I holiday 2012 I MAGIC

Gift cards are great, fruitcake goes spoiled. The best gift you give is over something you’ve toiled. It’s not just the thought, it’s of who you are thinking. Give them a gift, unless it is stinking!

Happy Holidays, hugs and banana peel kisses, The Grinch

the perfect gift!

“Best Men’s Store”

2012 Readers’ Choice Voting Come see why we are a 7-time winner

Mon. - FRi. 9 - 05:30 • Sat. 10 - 5 • 2819 2ND AVE. N. • 245-4612 • 1-877-834-0732

MAGIC I holiday 2012 I 19

By Anna Paige • Photography by James Woodcock

Carol Spielman: Creativity, color and community

The walls of Carol Spielman’s childhood bedroom weren’t plastered with posters of teen heartthrobs and movie stars. Instead, she pinned the art of Matisse, Rauschenberg, Picasso and The Fauves. Spielman grew up on Orcas Island, the largest of Washington’s San Juan Islands. Though the island was rural, the location cultivated creativity. Spielman recalls residents growing their food, working with leather, crafting jewelry and painting watercolors to sell during tourist season. Spielman’s penchant for art was cultivated by her great aunt, a modern artist living in Seattle. She would take Spielman to contemporary art exhibits and encourage her to analyze art, its textures, layers and the varying degrees of color – even within a seemingly stark, white Rauschenberg. After such outings, Spielman would return home with a poster of her favorite artist to put on her wall. Spielman, who now lives in Billings, has developed an unmistakable, uniquely western style. Her elongated horses, created by layers of acrylics and washed and scraped numerous times, have a personality derived from childhood. While living on Orcas Island, “I want the viewer Spielman was captivated to figure out what by horses and would ride bareback along the beach. my images are ... It’s Her love of horses transambiguous in a way, lates into her majestic pieces, full of evocative colpaired down to the ors and rich textures. essence of what you Her background in modern art also makes see—shapes and an appearance through color.” techniques of minimalism, where she’ll strip the subject down to its essence, embodying the object with overlapping layers of paint and texture. Spielman left Orcas Island to attend the University of Washington. She began taking art classes, but it would be another 20 years before she finished her degree. Spielman’s life diverged from college into the fashion world, where she worked her way from gift box assembly to becoming a buyer for Seattle-based Nordstrom department store.

20 I holiday 2012 I MAGIC

Carol Spielman working at the YAM as Artist in Residence.

While buying for Nordstroms in Utah, Spielman met her future husband Jim, a ski instructor. Their path ultimately led to Billings where Jim and his business partner started a successful equipment manufacturing company. Twenty three years later, the couple and their two daughters consider Billings their home. “Here you go to the grocery store and you know people,” Spielman said. “I grew up that way, so for me it fits. I don’t want to be in a big city where you’re an unknown entity; I like the interaction.” It wasn’t until Spielman’s children were grown and off to college that she ventured back to finish her degree. She obtained her Bachelors of Fine Arts from Montana State University Billings. During her schooling, she poured bronze, painted, worked with melting glass, photography, silkscreen, prints, welded and toyed with ceramics. “It’s under the radar how great MSUB’s art program is,” Spielman said.

A minimalist approach Spielman’s horses are well known around Billings, yet her portfolio is full of images of the west: cowboys riding in a line, animals in the wild, farmers in the field.


what you see—shapes and color.” She’s also heavily influenced by art of the 1950s, when bright colors reigned supreme. 1.

Artist in residence Spielman is currently an Artist in Residence at the Yellowstone Art Museum. Her residency initially spanned six months, from July through December, but she was asked to stay through March and agreed. “It’s gone by so fast,” Spielman said. “I’m glad to stay longer.” During her time at the YAM, Spielman is available (for the most part) during the museum’s business hours. She works closely with the educational department, teaching students in primary grades through high school the joys of painting. She also taught an art class at Crow Agency. “In Billings there’s a wealth of people from all over. I meet so many interesting people. I find their insights and thoughts fascinating.”




The rich colors and thick textures of Spielman’s work are reminiscent of oil paintings, yet she’s strictly an acrylic painter. Perhaps by default, because when she was in college the classroom didn’t have proper ventilation, so oils were out of the equation. Spielman makes acrylics her own, transforming her subjects into primitive forms, similar to pictographs. “I want the viewer to figure out what my images are,” Spielman said. “It’s ambiguous in a way, paired down to the essence of

Giving back Spielman believes in philanthropy. Each year she donates numerous paintings to different charities to help raise money for worthy causes. “I love doing it, and the rewards are huge. I’m thrilled that someone wants to buy my work, and that money can go toward a good cause.” In 2012, Spielman donated 14 paintings. Teaching is another way Spielman gives back. “Children are really open. It’s fun to get their insights, reactions, energy and spirit; it’s contagious. I’m a messy painter, so I like to get them making a mess. Art is a great way to express yourself, and the horse is such a beloved animal.” Find Carol Spielman’s art at Toucan Gallery (2505 Montana Ave.), Visions West Galleries (Bozeman, Livingston, Denver), Dana Gallery (Missoula), RARE Gallery of Fine Art (Jackson Hole), Terzian Galleries (Park City, Utah), Coda Gallery (Palm Dessert, Calif., Park City, Utah). Or visit her online at 1] Lone Wolf 2] Twig Eater 3] Long Day in the Saddle 4] The Fall Gather 5] Underneath a Big Blue Sky

MAGIC I holiday 2012 I 21

By Brenda Maas

Get in Gear

Boy Toys Manly items for cold-weather trekking.

Nothing says “Man” like a machine. Try this bad boy on for size. Relatively new on the market, UTVs (utility terrain vehicles) work like a dog, pull like an ox and can carry an elk. The Polaris Ranger Crew® transports six and can pull up to one ton with its 4-stroke, 2-cylinder, 40 h.p. engine. The on-demand AWD maximizes traction when you need it. Additional accessories include plow and cab cover. Is the weekend here yet? Yellowstone Polaris $12,499 msrp

Call Off the Search

Hartt Working Duds Bring on the cold, because the name says it all. If you are wearing these Carhartt bibs and jacket you won’t even notice. The lined jacket is extra-long for sure coverage with a warm corduroy color and optional hood. The jacket includes front hand-warmer pockets, so you can leave the gloves at home. Does the word “duck” mean anything? Made of 12-ounce, 100 percent ring-spun cotton duck, these Carhartt quilted bibs can be worn with or without the jacket, depending on the elements. With ankle-to-thigh side zippers and wind flaps, men love being able to take these bibs on and off without removing their boots. Shipton’s Big R Bibs $119 Jacket $130

22 I holiday 2012 I MAGIC

This is the last knife you will ever need. As per the U.S. military, this Leatherman® is truly one-hand operable. From two types of pliers, to wirecutters, to various screwdrivers, to can-opener, the only thing missing is the kitchen sink. Cabela’s $70

Move Over This commercial-grade, lightweight shovel makes clearing the driveway a snap. It’s called The Snowplow for a reason and is available in widths from 24-48 inches. Time to go big or go home. King’s ACE Hardware $50-75

Shades, Please! That snow creates a nasty glare. Cut it down with these polarized sunglasses by made from a combination of titanium and Grilamind® for maximum impact resistance. The ArmourSight® lenses deliver up to 20% enhanced vision edge to edge and are 10 times strong than ordinary polycarbonate lenses. Special coating repels moisture and resists scratches, smudges and stains and block 100% of UVA, UVB and UBC rays. Scheels $80-95

Keep Kicking These Keen Wenatchee mid-high boots will work as hard as you do. With serious support and flexibility, these boots will are true industrial strength for your inner weekend warrior. Shipton’s Big R $200

Don’t Forget the Joe Keep your coffee hot while you are out and about with the stainless steel beverage bottle by Thermos®. With a double wall vacuum insulation for maximum temperature retention and twist-and-pour stopper that lets you pour cleanly, you are sure to use this big guy again and again. It even comes with your own serving mug. Billings Hardware $23

Fire Up Time to get that fire started— and keep it going—with Pine Mountain Firelogs. Whether you are looking for a cozy fire to warm the hearth or big flames in the pit outside, firelogs start quickly and burn cleanly for at least three hours. King’s ACE Hardware $30 for 6 pack


ay s y o J e h t ll a n o s a e S e of th rs. be You

Pella window & door showroom

2520 Grand ave. Billings 406-656-1516 • 800-727-3552

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By Brittany Cremer• Photography by Casey Page

Boot legging Kick it into high gear and outfit yourself with the season’s hottest styles. Cowgirl couture, elegant equestrian and western chic—it’s time to give yourself the boot.

Frisco Kid— The Duke has nothing on these boots by Kelsi Dagger. Classic cowboy cut and chocolate suede enmesh to give this pair a contemporary vibe. Cricket $149

Buckskin Beauty— Saddle up to these knee-high boots by Naturalizer. Hand-finished leather is soft to the touch with convenient side zipper for easy on/ easy off. Neecee’s $200

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Colonial Kicks— Reminiscent of the shoes worn by women in the Old West, these stud-embellished boots by Dansko combine comfort and fanciful flair. Neecee’s $210

Paisley on Parade –

Ankle Accentuation— Don’t let your calves have all the fun. Slip on a pair of these sweet ankle booties by Kelsi Dagger, accented with side tassel and distressed toe. Cricket $129

A colorful feast, these snow boots by Desigual feature a spritely purple lining that can be folded down for an extra look. Neecee’s $180

Check ‘er Out— The whimsical checkered pattern hints to even more graphic fun on the sole of these boots by Tuin Haul Co. Shipton’s Big R $300

Glamazon Cowgirl— Fly away in this pair of pink-winged, hand-stitched boots by Corral. Embellished with real Swarovski crystals, these boots really shine. Shipton’s Big R $290

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By Brittany Cremer


Proof of Heaven:

A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife

“A Very She & Him Christmas” She’s quirky. She’s charming and incidentally, has a singing voice to match it all. Zooey Deschanel is known more as an actress than songstress, but this holiday album affirms her singing chops. Her tone carries a curious lilt, echoing crooner music of the ‘50s, and her tone is truly unique. Don’t be surprised if her rendition of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” sounds familiar—it appeared in Disney’s “The Elf.” DVD

“Steve Martin—The Television Stuff”

Thousands of people have had near-death experiences, but scientists have argued that their visions, while seemingly real, are actually manifestations of misfiring neurons in the brain. Dr. Eben Alexander was one of those scientists. A highly-trained neurosurgeon, Dr. Alexander’s own brain was attacked by a rare illness. The part of the brain that controls thought and emotion—and in essence makes us human—shut down completely. For seven days he lay in a coma. Then, as his doctors considered stopping treatment, Alexander’s eyes popped open. He had come back. Alexander’s recovery is a medical miracle. But the real miracle of his story lies elsewhere. While his body lay in coma, Alexander journeyed beyond this world and encountered an angelic being who guided him into the deepest realms of superphysical existence. There he met, and spoke with, the Divine source of the universe itself. Alexander’s story is not a fantasy. Before he underwent his journey, he could not reconcile his knowledge of neuroscience with any belief in heaven, God, or the soul. Today Alexander is a doctor who believes that true health can be achieved only when we realize that God and the soul are real and that death is not the end of personal existence but only a transition. This story would be remarkable no matter who it happened to. That it happened to such a renowned and well-respected neuroscientist makes it revolutionary. No scientist or person of faith will be able to ignore it. Reading it will change your life.

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He’s one half wild and crazy guy, the other half dirty rotten scoundrel. Steve Martin has been making us laugh for more than four decades, but until now his body of work on television has been largely unavailable on DVD. That all changes here. This three-disc box unleashes laughter with six of his early comedy specials, stand-up acts and clips from his 15 Saturday Night Live hosting gigs. The collector’s item (a great holiday gift) features guest appearances from Dan Aykroyd, Lauren Hutton, John Belushi, Johnny Cash and more. WEB ED

App-ShopSavvy Whether scoping out incredible deals during Black Friday or comparing prices on your grocery list, the New Age shopper needs this app. Simply scan the barcode of the item in question (or do a keyword search) and the app will run an instant price check, letting you know where you can find it for less. Goodbye overspending. Hello pocket full of dollars!

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All About You Full Service SAlon 1505 rehberg lAne 406-655-4255 Hours: Monday–Friday 9–6, saturday 9–3, closed sundays


117 N. 25th St. • 252-5686 • Billings 102 S. Broadway Ave. • 446-1906 • Red Lodge

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Poet Street Market DELICIOUS SOUPS

Change Your Life with Better Hearing NEW


905 Poly Drive

Billings, Montana


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Invisible Hearing Aids Digital Hearing Aids, Open Ear Hearing Aids in all price ranges.

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111 S. 24th St. W Billings • 656-2003 Rimrock Mini Mall across from Rimrock Mall & K-Mart Convenient parking next to office door

We are pleased to have installed the HVAC system in the beautiful Ballard home! Specializing in Sales, Service & Installation of Furnaces, Air Conditioners, Fireplaces, Humidifiers, Garage Heaters, Zone Systems, & More!

(406) 656-5157 • MAGIC I holiday 2012 I 27


great estates

A Christmas She was working at a fitness club. He had recently retired from his baseball career

with the Orioles and enjoyed working out. Both of them loved Christmas – she collected

snowmen and he, Santa Clauses. Family was a big part of both of their lives. It didn’t take them long until they were sure they belonged together. And from the moment you step into their home, you’re sure they were right.

By Julie Green • Photography by James Woodcock

Flagstone and siding adorn the Ballard’s multi-level home with views from all sides of the house. Multiple windows look out from the patio area.

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great estates

When Jeff and Kristen Ballard began looking for a new house four years ago, they had a checklist of things they were hoping to find. An open floor plan with room for entertaining, space for the family they hoped to someday have and space for their extended families when they came to visit. They found all that—and much more—when they toured the home they’d eventually buy on the city’s West End. “The minute we walked into this house, we could envision family gatherings here,” said Jeff. “We knew there were more bedrooms than we would fill, but we like having people stay with us. Then we saw the view, and we decided to buy.” Four years later, the couple is busy raising their two children, toddler Kyren and baby Kennley. The parties with friends and family they’d envisioned happen frequently—and none are more memorable than those during the holidays. With its tall ceilings, arched doorways, gleaming Brazilian cherry floors,

The upstairs living room is a favorite family gathering spot all year long, and especially around the holidays. The nine-foot tree is one that the Ballards decorate together and includes ornaments Kristen made herself, those commemorating special holidays (like Kyren’s first Christmas) and others that the couple has collected. Underneath it runs a miniature Polar Express train, paying homage to one of the family’s favorite stories.

In the dining room, the table is set in anticipation of a holiday feast. The whimsical snowman dishes were a Christmas gift to Kristen.

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e Landscap v i t a Cre & Constru e n ctio g i s n De Innovation Integrity Excellence Spring Creek Landscape Co. 5721 Central Ave. Billings, MT 59106 406-652-5337

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

Gleaming nutcrackers stand guard in the windows in the sunny breakfast nook. “We originally planned on putting them outdoors,” Jeff said, “but we were concerned that the wind might knock them down and break them. We set them up here on a whim and really liked how they looked.” Kristen created several of the eight wreaths hanging on doors and windows throughout the house like the one shown here.

Free Estimates! 10056 South Frontage Rd. Billings, MT 59101 (406) 656-3613 MAGIC I holiday 2012 I 31


great estates

A Santa Claus collection is displayed in one of the lit nooks in the dining room. The other holds a similar collection of snowmen. A brightly-lit landing is decorated with pine boughs and one of the oversized decorations the Ballards have collected. Jeff and Kristen selected a red, green and gold palette for the holiday décor in their master bedroom. Pine boughs, candles and Santa Clauses come together create a classic Christmas look.

display niches and expansive windows, the Ballard home creates the perfect Christmas backdrop. Each room has its own tree—a total of seven in all, ranging in size from three- to nine-feet tall. “Jeff gets the trees up the stairs, and I decorate most of them,” Kristen said. “Some of my favorite memories are sitting with my mom, pulling ornaments out of the boxes and putting them on the tree.” As Kristen focuses on the trees inside, Jeff takes over the exterior decorating duties, setting up a host of inflatables, wrapping posts and installing lighting on the elms and pines surrounding the house. He starts his efforts in early November, always aiming to have everything complete by Thanksgiving. Then it’s back inside, where he helps add the final touches to the tops of cabinets, tables and mantles. Of all of the decorations in the Ballards’ home, however, the most precious are the ones hanging on the wall all year round. From Jeff and Kristen’s wedding day to the baby pictures of Kyren and Kennley, they are the photos that tell this family’s story—a story that will continue to be told for many Christmases to come.

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The Ballards transformed a downstairs guest room into a “wolf room” with rustic log furniture, pictures and other pieces they’ve found over the years. The silver and blue hues in the artwork inspired the silver and blue Christmas tree displayed in the room.

In the spacious ensuite master bath, stockings are hung above the double-glass fireplace next to the soaking tub. “We have over 30 stockings throughout the house, although Santa doesn’t fill them all,” Kristen said with a grin.

A Remodel Fit for the Kings Susan and Jack King’s dream of an open living space to enjoy their expanded family…especially the two grandkids, has come true! Using a 3-dimensional imaging program at the Freyenhagen re-Design Studio, the couple’s home was re-Designed to the last detail. Susan and Jack could see their home transform before their eyes on the 60-inch screen. “It helped a lot,” says Susan. “Jack and I could see everything. It’s a cool program.” The complete re-Design-Build by Freyenhagen Construction created a magnificent open main floor living area fit for the Kings.

Give Freyenhagen Construction a call today at 652-6170 or visit for more information.

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Where the LocaLs eat

Crepes from the streets of Paris


These Crepes are crafted on our French Krampouz crepe Maker Imported straight from France. Served with the traditional sugar and a wedge of a lemon, a combination of mixed fruit toppings or the popular European Nutella spread.


- New Location - 2nd Ave N & 30th St Also features Amy Dean McKittrick Watercolor Studio (406)245-3788

The perfect gift! Exclusively available at

406-294-1701 • 1528 24th Street W •

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Now Serving Breakfast ALL DAY Mon - Fri 7am - 3pm Sat 8am - 3pm Sunday Breakfast Only 8am - 1pm

2419 Montana Ave. • 255-9555



Three local chefs share their festive favorites

By Allyn Hulteng • Photography by James Woodcock

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The Fieldhouse CafĂŠ

Braised Lamb Shank with Parmesan Cream Demi-glace, Spiced Squash Puree, Grilled Purple Asparagus and Wild Organic Mushrooms

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Ben Harmon was born and raised in Billings. He studied culinary arts at the Art Institute of California where he learned to blend essential French cooking techniques with basic food principles.With an artisan’s affinity, Harmon refined his culinary skills at several exclusive restaurants in Los Angeles before returning to Billings to pursue his dream of opening his own establishment. Today, Harmon can be found running The Fieldhouse CafÊ, at 2601 Minnesota Ave., where he specializes in creating exquisite dishes with locally-sourced products.

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Carbon County Steakhouse

Prosciutto-wrapped Shrimp with Spicy Honey and Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

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Spiced Beef Tenderloin with Balsamic Glaze, Goat Cheese Gnocchi and Sautéed Spinach

Executive Chef Eric Trager received his Culinary Degree at Paul Smith’s College and apprenticed on Nantucket Island. After expanding his culinary expertise in Vail, Colo., Laramie,Wyo. and Napa Valley, Calif., Trager moved to Red Lodge, Mont. with his wife, Dulcie and children, Anja and Cedric. In 2004 he was honored during the Montana Connection Chef’s Competition by receiving the top honors for his entree submission highlighting the finest of Montana grown and raised ingredients. He repeated with a silver medal in 2005. In 2009 Trager was awarded the Chefs & Cooks of Montana “Chef of the Year.” In October 2011, he took on the challenge of running three restaurants: Carbon County Steakhouse, Red Lodge Pizza Co. and Bogart’s Restaurant. Trager is passionate about supporting local, sustainable foods.

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Beyond Basil

White Chocolate Cake with Pomegranate Geleé

Marcy Tatarka, co-owner of Beyond Basil Catering, is renowned for catering a variety of events from simple gatherings to elaborate affairs. Tatarka has a passion for creating unusual dishes using novel items, unique foods and fresh herbs and spices. In 2007 she received the highest honor by Chefs and Cooks of Montana when she was named “Chef of the Year.” Most recently, Tatarka worked as a food stylist with Chef Jamie Oliver and The Food Revolution program as well as BBC America’s Chef Race program currently airing on BBCA.

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Braised Lamb Shank with Parmesan Cream Demi-glace, Spiced Squash Puree, Grilled Purple Asparagus and Wild Organic Mushrooms Montana Natural Lamb Shanks 2 lbs. Lambshank 1 onion, roughly chopped 2 parsnips 4 carrots 1 celery stock 1 bunch parsley 1 bunch sage 3 sprigs rosemary ½ bottle red wine 3 bay leaves 3 tablespoons whole peppercorns 1 tablespoon allspice 1 tablespoon Chinese five spice 2 quarts beef stock 1 stick butter Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Using a paper towel, dry the outside of the lamb shank. Season both sides of the shanks liberally with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Heat canola oil in a pan large enough to hold the shanks. Once the oil begins to smoke, sear the shanks on both sides until browned. Set aside. With the heat still on, add the vegetables and cook until browned. Deglaze with red wine and reduce until “au sec,” or almost gone. Place the shanks in an oven-safe pan and cover with the cooked vegetables and herbs and spice. Cover the shanks with beef stock. Cover the cooking vessel with a lid or tin foil. Place in the oven for 2 ½ hours. When finished cooking, let the shanks rest in the braising liquid. When cooled, refrigerate the shanks until ready to use. Strain the braising liquid through a fine mesh strainer and place in a clean pot. Reduce until fairly thick. Taste the sauce as it reduces as it may need salt. Once the sauce is reduced, place it in a container and refrigerate. When ready to serve, season the shanks again with salt and place in the oven until warmed thoroughly. Retrieve the sauce from refrigerator; it should be the same consistency as jello. Heat the sauce over a low heat. Add ½ stick butter a cube at a time

immediately before plating while whisking continuously. Pour the sauce over the shanks and serve.

Spiced Squash 1 medium winter squash 1 cup cream 1 teaspoon cinnamon ½ teaspoon butter Salt to taste

2 tablespoons kosher salt 1 tablespoon black pepper (fresh ground) Mix spices. Rub tenderloin with spices and rest 15 minutes. In sauté pan heat 2 oz. olive oil until almost smoking. Add tenderloin and brown both sides of tenderloin. Turn heat down on sauté pan and cook tenderloin to desired temperature.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the squash in half, peel and remove the seeds. Rub with butter and cinnamon and bake under tender. Once tender, place in a pot with 1 cup of cream. Simmer until cream has reduced by half. Puree and season with salt and black pepper.

1 lb. russet potatoes (oven baked until tender) 4 oz. chevre (goat cheese) 2 tablespoons butter 2 teaspoons salt 1 egg 2 cups flour (or more)

Parmesan Cream

Cool and peel potatoes. In a food processor chop potatoes into crumbles, add in rest of ingredients and blend until incorporated. Remove from food processor and kneed with hands until soft dough forms (add more flour if necessary). Rest dough for 15 minutes. Cut dough into ¾-inch rolls. Cut rolls into ½-inch pieces. Groove gnocchi on gnocchi board or with fork. Boil water and drop gnocchi into boiling water for 4 minutes. Cool gnocchi and hold. In sauté pan heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add gnocchi and sauté until golden brown on all sides.

3 ½ cups cream 1 lb. Parmesan rinds 1 cup plain yogurt ½ teaspoon honey Simmer the rinds in the cream for 20 minutes. Strain the rinds, reserve the cream. Whisk in yogurt and honey.

Grilled Purple Asparagus and Mushrooms 1 bunch asparagus spears 1 cup fresh mushrooms Cooking oil Salt and pepper Toss asparagus and mushrooms in oil, season with salt and pepper and grill lightly – approximately 5-7 minutes. * Chef Harmon recommends using locally-produced and organic products as available.

Spinach: 1 oz. olive oil 1 clove garlic (chopped) 6 oz. spinach Pinch salt and pepper Heat 1 oz. olive oil. Add garlic until lightly brown. Add spinach, season with salt and pepper then sauté for 20 seconds. Place spinach on plate top with tenderloin and drizzle with balsamic glaze. Serve with side of gnocchi.

Spiced Beef Tenderloin with Balsamic Glaze, Goat Cheese Gnocchi and Prosciutto-wrapped Sautéed Spinach Shrimp with Spicy Honey Tenderloin and Sun-dried Tomato 4 portions of 5 oz. tenderloin Pesto 4 tablespoons balsamic glaze 1 tablespoon mustard seeds (ground) 1 tablespoon brown sugar 1 tablespoon thyme (fresh chopped) 1 tablespoon coriander seeds (fresh ground)

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes 1 cup water ¼ cup tomatoes (seeded and chopped)

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1 teaspoon garlic 2 tablespoons parsley (chopped) 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese 2 tablespoons olive oil ½ teaspoon Kosher Salt Soak tomatoes in water until hydrated – about 30 minutes. In food processor add all ingredients. Puree until smooth texture.

Honey Sauce 4 tablespoons honey 2 tablespoons water ½ teaspoon crushed red chilies In sauté pan heat honey, water and chili flakes until they form a syrup.

Prosciutto-wrapped Shrimp 8-10 shrimp 4 oz. prosciutto (sliced thinly and cut into ¼-inch strips) 1 tablespoon olive oil Wrap shrimp with prosciutto strips and pan sear with olive oil until shrimp are cooked. Toss shrimp in honey mixture and serve with tomato pesto.

Bittersweet Chocolate Glazed Pumpkin Cheesecake Crust 2 cups Oreo cookie crumbs 2 tablespoons melted butter Mix crumbs and butter then press into bottom of cheese cake pan. Bake in 350-degree oven for 5 minutes.

Filling 2 lbs. cream cheese 2 cups brown sugar ¼ cups flour 1 lb. pumpkin pulp 1 teaspoon cinnamon Pinch clove (ground) Pinch kosher salt Pinch nutmeg 1 oz. spiced rum 5 eggs Blend cream cheese and brown sugar in mixer with paddle until smooth. Add spices, flour and pumpkin and blend until smooth. Add rum and eggs, scrape sides and blend

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until smooth. Pour into pre-baked Oreo crumb crust. Wrap cheesecake pan with foil and bake in water bath at 350 degrees for 90 minutes or until cheesecake shakes with only a little wiggle. Cool cheesecake then freeze. Slice frozen cheesecake into 14 slices and keep frozen.

For Chocolate Glaze 1 cup heavy cream ½ lb. bittersweet chocolate (chopped)

on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and allow to cool completely. Cakes can be baked 1 day in advance.

Pomegranate Geleé 1 pomegranate 2 gelatin sheets 1 tablespoon warm water ½ cup Pom juice 1 tablespoon sugar

White Chocolate Cake with Pomegranate Geleé

Place gelatin sheets in a small bowl with warm water. In medium sauce pan, add pomegranate juice and sugar. Simmer over low heat until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Add gelatin mixture. Stir until dissolved. Allow to cool to room temperature. Stir in the seeds of 1 pomegranate. Cover and place in refrigerator until set. Can be made one week in advance.

White Chocolate Cake

White Chocolate Mousse

Heat cream and add chocolate. Stir chocolate until melted. Drizzle chocolate over cheesecake slices, cool and serve.

2 ¾ cups cake flour 1 teaspoon baking powder ¾ teaspoon salt 4 oz. white chocolate (chopped) 1 cup whipping cream ⅔ cup milk 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ½ cup unsalted butter 2 cups sugar 4 eggs (separated) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 3-9” cake pans. Butter, flour and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together into a medium bowl. Stir chocolate and 1/2 cup of cream into a medium sauce pan. Over low heat, stir until melted and smooth. Stir in remaining cream, milk and vanilla. In a mixing bowl, whip egg whites until they form soft peaks. Slowly add 1 cup of sugar and continue to whip until stiff peaks but not dry. Set aside. In a mixer, beat butter and 1 cup of sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg yolks. Stir in dry ingredients alternating with the white chocolate mixture. Start and end with dry ingredients. Fold half of the egg whites into the batter until blended. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites. Divide between the 3 cake pans. Bake until tester comes out clean and edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pans, approximately 25 minutes. Cool

½ cup milk (whole) ½ cup whipping cream 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract 2 gelatin sheets 3 egg yolks 4 tablespoons sugar ⅔ cup white chocolate (chopped) 1¼ oz. whipping cream Place gelatin sheets in a small bowl with 1 tablespoon warm water to soften. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, bring cream and milk to a simmer. In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks. Add sugar and vanilla. Temper the egg yolks with the white chocolate mixture. Continue until all of the mixture is combined. Return to heat and continue to cook until it coats the back of the spoon. Add gelatin sheets. Stir until dissolved. Stir in white chocolate mixture, remove from heat and allow the chocolate to melt. Whip 1-1/4 cups heavy cream to soft peaks. Once chocolate mixture is at room temperature, fold into whipped cream.

Assembly Place one layer of cake on your serving plate. Spread pomegranate gelee over layer. Top with layer of white chocolate mousse. Top with next cake layer and repeat. Frost cake with meringue and toast with a torch. Cake can also be frosted with whipped cream.

Hot and mild Italian sausage with a mix of bell peppers and chopped onion and a blend of savory herbs tossed with penne. LUNCH: Monday - Friday 11am - 2pm DINNER: Tuesday - Sunday 4:30pm - Close

2417 Montana Ave


e l l e h c Ro HairDesigner Great Lengths® Certified Extentionist 17 Years Experience Merit Award in Advanced Color Artistry Certificate of Merit Advanced Cutting & Design Certificate of Education: Las Vegas International Design Conference Schedule your appointment today by calling

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Discover the yellowjacket aDvantage! MSU Billings has always provided Montana students with one of the most valuable and affordable educations in the state. Now US News has ranked MSU Billings as one of the top regional institutions in the West. There is no better time to be a Yellowjacket.

visit call 406.657.2888 MAGIC I holiday 2012 I 43


Many of us began our wine journey drinking sweet pinks – remember white zinfandel? But just as we have matured, so have rosés. Modern pink wines are well-balanced – fresh and crisp with good acidity. This means they partner well with a variety of flavors, making them a perfect complement to party hors d’oeuvres. Available in shades of apricot, salmon, rose and ruby, set off the flavor of your favorite holiday recipes with a tinge of pink, rivaling only the rose in your cheeks.


Stella Fong divides her time between Billings and Big Sky where she writes, cooks and teaches. Recently she received a Robert Parker Scholarship for continuing studies at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone.

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Gran Gesta, Cava Brut Rosé Sparkling Wine Tasting Notes: Ephemeral notes of yeast and toast combined with strawberry, raspberry and pink grapefruit results from 12 months of aging on lees. The pink-apricot color of this Spanish sparkling wine created from 100 percent Trepat whispers celebration.

Fattoria di Fubbiano, Rosato di Marco Vino, 2011, Tuscany, I.G.T. Tasting Notes With light fragrances of white flowers, pear, apple and stone fruit, this salmon- colored wine made with Sangiovese finishes crisply on the palate, reminiscent of biting into a Granny Smith apple.

Food Pairing Suggestions: Shrimp Scampi or Caviar Pie

Food Pairing: Fig, Prosciutto, Arugula and Brie Panini

Available at: City Vineyard $23

Available at: City Vineyard $16

A to Z, Rosé, 2011 Oregon Tasting Notes: A lively, juicy Sangiovese-based rosé with scents of cherry, raspberry, lemon meringue and lemon zest. Finishes with notes of peach, apple and pear. Food Pairing: Scallops with Coconut Milk and Red Curry Available at: Bottles and Shots $10

Crios de Susana Balbo, Rosé of Malbec, 2011, Mendoza,Argentina Tasting Notes Susana Balbo, one of the leading female winemakers in Argentina, makes a bright, light red-colored wine from Malbec grapes exuding aromas of strawberries and cherries. The wine also possesses hints of sweet red berries and cream with a clean, citrusy finish.

Benessere, Rosato, Rosé Table Wine, 2010, Napa Valley Tasting Notes A blend of 49 percent zinfandel, 41 percent sangiovese, 10 percent merlot creates a pale, salmon-colored wine. Flavors of raspberry rhubarb with bright citrus zest shine with each sip.

Food Pairing: Pasta with Peas,

Food Pairing: Gravlax

Ricotta, Capers and Lemon Zest

Available at: SimplyWine $11

Available at: The Wine Market

Viña Aljibes, Syrah, Rosé Wine, 2011, Chinchilla de Montearagón, Albacete, España Tasting Notes Made from 100 percent Syrah, this rosé exhales aromas of cherries and wet rose petals with soft, silky tannins and a short finish of citrus zest and cherry.

Food Pairing: Ham and more ham

Available at: Bottles and and Deli. Call for pricing

2814 2nd Ave N 259-3624

Shots $11

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The first blizzard arrived in mid-November. For two days the wind blew hard from the north while the sky filled with white crystalline flakes. Temperatures plummeted well below zero as the wind blew snow into every furrow of the wrinkled landscape. Coulees filled, and even the windswept plateaus were blanketed in arctic whiteness. Notable pioneer and longtime rancher Granville Stuart remembered that it felt as if the polar regions had “pushed down and enveloped us. Everything was white. Not a point of bare ground was visible in any direction.� This was the beginning of a winter to remember.

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Waiting for a Chinook The legendary winter of 1886-1887 not only shaped the course of Montana ranching, it gave life to its most famous artist. An itinerant ranch hand, Charlie Russell spent the winter at a spread near Great Falls. When the owner sent for word on how the cattle were doing, Russell sketched a watercolor on a postcard of a gaunt Texas steer, its ribs protruding from its starving frame. The picture was all the report the ranch owner ever received, or ever needed. Russell called it “Waiting for a Chinook,” and it launched his career as the visual chronicler of an open range which, ironically, this devastating winter had destroyed. Postcard used with permission from the Montana Stockgrowers Association, Helena, Montana.

on the same grasslands until only a few winters TIn December the weather briefly turned As the blizzards continued before. Cattle bloodied their noses as they tried warm, melting some snow and bringing to reach the grass below and lacerated their rain in a few parts of the state. Glendive into February, 5,000 legs as the icy granules knifed them. Putting reported 50 degrees above zero and rain their backs to the wind as the buffalo had done, on December 18, leading the local paper to desperate cattle drifted cattle walked, sometimes leaving blood trails conclude that “this is not the worst country into Great Falls where they behind them, until stopped by fences, drifts, to live in.” But the brief warm spell turned exhaustion or starvation. cruel the next week when on Christmas day bawled for food, ate As the blizzards continued into February, the temperature reached -35 degrees and 5,000 desperate cattle drifted into Great Falls stayed below zero for the next three weeks. newly-planted tree saplings where they bawled for food, ate newly-planted The melted snow now turned into a thick and even garbage. On some tree saplings and even garbage. On some crust of white ice, only to be covered with ranches, cowboys donned heavy underwear, several feet of new snow during January and ranches, cowboys donned wool socks, and fur caps as they headed into the February. icy outdoors to pull cattle out of drifts or gently For two months, it snowed somewhere heavy underwear, wool herd them to sheltered ravines. “Teddy Blue” in central and eastern Montana nearly every socks, and fur caps as they Abbott remembered that cowboys “worked like day. A three-day blizzard in late January slaves… riding all day in a blinding snowstorm. sent temperatures as low as -63 degrees headed into the icy outdoors The horses feet were cut and bleeding from the and covered the ground waist deep in some heavy crust, and the cattle had the hair and areas. In nearby Wyoming, the crust was to pull cattle out of drifts or hide wore off their legs to the knees and hocks.” so thick that stagecoaches drove on top But with wind chill index at -80 degrees, many of the four feet deep snow. The Missouri gently herd them to sheltered ranch hands stayed safe in their houses and and the Yellowstone Rivers both froze over ravines. hoped for the best. completely, allowing cattle and even heavy When the warm Chinook winds came in sleds to cross safely. March, however, many ranchers found that Cattle suffered and died by the thousands that winter. The snowfall was too crusted and deep for cattle their worst fears were confirmed. They found emaciated, frozen carcasses to “rustle,” or push their noses through as buffalo had done for centuries piled in coulees, heaped along streams and stacked against fencerows for

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miles. Cattle losses in central and eastern Montana were the worst, with some ranches on the lower Yellowstone River reporting losses as high as 90 percent. Overall losses ran as high as 362,000 head of cattle, or 60 percent of the cattle in the territory. Stuart pronounced it “the death knell of the range cattle business” and privately confessed that a “business that had been fascinating to me before, suddenly became distasteful. I never wanted to own again an animal that I could not feed and shelter.” Although the dreadfully severe winter received the blame for the catastrophic loss of cattle, the truth was that this natural disaster had been compounded by human greed. As the last of the northern plains buffalo were killed in the early 1880s, stockmen pushed thousands of cattle onto the vacant grasslands. Herds driven north from Texas met with “pilgrim” cattle from Illinois and other Midwestern locations to fill the central and eastern parts of Montana with great herds. Promising free grass and annual profits of at least 25 percent, cattle propagandists encouraged easterners and British and Scottish investors to believe in the limitless possibilities of eastern Montana grasslands. Every year for the first half of the decade the “beef bonanza” poured more cattle and more capital into Montana ranches. The weather offered warning signs for any who would heed them. The winter of 1880-81 had been almost as harsh as the disastrous winter that came six years later, with months of blizzards and temperatures at -20 degrees for weeks in some places. But cattle had not yet filled the “big empty” of eastern Montana, and the mild, “open” winters that followed allowed stockmen to minimize the risk of raising cattle in a northern climate. By

1885 the range was dangerously overstocked. A warm, dry winter offered little moisture, and the summer of 1886 continued hot and dry. By July the grass had started to wither, with one observer describing the soil as “trampled and hoof-beaten so that it presented a powdered appearance and every gust of wind was laden with clouds of sand and dust.” Governor Samuel T. Hauser worried that “our stock is in poor condition for the winter, and should it prove long and severe great loss must inevitably follow.” Yet as Stuart noted, “the ranges were free to all and no man could say, with authority, when a range was overstocked.” So the cattle kept coming. Low prices induced many ranchers to carry over more steers than usual for another year, and Texas trail herds continued to arrive until October. So many cattle in such poor condition with so little grass created the situation for an inevitable disaster. The weather became the villain for an unsustainable situation that humans had denied. While the severe winter was the death of the “beef bonanza” and the open range system, it created the way for a more sustainable ranching system. Most foreign investors and large-scale operations disappeared, yet smaller ranchers had more cattle on the range by 1890 than before the bad winter. Fenced pastures encouraged heartier breeds for a northern climate and allowed ranchers to keep cattle close to the ranch house in difficult weather. Most of all, ranchers began growing hay. Acreage in hay quintupled between 1880 and 1890 as ranchers learned the value of winter feed. In the new Montana ranch of the 20th century, the irrigation ditch and the hay rake would be as important as the lariat and the branding iron.

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photo journal

Call of Duty

A salute to the men and women who serve This holiday season, we remember the many troops still deployed overseas. Magic City Magazine would like to share our award-winning staff photographers’ images of our local troops preparing to depart, sacrificing their time with family to serve our nation.

A soldier waves to his family as the Montana Army National Guard 484th MP Company departs from Edwards Jet Center to Afghanistan April 17, 2012. Photo By Larry Mayer

A soldier says goodbye to his daughters before departing with the Montana Army National Guard’s 260th Combat Engineer Support Company to Fort Bliss, Texas on April 30, 2012. Photo by James Woodcock

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The 484th Military Police Company of the Montana Army National Guard during a public send-off ceremony in Billings on April 16, 2012. The group will mobilize for one year to train the Afghan National Police. Photo by Paul Ruhter

1430 Grand Ave.


Mon-Fri 9-6 • Sat 10-5 MAGIC I holiday 2012 I 51


i’m just saying

The E-I-E-I-O Christmas By Gene Colling

Illustration by Lee Hulteng It’s Christmas Eve on my prairie farm. Two feet of snow blanket the yard, and the temperature is minus 15 degrees. It feels only slightly warmer in the unheated second story bedroom where I am swaddled beneath a mound of blankets. The top cover is my grandmother’s ancient horse skin blanket that she used when she took the horse-drawn sled to town. It is so heavy that it pins my skinny frame in one position. For a moment I wonder what the horses pulling the sled felt about the blanket, but I quickly remember I have something much bigger to think about.

This is my seventh Christmas and still the one from my youth that I recall with the most fondness and clarity. For the preceding year I have been consumed with one desire – to have Santa bring me a Daisy Long Rifle Model 80 BB gun. My schoolmates and I have endlessly debated the merits of the available BB gun models. Some are in the Red Rider camp because of the wooden stock and built-in compass. But I like the ballistics of the Daisy Long Rifle and can overlook its shiny, plastic, faux wood stock. For months before Christmas, I engaged in an intense marketing effort. The fact that I wanted a BB gun had become painfully obvious to my parents, and indeed to the general populous of my small town.  I hoped that I could connect with someone who had a better pipeline to Santa. On Saturday nights when we made our weekly trip to town, I lingered in the hardware store gazing at the BB guns reminding the owner once again that I definitely had settled on the Daisy Long Rifle model 80. She listened patiently and nodded knowingly. In those days kids got a toy or two for Christmas and maybe one for their birthday. A BB gun in 1955 cost less than $10, which would be about $80 today, but it was a one-time purchase. Yards weren’t littered with cheap plastic yellow, blue and red toys, and kids’ bedrooms didn’t have bins of toy detritus. The Christmas before my toy of choice had been a cap pistol. If you ever had one you can still conjure the smell of the exploded gun powder. Today, the words “gun powder” and “toy gun” would spark a national uproar. Child safety was pretty basic back then. If a kid made it to seven years old with only one or two broken limbs and some missing teeth, that was

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considered successful parenting. As I lay wedged under my blankets, I was buzzing with excitement and fear knowing that a large, strangely-dressed, jolly man was at this very moment downstairs arranging gifts around the tree and snacking on cookies and milk we left for him. On the roof just over my head, prancing reindeer were patiently waiting.   Since my life orbit only spun in a 20- mile radius of our farm, I was unfettered by the leap of faith this required. After what seemed like ages, I finally heard my mother’s voice saying it was OK to get up. I burrowed out of the blankets and raced down the stairs. As I frantically scanned the wrapped packages I spotted the telltale outline of a BB gun box. Sure enough, it contained one spanking new Daisy Long Rifle Model 80. The joy of that moment made a permanent brand on my brain. As fast as I could get into three A BB gun in 1955 layers of clothing, I was outside cost less than $10, prowling the farm yard with my gun loaded with steel, copperwhich would be coated BBs. There was a code about about $80 today, what was fair game.   Since farm animals were strictly off limits but it was a oneand just about everything else had time purchase. flown south or was hibernating, the only available quarry left were the Yards weren’t tiny sparrows hanging around the littered with cheap grain bins. They were an extremely difficult target, and because I plastic barely had the strength to cock the gun, they were safe. The barn loft was another good hunting ground but that resulted in some collateral damage to the windows. The biggest benefit of my new gun was the license to roam. I wandered the fields looking like a young Elmer Fudd hunting a “wascally wabbit” until twilight, then headed home for Christmas dinner. The 1950s were the heyday of the BB gun.  Millions of kids were going through the same obsession I was, including a kid in Indiana that would later be portrayed as Ralphie Parker in the movie, “A Christmas Story.” When I first saw the movie it rekindled the memory of my own Christmas story. Ralphie took a lot of grief about shooting his eye out. He was a town kid so that was a possibility. It was expected that a 7-year-old farm kid understood the concept of ricochet. I call my early years on the farm the E-I-E-I-O period.  It didn’t take much to make me happy.  All I needed were fields to wander and a Daisy Long Rifle Model 80 full of BBs.

yellow, blue and red toys, and kids’ bedrooms didn’t have bins of toy detritus.

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.

t e G u o Y g n i s p y a d H el i l o H e h T r o F e m o H



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beyond billings

Like many things done well in Montana,

we certainly have the recipe for Christmas

Deck the Towns — Christmas Celebrations Across the Big Sky

just about perfected: the jingle-bell stomp of draft horses huffing vapor clouds into the crisp night air, ruddy-faced and scarfwrapped carolers singing joyful songs we’ve known (it seems) since before we were born, the wood-smoked aroma and crackle of a fire roasting chestnuts, the spicy sweetness and warmth of wassail, and, of course, Santa Claus.

Many cities across the state pay homage

to the season by kicking off festivities with a Christmas stroll, a parade with Santa’s arrival and lighting ceremonies. These holiday hamlets welcome visitors from all over, and here is a selection of our favorites – where you can plan an evening or a

By Karen Kinser

weekend, depending on the distance – along with a suggestions on how to create your own annual tradition.


The Magic City can be an enchanting place during Christmas time. Start the season healthfully by participating in the Run Turkey Run Thanksgiving day 5k run or Street Mile Dash on Thanksgiving morning (and support The Billings Food Bank at the same time). Then attend the Annual Holiday Parade the next evening. The 22nd Annual Christmas Stroll takes place this year on Dec. 7 with late night shopping, arts and crafts vendors, photos with Santa, food vendors, merchant window wonderlands and the opportunity to purchase Christmas trees, wreaths and garlands at Skypoint. Be sure to stop in and see Gainan’s Christmas Dream home along the way. ZooMontana’s Zoo Lights are a popular Christmas tradition, as is attending heart-warming performance of “The Nutcracker Ballet” at the Alberta Bair Theater Nov. 24 and 25.

For several weekends, starting Nov. 30, you can cheer for Tiny Tim (and even Ebenezer Scrooge) at Billings Studio Theatre’s presentation of “A Christmas Carol” or enjoy “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” at Venture Theatre. Ring in the New Year at Alberta Bair by attending an eclectic performance by the Texas Tenors (you might have seen them on America’s Got Talent Finals). Visit or call 294-5060 for even more holidayinspired ideas.

MAGIC I holiday 2012 I 55


beyond billings

RED LODGE. For two consecutive nights,

the town of Red Lodge pulls out all the stops for its annual Christmas stroll that ushers in the season. This year’s stroll takes place the evenings of Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, with Friday night’s Blade Parade of creativelydecorated snow plows kicking off the weekend. Or, maybe something off the beaten path is more your style. The Nordic Center just outside of Red Lodge offers Moonlight Skiing this season on Saturday, Dec. 29. Fill your thermos with a toasty beverage, bundle up in front of the bonfire and ski under a sparkling blanket of stars. For more holidayinspired events, log on to or call 406-446-1718.


It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and there’s snow better place to spend a few days than soaking in the splendors of Big Sky’s Moonlight Basin. Dine, back-country style, in a yurt surrounded by torches and campfire. You’ll arrive by snowcat, sled together by torch light and enjoy a gourmet dinner accompanied by soft guitar music. (Log on to for details.)


Known for its worldclass downhill fun at Big Mountain, Whitefish also heralds some of the most unique and hilarious holiday fun. Snap pictures with your pet at Tailwaggers in downtown Whitefish or compete in the Whitefish Fruitcakes & Nuts Street Corner Caroling

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Competition, a keg pull or frozen turkey bowling. For the artisan in you, create your own ornament at Stumptown Art Studio and enjoy hot chocolate, cider and cookies at the Community Library. Check out www. or call 406-862-3501 for specific times, dates and details.

For a more traditional take on Christmas, enjoy downtown Bozeman’s 32nd annual Christmas Stroll, a Rockwellian paradise filled with eggnog, hay wagon rides, carolers, light displays, shopping and of course, Santa. More than 30 retailers and restaurants will be offering specials that evening. For details, log on to www. or call 406-586-4008.


Known as The Christmas City of the north, Kalispell has a celebration that lives up to its name and reputation. The snowy city features an unparalleled parade with decorative floats and displays to kick off the holiday season on Nov. 23. Following the parade, the Mayor lights the Christmas tree in Depot Park, after which Santa travels to the Kalispell Center Mall. The season culminates on Dec. 31 at First Night Flathead, a non-alcoholic family event filled with an extravaganza of art, activities and incredible performances, including pipes and drums, fiddlers, cello players, jazz and blues performers, the men’s quartet of the Glacier Symphony and even the tropical Montana Marimba Ensemble. Visit www. for details.

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Montana’s capital city features an amazing assemblage of adventures for the holiday season. Enjoy a moving performance of Handel’s “Messiah” performed by the Helena Symphony and Chorale beneath the stained glass windows and soaring elegance of the Gothic-style Cathedral of Saint Helena. Or, experience Christmas past and Christmas present with a tour through the beautifully-decorated original Governor’s Mansion, where you’ll meet people from the mansion’s past, learn about Christmas through the years and enjoy holiday craft-making. For more information on your next Capitol Christmas, log on to www. or call 406-447-1535.

Choteau Sunday Morning by Rob Akey


MAGIC I holiday 2012 I 57


beyond billings


For some close-to-home events, why not visit Miles City and Laurel? From Scottish eggs to roasted chestnuts, Christmas is done up big at the Miles City Christmas Stroll, Nov. 30 this year. Enjoy horse-drawn wagon rides, hay rides and shopping along the streets (log on to www. or call 406-234-2890 for details). And in Laurel, the city and people have a fondness for lots of lights and fireworks – whether it’s the 4th of July or Christmas. Laurel kicks off a season of celebration on Dec. 2 with a community bazaar, caroling, merchant specials, a live Nativity, parade and fireworks. Many of the residents of Laurel also high-“light” Christmas with spectacular lighting displays all over town. (For event details, log on to or call 406-628-8105).


For some families, the annual Christmas tradition involves making cookies together with a collection of cousins, grabbing the hand saw and heading to the forest to cut the Christmas tree or visiting any of the local Christmas strolls followed by games and hot chocolate. If you’re a young family and haven’t started your own tradition, or you’re a grown family and need to re-invent one, maybe this is the year. Here are a few suggestions.

• A Snow-Stopping Tradition

Enjoy a mid-December weekend in West Yellowstone filled with dog sledding, skiing, snow coach tours, snowmobiling and even sleigh rides. Visit www. for details.

• Sleigh Bells Ringing Tradition

Escape to the 320 Guest Ranch for a night of true Montana hospitality. Whether it is a romantic getaway or for family fun, take advantage of their Sleigh & Stay Package. This includes a star-dotted sleigh ride pulled by Percheron draft horses, followed by scrumptious cowboy cuisine at the 320 Steakhouse & Saloon, finishing the evening with accommodations in one of their cozy cabins. Visit for details.

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• Polar Express Tradition

Hitch a ride on the Charlie Russell Chew Choo, crossing two historic trestles and passing 56 miles of beautiful Montana prairie. The magical ride includes a sit-down prime rib dinner and dessert, no-host cash bar and music by local area entertainers. Your journey begins northwest of Lewistown and follows the route of the old Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific railroads to Denton, Mont. and back again. Visit for details.

• Giving is the Greatest Gift Tradition

If you’re looking to start a tradition closer to home, helping others in our community is a great way to spread cheer and love. Involve the kids and select a needy family to shower with gifts. Contact The Family Tree Center in Billings at 252-9799 or pick up a copy of the Billings Gazette’s Empty Stockings section for ideas.

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Every holiday season for the past six years or so, I have been fortunate enough to stuff an old pillow under a velvety smooth red suit, put some fake white hair on my face and play Santa Claus for some kids at the Family Tree Center. Operated by some highly dedicated and incredibly underpaid people, the Family Tree Center is committed to putting a dent in child abuse. It offers parenting classes, respite care for parents and other sorts of programs to elevate the family structure.

My little stint

involves playing the role of Santa at the organization’s annual holiday event. Kids fresh from cobbling together a homemade item for mom, dad or grandma can stop by and sit on “Santa’s lap” and give their wish a whirl.

To say it’s a humbling experience is an understatement.

by Dan Carter

MAGIC I holiday 2012 I 61

the corner that holiday season. As a fake Santa, I I learned early on that I shouldn’t ask “Have After the usual pleasantries had no business making a promise that could not you been a good helper for your mommy?” of “do you like school” be kept. I couldn’t get her mom out of jail any more because some of those kids didn’t have moms at than I could get her a pony. But I could give her home. Nor dads. And when I asked “Have you and all that, I came to the a notion that someone understood what she was been good all year?” as I’ve heard other fake Santa saying. Clauses implore, I can remember seeing some central question of the event: I gave her a hug and whispered “Me too, honey.” young kids, unsure of the response from their It would not change her circumstances, but maybe parents, take a quick sheepish glance at their it changed her perspective. mom before answering. For some of these kids, On the way home later, riding a car led by being “good” was a different concept that many horsepower and not reindeer, I couldn’t get my in happy middle class homes would never grasp. She looked up at me and mind off that little girl. How many others like her Some kids looked at me as if they couldn’t simply said were in Billings? How many more kids just needed believe this jolly, happy guy would slip all the way to know someone cared? How could I get other from the North Pole just to see them. Others had adults to lend a hand to those who needed it? wide eyes of wonder only captured in imagination. For many people, it’s not about money. It’s about Basically, some of these kids needed Santa for time. more than a Christmas present. Too many people say they just don’t have I can distinctly remember a little girl, all the time to chip in. They have obligations at church, of about 8 or 9 years old, shyly walk up to my knee. Her little hands reached up for a quick boost and I could tell she was more than a little soccer practice, basketball, scouting and community events all packed around a 60-hour work week. nervous. It was if she wasn’t sure what she should say. After the usual pleasantries of “do you like school” and all that, Then it dawned on me. What if each of us made a commitment I came to the central question of the event: “What do you want for to reach out in ways that don’t necessarily take a lot of time, yet could have a big impact? Small things… like volunteering for the BackPack Christmas?” She looked up at me and simply said “I want my mommy to be out Meals Program, or tutoring during one lunch hour a week. Moments of compassion and giving might not get anyone’s mom out of jail, but they of jail.” may spark hope and trust in some of our most vulnerable citizens. My heart sank. What does a fake Santa say to that? At that point, guilt or innocence seemed to matter little and my Just think … we all have the opportunity to bring alive the idea of cynical side disappeared. That little girl needed her mom. Absent that, Santa Claus every month of the year. You don’t even need a Santa suit – she needed someone to reassure her that something better lie around all you need to do is show up.

“What do you want for Christmas?”...

“I want my mommy to be out of jail.”

� �

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Please consider donating to or volunteering for one of these organizations or another organization of your choice:

Angela’s Piazza 420 Grand Ave. (406) 255-0611

Support for women and girls ages 8-15.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Yellowstone County

504 North 20 St, Ste. B (406) 248-2229 Create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships for children ages 5-15

Billings Food Bank 2112 4th Ave. N. (406) 259-2856

Maternal Child Health, Family Health Services

123 S. 27th St. (406) 247-3360 Provides services to pregnant women and teens, nursing mothers and children under 5 years of age through the WIC program

Montana Rescue Mission Women’s and Family Shelter

2520 1st Ave. N. (406) 259-3105 Provides food, clothing, shelter, chaplain services, counseling, case-management and laundry facilities to women and families who have become homeless.

Distributing food to those in need.

Boys & Girls Club of Yellowstone County

505 Orchard Ln. (406) 245-4457 A place where kids have a positive environment filled with adult role models and opportunities to Be Great.

Family Tree Center 2520 5th Ave. S. (406) 252-9799

Provides support and education for parents.

Friendship House

3123 8th Ave. S. (406) 259-5569 Provides clothing, resources, referrals, recreational and support services to youth and adults.

Head Start

615 N. 19 St. Phone: 245-7233 Provides assessment and educational assistance to preschool aged children from low-income families.

HRDC Harmony House - HRDC

7 North 31st St. (406) 247-4709 Transitional living for homeless women, ages 18-21, who are pregnant or parenting their first child.

Ronald McDonald House

1144 North 30th St. (406) 256-8006 Offering families of hospital patients a way to stay together – in proximity to the treatment hospital – and be comfortable.

Tumbleweed Runaway Program, Inc.

505 North 24th St. (406) 259-2558 24-hour crisis hotline: 1-800-816-4702 Provides crisis intervention, counseling, information, referral, shelter care and other services for youth between the ages of 10 and 18 and their families.

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Young Families Early Head Start Program 1020 Cook Ave.

(406) 259-2007 Delivers comprehensive services for teen parents, children with disabilities and low income families for children ages 0 to 3.


909 Wyoming Ave. (406) 252-6303 Providng support and services that empower women and children and families.

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Interfaith Hospitality Network Yellowstone County 40 10th St.W. (406) 294-7432 Providing meals, shelter and a safe, non-judgmental environment for families experiencing homelessness.

Visit us on the web at: MAGIC I holiday 2012 I 63

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More than 2.3 million Americans have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade, including many from Montana. Some 600,000 of these veterans – about one out of every four – have a service-related disability, and almost a quarter million have been diagnosed with mental health injuries from combat service, including post-traumatic stress syndrome. As these men and women return, many are finding the transition from military life to civilian life is a long and difficult process. For them, nothing has changed. And everything has changed. Their world will never be the same.

BY ALLYN HULTENG • Photography by Casey Page

MAGIC I holiday 2012 I 65

jared michael sharp “The war within is the worst, are you going to choose good or bad?”

Post 9/11 patriotism inspired 17-year-old Jared Michael Sharp to join the Montana Army National Guard while still a junior in high school. “I grew up playing with little green plastic army figures and G.I. Joes,” Sharp recalled. When American soldiers invaded Iraq after 9/11, Sharp watched endless hours of video coverage on television. “I was fascinated with our forces on the ground, watching events unfold. I believed in the mission.” The summer between his junior and senior year, Sharp attended basic combat training at Fort Benning, GA. After graduating from Skyview High in 2004, he returned to Fort Benning for Advanced Individual Training (AIT) for infantry school. By November, Sharp was on Jared Sharp gets a kiss from his mom, Carrie Sharp before deploying with the ground in Iraq. Montana National Guard I-163. The young specialist’s first post was at Brassfield-Mora just outside the town of Samarra where he guarded a nearby hydro-dam. Several weeks later he was reassigned to FOB McHenry near Al-Hawija. There, Sharp was responsible for security detail, which included regular “knock-and-greet” missions. “We traveled to area villages, knocking on doors and checking the houses for weapons,” he said. “It was intense.” Sharp also provided security for convoys, manning machine guns in turrets on top of Humvees. Trained to be vigilant for Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), his first few missions were uneventful. All that changed on Feb. 14, 2005. Photo by Bob Zellar

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Sharp was riding in a convoy standing in the forward turret. The lead truck drove past a primitive-looking donkey cart that appeared to be abandoned on the side of the road. Unknown to Sharp, the truck commander had radioed back saying the cart looked suspicious. No sooner had the message been relayed when a terrible explosion ripped through the air. The Humvee Sharp was riding on took a direct hit. “I saw a bright orange flash, felt a rush of debris and shrapnel and then heard the explosion,” he recounted. “Strangely, it all seemed to happen in slow motion.” Though the steel plating surrounding the turret took most of the impact, the force of the explosion blew the machine gun off of its mount and into Sharp’s chest, knocking him flat. “I remember hearing the sergeant yell, ‘Sharp! You OK?’ I said ‘I’m alive, I’m alive.’” Disoriented, his face bloody and vision obstructed by smoke and debris, Sharp tried to assess the attack. “I remember thinking, did that really happen? Am I alive? I had this odd conversation with myself – it felt surreal, like I was somehow an observer.”

“The first IED you remember; after that, you get numb to it.”

For combat soldiers, being in a constant state of hyper-vigilance takes a toll. The intensity and adrenaline can become addicting. “You start to want something to happen so you can shoot something, pay them back, protect your brothers. You want destruction, death – or at least I did,” Sharp said. In 2006, Sharp returned from his first deployment healed on the outside. But inside, he wrestled with demons. To mask the pain, he started drinking. He also began fighting in Mixed Martial Arts bouts. One night after drinking and smoking marijuana Sharp blacked out. He awoke in the hospital ER and learned he crashed his truck into a home. “Seven people were in the home at the time. I could have killed someone,” he said. Because he had no previous criminal record, and because of his military service and the fact that the family involved gave their consent, the court imposed a six-year deferred sentence and the Army allowed him to remain in the National Guard. “I could have gone to prison and lost my military career,” Sharp said. “It was a real wakeup call.” The incident propelled Sharp to seek counseling for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He also re-connected with the Veteran’s Upward Bound (VUB) program, taking preparatory classes to help ready him for college. At the VUB, Sharp met other young veterans with similar experiences. He also developed trusted relationships with staff members, many of whom had also served. Outside of school, the young man was in search of a spiritual dimension, which he found in the Eastern Orthodox Church. By 2010, Sharp was well on his way to a degree in history when he received orders for a second deployment.







“I wanted to go, to see what had changed. To see if Iraq was a better country,” he said. On his second tour, Sharp was assigned to COB Adder where he was a truck commander on a convoy escort team. Like before, the possibility of encountering an IED or roadside bomb was ever present. Even when a bomb exploded elsewhere, the devastation reverberated through the ranks. “You hear the stories. You know the soldiers who were killed. You wonder ‘why them and not me?’” Sharp said. He recalled an earlier mission where he was riding in a Humvee approaching a local village. As the driver slowed, a makeshift bomb on the side of the road detonated, narrowly missing the truck. Following their training, Sharp and his driver quickly drove to the top of a nearby hill. Drawing their weapons and surveying the surrounding villagers, Sharp spotted a boy no more than 12 years old pointing at the American soldiers, laughing. “We followed the rules of engagement and did not shoot. But I wanted to, I really wanted to.” Later, Sharp would reflect on that moment. On how a few different decisions or a few feet one way or another could have changed everything. He thought about the little Iraqi kids whom he befriended on his first tour, asking to learn a few words in Arabic. He remembered Brandon – a soldier and friend who was killed by an IED leaving a wife and five daughters behind. He thought about his countrymen and women back home, many of whom were oblivious to the war. He thought about what it was like to sacrifice when no one seemed to care. Disheartened and disenfranchised, Sharp returned from his tour to Ft. Lewis, WA, where he received treatment for PTSD. By December he was back in Billings where he retreated into his faith, determined to make sense of everything and find a productive path. Though still wrestling with PTSD, Sharp forged forward in his studies. Today, he is just one semester away from having a degree. Encouraged by Fred Bedz, a VUB counselor and Vietnam veteran, Sharp plans to attend graduate school and become a counselor for veterans. “The Veteran’s Upward Bound program helped me so much,” Sharp said. “It’s more than just prep classes, these people are mentors, a brotherhood. They helped me break down barriers and figure out who I am as a person. Today, I have hope.”

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MAGIC I holiday 2012 I 67

jONELLE STILL “My joy is more precious because I once lost it.”

Jonell Still always knew she wanted to be a doctor. An exceptional student, she was not intimidated by the rigorous course of study, but the overwhelming cost was a concern. “I came from a family of modest means and diving deep into debt was something I wanted to avoid,” Still said. In 2002, Still graduated from high school and enlisted in the Air Force. “I thought I would earn some money, experience adventure and then go to college,” she said. After basic training, Still was stationed at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida where she trained to be a radar technician. In January 2005, she received orders to deploy and was assigned to LSA Anaconda, Balad Air Base north of Baghdad. “When I first arrived, I remember looking at the faces of the soldiers – they were completely blank, like stone pillars,” she said. “After a couple of Jonelle Still and friend at Balad Air months I understood Base outside of Baghdad. why.” Though Still worked primarily inside the base perimeter, mortar attacks were frequent and there was no place to escape the danger. “You grow up believing the world is safe, and then you’re in this place where you are a target. Your values and beliefs turn upside down and you have no time to process any of it,” she said. At the time of Still’s deployment, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld had ordered significant military personnel cuts in order to shift spending to new high-tech weaponry. Photo courtesy of Jonelle Still.

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The reduction in manpower meant there were not enough people at the bases to fill all the jobs. One of the critical shortages was the need for help to transport seriously wounded soldiers, and a call went out for volunteers. Still stepped forward. Several nights a week, she and others waited in the medical tent for the Blackhawks to arrive. “The medevacs flew in at night when it was pitch black, carrying the most severely wounded,” Still recalled. She and the other volunteers would run out to the helicopters, pick up the stretchers and take them to the ER for triage. Those who were stable would be flown on a C-130 to a larger medical facility; others would undergo surgery at the ER. Many didn’t live through the night. “Some of them were just 18 or 19 years old. At first I tried to talk to them, comfort them. But pretty soon I stopped looking at the wounds and the faces. There are things you do just to survive,” she recalled.

“It’s like Pandora’s Box – everything feels wrong, but you’re told its right.”

Once a week soldiers on the base would attend “Morale Mondays,” where they would watch videos of F18s bombing certain targets and learn how many were destroyed. “They used words like ‘enemy targets’ and ‘collateral damage’ instead of ‘people,’ Still recalled. “It all just seemed horrible and wrong.” Some of the soldiers shared Still’s reaction; others believed in the mission, the sacrifices. “You could tell where somebody stood; either way you didn’t touch it,” she said. Still finished her tour in June 2005 and returned to Florida. At the airport the soldiers were met with a hero’s welcome; cameras flashed, families were reunited. With none of her family able to come, Still slipped through the crowd, drank a beer and drove to her dorm room at Elgin. In the weeks that followed Still couldn’t sleep, and when sleep did come she had terrible nightmares. She became increasingly paranoid, sometimes hallucinating, seeing horrible images and hearing screams. She withdrew from friends and family and began to drink in order to cope. At the urging of friends, in February 2006 Still sought help for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). “I went through a lot of counselors who weren’t trained in PTSD, they just ordered prescriptions and adjusted dosages,” Still said. After trying more than 30 different sleeping aides, antidepressants and anti-psychotics, she stopped taking anything. About the same time, Still connected with a therapist who understood PTSD. The counselor helped her begin the process of dealing with emotions that had been so deeply and dangerously buried. In 2007, Still was medically separated from the Air Force and moved to Billings

to be nearer to her family. She continued to improve. “I had a memory of how I used to be full of life, and if there was any way I could get even a sliver of that back it would be worthwhile,” she recalled. Still took long walks along the Rims, and sat outside feeling the warmth of the sun on her skin. She also began writing in her journal, forcing her pen to move, amazed at what came out. Slowly the ice that had frozen around her heart began to melt away. “I started feeling emotions again, feeling hope.” Wanting to go to college, Still contacted Fred Dietz with the Veterans Upward Bound (VUB) program to see if he could help her with the G I Bill. “Not only did he help with that, but he connected me with teachers who helped prepare me for the compass exam so I could get right into the classroom.” She discovered that the VUB was more than a resource center, it was a safe place to retreat, where the staff and other veterans offered understanding and support, even on the worst days. Still finished a two-year degree in applied sciences and began working as an X-ray technician. But her dream of becoming a doctor continued to percolate.

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“I got another chance, and I realized I was thinking really small if I let myself believe I can’t do something.”

Last summer, Still traveled to Africa as a volunteer for Show Mercy International, a non-profit organization that conducts medical clinics and helps build schools and homes for orphans. “There are so many orphaned children with so little, yet they have such joy,” she said. “I found my calling in Africa.” In September, Still returned to college and plans to go on to medical school. “I’m going back to Africa again next summer, and when I finish medical school, that’s where I plan to practice. I fit there. It feels right. I’ve found my purpose.”

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“The policeman smiled back, and managed to convey that he was just asking permission to pass around our truck,” Steinback said. “I waved him by.”

“The bad memories, they don’t feel real.”


Jacob Steinback joined the U.S. Army Reserves when he was 24 years old. A college student at the time, the reserve training schedule meshed well with his academic calendar. “I liked the discipline, plus I knew it would help financially,” Steinman said. Immediately after basic training Steinback received orders to deploy. In February 2005, Steinback landed in Iraq where he was stationed at Mouzel. Trained as an army mechanic, Steinback experienced long periods of monotony punctuated with moments of sudden and extreme tension. “One time I was riding in the rear of a convoy when we drove past a tiny village. Out of nowhere an Iraqi police car with three occupants pulled alongside our truck. We stopped, and the driver of the police car Jacob Steinback (right) and comrade came out and began walking toward our truck saying something in Arabic. My driver was scared and kept yelling “Stop!” but the man continued walking toward us.” Steinback brought up his rifle, ready to engage. Realizing Steinback had his back, the other American soldier tried a different tactic: He smiled. Photo courtesy of JACOB STEINBACK

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Though Steinback was managing his deployment well, back in Montana things were not going well. “My life was a mess. I had a relationship that had gone bad and a new baby in the picture. I just really didn’t know where things were going,” he said. After having been gone nearly 15 months, Steinback returned home determined to figure things out. He re-connected with his girlfriend, Tanya, and became involved in the life of his young daughter. “I realized how important they were to me,” Steinback said. Shortly after reconciling, the couple decided to get married, and Steinback adopted Tanya’s older daughter. Four weeks later, Steinback was once again deployed. Though the couple communicated regularly via the email and Skype, it wasn’t the kind of day-to-day interaction that strengthens and deepens relationships. Fifteen months later, Steinback returned home and tried to live his military-style life at home. It didn’t work. “I was very self-centered and used to barking orders, telling people what to do. I couldn’t do that at home. It was frustrating for me and my wife and my daughters kept their distance,” he recalled. For a year Steinback floated between attending military training and trying to find a civilian job. Between the tension at home and uncertainty in his career it was almost a relief when he deployed for a third tour – this time to Afghanistan. “That was a tough year,” Steinback said. “Living on a base is something like living in prison, there’s a lot of concrete, a gym the Internet and video games. But there’s no lake, no restaurants, no theater – you’re very restricted in what you can do.”

“Don’t get too comfortable, keep pushing, keep pushing.”

When Steinback returned home his relationships were at an all-time low. He also exhibited behavior indicative of Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD). “At night I would patrol inside the house with my pistol, checking and rechecking every room,” he said. Other things changed, too. “I can’t stand to wait in line or wait on someone, and driving for me is always intense. And when I walk into a room, I can tell where every middle-eastern looking person is – always.”

Veterans Upward Bound of Montana There were physical problems as well. Steinback developed exerciseinduced asthma from breathing sand and dust, and his short term memory stalled. “I have conversations and within minutes I have no recollection it ever happened,” he said. At a breaking point, Steinback’s wife pushed him to go to counseling. “We went to marriage counseling together, and I went to a family counselor and sought treatment for PTSD.” He also re-enrolled in college to continue working on his goal of becoming a teacher. “I connected with Veterans Upward Bound (VUB), a program which has given me so much support,” he noted. Steinback continues working to improve his relationships. “It’s getting better, I’m learning how to show my wife that I love her,” he said. “I’m also proud of serving in the reserve, and I plan to go on another tour. But between now and then, I have things to work on.”

Veterans Upward Bound (VUB) is a free U.S. Department of Education program designed to help eligible U.S. military veterans refresh their academic skills so that they can successfully complete the post-secondary school of their choosing. Funded through the U.S. Department of Education, the program provides educational services to veterans throughout the State of Montana and offers in-class instruction, online instruction and Reserve/Guard instruction. VUB also offers assistance with applying for financial aid, personal counseling services and academic advice. Lori Borth, VUB program coordinator, noted that veterans as a group are highly goal-oriented. “They want to understand their job and role, but sometimes the bureaucracy in higher education can be confusing,” Borth said. “We work with them, developing trusted relationships and connections with campus staff so they can be successful.” VUB can assist veterans in connecting with support services from other local resources. In Billings, Veterans Upward Bound classes are taught on the campus of Montana State University – Billings.

Veterans Upward Bound Montana – Billings Office Cisel Hall 1500 University Drive Billings, MT 59101 (406) 657-2075


Veteran Assistance According to the Montana Veterans Affairs Division (VA), there are more than 108,000 Montana veterans, many of whom are eligible for benefits due to their military service. The VA will assist veterans in understanding their individual benefits at no charge.

Montana Veterans Affairs The Montana Board of Veterans Affairs oversees a statewide network of services for discharged veterans and their families. Veterans are strongly encouraged to contact the nearest Veteran Service Office to determine specific benefits or entitlements available.

Contact: Billings Vet Center 2795 Enterprise Ave., Suite 1 (406) 657-6071 Billings VA Community Based Clinic 2345 King Ave. W. (406) 373-3500 or 1-877-468-8387 Or 1775 Spring Creek Lane (406) 373-3500 or 1-877-927-8387 For more information, log on to:

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Sweet faces, toasty toes.

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Story and Photos By Jim Gransbery

“Who doesn’t need warm socks? Whether you live in Phoenix or Alaska,

You want your feet dry and warm.” That’s a simple truth of human existence, and Sarah Budd has it down to the nit.

James and Sarah Budd of Bozeman have created a business carved from the

backs of alpacas—a South American cousin of camels that produce a fleece that keeps humans comfortable.

With collective creativity of Montana knitters, garments of art and utility are

shaped from the fleece of these odd-looking creatures. Their gentle disposition surrounds Sarah as warmly as any socks.

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“Born, shorn, worn in Montana.” Alpacas of Montana’s slogan encapsulates the pride and vertical integration of an idea sparked in 2004. With a herd of 120 animals that produces a ton of fleece each year, the Budds oversee a complement of Montana “artisans” whose nimble fingers produce caps, shawls, scarfs, booties and blankets for customers all over the globe who have a computer and a credit card. “People are willing to pay for a handmade product,” says James. “The romanticism, myth of Montana,” compounds the value, adds Sarah. Southwest of town on 60 acres of land, the Budds raise their “children,” – each with individual names like Baba ghanoush, Spinderella and Cowboy – the gentle, curious crossbred from the high altitudes of Bolivia and Peru. Their prized fiber provides warmth without bulk. While most alpaca owners raise the animals for breeding, selling and showing, the Budds have concentrated on breeding, shearing and knitting for the past three years. Now, at a point where they would like to expand, there are obstacles to overcome, says James. “There are 130,000 alpacas in the United States,” he says. “That is not enough fiber to stock two Cabela’s sock orders. This is a period of transition as fiber becomes the focus of alpaca production.” (In comparison, South American countries export 6,500 tons of fleece each year.)

Top: Male alpacas keeping an eye on the ladies at the Budd property in Bozeman. Above Right: Close up of Molly Brown.Above: Sarah Budd holding Spinderella. Right: James Budd hugs Peanuts.

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Shearing happens in May, while the females are still pregnant. “We want them to be cool in the summer when they have their babies,” explains Sarah. Newborns arrive in June and July. If not born before 3 p.m., the female will not deliver it, waiting until the next day. Sarah explains that the alpaca evolved this adaptive characteristic to protect the newborn from predators. Once on the ground the young are up and running within the hour.

Social life Shearing is a community project as the Budds invite other Montana producers to join them. About 200 animals have their fleece harvested over two-and-a-half days, Sarah says. “It’s fun. A social gathering of 10 to 12 breeders,” she says. “The shearing crew consists of four men from Ohio, who do 7,000 alpacas a year. It takes six minutes for each animal.” Unlike sheep, which are smaller and docile by nature, the alpaca must be acclimated to shearing, James explains. The animal’s feet are tied front and back and then laid on its side. Younger animals resist, but alpacas are quick learners. “After a third shearing, they walk right in and sit right down, thank

you,” he says. The social construction of the herd also plays a part as the alpaca, especially females, look after the wellbeing of each other and all offspring, called cria. The fleece is parceled out to three mills in Montana that turn the fiber into yarn, which is then distributed to the knitters. “We have 25 to 45 people, artisans we call them, who use their creativity to produce the products,” says James. “We don’t interrupt. They show us a sample, then go forward. They are proud to present it, and we are lucky to have them,” he adds.

Customized creations “The artisans want it perfect, too,” says Sarah. “One knitter redid a hat

four times to get it the way she wanted.’’ They have 1,500 hats in storage getting ready for the holiday season. Five or six patterns are available online, and hats can be custom made. “We want people to love their product,” she says. The Budds have been married for nine years. James, 46, was born in Maryland. In his early teens, he enjoyed a fishing trip to Bozeman. Later on, after living in the U.S. Virgin Islands, he decided he needed the seasons. After living in Denver, working as a surgical assistant for orthopedic doctors, he came north to Bozeman. Sarah, 33, grew up in the Gallatin Valley. She has a psychology degree from Carroll College in Helena. At first, hinging their livelihood on raising alpacas seemed like an outlandish proposition to the Budds, who were searching for a retail niche to break into. “We wanted to start our own business, be our own boss and started researching opportunities in retail, restaurants and other service-based industries,” Sarah says. “Nothing fit.” Then one day, James came across an article in Costco Connection Magazine about raising alpacas, which the couple initially dismissed. Soon thereafter, the couple came across an article on MSN from the Wall Street Journal about the financial benefits of raising alpacas. Days later, they received correspondence in the mail from Sarah’s sister with an “out-there” but interesting business proposition in the alpaca raising industry. It was a trifecta of gentle nudges James and Sarah could not ignore. The research began and six months later, the Budds bought eight alpacas. They now own 120. “We’ve been in this spot for five years,” she says. With irrigated pastures, the alpacas graze June through September. Winter forage for the herd requires 48 tons of hay. The boutique line of products has been successful for the Budds. They sell through their website and by attending Billings events like the Holiday Food and Gift Festival in mid-November and the MATE show in February, both at MetraPark. They will also have a kiosk up in Rimrock Mall Nov. 19-31 for holiday shoppers looking for the perfect gift. Their line of products includes socks and lightweight underwear for winter sports. “To have the volume to supply Nordstroms or Dillard’s will require an industrial line. We will need fiber from South America to blend with North American,” says James. He also wants to avoid being leveraged by financiers, which he sees as a threat to the ownership of their ideas. The long underwear design is made of 80 percent natural fibers. It took three years to develop and was personally financed. Introduced at an outdoor retail show in Utah, it was successfully received. “It washes and dries without shrinking,” says James. Other new products are targeted to the roughneck in the Oil Patch. A helmet liner that provides warmth and protection from the elements and a boot sock for the nasty winters in Montana and North Dakota.

Fibers fit for kings By JIM GRANSBERY Of four camelids native to South America, the alpaca was the result of intentional cross-breeding in ancient times, producing a fleece prized for its soft warmth. However, garments made from fibers of the alpaca were reserved to aristocracy. “Only kings and queens had them,” says James Budd, who with his wife, Sarah, have the largest flock of alpacas in Montana – 120 head. “It is the ultimate fiber,” he says.“Thick, hollow and dry.” Prehistoric camelids evolved in what is now North America. Ancestors of Bactrian and Dromedary camels migrated so far west they ended up in the east, becoming the long-haul desert truckers from China to North Africa.Another branch of the family moved south and became llamas, vincunas and guanacos. More than 7,000 years ago, indigenous peoples of the Andes in South America crossed the vincuna and guanaco to produce the alpaca, which was not used as a beast of burden like llamas, but was valued as food and fiber. The alpaca can carry about 20 pounds whereas a llama can haul half an elk, says James.While the guanaco’s fibers are strong and strait, the vincuna’s contribution to the cross was softness. As a fiber, alpaca “outperforms Merino wool in every way,” James asserts. Three ounces of alpaca fleece makes a winter scarf that will keep any neck warm.“It is warmth without bulk,” says Sarah.

For more information, log on to:

Booties, scarves and hats are just a few items made by artisans using alpaca fleece.

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turkey trivia no.1 The Turkey Trot was a popular dance in the early 1900s. Thought to be vulgar and crude, it involved dancing in circles and bobbing ones head like a strutting turkey.

Fowl Play

Steeped in tradition (and stuffed with dressing), Tom Turkey has premiered as Thanksgiving’s iconic centerpiece for nearly 400 years. Americans gobble up approximately 736 million pounds of the basted bird each year, but how did our warbling friend receive this distinguished dining designation? Side dishes have been wondering this for years— left rotting in the confines of Tupperware containers because no one saved room for them. Move over, mashed potatoes. Take a seat, green bean casserole. This one is for you and the rest of the side dish misfits.

By Brittany Cremer Photo by James Woodcock

turkey trivia no.2

• Up to 10 percent of female turkeys have beards.


Thanks, but no thanks The cornucopia-erupting bounty, the Pilgrims’ black and white garb (complete with buckled shoes), the pies, the turkey, a rainbow shining over a table of cross-cultural friendship and gratitude—all imaginary. Or at the very least, highly exaggerated. It’s been widely accepted that a feast was held in the Pilgrim colony of Plymouth the fall of 1621, but the jury is still out on whether the iconic meal actually occurred anything like our traditional narrative. Buckles didn’t come into fashion until later in the 17th century, and black and white were commonly worn only on Sunday. Pies and sweets wouldn’t have been on the menu, as Pilgrims had no oven to bake them. While no record exists of the historic banquet’s exact menu, the Pilgrim chronicler Edward Winslow wrote in his journal that Gov. William Bradford sent four men on a “fowling mission in preparation for the event,” and that the native Wampanoag guests arrived “bearing five deer.” Venison, it seems, was likely the entree de jour for the first documented Thanksgiving feast.

My turkey’s a little dry The first feast was three days long and wasn’t immediately repeated. In fact, the “Thanksgiving” of 1623 was more famine than feast, as Gov. Bradford designated it a day of fasting because the colonists were suffering through an awful period of drought. Sporadic Thanksgiving celebrations dot our national timeline until a nationally-recognized Thanksgiving celebration was established in 1863, credited to the unlikeliest of sources—Sarah Josepha Hale, author of one of the most beloved children’s rhymes of all time, “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” I guess we know why lamb chops are off the Thanksgiving menu. Hale petitioned then-president Abe Lincoln with numerous editorials, urging him to proclaim Thanksgiving a national holiday. On Oct. 3, 1863, Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving Day to be observed the last Thursday of November. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt amended the designa-

turkey trivia no.4 • Big Bird of Sesame Street was actually a turkey. Well, sort of. He is actually an oversized parakeet, but the feathers used to make is costume were turkey feathers dyed yellow.

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tion, changing the official Thanksgiving celebration to be held the fourth Thursday in November (which may or may not also be the last Thursday). We have been swooping in for seconds ever since.

It’s a small world, after all The origin of Thanksgiving’s main dish might be as cloudy as Aunt Flora’s gravy, but one thing is certain—Thanksgiving remains a time to gather with friends and family, to reflect and give thanks for the blessings in our lives. And if they could speak English, I’m sure tidings of thanks and gratitude are what we’d hear from this year’s two presidentially pardoned gobblers. President George H.W. Bush officially “pardoned” the first presidential turkey in 1989, dovetailing a modern-day incarnation organized and

turkey trivia no.3 • The average weight of a turkey purchased for Thanksgiving is 16 pounds.

overseen by the National Turkey Federation to save and house two lucky gobblers for life. Where are they sent? Out to pasture? Last year’s birds, “Liberty” and “Peace,” retired to George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate where they reside in their own private outdoor quarters. The pardoned birds between 2005 and 2010 were sent to the happiest place on earth, retiring to one of Disney’s theme parks in Florida or California. No joke. In fact, in preparation for their retirement, the turkeys were forced to listen to Disney tunes around the clock. T-U-R (R you serious?) K-E-Y (Y? because we like you) For dinner, that is.

Mr. Gobbles Goes to Washington

Each year since 1989, the U.S. President has formally pardoned a Thanksgiving turkey from slaughter. Here is the journey our two presidentially-pardoned gobblers will make this year.

1. Cream of the Crop

The selection process began in June, when a flock was selected by National Turkey Federation chairman, Steve Willardsen. This year, he chose a farm in Rockingham County, Virginia as the birthplace. Forty eggs were selected and incubated together. Once hatched, the birds were moved into their own barn.

2. Don’t be Chicken

Turkeys are naturally skittish, but the select group was trained to be “media savvy.” Handlers familiarized turkeys with human contact and played music around the clock so the turkeys got used to loud noises and human voices.

3. Will you be my Plus 1?

Willardsen will choose the National Thanksgiving Turkey and an alternate based on the birds’ ease with handling, physical health

and superior looks. This year, children in the Shenandoah Valley will submit potential names for the birds.

4.Avian Accommodations

On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, the turkeys will be driven to the W Hotel in downtown Washington D.C. where they’ll stay in a suite laden with sawdust and woodchips, snacking from a special avian “munchie box.”

5. Hail to the Chief

The day before Thanksgiving, Willardsen will take the turkeys across the street to the White House for a small gathering with the Obama family. The ceremony usually lasts half an hour.

6. The Afterglow

The turkeys will be driven to George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate, transported by horse-drawn carriage. They will be on display until Jan. 6 and then will retire to their own little house on the estate.

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bestfa 80 I holiday 2012 I MAGIC


When the beautiful octogenarian model Carmen Dell’Orefice was asked by a TV talk show host if she had any work done, she responded, “If your ceiling was falling down, wouldn’t you fix it?” Dell’Orefice was referring to her use of cosmetic facial fillers, and she made an astute observation. “After all,” she continued, “the bulk of life is lived after 50.” Smart woman. It’s no secret that people today live longer than at any other time. Baby Boomers, in fact, now make up more than 25 percent of the nation’s population. While aging is no sin, we also live in a culture that values beauty and youth. In an effort to stay healthy and – yes – physically attractive, many people subscribe to a regimen that includes eating well, exercising and adequate rest. And over time, those good habits reap rewards. But as middle-age begins the inevitable tug at our faces and bodies, a disconnect can emerge between how we feel on the inside and our external appearance. This disconnect can translate negatively in our body image, or the mental picture of how we perceive that we appear to others. Since body image is closely linked to self-esteem, a negative shift in our self-image can result in feeling less attractive and less confident.

by allyson gierke

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For women, the natural signs of aging – sagging skin, puffy eyes, crow’s feet and the dreaded “11s” – can feel particularly disconcerting when the media is filled with idealized images of young, thin, wrinkle-free models. While there is no fountain of youth, there has been a proliferation of new medical procedures designed to arrest and even reverse the aging process – many of which are less invasive than surgical alternatives. In 2011, the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery reported that member surgeons performed an average of 1,000 facial cosmetic and reconstructive procedures per surgeon. Three-fourths of those procedures were cosmetic non-surgical procedures, including Botox, filler injections and chemical peels, which were most often performed on patients between the ages of 35 and 60. With the rush to take advantage of new youth-enhancing treatments, the obvious question is… are they safe?

Dignostic details Dr. Mathew Wolpoe, M.D. says they are. Board Certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery and the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Dr. Wolpoe is well-qualified to perform a variety of surgical procedures on the face and neck. But he also has a host of incremental, non-invasive procedures in his arsenal that can significantly enhance one’s appearance. “First time clients sometimes express uncertainty and fear of discomfort in their treatment, and that’s understandable,” he said. According to Dr. Wolpoe, it is important for a provider to listen carefully to those concerns and take the time to fully explain what a client may expect during and after treatment. “Information is critical. Clients need to feel comfortable with any procedure,” Dr. Wolpoe said, noting he wants his patients to enjoy the experience as well as the results. He also said he’s honest with patients who may want to overdo. “If the individual doesn’t need a Dr. Mathew Wolpoe, M.D.

facelift, I’ll tell them. We really encourage people to seek a more natural look.” Dr. Ken Bailey, M.D., agrees. He says small, incremental non-invasive procedures are a good way for women and men to refresh their physical appearance, helping them feel better Dr. Ken Bailey, M.D., about their appearance as they age. Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, Dr. Bailey specializes in plastic, reconstructive and cosmetic surgery – but he also champions a host of non-invasive procedures. “The natural or intrinsic aging process is continuous, and normally begins in the mid-20s,” Dr. Bailey said. According to Dr. Bailey, collagen production begins to slow and elastin, the substance that enables skin to snap back into place, has a bit less spring. This leads to fine wrinkles, thinning skin and loss of underlying fat which results in hollowed cheeks and eye sockets. Extrinsic factors, he adds, such as sun exposure, dry air and smoking, can also cause loss of elasticity and suppleness.

Between the lines Lawanda Romero, 58, noticed that the fine lines around her mouth were becoming more pronounced, and the lines in her forehead deeper. “Last year I consulted with Dr. Bailey. We decided a treatment of filler injections and Botox would be better than a facelift at this point in my life,” Romero said. The procedures took just over an hour and Romero said, “the results were almost immediate.” Over the next several days, the lines and wrinkles began to fade. “I felt renewed and natural-looking; people tell me that they can’t believe I’m 58 – that I look 42 or 45.” Though Romero said she had her doubts, she was totally surprised and pleased with the results.

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and Dr. Bailey both stress the importance of having a consultation to fully assess options before making a decision. “I inform each patient of every detail of any treatment they are interested in, which alleviates their anxiety,” Dr. Bailey said. “We’re talking about someone’s face – and I’m as interested as they are that the results

meet and exceed their expectations.” For those who may feel embarrassed or reluctant to seek out information, Dr. Baily stresses the benefits. “It’s important to remember that some procedures can even help prevent further wrinkling, arresting the aging process at least temporarily.”

Common Treatments and Procedures Sculptra: An injectable poly-LLactive acid that targets underlying causes of the signs of facial aging. The results are noticeable and occur subtly over several weeks and can last for up to two years or longer in some patients. Patients need four to six treatments of approximately three weeks apart. Botox: A prescription medicine that is injected into muscles to temporarily treat moderate to severe frown lines between the brows. It works by blocking nerve impulses to the injected muscles. This procedure reduces muscle activity that causes those lines to form between the brows.

Juvederm: Young, healthylooking skin contains an abundance of a naturally hydrating substance called hyaluronic acid (HA). The lack of HA causes skin to lose structure and vol-

ume – creating unwanted facial wrinkles and folds. Juviderm helps replace the HA your skin has lost, adding volume to smooth away facial wrinkles and folds.

Latisse: Between the ages of 40 and 60, people lose 51 percent of their eyelashes. Latisse has been approved by the FDA as a prescription treatment used to grow eyelashes, and makes them longer, thicker and darker. It can be used on eyebrows as well.

Eyelift: Eyes are a person’s most intriguing feature; they draw attention and convey expression. An eyelift can refresh the face, making a person appear less tired.

Eyelid surgery: Eyelid surgery corrects the excess skin, tissue and fat that contribute to puffiness and bags in both the

upper and lower eyelids, and can leave a more youthful and energetic appearance. Recovery is quick. The incision is very small, and minor bruising that may occur can often be covered with make-up.

Fractional Laser Skin Resurfacing: Removes dead skin, tightens pores and corrects pigmentation problems by using laser energy microbeams to create areas of affected tissue that extend through the epidermis into the dermis. The body’s natural healing process creates new, healthy tissue to replace the areas of affected tissue, resulting in healthier, younger-looking skin. Temporary redness, warmth and swelling at time of treatment generally disappears within a few days.

Photorejuvenation: This treatment uses gentle pulses of intense, optimized light to treat

undesirable pigment and visible red vessels, which can occur as a result of aging and lifestyle choices. It effectively provides an even skin tone.

LifeSculpt Laser: A minimally-invasive laser treatment that gently “melts” and removes unwanted fat cells in as little as an hour. The result is more toned and tighter skin. Because of the precision of this laser technology, few surrounding tissues are affected – meaning a person will experience little discomfort and minimal downtime. CoolSculpting: Patented procedure that uses a targeted cooling process to kill fat cells underneath the skin, literally freezing them to the point of elimination. Only fat cells are frozen. Once crystallized, the fat cells die and are naturally eliminated from your body.


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This year the U.S. Postal Service expects to process two billion paper holiday greetings. The Web will hum with cheerful missives, and Ma Bell will ring with cheer. But where did all this joyful noise start? Tracing Christmas card genealogy reveals a pair of charming medieval parents: Valentine cards and New Year greetings. Handmade or sometimes blockprinted, both types were widely shared among friends as far back as the 1400s. Oliver Cromwell and his Puritan followers took over England in 1645 and vowed to sweep the country clean of decadence, including Christmas with its bawdy revelry. In the colonies, Christmas

was banned by Puritan Boston. Obviously, these were no breeding grounds for Christmas cards. A tender side of the holiday emerged with British author Charles Dickens’ iconic tale “A Christmas Carol” in 1843. The story of good works and goodwill had a major impact in the United States and England and showed Victorian society that Christmas possessed some virtue after all.

Heirloom Quality Antiques Original Artwork Wonderful Gift Items Kettle Corn & Candies for Stocking Stuffers Two of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy’s original paintings were featured on White House Christmas cards. “Journey of the Magi” (Left) depicted the wise men while “Glad Tidings” (Right) featured an angel announcing the birth of Christ. The designs were also produced by Hallmark Cards as a fundraiser for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C.

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Writer’s cramp? Possibly feeling overburdened with hand-writing hundreds of yearly greetings, most of which also included a nudge toward charity, England’s Sir Henry Cole is credited with developing the first reproducible Christmas card. In 1843 he commissioned John Callcott Horsely, an artist friend, to create the design. It showed an aristocratic family celebration. The fold-out wings depicted acts of kindness to the poor. The simple greeting, “A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You,” would become standard, and it is still the most popular sentiment today.

Mass market appeal Louis Prang, a German immigrant known as the “Father of the American Christmas card,” began creating cards for the popular market in 1857. By 1881, Prang was producing more than five million Christmas cards each year. Christmas was declared a federal holiday in the United States in 1870. Religious Christmas cards began to appear in the 1890s. In response to the secular manifestations of today’s observances, many Christians use the card-sending tradition to shift focus toward their true meaning of Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ.


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The official Barack Obama White House holiday card for 2011 showed Bo the First Dog dozing by a fireplace. As many as 1.5 million holiday cards in a given year have borne the 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue return address.

Hail from the Chief Historians agree that the first official White House Christmas greeting appeared during the administration of Dwight D. Eisenhower. Starting in 1953 “Ike” made the Presidential Seal the focus of the 1,100 cards sent that year. Two of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy’s original paintings were featured on White House Christmas cards. “Journey of the Magi” depicted the wise men while “Glad Tidings” featured an angel announcing the birth of Christ. The designs were also produced by Hallmark Cards as a fundraiser for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C.

In the palm of your hand… No doubt while the 2012 Thanksgiving leftovers are still in the fridge, E-Greetings - some with music and animation - plus Facebook “status” posts and 140-character tweets will begin setting off millions of festive seasonal ringtones. But whether it’s weighty vellum enclosed in a foil-lined envelope, a photo greeting or handmade one-of-a-kind, Americans will snail-mail two billion “hard copy” cards this year.

As you like it For decades cards were sent for a penny apiece. Now we peel and stick custom-designed holiday stamps at 45 pennies each; more, for thick epistles detailing a year of family milestones, slickly formatted with fancy fonts and photos and duplicated for mass mailing. Disdained by some, exhaustive annual reports are welcomed by others, who prefer paragraphs of minutiae over cards preprinted with the sender’s name. Crayoned masterpieces will be magnetized to refrigerators long after the construction paper has faded, the macaroni manger scene has crumbled and the glitter has flitted off the snowman. A missive in our USPS mailbox from a human being is precious at any time, but never more than during the holidays. We repent of moaning over hours spent prepping our own greetings while basking in the glow of warm words from folks who may only touch our lives once a year. Wassail! Raise a toast to the health of the venerable Christmas card. Two billion postage stamps can’t be wrong.

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the fans love their team

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They are, by virtue of definition, fanatical. They are often obnoxious, superstitious, irrational and dedicated. And, they are uniquely American. Fans of the National Football League (NFL) number in the millions. In fact, according to a 2011 Adweek/Harris Poll survey, 64 percent of Americans tune in to “their team,” including 73 percent of men and over half of all women. Football, like many sports, is steeped in tradition. Prime season ticket privileges are passed down through families. Tackling becomes second nature for kids who have watched in their living rooms since they could walk. Sunday afternoons become sacred entities of their own making. After-all, what would Thanksgiving be without the Detroit Lions or the Dallas Cowboys following the turkey? Every Sunday—and now both Monday and Thursday nights—from September through late December NFL fans are glued

to a TV someplace, whether at home or at a local socializing establishment, cheering for their team. Geographically, the closest NFL team to Billings is the Denver Broncos. Yet, an informal survey across the city reveals fans of just about every team from New England to Tampa Bay to San Diego. But what drives these folks? What fires their visceral link to a certain color or mascot? Why do they schedule their lives, their family time, their precious Sunday afternoons around their team’s game time? And, without a “home” team, how do Montanans pick “their team?”

By Brenda Maas • PHOTOGRAPHY BY Paul ruhter

MAGIC I holiday 2012 I 89

All in the family For Ruth Orr, her love for the Pittsburg Steelers started in left field—with baseball. Her son, who as an adult is a baseball and football coach, followed the Pittsburg Pirates. That association grew into love for the Steelers. But Ruth wasn’t really a huge NFL fan. That is, until her grandson called from Denver every Sunday and said in his little preschooler voice, “Waa-ma, are you weady for some foooot-ball?!” “Football is our connection,” she notes. “And the Steelers are our team.” Today that grandson is 16 years old and he texts Ruth multiple times every day. Ruth herself has gone a bit overthe-edge, too. Her husband, a retired fireman, notes that he had to move his fireman “stuff” to make way for Steelers paraphernalia in their living room. She sports a Steeler wallet, inside a Steelers purse and she drives a black truck adorned with—you guessed it—Steelers accessories. “One day I was so happy that I went a bit crazy and got this,” she says as she points to a Pittsburg logo tattooed just above her ankle. The Orr family takes an annual trek to various NFL football stadiums. She has been to Sports Authority Field at Mile High several times, Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego and University of Phoenix Stadium. In retirement she wants to visit Pittsburg. “The Steelers fans are working class families,” she says proudly, “And they have the biggest female fan base.”

Hometown girls…and boys Rivalry between fans is common, so Minnesota Vikings fan Michelle Luce may disagree with Orr. “I am a lifetime, lifetime fan,” notes Luce, who grew up in Minneapolis and still retains season tickets with her family. “I told each one of my five kids that they bleed purple. One of them actually freaked out once because his blood wasn’t literally purple,” she laughs. Luce doesn’t miss a game and usually catches at least one back at the Metrodome in her hometown. Yet, considering her two Vikings charm bracelets, earrings, team tattoo and Percy Harvin jersey, there’s no doubt that Luce and all her children love to blow their Vikings horn—literally. Although Sarah Harris has never been to Lambeau Field, let alone Wisconsin, one would never know it. She walked into Sid’s Place in Laurel last September to watch the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football and ended up seeing her team lose to the Seattle Seahawks in one of this season’s most contested calls. Despite the loss, her Aaron Rogers jersey and trademark Cheesehead make her loyalty indisputable.

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Top : Kevin Foster, left, celebrates a Green Bay Packers’ touchdown with his sons Braedyn, 4, Kysen, 2, and his wife Amber, while watching football at Buffalo Wild Wings. Middle: Chris Hamon celebrates a Denver Broncos touchdown with his mother Pegee while watching football at Tiny’s Tavern.Above: Minnesota Vikings fan Michelle Luce truly dresses the part, including a Vikings tattoo.

Turkey Day Football Traditions The first Thanksgiving Day professional football games were played in 1920 and did include a team from Michigan— the Detroit Heralds—but not a team from Texas. The Detroit Lions made their Thanksgiving Day debut in 1934 but lost to the Chicago Bears, 19-16. This first game was originally scheduled on a holiday because Lions’ owner, George A. Richards, was trying to capture an audience that was dominated by baseball’s Detroit Tigers. The 26,000 seats University of Detroit Stadium sold out two weeks in advance. From 1951-63, the Green Bay Packers played the Detroit Lions every year on Thanksgiving. The Lions won 9 and tied 1 of those 12 matchups. In 1966 the Dallas Cowboys made their Thanksgiving debut, beating the Cleveland Browns, 26-14. The Cowboys have played every year since except 1975 and 1977. With only a six-season gap from 1939-1944, the Detroit Lions have played Thanksgiving Day since 1934. Top: Christy Wininger gives a round of high-fives to a crowd of Green Bay Packers fans inside Bugz’s Bar and Casino. Second from top: Sarah Harris wears a cheese-head while watching a Green Bay Packers game with friends at Sid’s Place in Laurel. Inset, Left: Strangers can easily become friends when they are wearing the same jersery. Above left: Green Bay Packers fan Steve Harris cheers while watching a game with a crowd at Bugz’s Bar and Casino.Above right: Dallas Cowboys fan Eddie Corcoran uses a cell phone and a tablet to check NFL scores and stats while watching football inside Hooligan’s Sports Bar.

Sources: and

MAGIC I holiday 2012 I 91

“Everyone in my family except my uncle loves the Saints, but I’ve been a Packer fan for as long as I can remember,” she reports. “It makes things interesting when the Saints play the Packers.” Next to dreaming of a Titletown trip, Harris would like to personally meet Brett Favre. “I want to yell at him for going to the Vikings,” she says. Being a Packer fan is serious business, though, for this college student. Harris is trying to convert her sister from “Saint-hood” and says of a future partner, “Any guy I date had better be prepared to be a Packer fan.”

Into the game early Tony Parish comes by his Seahawks adoration naturally—he was born and raised in Seattle. But his son, Jordan, is free to choose. And choose he does. This 11-year-old NFL nut has his teams in order: #1 is the Steelers; #2 is the Seahawks; #3 is the Texans, Jordan reports. “My least favorite is the Broncos—I don’t like their head coaches,” he opines. Although he doesn’t play football because of an extensive hip injury in soccer, Jordan plays—and wins—in multiple fantasy football leagues. “I pick the Texans to win the Super Bowl,” he sagely announces.

Vegas, take note. His dad, Tony, hasn’t been to a Seahawks game since he moved to Montana, but he has not missed a Sunday game with his son. “Every Sunday we come here (to Buffalo Wild Wings). We try to get table 173 because it has the best viewing of multiple screens,” Tony proudly notes. “It’s the best father-son gig ever.” Therein lays the charm of football—it is everywhere, for everyone, in one form or another, from little tikes pulling flags, to Little Guys here in Billings, to the big leagues around the nation. For armchair quarterbacks to female-only fantasy leagues, football fever inspires, terrifies and in a milli-second call, just as easily can completely crush a fan. While baseball might be America’s pastime, football fans are not heading to the diamond from the Thanksgiving table—they are fumbling to find the pigskin. See you on the gridiron.

Top: St. Louis Rams fans Kooper Bond and Brennan Barta sit with Packers fan Nathan Pardy inside Hooligan’s Sports Bar while their two teams play against each other. Middle: Tony Parish reacts while watching a Seattle Seahawks football game while his son Jordan, left, is drawn to a different game. Right: Minnesota Vikings fan Charles Richard screams at a television while watching a game with Bears fans Chris Norwood, left, and Dan Porisch inside Hooligan’s Sports Bar.

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most inspiring

Our city is ripe with people whose quiet actions make Billings a better place. In this, our second annual Most Inspiring People segment, we introduce you to a few who exemplify this spirit. Their stories of compassion, service and hope give us one more reason to be proud to call Billings home.

by allyn hulteng & brenda maas

MAGIC I holiday 2012 I 95

Impact Educator By Allyn Hulteng • Photo by Larry Mayer

Frank Hollowell

Principal, Huntley Project Junior High

Frank Hallowell grew up on a farm near Hysham, Mont. “We lived between Froze to Death and Starve to Death Creeks,” Hollowell smiled. “No kidding.” When he was a senior in high school, the new Apple 2E computer came out and Hollowell volunteered to help teach second and third graders to use it to learn math facts. “I knew then I wanted to become a teacher,” he said. Hallowell attended Eastern Montana College in Billings, where he met and married his wife Joyce. After graduation, the young couple moved to Melstone, Mont., where Hollowell was hired to teach a combination third and fourth grade class. A first-year teacher, Hollowell had no idea what a lasting impact he would have. When the other elementary school teachers aren’t looking, Mr. Hollowell lets us play tackle football in the back of the school. He even plays tackle football with us, three or four of us hanging off him, our thin arms wrapped around his neck, his waist, thighs like trunks of pines. “There were eight third graders and four fourth graders,” he recalled. “Joe Wilkins was a fourth grader, and his brother Paul was in the third.” Hollowell] reads to us… and sits on a stool and plays old Hank Williams tunes on his guitar, lets us get up and sing and dance around. He jokes and kids and slaps us wonderfully hard on the back. Then, when someone has a birthday – say, Wendell Williamson or Ruthie Aasgaard, or some other kid whose parents everyone knows won’t bring in cupcakes – Mrs. Hollowell comes to our class with all kinds of treats.* In December, Joe and Paul Wilkins’ father died of cancer. The boy’s mother, Olive, asked Hollowell if he would play at the funeral. “I did. I was nervous, but I played for them, the boys and Olive.” Mr. Hollowell brings his guitar to my father’s funeral and sings, and when he hits that last note, he starts crying. Everyone’s crying, and I’m crying... When I finally come back to school Mr. Hollowell starts crying again… He lets me stay after and finish my homework with him, buys me a Snickers and a Mountain Dew… Soon I’m staying after every day.*

Like the prairie grass, Joe Wilkins began to flourish under Hollowell’s watchful eye. He became stronger in sports and excelled in academia. Mr. Hollowell gives me extra work when I finish mine before everyone else. He gets me moved up a grade for reading and math… here, suddenly, I find myself without peers… no one can do fractions as fast as I can. No one knows as many answers in the quiz bowl. And Mr. Hollowell slaps a sticker on my paper and hands me another book. * For Frank Hollowell and the other teachers in the close-knit community, Joe and his brother were special kids. “I remember thinking that we had to provide the best environment we could, that these kids needed to feel watched over,” he said. “Reaching out to people who really needed help, that was something ingrained in me by my father.” And so, when Mr. Hollowell moves away at the end of the year, I will more than need someone to take his place, someone – no, some man – to throw the football and hand me a book, to fill the space made gaping not by my father’s death but by Mr. Hollowell’s merciful and immoderate attention.* *** Epilogue: Frank Hollowell has been in education for 26 years. He taught in Melstone, Mont., for two years before moving to Worden, Mont., where he has been with Huntley Project Schools for the past 24 years. After moving from Melstone, Hollowell lost touch with his young student, Joe Wilkins, but Wilkins never forgot Frank Hollowell In this book titled “The Mountain and the Fathers, Growing Up on the Big Dry,” Joe Wilkins writes about his life growing up on the Montana prairie and the people of the plains. One chapter, titled “Frank Hollowell,” chronicles the impact that a young, first-year teacher had on the author’s life after the tragic loss of his father. Frank Hollowell had no idea he was a subject in the book until he re-acquainted with Joe Wilkins during the High Plains Book Festival in October 2012. “Joe told me, ‘Thank you for teaching me, Mr. Hollowell. You were a big part of my life.’ I was proud of him, and so humbled. You never know what impact you have when you teach.”

At the end of the school year, Hollowell offered to help Olive Wilkins with the farm. He spent the summer irrigating, cutting haying and putting up hay. Soon, Mr. Hollowell is showing me how to irrigate, taking me out on my father’s motorbike, telling me to step into the ditch and let the dirty water curl around my rubber hip boots… saying, “Tamp those dams down right. We’ve got to flood these fields good to bring green grass up on this dry land.*”

In Frank’s words:

As you go through life, you will have the opportunity to impact people. Take that opportunity. You may not know at the time if it will make a difference, but it does.

*Excerpts from The Mountain and the Fathers, Growing Up on the Big Dry quoted with permission from Joe Wilkins.

Living in Tune By Brenda Maas • Photo by James Woodcock

Chris Smith

Creative/music director at Faith Chapel

Chris Smith does not remember living without music—music intertwined with faith. His mother played in church and like her, he started playing piano and sang in church from an early age. As a young boy, he envisioned himself growing up to become a traveling musician. “Me, singing in front of my mirror, that was my whole scene,” he laughs about his childhood antics, singing along with Def Leppard and Bon Jovi. Although many people feel the call, the allure of music, only a small proportion are able to mold it into their livelihood. As creative/music director at Faith Chapel, Smith does that. Each weekend, he and the rest of his musical team craft and perform six services for up approximately 3,000 congregation members. “It’s a challenge,” he admits, “but it’s also really pretty cool. We are always searching, looking for ways to connect. We focus on keeping things fresh, special. It’s a humbling honor to affect so many people.” Faith Chapel is known locally for its energetic, uplifting music and Smith is a big presence behind that reputation. For him, it is a pleasure born from his passion. “The music encourages people and it’s a huge part of what I do,” he says. “I point them toward God. Every weekend, I look out at the people at Faith and I want them to know there is hope—it’s one of my favorite words—probably because I’ve had many moments of feeling hopeless.” Smith has dealt with personal issues, including depression and anxiety—diseases that unlike physical ailments such as cancer and heart disease are not easy to talk about in our society. Yet, he feels that hope, along with the physical-emotional-mental-spiritual balance he has created in his life, is the key to improvement. “I am a huge believer that God has a plan for each of our lives, but it is up to us to experience it, to try to figure out what that plan is and what we need, where we need to go,” says Smith. To that end, he recently went out on a limb and entered a song in the “Be the New Sound of HGTV” contest, even though he didn’t really expect to win. He had recorded a quick lyric idea on his smartphone about “all signs pointing this way home” and called his friend Edward Keels for writing help. The rest reads like a storybook ending. Smith and Keels’ song, “This Way Home” won and the tune will be recorded and used for HGTV’s House Hunting International revised

marketing and promotional campaign. As winners, the songwriting duo also received a booking in the 2013 SXSW Music Conference in

Austin, Texas, along with two other recording bookings. It is a huge break for an artist. “Songwriting, to me, starts with my life,” notes Smith. “I have things that I have experienced and things I want to say. It’s basically the struggles I’ve had and I want to share that. It’s a very spiritual process to write music. Yet the same issues that can inspire me to write are the same issues that can kick me down and keep me there. But you have to push past that and when you do, that’s when the music really comes together, when it really means something.” And, in Chris Smith’s world, every day is a new day to make music.

In Chris’ words:

Don’t be afraid to take chances. Living in fear of failure, of commitment, of making mistakes can be completely paralyzing. If something doesn’t work the first time, that’s OK. Just try again.

Guardian Angels By Allyn Hulteng • Photo by Larry Mayer

Judy Williams, Damon Gannett & Heather Sather Guardians Ad Litem for Yellowstone County

“Every kid thinks every family in the neighborhood is just like theirs – until they get to a certain age,” said Damon Gannett, attorney and guardian ad litem for Yellowstone County. “Johnny’s dad drinks and then beats up his mom; Susie’s mom disappears for days leaving her kids without food or care. The sad fact is that not every child lives in a protective, nurturing family.” Gannett, along with Heather Sather and Judy Williams, are attorneys who represent some of Yellowstone County’s most vulnerable citizens. Called guardians ad litem, they are courtappointed guardians charged with representing the best interests of minors, most of whom are victims of child neglect or abuse. The cases, they acknowledge, often involve disturbing circumstances. Williams recalls one incident when a woman was arrested for driving under the influence after flipping the car over into a ditch. Her children were also in the car and not seat-belted in. “Her 9 year old told the arresting officer, ‘I shouldn’t have let her drive.’” In another case, a 5 year old was left alone inside a car while his mother went into a bar to From left to right: Judy Williams, Damon Gannett and Heather Sather. drink. “He told the police he gets scared when she leaves him,” continues to climb. Within the first six months of 2012, the county Williams said. had as many cases as in all of 2011, and there were about one-third Many of the cases involve parents who are drug addicts, and as many cases in 2011 than in 2010. a lot of those parents simply disappear. “These are some of the The attorneys point to the increased use of meth as contributing hardest cases,” Williams said. “The kids still love their parents, they to the escalation. “For a while meth use in Billings was declining, almost always ask ‘when can I go home?’” but we’ve seen a reverse of that trend in the last couple of years,” But Williams is quick to point out that the process can and Williams said. does work. She recalled one situation where the dad was out of the Despite the caseload and the emotional toll, Gannett, Sather picture and the mom, an addict, abandoned the kids. “We filed and Williams remain steadfast, passionate about their work. “When to terminate parental rights, and when the mom found out, she you see those kids, you know what you do matters,” Williams said. straightened up in record time,” Williams said. “I told the mom, ‘I hope you know we rooted for you all along.’ She said ‘I know. I heard you.’” The ultimate goal for the guardians and courts is to reunite the families. They work together to get parents into addiction When I retire, I want to feel like I made a difference. treatment programs and connect them with other services that can help them turn their lives around. Yet the outcome is never assured. I want to be proud of what I do, and tell my kids that I help kids. “You become invested in these people,” Gannett said. “I’ve had spectacular successes, and I’ve also seen horrific failures.” Unfortunately, the number of cases in Yellowstone County We have a responsibility to help kids in need.

In Damon’s words: In Heather’s words: In Judy’s words:

Beaming Hope from Within By Brenda Maas • Photo by James Woodcock

Jake Wittak

6th Grader at Blue Creek School

“For some reason I’m always changing what I want to be when I grow up,” says 12-year-old Jacob Wittak. “First it was a paleonentolgist, now it’s a movie/video producer. If that doesn’t work out, maybe I would be a history teacher. And, I sure wouldn’t mind being president.” That indecisiveness is typical of most 12-year-old boys. Yet, the final piece—the ‘I sure wouldn’t mind being president,’ the juxtaposition is wholly Jake. This young man has one big reason, bigger than most his age, to be idealistic and empathetic. Jake was born with a condition called biliary atresia—basically, his bile ducts failed to develop. Medical researchers don’t know what causes it, but about one in 15,000 babies are born with it. Nearly 11 years ago, just shy of his first birthday, Jake had a liver transplant. Jake doesn’t remember anything of the surgery, nor the 18 subsequent surgeries or the extended hospital stay surrounding the transplant. Being a donor

recipient is the only life he has ever known. And, he takes it all in stride. “Now I take a lot of pills every day—pinkie, whitey—I give them names,” he says. “When I don’t remember, my mom reminds me.” Jake also talks matter-of-factly about his donor. “Michael (the first name of his donor) is a real entity to me. Actually, I think he’s inside of me, in some way,” Jake says. “I have a 28-year-old liver and I’m only 12.” In the same breath he goes on to talk about the video games he likes and his imaginary army of squirrels—Jake’s latest obsession. “People might think my life is terrible—with all the stuff that has happened to me—but I usually forget about all that,” he says. “I haven’t really done anything special, well, besides passing Hunter’s Education class.” Yet, those who know Jake, those who experience him on a regular basis, find that this quirky, laid-back 6th-grader beams optimism with his very being. “Jake talks very openly about his situation,” says his teacher, Becky Carlson. “I’ve often heard him say ‘I’m so thankful for life; I got a second chance.’ Yet he’s not preachy. He takes life and lives in the moment—most sixth graders are not like that.” Last year, after a nasty bout with a kidney stone, Jake was down in the dumps. It was about that time that his “Make a Wish” came true. Montana Senator Max Baucus paid Jake a personal visit at Blue Creek School. Prior to that, Jake took the time to speak to each classroom of kids about his situation and what it felt like to be a donor recipient. He even spoke to the students older than him—as task that could be intimidating to most other ‘tweens. Carlson goes on to say that Jake’s openness and positive attitude lift up those around him. He is often the first to include a new student or one who may be not as socially or academically advanced. Jake really is a typical sixth-grade boy, yet his experiences give him a maturity three times his age. He lives each day with a depth, an “adultness” that in its childhood simplicity is nothing short of extraordinary.

In Jakes words:

I like what John F. Kennedy said: Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.

A Calling Beyond Duty

By Allyn Hulteng • Photo by James Woodcock

George Blackard

cOMMANDER, American Legion Andrew Pearson Post 117

As a youngster growing up on a farm in rural Kansas, George Blackard dreamed of seeing the world. After graduating from high school, he enlisted in the Navy expecting to travel to exotic locations. “Ironically, I served on an aircraft carrier in a shipyard and did very little traveling,” Blackard said. His five years of service, however, imparted maturity and taught him important life lessons, including a strong work ethic and service to others. After being honorably discharged, Blackard returned to Kansas. In 2001, he received a job offer in Billings. “I had never been here before – never even heard of Billings. But I loaded everything I could fit into my Buick Skylark and moved anyway,” he said. Several years later, Blackard went to work as a customer advocate for Connect Telephone & Computer Group. The owner, Matt Duray, strongly encourages employees to be active in the community; it was a philosophy Blackard took to heart. A veteran himself, Blackard was drawn to the local American Legion Post. “I walked in and said, ‘I want to volunteer.’” The more time Blackard spent at the Post, the more he became familiar with the local veteran community and the more opportunities he saw to help. He began recruiting younger veterans and getting them involved in community service. By 2011, some of those recruits approached Blackard, asking if he would help them start their own Post. “Each Post has its own mission, and the younger veterans wanted to create a Post that more closely mirrored their goals,” he said. Blackard took the lead. After discussions with the group, he approached Ron and Sandy Pearson asking permission to name the new Post after their son, Andrew, a graduate of Billings Senior High and West Point who was killed by an improvised explosive device (IED) in his second tour in Iraq. Initially hesitant, Pearson’s parents gave their

consent. “Andrew Pearson was such an honorable person,” Blackard said. “We represent Andrew, what he stood for and his sacrifice. He helps steer our mission.” Officially charted in September 2011, the American Legion Andrew Pearson Post 117 quickly grew from eight to 160 members and has become one of the most active in the country. “We take service seriously,” Blackard said. “We get things done.” In its inaugural year, the Post helped the local Marine Corps Toys for Tots program, held a fundraiser for a young veteran with cancer and raised more than $20,000 a one-day fundraiser for Bo Reichenbach, a Navy SEAL from Billings who was critically wounded in Afghanistan by an IED. The group has also formed an ongoing relationship with ZooMontana, adopting the organization as a long-term community service project. “We’re out there talking to people, letting them know what we do and trying to find ways to work with other organizations, too,” Blackard said. One of those opportunities came when Blackard received a call from the local chapter of Blue Star Mothers. Five service-disabled veterans biking across the U.S. as part of the Long Home Road Project would be in Billings the next day – could the Andrew Pearson Post reach out to them? Within a few hours, Blackard contacted a local restaurant, which agreed to provide a free steak dinner for the visitors. He and other Post members also sent out a call for donations, raising more than $1,600 in just a couple of hours. Blackard’s service to veterans extends well beyond serving as Post Commander. More than a year ago, he worked behind the scenes to help bring the Honor Flight to Montana. The program honors veterans of all wars by flying them to Washington, D.C. to see their war memorial at no cost. As the Montana flights were arranged, Blackard and seven of his Post members volunteered to go along as aides. “I served as the wheelchair captain on both Big Sky Honor Flights, loading and unloading our vets and showing them around the memorials,” Blackard said. “It was so emotional, from start to finish. I was honored to be with them.” One of Blackard’s most rewarding efforts has been to serve as a member of the Yellowstone County Veterans Cemetery Board. When the vision to have a final resting place for veterans became a reality, Blackard was there – playing taps on his bugle for the first veteran interred there. “I’ve been blessed to have so many good mentors, people like Burt Gigoux and Bill Kennedy who showed me how to get involved and serve my community,” Blackard said. “I want to be that kind of mentor for others.”

In George’s words:

Take pride in your community and get involved in your community. When you serve others, you really grow as a person and learn a lot about life and yourself.

Re-defining the Box

By Brenda Maas • Photo by James Woodcock

Mike Caskey

Counselor with SD2’s Transitions PROGRAM Program

Mike Caskey knows teenagers. As counselor, and glorified registrar, attendance clerk and secretary, of the Billings School District Transitions Program, his daily life revolves around teens who don’t quite fit inside the box—or, at least those who draw their own lines. But, it’s a great fit because Caskey, a former art teacher, describes himself as an “outside the box educator.” “School doesn’t work the same for every kid,” he emphasizes. Although Transitions has its roots in an alternative GED program, it has evolved into a program that helps keep students, who might otherwise drop out because their personal situations supersedes their ability to attend school, moving forward with their education. “Some of our students come from backgrounds that no one would want for students. Some slept in their car last night. Others may have depression or severe anxiety or even a medical condition like Crohn’s disease that makes it just too overwhelming to even be here.” At Transitions, the student works at his or her own pace toward individual learning objectives. In addition, the program is now webbased, so even if a student cannot get into the classroom at Lincoln Center, he or she can continue learning from any Internet connection. “We serve a population of students who, given this small, focused learning environment, may be able to take baby steps toward reentering the traditional high school learning environment,” he reports. As counselor, Caskey does a lot of listening, a fair amount of guiding and a good measure of believing. “I just try to listen to kids and encourage them the best I can. It’s amazing how kids can open up when they have someone who cares, and someone who holds them accountable. They get that from me and from the four teachers here.” He goes on to describe a few students, who over the years, made a strong impact on him. One young man stands out because of his appearance. “He looked scary, he acted scary,” he recalls. “Initially I would rather not have dealt with him. I discovered that inside of what others might consider a ‘throw-away’ kid, one beyond help—was an absolutely amazing kid locked up in a set of severe circumstances.” It is this honest, eyes-open approach to kids and learning that makes Caskey so popular with students and parents alike.

“I had another kid, he was a real tough guy, he had a hard reputation. But he once told me that inside my office was the only place where he could take off his mask, where he could be who he really was. It is so sad that kids feel this way,” he notes. And, it is for the betterment of society overall that counselors like Caskey work diligently to uncover these burgeoning personalities and nudge them forward. The first student went on to finish mechanics school and the latter became a teacher. Like many influential educators, Caskey is the last to take credit for his work. “I was lucky to have figures like JFK and MLK in my formative years. What do kids have today to inspire them? Sports figures or imaginary characters on a video game? I’m not doing anything magical here,” he says of Transitions and his counseling work. “I’m a faith-based guy. I make mistakes and others make mistakes—there are no perfect people. But, just like I tell these kids: take responsibility for it and move on. I believe in forgive and forget and in working hard toward realistic goals.”

In Mike’s Words:

Believe in yourself. I see so many kids who don’t know, don’t realize how truly amazing they really are. They need the self-esteem to have goals and dreams and believe that they can achieve them.

Give More to Be More

By Brenda Maas • Photo by Casey Page

Misty Miner

Lifetime member of Jaycees

Misty Miner admits she wasn’t sure what she was in for when she first joined the Glendive Jaycees. “I had a passion for something but I didn’t know what it was or what to do with it. I was a single mom working three jobs but wanted to be more, to have more, for my life,” she says. “When I stumbled into Jaycees, that all changed.” Fifteen years later, Miner has “aged out” of the Junior Chamber organization, but her dedication and hard work have earned her a lifetime membership as a “Senator.” The Jaycees, or U.S. Junior Chamber, empowers young, active citizens ages 18-41 to create positive change in their communities with targeted, sustainable solutions that achieve results. Miner’s official track record is nothing short of outstanding. Starting with the Glendive chapter, she has held most positions at a local level, moved on to state president, then board chair. Next came campaigning for an entire year for a national vice-president position and a year serving that role. Along the way, Miner grew. “The Jaycees directly affected my life without even planning it. I never envisioned this to have the interaction with others in my community, my state and my country,” she says. Miner points to one of her the first events that she coordinated as her impetus. The young daughter of a local family had a brain tumor and needed surgery in Salt Lake City. The local Jaycees hosted a spaghetti feed and silent auction to help. Throughout the planning process Miner fretted—she feared it wasn’t enough. But when the Jaycees delivered the check to the family, and she saw their gratitude, she realized the impact that a small, local organization could make in the lives of one family. She was hooked. “Knowing the bigger cause, being present in their lives, just for that moment, that’s what sets the hook,” she emphasizes. “It’s infectious. You want to give more, help more people and by doing that you become more engaged, more passionate with everyone you encounter. You want to share that feeling, that gift, with everyone you can.” And share she did. Miner went on to tirelessly chair many local events and fundraising efforts. She helped charter a chapter in Miles City with another young, single mom who echoed Miner’s early life. After relocating to Billings, she started another local chapter and

infused her energy, experience and guidance into a community group that is now 45-members strong. Locally, that translated into events like the recent Haunted Hallows fundraiser and One Warm Coat Drive for Yellowstone County families in-need. Yet something else was happening simultaneously. Miner was growing up within the organization. As she moved through the Jaycee ranks, her job with the Montana Department of Transportation changed. “I’m a hands-on sort of person,” she says. “I started as a testing technician in what is traditionally a male occupation. But my involvement with the Jaycees made me so much more mature in my job.” She learned how to give, and receive, constructive criticism; how to negotiate toward a common goal; how to lead by example. Throughout her Jaycees “career” Miner has been known for her optimism and passion—it emanates from her very being. Yet she attributes that to fellow Jaycees, colleagues that she met along the way. “You become a true leader when you can step back and nudge others in the direction they need to go,” she notes. And, almost as if the up-and-coming Jaycees are her own children, Miner sits back and cheers.

In Misty’s words:

Be actively present in your life; don’t just go through the motions— feel it, live it, enjoy every waking moment. Failure cannot be present as long as you try.

Humanity in Health Care By Brenda Maas • Photo by Casey Page

Dr. Benjamin Marchello Medical oncologist

journeys can be difficult, seeing them in their own home or hospice, surrounded by families or loved ones still moves him. “You are born and you die—those things are all certain. All the stuff in the middle is different for everyone. Some of the most thankful people and families I know are those that I didn’t make live a day longer, but I cared about them. I showed them that I cared about them, I relieved their anxiety and pain, I paid attention to them and their concerns, their fears.” Despite society’s movement toward social media and more “safe, personal spaces,” human beings all crave touch, notes the doctor. Touch is a powerful agent. He recalls talking with an older Montana rancher who was not the touchy-feeling type, but by putting his hand on the patient’s knee, looking at him in the eye and telling him, directly, honestly, about his situation, they connect. The ultimate challenge, he says, is telling someone that they will not get over their condition. “It’s not easy, and it doesn’t get easier because we’ve known some of these patients for years. But honesty is vital.”

Benjamin Marchello, M.D. didn’t start out to be a doctor. “I was very interested in science and I thought I would be a lab researcher,” he says of his educational years. “But I realized that people were more interesting than the lab.” That was back in the 1970s, at the beginning of his medical career. More than 40 years later, Dr. Benjamin Marchello, medical oncologist at Frontier Cancer Center, has touched the lives of hundreds of cancer patients. In the twilight of his career he still carries a full patient load yet is equally passionate about bringing advances in cancer care to the Northern Plains through the Montana Cancer Consortium. “When I first went into oncology, our treatments were very rudimentary,” he notes of his first decade or two of medical practice when only 50 percent of cancer patients survived more than five years. Today’ survival rates are closer to 75 percent. “But there are things you can do besides make people live longer—you can be supportive and help make them comfortable, help them better understand their situation.” Dr. Marchello’s father, also a physician, imparted important advice to this son. “He taught me that there are worse things than dying. Managing suffering and functioning are two critical aspects of patient care.” With an outstanding reputation as a medical oncologist, most patients and their families know Dr. Marchello best for his “so-called” bedside manner. He defines compassion, honesty and integrity. Although he insists that he is just a doctor who does his work and takes care of patients, it is the extras that make Dr. Marchello an inspiring person. It is not uncommon for him to visit patients in their homes or hospice center, even though they have exhausted their medical cure options. In the same manner, the doctor is often publically thanked via an obituary or other vehicle after a patient has passed on. He notes that while seeing patients toward the end of their

In Dr.Marchello’s words:

Find out what you really love and do it – it makes for a much more rewarding life.

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St.Vincent Healthcare Saints Ball 1] Christi and Craig Beals 2] Kyle and Jason Barker 3] Drs. Jason and Ruchi Fitzgerald, Dr. Katie Hatch, Kristin and Dr. David Switzer 4] Ceci Bentler, Heather Bergeson and Aimee Brown 5] Dr. Tim and Sheryl Dernbach and Dr. Mark and Gemma Morasch

1. 2.

Billings Clinic Classic 6] Marge and Don Sterhan 7] Dr. Lisa Bland, Sheila Larsen and Dr. Zach Bland 8] Carolyn and Charlie Yegen 9] Jennifer Weaver Kondracki and Brian Kondracki 10] Dr. Nick Wolter,

Shakespeare in the Park 11] Mark Clark, Bryan Moreland 12] Bart Bilden, Heather



Ristow , Rachel Guidi Mikail Kennedy 13] Brian Bross, Bonnie Daniels, Sharlene McComas 14] Carrie Fowler, Zoey the dog, Jesse Reitler

St. John’s Summer Concert Series 15] Kent Burgess, Nancy and Ken Pietz 16] Bryan and Alivia Kiendrick and Gail and Gregg Schneiber 17] Randy and Lee Crellin

Symphony in the Park 18] Linda Johnson, Holly and Rich Furber 19] Molly Allen, Kylene Eckart and Samantha Miller

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5. 7.

6. 8.



11. 13.


12. 15.


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MAGIC I holiday 2012 I 107


Farmers’ Market 19] James Pope, Jen Pope and Paul Pope

20] Courtney Scheid, Brandon Cox

Grits and Glamour 21] Amanda Kaufman, Chris Arneson ,Aubrey Arneson ,Collette Behrent, Amy Mitchell and Jake Hover 22] Shari Moran and Kristi Nolan 23] Marrie Hoff, Miranda Hoff

19. 21.

Halloween on Clark Street 24] Ray, Emily, Alisha, Evan and Ryan Belmontez 25] Mary and Zoe Thompson 26] Don, Kelsey, Nevaeh and Xavier Wetzel 27] Udo and Senja Lyngly-Cox 22. 23.

24. 25.



Photos courtesy of St Vincent Healthcare, Billings Clinic, Samuel Jones and Angie Kramer

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JULY 2012

Pioneer Photographer

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Love at First Byte • Chemistry to Love By 10 Great Dates





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Available at these businesses : Aspen View • Billings area Albertsons • Billings Airport • Billings Clinic Billings Gazette Communications • Billings Hardware • Chamber of Commerce City Brew (all locations) • Copper Colander • Crowne Plaza • Curves for Women Evergreen IGA • First Interstate Bank • Floberg Realtors • First Interstate Bank • Gainan’s Good Earth Market • Granite Fitness • Kmart • Mariott Residence Inn • McDonald’s (select locations) neecee’s • Pita Pit • Real Deals • Reese and Ray’s IGA (Laurel) • Rimrock Mall Sidney Airport • Stella’s • St. Vincent’s Healthcare • The Y • Valley Federal Credit Union (Downtown location) • Western Security Bank (Downtown location) Williston Airport • Yellowstone County Museum

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December 2 Messiah Festival

Photo courtesy of St. Vincent Healthcare foundation

(Free Admission) Alberta Bair Theater • 3:30 p.m.

November November 13December 29

Holiday Tours Location: Moss Mansion Contact: 256-5100

November 22

2nd Annual Run Turkey Run Location: Good Earth Market

November 24-25

The Nutcracker Location: Alberta Bair Theater Contact: 256-6052

November 29

A Christmas with C.S. Lewis Location: Alberta Bair Theater Contact: 256-6052

November 29-December 2 Festival of Trees Location: Shrine Auditorium Contact: 252-9799

November 30

2012 Winter Ski Film Fest: “Flow State” Location: Alberta Bair Theater Contact: 256-6052

Candlelight at the Moss Location: Moss Mansion Contact: 256-5100

November 30December 22

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Location: Venture Theatre Contact: 591-9535

November 30December 16

A Christmas Carol Location: Billings Studio Theater Contact: 248-1141

December December 1

2012 Winter Ski Film Fest: “Flow State” Location: Roman Theater, Red Lodge

MAGIC I holiday 2012 I 111

Candlelight at the Moss

Location: Moss Mansion • Various Dates Photo by james woodcock

Miracle on 34th Street Location: Alberta Bair Theater Contact: 256-6052

December 2

Messiah Festival (Free Admission) Location: Alberta Bair Theater Contact: 237-3603

December 7

December 9

Al Bedoo Shrine Chanters Holiday Concert Location: Alberta Bair Theater Contact: 256-6052

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Canadian Brass Christmas Location: Alberta Bair Theater Contact: 256-6052

Christmas Stroll/Artwalk/First Friday Location: Downtown Billings Contact: 259-6563

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Candlelight at the Moss Location: Moss Mansion Contact: 256-5100

Candlelight at the Moss Location: Moss Mansion Contact: 256-5100

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Rimrock Opera Chorus for Kids (ROCK) Christmas Concert Location: American Lutheran Church Contact: 697-3455 Candlelight at the Moss Location: Moss Mansion Contact: 256-5100

December 31

The Texas Tenors Location: Alberta Bair Theater Contact: 256-6052

January January 4

Trout Fishing in America Location: Alberta Bair Theater Contact: 256-6052

January 30

Yellowstone Chamber Players Location: Yellowstone Art Museum Contact: 248-2832

Twelfth Night Celebration Location: Billings Food Bank Contact: 259-2856


January 18 & 19

February 6

January 22

February 10

January 26

February 12

Soul Street Dance Location: Alberta Bair Theater Contact: 256-6052 Zoo-Zoo Image Theater Location: Alberta Bair Theater Contact: 256-6052 Night of Wine and Roses Location: Hilands Golf Course Contact: 294-1948

Biloxi Blues Location: Alberta Bair Theater Contact: 256-6052 Hot Latin Nights Location: Alberta Bair Theater Contact: 252-3610 Mardi Gras Location: Billings Hotel and Convention Center Contact: 259-2856

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Holiday 2012  

'Tis the Season; Celebrate the Holidays Montana-Style; The Year's Most Inspiring People; Savor the Season: 3 Chefs Share; Are You Ready for...

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