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ive hanks












Center for Breast Health

A better mammogram experience! We listened to women in our community talk about their mammography experiences and heard that little things could make a big difference in the experience. Here are the “Top Ten” offerings in our new breast center to help make the experience more private and comfortable: 1. We created a beautiful spa-like atmosphere with warm colors, art from nature and a rock fireplace to help you feel at home. 2. Good-bye curtains, hello private changing rooms with doors. 3. No more walking down the hall in your hospital gown. We’ve provided a direct entry to the mammography suite from your changing room. 4. Speaking of hospital gowns, you can say good-bye to those too. Now you will be greeted with a warm robe or cape. 5. Enjoy specialty coffee in the beautiful lobby with views of the rims. 6. You and your loved one are invited to lounge in the comfortable seating area in the lobby. 7. Mammography, breast ultrasound, stereotactic breast biopsy and bone densitometry suites are all located together, so that you can receive comprehensive assessments in one location. 8. A diagnostic breast nurse navigator with clinical breast exam certification performs thorough breast exams as well as education as requested. 9. Tomosynthesis (3D imaging) technology improves detection of breast cancer in dense breasts and is now available in Billings! 10. A private breast boutique with a certified fitter for bras and prosthetics for post-surgery needs is available in the center.

As always, our highly-trained and experienced staff will make you comfortable and treat you with compassion and respect. And a dedicated breast center radiologist will always be onsite.

To make an appointment, call (406) 238-2501 or 1 1-800-332-7156. -800-332-7156. 2 I OCTOBER 2013 I MAGIC CITY MAGAZINE

Open House

Join us for a tour of the new center, enjoy refreshments and receive a free Pedicure Kit. Saturday, October 5 11 am to 1 pm 801 N. 29th Street (Second floor of the Cancer Center)


You can trust RiverStone Health Clinic as your Patient-Centered Medical Home. Our comprehensive primary care puts you and your family at the center of an ongoing relationship with a healthcare team led by your physician. Meeting your expectations, we provide quality care when and where you need it. We can also help you understand your options in the new Health Insurance Marketplace and help you find health coverage that meets your needs.

406.247.3350 | South 27th Street, Billings, MT 59101 406.967.2255| 4 I OCTOBER 2013 I MAGIC CITY MAGAZINE


october 2013


Beware! 10 Local Haunts by gail mullennax hein


local fare­for your family feast see page 32-35

Labyrinths: Lose your way and find yourself by suzanne waring


Finding Zen: Calm the Chaos of Everyday Life by natasha mancuso




Reading, Writing and Revolution: A Look at Educational Changes in Billings


Billings School District 2 by julie johnson rollins


Billings Catholic Schools by shelley van atta


Super-Sized: Super Sick by chris rubich


Billings Educational Academy by shelley van atta



Grace Montessori Academy

Boomerang Kids

by shelley van atta

by mary pickett



Fortis Academy

Attitude of Gratitude by brenda maas

by julie johnson rollins


Why Doesn’t Johnny Have Friends? S o c i a l T h i nk i ng: S u r v i va l f rom a S u rp r i s i ng S o u r c e











by julie johnson rollins


Training for Tomorrow’s Leaders by brenda maas







october 2013
























J o e M e d i c i ne C ro w, L i v i ng L e ge n d

B i l l i ng s J ayc e e s

Da n i e l l e e gn e w

C at- Gr i z T u rf Wa r s






montana legends











photo journal

gREAT ESTATES i L o f t y L i v i ng







S p e c ia l c a t - g r i z t ai l g a t in g g ui d e

Why Magic City?

L o c a l , F re s h F e a st

L a st C a l l

M i nne s o ta Av e n u e M a da m e s

Gr i d i ron Ge taways

K i l l i ng T i m e on a T r a c t or

w e h av e s p i r i t, y e s w e d o!

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.


Michael GulledgE Publisher 657-1225

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

e di t ori a l

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

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

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

So you have more time to do what you enjoy.

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

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

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Education Matters On August 27, nearly 16,000 K-12 Billings students returned to public school after enjoying summer vacation. For these young people, the morning heralded the beginning of the 2013-14 school year – a familiar routine filled with new scholastic challenges. While the youngsters were fresh from a break, school administrators were not. Over the summer, School District 2 Superintendent Terry Bouck, along with his staff and school board trustees, was busy finalizing a master facilities plan. That plan – the product of nearly two years of studies and neighborhood meetings – aimed to give the district a clear direction on how to address facility needs and future growth. Complicating the planning process was an accreditation issue. In 2012 the State Board of Public Education censured the district, saying its accreditation was at risk due to overcrowding. Years of cost-cutting, staff attrition and less classroom space had finally come to a head. It was time to face the elephant in the classroom.

The greater good

Our system of public education was designed to give all children the opportunity to assimilate basic knowledge and learn critical thinking skills necessary to become thoughtful, productive citizens. Public education, however, is not free. After years of deferred maintenance and faced with a growing student population, SD2 has come forward asking voters to approve a $122 million bond to build two new middle schools and renovate and repair a number of elementary schools. It’s a big ask.


But perhaps a bigger question is what happens if the community does not respond to a critical need? At what point does a diminishing quality of education reach a non-recoverable trajectory? An investment in education has a direct impact on the quality of the community. Businesses need literate and well-trained employees. Billings needs to be able to attract and retain professionals who want to raise their families in a place that values education. In the bigger picture, a well-educated citizenry has long been a vanguard for democracy. James Madison, the fourth president of the United States, said “a wellinstructed people alone can be permanently a free people.” We want future generations to develop critical thinking skills that enable them to question authority and government, ensuring checks and balances that are imperative to a democratic system. Education is the foundation of civic dialogue.

You decide

On November 5 the community speaks. If the bond passes, SD2 will begin a new chapter. If the bond does not pass, Superintendent Bouck and his administration must return to the drawing board. For taxpayers it’s a weighty decision. There’s no doubt $122 million is a lot of money. However, it’s quite possible that refusing to invest in our public schools could exact an even higher price.

Allyn Hulteng


Shelley Van Atta is the strategic marketing and public relations executive for EBMS. She has degrees in journalism and English from the University of Montana and was formerly university relations director for MSU Billings, and director of college relations and marketing for Rocky Mountain College. She and her husband, Larry, both native Montanans, have three children and are very active in the Billings community.

IntroducIng Polywood.

outdoor furniture made from recycled milk jugs that lasts forever.

Mary Pickett

, a Bozeman native, has worked for daily newspapers for 37 years. For 31 years, she was a reporter for The Billings Gazette.  

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 and has been a word nerd ever since. In addition to volunteering, she travels, writes, edits and relishes reading. “When I get a little money I buy books (and EBooks); and if any is left I buy food and clothes.” – Desiderius Erasmus

Jim Gransbery

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

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

Tim Lehman a 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

downtown 502 n 30th St west Store 1211 24th St w Heights garden center 810 Bench Blvd

Natasha Mancuso, born and raised in Kiev, Ukraine, lives in Billings with her sons, Danny and Victor, her husband Jerry and black lab Winston. An avid reader, she has written and published short stories, memoirs and commentaries for local and national journals. Outside of literary work, she enjoys tennis, yoga, gardening and chasing her two very active boys.


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Sali Armstrong 698-2520

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Power in pink This cute Under Armour T-shirt is not just for October—wear it year-round to help beat cancer of every kind through sports, fitness and an active lifestyle. A portion of all proceeds go directly toward national breast cancer charities and medical centers. Available at Universal Athletic $28

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Fall fashionista Go with the flow with this kooloo scarf. Hand-crafted in Nepal of pure merino wool felted onto recycled silk saris, this beauty is soft to the eye and on your neck. As a bonus, monies from kooloo products go back to local artisans and their families, keeping their rich traditions alive. Available at La Mer $39


Clockwise from Top: Joe Medicine Crow stands along the banks of the Little Big Horn River near Crow Agency. Joe laughs and gestures as he is being interviewed. Joe Medicine Crow and his son Ron look over a wall of historical photographs of Indian life in the Little Big Horn College library.




Living legend joe Medicine crow The architecture of age has rearranged the physical stature of Crow warrior and elder, Joseph Medicine Crow—he is bent, bowed, but not subdued. He walks slowly, a kind of shuffle, with the aid of his son’s arm and a cane. Yet his voice and memory remain vibrant, didactic. He is a teacher of history, its lessons and a guide for the path to modernity.

Medicine Crow (Joe’s grandfather) was a great warrior. He inspired me to live to protect the tribe and to be a statesman. To continue his concern on the battlefield of Indian policy... to go to Washington on many occasions to speak for the welfare of the Crow and other tribes.

A kin to storytellers in the glow of immemorial campfires, his oral tradition recalls what is worth keeping for the future of the Crow tribe. He describes it as “cultural persistence,” an acknowledgment of “hanging on to the old ways” of his educational ancestors, all born in the 19th Century. As he nears the centenary of his birth, his influence is at its zenith, reflected in his warrior name, High Bird, given by his clansmen after his return from World War II. Raised by an extended family, the grandson of the legendary chief, Medicine Crow, Joe is the progeny of an indigenous culture. He used education to bring himself, and those who heed his wisdom, into the 21st Century. He adopted the admonition of Chief Plenty Coups: “ ‘Education is your best weapon. Without it, you are the white man’s victim. With it, you have a chance to be his equal.’” Medicine Crow’s first teachers were his grandfathers: “All good men.” Medicine Crow’s hearing is almost gone, so speaking—shouting—directly into his left ear is a must. He smiles and laughs a lot; quick with a joke. He emphasizes his words with a poking index finger just to make sure one gets the message. On a bright spring day inside the Little Bighorn College library and along the banks of the Little Bighorn River, he recalled the diverse facets of his 10 decades, assisted by his son, Ron. Born Oct. 27, 1913, Joe Medicine Crow has carried three names over the past 100 years. He was baptized three times, too. He received his first name, Winter Man, from a Sioux warrior friend of

his grandfather, Yellowtail. The name was intended to imbue the child with endurance. It did. Among the Crow, tradition requires that no child be without a family. Joe’s father, Leo Medicine Crow, died when Joe was a toddler of 2 years. His mother, Amy Yellowtail, remarried. According to Crow custom, “I was raised by my grandparents, Yellowtail and his wife, Lizzie,” Medicine Crow said. He also has Scot and French heritage, he noted. Lizzie’s maiden name was Frazier; she had red hair and blue eyes, but spoke only the Crow language. “She was a traditional Crow Indian.” Another significant influence in his life was One Star, who was a great-grandfather through marriage to great-grandmother Emma Chienne. In Crow society, one is a member of the mother’s clan. Joe belongs to the Whistling Water, one of 10 Crow clans and the largest. One Star would be the impetus for young Winter Man to learn English so he could translate for his great grandfather. The context of the traditional ways was embodied in the example of Yellowtail’s mother, Joe’s great-grandmother, who would not live inside a house, Medicine Crow said. She lived in a tepee beside the river. “It was cultural persistence, hanging on to the old way of life. Her name was Bear That Stays by the Side of the River.” It was the time Joe spent as a youth with his grandparents that he was instructed in the ways of the Crow. Later he would become the tribe’s official historian. Medicine Crow’s formal education began in Lodge Grass, located near the eastern edge of


the reservation in south central Montana. Crow parents wanted a day from the war, he was appointed tribal historian and anthropologist. He school nearby rather than sending their children away to a boarding has been a teacher ever since. Recognition of such came with honorary school. Petitioning the Baptist Indian Mission Board in Sheridan, Wyo., doctorates from USC and Rocky Mountain College. He is the last war chief of the Absarokee, or “Children of the Large a school was opened through the efforts of the Rev. W. A. Petzoldt. The Baptists built the school and a church, too. Many of the Crow families, Beaked Bird.” It was his exploits as a U.S. Army warrior in Europe during World in gratitude for the school, joined the church. “One of the priests at St. Xavier (a Catholic mission on the Crow War II, which qualified him for the title of War Chief. Four “coups” Reservation), baptized me as a Catholic” during a visit to family in the were required: capture an enemy’s horse; touch the first fallen enemy in battle; take away an Big Horn District who enemy’s weapon and lead were Catholics, he said. a successful war party. Although he attends Medicine Crow’s traditional spiritual story became part of Ken events such as the Burn’s documentary, Sun Dance, Medicine “The War.” It told the Crow emphasized, “I story of World War II always go to the Baptist through the personal church,” into which he accounts of the ordinary was baptized twice Americans who took part more. at home and overseas. In At the age of 6, his book, Counting Coup, Medicine Crow would Medicine Crow details ride a horse about five the events in which miles to attend the he captured horses Baptist day school. He belonging to German spent three years trying officers, engaged in handto learn the alphabet to-hand combat with a and his numbers, but German soldier and led the impatience of One a small group of soldiers Star changed that. One to acquire explosives for day One Star came to his company. During his the school and hauled Joe Medicine Crow admonishes then-Senator Barack Obama about taking care of veterans during the service, he painted his him out, Medicine candidate’s stop in Montana during the 2008 Presidential Campaign. Photo by James Woodcock. combat signs on his body Crow related. “ ‘ You have not learned English at all. You are not doing it.’” With and carried an eagle feather in his helmet along with the prayers of his that, One Star took the youth to the public school and “threw me in.” family church members back home. In relating his war deeds, tribal elders discerned that Joe had met There “the meanest little white girl in class would poke me with a pin in the four criteria for becoming a War Chief. He is the last Crow to do so. the back. I did not holler. The teachers were strict.” “I liked to learn,” Medicine Crow said. It provided the underlying But Medicine Crow said it was the inspiration of his grandfather Chief motivation to become learned. He traveled “two roads in life” taking Medicine Crow’s deeds, not just in war, but also in peace, that moved the good and right from both non-Indian and Indian culture. Through him to be a leader. “Medicine Crow was a great warrior,” Joe said. “He inspired me to the efforts of the Rev. Petzoldt, Medicine Crow and several other children from Lodge Grass went to Bacone College, a Baptist school, live to protect the tribe and to be a statesman. To continue his concern on in Muskogee, Oklahoma. In 1929, at the age of 16, Joe began the eighth the battlefield of Indian go to Washington on many occasions grade at Bacone and attended high school through junior college there. to speak for the welfare of the Crow and other tribes.” During the 2008 presidential campaign, then-Sen. Barrack Obama, Bacone was the educational incubator for Medicine Crow. There he D-Ill., made several appearances in Montana. He was adopted into the immersed himself in school and activities, including music and sports. As related in his book, Counting Coup, it was at Bacone he met young tribe by the Black Eagle family. Joe and his cousin, Barney Old Coyote, people from other tribes throughout the country, something he was sang the warrior’s praise song as a blessing for the president-to-be. During a meeting in Billings for veterans, Medicine Crow unaware of on his arrival. An honor student, he completed high school admonished Obama that “When you get to the White House remember in 1934 and junior college in 1936. Returning to the reservation that summer, he was given the chance we Indian people since 1492 have been at the bottom of the ladder in to attend Linfield College, another Baptist institution near Portland, America. We want you to bring us up to recognize us as first class citizens.” He emphasized he was speaking for all Native Americans Oregon, through the efforts of Rev. Petzoldt. “There were no Indians there,” Medicine Crow recalled. He graduated in the United States. In 2009, Joe Medicine Crow was awarded the Medal of Freedom by with honors, completing his bachelor’s degree in social science in 1938. President Obama. In 2010, a national conference of tribal leaders was He was the first Crow male to graduate from college. In 1939, he received a master’s degree in anthropology from the meeting in Washington, D.C. When it was noted that Medicine Crow University of Southern California. His thesis, The Effects of European was not in attendance, Obama requested that he be there. Medicine Culture Contact upon the Economic, Social and Religious Life of the Crow flew to Washington to speak for his people, just as his namesake Crow Indians, was seminal for the Crow tribe. In 1948, after he returned grandfather did.




Billings Jaycees Receive by Giving

What do former Miss America Kaye Lani Rae Rafko-Wilson, President Clinton and Domino’s Pizza mogul Tom Monaghan have in common? Answer: They were all Jaycees. While many Billings’ residents might not know exactly who the Jaycees are, there’s a chance that most have experienced the Jaycees’ work. Officially known as the United States Junior Chamber, Jaycees gives young people between the ages of 18-40 the tools they need to build bridges of success for themselves and their communities. For Justin Wutzke, incoming 2014 President, those tools have been pivotal in both his personal and professional life. “In just a few years, the Jaycees has taken me from a regular guy who just went with the flow to a major leader within the organization,” Wutzke said. “The opportunities given to me through this organization have made me a more valuable team player and leader both at work and within the Billings community.” Locally, the Billings Jaycees chartered in 2009 and currently lists 52 members. Even more impressive, three of this year’s Billings Business’ “40 Under 40” recipients are Jaycees. “That number about sums it up,” noted 2013 President, Brad Kahler. “We strive to better our members on both the personal and professional levels while cultivating a network of young leaders to better serve our community.”

Serving with a purpose

When the Jaycees say “serve” they truly define the word—physically, mentally and whole-heartedly.

Last year the young group organized and produced “Haunted Hallows” at Two Moon Park. Approximately 2,000 terror enthusiasts visited the creepy trail that required months of planning, a trail maintenance day, 3,000 man hours and 30 Jaycees to complete. This single program generated nearly $15,000 which the Jaycees then reinvested in Billings with donations to the Tumbleweed, CASA, Billings Young Marines, Yellowstone County Parks (Two Moon Park) and Boy Scouts of America. The Jaycees take things a set further. They worked closely with Yellowstone County Parks to make the program a way to enhance the parks while inviting at-risk youth to physically contribute to the entire experience by building the “Hallows” themselves. “Once they accomplished that feat, amidst praise for their efforts, we invited them to participate in the actual event lending a sense of ownership in Haunted Hallows, and our park system in general,” noted Kahler.

More than just scares

Although scaring Haunted Hallows go-ers is the primary annual fundraiser, the Jaycees are busy all year long, lending a hand wherever it might be needed— United Way’s Reality Tour; Yellowstone Art Museum’s Summerfair; and the March of Dime’s Bikers for Babies—just to name a few. In the coming months, the Jaycees will collect new and gently-used coats for their annual One Warm Coat Drive. Nearly 500 coats have been collect to date. As part of the Holiday Community Giveback over the past two years, they have adopted six Alliance Seniors, a Women’s Shelter family of five; sponsored a Santa Claus for a Cause family of four; and sent care packages to soldiers in Afghanistan. Amid all this giving, the Jaycees truly receive. “Our mission, right down to our local Billings chapter, is to create development opportunities that empower young people to create positive change,” said Wutzke. “In developing these opportunities, we are learning skills to enhance ourselves and others around us as well as creating projects that positively impact our communities. The Jaycees has changed my life.”

Beware: Haunted Hallows Ready to have the “be-jeebers” scared out of you and improve the Billings community at the same time? Head out to the Jaycees’ Haunted Hallows. A $10 entry fee will get you a mile trek through the creepest, scariest, looongest haunted trail ever! When: Oct. 25, 26 and 31 (6-10 p.m.) Where: Two Moon Park Info: 647-0052 or find Billings Jaycees on Facebook All profits are re-distributed to various non-profits organizations and causes in the Billings area. Interested in joining the Jaycees? Be a part of tomorrow’s success today by calling 647-0052 or find Billings Jaycees on Facebook.





This past summer in Montana PHOTO BY SAVANNAH STEVENSON

has been one of the most empowering creative renaissances that I can remember in the last 20 years of my life.

In a corner of the Snow Creek Saloon—one of Montana’s more infamous bars known for rowdy nights, knock-your-socks-off drinks and a permissive atmosphere for animals of all kinds (it’s quite possible the joke, “So a horse walked into a bar…” originated here)—stands Danielle Egnew. She’s holding her guitar while a mop of curly dark and purple-streaked hair rolls past her shoulders, and she’s belting out an a cappella version of “Amazing Grace.”

of 20,000 people and opened for such legendary acts as Nirvana and Pearl Jam. As awesome as that musical ride was, Danielle still feels right at home in Montana strumming an acoustic guitar in the corner of a dark roadhouse bar. Her voice transcends the buzz of bar patrons, and during one of “I’m so fortunate to have people who give a the hymn’s highest notes you realize she’s fearless in her delivery, crap about what I do,” Danielle said. “It’s like a talent no doubt gained through many years on stage. Yet she’s cooking for someone who loves your food; it’s humble. When someone she knows walks in the door, she gives such a gift.” them a shout-out on the mic and an exuberant wave. Danielle was raised in Billings and took “These are the kind of shows I live for,” Danielle said in a to the stage at an early age with a penchant discussion prior to the performance. “You get a chance to interact for theater and acting. She moved to Seattle with the crowd. You can see their faces and look into their eyes— in the early ‘90s to pursue music and landed it’s way more personal.” She hasn’t played this Red Lodge saloon a solo record deal with Whatever Wreckards. since 1998. “It’s my favorite bar in the world,” she says. The grunge music scene was accelerating to At age 44, Danielle has an enviable resume. She’s performed at national attention, and Danielle found herself Hollywood’s famous Viper Room, rocked with her band in front in the middle of the fanfare.


out at a time when no one was. I felt it was very important,” she said. “It’s such a non-issue for who we are as human beings. If we don’t speak out then it will continue to be a problem.” She found Montana to be “unbelievably openminded when you’re dealing with person to person.” “The kindest conversations I have ever had about the struggle of being ‘different’ are with people in Montana,” Danielle said. “When they realize that you’re the perfectly cool person next-door and you’re gay, then they realize that they were worried about nothing.” Danielle was unafraid to be a gay person in Montana 20 years ago because she knew the heart of Montana and of its people. “I was more afraid to come out as a psychic because of the religious implications, and because I had an established career in the entertainment field. I was worried people would see it as a tactic,” she said. Yet when she decided to make her talents known, Danielle said she was received well by the industry. “I put out a big press release and braced for the impact, and there was none. I created a demon that was non-existent.” The public is generally skeptical of psychics, and Danielle says they should be. “It makes me furious the amount of people who are disingenuous in this field, and there are a lot of folks that extort people. I understand why people roll their eyes when they hear you’re a psychic.”

Clockwise from top: Performing at at the Garage Pub. Photo by Casey Page. Movie poster for “Montgomery House,” a film produced and directed by Danielle. “Backseat Bordello” and “12 Days of Christmas” music CD covers.

“What an intense time to be in Seattle,” she recalled. “I learned the very hard way about authenticity on-stage as a musician.” Her performances were costumed and theatrical, very “over-the-top” for the grunge scene, Danielle explained. “I didn’t fit in there.” She returned to Billings in ‘94 to start the all-female rock band Pope Jane. Here she was able to create music on her terms, and fought to gain the respect of local promoters, who had never seen an all-girl band attempt a claim to fame in Billings, Mont. Pope Jane gained a devoted local and national following, touring extensively for nearly a decade. Danielle’s career path then led to Los Angeles, where she continued playing music but eventually moved full time into television, radio and film work as Pope Danielle recently published “True Tales Jane began to fizzle and dissolve. of the Truly Weird: Real Paranormal Accounts from a Real Psychic” available at or via eBooks.

Moving from music to the spiritual realm

“Pope Jane had an amazing run. When that

run died out, I started paying attention to my spiritual calling, which has taken on its own life,” Danielle said. She’s made a name for herself as a psychic and medium, working in L.A. as a host of two talk radio shows based around the psychic field.

First encounter

Danielle’s first spiritual encounter occurred at age 2 when visiting family with her mother. She recalls being much more comfortable around her Italian aunt than her uncle. Years later Danielle’s mother pointed out that her aunt had died a year before Danielle was born. “I have vivid relocations of my auntie, of hugging her leg, of feeling her touching me,” she said. “I started seeing dead people at a young age, and I thought everyone experiences life the way I do.”

Coming out

Danielle hid her spiritual calling for years, but came out as a gay woman at age 19. “I came

Returning to music

Throughout her career, Danielle never abandoned her musical roots. She co-owns two record labels—Tin Star Records, founded in Sheridan, Wyo., in 2011, and Tacoma’s Maurice the Fish, founded in 2007. Though she has called L.A. home for more than a decade now, Danielle still feels spiritually connected to Montana and returns home to “recharge and create.” “I’ve been working so diligently in mainstream entertainment in L.A., yet it’s very corporate and dehumanizing. There is no moral center to any of it—and by moral center I mean doing the right thing for the right reasons. This past summer in Montana has been one of the most empowering creative renaissances that I can remember in the last 20 years of my life. Montana does not experience national peer pressure. We’re a landlocked island, and we’re OK with that. That is why I love Montana; I can create anything when I’m here.”




CatGriz Turf Wars Get your game on with these tailgating items Is that your rig?

What’s a tailgating party without a real tailgate? Do it in style with the all-new 2014 GMC Sierra Crew Cab. This truck is big enough for the whole team, and its audio system will rival that of the stadium—including satellite radio, Bluetooth streaming audio and hands-free Smartphone integration all controlled via an 8-inch diagonal color touch screen with IntelliLink or steering wheel controls. This is one bad party rig.

Available at Rimrock GMC Starting at $44,005 MSRP

Cozy up

Regardless of your choice of liquid refreshment be sure that your beverage is dressed for the game with these bottle jerseys. Cheers!

Available at Scheels All Sports $6

Cushy tushy

Clawing for yardage

Enjoy portable comfort at the big game with this hardback stadium seat designed especially for Griz fans. Made with a powdercoated steel frame and durable padded seat and back, this chair leaves no doubt which team you are rooting for.

Available at Scheels All Sports $40

Show your school spirit with these portable, lightweight foam claws. Remember, the word “fan” originated from “fanatical.”

Available at Universal Athletic $8


Please note: Both teams are equally represented on the Magic magazine staff.

Bean dip face-off

It’s a helmet…no. It’s a chip bowl…no. It’s a customized helmet snack bowl! Made by WinCraft Sports, you will be the star of the tailgate party with these beauties. We bet they lick the bowl clean.

Available at Big Bear Sports Centers $60

Y ou r Be s t

ToRE S L a c Lo URaL T a N L L a

FooDS T a c & DoG


All that glitters… …supports the Cats. Or, least it does

when you bring your own bejeweled mug and sporty sparkle purse. The travel mug from Great American Products is insulated, perfect for keeping your drink just the right temperature. The light-weight, nylon bag boasts an adjustable strap, zipper compartment, front flap and side pocket for your phone. You can’t leave home without these.

Have grill, will travel There’s no need to veer from traditional pre-game party burgers and brats if you have the Picnic Plus Game Day Gas Grill Set. This all-in-one set include a gas regulator, stainless steel BBQ fork, knife, spatula, tongs, salt and pepper shakers, bottle opener and cooking mitt. Grab a few propane canisters, store them in the large carrying bag and you are ready for kick off!

Available at Sports Authority $130

Our Areas Largest Selection Of All Natural Pet Foods, Toys, Collars, Leashes & Harnesses. Self-Serve Dog Wash. Professional Grooming & Training Classes. Check Out Our Newly Remodeled Kitty Korner!

Available at Scheels All Sports $20 (mug) and $40 (purse)

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




House of Cards

The complete first season DVD set


Montana Beer A Guide to Breweries in Big Sky Country By Ryan Newhouse

Francis Underwood has his hands on every secret in politics—and is willing to betray them all to become President. As Majority Whip, Kevin Spacey shines as Congressman Francis Underwood, a modern-day Machiavelli. Director David Fincher’s brilliance shines through in this Netflix original series, which takes a look at the inner workings of U.S. politics. With some dark twists and a nuanced look at power, ambition and fears, “House of Cards” stands stronger than its titled metaphor.



By Avicii We thought we’d heard it all. And then Swedish producer and DJ Avicii unveiled his newest album, “True,” in late September, fusing two incredibly unlikely genres— folk and techno. Avicii’s first single on the album, “Wake Me Up,” has already achieved commercial success internationally, peaking at number one in 40 countries including in Italy, Ireland and the UK. Avicii’s sound is soulful, infectious and practically begs you to dance. (Fist pump!)

Web Ed Montana’s brewing history stretches back more than 150 years to the state’s days as a territory. But the art of brewing in Montana has come a long way since the Frontier era. Today, nearly 40 craft breweries span the Treasure State—some also specialize in distilling grain alcohol (see our Libations section page 37). The quality of their output rivals the best craft beer produced anywhere in the world. We know why. Montana brewers pride themselves in using locally-sourced ingredients and fresh-farmed barley. From grain to glass, this book celebrates the brewers and breweries that make Big Sky beer so special.


Maily App

Available at iTunes Technology is a large part of our lives, and our children have taken notice. This educational app allows children as young as 4 to safely exchange e-mail messages and artwork with family and friends. The browser interface is so kid-friendly that a preschooler can tap the app, compose a drawing using the artist tools and choose a parent-approved contact to e-mail it to. Grandma’s fridge never looked so good!


Wilsonart® HD® High Definition™ Countertop. New! Cosmos Granite 1870K-35

visit the following retail showrooms

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LOFTY LIVING Using furniture, rugs and artwork, Jason Webinger (at right) has successfully divided the raised living room into a work space, entertainment area and sitting room. Color and texture play key roles in his design aesthetic, as evidenced by this smooth red leather chaise, deep blue settee and natural woods.


Karma has a funny way of cropping up every now and then. For Jason Webinger, it brought a living space that was more than he ever could have expected. by julie green I photography by james woodcock

Jason Webinger grew up in Billings and fondly remembers shopping at Hart Albin Department Store and enjoying fine dining in the core of the city. He was also witness to the late-80s downtown decline when few ventured onto Montana Avenue with its empty store fronts and dilapidated buildings. So when the historic streets began blossoming once more, Jason wanted to be a part of it. “I wanted to simplify,” he says. “Owning a home means frequent maintenance and keeping up with landscaping. I decided that I wanted to rent a space, and I wanted it to be something that fit me.” Jason looked at a number of lofts downtown, and was even on the waiting list at one location. But he was intrigued by one property that he’d watched go from disaster to high design: The Tracy Lofts. “I drove by the building constantly, and when I saw the renovations begin I thought, ‘Who on earth would ever live there? It’s practically falling down’,” Jason recalls. Then during his online apartment search, he keyed in “Billings lofts” and a High Plains Architects drawing came up. After visiting a friend of his nephew’s living in one of the main floor units, he knew he had to see more. As it happened, there was a showing right after the new year, and he got on the list. After viewing a stylish below-ground unit, he followed the group upstairs and walked in the front door of the one he’d been waiting to see.




“It was instant karma,” Jason says. “I stepped in the hall, wrote the check for the security deposit and handed it to Jana [Hafer]. She asked me if I was sure, and I told her absolutely.” With the cement floors, exposed brick and thick beams synonymous with urban lofts, it’s easy to see why this stunning space instantly resonated with Jason. The organization is remarkably spacious. With 1,400 square feet, its open floor plan, two sizeable bedrooms with heavy sliding barn-style doors topped with corrugated metal, plenty of closet space and multiple entertaining areas offers everything Jason needs. It is Jason’s eye for design, however, that truly helps make the space unique. His furnishings span the gamut from antique and artsand-crafts style to contemporary—a collection of wood, leather and metal. He has collected these high-quality pieces over the years, shopping estate sales and second-hand stores as well as finding new designer pieces. Some of his favorites were given to him by friends, including antique items from the original Northern Hotel. Jason’s art collection is equally eclectic, with most works having been created by friends he’s met over the years and each carrying a story all its own. Two of the most recent additions are framed Henschel train pieces, particularly fitting for a loft adjunct to the train tracks. “I looked at these for eight months, but always talked myself out of buying them,” he says. “Right after I moved in I went back into the store and saw they were still there. I knew they would be right for this space.” In fact, considering its sandwich location between the train tracks and a main downtown artery, the loft is remarkably quiet. The exterior walls are thick and the new windows are well-insulated. Jason says that it is a very peaceful place, quieter than his former home near Pioneer Park. But those are just a few of the benefits. “This place has everything I was looking for,” he says. “Convenience, low maintenance and style—it’s perfect for having friends and family over, and great restaurants and entertainment are within walking distance. The easiest way to say it is that it is so ‘me’.” Clockwise from top: The loft’s galley-style kitchen has quickly become a favorite place for Jason’s chef friends to whip up a meal. Sleek black appliances and modern laminate cabinetry with stainless steel and hardwood is offset by natural butcher block counters. The bright wall helps to delineate the space, while the yellow outlined windows—distinctive to the Tracy Building—flood the kitchen and hallway with light. The bedroom features a remote-controlled skylight that provides plenty of natural light. “I had to have a high pub table for this space,” Jason says of the informal dining room. “I also installed the pendant lights above it to add a bit more light. It was a little tricky, and we had to use a very tall ladder; I think the ceilings are about 16 feet high.” In the background are the corrugated metal doors created by High Plains Architects to separate the bedrooms. A few steps up, a quiet corner perfectly accommodates a workspace for Jason, his old office desk fitting seamlessly into it. In the background, an antique glass-fronted bookcase was a piece he was able to purchase from a good friend.


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I 25




For a Billings couple who loves the great outdoors, their renovated bungalow is just the right size. by julie green I photography by james woodcock The fireplace in the living room is constructed of brick and stone, with stylized metalwork woven into the grout. Steve built and added the heavy wood mantle. “We bumped the window out about 2 feet and reworked the entry to add a little more space,” Maggie says. “Steve used to display some of the larger mounts—including a black bear—in the window, but [our dog] Henry has claimed the space for his own.” Inset: The exterior of the home evokes a charming cottage aesthetic.




A century ago, houses were designed to meet the needs of a different time. That meant small bedrooms, tiny closets and minimal kitchens. Meeting the needs of today’s modern homeowner, however, often requires a little imagination and a lot of elbow grease. Built in the early 1930s, the small bungalow was located on what was then the outskirts of the Magic City. Tudor detailing, pine floors, coved ceilings, beautiful masonry and arched doorways were just a few of its classic period touches. By the time Steve Ventling saw it in 2006, however, it had lost some of its polish. Fortunately, as a contractor and owner of High Plains Construction, Steve saw past the aging carpet and outdated rooms. Soon he and his wife Maggie, as newlyweds, began the painstaking job of turning an old house into their dream home. “Steve has the ability to do anything,” Maggie says. “Over the last five years he and I have worked nights and weekends to renovate this house from top to bottom. But it was important to us both that the home kept its original charm.” The two—both avid hunters—also wanted to ensure they would create a space where they could display their stunning collection of taxidermy. One of the first changes that needed to be made, however, was far from charming. The home lacked any form of insulation, requiring the Ventlings to remove exterior boards near the roofline to have insulation blown in to the attic and walls. Additional insulation was also added to interior walls. They also replaced the roof, three layers of shake and asphalt shingles came off in chunks because of their age. Inside, Steve and Maggie worked diligently to repair and save as much as the home’s character as possible. They ripped up carpeting and refinished the plank floors as 75 years of wallpaper was scraped away and plaster walls repaired and painted. Next they removed

Clockwise from top: The dining room retains many of its original features, updated to meet the Ventlings’ needs. Here, as in many other places in the home, Maggie and Steve’s trophy mounts are beautifully displayed. Kitchen: Creating a functional kitchen required more than just new appliances; it meant reworking the space entirely. The refrigerator, which once jutted out into the doorway between the kitchen and dining room was moved next to the cooking area. Faux brick was replaced with the real thing; Steve carefully widened the archway and used a spray rock finish over vintage tiles. Solid wood cabinets, updated lighting and gleaming ceramic tile complete the space. Bar: Just off the kitchen is a bonus room perfect for entertaining. Breakfast nook: What was once a dark kitchen nook is now warm and bright thanks to the installation of a large window. It’s the perfect spot for morning coffee and conversation.



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the single pane windows and replaced them with higherefficiency glass. In the dining room, the built-in cabinets were also preserved, with crown molding added to further enhance them. Upstairs, the couple redesigned the master suite to make it more functional for their needs. Wide plank flooring was refinished, and a walk-in closet added. The en suite bath was also completely renovated, including a large shower and custom vanity built of reclaimed wood and tin panels. Outside, a dilapidated carriage-house was torn down and replaced with an 1,800-square attached three-car garage, complete with a full wood shop above. A colored concrete driveway, walkway and porch were added and the landscaping fully updated to include a large garden space and fruit trees. As many who have tackled a large renovation know, however, the process is not easy; surprises popped up around every corner. “The work did snowball,” Steve admits. “You think about replacing a faucet, then you find the pipes are leaking. You follow the leak and pretty soon you realize you have to replace all of the plumbing.” Whenever possible during the remodeling process, Steve looked for opportunities to repurpose and reuse materials. When Carrie’s Quilts & Iron closed, he purchased and salvaged many items, including the thick granite countertops now in the couple’s kitchen as well as the fireplace on their new deck. Barn wood collected from various job sites became frames and valances, and a whiskey barrel was transformed into a striking wine rack. Even old car and wagon wheels have found new life as a high table in the breakfast nook. “Anyone can buy something new,” Steve says, “but there is something rewarding about restoring something and bringing it back to life.”

From top: The upstairs master suite has been carefully constructed to make the most use of every inch of space. The nook into which the bed has been fitted has been trimmed out in shake shingles, a fun and unexpected décor choice. Beyond the doorway is a custom desk Steve crafted for Maggie from re-purposed tongue and groove pieces. Bathroom: The slate tile on the floor and shower of the master bath is rich and striking. It forms the perfect foundation for the combination of weathered barn wood and knotty pine pieces the couple selected. Patio: By extending the roofline nearly 14 feet, the Ventlings created this covered patio, complete with a fireplace and hot tub. Both the deck leading out from the house and the stamped concrete are easy to maintain, allowing the couple to spend more time simply enjoying the space. Garage: The new garage accommodates Steve’s passion for restoring vintage Chevrolet muscle cars. Those shown here are a Nova SS and a Chevelle SS, both from 1970.


RotaRy inteRnational® the RotaRy Foundation® There’s something that all Rotary club members have in common: We take action. As community volunteers, we reach out to neighbors in need. We build, support, and organize. We save lives. We work locally and globally.

Around the world and around the corner, the 1.2 million men and women of Rotary • Get involved in their communities • Connect with other professionals • Share their time and experience with young people • Support global causes, such as eradicating polio • Use their skills to help others

Whether you’re a veteran volunteer or new to community service, we’re looking for people like you.

Matthew Schafer, Jim Berve, Kristie Asay, Todd Vralsted, Steve Sorich, Robin Hanel

The Billings Rotary Club Meets Mondays at Noon - Crowne Plaza The Billings West Rotary Club Meets Wednesdays at Noon - Red Door For more information please contact 406-860-6181 • 406-671-3088

Service Above Self

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By Brittany Cremer I Photography by casey Page

Prepare this year’s Thanksgiving dinner with homegrown, local fare Fall’s bounty envelops the senses. Pumpkin spice and cinnamon permeate the air while a kaleidoscope of color presents itself in gourds, squash, cranberries and corn. This season, we give thanks for the delicious aesthetics of fall cuisine and are even more thrilled to feature an entire menu prepared with local ingredients by area experts. Bon appetit!


Carole Kiel

Carole Kiel has been the head chef of Good Earth Market for the last year. She has worked as a chef in restaurants on the east coast and ski resorts in Colorado.


Melissa Blaine

Melissa Blaine, chef at Good Earth Market, recently graduated from culinary school and aspires to open her own restaurant.



Coconut Almond Tarts Makes 8-10 3-inch tarts


Courtesy of Joanie Swords of Harper and Madison

follow up


Coconut Almond Tart s

Crust Ingredients: 3 cups toasted slivered almonds 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup unsalted butter—melted Instructions:

Pulse together in a food processor until mixture resembles very coarse cornmeal. Press into individual tart pans and bake at 350 until golden and bubbly, approximately 10 minutes. Allow to cool and remove from tart pans. Ganache Ingredients: 1/2 cup whole milk 1 ½ cups heavy cream 3 tablespoons sugar 2 ounces butter 1 pound  5 ounces of high-quality, semi-sweet chocolate, packaged into small bits


Bring milk, cream, sugar and butter to a boil. Remove from heat. Add chocolate bits and stir until smooth.  Allow to cool. Coconut Filling Ingredients: 3 ½ cups coconut 1 2/3 cup heavy cream 1 cup sugar 5 ounces unsalted butter 1/3 teaspoon vanilla Instructions:

Boil cream, sugar, vanilla and butter together in a sauce pan. Remove from heat and stir in coconut.  The mixture will be very soft until chilled thoroughly.   To assemble tarts:

On top of crust, spread cooled ganache until about 1/4 inch thick. (If ganache is too stiff to spread, microwave a few seconds at a time until spreadable).  Top with cooled and stiffened coconut filling.  Garnish to your liking. For decoration, Joanie recommends using a chocolate transfer, which are very easy and fun.  They are available online.

Joanie Swords is the owner of Harper and Madison. She loves working with food and has spent more than 20 years in the bakery and restaurant business. Harper and Madison is her third venture in Billings.


Stuffed Acorn Squash with Wild Rice Salad Serves 2-4

Maple Glazed Yams Serves 4

Ingredients: 2 acorn squash, halved, seeded, ends trimmed so it can sit without rolling over 2 ½ teaspoons canola oil 2 ½ teaspoons maple syrup 1 3/4 teaspoons nutmeg or cinnamon, as needed 11/4 cup wild rice, long grain, raw 2 ½ cups water 1/2 bunch scallions, sliced 3/4 cup mandarin oranges, drained 1/3 cup dried cherries, soaked in hot water to reconstitute 2 ½ tablespoons almonds, slivered & toasted 2 ½ tablespoons pecan pieces, toasted 3 tablespoons olive oil 3 tablespoons orange juice, fresh 1/2 bunch mint, fresh, chopped 1 3/4 teaspoons rice vinegar 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice, fresh

Ingredients: 3 pounds garnet yams ¼ cup orange juice concentrate, frozen ¼ cup apple juice concentrate, frozen 2 ½ tablespoons maple syrup 2 ounces cranberries, frozen ¼ teaspoon cinnamon 1/8 teaspoon salt 2 ½ teaspoons arrowroot powder 1 1 ½ ½ 3 ¼ ¾ 1 ½ 1 ½ 1/8

bunch green onions, diced ¼-inch tablespoon canola or olive oil cup corn, frozen, rinsed, drained cup bacon, cooked, crumbled eggs cup water, purified cup soymilk tablespoon apple cider vinegar teaspoon sage teaspoon sea salt teaspoon black pepper teaspoon cayenne


Make the cornbread stuffing following instructions on the package. Allow to cool. Toast crumbled corn bread in 300 degree oven for approximately 30 minutes, until dried out. In a large sauté pan, sauté celery, peppers and onions in oil until tender. Stir in corn and bacon and sauté 5 minutes more. Mix egg and water, stir in vinegar and soymilk, then mix all ingredients together.


Halve the acorn squash horizontally, scoop out seeds. Slice off a small piece of skin on the bottom so the squash does not roll over. Place squash cut side down on a sheet tray with about ½-inch water. Bake at 350 degrees Farenheit for approximately 30 minutes, or until barely tender. Remove from oven, invert. Lightly brush flesh with oil. Drizzle approximately 1 teaspoon of maple syrup on the flesh and sprinkle with cinnamon and/or nutmeg to taste. Bake additional 10-15 minutes until it starts to caramelize (brown). Chill.

To Make Wild Rice Salad filling:

In a medium pot, combine water and wild rice. Heat to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until tender (about 45 minutes). Drain and cool. In a separate bowl, combine cooked wild rice, scallions, chopped oranges, drained dried cherries, almonds and pecans. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, orange juice and mint. Add dressing to the rice mixture and toss well. Fill the acorn squash with wild rice salad to make a stuffed squash.

Corn Bread Stuffing Serves 4 Ingredients: 1 package Bob’s Red Mill Cornbread Mix 2 ribs celery, diced ¼-inch 1 small red bell pepper, diced ¼-inch

Cranberry Relish Serves 4


Bake yams in a 350-degree oven until just tender (not mushy). Remove from oven and cool. Set aside. When cooled, peel and dice yams into bite sized cubes. In a medium saucepan, combine orange and apple juice concentrates, maple syrup, cranberries, cinnamon and salt. Over medium heat, bring mixture to a simmer, add arrowroot powder and bring to gentle boil. Remove from heat and cool. Add maple/cranberry glaze mixture to the prepared yams and mix gently.

Ingredients: 2 pounds whole cranberries, frozen 2 cans, 20-ounce, crushed pineapple, drained 2 pounds oranges, peeled, chopped small 1 ½ pounds Granny Smith apples, cored, chopped small ½ cup agave syrup 2 dashes cinnamon, ground ½ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped Instructions:

Rough chop (by hand or with a food processor) half the cranberries. Place chopped cranberries in large bowl with remaining whole cranberries. Combine pineapple, oranges, and apples. Add to the cranberries. In a small bowl, whisk together agave syrup and cinnamon. Add to the cranberries and mix. Add toasted walnuts to cranberry mix. Mix well.

Mouth-watering turkey

Pick up your farm-fresh, free-range turkey today at Good Earth Market. These birds are raised in Lavina, Mont., and have no antibiotics, hormones or additional additives. They are fresh, ready to cook, and just in time for Thanksgiving.

Recipes reprinted courtesy of Good Earth Market and Dishes prepared by Good Earth Market head chef Carole Kiel and chef Melissa Blaine


A SPACE Unlike Any Other…

“It’s amazing to watch a client’s face when they see how the home they’ve loved for years now works better for them.” – Jeremy Freyenhagen

…CREATED BY A COMPANY UNLIKE ANY OTHER Freyenhagen Construction creates spaces unlike any other because, in fact, we are a company unlike any other. We understand we are building more than walls or floors or cabinets—we are building exceptional relationships with our clients. We work with only the finest craftsmen, ensuring our unmatched standards for design and construction are evident in every project. We also pay attention to every detail so you are satisfied from the moment a project begins to many years after we walk out your door. You see, at Freyenhagen, we measure success by ensuring our work and our client relationships withstand—and outlast—the test of time. Redesign & Remodeling


40 6 - 652- 6170





Reimagine. Remodel. Relax.




There’s a quiet movement afoot in Montana. Rooted in our rich fields of golden wheat, small distilleries are cropping up and hand-crafting truly unique spirits. Using the best homegrown ingredients of our great state, these masters of the still offer tasting rooms and individual bottles—each with their own story. In the spirit of our beloved frontier, we cheer. Bottoms up!


40 Love Gin BillingS i Spirit of Montana Distilling i Mix spring water from the Froze to Death Plateau above Red Lodge with grains of paradise, angelica root, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and licorice in a distillery and what do you have? A true gin winner called 40 Love. Although the owners may be better known for The Garage at Yellowstone Valley Brewing, the secret is out: This is one bold bottle.




Healy’s Gin

Bighorn Bourbon Whiskey

Billings i Trailhead Spirits i

Ennis i Willie’s Distillerys i

Named after owner Casey McGowan’s grandfather, Mike Healy, who owned the Radio Bar in Butte and was a well-known bootlegger during Prohibition, this gin appeals to traditional and non-traditional gin drinkers alike. Made from Montana wheat grown on the family’s farm near Great Falls and 14 botanicals including native sweetgrass and bitterroot, Healy’s gin is as smooth as our dirt roads are rough.

With a mission to craft world-class spirits for worldclass individuals, Robin and Willie Blazer follow a simple ingredients list: Montana grains; carefully selected yeast; pure, clean Montana water and a good dose of heart and soul. Each bottle is personally signed by the bottler. Perhaps Willie injects a touch of moonshine magic, from his native North Carolina Appalachians, into the bottle, but their Bighorn Bourbon is the perfect blend of varying ages. Sip or mix—either way, you have a smooth winner.

Whistling Andy Vodka Bigfork i Whistling Andy i Crafted in a made-in-America, custom-built copper still, Whistling Andy has a nose with hints of apple, a smooth body and sweet, buttery finish. This veteran-owned micro-distillery was named after lead distiller Brian Anderson’s father, who was nicknamed “Whistling Andy” in the U.S. Navy. This is one business that stands behind its motto: It distills down to gratitude.


Quicksilver Vodka Missoula i Montgomery Distillery i The Montgomery family is rooted fivegenerations deep in Montana soil. While the inspiration and ingredients for their liquor come from the Montana landscape, their love of small-batch spirits has taken them far and wide. Quicksilver Vodka is produced from local family-farmed wheat in their traditional handbuilt still, which employs a towering 21-plate rectifying column. The result? The beauty and expanse of the Rocky Mountain West— captured in a bottle.

Orphan Girl

RoughStock Montana Pure Malt Whiskey

Butte i Headframe Spirits i

Bozeman i RoughStock Distillery i

With a respect for legacy, done Butte-style, Headframe Spirits crafts a delicate bourbon cream liqueur that is perfect for sipping alone or mixing with others. (Ever heard of a Dirty Girl?) This unique spirit is named for the Orphan Girl, a lone mine that stood off to the west of town, and now stands as the centerpiece of the World Museum of Mining. A portion of the proceeds of every bottle is donated to the museum—continuing the spirit of Butte.

“This is the whiskey that started it all for us,” states the claim on the simple, sleek bottle. As the state’s first distiller of whiskey since Prohibition, RoughStock sets a high bar—and vaults over it completely. These distillers have their hand in the whiskey, figuratively and sometimes literally, through every step of the process— backing up the individualism that prides all Montanans. This spirit leaves little doubt that Montana’s renown grains and water are elemental components to a phenomenal whiskey.





On June 20, 1943, Billings Mayor H. E. Biddinger declared that the city’s red light district be shut down and the “ladies of the night were told to close up or go to jail.”


MADAMES When the Red Lights Were On: Prostitution in Early Billings

Prostitution in the area was as old as pioneer settlement, and the

river town of Coulson, the town that preceded Billings, was well known for its drinking, violence and dance halls. But the real “Wild West” of booze, gambling and alcohol did not emerge until that harbinger of civilization—the Northern Pacific Railroad—arrived and initiated a brisk business in saloons, gambling halls and places of prostitution. One early immigrant remembered Billings as a “wide open” town with “saloons and gambling houses” and “gilded houses of prostitution, filled with inmates of all nationalities and colors” that formed an entertainment district that never closed.

By Tim Lehman


their carriages without dirtying their clothes. The women workers of her establishment also appreciated being able to step up into fancy carriages while avoiding the mud and dust of the sidewalk. The concrete block was famous enough that years later an art collector rescued it from demolition and moved it to Gallery 85 on Emerald Drive. When the Lucky Diamond moved north of the tracks between 27th and 28th Streets, Warren arranged for a private stairway in the alley “for these stuffed shirts who patronize their churches once a week and my business every night,” she explained. She also owned a coach-and-four which she enjoyed riding about town and used to pick up clients at their own homes. If clients refused to pay, she was known to park her vivid entourage outside of their house until embarrassment forced them to pay for her services. She was also known to amuse herself by watching parades on Montana Avenue and calling out loudly from her upstairs window to her respectable customers, “When are you coming up again?” A 4 a.m. police raid on the Lucky Diamond in 1917 enriched the city’s coffers by the largest sum ever accrued from a single raid. Even with occasional raids, the “sporting house” was lucrative enough that Warren used her profits in the same manner as many successful Billings businessmen—she bought a ranch in Wyoming and ran cattle on the Crow Reservation. When she died in 1943, old-timers gathered and sang hymns at the Billings Methodist Church and then buried her body in the Community Mausoleum in Mount View Cemetery. At about the same time, a visit from the United States Armed Forces personnel enforced a dramatic end to public prostitution in Billings. At a meeting in City Hall attended by city and county public health, law enforcement and elected officials, the Armed Forces health officer explained that this was part of a nationwide effort to control the spread of venereal diseases among servicemen. “Five minutes after a serviceman gets off the train here he knows where the Billings [red light] district is,” the officer claimed. He added that “tests have proven that if a potential recruit spends 12 hours in Billings he’s unfit for military service.” Since ordering service men to avoid the red light district had no effect, he concluded, the best way to slow the spread of disease was to close the “line of cribs where naked women lean over the window sills and entice young boys in for 50-cents or a dollar.”

Stretching east along Minnesota Avenue, often busier than Montana Avenue in the early years, was a string of bars, restaurants, and “houses of joy” that found a steady supply of customers in the city’s transient workers. The Reverend Benjamin F. Shuart, founder of the First Congregational Church, found much to preach about in the rustic city where “the gambler, the dispensers of strong drink and the women of the ‘red light’ were numerous represented in Billings and plied their several occupations, brazenly and without shame.” An early newspaper editorial suggested that the city could only become respectable when “the Devil took a dip net and scooped in some of the thieves and pimps who make their headquarters in this town.” Unfortunately for the advocates of respectability, Billings’ status as a transportation center virtually guaranteed a steady supply of young male travelers, the target clientele for entertainment businesses. During the early 20th century, 20 passenger trains stopped daily in Billings, which housed a transient population of 1,000 people in 15 downtown hotels. The flourishing cattle trade also centered in Billings and brought scores of cowboys into town, where they plunked money down at hotels, restaurants, saloons and brothels. The famous cowboy Teddy Blue Abbot recalled, “The festive cowboy could get all he craved in the way of pleasure and excitement in Billings.” One of the Teddy Blue’s favorites was the “sporting house” run by Kit Rumby, who he remembered as “the first lady of the night.”

The colorful madame

Better known was Olive Warren, who moved to Billings in 1897 and soon operated the city’s most lavish bordello, the Lucky Diamond. A Denver convent school graduate, Warren worked as a clerk in the Yegen Brothers’ store. She and a young attorney soon began a relationship that combined romance and business; while he practiced law, she operated the Lucky Diamond. He showered her with attention as well as jewels, fancy clothes and fine horses. A beautiful woman with raven hair and high spirits, Warren was a familiar sight on the streets of Billings on her fine black horse, wearing a green velvet riding habit and a plumed hat. Warren’s colorful experiences demonstrate how prostitution was thoroughly enmeshed in the society and economy of early Billings. Not only did prostitution serve the multitudes of salesmen, cowboys and transient workers who stopped in the bustling city, there were many local citizens who frequented the brothels. At the Minnesota Avenue entrance of her “pleasure palace,” Warren arranged for a large concrete block, with her name etched on it, to be placed where men could alight from

City ‘approval’ Apparently reluctant to close the district entirely, city officials offered

a series of counter arguments that would protect public prostitution along Minnesota Avenue. Keeping the red light district intact, they argued, kept prostitution “under control” by allowing police to monitor the businesses and make sure that the “girls get to a doctor regularly.” Another official suggested that disease was spread not by prostitutes but by “victory girls,” teenagers and young women who offered companionship, and sometimes sex, to servicemen during World War II. This led to a Left: Sanborn Fire Insurance map of Minnesota Ave. Circa 1903. The map lists three blocks of “Boarding Houses” from 2400-2600 block of Minnesota Avenue. Preceding page: Olive Warren, circa 1900. Right: The concrete block used in front of Olive Warren’s bordello. Photo by Kevin Kooistra, courtesy of Western Heritage Center. Concrete block photo from The Billings Gazette archives.


discussion of the causes of teenage “sexual delinquency” and whether “victory girls” or prostitutes carried the most venereal diseases. A Billings law enforcement official raised the issue of social class of sex workers with the provocative question, “If you are going to close down prostitution, why don’t you start at the top with the hotels?” Not impressed by any of these arguments, the Army representative concluded, “Close that south-side line in 24 hours or the military will move in and do it for you.” The practice of open prostitution in downtown Billings had come to an end. The next day Mayor Biddinger anAt the Minnesota nounced the closure of the district, and Avenue entrance within days the “ladies of the night” either left or took their business to of her “pleasure less conspicuous parts of town. Years palace,” Warren later a new Police Chief, R. L. Wilson, announced a new law and a new arranged for a attitude in Billings toward prostitularge concrete tion. The 1961 city ordinance banned prostitution, call girls and red light block, with her districts in the city on the grounds name etched on that “Prostitution is contrary to the laws of man and the laws of God.” it, to be placed Despite the lingering notions of where men could “well-meaning citizens” who thought of prostitution as a “necessity for some alight from their segments of our society” or as vital carriages without to economic growth, Wilson argued that sex crimes beget other crimes. dirtying their He remembered his days as a patrolclothes. man before 1943 when “hardly a night passed” without some violent crime in the red light district. Although open prostitution is no longer tolerated in Billings, somewhere in the city, perhaps buried under mounds of dirt or building materials, stands a concrete block etched with the name “Olive Warren.” It speaks to a different time when prostitution was public, and for all of its vices, worked its way into the city’s economic muscle and the spiritual heart.

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GRIDIRON GETAWAYS: Better than a Big Screen i BY karen Kinser

Brisk days, nippy nights and crunchy leaves underfoot signal the beginning of fall for some. But for the rest of us, it’s kick-off time for football season! Odds are you’ve never attended an NFL game, but with three great teams—the Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings—just a few air hours away, make this the year you control the clock with a time-out to tackle a little adventure.

Clockwise from top left: Denver’s Duke Ihenacho tackles Baltimore’s Ray Rice. Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch breaks a tackle earlier this season against the ‘49ers. Minnesota’s Brian Robison muscles up against the Cardinal’s Bobby Massie. Vikings players Jared Allen (left) and Kevin Williams have a chat with the referee. Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder. Mall of America entrance. Monorail takes passengers through Seattle Center. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. Seahawks play at CenturyLink Field. Downtown Denver nightlife. Peyton Manning and Demaryius Thomas huddle up. Demaryius Thomas breaks for a Denver touchdown.



Denver Broncos

After a loss to the Baltimore Ravens in a play-off game for the 2012 Super Bowl, Bronco fans are hoping that Peyton Manning can help lead the team to their first Super Bowl win since 1998. The Broncos have only had six losing seasons in the past 35 years, and you can help cheer them on as they utilize their home-field advantage. In more than 50 years, this team has never been shut out at home. The Broncos play on the Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium, which has a fan capacity of more than 76,000, along with a unique design that allows great action shots from even the upper decks, breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains and even public art. Stay in the area a few days and enjoy the multitude of other amenities that this outdoorsy hipster town has to offe.

after the game...

Unique Neighborhoods: With 79 official neighborhoods in Denver, you could explore for years. The more historic ones are closer to downtown, including the recently revitalized LoDo (lower downtown Denver). But don’t miss the artsy and bohemian feel of Capitol Hill, the history and Victorian homes of Five Points (known as “Harlem of the West” for its jazz history) or the bistros and shops of South Pearl. Shopping: The Cherry Creek neighborhood is considered the largest shopping area between Chicago and San Francisco, with 16 blocks of retail stores and more than 320 shops, boutiques and galleries. The Cherry Creek Shopping Center has 160 more retail outlets with name-dropping shops such as Neiman Marcus, Ralph Lauren and Louis Vuitton. Adventures and Explorations: Get cultured at the Denver Art Museum, see where your money is made at the U.S. Mint, tour Coors Brewery, enjoy flora and fauna at the Denver Zoo and Botanic Gardens, be spirited away at the Butterfly Pavilion, tour the Celestial Seasonings plant in nearby Boulder or even try your hand at indoor skydiving. Dining: With everything from truffled pizza at romantic little bistros to award-winning, chefowned restaurants, Denver has the food scene covered (check out the foodie site eatdrinkdenver. com). The area is also known as the “Napa Valley of Beer,” and hosts the largest beer festival in the world every fall. And it’s no slouch when it comes to wine, either, with 12 wineries in the area. For a retro experience and cocktail, visit Wiliams & Graham, where they hand cut the ice cubes. The Details: See; ticket46 I OCTOBER 2013 I MAGIC CITY for MAGAZINE; tickets and visit for travel details.

From top: Sports Authority Field statue in Denver. Denver Art Museum. Denver Skyline. Denver Botanic Gardens. Capital Hill Mansion. Cherry Creek Shopping Center. Photos courtesy of Denver Broncos Football and Visit Denver.

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks consider their fans to be the loudest and most loyal in the NFL—giving the team a definite home field advantage—and honor these fans as the “12th man.” If the Seahawks are your team, you can show the love by purchasing a #12 fan jersey and adding your cheers to the incredible decibel levels in the stadium. The Seahawks have gone on to playoffs in eleven seasons, including a Super Bowl loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2006. The Seahawks also have the distinction of being the first team to win a playoff (2010 season) with a losing record and even defeated the current Super Bowl champs, the New Orleans Saints, in those play-offs. Fans’ cheers were so loud during that game that they registered on a nearby seismometer. Talk about making the earth move! Make plans to enjoy a Seahawks game, and then visit some of the highlights of stimulating Seattle.

after the game...

From top: Seahawks huddle. Farmers’ Market in downtown Seattle. Pikes Place Market. Space Needle and EMP Museum. Seattle Skyline. Photos courtesy of Rod Mar/ Seattle Seahawks Football and

Pike Place Market: If you’re in Seattle, you can’t miss joining the eight million other annual visitors to this iconic market, where fish fly and where you can enjoy a jolt of java at the original Starbucks. For a spooky experience, purchase tickets for the nightly ghost tour of the market. Shopping: After you’ve shopped from the vendors and craftspeople at Pike Place, you might want to head to Nordstrom, Macy’s or Tiffany & Co. for some high-fashion. Not into big names? Then go to nearby Ballard for some hipster clothing and shoes from the indie shops in the area. For bargains, visit the trio of outlet malls in the area. Adventures and Explorations: Don’t miss the excitement at Seattle Center, where you’ll encounter four museums, the stunning glassworks at Chihuly Gardens and Glass, trendy restaurants and, of course, the Space Needle. For more culture, visit the Seattle Art Museum and the Olympic Sculpture Park. Take a tour on the Emerald City Trolley, stroll around the waterfront, drop in at the Seattle Aquarium, learn about the joy of java on a coffee crawl or try indoor skydiving at iFly. Dining: As a port city, Seattle has a long history of offering a wide variety of foods from varied cultures. Try the mushroom and truffle cheese pizza at Serious Pie, the thin crust pizza to-diefor at Pagliacci’s, a kimchi quesadilla from the Marination Mobile food truck or enjoy a meal with a view at one of the 24 waterfront restaurants. The Details: See;; for tickets and visit for travel MAGICdetails. CITY MAGAZINE I OCTOBER 2013 I 47



Minnesota Vikings

By making the play-offs 27 times, the Minnesota Vikings have one of the highest winning percentages in the NFL. They’ve also played in the Super Bowl four times, but have never brought home the coveted Lombardi Trophy. Playing on the Mall of America Field at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, the Vikings have the distinction of being the only professional sports team with a human mascot. Ragnar, embellished in Viking garb, arrives on the field via motorcycle and fires up the fans. Among Ragnar’s many talents is his world record for the fastest time shaving a beard with an axe. Another distinction for the team is the origination of the “Hail Mary Pass” in a 1975 playoff game against the Cowboys, when Dallas quarterback Roger Staubach, with seconds left to play, threw a 50yard pass caught by Drew Pearson, which won the game. Asked by reporters what he was thinking, Staubach said, “I closed my eyes and said a Hail Mary,” which sealed the desperation pass into the football lexicon. While there, don’t miss all the extras Minneapolis has to offer.

after the game...

The Mall of America: Imagine shopping in a place so large that seven Yankee stadiums could fit inside! That’s what you’ll find at this most visited shopping mall in the world, which includes 520 stores, 14 theatres, 50 restaurants, Lego store with pick-a-brick wall, Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium and even a Nickelodeon Universe theme park. There’s no shortage of shopping in downtown Minneapolis either, with Macy’s Nicollete Mall, Saks Off Fifth and Target’s flagship store. Adventures and Explorations: With more than 30 theaters in greater Minneapolis, you’ll not lack culture. Enjoy the Walker Art Center and Minneapolis Art Institute, or stop at the Mill City Museum (once the world’s largest flour mill) and learn about the intertwined history of flour, Minneapolis and the Mississippi River. Are outdoor adventures more your style? Then head over one of the many parks in the Three Rivers Parks system where you can hike, bike or cross-country ski. Dining: Would you like to dine at one of the world’s top restaurants? Then visit Solera, where you’ll be intrigued by a choice of more than 40 tapas. You can also sample street food from Chino Latino, revel in the rock ‘n’ roll atmosphere with American cuisine at Cadillac Ranch, savor sushi at Origami, sing along to the dueling pianos at Shout! House or be served with sarcasm at Dick’s Last Resort. With the Minneapolis area hosting large Somali, Hmong, Vietnamese and Ethiopian populations, you’ll find unique and diverse dining throughout the city. The Details: See; ticketmaster. com; for tickets and visit for travel details.


From top: Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. Mall of America. Sushi at Origami. Walker Art Center. Viking defensive end Brian Robison breaks through the line. Photos courtesy of Minnesota Vikings Football and Minnesota Visitors and Convention Bureau

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Killing TimeBy GeneOn A Tractor Colling I illustration by lee hulteng composed of metal frames with rows of spikes attached. Its purpose was to prepare the field for planting. Pulling two sections of harrow seemed as futile as painting a house with an artist’s brush. To my eyes the field seemed to stretch to infinity. For a couple trips up and down the field I tried to pay attention, but then my focus started to drift to the puffy cumulus clouds floating in the azure sky. There was a pirate ship next to a rabbit followed by an airplane. My dog, Shep, faithfully trotted behind, his monotony broken only by an occasional jackrabbit, which led him on a frantic chase. When these diversions no longer held my attention, I launched into singing the only song I knew the words to. Drowned out by the tractor motor and feeling uninhibited by the vast space around me I belted out: North to Alaska You go north, the rush is on North to Alaska I go north, the rush is on...

Over the span of 10 years that I worked on my father’s farm, I spent a lot of time driving tractors. I was the second son and bereft of farmer aptitude, so I was usually delegated lower-end jobs that did not require much focus. What I did have was a natural talent for daydreaming—not something that mixed well with operating heavy machinery.

My dad started me out on the smallest tractor on the farm, an Allis Chalmers B. It was advertised as “the replacement of the horse.” OK, maybe one horse. Behind the tractor were two measly sections of a harrow. Normally, there would be 10 or more sections. The harrow was


I didn’t know the whole song or the right sequence, but I sang anyway, making up lyrics until my voice cracked from fatigue. Eventually, I felt the powerful need for a nap. In that moment the one feature of the tractor that made sense to me was the padded bench seat—like it was a throwback to a buckboard wagon. I scrunched into a fetal position, resting on my side while still holding onto the wheel... half an hour later I jolted awake to find myself in the middle of the field. Behind me was a meandering pattern that if viewed from an airplane could have been the first documented alien script. It took me a couple days to erase the errant plow lines. As talented as I was at daydreaming, my friend Ron was world-class. Several farms away, he also logged countless hours of tractor time. Since

he was the eldest son, his father had no choice but to let him drive the big tractor. On one of his first forays pulling the huge harrow, he came to the end of the field and drove right through the fence taking out a gaping swath. He made a wide turn in the adjoining pasture and instead of going back through the same gap, he took out a new one. His dad spent the next two days removing wire from the harrow. To my eyes the Ron also spent a lot of time putting up hay. The system they used involved a large field seemed to wooden fork mounted to the tractor, which stretch to infinity. was controlled by hydraulic levers. His dad For a couple trips had the hydraulics repaired and what used up and down the to be up, was now down. While going at top speed, Ron once pushed down when he field I tried to meant up. The damage again took several pay attention, days to repair. but then my In between moments of mayhem, focus started to Ron spent hours figuring out complex problems like how to fix an old shortwave drift to the puffy radio so at night he could listen to ships cumulus clouds faraway at sea. While milking cows, Ron floating in the would listen to the radio and if there was azure sky. There a contest to solve a riddle or come up with winning slogan, he could do it. In school, was a pirate ship Ron did math in his own peculiar way. All next to a rabbit that time he spent thinking while milking followed by an and tractor driving eliminated the need airplane. for pencil and paper. Ron processed math problems internally, his body gyrating as though possessed, finger wagging in the air. Seconds later he would simply pop out the right answer. Today, there seems to be a trade-off between time to daydream and creature comfort. Modern tractors have climate-controlled cabs with plush seats and all manner of electronics to eliminate human error and provide entertainment. Random meanderings are a thing of the past. Needless to say, neither Ron nor I stayed on the farm. He became a successful electrical engineer and collector of unusual gadgets. I’ve enjoyed a career in journalism and videography. One thing we have both come to appreciate is the time we had to spend with our own thoughts and daydreams as we toiled in repetitive chores. While I don’t miss those days, I’m happy to have had them. Killing time on a tractor can be a great place to launch your dreams. Gene Colling claims dual residency in both Billings and Missoula. He recently retired after a career with the U.S. Forest Service. For 25 of those years, he produced video programs including ones on such Billings area topics as the Beartooth Highway, Pryor Mountain wild horses, Lewis and Clark expedition, Hebgen Lake earthquake and Nez Perce Trail.

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We’ve got spirit, yes we do! Local schools rally behind their teams in a season spangled in pep rallies, face paint and camaraderie. Rows of

eager and dedicated fans line the bleachers of the student section, poised for raucous cheering and chanting. Here, our children learn much more about life than winning or losing—they learn about support, hope and spirit.

Clockwise from top: Students in West High cheering section. Eddie Jordan, Levi Beck and Eli Tostengard. Billings Senior cheering section. Photos by Paul Ruhter. Skyview cheerleaders during their Homecoming Parade.Billings Central student section. Photos by Bob Zellar.



From ghoulies and ghosties And long-leggedy beasties And

In this enlightened age of international space stations, Mars probes and worldwide web access carried in one’s pocket, it is a stretch to imagine a time when nearly everyone believed in and feared various types of “ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties.” In the misty early centuries of the first millennium A.D., before missionaries such as St. Patrick and St. Columcille converted them to Christianity, the Celtic peoples practiced an elaborate religion through their priestly caste, the Druids. Their year began with a major festival at the beginning of winter, marking both an ending and a beginning in an eternal cycle. People sacrificed animals, fruits and vegetables. They lit bonfires to honor the dead and keep them away from the living. They believed that on that day all manner of beings were abroad: ghosts, fairies and demons—specters of the dark and dread. The missionaries de-paganized the event and morphed it into the Christian observances of All Hallows’ Eve, followed by All Saint’s Day on November 1. And that was the end of the ghosties and ghoulies. Or not. In our 21st century city of Billings, might there still be spooks, sprites and wraiths among us? While for most people, it would take a generous dose of extra-sensory


elasticity to get into that headspace, many passionate devotees armed with high-tech laser thermometers, infra-red cameras and illuminating devices, thermal imaging equipment, motion detectors and Electronic Voice Phenomena Listeners (EVP), are devotedly engaged in pursuing and documenting evidence of paranormal activity. And just as often, debunking a claim through logical explanation. Several such groups are based in town. They do not charge for investigations. Ghost tours, guest presenters and complete programs are also available, offering fascinating evidence of incorporeal supernatural beings among us. One certified ghost hunter, Karen Stevens, has written several books on the topic, including “Haunted Montana,” and “More Haunted Montana.” Her third book of that series is in progress. From Stevens’ and others’ accumulation of accredited sites, we offer a few public spaces where you might encounter our city’s Other Worldly inhabitants.

things that go bump in the night, Good Lord, deliver us! — ­ ANCIENT SCOTTISH PRAYER

rmc losekamp hall




Alberta Bair Theater







Alberta Bair Theater

PHANTOMS ON STAGE AND OFF Throughout the building, staff and various paranormal investigators have heard formerly locked doors being slammed shut at all hours of the day. Late one night, a lighting technician, working in the booth at the back of the orchestra seating, saw what is described as a “Shimmering Mass” floating across the stage. Another technician went down the staircase leading to the stage. When he arrived, he heard an unseen presence jump down from these same stairs and land right behind him. He then felt a cold chill surround him. A cleaning lady reported talking with a friendly female ghost in the balcony. Miss Alberta, perhaps?

Dude Rancher Lodge

METAPHYSICAL MIDNIGHT MUNCHER A superannuated, nightgown-clad lady has appeared to guests and hotel staff on numerous occasions. This spirit may be that of Annabel Goan, who built the Dude Rancher in 1950 and lived there until shortly before her death in 1983. She is helpful, opening resistant locks when asked, but startles others by turning lights and TVs on or off; standing in hallways and knocking on doors. A deceased long-time cook, “Bob,” who also lived in the Lodge, occasionally reverts to his old habit of rustling up a snack and rattling around in the kitchen just before midnight. Personal experiences and evidence captured by researchers suggest that some benign entities are still in the Dude Rancher Lodge, who simply loved their former business, home and place of work.

Moss Mansion


GHOST WITH A GOLD WATCH The Union Depot, built in 1909, served up to 26 daily passenger trains at its peak. Abandoned around 1979 and left to pigeons, vandals and vagrants, it was cleaned up and repaired by film maker Ron Howard and company in 1991 for use in the movie, “Far and Away.” Film crew members watched in disbelief as paint buckets on a scaffold overturned one after the other. Several actors saw a man in a conductor’s or ticket agent’s uniform, complete with a railroad watch on a chain, striding toward the baggage room. They followed, but no one was there. Did he report for duty on time, or a century late?

The entity of the “lord of the manor,” Preston Boyd Moss, has been seen on the grand staircase numerous times. EVPs caught by Montana Paranormal Research Society suggest that a female entity, one of P. B.’s daughters, may still be in the house, monitoring the living. At any rate, she said her name, “Melville.” She was the last Moss to occupy the mansion. Virginia, another Moss daughter, died in childhood. An ethereal image of a child around six was seen by an attending night nurse during Melville’s last illness. Years after the mansion was opened to the public, a seasoned volunteer settled her two young grandsons on the third floor with crayons and coloring books to occupy them during her shift at the tour desk. Afterward, they told her of a little girl who came and wanted to play. The grandmother assured them that no other children had entered the building, but the boys were unconvinced. Virginia, again?

Rocky Mountain College Losekamp Hall Theater

PHILANTHROPIC PHANTOM Stage lights begin to come up gradually, glowing red. A few seconds later the lights slowly dim out. What’s unusual about that? For one thing, no one was in the building at the time, besides a team of paranormal researchers packing up after an uneventful night. Secondly, the theater lights operate by a stiff on/off switch with no dimmer. The campus electrician neither found a malfunction nor could provide an explanation the next day. An iridescent figure has been seen in the balcony, green room and backstage. Some think it’s the benevolent spirit of philanthropist John Losekamp, keeping an eye on the college he supported so wholeheartedly.

The Rex Restaurant


The three-story brick building dates to 1910 when it opened as a fine hotel. The Rex was rumored to be connected to an underground tunnel system used to move bootlegged cargos of liquor during Prohibition. A visiting psychic said the ghost is named “Buck,” a Rex barman who died during that era. Several individuals, when alone in the closed building, have heard the sound of men’s voices and bar stools scraping the floor. Perhaps Buck likes to serve up the spirits to his spirit-friends, who shift their stools into comfortable proximities to the bar. He gives the welcome signal by turning on the green neon “Rex” sign after employees have turned it off and left for the night.

Western Heritage Center

Yellowstone Art Museum


NIGHT AT THE (ART) MUSEUM The unusual genesis of Billings’ handsome art museum arises from the county jail, built in 1884 as the first act of the newly instituted Yellowstone County government. Incarceration was its function for the next eight decades. In 1964, cells moved out and art moved in, evidently unnoticed by the resident ghosts. Cell doors are still heard slamming. Men’s voices have been recorded by EVP in a 2013 investigation. Witnesses report feeling a choking sensation in the area where a hanging took place nearly a century ago. Scofflaw spirits of the past may be trapped in the YAM, but they have no excuse for grumbling and wailing. No bars keep them from the wealth of beauty and inspiration in the cavernous galleries all around them.

Parmly Billings Library (current location)

WHISTLE WHILE YOU HAUNT Once a warehouse for wholesale hardware, the old library building is home to a host of ghosts. Author and long-time library employee, Karen Stevens; many other staffers; and construction workers remodeling at night, have observed phantom entities clearly enough to describe their clothing, hair, even glasses. One had a particular scent as of sawdust; others whistled. There have been two sightings of an exceptionally tall male figure. A disembodied voice from overhead in an elevator one morning before library hours indicated his annoyance to a staffer with an expletive. Libraries, by their intrinsic nature, are friendly and welcoming. Even to ghosts. When the old brick building is demolished for a parking lot, will the haunting spirits find the brilliant new state-of-the art library next door similarly inviting? Decision day looms.

Juliano’s Restaurant

A POLTERGEIST AND A PUP Long-time resident, Ernest Murray, evidently haunts his old home –now Juliano’s Restaurant— from his base in a second-floor closet. The closet door, possessed of a stiff, old-fashioned knob and recalcitrant mechanism, nonetheless opens by itself, and when it does, Mr. Murray makes mischief. Pots and pans have toppled off shelves; tools disappeared. A man has recently been seen late at night at the upstairs window by neighbors. Murray may keep a ghost dog, too. While dining, ghost hunter Karen Stevens and a companion, both dog owners, turned toward “the sound of dog claws scrabbling on the wood floor in front of the kitchen door.” There was no dog. The pair also experienced a chill next to their table which, measured by extending a hand through the icy pillar, “equaled about the diameter of a human body.” Karen’s fingers felt warm air on the far side.

How could a building that looks like the WHC not be haunted? Research shows that paranormal activity is definitely high within. The turreted Romanesque edifice has been a city landmark since 1901. As both library and museum, it has been a dispensary of literature and history to the region ever since, not to mention incorporeal beings. Some say it’s a regular ghostcentral, with sightings of shadowy male, female, and child entities seen about. Small barefoot prints were reported on the dusty attic rafters, perhaps left by a little spirit called Priscilla. WHC employee Lisa Olmsted would choose “the man in the red and black checkered shirt who sits downstairs” as her favorite ghost, if she ever does see one. All of the haunters seem to be comfortable and friendly. You are invited to meet them. See “Raising our Spirits” below.

More about ghost hunting Western Heritage Center’s “Raising Our Spirits” fundraiser, Sat., Oct. 26, 4:30 and 8 PM, 406-256-6809

Karen Stevens – Books, “Haunted Montana” and “More Haunted Montana,” available at Billings Public Library Big Sky Paranormal Investigation Black Mountain Paranormal Research - Montana Paranormal Research Society - 406-534-4215 and

1510 24th Street W • Billings, MT 59102 406.294.1717 •


“Nature is a labyrinth in which the very haste you move with will make you lose your way.” ~ Francis Bacon, Sr.

(English Lawyer and Philosopher. 1561-1626)

A PEACEFUL PATH Many find solace and self discovery in “WALKING THE WALK” In Billings and across Montana, tucked away in serene places shielded from the noise and commotion of daily life, are a series of labyrinths. Some are made of rocks laid out in secluded fields or parks; others are painted on giant pieces of canvas to be unfurled on the floor of a place of worship and then stored for another day. Many have renewed the ancient practice of walking these labyrinths, and in doing so have found personal

solace in a sundry of ways. A labyrinth is not a maze as many people assume. Labyrinths feature a single, curving path that leads to a center point, and the same path leads back out to the starting point. Unlike a maze, there are no dead ends. Instead of being confusing and, perhaps, frightening, walking on a labyrinth leads to a sense of peace and relaxation. It is often said that “a maze is where you go to lose yourself—a labyrinth is where you find yourself.”

By Suzanne Waring I Photo by paul Ruhter MAGIC CITY MAGAZINE I OCTOBER 2013 I 59

Mystical journey

Steeped in the ages, labyrinths have been known to exist for more than 4,000 years. Usually following the spiritual images of a circle or wheel, images of labyrinths have been found on pottery and etched on the walls of caves. In medieval times—likely around the 12th or 13th century—labyrinths began being used by Christians. Approximately 50 to 80 cathedrals were built in Europe around this time, and 22 of them had labyrinths built into the floor. Of those, fewer than half of a dozen remain today. Early Christians traveled to these great cathedrals to walk labyrinths as a spiritual journey when they could no longer go to the Holy City of Jerusalem. The labyrinths used today in the United States frequently copy those patterns in the floors of cathedrals in northern France and Tuscany. Turf labyrinths, usually made of hedges or stones as the beltway with a gravel or grass walkway and found in the United Kingdom, replicate the medieval design of those in the cathedrals in Western Europe and are thought to be created about the same time. Many labyrinths are also found along the sea shores of the Scandinavian countries. It is thought, perhaps, travelers walked them to seek a safe sea voyage.

The sacred path

Dr. Lauren Artress, affiliated with Grace Cathedral in San Francisco and author of Walking a Sacred Path, Rediscovering the Labyrinth as a Spiritual Tool, is credited with rediscovering labyrinths as a spiritual tools in the United States and introducing this concept to thousands. They, in turn, have gone out and made labyrinths on heavy fabric, in church yards, at retreats, church camps, city parks and in the yards of individuals. She has encouraged those she has facilitated to share with others the connection a labyrinth can have with a person’s life. Labyrinths can be used in many ways. They reduce stress; recover balance in life; and encourage meditation, insight, and self-reflection. To Dr. Artress, a labyrinth is a metaphor for our journey through life, meant to unite us to ourselves. She has seen it help individuals find healing and wholeness. Labyrinths are built using various mediums. The easiest way to create a labyrinth is to mow one into the lawn or to tape the directional paths onto the floor of a large room. Outdoors, they are usually made of common flagstones as the beltway with grass, gravel or woodchips serving as the path. Labyrinths are not so sacred that children shouldn’t ride their bicycles, skate or run through them.

Billings believers

Sharlene Inglis of Billings became a trained Veriditas Labyrinth Facilitator when she lived in Portland, Oregon, and is a founding member of Labyrinths Network Northwest. Inglis often leads


sessions showing participants how to get the most out of a labyrinth walk and teaches participants how to respect others by spacing people as they start their walk. “People are busy,” she said. “A labyrinth walk is a tool for calming our minds. That is why you will see labyrinths at hospitals and even some businesses.” Originally, Inglis laid out a rope labyrinth outdoors or onto a floor when she facilitated labyrinth walks. Now, she has a portable canvas labyrinth that she can transport either to group meetings or to the Unity Church where she is prayer chaplain for special events. She tells of a woman who happened to walk into a bookstore where Inglis had the labyrinth laid out. The woman was taking a break from being with her daughter who was experiencing a difficult child birth. Walking the labyrinth calmed the women so she could return to her daughter with the strength that the daughter needed from her mother. Sharon Scharosch who, along with Sandra McKee, spearheaded the building of the labyrinth at St. Bernard Catholic Church in the Heights, told of a woman who attended a session with Scharosch. After walking the labyrinth, she told Scharosch that she had been estranged from her brother, so she was surprised that his spirit came to her as she started on the walk. When she reached the center, he said to her, “All

Top: Dr. Lauren Artress, author of Walking a Sacred Path, Rediscovering the Labyrinth as a Spiritual Tool, Left: Sharon Scharosch, left, and Sandra McKee creators of the labyrinth at St. Bernard Catholic Church. Opposite top: Sharon and Sandra placing stones for the labyrinth. Photos by Larry Mayer. Right: The completed labyrinth at St. Bernard Catholic Church in the Heights. Photo by Paul Ruhter. Below: Roxanne Olson, right, walks through the meditation labyrinth with her children Caleb, 10, center, and Alayna, 3, at the Art and Soul Festival at the Shrine Auditorium. Photo by Casey Page.

will be well.” The woman told Scharosch, “I’m at peace now.”

Walking the walk

“There’s no right or wrong way to walk a labyrinth,” said Inglis. “Nor does the walker need an agenda. Allow the labyrinth to offer its guidance. Go alone to a labyrinth and figure out how walking the labyrinth is most helpful.” Inglis suggests also using a labyrinth to develop one’s creative side or to celebrate. A nice gesture is to have each guest walk the labyrinth carrying a flower that is given to the celebrated person who stands in the center and receives the flower. Brenda McLellan, a retired Episcopal priest, inspired the building of a labyrinth on property owned by the Montana Episcopal Diocese. “When people walk a labyrinth, they have one more way to achieve the health and wholeness that they deserve,” said McLellan. McLellan likes to use labyrinths around the time of ancient festivals. Four of the eight major Celtic festivals were around the solstices and the equinoxes, but they also had crossquarter days, which were midpoint celebrations. “Now we know these early festivals as Ground Hog Day, May Day, Harvest Day, and Halloween,” she said. This year she held a harvest celebration called Lammas, which is a contraction of “loaf” [of bread from the harvested wheat] and “mass” at a labyrinth. “I truly believe,” said McLellan, “that walking a labyrinth will give you whatever you need. It will do its work even if you don’t feel a thing.”

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Come .... Take a Look

­— Sharlene Inglis, Founding member of Labyrinths Network Northwest.



1212 Grand Avenue Billings, MT

406-259-6786 MAGIC CITY MAGAZINE I OCTOBER 2013 I 61


zen calm the chaos of everyday life

by natasha mancuso

I have a restless mind. Like most Americans, I multi-task. I take in the news, solve problems, answer questions and take mental notes while sipping my coffee to keep it all going. It is a blessing and a curse. My active mind will not let me leave a practical problem unsolved or let a creative idea go to waste. As a result, I am incredibly productive. On the flip side, I can’t turn it off. At times I rise from the recommended eight hours of sleep just to realize that I was stressed all through the night, and I never really unplugged. Twelve years ago, in an effort to tame my overactive mind, I began practicing yoga. I didn’t know it at the time, but this single action would make a dramatic difference in my ability to relax and unclutter my mind. Not just for Yogis

Bozeman to become Registered Yoga Teacher. “When I step on my yoga mat, I invite myself on a date,” she said. “I turn from stressed to curious, from curious to grateful and from grateful to joyous.”

Since the 1970s, yoga and meditation have been studied as a viable method for reducing stress, anxiety and depression. “Yoga teaches you to recognize stress created by your own self,” explained Sharon Fletcher, a yoga instructor at Granite Fitness. According to Fletcher, stress and anxiety lead to A personal journey Elizabeth Klarich, a veteran yoga practitioner and strained, rapid breathing and tightening of the abdominal muscles. Yoga, like other exercises, relieves physical tension instructor, has been teaching in Montana for the last 35 through stretching and movement with an additional focus years. “Yoga’s popularity has made it a multi-billion dollar on breathing. “Unlike other exercise, yoga also offers a spiritual, mind- industry, which has exploded into myriad of styles,” says body practice that teaches people to stop, pay attention to Klarich. “I have always taught in the way that modifies their body and their flow of thoughts and to honor their poses, encourages listening to the body and individualizes the practice. Each body is unique and knows best what it abilities and limitations,” Fletcher said. needs.” Since its introduction, yoga One of fundamental yoga has entered the mainstream concepts is ahisma, which means as a method of reducing stress non-harming. Do Not Harm and invoking the body’s natural Yourself. Compassion for self, ability to heal. All around the respect for your own body and country, physical therapists, emotions, awareness of your inner behaviorists, coaches and and outer environments – these trainers turn to yoga to help are the nurturing, healing effects patients overcome personal of a yoga practice. Equipped with challenges. Researchers at the such arsenal, yoga practitioners Walter Reed National Military Jennifer Merchant leads a yoga class at Perfect learn to better regulate stress and Medical Center in Bethesda, Balance. Photo by James Woodcock. become less sensitive to pain. Md., are offering a yogic “People in classes are method of deep relaxation to veterans returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. exclaiming that they are free from back and joint pain,” The Betty Ford Center in Palm Springs, Calif. offers yoga reported Klarich. “They are more energetic and they are and meditation classes to patients suffering from chemical stronger.” Fletcher describes yoga as moving meditation. She often dependencies. Locally, yoga classes are offered through local health clubs, Montana State University – Billings, St. encourages her class to “set an intention” for the class period Vincent Healthcare, Billings Clinic, Rimrock Foundation, and then carry it into the day outside of the yoga studio. Expressed as a single word, an intention can vary from senior centers and private studios. compassion, kindness, joy to strength, balance, courage. It is a small promise you make to yourself. Today, I will be kind An awareness of self Jennifer Merchant tried her first yoga class four years ago. to myself. I will be courageous. I will keep my balance no “Two back-to-back pregnancies and a back injury left matter what comes to me. For me, yoga is both a physical exercise and a mental me overweight, tired and in chronic pain,” Jennifer shared. “After trying my first class, my back felt better and I signed break from the business and clutter of life. Mindfulness up for yoga challenge at Perfect Balance and completed 30 over madness. Unplugging on my yoga mat twice a week helps me maintain good emotional balance and a healthy classes in 30 days.” She was hooked. Over the last four years, Jennifer has dropped 70 pounds, perspective on daily events. I tell people…“it’s like the feeling you have after a nice eliminated her back pain and learned to deal with stress by reconnecting with herself and adjusting to her environment. vacation.” You will breathe deeper, walk taller and sleep She recently completed a 200-hour training program in better. And you won’t even have to send a postcard.

5 yoga-inspired relaxation techniques: 1. Choose a meditation phrase to repeat to yourself in a stressful situation. Examples: I am enough. I do enough. I have enough; On this pass no effort is wasted, no gain is ever reversed. 2. To relieve anxiety, turn to mindful breathing. Think of filling your body with breath as you would fill an empty glass with water – from the bottom up. Combine with meditative words: Inhale, say “just;” exhale, say “this.” Or, inhale, say “peace;” exhale, say “love.” Repeat a few times until you feel calm and balanced. 3. When overwhelmed, try palming: cup your hands, with the palms of your hands over your cheeks and the tips of fingers over your eyebrows, cover your face. Breath slowly in and out, repeat your favorite meditation phrase. 4. Find a quiet place/time in each day to listen to yourself. 5. Smile and be thankful.


To Do List

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stress busters It may be hard to believe, but the holiday season is just around the corner. This year, make good on your vow to minimize stress and maximize joy with these tried-and-true stress-busting strategies. Have a plan – write it down. Taking time to create a “to-do” list now will help

you stay organized and on track as the holidays approach. Be sure to include your holiday budget for food, gifts and entertaining and stick to it. And take a tip from Santa – once you make a list, check it twice. Ask yourself, do I really need to spend three days baking goodies for a host of people I only see once a year? Challenge yourself to simplify the work and reduce the expense.

Schedule breaks.

If your “to-do” list doesn’t have time set aside for family and personal relaxation, then it isn’t complete. Schedule time on your calendar to rejuvenate and write it in ink. Otherwise, chances are you’ll fill that time with even more things to do.

Follow a fitness program. It may be cold outside, but that’s no excuse to slough off your physical fitness regime. If you currently workout, commit to staying on your schedule. No gym membership? No problem. Create an exercise room or space in your home. It doesn’t need to be lavish – weights and a bench for strength building, stretch bands or training rope for stretching, and a treadmill or elliptical for cardio.

Eat sensibly. Mashed potatoes, candied yams and grandma’s pecan pie – who can

resist these traditional temptations? Remember, the idea isn’t to avoid delicious holiday fare, but to indulge in moderation. And be sure to hit the gym a few extra times just for good measure.

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somewhere between Norman Rockwell and Thomas Kinkade. Spoiler alert: No one has the perfect Hallmark Holiday. Instead, settle for a Holiday that’s perfect for your family – spills, messes and all. Remember, nothing defuses stress like a good belly laugh.

Got game? If ever there is a time of year to unplug from technology, this is it. Make

a weekly date with your kids to put away the smart phones and Xbox and engage in a rip-roaring game of Monopoly or Scrabble. Add popcorn and hot chocolate, and see how much fun it is to spend time together sans text interruptions.

Know when to say ‘no.’ Women, in particular, have a propensity to take on more

tasks than they can comfortably juggle. Stop! Before saying ‘yes’ to helping with one more fundraiser, car pool or community board, take a good, long look at your “to-do” list. If you can take something equally demanding off the list, OK. Otherwise, politely decline knowing you will have more opportunities in the future.

Express gratitude daily. By being grateful for what you have rather than focusing on what you don’t, you nurture a positive state of mind. That positive framework can help buffer minor annoyances, keeping little things from becoming big. Bonus: Others are naturally drawn to a cheery disposition.

reading, writing and

revolution A look at educational changes in billings With new leadership and strong community collaboration, Billings’ SD2 has emerged from a decade of contentious politicking to offer a bold, new vision for public education. On November 5, voters will weigh in on a $122 million bond issue that has the potential to propel the district to the next level. At the same time, a number of private education options across the city are flourishing, not to mention blueprints for a new classical leadership academy which is in the final planning stages. In the following pages we explore 21st Century education in Billings – new teaching methods, changing technology and the emergence of diversified learning options. And as every parent knows, in the realm of education “one size does not fit all.”



The KickofF,

a giant staff meeting encompassing all

School District 2 educators from Billings’ 22 elementary schools, four middle schools and three high schools, marks the start of each academic year. In the wake of leadership setbacks, with unexpected turnover in the superintendent position and publicized contention on the school board, last year’s highly anticipated event in August filled the Alberta Bair Theater to capacity. “It was packed,” recalls Superintendent Terry Bouck of his first appearance in 2012, “because I was the new guy.” Teachers, staff and community members eagerly awaited Bouck’s plans to address a litany of problems mounting in the growing district of nearly 16,000 students, including accreditation issues, overcrowding, budget deficits, disappointing graduation rates and standardized test performance in the era of No Child Left Behind. “Strong communications,” wrote Bouck that week in a Billings Gazette guest opinion piece “is my promise to families, staff, and community members.” In 12 short months, Bouck has delivered, earning high marks for communication and management skills while collaborating with educators, trustees and community members to put the district on sound footing for the future.

By Julie Johnson Rollins


“Students come to our schools at different stages. We need to support each of our students at their stage and try to move them forward to their highest potential, whether that is going into the job market, to a trade school or to college.” ­­— Terry Bouck, Superintendent of Schools, SD2 School District 2 Superintendent Terry Bouck addresses teachers and staff at the new school year Kickoff at the Alberta Bair Theater on Tuesday, August 27, 2013. Photo by Larry Mayer.


Students front and center

“Students come to our schools at different stages,” says Bouck. “We need to support each of our students at their stage and try to move them forward to their highest potential, whether that is going into the job market, to a trade school or to college.” With 40 years of experience in education under his belt, having worn the hats of classroom teacher, principal, and superintendent prior to arrival in Billings, Bouck recognizes that quality teachers— and enough of them—are key to any individual student’s success. Moreover, 93 oversized elementary school classrooms with ballooning student-to-teacher ratios threatened the district’s accreditation status with Montana’s Office of Public Instruction. Hiring more teachers was imperative. Bouck hit the ground running.

Making the case

“I would venture to say,” says Bouck, gesturing to a 10-inch stack of informational handouts, “Lew Anderson (Facilities Director) and I have done in the neighborhood of 200 presentations.” Partnering with community members and

business leaders in the “Yes For Kids” campaign, Bouck took his case to parent groups, services organizations and the business community to pass a $1 million general funds levy last May. “I think the success of that levy was because we listened,” says Bouck, “and were responsible with what we said we were going to do with the dollars. I believe you deliver on what you say.” The district hired more than 20 new teachers, cutting the number of classes exceeding statemandated sizes almost in half. Side-by-side with educators, parents and the Billings Chamber of Commerce, Bouck lobbied the state legislature to pass Senate Bill 175, a law mandating real-time state funding increases to schools whose enrollment grows by more than 40 students or 4 percent. These are crucial funds for Billings Public Schools, who predict elementary enrollment to increase by 340 students this year. “It was a focused effort,” says Bouck, crediting teamwork with the bill’s passing. Grateful to voters for supporting a $1.2 million technology levy last May, Bouck and the district enacted a “very tight tech plan” aimed at getting technology into the hands of students and staff, including iPads, smartboards, Apple TV,

Students in Courtney Niemeyer’s kindergarten class at Eagle Cliffs Elementary School use their iPads for a spelling lesson. Photo by Larry Mayer

Chromebooks printers and, most importantly, tech coaches to teach educators strategies and skills for technology use.


“Technology isn’t going to take the place of a teacher,” says Bouck.

“It’s how you use it as a tool to support learning and teaching.” Bouck cites Eagle Cliffs Elementary kindergarten teacher Courtney Niemeyer, who received grant funding last year for an iPad for each of her students. “Now the iPads didn’t replace the instructional piece,” explains Bouck. “It allowed her to monitor their progress on her iPad.” She assesses students in the midst of their work, providing immediate feedback rather than reviewing worksheets at the end of the day. “Students have to get used to technological ways of manipulating information,” says Bouck, “and using creativity as far as blending technology with today’s learning, presentations and problem solving.” He notes that education is changing as the quantity of information students need to know rapidly expands in today’s fast-paced world. With national student achievement falling behind much of the industrialized world, change includes standardized testing. Both the state and district fell far short of No Child Left Behind’s proficiency goals for reading and math last year. Testing on the more rigorous Common Core Standards, recently adopted by Montana’s OPI, begins in school year 2014-2015, according to Roger Dereszynski, the district’s Assessment Coordinator. Bouck and Dereszynski support the new standards, which are touted to have more depth and call on critical thinking skills. More importantly, the assessment compares “apples to apples” across states, which currently hold different standards. “There needs to be accountability,” says Bouck, “and accountability

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you can measure nation-wide. It’s no different than SAT or ACT testing, which have nationally standardized norms.” College-bound Billings students compare favorably with the nation according to Billings Public Schools’ website.

More than results

Bouck cautions that assessments are just targets, not a curriculum. Like most superintendents, he anticipates an initial decline in test scores as Montana changes to the new standard. Equally pressing is improving the district’s 81 percent graduation rate. “Student achievement means we push not only for kids at the top” says Bouck, “but don’t forget the kids in the middle and the struggling students.” These issues share common solutions, including education for teachers adopting new standards and curricula and community collaboration in initiatives like Graduation Matters Billings, a partnership of parents, businesses and community members developing strategies to improve graduation rates. “Graduation doesn’t just happen in high school,” says Bouck, noting graduating students is an economic imperative for communities. “It’s how we support and prepare our kids one grade after another.”

Building for the future

That support includes creating room for Billings’ expanding student population. This November Bouck and the district are asking the community to support a $122.3 million bond to build two new middle schools and renovate existing facilities. Sixth graders will then move into middle schools to offset overcrowding in elementary schools, which are literally carving up libraries, offices, hallways and closets to create more instructional space. In characteristic fashion, Bouck is holding multiple public forums on the district’s master facilities plan, to educate the community on these needs and emphasizing intent for strict fiscal management. “I realize people are on tight budgets,” says Bouck, who commissioned a survey of voters to gain an accurate view of what the public might support. “Internally, we’re looking hard at efficiencies too. My goal is to make sure every penny we have now is directed towards teaching and learning in some way.” Like any classroom, Bouck’s office sports a large whiteboard by the front door, crammed with his to-do list, containing topics like curriculum, facilities, security and bullying, to name a few. His future wish list includes more

Advanced Placement classes and expanding the Career Center. “There’s a lot of stuff we have going on just to keep things together,” says Bouck. “We feed kids. We provide transportation, social work and counseling. We also teach.” Search “Terry Bouck” on the Billings Gazette website and you’ll find more than 180 hits in 15 short months. The press is uniformly positive, as was the uplifting atmosphere at this year’s Kickoff. The not-so-new superintendent garners appreciation as he credits teachers, administrators, staff and the community for the momentum driving this year’s theme, “What’s Right about Billings Public Schools.” “I’ve been doing this for 40 years.” Bouck tells the overflow crowd, “and I still get nervous and excited about the first day of school.”

SD2 BOND highlights $122.3 million dollars • $36M deferred maintenance in existing buildings • $25.5M renovations to McKinley and Broadwater Elementary Schools • $29.4M each for two new middle schools (includes $480,000 to purchase land) º One middle school at 56th Street West and Grand Avenue on property the district owns º One middle school in the Heights next to Bitterroot Elementary School • $2M for technology and infrastructure

SD2 facts 20 of 22 elementary schools currently have overcrowding issues with population projected to grow, threatening the district’s accreditation with the state. Student enrollement has grown by 600 in the past 2 years and is projected to increase by 1,200 in the next 5 years. Sixth graders will be moved from elementary to expanded middle school space to ease overcrowding in the elementary schools, creating K-5, 6-8 and 9-12 division in schools

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The Road Less Traveled Private education options for Billings students


Billings Catholic Schools (BCS) In Billings, the Catholic schools provided the first longstanding choice, one that began early in the last century and continues to gain momentum. The Billings Catholic Schools district comprises four separate campuses, with Saint Francis Primary serving prekindergarten-second grade; Saint Francis Intermediate serving grades three-five; Saint Francis Upper serving grades six-eight; and Billings Central Catholic High School (BCCH) serving grades nine-12. Kathy Harris, director of marketing for Billings Catholic Schools, reports that with 1,019 students enrolled this fall, BCS boasts a 10 percent increase over last fall. She attributes the increase to the ever-increasing accolades and national awards the schools receive, which is attractive to parents, regardless of their religious affiliation. Catholic school students leave an early morning mass at St. Patricks Co-Cathedral. Photo by James Woodcock

Billings Central Catholic High School has been named as one of the Top 50 Catholic High Schools in the nation, from 2010-12, by the National Catholic Honor Roll, a rare and coveted distinction.

By shelle y van atta


and the rigor prepare students for the next level of education, with a concrete focus on the 3 R’s: Relevance in what we provide students, Rigor in the classroom, and strong Relationships with staff, peers, community and Jesus.” Hanser and Olson agree that parents compellingly approve of the strong service commitment BCS has made to the community, which is evident in the more than 9,000 hours of community service performed each year by students in K-12. Hanser said, “Parental involvement is also critical at BCS and Catholic schools in general. We believe that schools should do everything they can to promote genuine trust and collaboration with parents, as they are the primary educator of their children.” Other parental attractions “...most parents of non-Catholic students desire an atmosphere to BCS, they said, are: 1) small class sizes; 2) increased number that has a faith component with smaller class sizes, an emphasis of scholarships available; 3) a on discipline and excellent academics.” graduation rate from BCCHS of nearly 100 percent each year; 4) a 100 percent rate of high school — Chris Read, graduates matriculating into the higher education arena; and, 5) Principal, St. Francis Intermediate the opportunity to participate in multiple extra-curricular and emphasis on right over wrong, the moral and more. Upon entering as freshman, school co-curricular activities. They called attention over the immoral, the ethical over the counselors take an active role, ensuring that to the fact that nearly 85 percent of high school unethical—life-choice decisions that deliver students start planning for the future. Of the students are involved in one or more MHSAlong-term consequences for the individual and 90-plus students in our son’s graduating class sponsored activities. “BCS is rooted in the conviction that humanity—appeal to non-Catholic parents of 2013, all were pursuing higher education. as well, which is evident, Olson points out, in Overall, we have been extremely happy with education is for the whole person, from the the percentage of Catholic to non-Catholic our children’s well-rounded education at spiritual, intellectual, physical, moral and Billings Catholic Schools, as they are well social capacities of each child,” stated Hanser. students, which he said is about 70-30. “Public schools cannot bring faith into their Chris Read, principal at Saint Francis prepared for life.” Both Nathan and Hailey are scholar- day, which is an enormous advantage for our Intermediate, said that non-Catholics have integrated well into the BCS system: “Non- athletes thanks, in large part, to the advantages schools.” Hanser emphasized, however, that “BCS Catholics are expected to participate in our of the private school system, emphasized the religion classes and they attend mass with us McDonalds. Nathan is a freshman this year at is not for everyone. There are some limitations each week. Except for the fact that our non- Westminster, in Salt Lake City, playing soccer. in areas such as special education and practical Catholics may not receive Holy Communion, Hailey is a sophomore at Billings Central High arts.” Principal Chris Read agreed: “We have a great public school system in Billings with but are encouraged to come forward for a School, playing soccer and basketball. Eileen and Greg McDonald attribute the caring teachers and administrators. Because blessing, one would find it hard to single out flexibility of Billings Catholic Schools, and they are publicly funded, they can afford the non-Catholics from the Catholics.” The attraction for non-Catholics, Read other private schools, with the “unique ability things that we can’t. We succeed in keeping up believes, is that “most parents of non-Catholic to tap into philanthropic resources to help with them in many ways, but we can’t compete students desire an atmosphere that has a offset general operating costs for the schools, with all the bells and whistles. Parents have to faith component with smaller class sizes, provide tuition assistance and fund special decide what is more important.” an emphasis on discipline and excellent projects that keep private entities viable. As past chair of the BCS Foundation Board, I was academics.” For many parents, like Greg and Eileen able to experience this firsthand. We were able McDonald, the Billings Catholic Schools offer to fund upgrades to the schools’ technology Billings Central Catholic High School 3 Broadwater Avenue  flexibility and what they feel are increased needs, whereas voters had to approve the mill Billings, Montana 59101    opportunities for their children. Their son, levy for technology in the public schools.” (406) 245-6651  BCCHS Principal Shel Hanser cites the Nathan, entered the Billings Catholic School Fax: (406) 259-3124  system in first grade; their daughter, Hailey, educational niche BCCHS fills as being its started in pre-school. Some of the most strong college prep program: “The curriculum BCS remain strongly-based in religion: “The liturgy and the Catholic tradition are vibrant and present in each of our schools every day,” said BCS President Harold Olson. “For example, each day begins and ends with a prayer; each school celebrates the liturgy weekly; and,  there are two all-system masses each year. Religion classes are an integral part of the curriculum.” Saint Francis Primary School’s new principal, Deb Hayes, feels that faith-based education appeals to parents of Catholics and non-Catholics because it “teaches our children values and morals, making them better citizens of our world.” The faith-based doctrine, with its


significant factors in choosing BCS were “smaller class size, academic standards, religious instruction and the feeling that we instantly were part of a much bigger family,” said the McDonalds. “We immediately recognized that parents were welcomed and encouraged to participate in their child’s learning experience from a hands-on perspective, of which we all were actively engaged.” The smaller class sizes, the McDonalds said, allowed their children the chance to participate in a wide range of activities: “All students, especially at the high school level, are encouraged to take part in one or more of the many activities that are offered, ranging from sports, band, speech and debate, theater

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Billings Educational Academy (BEA)

One of the most influential entities to change the private-school

landscape in Billings is the Billings Educational Academy, founded in 2001 by Margo Haak, to “honor the individual learning style of each child.” Haak said that working with parents, children and teachers is the “best way to develop the common values of creativity, intellectual growth and personal integrity for our students. Our teaching philosophy builds self-esteem, produces self-thinkers and fosters individuality.” Haak was a teacher in the public school system for more than 30 years where, she said, “I watched so many kids fall through the cracks, for one reason or another. I felt there had to be a different way to help them.” This need to design a non-traditional, non-religious alternative L-R: Billings Educational Academy Teacher Margo Haak, Sandy Dunning and her son Patrick Dunning. Photo by Bob Zellar

to public school led Haak to open BEA to provide “an atmosphere that offers an individualized education program, set in a multi-age, interactive environment, that nurtures creativity, love of learning, personal growth and unquestioned integrity, where parents, children and teachers work together to maximize the learning experience.”

By shelle y van atta


Aids on the ends of his fingers. He was totally stressed out. I spent years trying to get the help he needed at school. It is very hard to navigate the special education system in public school, so I started looking for an alternative. His original special education teacher at the public school told me about Margo’s school. She had sent another child there and he was doing much better. Patrick began attending BEA at the end of his fourth-grade year. He immediately loved the school. Margo’s outlook on education was totally different from what I was used to. She knows these kids need smaller group instruction, time to themselves, and a place to chill out when they need to. She knows they need socialization and she does a great deal to make that happen.  Patrick now is in seventh grade; his third year with Margo. He loves to go to school. He no longer chews his fingernails. All the Band-Aids are gone. He is happy, much more “All children learn differently and that is how they should be outgoing and interactive with taught, no one learns the same way; everyone has different other people, and his confidence is through the roof! This is something styles, so that is what we focus on. I have a saying that hangs in he never had. our commons area that reads: ‘If a child can’t learn in the way All students are accepted as they are; no questions asked. No we teach him, we teach him in the way that he learns.’ ” one is allowed to be made fun of. They all are treated the same, and fairly. They all are required — Margo Haak, to abide by the rules and Margo Founder, Billings Educational Academy sticks to those. She makes them treat each other, and all people, with respect. She has them give presentations in front of the other students so different from the other kids. It didn’t seem to trouble doing their math on paper, but can go they can gain confidence. Patrick does not bat stand out much when he was younger. Kids in up to the board “and ace it!” an eye about speaking in front of the other kindergarten are supposed to jump around and It is this holistic approach to teaching, students at BEA. He is totally comfortable with act silly; but, as he got older, those behaviors she declares, that leads to a well-rounded life: it. It is really amazing! She takes them on field started becoming more evident. Academically “I  feel that academics are not the only thing trips regularly, and they perform community he was fine, but he was not socially adept. He that should be taught in school. I want the service so they understand the importance of talked to himself a lot and didn’t interact much kids to learn to be good citizens and to give giving. with other kids. of themselves, without expecting anything in The Dunnings’ feelings evidence well   His teachers loved him because he was return. We have adopted foster grandparents Margo Haak’s educational philosophy on sweet, caring, and he didn’t bother anybody. we visit in the nursing home. We have a which she founded BEA: “My teaching He just sat in the back of the class quietly portion of the highway we clean up. We help experience of over 37 years has taught me a talking to himself. That was the problem. In Angel Horses, Special Olympics, the Montana most important lesson,” said Haak. “Learning the fourth grade, I went to visit him at school Rescue Mission and others. For culture, we should be fun, and that this is exactly where I for an open house. I asked Patrick to show go to Alberta Bair Theater performances. We don’t have a playground, so for PE, we go me his desk. When I opened it up, there were am supposed to be!” bowling, swimming, horseback riding, golfing about 40 to 50 sheets of paper (assignments) and dance classes. We do ballroom dancing that were just shoved in there, not completed. I because I feel that is where the boys learn to thought to myself “how is that possible?” There Billings Educational Academy be gentlemen and the girls learn to be ladies. ” was no one to make certain he got his work 212 Central Ave For parents of children who have done. Billings, MT 59102   He also had bitten his fingernails down experienced difficulty in a traditional school (406) 248-4031 setting, BEA has been the answer they were to the nubs. He went around with 10 Haak said the success BEA has enjoyed is a result of the school’s emphasis on independent curriculum that encourages and supports each child’s unique gifts. In this way, she adds, children become excited participants in the cultivation of their lifelong love of learning. “All children learn differently and that is how they should be taught,” Haak pronounces with passion. “No one learns the same way; everyone has different styles, so that is what we focus on. I have a saying that hangs in our commons area that reads: ‘If a child can’t learn in the way we teach him, we teach him in the way that he learns.’” At BEA, students working individually at their own pace; and, Haak expressed, “If they have a specific learning style that works best for them, that is how we teach them. For instance, she noted, some students have


seeking. The majority of students have some form of autism and seem to flourish in the school’s environment. Having strong parental involvement, Haak expressed, is a key factor “by fostering consistency between home and school.” Some of the parents teach classes or help drive to the various activities. Just like the students, Haak proudly imparts, each parent has a talent he or she can share. One such parent, Sandy Dunning, cannot sing the praises for Haak and BEA highly enough. Her son, Patrick, who just turned 13, was diagnosed at age 4 with Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism. He has been in speech and occupational therapy since then. Here is Sandy’s story: Patrick had many sensory issues, meaning that sounds, lights and textures bothered him. Although therapy helped, he still was

Grace Montessori Academy (GMA) Grace Montessori Academy (GMA) opened its doors in August of 2007, educating 35 children, pre-kindergarten through fourth grade. It was founded by a small grassroots group of like-minded individuals led by Mary Beth Gregory, Linda Hart and Pamela Purcell, who believed in the Montessori pedagogy that places the child at the center of learning, with a learning environment tailored to the needs of the child. “This small group, with a passion for education, wanted to provide the Billings community with a unique, quality approach to educating children that differed from the traditional model seen in the public and most parochial settings,” said Mary Beth Gregory, GMA head of school. “At the heart of this passion was the understanding that no one instructional model

Mary Beth Gregory watches as Montessori students Meridith Buchanan, left, and Chloe Budge work on a project at the school. Photo by James Woodcock

fits all children.”

By shelle y van atta MAGIC CITY MAGAZINE I OCTOBER 2013 I 79

different spaces within a mile radius of the main facility, the new building will house all students and will feature an activities center to provide the school with a larger area in which to conduct concerts, school programs, art, music and PE. “Because GMA is very communityminded,” said Gregory, “we will offer this center for use by other organizations in need of such a space. One beautiful aspect of our new building is the creation of an outdoor learning environment, which comprises a natural playground and other conservationminded projects. In Montessori, the outdoor environment becomes an extension of the indoor learning environment. For example, we will phase in, over the next couple of years, a pond system where our upper elementary students may learn about water Ph, fish habitat and the need for healthy water to support our environment.” “As a private school, we hold ourselves to a high standard Gregory said she has experienced of educating children, as this is expected from us by all of our an increasing number of families coming to GMA concerned about the parents. In turn, parental involvement challenges they see the public system is essential in our private school. facing. She said these parents desire “smaller classroom settings, more individualized instruction, a rigorous — Mary Beth Gregory, academic program; and, for many, the Grace Montessori Academy, Head of School. Christian setting.” Each administrator of the private Gregory encourages families at her schools interviewed concurred that one of niche as the only Christian Montessori school in Billings that educates pre-school through school to stay with the program through the most important considerations in the the sixth grade, “to receive the full benefit success of private education is strong parental sixth grade. Montessori education is characterized of a Montessori education. Our elementary involvement. “As a private school, we hold ourselves by small, multi-age classrooms, a special set program builds upon what they learned in of hands-on educational materials, student- the earlier years. From here, we are able to to a high standard of educating children, as chosen work in long time blocks, a collaborative take the child through a wonderful journey of this is expected from us by all of our parents,” environment with student mentors, absence of exploration and learning. GMA’s elementary said Gregory. In turn, she added, “Parental grades and tests, and individual and small- program meets the curriculum standards involvement is essential in our private school. group instruction in academic and social skills. of the state. We find that our students are Our intent is to keep our tuition as low as More than 5,000 schools in the U.S., prepared, if not more than prepared, for their possible and many of our parents, through including 300 public schools, use the Montessori next educational experience once they leave their volunteer help, allow us to do this. In addition, we believe that demonstrating to your method. “This prepared environment is our school.” Having elementary education, Gregory child a servant’s heart is an essential Christian aesthetically pleasing and invites the child to experience learning in a multi-sensory declared, “has been a wonderful asset to principle. We believe any student can flourish manner,” said Gregory. “Each learning strand our school as it helps complete the cycle of at GMA. We are honest in letting parents taught to the child is accompanied by a hands- learning for this developmental plane,” adding know that as a private school, we cannot on lesson so that he or she may experience that “parents have been so satisfied with this provide as many resources as the public system learning on a deeper level. Studies have program that they are encouraging us to can. We have encountered this situation with shown that engaging the hands with learning consider a middle school.” This concept, she those children who have significant learning stimulates more area of the brain. In addition, reports, “will be explored within the context of challenges.” they are free to roam the environment and our new five-year growth plan.” Because the school’s growth rate exceeded engage in lessons that correlate to the sensitive Grace Montessori Academy period of brain development that the child may expectations, GMA has outgrown its existing Billings Christian Montessori School 125 25th Street West be experiencing at the time. Through guidance facility, leading to a board decision, last year, to Billings, MT 59102 from the teacher, children learn and are very build a state-of-the art facility that is expected (406) 652-1739 mindful that this freedom is framed within to be completed by the end of November 2013. the context of ‘choosing to do what is right,’ as Rather than housing the student body in four The school founders, she added, value choice and strongly believe “parents should have the ability to choose the educational model that best fits the learning needs of their child.” Staying true to Maria Montessori’s intent of seeing her pedagogy carried out in a Christian setting was equally important to GMA founders, stated Gregory, who explained that Montessori believed her teachings would reach their greatest potential if allowed to flourish in a Christian educational environment. Gregory reports that after seven years, “GMA has exceeded its growth plan as the Billings community has responded so positively to our model of educating children.” With 131 students currently enrolled, Gregory said GMA has found its unique educational


opposed to ‘choosing to do whatever I want.’” Gregory said the Montessori lessons are presented in a precise and sequential fashion: “A child progresses through the curriculum in an orderly manner, where the student is given ample time to practice a skill until mastery is obtained. The beauty of a Montessori environment is that the child is able to progress at his or her pace and is not required to move as a group, as seen in the traditional setting; therefore, a child who needs more time to understand a concept is afforded this necessity and a child who understands more quickly can continue to move forward. This manner of teaching instills a love of learning within children as they find learning to be more enjoyable and satisfying, rather than frustrating or boring.”

Back to the Future: A New Educational Choice

Fortis Academy “I believe parents need choices,” says David Pulis, founder and future headmaster of Fortis Academy, A Classical Leadership School soon to open in Billings. “They need options. They need opportunities.” Amidst growing concerns nationwide that many high school graduates lack critical thinking skills and the resourcefulness necessary to successfully lead today’s world, Pulis is opening a private K-12 academy modeled on classical education integrated with leadership principles.

David Pulis, future headmaster of Fortis Academy, opening Fall of 2014. Photo by Bob Zellar

By Julie Johnson Rollins MAGIC CITY MAGAZINE I OCTOBER 2013 I 81

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In the offices of his high-tech company, collaboration, initiative and leadership. “This is not one more program [teachers] Kinetic Marketing Group, replete with the latest in Apple technology, Pulis recalls his have to teach,” says Pulis. “This is integrated. It first impressions of the old school environment permeates every part of the school. I love that of Hillsdale Academy in Michigan, a private part.” According to the “Leader in Me” website, school upon which he is modeling Fortis more than 1,500 schools in the U.S. have Academy. “It’s a very low-tech environment,” says adopted the program, with observational Pulis, who characterizes technology as a studies and testimonials touting improvement distraction from learning, a feeling many in academic performance and school culture. Pulis notes intense interest from Billings parents share, watching their children glued to electronic devices. “There are iPads or desktop parents. “People in the community, people at computers. [Hillsdale] said, ‘If you get the feeling that you are transported back to the church, associates at work say, ‘Get that open as fast as you can,’” says Pulis. 1950s, then we’re doing our job.” He is assembling an advisory board and Pulis opines that technology interferes with critical thinking skills and cognitive and teaching staff, working with consultants and social development. “Kids think knowledge is about going to Google.” Research on technology “I’ve chosen to take a classical in education shows mixed approach to education. The results, according to many educational experts. study of the classics and great Differing methodologies in thinkers is really about the technology use and disparate outcome measurements Judeo-Christian and Grecocurrently hamper the ability Roman traditions, understanding to determine its usefulness over standard educational our laws and democracy are methods. built upon those principles.” Like Hillsdale, students at Fortis Academy will study Greek philosophers, French — David Pulis, and Latin in addition to grammar, science, math, Future headmaster, Fortis Academy literature and history. Content focuses on original source material, like the handwritten investors and scouting locations. Doors will copy of the constitution. “I’ve chosen to take a classical approach open the fall of 2014. Pulis anticipates an to education,” says 45-year-old Pulis, who is inaugural class of 40 to 50 children, K-8, with currently completing his master’s degree in plans to add high school in subsequent years. education at Montana State University Billings. Tuition will be in the range of $400 to $650 per “The study of the classics and great thinkers is month, with scholarships available. Pulis has long felt a calling to teach and really about the Judeo-Christian and GrecoRoman traditions, understanding our laws and as a parent has experienced the educational spectrum in Billings. One of his sons attended democracy are built upon those principles.” Pulis was impressed by the academic public schools and is freshman at West High. success of Hillsdale students, who place in His youngest son homeschooled and now the 97th percentile in standardized testing attends Trinity Lutheran. “In my life, I’ve looked for patterns that according to their website, and its “old work,” says Pulis. “If I want a successful school, fashioned” environment. Fortis, Latin for strong, powerful and I better find some schools and people that have brave, will borrow on that environment and that success.” For Pulis, partnering leadership principles incorporate the “Leader in Me” program, a FranklinCovey educational program based with a classical education spells success. on Stephen Covey’s book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” The 7 Habits have been For more information, go to retooled to fit children, emphasizing planning,

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Why Doesn’t Johnny have Friends? Social Thinking: Survival from a Surprising Source Four middle school-aged boys head to the park on a hot, late August afternoon, laden with baskets, Frisbees, signs and a map. Dropping goods to the grass, a curly-haired boy issues instructions, passing out baskets taped with handmade numbers. Uncertainty follows. “What does a good leader do?” asks Nancy Rice, speech therapist accompanying the boys. “Asks questions to make sure every knows what to do,” says the leader. Catching his eyes, Rice gestures to the groups’ puzzled expressions. “I see you don’t really know what I’m saying,” says the leader, pausing for thought. “Maybe I can show you.” They consult a photograph of the park on which they have mapped out their Frisbee golf course. “You have to take the perspective of the picture,” Rice explains as boys grab baskets and begin placing them about the park. Basket 7 belongs on the hill, instructs the leader. A boy sporting flip-flops and glasses hesitates. Looking up, the leader registers his doubtful face. “Good eye contact,” says Rice. “You’re thinking with your eyes.”

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The boy with glasses thinks basket 7 belongs next to the far tree. Rice helps the group negotiate—three to one against the hill. With resignation, the leader hauls the basket to the far tree. “I don’t want to play,” a shy boy says nervously. Rice looks to the rest. “What do you think I’m thinking?” After a moment of silence, the tall thin boy says, “Come on and join us. Everyone is important.” “Nice empathy,” says Rice. Rock-paper-scissors decides who starts. Watching the boys scamper about the park, sailing bright-colored Frisbees, shouting encouragement and compliments, one wouldn’t suspect they live with autism, a disorder with highly variable manifestations of which the sine qua non is social communication challenges. They giggle, employing the “tomahawk” or “pancake shot” to bridge the last few feet of each “hole.” Game over, exaggerated professionalathlete style hugs ensue amidst laughter. The shy boy flinches at the open arms of a teammate, who modulates his motion into a high-five. “Good perspective taking,” says Rice.

Think socially, act globally

Perspective taking is integral to Social Thinking, a human’s innate ability to learn, think through, integrate and apply socially relevant information across settings—academic, home, social and community. Combined with factual knowledge, Social Thinking is foundational to success in life, yet emerging evidence suggests overuse of technology may be derailing the development of Social Thinking in many children. “It’s so much more than just social skills, conversational skills,” says Rice, who has worked 27 years as a speech and language pathologist, helping children with communication challenges.

Social Thinking, she explains, includes executive functioning. “It involves how we attend to and focus on something, how we problemsolve and reason—one’s ability to interpret all information that they’re taking in from not only their perspective but someone else’s perspective.” Individuals with autism flounder in many settings because of their struggles to interpret, process and act on nonverbal cues and the social component of interactions. Traditional therapies for autism have focused on operant conditioning and rote memorization, assuming an inability to learn social understanding because it isn’t innate. Children are taught to respond to situation “X” with act “Y”—what Rice terms a “prompt dependent” method—mentally cataloging a lifelong list of skills for specific situations.

New thinking

Rice has long felt in her bones the importance of what has only recently emerged in the lexicon of communication disorders, teaching Social Thinking. The term was coined by internationally recognized speech and language pathologist Michele Garcia Winner, who has studied and written extensively on the topic. Social Thinking explains the whys of human action, and ongoing autism research shows improved outcomes with this therapeutic approach. “We teach students pragmatic skills, how you use language in different ways to be effective — ­ greeting, requesting, comments,” says Rice. “If we teach kids the whys behind it, they learn that skill much more quickly.” Moreover, they apply the skill to unfamiliar situations. “So we work on, what are the rules behind being a leader,” says Rice. “But we have to take it out to the Frisbee golf course to see it come to fruition. It was generalized. It wasn’t cued.” At the Speech and Language Ability Center, Rice teaches young children to be “social detectives.” They become “superheroes” against

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the “unthinkables,” cartoon villains like Rockbrain (obsessive-compulsive), Glassman (overreactions) and Braineater (easily distracted). For older children, intervention appeals directly to their intellect, using strategies like mapping feelings and thoughts to facts and actions. They learn that their thoughts influence behaviors and behaviors influence others’ thoughts and actions. It’s common for children with unidentified Social Thinking disorders to be labeled with behavior problems, says Rice, recalling a challenging student. “The violent thoughts in this kid,” says Rice. “His Social Thinking had gone wrong.” He couldn’t process his feelings or take the Top: Speech therapist Nancy Rice works with Jackson Nunberg perspective of himself or others. (left) and Julien Rollins (right) helping them to understand “We’ve done tons of mapping, increased non-verbal cues in speech. Above: Nancy uses gesturing to emphasize emotion. Photo by James Woodcock. his social awareness and his ability to identify when it’s a Social Thinking issue,” says Rice. “He’s doing very well.” Lack of empathy or an inability to reason through unrealistic expectations at an ageappropriate level may also indicate Social Thinking problems. “A red flag would be meltdowns that you can’t seem to reason through,” says Rice, “where their thinking doesn’t match [the situation]—not because of maturity. It’s in their wiring, in their thinking.”

Plugged in or tuned out?

Rice points to evidence that technology may be rewiring brains in ways that impair Social Thinking. University of Michigan social scientists, studying college students for more than 30 years, recently reported a dramatic decline in empathy in today’s students. Social isolation, a byproduct of more time with devices than humans, has been cited as a possible cause. The Pew Internet Project reports teenagers in 2012 averaged 60 texts a day. In addition,

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“Make them part of your planning process for the week, month, your vacation,” says Rice, “instead of saying, ‘Here’s the plan.’” Rice plans to positively impact the larger community by mainstreaming Social Thinking. With the support of a parent, Rice is working to pilot a Social Thinking curriculum in a small public school and study outcomes with assistance from Montana State UniversityBillings College of Education. “What can we change?” asks Rice. “Empathy, bullying, how students understand each other, how motivated they “We teach students pragmatic skills, how you use language are for learning, how they organize their in different ways to be effective - greeting, requesting, science projects. It isn’t just about getting comments. If we teach kids the whys behind it, they learn that along. When you’re reading a story, it involves Social Thinking. We’re going to be skill much more quickly.” impacting reading comprehension.” As both parent and practitioner, Rice does cares about how we get along. ­­— Nancy Rice Pulling a page from the playbook of Speech and language therapist children who didn’t receive Social Thinking gratis, but had to work for it, she seeks for communications skills and loss of self-initiation and internal motivation. the next generation to empower mutual understanding, bolster social “Our ingrained habits change us,” writes University of North Carolina cognition and, in the process, build a better world. psychologist Barbara Fredrickson, describing physical changes wrought in our brains by repetitive experiences. “Neurons that fire together, wire For More Information together.” 1. Nancy Rice, speech and language therapist, offers a class for parents: Parents can do much to nurture more balanced brains, says Rice, and Foundations of Social Thinking. For more information, call the Speech and Language she offers these suggestions: Take time to power down electronics and Ability Center, 256-7148 plug into face-to-face neural networks; hold device-free family dinners; 2. Michele Garcia Winner, social thinking guru, has an excellent website, both make car time conversation time; don’t solve your children’s problems, informational and promotional: but help them think through solutions. they spend more than 7.5 hours daily consuming electronic media in a constant search for stimulation, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. No wonder an industry of psychologists, pediatricians and neuroscientists are raising alarms that technology overuse by the “iGeneration” is contributing to attention deficits, decreased ability to self-regulate emotions and behaviors, impairment of interpersonal

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Training for Tomorrow’s Leaders Check out these leadership opportunities for youth in the Billings’ area .

Billings Young Marines This program promotes the mental, moral and physical development of boys and girls ages 8 through high school with a focus on character building, leadership and a healthy, drugfree lifestyle. The Young Marines strives to positively impact America’s future by providing quality youth development programs that nurtures and develops its members into responsible citizens who enjoy and promote a drug-free lifestyle as promoted by the U.S. Marine Corps’ Youth Drug Demand Reduction efforts.

Boy Scouts of America Montana Council Perhaps better known by their characteristics—trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent—the Montana Council strives to help young people make ethical and moral decisions over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law. Scouts learn and promise: On my honor, I will do my best to do my

duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.

Girl Scouts of Montana and Wyoming

Open to all girls, grades kindergarten through 12th grade, Girl Scouts builds girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place. Girl Scouting has grown to 3.7 million members and is the largest educational organization for girls in the world, influencing the more than 59 million girls, women and men who have belonged to it.

HOBY For over five decades, Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY) has inspired young people to make a difference and become catalysts for positive change in their home, school, workplace and community. As America’s foremost youth leadership organization, HOBY has a long and impressive history of successfully

motivating youth and volunteers to outstanding leadership by inspiring and developing our global community of youth to a life dedicated to leadership, service and innovation. Programs vary for high school students.

Navy League Cadet Corps and Sea Cadets The Navy League Cadet Corps (NLCC) is for boys and girls, at least 11 but not yet 14 years old, who are interested in the sea, ships and our nation’s seagoing services. The program is designed to introduce young people to maritime and military life and to prepare them for later entrance into the Naval Sea Cadet Corps.

The Naval Sea Cadet Corps (NSCC) is for American

youth ages 13-17 who have a desire to learn about the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine. This program introduces youth to naval life, developing in them a sense of pride, patriotism, courage and self-reliance, and maintaining an environment free of drugs and gangs.

Both programs have one main purpose and that is to foster team work, camaraderie and an understanding of the military command structure among cadets.


Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) is a leadership development program run by Rotary. While participants can be any age, Billings-area programs focus on high school freshmen. RYLA events are typically three–10 days long and include presentations, activities and workshops that cover a variety of topics, including leadership fundamentals and ethics; communication skills; problem solving and conflict management; and community and global citizenship.

The First Tee Montana

Open to youth ages 8-18, The First Tee of Montana strives to impact the lives of young people by providing learning facilities and educational programs that promote character development and life-enhancing values

through the game of golf. It focuses on Nine Core Values, namely honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment.

Youth Leadership Billings Hosted by the Billings Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau, this year-long program strives to acquaint young leaders the history, government, judicial system, health and social services, and business and economic situation of Billings. It exposes students to potential careers while motivating them to become more involved in volunteerism by educating them about the issues and needs of the community. This program is open to juniors in the Billings areas high schools, including Central, Laurel and Shepherd.


super In the United States, 2.7 million children are clinically obese, with 11.2 million more considered overweight. At home in Montana, more than 10 percent of our ninth - to 12th-graders are obese. Growing up in a household where Italian food was a staple, Cindy Norftill remembers eating “lasagna, spaghetti, pasta and pasta.� When she became a mother, those foods were popular meals for her husband, Matt, and five children, Melinda, now 20; Marcus, 16; Caytlyn, 15; Makayla, 13; and Dawn, 12. Things changed three or four years ago. Cindy turned to Weight Watchers to learn healthier ways to cook and to help lose weight. She learned to use broth and water, instead of frying, to cook meats; incorporated more lean white meats; boosted the fruits and vegetables at mealtimes.


r-sized SUPER SICK



The changes paid off in an 84-pound weight loss for Cindy. But her entire family joined in the eating makeover, which also included more physical activity, with the help of Dr. Claire Kenamore, a Billings Clinic pediatrician. Such a family effort is one of the best tools against a national crisis— childhood obesity. In the United States, 2.7 million children are clinically obese, with 11.2 million more considered overweight. At home in Montana, more than 10 percent of our ninth- to 12th-graders are obese.

decline in childhood obesity among low-income preschoolers, with drops in Montana and 17 other states. Still, many overweight children are headed for a lifetime of being overweight and suffering illnesses from type 2 diabetes to heart disease that are connected to that extra weight. With 154.7 million Americans older than 19 considered overweight, according to American Heart Association statistics, the American Medical Association recently made an alarming declaration: obesity is a disease.

An ounce of prevention

Dr. Sharon Zemel, Montana’s only pediatric endocrinologist, says the hope is to focus on the need to address obesity as a medical concern. Often in the past, insurance would not cover prevention or treatment for overweight people unless they were diagnosed with a related disease, such as type 2 diabetes, says Zemel, who joined St. Vincent Children’s Healthcare this past summer. Excess weight has been linked to many illnesses, ­— Dr. Sharon Zemel, agrees Kenamore. St. Vincent Healthcare Pediatric endocrinologist Prediabetes and type 2 diabetes are being seen Dr. Sharon Zemel more and more in youngsters. Respiratory problems More than 12 percent of Montana kids ages 2-5 are obese. And a that make a child feel as if he or she has asthma may come from being 2011 Community Health Needs Assessment in Yellowstone County overweight and out of shape, she says. The doctors also pointed to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, found 24.3 percent of children ages 6-17 had a body mass index in the sleep apnea, digestive and other possible complications. Low self-esteem overweight or obese range. A recent Centers for Disease Control study found hints of a nationwide and bullying often result.

“Old-school thought was that a child excessively chubby at age 2 would simply outgrow it. Now doctors see overweight before the age of 8 as a strong predictor of adult obesity. “

Above: Cindy Norftill cooks dinner while her daughters Makayla, Dawn, Caytlyn, and Melinda help prepare food. The Norftill family is pictured at their home in Billings. Photo by Paul Ruhter


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With the explosion of type 2 diabetes comes the long-range threat of organ failure; nerve damage; amputations; and even blindness, though these usually don’t occur until years into the disease. A child can look quite healthy but have a high body mass index and be at increased risk for obesity without a parent noticing, Zemel says. “The goal is to pick up on it before it’s a problem,” she notes, encouraging parents to have regular exams for their children with tracking their body mass index and weight as part of that discussion. Old-school thought was that a child excessively chubby at 2 would simply outgrow it.

Eliminating sugary drinks, including juices, can be an important first step. Offer milk or water, instead. Rather than counteracting the weight benefits of a kids’ soccer game with a fast-food stop after practice, offer fresh fruit. Complex carbohydrates, lean meats and serving fruits or vegetables at each meal are staples of healthier eating endorsed by the doctors. “Skipping breakfast is a common problem for overweight children,” Kenamore says. Yet the morning meal kick-starts metabolism for calorie burning throughout the day. Weight problems often run in the families, with genetics a possible influence in some

Making changes Dr. Claire Kenamore, a Billings Clinic pediatrician, suggests some easy changes that can help a family eat healthier:

• Always start the day with

breakfast to get metabolism jump-started.

• Always eat a fruit or vegetable

“Kids should have as much active play as they can fit into a day,” Kenamore says, noting that the goal is 30 to 60 minutes of activity daily. — Dr. Claire Kenamore,


• If a child wants an after

school snack, offer one that’s

low in calories, such as a fruit

or vegetable. Snacks aren’t

meant to fill up on, but to tide

Billings Clinic pediatrician

Play each day

Lockwood Schools is building structured activities plus creative play into recess. Now kids quiet down quicker after recess and are more refreshed and focused as they return to classwork. Special-needs and overweight kids who may have been left out of activities at unstructured recess time are purposely included. “Kids should have as much active play as they can fit into a day,” Kenamore says, noting that the goal is 30 to 60 minutes of activity daily. It’s often best for the parent and physician to talk together with the child about weight problems and solutions, Zemel says. Then the family can tackle the changes. “It has to be the adults and kids together,” Zemel says.

the child over until dinner time.

• Use an 8-inch plate, instead

Dr. Claire Kenamore

Now doctors see overweight before the age of 8 as a strong predictor of adult obesity, Zemel says. Billings and Lockwood schools are working to help fight the childhood obesity problem, Kenamore says. “School District 2 has a very good food environment,” she says. And local health leaders have teamed with teachers to identify ways to get kids moving.

and milk or water with each

cases, Zemel says. But, she says, lifestyle can’t be eliminated as a contributing factor. At the Norftill home, the whole family is involved in healthy living—from time at the gym for Cindy, some of the girls and Marcus, a West High wrestler, to meal preparation. On a recent evening, Cindy poached chicken while her daughters worked nearby on vegetables and parfaits of yogurt and berries. More veggies, homemade salsa, wholegrain chips and ice water rounded out the meal. Brown rice and steamed carrots are other favorite dishes. Cindy admits that it wasn’t easy weaning her brood off more fattening meals, fast foods and soda. Now, however, the teens make healthy choices at home and with lunches that they carry to school. At friends’ homes, they may eat foods not on the menu at home, but sometimes find sugary treats less-palatable. Melinda admits to having been a big macaroni and cheese fan, and Marcus still loves his mom’s pasta. But cucumber salad is among the family’s top-rated healthy dishes. And dad Matt, a former fast-food devotee, restricts drive-through visits and notes, “A lot of healthy food really does taste good.”

of a larger one, to help with

portion control. Also, serving

up portions before coming to

the table, then having the child

wait 20 minutes before

allowing seconds can help

avoid overeating.

• If the child is still hungry after

dinner, allow a healthy snack

of 80 calories or less.

• Get involved with Big Sky

Fit Kids or another after-school

program that encourages

physical activity.


Boomerang Kids They moved out. Now they’re back. What to do when adult children move home This past summer, Tom and Kari Nelson and their daughter Kristin hiked into Mystic Lake. Although the Billings couple had visited the lake high in the Beartooth Mountains years ago, it took prompting from their 25-year-old daughter to get them on the trail again. That’s one of many things the Nelsons liked about having Kristin back home. Kristin moved in with her parents after graduating from college in 2011 so she could map out her future without going into debt. Kristin didn’t begin thinking about a health care career until late in college. Living with her parents has allowed her to take a job as a medical assistant at RiverStone Health that is low-paying but excellent training for physician assistant college that Kristin hopes to attend. She also has taken university science classes to prepare for graduate studies.

By MARY Pickett



House. She recently took a position with Clark Martin Photography and hopes to start a graduate degree that will open the way to a job helping children with cognitive disabilities. The Nelsons and Sinclairs aren’t the only families with adult children living at home.

National norm

The percentage of younger Americans returning home jumped the years between 2000 and 2010. According to a 2011 Pew Research Center survey, the proportion of adults, aged 25 to 34, living in multigenerational households went up from nearly 16 percent in 2000 to almost 22 percent a decade later, the highest level since the 1950s. The figures are even higher if younger adults are included. The survey found that 39 percent of Americans 18 to 34 years old moved back with their parents at some point in recent years. The Nelsons—Kristin and parents Kari and Tom—enjoy preparing a meal together. Kristin lived at home The media has coined the name “boomerangs” for after graduating from Seattle University. young adults returning home, while anthropologists call Britney Sinclair smiles when she calls her parents the arrangement “co-residence.” “roommates.” Although some post-college graduates always Kim and Brad Sinclair of Billings have been exactly come home for brief periods of time, the recent that since their 22-year-old daughter moved back into her trend is driven by unique events, including the deep old room this past summer after not finding a job in her recession and high unemployment that made it harder field. for college graduates to find work. “They offered, and I moved in,” said Britney, a Higher college tuition is another reason for more psychology major who graduated from Montana State adult children living at home, said Connie Dilts, a University Bozeman in May. Billings family and marriage counselor. It wasn’t an easy move for her to make. Since she “Graduating with high debt, some young adults left West High four years ago for Bozeman, Sinclair has can’t pay for rent and make student loan payments, become an independent adult, and she was concerned that too,” Dilts said. living at home would be difficult. Becky Webber-Dereszynski Grown children—many times with youngsters After Britney and her mother talked over what each of their own—may temporarily live with Mom and expected of the arrangement, those concerns eased. Dad while a spouse serving in the military is deployed Although her parents welcomed her back home, Britney would overseas, said Becky Webber-Dereszynski, a licensed, clinical professional rather be out on her own. So moving in with her parents motivated her counselor in Billings. With Montana’s high rate of military service, that even more to hunt for a job and make decisions about her future. Over may be a more common scenario here than in other states. the summer, she worked at Montana State University Billings Alumni Another cultural shift—young adults putting off marriage until

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Living at home can give a son or daughter a chance to find a job or save for a place of their own without shouldering all living expenses. They also get emotional support from their parents during a stressful time of transition. If parents are financially comfortable, their offspring may not have to pay rent. If parents aren’t well off, a returning son or daughter who has a job can contribute needed income to the household. Britney Sinclair doesn’t pay rent, but part of her paycheck goes into savings to pay for a future apartment or expenses. She also helps with household chores. Living under the same roof can reconnect previously farflung family members and strengthen familial ties, WebberDereszynski said. The Nelsons not only enjoyed having Kristin home, but she also changed the way her parents eat for the better. “Kristin is a great, creative cook,” Kari Nelson said. “She puts vegetables in everything, so we’re eating more Britney Sinclair calls her parents Brad and Kim Sinclair, her “roommates.” Although she lives at home, she helps with household chores and puts part of her paycheck toward savings for vegetables.” a future apartment. The Nelsons have joined Kristin when she cooks occasional meatless meals. they are older—may mean more grown children are returning to their When the retired couple travels, it’s nice to have a live-in house parents’ homes instead of setting up their own households, Webbersitter, Kari Nelson said. Dereszynski said. As good as it can be, it’s not easy for a son or daughter who has lived Although living with parents now may carry a certain societal on their own for several years to return to their parent’s home. stigma, there was a time when most young adults lived with parents The success of co-residency depends in part on how parents and until they married. In many cultures around the world, it still is the adult children adjust to new roles, said Aimee Rust, a licensed clinical norm, rather than the exception, Webber-Dereszynski said. professional counselor in private practice in Billings. Do parents still treat a son like the irresponsible 12-year-old he Pros and cons once was? Will they expect a daughter to be home before midnight? Moving in with parents has both advantages and disadvantages.

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Will a grown child expect parents to do his laundry, prepare his meals and clean up after him like they once did? Just as parents should realize their child now is an adult, children need to understand that an extra person in the house—even if it is a favorite child—puts a crimp in the empty-nesters’ privacy and freedom. As much as they enjoyed having Kristin at home, Kari admits it took some adjusting to having her daily routine change when Kristin moved in. Britney Sinclair and her parents came to an agreement that “I’ll respect your space and you respect mine.” They also Connie Dilts understand that their daughter needs time alone for herself. Kristin has recently moved out and Britney is eager to being on her own again, but that’s not the case for all boomerangs. Some might want to use the arrangement to revert to old habits. “A prolonged dependence on parents can interfere with offspring learning how to be on their own. Young adulthood is a time when men and women learn how to be independent and make their way in the world,” Dilts said. “If they stay too long at home or lean too much on their parents they may miss out on lessons on how to make their own decisions and become confident adults.” Under the right circumstances, adult children who take adult responsibilities can continue to mature while still living at home. Although some boomerang households might ride through some rough patches, there’s good news, too. Pew Research Center found that 78 percent of families with adult children at home say they are satisfied with the arrangement and nearly the same percentage of young adults is optimistic about their finances in the future. Living with her parents has kept Kristin Nelson out of debt, for which she is very grateful. “I’m so lucky to have such great parents, Nelson said, adding that parents and daughter saw their time together as a means to an end. Then she indicates just how successful the arrangement was by paying her parents the highest compliment a young adult can: “I willingly choose to hang out with them.”

House rules Chris Wilkins has some advice for adult children returning to live with their parents. “Be open with your parents, enjoy the time and save money,” Wilkins wrote in an email. During the 15 months that Wilkins, now Rimrock Hall director at Montana State University Billings, stayed with his parents after graduating from the University of Montana, he not only found a job, but also worked on a business he started publishing a cookbook for students, College Cook-In: A Guide to Delectable Dorm Dining. His time at home was successful because he helped around the house, let his parents know where he was going and if he planned to bring friends home. Good communication between parents and live-at-home children is the key to making a shared household work, said Becky Webber-Dereszynski, a licensed, clinical professional counselor in Billings. Ideally, parents and adult children should talk about their expectations before a son or daughter moves in, said Aimee Rust, a licensed clinical professional counselor in private practice in Billings. That discussion can cover many issues: Should the adult child pay rent? Should they do household

chores? Are they expected to buy groceries and prepare occasional meals? Can a grown child bring a friend home for the night or a group of friends for a party? What responsibilities does an adult child have to a younger sibling still at home? Drawing up an informal contract Aimee Rust outlining those expectations is a good idea, too, Rust said. It’s also important for a family to set goals from the start, said Connie Dilts, a Billings family and marriage counselor. How long does the child plan to stay at home—until they get a job or they’ve save up enough for a few months’ rent? What are the young person’s financial goals? Does a child need financial help beyond room and board? Can parents afford to do that? Parents need to recognize that young adults still are growing and maturing and shouldn’t slip back into adolescent dependence, Dilts said.

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: s s e n l u f k n a h T d n Beyo e d u t i t a r G f o e d u t i An At t By Brenda Maas

ts, our e distain of us studen th to h uc M . ss cla bit on the paper. my freshman English oaned and doodled a gr It all star ted with t os M . al rn jou a pubescent to write daily in freshman angst and of instructor required us st id m e th in d ien more became a loyal fr bit and stuck. Now, ha a e m ca For me, my journal be at th t nmen gh this was one assig anxiety. Oddly enou ustration, am still journaling. and something—a fr te da than 30 years later I e th ng di or rec pically star ts with or phed from a d. The entries have m This simple act ty in m y m in t os rem man, event—that is fo ings of a mid-life wo us m e th a joy, an important to ol ho sc d an e. In other gs about boys, spor ts ips, parenting and lif sh ion at teenaged girl’s rantin rel of s ue iss ex come an inlet iling the more compl ing up, matured to be ow gr wife and mother deta of ns tio tra us fr as an outlet for the words, what star ted happiness. entries—some by for insight, joy and thankfulness in my of e em th a ed tic no years, I’ve Over the past few e to be grateful. e purposeful. ne, it takes a bit mor eo accident, others mor m so or g in eth m so atitude. to be thankful for the source of your gr ng eri id ns co While it is easy ly us conscio To be the act of deeply and y—we are thankful. wa r ou es Q uite simply, this is go g in eth at som requires ten happy or glad th ich stems from grace— wh ee, fr In our lives we are of or s, U at gr rd es from the Latin wo grateful—which com takes time. ng. And contemplation emplation with writi nt co at th s rie more contemplation. ar m g rnalin Pausch y others, the act of jou sor and author Randy es of pr on For me, and man ell M ie eg rn ans can do for st Lecture, the late Ca t powerful thing hum os m In his book The La t ye t es pl sim e itude is the one of th wrote, “Showing grat mindstopping and giving ply m Si . ul ef each other.” at gr be truly journalneed to be a writer to ; prayer; meditation; ga yo s; lk Yet one does not wa ily da : ys complished many wa individual. ful thought can be ac is as unique as each d an on es go t lis e of what do to ng; th thought and a decision ing; running or biki ted tra en nc co d, se are time for focu making an ef fort to The key elements at tainable piece. Yet un e th be n ca e” m For many, “ti nuine. with those thoughts. ateful all the more ge gr g in and many be es ak m at uted by Zig Ziglar to en create time is wh be s ha de itu at ions to keep an s this At titude of Gr frey encouraged mill In recent year in W h ra Op . ns ia eakers and theolog redneck-goneother motivational sp triarch on the crazy pa e th , on ts er ob R il ing of list. Even Ph gratitude—a ground of er ay pr At titude of Gratitude a th wi ow e sh ck Dynasty, ends th reality-TV series, Du t our perwith viewers. e of us—needs to adop sorts that resonates on ch ea — we , es pl am these types of ex ut the year. Living with giving, but througho ks an Th is th st ju t no Gratitude, t runs over. sonalized At titude of ly fills the glass, bu on t no at th ism tim —­an op It is the gateway to joy ateful you did. You will be gr


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4 5


Billings Clinic Classic 7} Pam and Kent Williams 8] Diane Weaver, Jordin Sparks and Annie Jeffries 9] Dave and Ginni Langlas 10] Maria, Liz and Emma Fulton 11] Debbie and Keith Bauer 12] Amberly Pahut, Kara and Dusty Eaton 13] Allyn and Eric Hulteng









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14] Denise Armstrong 15] L-R Terry McCarthy, Linda Henry, Debbie Malone and Jill Donnely 16] Kadence Omvig, Marlene Ponce 17] Darren Turley, Nikeal Fisk, Michael Lane Roberts 18] Devin and Dale Morris 19] Chris Erb











Yellowstone Valley Farmers’ Market 20] Bob and Chris Ulrich 21] L-R Taylor Owen, Gawain Lau, Emily Lastinger and Chauncey Labomza 22] Judy Unger and Jeff Smith 23] Drew Mcdowell and Liv Swant-Johnson 24] Deanna Burd and Maria McLean

Happy Caddy 25] L-R Jerry Simonson, Cory Elkin, Steve Nitz and Melodie McDermott (kneeling) 26] Scott Breen, Clark Fletcher, Paul Humphrey and Dennis Coffman 27] Dave Kuhns, Jon Ussin, Jeff Taylor and Robert Grayson 28] Matt McDonnell, Troy Kane, John McDonnell and Dan Cain













60th Annual Mexican Fiesta 28] Liz Romo 29] Lukas, Lindsee and Michael Gerhardt, Cindy Hagstrom and Loni Gonzales 30] Kambraya Nava-Oster 31] Paolo, Maria and Nancy Gerbasi 32] Darius, Jesse and Julia Mota

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1 34

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Alive After 5 at The Billings Gazette



Photos courtesy of Billings Clinic, Eagle Mount and Kit Tambo





November 1

Black Tie Blue Jeans event moves home More than a century ago, Rocky Mountain College (RMC) supporters gathered to raise funds for students in need of financial assistance. That strong tradition continues today, and this year’s keystone event moves home to the Fortin Education Center on the beautiful RMC campus. Honorary chairs Bill and Mary Underriner, along with more than 600 attendees, will enjoy a gourmet dinner, live and silent auctions and music by the Midlife Chryslers. Photo courtesy of Midlife Chryslers.


October 25-26 Remember the Gh-oul Days Al Bedoo Shrine Auditorium

October 12 Cardboard Box City Rocky Mountain College First Annual Marian Festival Holy Rosary Church 406-259-7611 Whobilee of a Jubilee King of Glory Lutheran Church The Prairie Sister Party – Vintage Market Montana Pavilion at Metra Park Enchanted Italy! Alberta Bair Theater Octane Addictions Big Air Bash Rimrock Auto Arena

October 14-19 Regional Flight Competition Billings Airport/Edwards West Hangar

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NILE Ranch Rodeo Rimrock Auto Arena

Young Frankenstein NOVA Center for Performing Arts

October 16-17

October 18

Holiday Food & Gift Festival Expo Center

Comedy, Cocktails & Cuisine “The Benefit” for Family Services, Inc. Northern Hotel 406-855-9850

October 17 Dust Bowl Eyes, Clear Vision: Woody Guthrie’s Musical Legacy with music by Dan Page Western Heritage Center

October 17-19 NILE PRCA ProRodeo Rimrock Auto Arena


October 19 Beaux Arts Ball Northern Hotel Best Little Bazaar in Billings First Presbyterian Church 406-651-5356

October 22 Straight No Chaser Alberta Bair Theater

Raising our Spirits: Tales and Tour of the Haunted Museum Western Heritage Center

NOVEMBER November 1 Black Tie Blue Jeans RMC Fortin Center

November 1-2 Young Frankenstein NOVA Center for Performing Arts

Share the Spirit: P.E.A.K.S. Gala Northern Hotel 406-697-1098

4-H Craft Fair Montana Pavilion at Metra Park No Limits Monster Truck Tour Rimrock Auto Arena

October 30

November 3

Richard Ford Reading The Babcock Theatre

October 31 Young Frankenstein NOVA Center for Performing Arts Haunted Hallows Two Moon Park facebook/billingsjaycees

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November 7 – January 5, 2014 Transitions: Autumn in the Yellowstone River Valley Yellowstone Art Museum

November 8-10 MarketPlace Magic Expo Center at Metra Park


We CleAn for You November 10 August: Osage County NOVA Center for Performing Arts

November 9 Sixties Revolution Alberta Bair Theater Skookum Montana Pavilion at Metra Park

November 15 August: Osage County NOVA Center for Performing Arts

November 16 Botanica Alberta Bair Theater Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis Rimrock Auto Arena

November 20 Vivaldi’s Four Seasons Alberta Bair Theater

November 21 American Indian Music: More than Just Drums and Flutes with music by Scott Prinzing Western Heritage Center

November 1-23 August: Osage County NOVA Center for Performing Arts

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®Registered Marks of Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, Association an Association of Independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans. Plans ®LIVE SMART. SMART LIVE HEALTHY. HEALTHY is a registered mark of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana, an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

December 5 Oak Ridge Boys Christmas Alberta Bair Theater

Janice Scott

owner/ esthetician

32nd Street W. & King Avenue | 656-4200

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Education by the Numbers 69%

Percentage of students who graduate high school in the entire United States.

27 The number of years it’s been since Billings Public Schools built a new elementary school.

Billings Public Schools Q&A, Bond and Facility Master Plan 2013

18 The number of portable units SD2 is using as classroom space. Billings Public Schools Q&A, Bond and Facility Master Plan 2013

141,807 Number of public school

students in Montana.

$26,734 Average starting salary for teacher in $16,170 Yearly In-state tuition for

2013-14 (including room and board) to MSU Bozeman—$30,135/year for nonresidents.



High school graduation rate in the state of Montana for 2011-2012; This rate increased from 82.2% in 2010-2011.


2013-14 In-state tuition (including room and board) to the University of Montana for one school year—$28,677 for non-residents.

13.5 to 1 The average class

size to teacher ratio in the state of

$122.3 million The amount

of the elementary bond issue listed on the November 5, 2013 ballot — this translates to $10.95 per month on a $200,000 market value home in Billings. Billings Public Schools Q&A,

Bond and Facility Master Plan 2013

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October 2013  

Give Thanks: Local Fare for Your Family Feast; Reading Writing and Revolution: A Look at Educational Changes in Billings; Joe Medicine Crow:...