Living Magazine - July 2020

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Contents REAL ESTATE LISTINGS Flynn Realty Ruff Real Estate LLC Havre Hi-Line Realty Northern Land & Realty Koefod Realty Havre Realty FEATURES Kitchen Cache A Garden and Camping Friendly Diet Family, Friendship and Partnership Fishing Fresno At-Home Learning Throughout Summer

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(406) 265-6795


Stacy Mantle


Pam Burke


Colin Thompson


Stacy Mantle Jenn Thompson


Tim Leeds

Jenn Thompson Jodene Leeds

For advertising information, contact Havre Daily News 119 Second Street / P.O. Box 431 Havre, MT 59501 406-265-6795 Please be aware that due to the time lapsed between publications some Real Estate listings may have changed. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

July 2020 | LIVING Havre and the Hi-Line MAGAZINE |



A Garden and Camping Friendly Dish I’m no professional chef, but I love food and, like in most things in my life, I’m not a stickler for propriety, so I when I’m cooking mixing foods and flavors from different cultures and styles is a common theme. I especially like mixing things up, whether it’s spices or toppings or wraps, to make a new flavor or to use what I have on hand for the meal. All of that is just a lead up to why I’m advocating here that you mix Middle Eastern with American-Mexican flavors and make a meal of naan flat bread and an egg and fried-tomato dish.

July 2020 | LIVING Havre and the Hi-Line MAGAZINE |


A “Naan-issue” Naan, which is pronounced “nahn,” is a traditional flat bread popular in Middle Eastern countries, especially India. It’s kind of a cross between flour tortillas and pita bread, with a uniquely creamy-tangy flavor from the yogurt. Traditional naan cooking methods use a large clay oven called a tandoor oven, which looks like an upright clay barrel with a covered fire at the bottom and an iron lid for the top. The flat rounds of naan dough are kind of slapped against the side of the oven to cook. The side of the flat bread that is stuck to the clay surface browns from frying and the other side is browned by the extreme heat of the oven, which can be as high as 900 degrees. Lacking a giant tandoor oven, I cook my naan on a cast iron griddle. I did, however, add alternate instructions for using your oven grill to cook the second side if you want to try approximating the traditional cooking method. But if you’re out camping, you can cook one side on the griddle, then flip the uncooked side down on a cooking grate over the fire embers.

Like any food — even the most traditional foods — there are several different naan recipes. Many of them use yeast, but a few use baking powder as their rising agent. I adapted this recipe using baking powder because, well, do we really need another yeast-based bread? Plus, it shortens prep time because you don’t have to wait for yeast to fully activate. Also, because this whole recipe — and cooking setup — aren’t off

“Eggs-actly” I don’t know where my husband found the basic recipe for the original dish, which was just tomato, egg and butter, but we really liked it as a light meal … of course, I can’t help but add more flavor, so here we are. This is a great summer recipe because you can use your fresh garden produce, and it would be a simple meal to make while out camping. You can also change up the flavor easily, as well as expand how many meals you get from this with a variety of additions. We frequently serve this topped with cheese and cilantro, with sides as varied as toast, hash browns, tortillas — or the naan pictured here — fruit, avocado, spinach and, of course, breakfast meats. The butter, though, is non-negotiable for bringing out the flavors.

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the main road far enough already, I only use yogurt for moisture which makes the creamy-tangy flavor even more pronounced. You can spice up the bread, if you want, by adding minced garlic, onion, chives, or your favorite savory herbs to the dough. Or if you choose to brush your naan with melted butter after it has cooked, you can spice up the plain recipe with a garlic or herb butter.



4 cups flour

In a bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Stir in the yogurt until the dough is too stiff for a spoon, then knead dough in the bowl until it holds together well. Add more flour if needed. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and continue kneading for about 5 minutes, until the dough feels smooth and elastic. Shape the dough into a ball and place it in an oiled bowl, then cover with a towel. Let it rest for one hour to one hour and 30 minutes. This will not rise like a yeast bread. Heat a large frying pan or griddle, either seasoned cast iron or a good non-stick finish, but do not add oil. Take the dough out of the bowl and cut dough into 10 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball and use your fingers to press the balls into round discs. Take 1 piece of dough at a time and roll it out on a floured surface to about 10 inches across and less than 1/4 inch thick. Lay rolled-out dough flat on the hot griddle and cook it over a medium heat. The dough should get bubbly or puff up, but if this doesn’t happen, turn your heat up a little. Flip bread over when bubble-tops are dark brown to lightly blackened. Cook second side until equally toasted. (**see alternate directions below.) Remove naan from the griddle (or grill) and brush it lightly with melted butter if you prefer. Continue this way until all the dough is cooked. Serve the breads hot, or let them cool and wrap them up to serve later. They will keep in a refrigerator for up to seven days. Reheat naan on a medium-heat griddle, or wrap them in aluminum foil, in packets of 4 or 5 breads and put them in a 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes. **Alternate cooking directions: Cook first side on griddle as above, but cook second side by grilling in oven until browned, about one minute, at 500 degrees.

1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon, slightly heaped, salt 2 cups plain yogurt

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Easy Egg and Fried Tomato Dish INGREDIENTS 5 or 6 large eggs 2 medium tomatoes, sliced 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick 1 cup or less, total, of one or more savories to your preference: onion, bell or other sweet pepper, hot pepper, garlic, all diced 1 tablespoon cooking oil two tablespoons butter salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS Heat a large skillet on medium heat. If the heat is a little high for the savories and tomato, that’s not a problem, but for the egg it’s better to have the temp a little low than a little too high. Sautee in the oil your diced savories, with the exception of garlic if you are using it. Cook until soft, onions will be translucent. Use spatula to scoop the sauteed savories together at the edge of the skillet. Add butter. After it melts lay tomato slices in a layer on the bottom of the pan then evenly spread savories over the tomatoes, adding diced garlic now if desired. Let this cook until tomatoes soften — about 4 minutes depending on the thickness of your slices. While tomatoes cook, whisk eggs together in a bowl. Add salt and pepper now or when serving. When tomatoes are ready, pour scrambled eggs over all, evenly. Cover and cook until eggs are done. Depending on how many eggs you use and the temperature of your burner, this will likely be 7 to 8 minutes. Let it cook covered for close to the minumum time and lift the lid to check if the eggs are done. They might be quite puffy, and this is good. When eggs are cooked through, remove pan from heat, slice into portions and serve.

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Family, Friendship and Partnership Making it work in the cattle business


In a short summary, the business partnership between Royce Houtzel and Casey Solomon could read like the plot for a Lifetime channel movie: With fate nudging them at key moments along the way, two women who have been friends since kindergarten find the wisdom and courage to discover and follow their passion to buy a niche agriculture business of cow reproduction services. This business allows them not only to do the work they love, but also find time to raise the families longed for in the place they’ve always called home. Their skill, determination and open hearts help the duo show the world they can “have it all” while succeeding in a tough business. 10 | LIVING Havre and the Hi-Line MAGAZINE | July 2020

The reality is both nothing and everything like that for Houtzel and Solomon, who did start their friendship in kindergarten and are in business together. “We’re in partnership together,” Houtzel started. “... But it’s not a partnership,” Solomon added, before they both paused to ponder the best answer. “Basically, Royce is the umbrella, then I’m an independent contractor,” Solomon said. “But we work together, we make all the decisions together — or at least we try to. It’s very connected because her success is tied to how good I am and my success is tied to how good she is. It’s not like one could do it without the other. “Well you could,” she added, “but it wouldn’t be very fun after a while.” Houtzel, who started working for Milk River Genetics founder Kathy Creighton-Smith in 2008 after graduating with a Bachelor of Animal Science from Montana State University in Bozeman, bought the donor portion of the business in 2015. She handles the artificial insemination

and in vitro fertilization duties and owns the facility they work out of when they’re not on site at a clients’ ranch. “Kathy was just so generous with sharing her experience,” she said. Solomon, a veterinarian specializing in embryo transfer, operates under the business Milk River Reproduction. After graduating from Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine she returned to Havre to work at Bear Paw Veterinary Clinic to get her needed experience in general veterinary medicine. “I worked under some great mentors there,” she said, but she really wanted to pursue her intended specialty of cattle reproduction. She left Bear Paw to work with Creighton-Smith before she retired — and with that the two childhood friends became business partners. Houtzel, the daughter of Russel and Julie Verploegen, and Solomon, the daughter of Kim and Nola Peterson, were born into the agriculture life north of Havre. After the Verploegen family moved over to St. Joe Road, Houtzel started fifth grade

in town school, and the two friends saw each other only occasionally until high school when they rekindled the friendship. They ended up attending MSU Bozeman together. “Casey and I were both in graphics design when we started college,” Houtzel said. “It just wasn’t a good fit,” she added, for either of them. For Solomon it was clearly the after-college job prospects that were the real problem. Her family place was the root of all her successes and love, she said, but professors kept saying that to do graphic design she would have live in a more populated area to find a decent job. “I wanted to be in Montana at the very least, and the best at home,” she said. She talked over the problem with her dad, who suggested she talk to a cousin who was the dean of the ag department. He suggested she switch to pre-vet, and “it just clicked,” she said. Houtzel’s life-changing moment of enlightenment came from an artificial

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insemination course the two took together. “I just loved it,” she said. “I really enjoyed the reproductive part and got to work on a dairy for a while,” she said, and then she helped her grandfather Nick Faber, who uses AI on his cattle at his ranch in the Bear Paw Mountains. When the two went into business together, they said, the worry was that the business partnership might ruin their friendship. “What we both promised each other is just brutal honesty and not sugar-coating or pretending one thing because we’re afraid of hurt-

ing each other’s feelings or saying something out of turn,” Solomon said. “We’ve had our really hard conversations, but we’ve each dealt with it with grace and tried to be really thoughtful of the other person’s point of view and moved forward in a good way from it. It’s quite incredible the way we can get along.” “I couldn’t do this without her,” Houtzel said. Along with prioritizing maintaining their friendship as well as the partnership, they have prioritized family, which is another thing that drew them to their business. “Kathy (Creighton-Smith) always

Reproduction Services The separate-but-symbiotic nature of Houtzel and Solomon’s partnership means that they share some clients, and others strictly utilize artificial insemination or embryo transfer to enhance their breeding programs. To use artificial insemination, or AI, in the reproductive process, the cows are started on a hormone regimen, administered by the clients or by Houtzel who travels a lot in the spring and early summer during breeding season. The estrus cycle of the cow herd is synchronized, so Houtzel can get on site and AI a herd in a day depending on the number of cows and the efficiency of the cattle-handling setup. Using AI provides benefits to producers, Houtzel said. “It helps tighten the calving window,” she said, adding that rather than calving season being extended over as much as two maybe three months for cattle turned out to pasture to breed, this means calving season is done in about a month. There’s a 10 to 15 day period of heavy calving with about a week on either side for early or late calves — usually seen with first-time heifers and older cows, she said. This tighter time line is helpful for cattle producers who also farm and need to get out to the field when the weather breaks, she said. Ranchers are also having a harder time every year finding people who want to do this type of work, she said. And shortening the calving period helps keep the

work more manageable. It also allows their clients to chose a variety of different bulls to make the best genetic paring with their cows, or keep up with trends in breeding without having to own all the bulls they utilize. One unit of semen for beef cattle, she said, costs about $25 to $50 and can cover 10 cows. On the other hand, the owner of the two rodeo bucking stock cows they had on site in June for embryo flushing said one unit from a particular rodeo bull cost $30,000, Houtzel said, and that can be cost prohibitive. Solomon describes her embryo transfer services as the arm work.

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said you could raise a family doing this,” Solomon said. Solomon, her husband, Chancin, and their young daughter live and ranch alongside his family on their ranch south of Havre, but they also own a small herd of cattle in conjunction with her family north of Havre. In November, Houtzel and her husband sold their property east of Havre and moved with their two kids to her grandpa’s ranch near Cleveland. Leasing part of her grandpa’s property has opened up a lot of opportunity for them, she said.

University of Arkansas research shows that a cow could develop as many as 150,000 eggs in her lifetime, but she only uses on average somewhere between eight and 12 of them in a lifetime of breeding. This is a significant underutilization of specific cows that have desirable genetics, of the viable eggs. Embryo transfer offers clients a way to maximize the qualities of that particular animal. A specific hormone regimen is given to cows to help them produce multiple eggs, or “superovulate.” The cow is then artificially inseminated, and a week later those embryos are flushed using a closed system of tubes and a filter that captures the microscopic embryos that are floated. An average flush contains about five embryos. Solomon said she’s careful to examine the images of the embryos to get an accurate of how many have developed on each side, so she doesn’t miss anything during the flushing process. Back in the lab, Solomon examines the embryos under a microscope, evaluating them for quality. The embryos are placed in straws and labeled with their individual information, before being cryogenically frozen in nitrogen. They have thousands of embryos stored on site. Each embryo will at some point be transferred to a recipient cow, which is a surrogate mother. Finding recip cows for all the embryos can be difficult, Houtzel said, so Milk River Genetics has a small herd of recip cows that clients can use. She also has a herd of about 100 commercial cows that she can use in a type of cooperative arrangement if clients want. She cares for and calves the herd and at sale time, she and the calf owners each take a share of the sales. The service and the perks are important, Houtzel said. Their clients are like family — some of them have been with Milk River Genetics since Creighton-Smith’s time — and they want to treat them, and their cows, well. July 2020 | LIVING Havre and the Hi-Line MAGAZINE |


The Business Home For now the office and lab are still east of Havre, about halfway for the two to travel, but when the lease is up in five years, the travel time to each other’s facilities will be more than an hour. While this sounds a little more daunting, especially considering that hauling cows that are flushed once a week, can be stressful on them, and their calves if they have them, so they don’t take that decision lightly. But they obviously aren’t getting stressed about it either. With the cattle market prices sinking

lower again this year, the AI business has slowed down for Houtzel but, she said, this isn’t a bad year for that because it will give her some extra time to work on her cattle handling facilities at their new place. “I don’t need anything big,” she said, just out of the weather and heated would suit herl. But Solomon, who does the more technical embryo transfer as well as veterinary work, is considering building a small clinic at the family ranch. They talk of possible scenarios that

might make things simpler. Houtzel said Solomon’s sister asked her once if they ever fight, and she said her answer was no. “I don’t know, we always rely on each other,” she said. “You know we can always talk to each other so that’s always been nice. It gets stressful, but she’s in the same boat as I am on a lot of things so we can understand where each of us is coming from. “If something’s not working we try to change it and make it work,” she added.

The Cows The first cow down the alley and into the shoot, a black Angus with A70 on its ear tag, calmly walked from the pen into the stocks and stood waiting for its procedure. Cows’ natural state is out eating grass in a field with their herd, and any time they’re doing something different from that can be stressful, Houtzel said, so they try to make the cows’ time being handled as positive as possible — especially since being at a reproduction facility requires a lot of regular handling. As Solomon administered an epidural just above the tail head and prepared equipment to flush A70’s embryos with her assistant Meghan Ortner, Houtzel said that the cow was at the end of her breeding days and was moving on to be an embryo donor. She could produce hundreds of future calves before she retired from that job. Her owner felt it was a better investment to collect embryos from her than to risk her in calving — which would only produce one calf, unless they were unfortunate. “There is a some some risk in pregnancy and calving, especially with an older cow like this one,” Solomon said. “You should’ve seen her calf last year, though.” She had come to them a little thin, but the spring grass was working its magic, and Solomon figured Houtzel had gotten her body conditioning score to a five, which is close enough to the optimal 6 out of 10 to expect good success flushing that day. Houtzel said that the pasture and other accommodations at their new place were an improvement for the cows, even the donor cows like A70 could be turned out on pasture that had good grass, lots of space and trees to shelter in from the sun in summer and wind and snow in winter — times that stress their bodies the most. “Even the bulls stop breeding when it’s too hot out,” she said, and that can hurt calving numbers, which hits ranchers in the pocket book. Houtzel said she also puts up a portable shelter over the pens when it gets too hot so the donor cows have some relief from the sun while they’re standing around waiting. Most often the cows that are sent to Solomon and Houtzel for embryo collection and storage at Milk River Genetics are older or have an injury that makes the breeding too much strain on them.

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Occasionally, Houtzel said, they get a younger one that Solomon collects eggs from then sends home pregnant from an embryo transfer. Two of the cows in the holding pen that day were noticeably smaller, brindle and sporting horns. Cloned twins, they were rodeo bucking stock producers that ideally will be producing bucking bulls in the future for their client. “They’re a little more leery,” Houtzel said, and they were due for a procedure until the next day, but the stock trailer would be crowded with all the cows needing to come in, so she hauled the pair early to avoid stressing them. Their emphasis on low-stress handling and pampering their cows is one of the keys to their success with cow reproduction and keeping clients happy. After flushing, processing and freezing the embryos for three cows that morning, Solomon grabbed her phone to message the client with the good news about how many embryos were collected — “He’ll be thrilled” — but he’d beat her to the phone and had already asked how they did. Cattle people love their cows.

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230 14th St W ~ $335,000

Gorgeous updated 5 bedroom, 3 bath home in prime location near the Hospital and College. Over 3000 square feet of living space. Includes master ensuite, high ceilings, fireplace, underground sprinklers, double attached garage and spacious fenced backyard.

Call Kristi Parrotte @ 390-4912

WEEKDAYS 8:00-5:30 OPEN SATURDAY ~ FAX 265-8782

Call Kristi Parrote @ 390-4912

PRICE REDUCED 2385 Hwy 2 NE Lotton Construction Bldg

Nice large shop/office on +/- 18.5 Total Acres. Approx 7000 square foot building, on it's own well with lots of private parking. Lot #1 (6.45 A) w/ Shop ~ $595,000 Lot #2 (6.55 A) w/ good Hwy 2 visibility ~ $70,000 Lot #3 (5.33 A) w/ 22nd Ave NE frontage ~ $100,000

Call Ken Nelson @ 406-439-0595

PRICE REDUCED 295 Stockyard Rd - Chinook, MT $250,000 108' x 40' Shop with Boiler floor heat and gas forced air as back up, city water / sewer. Three 14 x 16 commercial drive through doors, 28 x 32 office space, rest room and overhead storage on 1 Acre lot.

294 S Dell Drive ~ $199,500

Amazing 3 bdrm, 2 bath home with oversized 2 stall garage. Newer windows and lots of nice updates throughout. South end location-corner lot. Close to park and church.

Call Janis Flynn Pyrak @ 390-4900

1010 Cactus Drive ~ $269,999 Unique, private 3 bedroom, 4 bath home with incredible views! Fireplace, Sauna, main floor laundry and bonus room with 1 bedroom & bath on 2nd level. Double attached heated garage plus carport & underground sprinklers-all on over 1 ½ Acres in town.

Call Janis Flynn Pyrak @ 390-4900

40' x 80' Split Shop:East side- storage/ West side, wash bay. Radiant heat, two 14 x 16 overhead doors on each end of shop and four 10 x 16 sliding doors off storage area.

Call Janis Flynn Pyrak @ 390-4900 or Ken Nelson @ 406-439-0595


• +/- 640 Acres Farmland located N. Joplin, MT ~ All Farmed • +/- 1280 Acres N Hingham - All Farmed • +/- 1000 Acres Farmland located N.W. Joplin, MT - All Farmed • +/- 960 Acres Farmland located N. Inverness, MT - All Farmed Call Ken Nelson @ 406-439-0595 or Larry Martinson @ 406-390-1509

Business Opportunity

Flooring Sale & Installation. Furniture/ Home Goods Store. Located in a Small Town with plenty of expansion opportunity. Excellent Family Business with a Great Clientele. Sale Price will included Inventory & Support Equipment.

Call Ken Nelson @ 406-439-0595 or Larry Martinson @ 406-390-1509

737 Illinois Street Chinook, MT ~ $215,000

Nice updated bungalow style home. 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, 2 fireplaces, new flooring, paint and updated kitchen. Single garage, large fenced back yard, deck and an extra lot for toy storage or gardening.

Call Kristi Parrotte @ 390-4912

List with Flynn Realty now!! We will pay for the Qualified Inspection to market your home! Buyer or Seller.

437 New York Street Chinook, MT ~ $124,900

2 bdrm, 1 ½ bath plus bonus room in Chinook, MT. All new flooring, fresh paint, remodeled bathroom and main floor laundry. 2 car garage & mature trees on corner lot.

Call Ken Nelson @ 406-439-0595

1619 2nd St. ~ $119,500

295 Stockyard Rd - Chinook, MT $175,000

1244 Wash. Ave. ~ $220,000

Very nice updated, modern Ranch style home. 2 bedrooms, full bath, open kitchen and laundry on main floor. 2 bedrooms w/egress windows, full bath, wet bar and large family room in basement. Large yard, nice garden space and detached double heated garage.

Good investment properties. Includes a 2 bdrm. home w/garage plus 1 bed/studio duplex located in rear.

Call Ken Nelson @ 406-439-0595

Building Lot for Sale ~ $89,000 Nice +/-1 Acre building lot for sale in Beaver Creek Estates. Lot is fenced, established trees and a 26 X 56 barn for storage. Wonderful views of the Bear Paws!

1273 McKinley Ave ~ $198,900 Nice, updated Ranch style home-2 bdrm, 1 bath, plus 2 non-conforming bedrooms in basement. New flooring, paint, updated kitchen and appliances. Oversized attached heated 2 stall garage, spacious back yard with water feature and underground sprinklers on oversized lot.

Single level 3 bedroom, 1 bath home with nice shop.

Call Ken Nelson @ 406-439-0595

Call Kristi Parrotte @ 390-4912

Call Ken Nelson for showing @ 406 439-0595

313 9th Street W. ~ Chinook, MT $195,000

PRICE REDUCED 653 5th St. N. ~ $94,500

712 E. Washington Ave. Chester, MT ~ $40,000

816 Minnesota Street Chinook, MT ~ $119,000

Nice 2 bdrm., 1 bath starter or rental home.

Call Ken Nelson @ 406-439-0595

Small shop on Hwy 2. Good location-East end of Chester. Includes large carport.

2 Houses~1 Price! Nice Split-entry 4 bedroom, 2 bath home in Chinook, MT. Daylight basement that leads to over sized single garage. Fenced back yard, covered deck & new roof. Also includes a small 1 bedroom, 1 bath rental home.

Call Ken Nelson @ 406-439-0595


Call Ken Nelson @ 406-439-0595

310 3rd Street E.

4 Parcels on North Side

Call Derek Fraser @ 262-4603

Approx 1.75 Acres on Havre’s North side. Includes 2 dwellings and a 24x24 shop. Good well with several water hookups already existing along with sewer system.

Call Ken Nelson @ 406-439-0595

Chester, MT ~ $74,500

615 W Madison Ave. ~ Chester, MT $79,000

14 N. Main Street

Call Derek Fraser @ 262-4603

Call Derek Fraser @ 262-4603

2 bedroom, 2 bath M/H

Chester, MT ~ $60,000



For anyone who loves the water, and water sports like boating, wave runners, or just getting a tan on the beach, Fresno Reservoir is that spot. It’s always been Havre, Hill County and the Hi-Line’s lake. In fact, if you’re from anywhere around Fresno, you probably simply refer to it as “the lake.” But, for anglers, it’s not just the lake, or a lake, it’s also one of the best walleye fisheries in the state of Montana.

“Fresno is a great recreational area, it gets a ton of day use by boaters and other outdoor recreationalists,” Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Biologist Cody Nagel said. “Obviously, it’s also a great fishery, and you see that in it has about 20,000 angler days every year. In the 12 years I’ve been here, it’s been a very popular place for the recreationalists, but yes, the fishing, too.” The angler day total means that Fresno sees about 20,000 fishermen in a year. The reservoir is popular and important to the fishermen who come to try their hands at the walleye, northern pike and several other species that inhabit the lake. But when it comes to being a quality fishery, Nagel said, it’s the conditions for walleye that are the main attraction. “First, I would say that, it’s a really good spawning ground for the walleye population,” Nagel said. “It’s got really good habitat for that July 2020 | LIVING Havre and the Hi-Line MAGAZINE |


species, and really good spawning grounds for the population to flourish and for those fry to grow into a really good game fish.” Fresno’s size and water levels are conducive to the walleye habitat. The lake is more than 7,000 total acres in size, and fed by the Milk River, which creates a unique habitat for the fish and for spawning. “It’s an irrigation reservoir,” Nagel said. “And most years, it’s close to, if not full in April and May, and that’s the time these walleye spawn. Then you have these rocky ledges and boulder outcroppings all over the lake that, during the spring, are inundated with water, so it becomes a really prime place for walleye and other species to spawn. And because that spawning is so good, the populations really flourish there.” Yes, water is the key, and Nagel said the Milk River is the component that drives the fishing at Fresno. “It’s that water early in the year,” Nagel said. “The walleye need that high water to spawn, and the Milk River is a very productive system and that ultimately leads to an abundance of habitat and food for the fish populations to grow.” And because of that, the fishermen flock to Fresno, including the

lake being a part of the Montana Walleyes Unlimited Series. But, whether it’s tournament, or just leisure and recreational fishing, Fresno, for walleye and other species, is as good as it gets on the Hi-Line. “Catch rates are usually pretty good there,” Nagel said. “And the fish are willing to bite. They have ample food and ample habitat, and that helps them grow, you have a lot of fish that get up to that 14-18 inch size, the one’s everybody likes to catch. And there’s a really good source of mayflies out there, too, so really, you have all the ingredients for a really good fishery.” And it is really good. FWP has been stocking Fresno every year since 2003 with walleye, and because of the Milk River system, and the contours of the reservoir itself, the fishery continues to flourish. “The best walleye bite tends to take place during May and June,” Nagel describes. “Depending on the amount of forage available in the reservoir, the fishing usually slows down in July and August. There is also a good fall bite, and anglers have no problems finding northern pike and a few walleye during the winter, as well.” Yes, whether it’s fishing, and there

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have been some big fish caught at Fresno over the years, or recreating, the reservoir has become one of the most popular bodies of water, not only on the Hi-Line, but also in a good portion of the state of Montana. Fresno sits at an elevation of 2,575 feet. It covers 7,388 surface acres, 25,618 land acres, and 65 miles of shoreline. Fresno Dam was completed in 1939 as part of the Milk River Project, providing water for irrigation in the lower Milk River Valley. With views of the Bear Paw Mountains to the south, Fresno Reservoir has become one of the most popular recreation areas in northcentral Montana and is known as one of the best warm-water fisheries in the state. “There’s just a lot of life in there,” Nagel said. “There’s a really healthy fish population. It has all the ingredients. It’s a really good body of water for a fishery, and more fish means more anglers. It’s a very popular and really good fishery.” Indeed. Whether you’re a local just looking to enjoy “the lake,” or a sporting angler searching for that trophy walleye or pike, just like the slogan in Havre, “Fresno Has It.”

The Lifeblood of Fresno Reservoir STORY BY RACHEL JAMIESON and PAM BURKE PhotoS courtesy OF Marko Manoukian

The century old water system that feeds into the Milk River and Fresno Reservoir experienced a catastrophic failure mid-May and the collapse of one part of the system will affect the irrigators who fund it, municipalities that use the water for towns along it, and the recreationists who use the reservoir every day. The St. Mary Diversion and Conveyance Works, which normally diverts water from the St. Mary River to the Milk River on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, has been shut down since Drop 5, at the end of the 29-mile system, washed out and collapsed May 17. Bureau of Reclamation Montana Area Manager Steve Davies said he believes water likely breached the concrete slab, getting underneath the slab and causing erosion underneath it and further collapse. The upper end of the diversion is intact, including the overflow section of the

upper end structure, he said. The St. Mary River Diversion is used to supplement water flow in the Milk River primarily to provide water to irrigators and communities including Havre, Chinook and Harlem, as well as people who use the river and reservoirs for recreation. Fresno Reservoir would not exist without diversions, Milk River Joint Board of Control Project Manager Jennifer Patrick said. “I guess, maybe it exists, but with very low pools and all natural runoff from coulees around the area,” she said. In drought years, as much as 80 to 90 percent of the water that flows through the Milk River comes through the diversion, and before that part of the Milk River Project was created, the river dried up by the fall 6 out of 10 years. “As soon as the ice and snow are out of the canals in Babb, we start moving water across,”

Patrick said. “It takes about 10 days to get to Fresno and there is a ramp-up schedule that takes place. The system needs to run all year to satisfy the demands of downstream users.” Water from Fresno Reservoir is released when irrigators need it, Patrick said, and water from St. Mary River is diverted as long as water is available to send downstream. Right now, she said, water has not been diverted into the system since the drop structure collapsed. Because the diversion starts on and crosses the Blackfeet Indian Reservation before moving on to private land, permits are required to do the work on Drop 5, which failed, and Drop 2, which was already scheduled for repair this summer. Patrick said all of the permitting, tribal compliances and landowner documents are starting to fall into place so hopefully they

July 2020 | LIVING Havre and the Hi-Line MAGAZINE |


are able to start construction soon. “I would love to give a best-worst case scenario, but the goal is to get the drops operational by end of the year and a bonus would be to start moving water across in September and October to help with a cushion going into the winter,” Patrick said. “We will push hard for that, but sometimes Mother Nature has other plans.” The St. Mary Diversion, part of the Milk River Project created to provide irrigation water in the Milk River Valley, was one of the first projects the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation was authorized to build shortly after BOR was established at the start of the last century. The system is funded mainly by the water users, primarily Milk River irrigators, with the Milk River Joint Board of control overseeing eight irrigation districts supplying water to almost 150,000 acres of hay, grain and sugar beet crops. Milk River water users, warning of a catastrophic failure like what occurred May 17, began campaigning

at the start of the last decade to find funding to rehabilitate the system to prevent damage to infrastructure. Their push led the state to establish the St. Mary Rehabilitation Working Group in 2003. The group has been working to plan and find funding for rehabilitation ever since. Bills sponsored last year by the members of Montana’s congressional delegation to switch the funding ratio of the St. Mary Diversion, so 75 percent is picked up by the federal government and 25 percent by the users, are pending in Congress. Fresno Dam and Reservoir, a separate part of the Milk River Project, is funded primarily by irrigation, as well, with about 65 percent by the irrigators, 19 percent picked up by the federal government and 15 percent funded through recreation, a joint press release by the Bureau of Reclamation and Milk River Joint Board of Control said. “Currently, Fresno Dam and Nelson Reservoir have above-average storage levels and will be used to provide continued irrigation deliver-

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ies into July,” the release said in May. Bureau of Reclamation data from their website show that Fresno Reservoir had dropped more than 6 feet from mid-May to mid-June, which is a substantial portion of peak irrigation in spring. As of June 15, the water elevation was at just more than 2,569 feet.

The Effect on Recreation What all this means for people wanting to use Fresno Reservoir for boating, swimming, fishing and more is that this year will be different, maybe even problematic, but how tough it gets depends on a lot of factors, not the least of which is Montana weather. “As long as you can still access the reservoir and there’s good enough pool elevation, people will still be able to get out there if they want to — at least at Fresno,” Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Biologist Cody Nagel said. Nagel added that as of June 15, the information he had been given was that the water level of the reservoir was not predicted to go below the level it did during the extreme drought year of 2017. A 2017 BOR summary of data shows the water level reached 2,545.15 feet elevation on Aug. 10, 2017. Irrigation had been extended that year to Aug. 7, after which water outflow from Fresno Dam was reduced to 150 cubic feet per second, which covered contracted obligations downstream. The report, which only accounts for data through the end of September 2017, said the restrictions allowed water levels to start recovering, including with the help of the diversion water and September rains. Nagel pointed out that a heavy snowstorm in early October that year, much of it in the Milk River basin, also contributed in raising Fresno water level almost 15 feet that fall. “The extent of that impact is really going to depend on how long that water stays down,” he said. “If some of the infrastructure is able to be repaired and some water’s going to be able to move this fall, and they can bring Fresno up a little bit that’s gonna help. And then whether or not we have good water next spring that’s gonna be a big thing, too. “If our pool elevations stay low through the fall and through the winter … or we’re not able to move water in the spring, things like that, and that reservoir stays low through April into May, based on our data,

that’s kinda when you start seeing some big impacts,” he added. Nagel said that with all current predictors for the reconstruction completion date, water usage, weather and current water level, along with experience from the 2017 drought, the main fish populations in the reservoir are likely to not be impacted too extensively, especially if the work can be completed in early fall as scheduled. With water levels up, winter ice fishing will likely be possible “At this point, it’s kind of a waiting game to see what we’re sitting with this fall and then going into next spring,” he said. Nagel said the reservoir was stocked with rainbow trout before the Drop 5 collapse, and another 30,000 are still scheduled for release in October if conditions allow. Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials have discussed a possible need to restock other species, as well, after an assessment of what conditions arise this summer, he added. Biologists will conduct fish surveys in August and September to see how both the young and the established species are doing, he said. Right now they expect this year’s crop of walleye, northern pike and perch to look good in the survey, he added, because conditions were good while they were spawning.

But a rapid drop in water levels in June could be trouble for two other fish species. “The two species where we might see some spawning impacts will be black crappie and spottail shiners,” he said. “They’re a June spawner, they prefer a little bit warmer water to spawn, and they’re probably going to see some impacts because that water’s been pretty much consistently steadily going down during that entire spawn. That isn’t conducive when the eggs are sitting up there in that shallower water.” The situation might bring some good with the bad, though, Nagel said. A low water level may give biologists a chance to assess perch habits that Fish, Wildlife and Parks, in conjunction with Fresno Chapter of Walleyes Unlimited, build up each year with repurposed pine Christmas trees. More importantly, low water can help with vegetation growth along the shoreline, and this will help improve the habitat. “You might see some better willow generation and some other terrestrial plants, so that when the reservoir does refill, eventually that gives the fish a little bit of a kick start in production,” he said. “I guess that’s maybe a little bit of a silver lining,” he added.

July 2020 | LIVING Havre and the Hi-Line MAGAZINE |


At-Home Learning Throughout Summer Tips for keeping students sharp over the long-haul FAMILY FEATURES With the majority of schools across the country closed, many parents are feeling the stress of taking more active roles in their children’s education. As time away from the classroom extends into summer, parents also face the challenge of helping their children maintain what they’ve learned through a summer of uncertainty. This year’s shift to at-home learning has provided plenty of resources parents can use to keep their children’s minds engaged and actively learning. The shift has also prompted families to create new routines and healthy learning habits. Continuing these best practices over the summer may prove beneficial in setting students up for success when they return to the classroom. • Set a clear daily schedule with realistic goals and be sure to allow flexibility. A child’s attention span grows

longer with age — typically 2-3 minutes per year of age — so the amount of time an elementary school student will focus on a task may be significantly shorter than a high school student. • Build in time for kids to play. According to the journal, “Pediatrics,” playing promotes healthy brain development and boosts academic skills. Play time also helps children manage stress — making it an important and fun way for parents to support kids coping with stress or anxiety. • Create a conducive learning environment at home. If possible, set up a designated desk and distraction-free workspace children can use for everything from completing school assignments to playing educational games. While routines are important, they may not be the only

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key to summer learning success. Research from Harvard indicates parents who engage with their children in simple activities over the summer — like reading together or talking about baseball statistics — can have a greater impact on their children’s academic performance than popular summer activities, such as summer camps, travel or summer school. Since education can happen anywhere as part of everyday life, there are many activities families can do together to create a sense of summertime fun while fostering academic growth. • Spend some time cooking or baking together. Use these experiences as opportunities to practice reading recipes or practice math by measuring and adding ingredients. • Work with other parents or family members to find summer pen pals. Have kids write letters back and forth

to practice reading and writing skills. • Extend story time with read-and-do activities that lay the groundwork for developing engaged readers. For example, the Pizza Hut BOOK IT! program offers free online activities at that children and parents can do together, such as drawing, letter recognition or sight-word bingo. • Explore science and nature by taking a walk. Try and identify different types of clouds, trees, plants, rocks and animals. Take pictures of any you find interesting. Then look up additional information when you return home to practice research skills. • Watch the news or read about current events together. This can provide practical lessons on social studies and help kids raise questions about the world around them.

Where and How to Access Online Resources From educators helping their students to organizations lending support in trying times, dozens if not hundreds of online resources have emerged to help parents navigate teaching at home. Internet Access: While many athome learning resources can be found online, some families lack access to reliable and affordable internet connections. For information on free or low-cost home internet access, as well as other resources for teachers and families, visit firstbook. org/coronavirus-educator-resources. Online field trips: While school and family outings are limited, it’s still possible to explore the world from the comfort of home. Zoos, museums and

other places of interest are sharing everything from educational videos and live webcams to guided tours on their websites and social media. Reading programs: Literacy is the foundation for all learning, so focusing on activities that promote reading gives children a chance to practice that essential skill, often in ways that don’t feel like learning. One resource is The Pizza Hut BOOK IT! Program, the nation’s largest and longest-running corporate-supported reading program. Parents can visit to find a number of activities designed to help children find joy in reading. Resources include book recommendations, activity and book pairings, video messages from best-selling authors Tom Angleberger

and Kate DiCamillo and printable worksheets, story maps and more. Educational websites: Many academic websites have opened their subscription-based content for free or reduced access. You can find videos, interactive programs, lesson plans and more. Before creating an account, check if your school has secured free or discounted access codes. New skills: From learning the basics of keyboard typing to trying a new instrument or mastering a new language, there are sites dedicated to helping students develop new skills while they’re at home.

ABCs of Combating Summer Slide While on summer break, kids commonly lose some of the learning momentum from the previous school year. It’s a phenomenon casually referred to as the “summer slide.” A report from the Northwest Evaluation Association found students in third-fifth grades lost about 20 percent of their school-year gains in reading and 27 percent in math, on average, during summer break. After such an abrupt end to formal curriculum, the slide could be a little steeper for kids in the fall. However, summer plans for families likely look different this year. More free time may make it easier to build in time for educational activities, which can also offer an escape during this uncertain time. Allow for reading aloud. According to the National As-

sociation for the Education of Young Children, reading aloud is the single most important activity for reading success as it helps build word-sound awareness. Encourage your child to play teacher and read aloud books, magazines, or comics to family members, pets or even stuffed animals. Begin a book club. Read the same books as your children then discuss what you all read over a shared snack or gathered around the dinner table. Joining in shows the importance of prioritizing reading during the summer. Check into services offered by libraries. If possible, make use of local libraries, many of which offer free online resources and have extended due dates. Inquire about online services offered in your area and how your family can participate in programs taking place over the summer.

July 2020 | LIVING Havre and the Hi-Line MAGAZINE |




1135 12th Street - $308,000

This beautiful one level home was built by a local contractor and his family, with 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, office and utility room all on one level. The recent updates include a new kitchen, new paint and new flooring through most of the home.

929 3rd Avenue ~ $174,900

419 Third Ave. - $154,900

931 5th Avenue - $109,900

This 4 bedroom 2 bath home has had a nice remodel job throughout with mostly new flooring, mostly new paint and the new appliances are dishwasher, ovenrange, washer and dryer.

Beautifully updated home with 3 levels of living, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a non-conforming bedroom & huge shop!

Spacious home with open floor plan. Recent updates include new bathroom, nice kitchen, separate dining room, 4 bedrooms on 2 levels, extra parking & large garage.

• SALE PENDING • 1630 Northern Heights Drive $345,000 4 bedroom, 3 bath home.

1068 Cleveland - $198,000

This amazing home is one of the newer homes in Highland Park. With beautiful Hardwood floors, 2 bathrooms, 2 Bedrooms up & one non-conventional down, underground sprinklers and a triple car heated garage.

220 7th Street ~ $165,000 3 bedroom, 2 bath home.

61 Rehal Ave. Joplin, MT $75,000 4 bedroom, 2 bath home.

529 Pennsylvania St. Chinook, Montana ~ $114,900

This would make a great starter home or retirement home at a great price for this well kept 3 bedroom, 2 bath Home with large lot and extra off street parking!

415 1st Street West ~ $425,000

Investment opportunity downtown Havre, MT. This 1st Street frontage property comes with rental income and a turnkey business. The tenants have been in place for years and the business has the furnishings, equipment and licenses available for a turnkey operation. The property has been maintained with recent updates.

Farm and Ranch W Havre South of the Big Red Barn $325,000

290+- Acres with pasture & cultivated land. This property borders Sandy Creek in places, approx 1/4 mile to HWY 2 W. 120+- Acres Grazing land $69,000

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ACREAGE LOTS with Utilities 5 Miles W of Havre

(1) 5 Acre Lot $69,000 (2) 10 Acre Lots with Views CONTACT ED RUFF FOR MORE INFORMATION AT (406) 390-1574

1650 7th St N 15 $3,600

1452 Boulevard Ave. $95,000

212 Illinois Street Chinook ~ $110,000

917 Illinois Street Chinook ~ $48,000

1023 5th Street

This luxurious cottage boasts 3 bedrooms/2.5 baths, as well as a 1-car garage with tons of storage! Master bedroom and 2nd bedroom have ensuite baths and walk-in closets. Entire home has been recently updated with refinished hardwoods, new tile and bath fixtures. Too many features to list! Backyard has lovely garden area, storage shed and is fully fenced with room for off-street parking.

23999 270 Rd N $109,000

11135 River Rd.

Minutes from town, Country Living at its finest! 5061 sq. feet on 60 acres. 5-bed/4 baths, 3 fireplaces and wet bar. Home has separate living space in walk-out basement. Fencing for horses.

725 14th Street $161,900

730 16th Street

Two bedrooms home, bonus room, over sized heated garage. Fenced yard, off street parking. New roof, newer windows.

6510 1st Street West

Newer home, 3 bedrooms, two bathrooms, located on 1 acre+, beautiful 4 stall garage. Fenced yard, private well, matching storage building.

Commercial Lots

Commercial lots located in Havre with US HWY 2 & 15th Avenue access. Possible owner financing!

1103 6th Street $175,000

27 Saddle Butte Dr $175,900

160+ acres of partially irrigated grazing and hayland with corrals, well and good access, close to Chinook. 900+ acres partially irrigated grazing unit near Chinook with great water, cross fenced with creek and trees.

15 First Ave. NE, Rudyard

2-bed/2-bath home features main floor laundry, heated 2-car garage, all new windows in the upstairs and an apartment in the lower level with separate entrance. Live in one and rent the other or combine for one large home!

Call Jim for more information!

905 Center Drive $196,000

937 Indiana Chinook ~ $220,000

1030 18th Street $220,000

1325 4th Street $22,500

We have qualified buyers for farm and ranch properties. 1060 Blvd. Avenue

This very clean home features 2+2 bedrooms, 1.5 baths, as well as updated kitchen, dining room and cozy woodstove in living room. The insulated, heated Shop is large enough to accommodate many of the larger toys! Home has newer siding and roof. The huge backyard boasts a storage shed and plenty of off-street parking! Close to schools, parks, etc.

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226 2nd St NW • Rudyard ~ $120,000

Many updates in the last few months including interior/exterior paint & new roof. Kitchen has new flooring, counter top & stainless steelappliances. Master suite has private walk out deck. Newly remodeled bathroom. Convenience of lg. main floor utility room. Basement has 2 nonconforming beds & family room. 3 bay garage.

627 9th St. $215,000 This home is perfect for the person wanting extra income to pay monthly mortgage. 2 lower level 1 bed apartments with shared utility room. Main floor has 2 bed, large bath, fireplace & open concept living. Double lot with large fenced in yard, oversized garage & shop area.

Visit our website

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ASHLEY MOLSTAD Havre | 265-3815 NMLS ID# 729317

KRISTY FOX Havre | 265-3802 NMLS ID# 400360

EXPERIENCE YOU CAN COUNT ON You can count on us to be your partner every step of the way during your new home construction or purchase! Stop in today or apply easily and quickly online at

Montana’s Brand of Banking Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender

July 2020 | LIVING Havre and the Hi-Line MAGAZINE |


Give your home the protection it deserves.

Anthony Cammon FSS LTCP, Agent 115 4th Avenue West Havre, MT 59501 Bus: 406-945-9000

Your home is where you make some of your best memories, and that’s worth protecting. I’m here to help. LET’S TALK TODAY.

State Farm Fire and Casualty Company, State Farm General Insurance Company, Bloomington, IL State Farm Florida Insurance Company, Winter Haven, FL State Farm Lloyds, Richardson, TX 1708136

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July 2020 | LIVING Havre and the Hi-Line MAGAZINE |