Living Magazine - October 2020

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Contents REAL ESTATE LISTINGS Northern Land & Realty Ruff Real Estate LLC Havre Hi-Line Realty Koefod Realty Havre Realty Flynn Realty

FEATURES Where there’s smoke, there’s BBQ Kitchen Cache Parker’s BBQ Pit Brisket Rub & Recipe The Public Health Puzzle Herding Beef In a New Direction

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


Where there’s smoke,



The argument could be made that the way to Steve Parker’s stomach is through his heart. Co-owner with is wife, Jennifer, of the food truck Parker’s BBQ Pit, he learned the love of special foods and quality ingredients while growing up among the cooks in his family on Rocky Boy.

As the pit master for their food truck, Parker prepares the pulled pork, brisket, chicken and ribs that they serve along with seven or eight side dishes, including an original recipe apple coleslaw. Parker said he learned to cook, and learned to love the process of cooking, from his parents and grandparents. One of his favorite memories centers around his family’s birthday tradition. His family didn’t have much money, he said, but when a birthday came around, the celebrant could ask for a special meal of their own choosing, and his mom and grandmother would create that meal no matter what it was. “Over time, I learned to associate food with a form of how you care for somebody. It’s a way for you to express how you care for that person, and we have that tradition now with our kids,” he said. His dad and grandfather cooked,

as well, he added. His dad would pit roast whole pigs — a skill that ended up sparking Parker’s love of barbecue. When the Montana Centennial Cattle Drive was in the area in 1989, Parker said, his dad was asked by the tribe to roast a whole hog, but in honor of the celebration, he pit roasted a buffalo for everyone. “It was fascinating to me,” he said, “so naturally I was drawn to barbecue and outdoor cooking. And from my mom and my grandmother I really learned to care for my ingredients. The better ingredients you use, the better the food you can produce.” But they also stressed that the cook’s attitude, the emotional energy they put into cooking was important, too. “When you cook you should always take your time and make sure that you’re in a good mood. If you

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cook while you’re in a lousy mood your food is going to reflect that. But if you have good thoughts and good energy you’ll be able to transfer that into the food that you’re producing,” he said. “Those key things have stuck with me for a very long time,” he added, including when he was in the military later. As he traveled with the military, he sampled foods from different regions, analyzing what he liked about them and how they were made. “There’s a lot of common spices regardless of what region you’re looking at, but the ratio of those spices and how they’re changed region to region can really change the flavor profile dramatically,” he said. “Just using a different parsley, using a different tomato can give it a different flavor, or the treatment that you give the same produce can turn out to be something totally different.

Making passion a profession

I think it’s just fascinating.” He said the foods from Mexico’s Baja California region are some of his favorite, especially with the variety of fresh vegetables used in the cuisine. Still, though, his love of all barbecue and smoked meats is reflected in the variety of flavors and serving options displayed by his menu.

PARKER’S BBQ PIT Cooking Tips Meat - cooking time - final temp

Pork ribs – 4 hours – 145 F Chicken – 4-6 hours – 165 F Pork butt – 6-8 hours – 203 F Brisket – 10-14 hours – 203 F

It was a dare of sorts that launched the Parker’s into their side business as barbecue food truck vendors. Steve and Jennifer Parker were planning their wedding eight years ago, and trying to figure out how to pay for all the expenses, while also taking care of daily expenses that included five children, four of whom lived at home. Steve Parker’s best man suggested that he set up a vendor booth at the powwow during the Rocky Boy Celebration. Parker said it sounded crazy at first, but his friend had eaten enough of Parker’s different smoked meat meals to know it could work and offered to put up half the money for expenses. The Parkers decided to go for it, with no idea that this would affect their future, including the next two years serving at the powwow. But that first year alone, they sold 1,000 pounds of ribs and about 6,000 pounds of pork butts for the pulled pork — in one long weekend. “It was overwhelming how the food was received by the community and by the visitors,” he said. It was fun but a lot of work, he said, and not just because, after a long day selling food, he came home and spent all night smoking the meats needed for the next day. Well in advance of the powwow they were researching and working on everything from food service regulations to how to calculate the amount of food they could expect to sell. They also spent two weeks building their vendor booth. “I had actual doors and windows on it, we ran electricity, I installed

shelving for our inventory, we’d bring in all the appliances,” he said. “It was a lot of work but in those three years we really experienced a lot of success. … It seemed like the folks we served our food to were excited to have it; there was a lot of encouragement there to make something out of what we had thought of as a temporary venture.” They became hooked on the idea of making this a permanent gig, though. But they need a more user friendly cook shack. Parker said they spent a long time looking for a food truck without success. The ones they could afford would need a lot of investment to get them up to code and suited to their needs, and the ones that were ready to go were out of their price range, he said. In the end, they bought a trailer and had it custom fitted to their needs. They put together a business plan, he said, then applied for and received a state Department of Commerce grant that went toward a significant down payment. They also worked with Bear Paw Development Corp. in Havre to arrange the rest of the financing. They got the trailer for 60 to 70 percent of the price of an equivalent truck, Parker said, but the process took almost two years. In 2017, with a brand new Parker’s BBQ Pit food truck/trailer, food service certification from the county and an invitation to participate in the Discover Downtown event that included a food vendor competition, they jumped straight into business again. And straight into their first food competition, with four other vendors that included a popular and prize-winning vendor from Great Falls. “It was literally our very first day of opening with the food trailer,” he said. “We still didn’t know what we were doing because we didn’t where all the stuff was, we didn’t have all our systems down, we didn’t know what we didn’t know. But we got really lucky and ended up winning People’s Choice Award for that on our very first day. … It was really nice.”

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


The Food Though he has a personal fondness for the Central Texas style of barbecue, known for its mild smoke flavor — from burning the post oak trees that grow in that area of Texas — and its focus on the meat rather than sauces, Parker said he likes to offer a variety of barbecue flavors. He considers the brisket to be the real test of a pit master, with a big payoff in flavor and tender juiciness when done right. He shared his recipe which follows this article. His pulled pork he described as Kansas City style, “so it’s a little sweet” and has sauce. His ribs he calls a blend of Texas and Memphis styles, the latter being known for its sweet, tangy and spicy sauce. He uses a beer-can recipe to add moisture and flavor to his chicken, which he smokes in his propane-fed smoker that he also uses for his ribs, with the post oak and a touch of hickory in a fire box he added at the base of the smoker. “We’ve intentionally created our menu to be versatile so we can substitute any meat into any menu item,” he said. “The customers really enjoy that.”

Other than the ribs, which are a barbecue staple, Parker said the meat items he has for the menu were chosen so he can serve them up in several different ways, including as a sandwich, a taco and a “piggy bag.” Created by his kids, the piggy bag is like a “taco in a bag,” but starts with a bag of original Lays potato chips and is layered with pulled pork and baked beans. It has a loyal following, he said. “It definitely touches your inner fat kid,” he added, laughing. Parker’s BBQ is also known for its green apple slaw, a coleslaw with a sweet and tangy sauce.

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“It is my take on the Carolina-style barbecue and how they fix their slaw and what they do with it,” he said. “They like to eat their pulled pork sandwiches with the slaw right on top.” When people say they don’t like coleslaw, Parkers give them samples or a regular customer will convince them to try it, and they’re usually sold on it in the end, he said. “We’ve intentionally created our menu to be versatile so we can substitute any meat into any menu item,” he said. “The customers really enjoy that.”

Connections Steve Parker loves his food and sharing it with people — whether it’s family, who also act as his first line of taste testers, or customers, but the Parker’s BBQ Pit is about more than that for him and his wife. He takes care of cooking the meats, recipe development and marketing, while Jennifer Parker manages the books, inventory, ordering and making the side dishes. She’s been supportive of his cooking and has encouraged him to go after this dream from the beginning, Parker said. “She’s been the glue. I don’t think I’d still be doing it it if weren’t for her,” he said. She doesn’t long to put in her 40-hour week as a nurse at Rocky Boy Health Center then spend the weekend in the food truck, he said. The food isn’t her passion, but the family time is. Each of their mothers, their children and a few siblings regularly help on days they’re set up to sell food. “It’s been a family business from the start, it’s still a family business,” he said. “I think it’s really cool that one of our popular items was developed by our children.” “We want to serve good food to our customers and also show our kids that you can have some success, but you’ve got to work at it,” he said. They dream occasionally of having a brick and mortar location, said Parker, who is the CEO of Plain Green, a financial services company and economic arm of the Chippewa Cree Tribe, but relying on connections in the Havre community has brought a real appreciation of his community. Food supplier Sysco only delivers to restaurants, he said, so Ryan Sorensen, owner of Spud’s Grub Hut volunteered to accept Parker’s orders and store them until he can get there. Different locations, like Crawford Distillery and Vizsla Brewing bring Parker’s BBQ Pit to provide food to their customers throughout the summer. And, he added, Bear Paw Meats tries to make sure he has briskets when he needs them.

In turn, Parkers try to buy local, and collaborate locally, he said. He’s been working with Neil Crawford to develop a recipe that will feature one of the distillery’s liquors paired with smoked meat. “Neil and I are committed to developing a pork belly recipe using either his whiskey or his bourbon,” he said, and hopes to debut it before the end of the year with the idea that the collaboration will help them promote each other’s business. In a previous collaboration, Parker made a smoked simple syrup that Crawfords put it in what they called a smoked Caesar served at the distillery. While Parker is still daydreaming about having his own restaurant

location, he’s also working on a way to test the waters in an established restaurant. “For now I would really like to do a kitchen takeover sometime with one of the local restaurants,” he said. “I think it would be a lot of fun and I think it would be a really cool proof of concept on how well we could do in a brick and mortar environment.” Parker’s BBQ Pit is wrapping up for the summer, but making plans for next year. “I think we’ll continue to do this as long as we make our customers happy because at the end of the day that’s really our motivation,” he said, “to see people enjoy our food and the smiles and the enthusiasm behind having some good food.”

PARKER’S BBQ PIT Steve and Jennifer Parker, owners of the food truck Parker’s BBQ Pit, pose in front of their truck. October 2020 | LIVING Havre and the Hi-Line MAGAZINE |



Parker’s BBQ Pit Brisket Rub and Recipe With only two ingredients, the spice rub is as simple as it gets — but added to tender beef brisket, which gains much flavor from the cut’s natural marbling, then paired with a light smokey flavor and attention to cooking details, Steve Parker’s recipe gives you a brisket that takes center stage. “My primary objective with keeping the rub as simple as possible is to let the quality of the beef speak for itself,” said Parker, owner of Parker’s BBQ Pit with his wife, Jennifer. Brisket is a hands-on meat, Parker said. You need to maintain water in a pan in the smoker or grill to help keep the meat from drying out. You also have to spritz the meat at regular intervals to add moisture and flavoring to the meat. And the process requires attention to temperatures of both the meat and the cooker during a 10- to 14-hour cook time. But you also have to be brave enough to keep the lid shut until it’s time to check the temps and spritz the meat — because if you’re lookin’, it isn’t cooking, he added. “It’s definitely a labor of love,” Parker said. “Y’know brisket is the king of all smoked meats you got to be able to put the time in to put out a good product.” Parker, who is the pit master for the family-run food truck business, said he makes his brisket in a central Texas style, which is cooked without a barbecue sauce and has a smoke flavor created with post oak, a tree native to the central Texas. “It’s a little more subtle,” he said. Not only is the smoke from post oak subtle, but he also only adds enough wood to create the smoke, not make

the wood part of the heat source. Post oak isn’t normally carried in stores in Montana, he said, so you’ll have to special order some. He said he’s found some private sources online, but he’s also purchased off of Amazon. Local stores do have hickory, he added, and that can be substituted in a pinch. It will change the flavor, he said, but the key is to put very little of the hickory on your coals to at least keep with the subtle flavoring. “Smoke is flavor, not a cooking element,” he added. Like a spice, the smoking is meant to enhance the flavor of the meat, not overwhelm it. To help the rub and the smoke penetrate the meat and create that quarter- to half-inch of outer darker or redder layer in the smoked meat called “bark,” Parker said, you have to remove the hard tallow layer of fat from the outside of the brisket. This is easiest done while the meat is still cold from the refrigerator, or even still partly frozen. But don’t remove all the fat, he said. Leave about a quarter-inch layer of the softer fat layer that’s under the tallow and leave any fat that is marbled in the meat, or connecting the flat and point portions of the brisket. This “fatcap” and marbled fat will render down and bring flavor and moisture to the meat. At the points in the smoking process when you spritz moisture on the

10 | LIVING Havre and the Hi-Line MAGAZINE | October 2020

brisket and check temperatures, Parker recommended checking internal temperature in a few areas of the brisket. And if you need to turn the meat to help even out temperatures, don’t flip it — you want to keep that fatcap on top. Parker uses different styles of smokers for various cooking methods and different meats, but he also said he uses a regular “dad-style” propane grill, too. He demonstrated how he uses a simple charcoal kettle grill as a smoker by arranging the briquettes or charcoal and the post oak in a semi-circle against the edge of one half. The pan of water is placed within the semicircle of coals. and the meat is laid, fat side up, in the center of the other half of the grill. Smoking a brisket with a small grill this way is more difficult, but smoking any meats is a challenge that might not turn out perfect the first time, he said, but you’ll learn from the experience. In fact, he warned that even the weather — wind, humidity, temperature — can influence the smoking process, from one time to the next. Becoming a pit master relies on and develops patience, adaptability and creativity, as well as experience, he said, but it’s worth working to perfect the technique.

Parker’s BBQ Pit

BRISKET RUB AND RECIPE from Steve Parker ITEMS NEEDED • 10-12 pound Brisket • Rub (recipe below) • Spritz (recipe below) • Pink butcher paper • Kitchen knife or knives • Well-insulated barbecue smoker or grill • Small heat-proof water pan • 40-50 briquettes or that equivalent in lump charcoal, depending on smoker or grill • Post oak, equivalent to 3-4 small logs (the size of small bread loaves) or 6-8 chunks (baseball to softball sized) • Meat thermometer probe • Ambient temperature probe to track the smoker temp • Insulated container (cooler, Cambro box, unheated oven)

BEEF RUB Equal parts of kosher salt and 16-mesh ground black pepper, which is a bit coarser than ground table pepper. Combined making roughly ½ cup of rub for a 10-12 pound brisket. SPIRTZ: • 2 ounces 100% apple juice • 8 ounces water Combine ingredients in a spray bottle and mix well. This will be used to spritz the brisket during the cooking process.

Brisket cooking process (all temperatures are +/- 5 degrees F) 1. Pre-heat smoker to 225 F with charcoal, and post oak. 2. Fill water pan and place in smoker, near heat source, if possible. 3. Trim hard fat from cold brisket, and leaving roughly ¼” of soft fat on fatcap. 4. Apply beef rub generously to all sides of brisket and let sit, covered, at room temperature for 45-60 minutes. 5. Place brisket on grill fat-side up — with the point (thick end) facing the heat source, if it’s possible with your smoker. 6. Close lid, do not open for 3 hours. 7. After 3 hours, open lid, spritz the brisket generously with apple juice mixture. 8. Close lid. 9. Raise smoker temp to 265 F, by adding more charcoal, or opening vent farther if you have adequate coals already. 10. Continue cooking at new temp, with closed lid. 11. After 3 hours, check internal temperature of brisket in a few areas. If internal temp is 160 F, then raise smoker temp to 280 F. Note: If internal temp is not at least 160 F, then spritz generously and continue cooking until internal temp reaches 160 F. Add water to pan if needed. 12. Cook brisket at 280 F until the internal temp is 180 F. 13. Pull brisket off smoker, spritz one last time and wrap the brisket tightly in at least one layer of butcher paper. 14. Place back in smoker. 15. Continue to cook until brisket reaches internal temp of 203 F. 16. Pull and let rest, whole, in a well-insulated container for at least 45 minutes. 17. Slice meat across the grain before serving.

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


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The Public Health


The question of what is public health is not one Hill County Health Department Director Kim Larson considered much when she was getting her bachelor’s degree in health promotion, but as it turns out her job in public health is not far removed from the goals she had envisioned achieving after graduation. “I started out in nursing school, but I just want to be more in prevention and not treatment,” Larson said. “Originally, I got my health promotion degree to work in cardio-pulmonary rehab and work with people to prevent heart disease or to come back and be healthier after they’ve had a heart attack,” she added. “And that was a personal thing for me because my dad had a heart attack when he was very young, when I was a seventh grader, and that just kind of – I would like to help people not have to deal with that.” Larson, who grew up in Kremlin, said she moved to back to this area after graduating from Montana State University Bozemen. She wanted to find something more in her degree field so started with the health department working on a community needs assessment about 10 years ago. She stayed with the department after that and five years later was promoted to director and adviser to the the county health board. In midSeptember, Larson also accepted the role of health officer for the county, to be effective Oct. 1. So, in a fortunate twist of fate, one of the primary functions of her job is prevention of diseases and other health problems. Certified in public health management and nationally certified in public health through the National Board of

HILL COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT Kim Larson, director of the Hill County Health Department, stands outside the offices of the Hill County Health Department. October 2020 | LIVING Havre and the Hi-Line MAGAZINE |


Public Health Examiners, which requires 50 continuing education credits every two years, Larson is also pursuing her master’s degree in public health. While this seems like a lot of studying for her, Larson said she likes that public health has so many continuing education opportunities. Part of what drives those opportunities is the vast array of needs that come under the purview of public health. It’s a different type of health care that is hard to explain to people who haven’t been a part of it through receipt or provision of services, Larson said. “It’s hard to come up with that elevator speech when people say, ‘What do you do?’” she said. “It’s, like, ‘Well, a little bit of everything – and it’s all community based.’” The health department website says, “Through collaborative ef-

forts, we at the Hill County Health Department promote physical and emotional health, foster personal responsibility; prevent disease, injury and disabilities; and protect the environment.” On a daily basis, she said, she oversees several programs that include Women Infants and Children or WIC, Family Planning, Parents as Teachers home visiting program, immunizations, Disaster and Emergency Services and communicable diseases. A lot of what she manages is reporting duties in these programs and to grant organizations, as well as applying for grants, which allow the health department to supplement the programs already in place or target specific community needs. “I have a Maternal Child Health block grant that we’re using this year to work on connecting community members to community resources

and creating an online connect referral system,” she said. While Larson’s role is management of the department, what the health department does in practice is everything from helping new mothers negotiate life with a new baby to ensuring the safety of the town drinking water or monitoring a communicable disease outbreak. “Public health is incorporated in a lot, whether it’s environmental health and vectors such as mosquitoes with West Nile virus, or a pandemic, or inspections with food establishments,” she said, adding “Y’know, it’s different every day.” In 2020, though, much of what she does is manage the COVID-19 pandemic. “About 99 percent of what I do this year is pandemic-related,” Larson said.

tracing process, but also to talk to them about what they need to do for quarantine while waiting for their results. Even before test results are back, health department nurses are working to compile a list of contacts. As soon as someone show signs typical of COVID-19 and gets tested, health department nurses conduct an interview to help identify where they might have gotten infected and who they might have infected.

symptom onset, if they do have symptoms, and then it’s from their test result,” she said. “If it’s positive then we go back a certain number of days and ask where they’ve been. We touch base on that every time we talk to them because it’s hard to remember where you’ve been and sometimes it comes back at different times, and that’s where we get their contact list.” From there, health department staff reaches out to those people who had contact with the person who tested positive. “We have that followup every single day just to follow up and make sure that if they were asymptomatic that they’re still asymptomatic. If they get symptomatic, and their original test was negative, we send them in for a followup test to see if they are now positive,” Larson said. If someone goes to the clinic because they are symptomatic, but the result comes back negative, they are no longer in need of quarantine or isolation, she said, but they are still sick so should stay home to treat that. Quarantine is for 14 days after the

COVID-19 “The pandemic is on a larger scale for us, but we deal with communicable disease every day, and we do contact tracing every day, but it’s just not on this scale,” Larson said. “We have a really good team that works on communicable disease. We have one main nurse that does it day in and day out, and she is just amazing. She has been at the health department for over 15 years and then we have two other nurses that have been brought on to communicable disease (from other programs) during the pandemic to do contact tracing, and they’re doing a great job.” The health department, she said, has people on standby to help with COVID-19 contact tracing if needed, and, so far, hasn’t had to hire anyone new, “but we are in the conversation for that,” she added in mid-September, specifically with immunizations for back to school and flu season. Hill County Health Department is notified every time staff at the COVID-19 clinic on the Northern Montana Health Care campus runs a test, Larson said. Health department staff then calls the people who are tested so they can start the contact

If you are a direct contact of a confirmed case, you have to quarantine. Kim Larson Hill County Health Department Director

“Our nurses contact them daily. We check in with them, we have a certain list of questions that are asked. Right at the very start they go over a lot of different questions as to where they’ve been 48 hours before

14 | LIVING Havre and the Hi-Line MAGAZINE | October 2020

COVID-19 cont. last known contact with someone who tested positive because that is the incubation period during which symptoms will show, if that person is infected with COVID-19. “If you are a direct contact of a confirmed case,” Larson said, “you have to quarantine.” This can be difficult for individuals or households, she added, so part of what the health department does is make sure that the person or family’s needs are met. “We assist those families with a lot of stuff. Sometimes it’s an entire family that’s isolated and quarantined, and they don’t have people in this town to help them get groceries and necessities that they need,” she said. “So every day when we talk to them we ask if there’s anything that they need, if there’s anything that they can’t get – food, water anything – and we make sure to get it there and we deliver it.” They also make sure the quarantined people know to look into different COVID-specific sick leaves, as well as unemployment available for the quarantine period.

“If you are identified as a close contact, we will contact you,” she said. “But if there was a large event in our community where there was a possible exposure and we don’t know who all was there,” Larson added, “there would be a public announcement put out that if you were at this event, contact us because you might’ve been exposed.” This happened in early August, when Toole County Health Department put out a notice that anyone who attended the Aug. 1 Shelby Car Show might have been exposed to COVID-19. “That’s all evaluated on a case-bycase basis and so far we haven’t had that happen,” Larson said. Her department does have to offer guidance to people planning events, gatherings, and necessities like school and college openings. Larson and her husband Mark live and work in the community and their two boys go to Havre schools and attend the Boys & Girls Club of the Hi-Line on their off-school days. People want to be living their lives

and need to be making a living, but the health department is vigilant about chance of outbreak in the community or that could affect the community. The county does have a protocol in place, should it happen, she said. One of the keys to staying on top of the pandemic is Hill County Health Department’s long-established partnerships with local, neighboring county, reservation, state and federal entities, she said, and these partnerships have been strengthened quite a bit with COVID-19. This includes daily contact with Chippewa Cree Tribe and Chouteau County public health representatives, along with representatives in other neighboring counties, she said. Every-other-week conference calls with the Association of Montana Public Health Officials have been particularly helpful, she said, because the organization connects the public health leaders in smaller counties in the state who offer advice, support and resources to one another.

Lil’ Shots Carnival Willow Riggin grimaces as nurse Jessica Kennedy-Stiffarm puts a bandage over where Riggin had a shot on her right arm as nurse Wanda Meredith gives her another shot on her left arm during the Hill County Health Department Lil’ Shots Carnival. The health department normally holds the carnival each year to entertain children while making certain back-to-school shots are up-to-date. October 2020 | LIVING Havre and the Hi-Line MAGAZINE |


Health Board & Advisors Montana health departments, Larson said, receive guidance from county health boards, as outlined in Montana Code Annotated. Hill County Board of Health has five members: the three county commissioners, Mike Wendland, Mark Peterson and Diane McLean, along with two appointees, Kristi Kline, who has extensive experience in water systems and waste water treatment plants, and environmental and water systems, and Montana State University-Northern’s Little River Institute Director Erica McKeon-Hanson, who holds a master’s degree in public health. The resignation of the volunteer health officer in mid-September prompted Hill County Board of Health to realign the duties of the health director to include the role as

health officer. As the health officer, Larson will take on some authority to implement isolation and quarantine, implement different safety measures to protect the public and cancel events in coordination with the health department, Larson said. The full list of duties can be seen on page 17. “Basically, we’re kind of changing the role of the director of the health department to be the full-time health officer/director,” Larson said. “Other health departments do that, a lot of the bigger community health departments do that. Helena, Missoula, Flathead, they have a full-time health officer on staff, so that’s what we’ll have now. We’ll just have to find a provider who’s willing to be our medical director.” Because past health directors had

also been medical providers they had served as medical director, too, so the health board will be looking to fill that position. “(Medical directors) sign our standing orders. We renew our standing orders every year and that allows us to do our immunizations, to run any labs at the public health lab, treat communicable diseases and everything like that,” she said. In general, the standing orders state that the department will following the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommendations and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and recommendations for treatment of communicable diseases, Larson said.

home visiting program and WIC, are being run virtually. Some program numbers are down because she has had to make some hard decisions about time and resource allocation. “We’re not really able to advertise as much about (some programs) when we have other things going on with COVID-19,” she added. “It’s kind of a hard balance to find.” She works to maintain a balance between work and safety for the nine members of her full- and part-time staff, as well. “We’ve been pretty well equipped to work at home. We have a continuity of operations type of plan for our department, so the majority of people have laptops and if they

need to they can they go off site and work,” Larson said. “We’ve worked with our IT department on that. It’s all secure, so that’s been really nice.” They also have a new phone system through Triangle Communications that allows them to route their office phones through to their computers. “Being the director, there’s more I have to learn about the political part of it and being more active in all that,” Larson said. “That’s been a pretty big learning curve for me, but it’s been interesting, and I like that every day really is different with what you have to deal with.”

Public Health in 2020 Because so much of her time is spent on COVID-19 matters this year, she said, her other programs aren’t getting as much attention right now as she normally gives them. She said she works on grant reports at home at night after a day of fielding phone calls and emails, she added, reviewing a lot of plans – such as how to operate a street dance to school attendance can be done within pandemic safety guidelines, working with schools, working through trouble shooting with contact tracing and more. Some health department programs are not as busy as normal, not because they aren’t needed right now, she said, and some, like the

Hill County Health Department 302 4th Avenue 406-400-2415

16 | LIVING Havre and the Hi-Line MAGAZINE | October 2020

10 Essential Public Health Services 1. Monitor health status to identify and solve community health


2. Diagnose and investigate health problems and health hazards in

the community.

3. In form, educate and empower people about health issues. 4. Mobilize community partnerships and action to identify and solve

health problems.

5. Develop policies and plans that support individual community

health efforts.

6. Enforce laws and regulations that protect health and ensure


7. Link people to needed personal health services and ensure the

provisions of health care when otherwise unavailable.

8. Assure competent public and personal health care workforce. 9. Evaluate effectiveness, accessibility and quality of personal and

population-based health services.

10. Research for new insights and innovative solutions to health


From Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Powers and Duties of Local Health Officers Montana Code Annotated 50-2-118 Powers and duties of local health officers. In order to carry out the purpose of the public health system, in collaboration with federal, state, and local partners, local health officers or their authorized representatives shall: (1) make inspections for conditions of public health importance and issue written orders for compliance or for correction, destruction, or removal of the condition; (2) take steps to limit contact between people in order to protect the public health from imminent threats, including but not limited to ordering the closure of buildings or facilities where people congregate and canceling events; (3) report communicable diseases to the department as required by rule; (4) establish and maintain quarantine and isolation measures as adopted by the local board of health; and (5) pursue action with the appropriate court if this chapter or rules adopted by the local board or department under this chapter are violated.

218 First Street Havre, MT | 406-265-5568


Discover at northern home essentials

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Smokey Pancetta Wrapped Shrimp Fall in love with shrimp all over again with our Smoky Pancetta Wrapped Shrimp. Your pancetta will crisp up quickly while your shrimp cooks, giving you the perfect crispy, smoky, salty, “let-me-grab-another-please� bite! Serve hot off the grill to wow your guests with your new and improved appetizer game.

Prep Time: 10 mins Cook Time: 5 mins Total Time: 20 mins Yield: Serves 6





Steak Gyros 7HO DOESN T LOVE A GOOD GYRO ! MIX OF SAVORY MEAT TANGY tzatziki, and fresh veggies this is the recipe for the perfect meal. Prep the components ahead of time to whip together a fresh sandwich everyday and you’ll be the talk of the lunch room!

Prep Time: 60 mins Total Time: 75 mins

Cook Time: 15 mins Yield: Serves 2-4

Ingredients: Steak: s LB 3TEAK .EW 9ORK 3TRIP or Flank) s CUP $ILL )NFUSED /LIVE /IL






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



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“I always thought it was unfortunate that commercial cattle producers spend so much time — they calve the animal, they breed the animal and then they just send them off and we really don’t know where our product’s going — if it ends up here in the U.S. or not,” said Nate Baltrusch, cattle manager at Baltrusch Land and Cattle, who also runs his own herd of registered black Angus. “It’s something I had in my mind, that I thought it would be more fulfilling if I could go pasture to plate — not so much that it made more money but to know that my neighbors or whatever were getting to enjoy the product that I spend so much time on.” And when the price of cattle sold at market plummeted, while the price of beef in the store nearly tripled, this last spring, Baltrusch decided to act on his idea. He had three head of his own cattle processed at Pioneer Meats in Big Timber, a U.S. Department of Agriculture certified packing plant, and started selling the packaged beef through his new venture, Baltrusch Angus Beef. After successfully applying for a Montana Agriculture Adaptability Program grant, he used the money to help pay for freezers and a point of sale system for online shopping that shows his current inventory on his beef store website. A little of the funding also helped to convert an enclosed trailer into a refrigerated unit to keep everything at 30 degrees during transport back to his store. Baltrusch he hopes his move helps bring about changes in the beef industry. “I would say that with the packing plants shutting down, and the COVID, and the big hit to the whole beef market that it is today, was kind of the catalyst,” he added. Starting March 31, just more than a month after the U.S. documented its first case of COVID-19 transmission within the country, hundreds of workers at several meatpacking plants across the country became ill, forcing the plants to shut down. This crippled the industry for ranchers and created a meat shortage for consumers at the grocery story. Serious weaknesses were showing

in the food supply chain which now relies heavily on a few major packing plants to supply most of the U.S. beef, as well as pork, chicken, and lamb.

It’s young people who want to stay here and make a go, but also support each other. We just want to make a living and enhance the community. Nate Baltrusch, Cattle Manager, Baltrusch Land & Cattle

“Us producers were standing there saying, ‘There’s beef everywhere, and we can’t get it to people,’” Baltrusch said. The few local meat processors were quickly overwhelmed with requests to schedule beef in for butchering. Baltrusch said he called Pioneer Meats while planting spring wheat, and when that meat started selling out right away he called back in about three weeks later and the company was booked up until January. He expected his next bump in inventory at the end of September or beginning of October from two Angus he was having processed at Bear Paw Meats in Chinook. The meat processors that Baltrusch

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


said he can use are limited because he is a beef retailer so the beef has to be processed in inspected and certified meatpacking plants. Meat processed at a USDA certified plant can be sold anywhere, and meat processed at a state certified plant like Bear Paw Meats can only be sold within the state. Baltrusch said he sat down and figured when he could expect cattle ready for processing from his 200 head of commercial cattle, and 50 head of registered black Angus and started booking dates. He said he’ll have three head processed in January, but then is bumping up production to 20 head in May or June as well as another 20 head as early as December. Before the big influx of inventory in early summer, he said, he’ll have to have his planned upgrade in place – a frozen storage building, basically a large meat locker. Starting out slow has given Baltrusch the opportunity to figure out what sells, what customers want. “I can tell that my challenge is

going to be pushing those mid-level cuts,” he said, though 600 pounds of hamburger along with cuts like T-bone steaks and prime rib went quickly. His solution could be to have more hamburger made or offer more round roast rather than round steak, he said. Though he is also working on securing a commercial meat contract locally — hopefully, he said, for burger, flat iron steaks, finger steaks and top sirloin. A contract of some kind would make expanding easier and provide stability, he said. “I’m not trying to out compete

any local sellers,” he added, but he is hoping that this new venture will help change the meat processing system, make it more stable, from the ground up, and bring back the mom and pop operations. Entrepreneurship is strong in small towns — especially Havre — and these new business people aren’t afraid to work for a living, Baltrusch said. “It’s young people who want to stay here and make a go, but also support each other,” he said. “We just want to make a living and enhance the community.”

Order online at Follow the ranch at or

22 | LIVING Havre and the Hi-Line MAGAZINE | October 2020

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


831 14th Street

Great potential either enjoy as a roomy 4 plus bedroom home with 2 plus baths, or possibly convert to an up down duplex. Lots of living space with large kitchen/dining room Double car detached garage with additional off street parking. Seller offering a repair allowance for a new patio door. Priced completive at $169,900

NEW LISTING 736 5th Avenue

4 bedroom, 2 bath home. Great character, charming porch and an attached garage.

Commercial Lots

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

We have qualified buyers for farm and ranch properties.

730 16th Street

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


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. We have sold multiple country homes lately! If you are thinking of selling, give us a call today! 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. Call Jim for more information!

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1135 12th Street - $299,000

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.

1155 Oak Drive ~ $223,000

A split level home with all the charm & 3 bedrooms on the main with 2 bathrooms, underground sprinklers & a huge double garage I’m sure you could fit 4 cars in!

1334 & 1336 4th Street ~ $48,500

1650 7th St N 15 $3,600

1325 4th Street $22,500



917 Illinois Street Chinook $45,000

1538 3rd Street $85,000

929 3rd Avenue ~ $174,900

212 Illinois Street Chinook $110,000

247 2nd Street W. $125,000

1425 6th Street W. $139,900

725 14th Street $161,900

1103 6th Street $162,000

429 8th Street W. $182,900

1105 16th Street $185,000

1461 Wilson Ave. $189,900

905 Center Drive $189,900

522 10th Street $195,000

47 Beaver Creek Blvd $194,500

937 Indiana Chinook $220,000

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

1506 3rd Street ~ $119,000

This home has a brand new bathroom, all new paint inside, newer kitchen and flooring. A must see to appreciate the value of this home.

These two homes are sold together for monthly rental income. One is $400+- & one is $749+-.

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 ~ $400,000

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 $400,000 290+- Acres with pasture & cultivated land. This property borders Sandy Creek in places, approx 1/4 mile to HWY 2 W.

• SALE PENDING • 419 Third Ave. - $154,900 4 bedroom, 2 bath home.

931 5th Avenue - $109,900 4 bedrooms on 2 levels,& large garage.

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

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


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Remodeling? Let’s relook at your insurance.

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

If you’ve done any home renovations, it’s time to review your coverage and make sure you’ve got the protection you need. 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 1708139

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


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

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


17132 Rd 515 N~$339,000

Seller is willing to negotiate on Buyer closing cost assistance. 5 bedroom, 3 ½ bath Country Home located 18 miles North of Havre off St Joe Road. This property has approx. 40 Acres, an attached 4 stall garage/shop & a double garage/barn.Recent updates include a wonderful master suite, large enclosed porch & fenced yard. Awesome views! Motivated sellers!

265-7845 WEEKDAYS 8:00-5:30 OPEN SATURDAY ~ FAX 265-8782

Call Janis Flynn Pyrak @ 390-4900

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 451 1st Ave~$215,000

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.

Nice 2 bed, 2 bath home with 2 car garage on quiet street. Includes an upstairs rental and a basement rental. Fenced yard and underground sprinklers.

Call Ken Nelson @ 406-439-0595

628 Choteau Ave~Valier, MT $90,000

315 5th Avenue ~ $165,000

2 bedroom, 1 bath home with single car attached garage. Includes 1 bedroom, 1 bath apartment in basement. Conveniently located on 5th Avenue.

Call Ken Nelson @ 406-439-0595

1985 16x70 Single Wide Gallatin 2 bedroom, 1 bath Mobile Home on a permanent foundation with nice back porch, detached oversized 2 stall shop/ garage w/ 16x8' door-(room for boat & lg pickup-28'x32') Plus separate 3 stall garage. Property includes total of (3) 100x140 lots 8 city blocks from Lake Francis in Valier, MT.

Call Janis Flynn Pyrak @ 390-4900

Call Janis Flynn Pyrak @ 390-4900

List with Flynn Realty


1400 2nd St/ 215 14th Ave

Versatile property consisting of 2 houses on a 60x140 lot along w/garage & storage shed. Main house is set up as 2 apts, but could be used as owners residence. Smaller house is currently rented. Many exterior improvements on both. Approx. $1800 monthly income as rentals. Or live in one and rent the other.

We will pay for the Qualified Inspection to market your home! Buyer or Seller. PRICE REDUCED

Call Paul Kuka @ 265-7845 or 265-2060


• +/- 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


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

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

Call Ken Nelson @ 406-439-0595

1619 2nd St. ~ $119,500

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 ~ $177,500

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.

Call Kristi Parrotte @ 390-4912


5751 Hwy 223 ~ Chester, MT $345,000

Stunning 30 acres of property located in a peaceful setting. Charming 4 bedroom, 3 bath home with attached garage.

Call Derek Fraser @ 262-4603

816 Minnesota Street Chinook, MT ~ $119,000 Single level 3 bedroom, 1 bath home with nice shop.

Business Opportunity

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

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

Call Ken Nelson for showing @ 406 439-0595

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.

737 Illinois Street Chinook, MT ~ $215,000

Call Ken Nelson @ 406-439-0595

4 Parcels on North Side

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

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

Call Ken Nelson @ 406-439-0595

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