Reach expanding to meet growing demand

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By SARA SAXTON/ Montana State News

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Two Reach clients. Photo courtesy of Dee Metrick, Reach Inc.

For adults with intellectual disabilities, finding support and a place to call home can present a challenge. Reach, Inc. fills this need, helping these people with life decisions, transportation access, housing and employment.

Due to limited space, Reach Inc. has decided to build a new apartment complex, increasing access and providing new space. Reach is a nonprofit organization that provides recreation and assisted living services to developmentally disabled children and adults.

Dee Metrick, the Reach community relations and development director, explained the need for a new space: “The new building is going to replace another facility on the south side of town that houses eight of our clients.  That building is not accessible for people with mobility issues, is showing its age, and has unfortunate working conditions for our staff (they work out of a closet in an office with no windows and no bathroom).”

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Queer Straight Alliance wants changes at MSU

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By EMILY FOWLER/Montana State News

Montana State University’s Queer Straight Alliance has issued a call to action regarding LBGTQIA rights and support on campus.

In response to Gov. Steve Bullock’s executive order protecting state employees against discrimination based on gender and sexual preference, MSU’s Queer Straight Alliance issued a set of demands for institutional change on Tuesday Jan. 19.

President Waded Cruzado will meet with the QSA representatives next week to discuss the call to action regarding Lesbian Bisexual Gay Trans Queer Intersex Asexual rights and support on campus.

The letter, posted to the QSA MSU Facebook page, lists their demands. They not only include a designated  staff person in the Diversity Awareness Office, but also a plan to construct gender neutral bathrooms in the dorms and in all new and remodeled buildings by 2020. Further requests include pairing of gay and transgender students with accepting students in the dorms, increased use of inclusive language among all persons of authority at the school, and the establishment of a system that allows preferred name and gender on all MSU forms and documents.

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Group forms to resettle refugees in state

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By BRITTANY WALLACE/Montana State News

Soft Landing Missoula, a volunteer-run organization formed by moms inspired to help by media coverage of the Syrian refugee crises, is trying to bring a refugee resettlement field office to Missoula.

According to the organization’s Facebook page, “Soft Landing Missoula’s mission is to open our city, arms, and hearts in a sustainable way to refugees from around the world, as catalyzed by a desire to help those affected by the Syrian refugee crisis. Currently, we are working toward opening a refugee resettlement field office in Missoula, in order to aid refugees in the long term.”

In spite of the increase in refugees attempting to enter the U.S., according to the American Immigration Council, the U.S.’s refugee ceiling has actually gone down from 80,000 in 2009-2011 to only 70,000 each year since 2013, and none of those refugees have settled in Montana to this point. Soft Landing Missoula is hoping to change that; a refugee resettlement field office would open Montana up to receiving refugees from all over the world.

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Potentially fatal dog disease case found in state

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By ALEXANDRA DUBIN/Montana State News

One case of a new and potentially fatal disease in dogs has been diagnosed in Montana.

A case of canine influenza, H3N2, has been confirmed in Helena as of January 2016. According to Beth Harper, the animal care manager at the Heart of the Valley animal shelter in Bozeman, there have been no cases of H3N2 at the shelter. Symptoms characteristic of the illness include lethargy, runny nose, loss of appetite, and high fever according to a CBS report. In rare cases, the flu can be fatal.

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Park established for backcountry safety training

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By ROSS SELLERS/Montana State News

If you find yourself skiing in the backcountry, but feel a little rusty with your avalanche rescue gear, you may want to check out Beacon Park.

Located on Beall Street in north Bozeman, the park is meant to help educate backcountry skiers about the importance of those first crucial minutes after an avalanche strikes. Open seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. for anyone who wants to sharpen their skills, or learn for the first time.

According to the Bozeman Chronicle, the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center, and Bozeman Parks and Recreation Department, the park contains four buried avalanche beacons that transmit one-way signals. This provides great practice for prospective backcountry enthusiasts.

Jon Murthaugh – a local skier and a student at Montana State University – remarked on the newly opened park and the dangers of Schlasman’s Ridge, a common backcountry destination at Bridger Bowl. “Knowing the deathly nature of Schlashy’s makes a place where people can learn to properly use a beacon a necessity.”

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Deadline nearing for College of Ag scholarships

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By ANNIE WASSAN/Montana State News

Montana State University’s College of Agriculture Feb. 1 scholarship deadline is quickly approaching. According to the college’s website, more than $350,000 in the form of 120 different awards available annually.

According to Allie Nelson, a current agriculture education student and a previous recipient of two scholarships, money is not the only incentive. She said winning the scholarships shows people believe in her and her academic journey.

Jessica Murdock, the student service coordinator in the COA, is in charge of managing the scholarships within the program. This is her fifth year coordinating scholarships, and within that time she has seen an increase in both money and number of applicants. According to Murdock, the reason for the increase is because of the advancement of social media and her growing connections.
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Oversold parking passes tough on commuters

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By MIKAL OVERTURF/Montana state news

Parking passes are being oversold at Montana State University, outraging students who have to commute every day. Even though there are approximately 6,000 total parking spaces on campus, only 5,600 SB-only (commuter) parking passes were sold to students during the Fall 2015 semester, according to Kurt Blunck, parking services manager.

This does not include the number of permits sold to other spaces included on campus. Although not all students come to campus every day, and the differing schedules of students allow for a lot of transitions throughout the day, the fact remains that many students at MSU feel the parking situation is unfair.

One student said that she had never seen it so bad and was quick to bring up the added struggle of parking in the winter: “It just gets worse because of all the snow, so people just ignore lines and take up more space than they should.”

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