We are shaped by the places we inhabit

By BAY STEPHENS/Montana State News

The way humans change the places they inhabit has been a constant topic since the West began to be settled by Europeans. Towns were built, rivers were dammed, native tribes were pushed out. What tends to be thought of less is the inverse: how the environments we inhabit shape and mold us.

Each individual is shaped and molded by family, community, physical buildings and the wider landscape as a whole. All of these influences contribute to what Mark Hufstetler calls “a sense of place.”

Hufstetler is a historian and Montana adventurer who carries a sense of indomitable optimism. Despite being fresh off a four-hour drive from the Flathead region, he was chipper and conversational as the din and bustle of Bridger Brewing carried on around. The Acony Belles string trio playing bluegrass ballads behind him.

“It’s not necessarily always fashionable to say that you are a product of your environment,” he said between sips of his McTavish Scotch Ale, “but in a lot of ways, you really are.”

It can be seen in his own life. Born in Ogden, Utah, Hufstetler’s father worked for the Forest Service living mainly in Idaho and Wyoming. “I grew up in a series of small towns in the West, basically,” he said. Continue reading “We are shaped by the places we inhabit”

City’s history mostly boom with little bust

By TIM STOVER/Montana State News

Bozeman, Montana, is one of the fastest growing cities in the nation.

However, looking at its rich history and vibrant figures, it’s clear that Bozeman has experienced rapid growth since its beginning.

Starting even before Bozeman became incorporated, the city underwent its architectural and urban development phase, the Township Phase from 1864-1872.

According to the city of Bozeman website, organized planning of the town came about “… by a need for a supply center for the booming new mining camps in the Montana territory.”  Simplicity was the goal of the town at that time.

According to the city of Bozeman website, “… most buildings were constructed of simple materials and simple methods. …” Functionality was the only objective. Montana miners were had flooded the area and needed dwellings and establishments to provide for them as easily as possible.

Leading up to its incorporation in 1883, the city of Bozeman underwent a village phase from 1873-1883. This phase was based entirely around transcontinental railroad coming to Bozeman.  Continue reading “City’s history mostly boom with little bust”

Long-time locals’ perspective on growth

By BAY STEPHENS/Montana State News

Big country and little towns with skies that stretch from one eternity to the other: classic Montana. An element of legend and grit has swirled around the state since its inception. For those that have grown up here, the land and culture have changed, especially in a place like Bozeman.

Once a town to supply the surrounding ranch and farm communities, Bozeman became a place where cultures met: cowboy and ski culture, rustic and modern, and everything beyond and in between.

With a university to draw young students, it didn’t take long for the word to get out. Today, Bozeman – often referred to as the next Boulder, Colorado – faces dramatic change brought on by a burgeoning population and a nexus of interests and people.

Though change is not inherently bad, three generations of locals attest that Bozeman is not what it once was, in some ways for the better, yet, in other ways, elements have been lost. Continue reading “Long-time locals’ perspective on growth”

Paulie’s Hot Dogs “The Wurst Best Place”

By VIRGINIA HOLST/Montana State News

When one is driving from the Montana State University campus to downtown Bozeman, it is highly likely that they will take Eighth Street until it ends at the intersection with Main Street. Look straight next time you come to this intersection and directly across Main Street, a red, lit sign will stand out that says, “Paulie’s Hot Dogs.”

Paulie’s is one of a kind. Started by Paul Tarantino, the same guy who started Tarantino’s, it is unique to Bozeman, according to Jake Rothling, one of Paulie’s employees.

“It’s awesome to work at Paulie’s because everyone is super laid back, friendly and happy to be here. The food is good too, so that’s cool,” Jacob Jensen said, an employee at Paulie’s. “I also like how many interesting customers we get.”

Some might say, “why go out for hot dogs?” But Paulie’s is changing the way some people think about this American “staple” food. Continue reading “Paulie’s Hot Dogs “The Wurst Best Place””

Climbers are the face of unusual foundation

BY MICHELLE BURGER/Montana State News

Mountain climbers Conrad Anker and Jimmy Chin recently lectured at Montana State University on behalf of the MSU leadership institute and the Khumbu Climbing Center. The talk focused on their growing success, their failures and their life after what has become regarded as their iconic ascent.

Conrad Anker, a renowned climber living in Bozeman, teamed up with filmmaker and producer Jimmy Chin to speak on behalf of the Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation.

The Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation came to life following 2008 after the film Meru came out. The film documents two ascents, one unsuccessful in 2008 when they lost fellow climber Lowe, the other when Anker, Chin and Rennan Ozturk successfully ascended Meru’s famous peak with its shark fin features in 2011.

The movie Meru shed publicity on all the climbers, but more importantly about Anker. Anker serves on many boards for the area. He was able to connect to communities around the area to educate about the dangers he and his colleagues faced during the ascents. Continue reading “Climbers are the face of unusual foundation”

Local mall exception to grim national trend

By CULLAN STAACK/ Montana State News

Shopping malls are losing some of their most valuable tenants—department stores—at an alarming rate. Retailers like Sears, JCPenney and Macy’s have been closing hundreds of locations over the last several years, leaving dead or dying shopping malls in their wake as they try to remain profitable amid the growing threat of e-commerce.

The slow death of the American shopping mall is not evenly distributed. A disproportionate number of recent high profile store closure announcements have been in communities that are already struggling, according to Conor Sen, a Bloomberg View columnist and portfolio manager for New River Investments. Bozeman does not fit the profile of a struggling community, and as a result, the Gallatin Valley Mall is not currently exhibiting any signs of future foreclosures. Continue reading “Local mall exception to grim national trend”

Food bank fills empty tables with local generosity

By EMILY SCHABACKER/ Montana State News

Gallatin Valley Food Bank serves 3,105 individuals a month including families, kids, single parents, and seniors; but with the upcoming summer season, Laura  Stonecipher, program coordinator at the food bank, expects an increase in clients. Despite this increase, the food bank is experiencing a decrease in donations.

On average, Gallatin Valley Food Bank serves 1,200 households every month, according to Stonecipher.

Stonecipher said, “the majority of our clients do not come regularly…. Think about your budget and everything lines up, but then your car breaks down or you have a medical bill…. then you need to divert money that you might spend on groceries to pay for those bills.”

The food bank also supports Bozeman’s seniors with their Senior Commodity Program, according to Mariah Smith, administrative officer at the bank.

“Clients have to be over 60 years old and there are some income limits as it is a government funded program. It is an extra two bags of food plus cereal and shelf stable milk. That’s once a month for our seniors,” said Stonecipher. Continue reading “Food bank fills empty tables with local generosity”

Fort played little-known role in state history

By JORDAN SPARR/Montana State News

Fort Ellis stands a small distance east of Bozeman, Montana. Built to protect mining operations and new-coming settlers in the region, the fort played a large part in the development of Bozeman and military operations of the era.

Deeply involved in the conflicts arising at the time with Native Americans and the boundary wars that resulted from the confrontation, the history of Fort Ellis provides an invaluable insight into early Montana history and the way of life in the American West.

Established in 1867, it largely stood as a countermeasure to a Sioux warrior campaign aimed at shutting down any operation of the Bozeman Trail by pioneers attempting to reach the region.

According to “Military and Trading Posts of Montana” by Don Miller and Stan Cohen, Major Eugene M. Baker used infantry stationed at Fort Ellis to take military action against the Piegan tribe. This ended with the Marias Massacre, which killed many unarmed and unready Native Americans within the tribe while many were away to hunt. Continue reading “Fort played little-known role in state history”

Mystery Ranch develops paratrooper backpack

By TYLER BARTON/Montana State News

For decades, technology for parachute deployment has remained relatively stagnant. However, thanks to the efforts of local backpack manufacturer Mystery Ranch, that has changed. In March, Mystery Ranch released a new line of high-altitude jump packs that significantly reduce the baggage on military parachutists.

Mystery Ranch employee Liz O’Brien said, “The design for jump packs hasn’t changed much since Vietnam. This is the first major shift since then.”

With the inclusion of several carefully placed loops, Mystery Ranch’s efficient new design supplants the need for additional equipment that ensures lines connecting the chute deploy properly.

The new design will make U.S. military parachutist operations smoother and will free up space for mission-critical items.

Though the U.S. military has contracted Mystery Ranch packs for over a decade, beginning with Navy SEAL prototypes in 2004, they produce a variety of backpack styles for many different situations, including mountaineering, climbing, hunting, everyday use, and even heat-resistant packs designed especially for firefighters. Continue reading “Mystery Ranch develops paratrooper backpack”

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