Bone marrow donation saves a life

BY MICHELLE BURGER/Montana State News

Christian Lapp knew he would be serving his country when he joined the Marine Corps in March 2009, but Lapp had no idea he would be donating his bone marrow to save someone’s life.

Lapp, 26 and born and raised in Bozeman, joined the Marine Corps right out of high school.

“In high school, I was a horrifically bad student and my options were kind of limited. A couple schools wanted to give me scholarships for mountain biking. When it came time for me to choose, I realized (joining the marines) was that thing in the back of my head where since second grade. I was like, ‘I’m gonna go be a marine’,” said Lapp.

Many of Lapp’s family members joined the army, including two cousins and his uncle. Joining the military “was in my culture,” said Lapp.

Lapp’s uncle had the greatest influence on his choice to join the military. Lapp saw his uncle, who had a troubled upbringing, transform after joining the army and decided it was a dream of his as well. Around 10 years old is when he fell in love with this destiny. Continue reading “Bone marrow donation saves a life”

Students find escape at Norris Hot Springs

BY SAMANTHA SUNDLY/Montana State News

Montana’s natural hot springs offer Bozeman college students an escape from the chaos of campus life with some hot mineral water, draft beer and live music. Norris Hot Springs, or the “Water of the Gods,” is located in the Madison River Valley and aims to “provide a safe, relaxing soak in all of Montana’s seasons,” according to Holly Heinzmann, owner of Norris Hot Springs and creator of the Norris Hot Springs website.

Norris Hot Springs is made up of a series of artesian springs, formed when high pressures underground force hot, mineral groundwater to flow to the surface. According to Heinzmann’s website, the pool temperature ranges between the seasons, warming up to 106 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter and cooling down below 100 degrees during the hotter months, and maintains a field pH level of 7.6.

The original Norris Hot Springs pool was built by miners in the 1860s who had come to Alder Gulch in search of gold, and was named after Alexander Norris who founded the town of Norris in 1865. The floor and walls of the pool were made by placing fir planks above the natural springs, causing the hot mineral water to bubble up between the boards and fill the pool. Continue reading “Students find escape at Norris Hot Springs”

Many rally for ‘Take Back the Night’

By CULLAN STAACK/Montana State News

One out of three women and one out of every six men have been beaten, forced into sex or otherwise abused in their lifetime by someone they know or are in a relationship with, according to Montana State University’s website. Less than 50 percent of assaults are ever reported to the police, leading the organizers of Bozeman’s “Take Back the Night” event and rally to try and make a change.

“Take Back the Night” is an international event and non-profit organization with the mission of ending sexual, relationship and domestic violence in all forms and for all genders. Hundreds of events are held in over 30 countries annually. Events often include marches, rallies and vigils intended as a protest and direct action against rape and other forms of domestic violence. Continue reading “Many rally for ‘Take Back the Night’”

20 years of research behind VOICE methods

By TIM STOVER/Montana State News

The mission of the Montana State University VOICE center is simple: “(The) VOICE Center is committed to the belief that all people have the right to live free from violence and the fear of violence.”

While their message is simple, their abilities and resources go far beyond what would be expected.

They offer a variety of services, from a confidential support line, to counseling, support groups, and in general, someone to talk to.

The VOICE Center is staffed by peer advocates who have been “trained to provide information, crisis intervention, and support services to anyone affected by sexual assault, relationship violence, and stalking.”

Peer advocates go through rigorous training across the spectrum of support. Continue reading “20 years of research behind VOICE methods”

MSU students work to fight HIV with in Zambia

By RANIA AMPNTEL CHAFINT/Montana State News

She was seven months pregnant and infected with AIDS when she was found living in a bus terminal in Lusaka, Zambia. Nearing birth, the woman was taken to Dr. Tim Meade, who helped deliver the baby with the help of a few volunteers. As a sign of gratitude, the woman named her baby Tim, which laid the foundation for Tiny Tim & Friends.

Meade, who has since adopted “tiny” Tim, now runs the organization with the help of a team of student volunteers from Montana State University. The nonprofit organization is committed to providing medicine to children and families who are in need of HIV/AIDS medication in Zambia, according to the Tiny Tim & Friends website. Continue reading “MSU students work to fight HIV with in Zambia”

Berkeley Pit on track to overflow soon

By EMILY SCHABACKER/ Montana State News 

Toxic water levels approach maximum capacity in Butte’s Berkeley Pit, potentially threatening the city’s groundwater system by 2023. Montana’s environmental advocacy groups have started looking for clean up or containment methods for the abandoned copper mine.

After the mine closed in 1982, rain and groundwater flooded underground shafts, forcing contaminated water to accumulate in the pit. The acidic pond stretches one mile long by a half mile wide and reaches down more than 1,700 feet.

Current water levels reach 5,336 feet above sea level, 74 feet below maximum capacity as determined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Act, according to the website Pit Watch: Berkeley Pit News and Info. Continue reading “Berkeley Pit on track to overflow soon”

Medical marijuana restrictions contested

By ADAM SCHREUDER/Montana State News

Unlike the 23 states and the District of Columbia that have legalized medical marijuana, Montana maintains its illegality.  The efforts to keep medical marijuana available to patients have been ongoing since 2011, when legislators restricted caregivers to a three patient maximum.  This tight restriction forced many caregivers out of business and sent many patients back to pharmaceutical remedies.

“I just don’t know if I can deal with those side effects again. I don’t feel like myself when I’m on a constant cocktail of Oxycontin and Valium, or whatever antibiotics they think works these days,” said Trevor Swahn, a victim of Crohn’s disease.

Although legislators technically restricted the availability of marijuana in 2011, activists continually delayed the restriction through legal  appeals until .  Medical marijuana supporters were not shocked that the procrastination tool of appeals was eventually defeated by the legislature, but they are now faced with the reality of taking the now illegal industry back underground.

Continue reading “Medical marijuana restrictions contested”

Billings swine flu death raises local concerns

By JENNY BRYAN/Montana State News

Tragedy struck Billings when a 9-year-old girl died Monday after being diagnosed with swine flu.

Although the definite cause of death is still unclear, parents and students throughout the city are on alert for health risks.

According to the Mayo Clinic, H1N1 also known as swine flu first appeared in April 2009 and has never completely dispersed. Despite popular belief the type A influenza is transmitted between people, not pigs.

The Center for Disease Control’s website reported that in the region of the country that includes Montana, along with five other states, there have been 1,502 cases of the swine flu since Oct 4, 2015.

However, according to an interview with the Billings Gazette, John Felton, the CEO of Riverstone Health said, “We are not aware of any [health] threat to anyone.”

Continue reading “Billings swine flu death raises local concerns”

Access to care key to preventing suicide

By MIKAL OVERTURF and NATHANAEL JOHNS/Montana State News

Montana had the highest suicide rate in the nation in 2014, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Montana’s Suicide Review Team revealed that only 40 percent of these suicides had an identified mental health disorder, but it is likely that many of these cases had undiagnosed or untreated mental illness according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Some 39,000 adults and 10,000 children in Montana live with a serious mental illness, according to the U.S. Public Health Service. This is out of about 1 million residents, which leads to a prevalence rate of 4.9 percent. According to The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, this is slightly higher than the national average of 4.2 percent.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a “serious mental illness” is described as “A mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder (excluding developmental and substance abuse disorders) that is diagnosable currently or within the past year, of sufficient duration to meet diagnostic criteria specified within the 4th Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, resulting in serious functional impairment, and which substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.” This differs from people who, say, have had periods of brief depression or anxiety, or have mild depression and anxiety.

Continue reading “Access to care key to preventing suicide”

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