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”

In mountains, on roads, biking takes center stage

By CULLAN STAACK/Montana State News

No matter what kind of bicycle you ride, southwest Montana will keep you happy with in-town trails, long smooth roads and beautiful vistas to choose from. Endless possibilities exist when it comes to mountain biking; the only limitations are the type of trail and level of challenge you’re looking for. Whether it’s a smooth, fast downhill rush or a thigh-burning, lung-searing ascent (or both), it’s all just a short distance from Bozeman.

In communities across Montana, bicycling and walking are safe, everyday, mainstream activities. Bicycling and walking are recognized, accommodated and funded as legitimate and essential modes of transportation.

Montanans enjoy an enhanced quality of life, a cleaner environment, and better health as a result of the commitment to bicycling. After all, who wouldn’t want to enjoy the fresh air and big skies of the Treasure State by choosing to ride instead of drive? Montana is also a model for innovative bicycling and walking facilities and programs.

The history of biking in Montana traces back to the Bike Walk Montana organization. Although it has a short history, Bike Walk Montana has a long-term vision of making Montana a safer and more accessible state for bicycling and walking. Continue reading “In mountains, on roads, biking takes center stage”

Cycling more than a pastime for enthusiast

By CHELSEA ANDERSON/Montana State News

From my seat in the coffee shop, I see him approach on his commuter bike. Despite the rainy weather, I’m not surprised to see Kyle Rohan show up to our interview on a bike. He sets a bright helmet on the table, asking, “What would you like to know about biking?”

Rohan is a graduate student at MSU who got into road racing when he was earning his undergraduate degree in Florida. Rohan was first interested in biking for the commuting aspect. “One day when I was riding the bus, I saw a guy on a bike pass the bus, and I was like, ‘That. That is who I want to be.’”

After initially getting interested in biking, Rohan found himself interested in competitive racing. “Road racing is a lot different in a concentrated place like Florida than it is here in Montana. For one thing, more people are involved in it,” he says.

Rohan joined the cycling team at his university and began seriously training for races: “When you’re taking racing seriously, you have to spend around 25 hours a week on your bike training.” In addition to the large number of hours of training required to be successful in the sport, collegiate racing involves a large number of hours traveling to races. Continue reading “Cycling more than a pastime for enthusiast”

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”

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”

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””

Big Sky bar entertains locals in off season

By CHELSEA ANDERSON/Montana State News

The Gallatin Riverhouse Grill in Big Sky is hosting its fourth semiannual series of free bingo nights for this upcoming spring off-season.

Twice a year, Montana’s bustling Big Sky Resort closes down for five weeks and transforms the ski destination from a town filled with ski bums and mountain bikers into a quiet, sleepy borough.

When the time comes for the resort to close for the season and the tourist inflow slows to a halt, Big Sky’s population falls drastically. As a result of stagnant business, several stores and restaurants close down for the slow five weeks until the resort re-opens and the tourism picks back up.

While the town is bereft of tourists for those five weeks, the locals remain, and a handful of businesses stay open to service the year-round residents. One such business, the Gallatin Riverhouse Grill, will stay open for the whole off-season to serve the local population. Continue reading “Big Sky bar entertains locals in off season”

Participation in Greek life low and declining

By AMANDA GROVER and BAY STEPHENS/Montana State News

Greek life has always been a staple of college movies, but at Montana State University Greek life entrance rates are extremely low.

According to MSU’s common data set for 2016-2017, 4 percent and 3 percent of the first-time freshman men and women enter Greek life, respectively. Overall, 2 percent of the MSU population join Greek life as undergraduates.

However, the rates weren’t much higher throughout the past decades. According to the 1996-1997 data set, 9 percent and 10 percent of the freshman men and women joined. The overall rates of undergraduate members joining Greek life were 7 percent for men and 5 percent for women.

Are these low rates endemic to MSU? Looking at MSU’s rival school—the University of Montana—the numbers are difficult to argue with. Continue reading “Participation in Greek life low and declining”

Politics increasingly plays into partner choices

By SARAH SNEBOLD and CHELSEA ANDERSON/Montana State News

According to a study done at Yale University, political views come into play when choosing a partner as often as factors such as education and race. The theories presented in the research suggest that people selecting potential partners take into consideration political affiliation as a preventative measure. If the two have similar political views the couple has less to fight about.

The study was done by manipulating online dating profiles, specifically in terms of political affiliation, to see the responses of participants. The study states: “We find that participants consistently evaluate profiles more positively (e.g., had greater interest in dating the individual presented) when the target’s profile shared their political ideology.”

Sam Fischer, a student at Montana State University concurs with the results of the study. “Hopefully your political beliefs are based on what you believe as a human,” he said, “and if they’re believing in opposite things, it’s hard for a relationship to continue.” Continue reading “Politics increasingly plays into partner choices”

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