Warming Center sees rise in homeless numbers

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By EMMA HAMBURG/Montana State News

In the fall of 2010, the issue of homelessness drew the attention of the community after two homeless people died as a result of cold temperatures.  One found shelter in a U-Haul moving truck and the other camping just outside of city limits.  Both deaths could have been prevented by a safe, warm place to sleep.

Reaction to the deaths was swift.

The local non-profit HRDC (Human Resource Development Council) along with the Greater Gallatin Homeless Action Coalition found a space at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds and opened for the first season of the Warming Center.

The Warming Center provides seasonal shelter, October – March, and is open from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. for people who are homeless.  The Center is administered by HRDC and is 100 percent funded by community and foundation support. More

Politics increasingly plays into partner choices

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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.” More

Oral surgeon keeps family foremost in his life

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By TYLER BARTON/Montana State News

The office of Dr. C. Ryan Wallis is more inviting than you might expect. It seems to have the design philosophy of a rustic-but-modern lodge home. Everything is distinctly Montanan. The walls are toned with natural greens and browns, and the various decorations all seem to involve, in some way, pine wood or browned metal, including a custom-made sign behind the reception area that reads: BIG SKY ORAL AND FACIAL SURGERY.

Dr. C. Ryan Wallis and family.

Dr. C. Ryan Wallis and family.

This is no helter-skelter hospital patient area. On the contrary, I find myself quite at ease as I relax in the waiting room. An incredibly affable receptionist staffs the front desk. We strike up a friendly conversation which seems, to me, genuine – not something one is generally accustomed to experiencing in a doctor’s office, of all places.

Soon, Wallis comes to greet me with a smile and a handshake. He’s still wearing his scrubs, which also happen to be a forest green. Together we walk back to his office and settle in.

The doctor’s private office space – separate from where he counsels patients and performs surgery – is a collection of wooden desks, scattered charts, and personal memorabilia. On one desk, there’s a computer with dual monitors, upon which several programs are running. A pleasant breeze rolls in through the office’s large window. I can hear nearby traffic start and stop at the light on Kagy and 11th. More

Song permeates life of a college student

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By AMANDA GROVER/Montana State News

Walking across campus, you notice music – not coming from your headphones – hanging in the air. You may not know it, but a young woman named April Seymour is around. You can spot her easily blending in with those around her, in hoodies and boots and jeans.  While many would feel self-conscious singing in public, she says “I started – I  think – just singing in church when I was really little, and I’ve always loved doing it so I just kept going.”

Her red hair stands out against her black hoodie when it’s not hidden under her D­­­­­­­­­­­­­eadpool beanie. However, she’s got a voice that hovers naturally in the air as she commutes from class to class. Song choice varies widely, and often has eclectic hints to it. Sometimes, it’s a pop hit, or it can even be an original song she’s written.

Seymour is a part of the on-campus a cappella group. She says that she checked to make sure that Montana State University had an a cappella group before she sent in her application. She got into it four days after arriving on campus freshman year. She said that she knew about the group auditions when she stopped by their booth during Catapalooza. While she wasn’t nervous for the solo round, she was extremely nervous for the round working as a group. So nervous, in fact, that she tried her best to harmonize with everyone. This ended up getting her into the group. More

Teen rises above homelessness, addiction

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By VIRGINIA HOLST/Montana State News

Priding herself on six months of sobriety from all hard drug use, Ashley Grey Allsop is considered by her peers a success story, to say the least. If you’ve interacted with her, you may know her as the friendly face at McDonalds, or the helpful frequenter of the Warming Center.

I struggled to find an appropriate place and time in which to interview Allsop amidst all the bustle of the seasonal shelter, which is all too busy despite its outdated facilities. We attempted to step aside into one of the quieter but still in-use areas of the Warming Center.

I assumed Allsop would request some privacy before delving into my questions, but she unashamedly began, without asking the two other volunteers in that area to leave the room. Needless to say, we all got wrapped in her story relatively quickly, and soon, I wasn’t the only one asking questions. More

Depression poses unique challenges for student

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By TIM STOVER/Montana State News

Sadness feels like having a big black dog with you at all times. It’s overwhelming and hard to escape. According to Suzanne Johnson, a student at Montana State University, that’s what depression feels like. She used the World Health Organization’s YouTube video entitled “I had a black dog, his name was depression,” to describe sadness – a   clinical sadness. When asked what happiness felt like, she didn’t have an answer, at least for a couple hours.

We spoke on campus in the sub while having a bite to eat. Johnson wore jeans and a gray sweatshirt paired with Princess Leia like buns in her hair. She seemed happy.

The question she had the hardest time answering, “What is happiness,” took her a few hours to provide a response to. In the end, she concluded on “Happiness is like all of space rushing into you and filling you up. You feel complete.” More

Sports writer took unlikely route to career

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By JARED MILLER/Montana State News

Just a scant distance down I-90 midway between Missoula and Seattle sits a birthplace. Not only the birthplace of Washington’s Brian Scott but the place in which a very talented columnist was born. It was important to him that I use that term: columnist. “Not a reporter,” he stressed. And right there is where Scott’s story finds its core. A love for sports and a talent for writing met in the middle ground and that middle ground is where he resides today.

Picture a young boy watching the Seattle Mariners and trying his hardest to replicate the swing of the great Edgar Martinez. Or maybe imagine a college grad from Gonzaga entering the big bad, bad world of radio as an intern “playing the hits and poppin’ the zits,” as he put it. This is Scott. Sports and Washington are ingrained in him. It was the gift of writing, though, that would come later and ultimately define his career arc.

“I worked at a radio station during the early 90s,” Scott explained. “During my tenure there the AM station switched formats from old-school country music to an all sports format.” Bingo. The seeds of Scott’s career had been planted. More

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