Long-time locals’ perspective on growth

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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. More

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Climbers are the face of unusual foundation

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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. More

Big Sky bar entertains locals in off season

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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. More

Mystery Ranch develops paratrooper backpack

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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. More

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

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