Program connects Japanese, U.S. faculty

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By ZACHARY COE/Montana State News

The Long-term Educational Administrator Program (LEAP) was founded in 1997 to give select Japanese higher education staff members the opportunity to travel to the United States.

The program is sponsored by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) and is meant to help improve English skills, create career opportunities and provide an impressive internship opportunity for those involved.

Japanese students that choose to follow through with this program are doing so in order to enter a familiar education system. According to World Education News & Review (WENR), the Japanese school system is “…modeled on and heavily influenced by its American counterpart.”

During the 1947 occupation of Japan, the American influenced Fundamental Law of Education was passed to give the education system a 6-3-3-4 (years in each level of education) structure that is nearly identical to its American counterpart.

This familiar structure is an obvious pull factor that lures students to America, but the growing competition within well-respected university enrollment is another factor that makes the U.S. appealing. According to WENR, in 2005, over 3 million students applied for enrollment in roughly 1,200 universities and colleges in Japan. 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

Fort Ellis: A short chapter in Bozeman’s history

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By BAY STEPHENS/Montana State News

Fort Ellis holds onto history by a brief existence, its birth brought about by the fear of native tribes. It’s demise came by the relegation of these tribes to reservations.

According to Rachel Phillips, research coordinator of the Gallatin History Museum, Fort Ellis’ story begins with a group of frontiersman whose names remain in the city of Bozeman: Daniel Rouse, William Beall and of course, John Bozeman.

In the 1850s, Beall and Rouse busied themselves with building log cabins for the wagon caravan of settlers that Bozeman was bringing west to start a Montana settlement.

He guided them along what would later become the Bozeman Trail. At the time, it was an illegal route that passed through lands held through treaty by Native American tribes, Phillips said.

In 1867, accompanied by a man named Tom Cover, Bozeman travelled along the Bozeman Trail trying to secure beef and flour contracts with Army posts along the way. However, only Cover returned to the young settlement. More

Despite protests, city OKs Olive Street SID

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By CULLAN STAACK/Montana State News

The Bozeman City Comission approved the creation of an Olive Street special improvement district of the objections of a pair of homowners.

Kellen Gamradt, a staff and project engineer with the city, says, “The purpose of this SID is to help finance a street reconstruction on East Olive and a portion of South Church Avenue… We received two written protests, representing 3.8 percent of the district, and seven letters of support.”

Gamradt explains in his hearing that the amount of the SID is $140,950, 15 percent of the overall costs of the improvements. The SID revolving fund will finance the project initially, which means a low interest rate for property owners, the elimination of the need for a bond sale, and the fund being paid back over a 20-year period with interest.

Citing an overwhelming amount of support and an insufficient number of written protests, Gamradt and the city commissioners voiced their approval of the project as a necessary infrastructure investment for the city. The motion carried unanimously. More

City extends vacation rental moratorium

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By EMILY SCHABACKER/Montana State News

Bozeman City Commissioners voted to extend the interim ban that prevents homeowners from renting out rooms or houses for short term stays on Feb. 6. City commissioners agreed to adopt an ordinance that allows a six-month extension to the ban in order to conduct further research on the impact of private home rentals in the community.

Originally, the ban was adopted to remove short term rentals from the three zoning districts for six months so city staff could “investigate, to start conversations with the community, research the best practice and bring the issues back to (the commission),” said Chuck Winn, assistant city manager.

In a 4-1 vote, commissioners agreed to allow a six-month extension to the ban because “this has…turned into a huge opportunity for the community to share with the city and share with each other their passion on this issue,” said Winn.

An extension of the ban would allow city staff to determine appropriate policy questions for the commissioners and put forth a more coherent presentation of the issue before any larger decisions are made, according to Winn. More

County Commission calls for grizzly delisting

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By RANIA AMPNTEL CHAFINT/Montana State News

The Gallatin County Commission announced support to delist grizzly bears from the Endangered Species Act during their meeting on Tuesday, after hearing a presentation from HAVEN, a domestic violence victims advocacy group.

The grizzly bear population has grown in recent years to where it no longer needs to be listed as endangered. “The recovery of grizzly bears is a conservation success story that we all really need to proud of,” a representative from the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks said.

Delisting the animal would allow the states of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho to come up with a conservation strategy and implement hunting season regulations to manage the number of bears, according to the representative.

The County Commission agreed to sign a letter of support to delist the animal. “We now have a pretty good understanding of the current population and the sustainability of that population,” one commissioner said. More

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