High school friends turn passion into business

By SAM BROWN/Montana State News

The Montana Beer Festival kicked-off on a recent Friday night at the Gallatin County Fair Grounds. Thirty-two breweries attended the festival, each arriving with two to three different kinds of beer for enthusiasts to taste.

The energy was high and it was obvious that brewers were very excited to put their new creations in customer’s hands. Many of the brewers arrived with beers not offered in stores, or a tasty success that had only happened recently.

Blacksmith Brewing was one particular brewery that arrived with a unique barley soda. The owner, Eric Hayes, and head brew master Mike Howard were in attendance. Coconut Oatmeal Stout was their recent creation.

“It had recently finished aging in bourbon barrels two weeks ago, it came out great and we’re exited to offer our first batch exclusively at the Montana Beer festival,” said Howard. Nestled along the historic Bitterroot River in Stevensville, Blacksmith Brewing opened their doors in October 2008 and has since seen lots of business. Howard and Hayes were very energetic behind their booth at the beer festival. They spoke with passion about their craft and dedication to their customers. Continue reading “High school friends turn passion into business”

‘Young Earth’ theory not negotiable

By JESSE POWELL/Montana State News

When you walk in the Museum of the Rockies and turn right, into the hall of bone and horn, there are answers. Life evolved billions of years ago in ancient seas. For the question, “should you forgive someone for doing you wrong?”


there are only display cases containing skulls both deaf and mute. Do economics and statistics sway our judgment in rescuing a priceless work of art or a common stranger if a fire broke out?

“I preach being right with the Lord and on being right in relationships,” Senior Pastor Bryan Hughes of Grace Bible Church speaks from an office packed with books, “like how to be a good husband. That is the focus of the ministry. [Origins] is interesting but not a fixation.”

With so much media hype, protests, angry debates, Pastor Hughes is deflationary of any melodramatic hopes. On the question of what should be taught in public schools, evolution or creation, Orlando Runs Above, a Native American educated within the tribal school system stated, “Openness and respect for all points of view which bring a rich view of education.” Continue reading “‘Young Earth’ theory not negotiable”

Local woman on front lines in war on carbon

By MATT YORK/Montana State News

Kathryn Watson is one of the unsung heroes of our time and generation. She is currently the outreach and communications director of the Big Sky Carbon Sequestration Partnership project, a group funded, in part, by the United States Department of Energy.

The BSCSP is a group dedicated to the concept of geologic carbon capture and storage. The idea stems from ”capturing carbon dioxide from its point of release and permanently storing it in deep, underground rock formations, ” according to the BSCSP webpage.

Watson’s  job in the project is Outreach and Communications, and her job is really to ‘reach out’ to the community on a larger scale; not only to educate, but to bring to light and help understand what the project is about, whether it be teacher workshops such as educating science teachers in how the project works, or how to get the information necessary for their questions, to even teaching local decision makers and legislators on bills that could help the project, to help them understand the project and its connection to the environment. Continue reading “Local woman on front lines in war on carbon”

Life has been a complex journey for drag queen

By BRIANNA SCHUTZ/Montana State News

At first glance, Daniel Meharry seems like any typical 20-something. He has a job, he goes out with his friends, and he loves his family.

Meharry, however, is something that not many people can say they are: a drag queen by the name of Isis Vavoom.

Meharry is proud and confident in his own skin with no apologies to anyone for the things that he does, although it has been a long road to get Meharry Meharry to where he is today.

Meharry was born in Texas, the youngest of three kids. Meharry and his family moved a lot while he was growing up. First when he was five to Glendive. Four years later they moved to Hamilton and then another four years later they moved to Bozeman. Along with these geographical transitions Meharry was dealing with some life decisions along the way. Continue reading “Life has been a complex journey for drag queen”

For ring master, circus is no big deal

By DEZRI ROCHIN/Montana State News

The Jordan World Circus starts at 4:30 p.m.  At  9:30 a.m.,  the Gallatin County Fairgrounds are deserted except for one truck fully loaded with tarps, what appears to be some sort of scaffolding and a couple of guys mulling about.

Jordan World Circus Ring Master George Hanneford III performs with one of the circus' elephants.

An hour later the smell of popcorn fills the air and three red rings are being put into place by guys with heat blowers ironing out the wrinkles. From the cab of a semi filled with hay and animal droppings from unseen critters emerges Ring Leader,  George Hanneford III. He is a short, very muscular man with an amazing tan and bright white teeth.

He is wearing a red T-shirt and running pants that cover his massive thighs. He looks to be in his early 40s.  Some might say that Hanneford is handsome. His hands are strong with a row of calluses that look like he’s been working on them for years.  He is a pleasant man, but seems a bit apprehensive about giving an interview.

He is soft-spoken and appears to be a touch shy. He is a man of few words. But tonight he will be sporting a black rhinestone tuxedo and will be the booming voice of the Jordan World Circus.

Hanneford stands out in contrast to the other circus people walking around the place. Yet he seems totally at home. This is because the circus is in his blood.

“I was born into the circus. I’m an eighth-generation circus performer.” says  Hanneford. “My family had a one-ring European tent show which performed primarily at fairs with my mother, father and sister. Basically, I grew up in the circus.” Continue reading “For ring master, circus is no big deal”

Student’s collegiate life shaped by lacrosse

By DAVID HOY/Montana State News

As an impressionable second grader, Paul Mariani recalls, “One day my older brother came home and told us there was this awesome game we had to play.”

Ever since then the MSU Lacrosse team president and captain has been hooked on the fastest game on two feet.

He is less than a week away from his concluding final exam at MSU, soon to receive a degree in cell biology and neuroscience. With such an intense school load, it’s hard to imagine having the time to juggle his team responsibilities with his studies.

Not only has Mariani survived, he’s thrived, graduating with honors. As a freshman he trained to take over the team president duties and has been president the past three years, a significant chunk of his college life. Continue reading “Student’s collegiate life shaped by lacrosse”

Interns learn through hands-on experience


Wine bottles, chicken wire and old book pages are not commonly used in the same sentence, but these eclectic and traditionally unused items stood as a source of inspiration for the interns at local non-profit the Human Empowered Arts Project.

HEAP interns work with kids at the recent Sustainability Fair.

Sitting around a booth comprised of these and other unique items at the Gallatin Earth Celebration’s Sustainability Fair, these students took in the finished product they had worked towards over the past four months.

“This launch has exceeded all of my expectations,” said marketing intern Barbara Kohring. “I learned so much this semester, and I am happy with the turn out and community interest.”

These college students came from a variety of different backgrounds and have diverse interests, but they have collaborated this spring semester to transform this simple idea into an up-and-running organization.

Founded in January by Executive Director Anna Hernandez, these  students started with HEAP from the beginning to promote artistic and environmental education within the Bozeman community.

Hernandez, who is an adjunct instructor within the College of Business at Montana State University, started HEAP to accomplish a few of her own personal goals. One of these ambitions included providing undergraduate students the opportunity to gain start up business experience similar to what she received in college.

“I had a wonderful chance to work within a new business, and that gave me the knowledge and confidence I needed to make it on my own,” Hernandez said. “I know that feeling of building something from the ground up, and I saw that these MSU students had the desire and passion to help me start this.” Continue reading “Interns learn through hands-on experience”

Journalist undeterred by changes in print media

By MARY KOPPY/Montana State News

Before Whitney Bermes knew about job markets and journalistic jargon, she knew what she wanted to do with her life.

“I took a journalism class my sophomore year of high school and I knew immediately that this is what I wanted to do,” Bermes said. “I like writing and reading. I’m a very social person and I started with sports writing, which was great because I love sports.”

Bermes, a 2009 graduate from the University of Montana’s  School of Journalism, began her career at a small Oregon paper that published twice weekly. She later moved to work at the Ravalli Republic in Hamilton.

Bermes’ mother is a doctor and her sister is a registered nurse, so her decision to pursue a liberal arts degree set her apart from the other women in her family.

“My dad asked me once why I didn’t go into medicine,” Bermes said. “You can’t help what you fall in love with.” Continue reading “Journalist undeterred by changes in print media”

Sequestration subject of state meeting

By ANGIE FORD/Montana State News

The Big Sky Carbon Sequestration Project held its annual meeting last weekend in Great Falls, drawing big names from around the world to talk about the future of carbon sequestration, particularly here in Montana.

“The point is to focus the attention of the national movement here on this local project, just like next week’s national conference is to focus the members of the many local projects on the national issues. We want to create a shared knowledge base,” said Kathryn Watson, BSCSP’s outreach and communications director. Continue reading “Sequestration subject of state meeting”

Local brewers reflect national trend

By SAM BROWN/Montana State News

In the last few years microbreweries have sprouted up all over the nation. According to The Brewers Association, craft brewing industry in 2011 was up 5 percent compared to the previous year’s numbers. Currently the Brewers Association reports 250 brewery openings in 2011 nationwide and of one those opened in Bozeman.

406 Brewery located on Oak Street opened  its doors in January. Owner Matt Muth was exited to become a part of the “fraternal society of small batch brewers in Bozeman.” Continue reading “Local brewers reflect national trend”

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