Proposed law threatens brew pubs’ survival

By MATT PARSONS/Montana State News

Bridger Brewing Company quietly opened its doors earlier this month, serving up a couple thousand pints of their signature Vigilante India Pale Ale and Bridger Porter to patrons thirsty for something new.

But if some members of the Montana legislature have their way, Bridger Brewing may have to close its doors as quietly as they opened.  A bill aiming to protect both distributors and local tavern owners from an explosion of local breweries selling beer directly to the public is on its way to the Legislature and puts at risk an industry at odds with Montana’s alcohol establishment.

When you walk into Bridger Brewing, the air still hangs heavy with the smell of wood stain and fresh paint.  Everything is new, from the beer taps to the bar stools to the stainless steel pizza ovens.  This is not a brewery with a tasting room.  It’s a full-fledged restaurant that happens to brew beer.

“I wanted to create more of a brewpub atmosphere,” said David Breck, founder and brewmaster at Bridger Brewing.  “I’ve always envisioned a comfortable place to come, to bring your family.”  Continue reading “Proposed law threatens brew pubs’ survival”

Brothers documented local history in pictures

By NOAH BOSTROM/Montana State News

“Art does not flow in the veins but through the soul” said Man Ray.  Although many would not argue with the famous photographer, the Schlechten family begs the argument to be made. That the two brothers, Albert and Alfred Schlechten, and son “Chris” were all blessed with such technical photographic ability and vision was unique.

“Montana was blessed to have such photographers recording its history,” says Steve Jacson, curator at the Museum of the Rockies, “Not to mention their fabulous skill and ingenuity.”

The Schlechten brothers moved to Bozeman in 1900 and quickly took over Grant and Tippet photography, the only photography business in Bozeman, and dubbed it the Schlechten Brothers Studio. They then began working in landscapes, photojournalism, commercial work and portraiture.  If the customer wanted a specific style, they could do it or at least try.

According to the Historical Society website, the Schlechtens “were considered the best photographers in Gallatin Valley or even all southwest Montana.” Among their greatest achievements were the postcards displaying landscapes which they sold to tourists coming through Yellowstone Park. Continue reading “Brothers documented local history in pictures”

MSU housing pricier than other campuses

By PATRICK CARROLL/Montana State News

New Montana State University Bozeman students living in the campus residence halls may be stunned by something other than their tuition payments when they receive their first bill from the university. The costs of living and dining on campus are among the highest for public universities in the state.

According to Montana State University Bozeman’s official website, students living in a double room in the university’s residence halls during the fall 2012 semester and the spring 2013 semester paid an average of $4,035 for unlimited meals and a room per semester. Students who lived in the residence halls both semesters paid an average of $8,070. The cost was more for residents who lived in a single room, but prices varied based on lifestyle and living arrangements.

At the University of Montana, residents paid an average of $7,500 for room and board for fall 2012 semester and spring 2013 semester, according to the University of Montana’s official website. Students at Montana State University Billings will be able to eat 19 meals per week and live in a double room for an average of $6,830 for fall semester 2013 and spring semester 2014, according to the university’s official website.   Continue reading “MSU housing pricier than other campuses”

Your cup of dark roast has an even darker side

By NATHAN VOELLER/Montana State News

Studies show Americans everywhere are accustomed to their morning coffee, and they are willing to spend to maintain their coffee-drinking habits. A study conducted by Accounting Principals found that “50 percent of the American workforce spends approximately $1,000 a year on coffee.”

Statistics compiled by First Research indicate that about 20,000 coffee shop businesses in the United States collected a combined $10 billion of revenue in 2011. Even the tiny, bustling Standing Room Only Espresso coffee shop at Montana State University reflects the popularity of coffee in American culture.

“We go through 25 to 30 pounds of coffee a day,” reported a Standing Room Only Espresso employee.

Half the world away, Daniel Lorenzetti sips a cup of coffee in an ancient market and watches four vehicles drive past. Machine guns mounted on the vehicles are manned by ununiformed individuals representing an unspecified group. The passage of such groups does not cause a disturbance among the conditioned inhabitants of the coffee-producing country of Ethiopia. Continue reading “Your cup of dark roast has an even darker side”

New website will report restaurant violations

By KEVIN KNAPEK/Montana State News

Food establishments in recent years have been giving consumers more knowledge about the food they eat, everything from quality and nutritional values to caloric intake. In the next few weeks, a new local website will help consumers know how clean and safe each food establishment is.

The Gallatin County-City Health Department is constructing a website that will allow restaurant patrons to see how clean and safe the establishments are where they eat. Currently, any person curious to know what citations an establishment has received for health code violations has to contact the county offices.

Restaurant health and violation reports are public record and open for viewing, but if you try to contact the county Environmental Health Department directly, they will not address any specifics because it could be viewed as the department endorsing one establishment over another. Continue reading “New website will report restaurant violations”

Party chairman an unlikely mix of sex, politics

By MATT PARSONS/Montana State News

To some, Billy McWilliams’s life might look like a delicate balancing act. As the Chairman of the Gallatin County Democratic Central Committee he is responsible for organizing his party’s election efforts and trying to push through a liberal agenda not necessarily compatible with a majority of Montanans. But he’s also a business owner. And he understands a thing or two about how taxes and regulation affect the private sector.

Back in 1981, his business, formerly Miss Kitty’s, was grandfathered into zoning that prohibits his type of retail operation from peddling his wares within the city of Bozeman. It’s the same fine line McWilliams must walk every day of his life, acknowledging peoples’ preconceived notions, while trying to get them to open up and talk about their most intimate desires.

McWilliams’s passion is “talking to people,” he says as he kicks back behind the front counter of his downtown Bozeman shop. He is surrounded by inventory that’s as unique to Bozeman as he is. McWilliams somehow seems to melt into the background in his fading brown leather vest, button down shirt and blue jeans. Shocks of grey encroach on a mop of youthful brown hair on top of his head. Sporty glasses make him look like he is ready for a road biking race.  A thick, gold wedding band graces his finger, announcing his devotion to one woman, Jane, for the past 22 years.

When asked what Jane thinks of his chosen profession he says, “she has mixed feelings about what I do. She’s happy that I’ve found something I love, but she’s not always thrilled about the perception that ours is the test bedroom for all the new sex toys.” McWilliams laughs a sort of soft, raspy laugh. It’s one completely absent of shame. After all, he’s the owner of Erotique, Bozeman’s only porn shop. Continue reading “Party chairman an unlikely mix of sex, politics”

Catholic coordinator has unique role at MSU

By NATHAN VOELLER/Montana State News

Religious texts, game boards and other supplies are strewn across every surface of the Resurrection Catholic Campus Ministry office. In the midst of the seemingly random assortment of equipment sits Brian Greer, whose job is to help others make sense of chaos through spirituality and the Roman Catholic faith.

Greer, a 24-year-old graduate of Carroll College, serves as the campus ministry coordinator for Resurrection University Catholic Parish. He took the job shortly before the fall 2012 semester began, arriving only one day before the final orientation session for new students at Montana State University was scheduled to start. Since then, Greer has sought to provide students with the means to preserve or find their Catholic faith and sense of identity in the college environment.

“My job is to provide opportunities and events to keep students involved in their faith,” said Greer. Continue reading “Catholic coordinator has unique role at MSU”

Auditor moonlights helping the Mexican poor

By JOHN KIRK VINCENT/Montana State News

Jennifer Blossom reminisced of her time spent south of the border as she finished a letter to a woman living in a Mexican prison.  She met her pen pal during one of many missions’ trips to the poverty-stricken nation.

“She’s put away for quite a few more years,” Blossom says, “so at least I’ll have someone to talk to for a bit longer.”

It is a typical weekday at the courthouse, busy bodies shuffling between floors and offices with various paperwork and agendas.  The people waiting in line to renew their vehicle registration or to order license plates are bewildered by the inter-office traffic. The looks on their faces express confusion of the individual roles of each passerby. Sitting down upstairs at Blossom’s desk – flooded with paperwork and three-ring binders – she insists, “everyone has a role.  Sometimes we need to reassess just what that role is, but it all works out in the end.”

Over the years, Blossom has established a number of close relationships through her job and during her travels to Mexico. Many of the impoverished people in that nation have benefited from her philanthropic activities ranging from food donation and nourishment to relocation and assisted rehabilitation. She considers this to be some of her best time spent. Continue reading “Auditor moonlights helping the Mexican poor”

When it comes to Crossfit, size doesn’t matter

Crossfit trainer Lisa Lupo poses with a client at her local facility.
Trainer Lisa Lupo poses with her husband at their local Crossfit center.

By MICHELE McDONALD/Montana State News

Muscle-up. Say it. It just sounds hard. Learn what it is – an athlete must move from a position below a set of hanging rings to a supported position above the rings, with straight arms – and it sounds even harder. Try it—do a pull-up bringing your chest to the level of the rings; this is the easy part. Then push your body upwards ending with your arms straight at your sides. When you find yourself 10 feet off the ground, your suspicions about its difficulty will be confirmed.

The muscle-up is one of the most challenging movements Crossfit athletes are expected to perform, and it strikes fear into the hearts of even the best of them. Lisa Lupo’s accomplishment of one of the hardest moves in Crossfit is extraordinary because muscle-ups are not a strength of hers.

Lupo hasn’t suffered for lack of skill in too many elements of Crossfit. At 5-foot-1 and 115 pounds, the 34-year-old can clean-and-jerk 140 pounds, snatch 95 pounds, deadlift 230 pounds and back-squat 195 pounds. She can do handstand push-ups, pull-ups, single-leg squats and rope climbs to her hearts content. Continue reading “When it comes to Crossfit, size doesn’t matter”

Bank teller finds calling as gym ‘manager’

By MELINDA PEIRCE/Montana State News

If was a chance phone call that took Sheila Golie from her bank teller’s job to part-time gym “manager” at Total Fitness in Livingston.

Sheila Golie stands outside the Livingston fitness center where she works part time.
Sheila Golie stands outside the Livingston fitness center where she works part time.

Carol Stern, the owner and her boss, openly claims Golie runs the place. Golie firmly disagrees with this notion, because although there are many tasks she helps Stern with, there are many more she chooses not to do under a manager’s title.

So how did Golie go from a bank teller to being told she runs a local gym?  Some may say fate, but she might say it was from believing in the scripture.

One day while she was working the drive up window, a phone on the nearby desk rang.  Golie was the only one there, and since she did not have customers at the drive up teller window she decided to answer it. Continue reading “Bank teller finds calling as gym ‘manager’”

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