Food waste a global, and local, problem

By SARA SAXTON/Montana State News

There are 800 million people around the world suffering from hunger, according to National Geographic.

We could feed those 800 million starving people more than twice with the excess 2.9 trillion pounds of food waste we produce annually, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

During the month of April there will be four free showings of a movie called “Just Eat It” in various places in Bozeman. This movie talks about how humans waste 40 percent of what we grow and raise.

The producers of this movie want to know if the food that is being wasted in eatable and if it can be salvaged. A lot of the food that is being wasted is food that grocery stores consider to be crooked and deformed.

Food waste is not only happening in other parts of the world,.It’s also happening in Bozeman.

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Medical marijuana restrictions contested

By ADAM SCHREUDER/Montana State News

Unlike the 23 states and the District of Columbia that have legalized medical marijuana, Montana maintains its illegality.  The efforts to keep medical marijuana available to patients have been ongoing since 2011, when legislators restricted caregivers to a three patient maximum.  This tight restriction forced many caregivers out of business and sent many patients back to pharmaceutical remedies.

“I just don’t know if I can deal with those side effects again. I don’t feel like myself when I’m on a constant cocktail of Oxycontin and Valium, or whatever antibiotics they think works these days,” said Trevor Swahn, a victim of Crohn’s disease.

Although legislators technically restricted the availability of marijuana in 2011, activists continually delayed the restriction through legal  appeals until .  Medical marijuana supporters were not shocked that the procrastination tool of appeals was eventually defeated by the legislature, but they are now faced with the reality of taking the now illegal industry back underground.

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Wine barrel-brewed cider a first for Lockhorn

By NATALIE WALTERS/Montana State News

Glen Deal, the current owner of Lockhorn Cider House, started the business with the help of Adam Olsen, a carpenter, who became one the of the cider makers. Both Deal and Olsen are now looking forward to tasting their first wine-barrel fermented cider, which has not been named yet.

Currently, Lockhorn produces and sells cider flavors from bourbon barrels, but their wine-barrel fermented cider will be something new for the duo. Lockhorn Cider House is one of first cider houses in the state of Montana to prepare tasting a dry cider fermented in a 2014 Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon barrel, according to Lockhorn’s monthly newsletter.

A dry cider is traditionally fermented in an oak barrel, according to Olsen. However, Olsen anticipates that the new unnamed cider will pick up a lot of the oak and berry taste from the wine. According to Lockhorn’s monthly newsletter the Lodi wine is described as a “smooth, bold, full bodied, slightly tannic (acidic) and bitter” wine.

Due to the brightness of the wine berry, Olsen thinks that the cider is going to be “more of a magenta color, or close to a rose color.”

Continue reading “Wine barrel-brewed cider a first for Lockhorn”

Opposition surfaces to Smith River-area mine

By MEGAN AHERN/Montana State News

In December 2015, Canadian company Tintina Resources Inc. applied for a permit from the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to build an underground copper mine near Sheep Creek, an important tributary to the Smith River, according to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. The firm’s application is currently undergoing review from the DEQ.

Although Tintina Resources’ spokesperson have insisted that the project will not harm the Smith River, their nonchalance has done little to prevent public outcry from an angry coalition of environmental groups and Montana residents.

In addition to the assessment performed by the DEQ, both concerned citizens and organizations opposing the mine have recruited private consultants and industry experts to analyze the application, according to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

Montana Trout Unlimited Director Bruce Farling explained why his group is among those who have hired independent reviewers.

“They have blown these things repeatedly in the past,” said Farling of the DEQ. “We don’t have a lot of confidence in their ability to get this right.”

Continue reading “Opposition surfaces to Smith River-area mine”

Antler hunting a local cottage industry

By PATRICIA MORSE/Montana State News

Shed antler hunting can prove to be a very lucrative business as free-of-cost antlers are open to the public to collect and an artisan can turn a $10 lamp kit from your local hardware store into a chandelier valued at over $4,000.

According to Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP), shed antlers naturally fall off of the animals during the winter months. This shedding is caused by a decrease in the testosterone levels after rutting season. Fluctuations in the exact time of the shedding will vary in accordance to the weather and geographic climate.

For many, antler hunting is not only a hobby but also a way of life.

After finding the shed antlers, hunters can either keep them for their own personal use or sell them to buyers or collectors. In most cases, these buyers purchase shed antlers by the pound, with the most valuable specimens being those found in matching pairs.

For instance, Antler Tom out of the Fort Peck area, buys antlers by the pound and like most antler buyers in the area prefers a large truckload of antlers in transactions instead of a few pounds. However, he suggests contacting local buyers who might be more interested in smaller transactions.

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Pest-resistant wheat protects crops, economy

By ZACH FENT/Montana State News

Wheat farmers’ concerns may soon be put to rest as a new era of engineered crop can now stop bugs right in their tracks.

Montana State University’s Montana Agricultural Experiment Station (MAES) has been working closely with farmers, wheat breeders, agricultural scientists and geneticists in order to create a pest-resistant strain of wheat specifically tailored to the Orange Wheat Blossom Midge.

Targeting wheat crops, the midge burrows into the wheat seeds and lays its larvae. This process completely destroys the developing seed and crop, providing a new and larger generation of pests.

The midge came down to the Great Plains from Canada, first sighted in America in the early 1990s. Up until now, only small outbreaks causing moderate damage in crop productivity had been seen.

Recently, the presence of the midge in Montana has steadily increased and has become one of the major concerns facing farmers and the state’s cash crop-based economy.

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Arrival of Uber anxiously anticipated in Bozeman

By ALLISON ERWIN/ Montana State News

Uber, the popular rideshare enterprise announced in December 2015 that they will be making a debut in Montana.

Uber started in 2009 and offers rides to customers via an app that can be easily downloaded on any cellular device.  The program allows customers to call a ride with the ability to view the driver’s personal information, car type, and rating information.

A handful of larger cities in Montana, such as Billings and Missoula, have already adopted the rideshare company despite protests from local taxi companies.

“Frankly, businesses like Uber and Lyft will be taking my business away,” says local Gallatin Valley taxi driver Lance Roberts who has been a driver for the past ten years.

While taxi companies have been under strict restrictions, Uber has the ability to avoid regulations by using independent contractors as their drivers instead of employees.

Continue reading “Arrival of Uber anxiously anticipated in Bozeman”

Bat disease could impact farming costs

By MEGAN AHERN and ALEXANDRA DUBIN/Montana State News

A deadly fungal disease that is easily communicable has scientists across the country stumped devising methods to prevent or slow its spread. Currently, their best efforts focus on tracking the disease to predict where it will strike next. Once signs of the disease become evident, it doesn’t take long for the victim to suffer an excruciating death by exhaustion or starvation. It may sound like the plot to a bad horror movie, but white-nose syndrome is all too real.

Though this disease isn’t communicable to humans, it remains a cause for concern.

White-nose syndrome is a disease that affects the bat population across North America and is caused by the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans. Since its arrival in Albany, New York in 2006, the United States Geological Survey, USGS, estimates that it has killed over 6 million bats in seven different hibernating species.

Brandi Skone, a Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks wildlife biologist who studies northern long-eared bats, has seen first-hand the damage white-nose syndrome can do. Northern long-eared bats, once considered one of the most prevalent bat species in North America, were recently listed as federally threatened due to population declines caused by the fungus.

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Yellowstone visits track with gas prices

By ANNIE WASSAN and JENNY BRYAN/ Montana State News

Yellowstone National Park witnessed record visitation in 2015, and the trend is expected to continue into 2016 and beyond.

In 2015, Yellowstone National Park had just over 4 million visitors, according to its website. That was almost 600,000 more tourists than the year before.

The year 2015 also had the second lowest gas prices in the last 10 years. Only 2009 saw lower prices, a year in which Yellowstone also enjoyed a dramatic increase in visitors.  2009 was among the ten highest visitation years at the Park, while the year before was not.

It appears that gasoline prices are only one contributing factor in these numbers, however.

According to Yellowstone’s website, previous to 2007 the last record-breaking year for attendance was back in 1992.  In fact, the only year since 2007 to not make Yellowstone’s list of the top 10 years of visitation is 2008. Continue reading “Yellowstone visits track with gas prices”

Record store is a medium of self-expression

By CONOR GLESNER/Montana State News

Stepping into Cactus Records feels like entering a carefully curated world. Every square inch of the walls are covered in colorful bits of musical memorabilia, patchwork squares of vinyl records; row upon row of CDs interspersed with odd curios and locally-made bits of this and that. This atmosphere is partially due to the shop’s long, 45-year history in Bozeman. But most of it springs from the shop’s latest owner and proprietor, Mike “Bueno” Good.

A native Montanan, Good was born and raised in Billings, but feels his true love is Bozeman.

“… (I)t has always been home more than anything to me,” he says.

Fourteen years ago he decided to combine his passions for Bozeman and music by buying Cactus Records from its previous retiring owners. The shop was first established in 1970, but when Good took over in 2002, it transformed. These days he can be found often behind the store’s counter, a conductor to the orchestrated chaos of music, clothing, jewelry, memorabilia and assorted quirky knick-knacks.

When Good first took over the shop it was a fairly standard music store, CDs and the like. The first change Bueno made was to build a massive collection of vinyl records. His previous job was in vinyl distribution for a record label in San Francisco so when he started at Cactus it was only natural to introduce more vinyl.

“I’m not a huge audiophile,” he says, “it’s more of a collecting thing for me.”

Continue reading “Record store is a medium of self-expression”

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