Montana Best Times 11-2013

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November 2013
A Monthly Publication for Folks 50 and Better
The power of stories
Amazing entrepreneur Good, better, ‘Betts’ Fixer-upper becomes star of block
Bookshelf..................................................Page 3 Opinion.....................................................Page 4 Savvy Senior.............................................Page 5 Big Sky Birding........................................Page 17
Volunteering..............................................Page 19 On the Menu.............................................Page 20 Calendar....................................................Page 21 Strange But True.......................................Page 22
News Lite
Bathroom quest leads to school lockdown
NORTON, Mass. (AP) — Police in a Massachusetts town say an elementary school was briefly locked down when a woman who really needed to use the bathroom tried to get in. Norton Police say on their Facebook page that J.C. Solmonese School was locked down recently because a suspicious person tried to get in several doors. School staffers called police. The woman said she just had to use the bathroom. She was deemed not a threat but told she may face charges. The Sioux City Journal reports the bicycle owner, an associate math professor, reported the incidents to Estherville police. Another professor later came forward with a photo that shows the squirrel attacking the bike.
Woman who donated kidney weds recipient
BROWNSBURG, Ind. (AP) — A central Indiana woman who promised to donate one of her kidneys to a man she barely knew has married him three years after his successful transplant surgery. Chelsea Clair and Kyle Froelich met at a 2009 car show when he was 19 and she was 22. Clair learned that day that Froelich had a serious kidney disease — and she told him then and there she would give him one of hers. She underwent the necessary tests and ended up being a near perfect match. Three years ago, she donated one of her kidneys to Froelich. The Indianapolis Star reports the couple was married Oct. 12 at the Danville Conservation Club, the venue that hosted the car show where they met.
College says squirrel vandalized bicycle
ESTHERVILLE, Iowa (AP) — A squirrel roaming a community college in northern Iowa has become the No. 1 suspect in a vandalized bicycle incident. Officials at Iowa Lakes Community College in Estherville say the rodent chewed through two tires, a bicycle seat, a headlight and a taillight in the span of two days.
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November 2013 —2
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By Jace Evans McClatchy-Tribune/MCT
“Blind Curves — One Woman’s Unusual Journey to Reinvent Herself and Answer: What Now?” By Linda Crill Opus Intl. (March 2013) 256 pages • $16.95
“Blind Curves, One Woman’s Unusual Journey to Reinvent Herself and Answer: What now?” by Linda Crill tells the story of Crill’s struggle to move on following her husband’s death and her subsequent journey of self-discovery. The story, told in an effective narrative form, follows Crill’s preparations and 10-day motorcycle journey along the coast of the Pacific Ocean that spans from Vancouver to Mendocino, Calif., and back. Crill agreed to the 2,500 mile journey 18 months after the passing of her husband, Bill, from cancer. This book is a good read because of the story’s dual purposes. Sure, Crill’s journey to both learn how to ride a motorcycle and then actually go on a massive bike trip is a good, often humorous tale, but the underlying points of the book make it much more enriching. For Crill, this trip was one of self-discovery. Crill’s story is one of accomplishing goals and how you can examine and reinvent yourself when life gives you a curveball. Crill’s trip was, in many ways, an examination of life and love. While her journey allowed her to fully move on after being widowed at 57, the lessons Crill imparts are sure to resonate with any reader who has experienced sadness or loss, or who has reached a crossroads in life and doesn’t know where to go next. Written in first person, Crill allows the reader to get inside her head on her journey. Given the subject matter, this is an effective technique that gives the reader a greater emotional attachment. Each chapter is broken up into numerous easy-to-read sections. Humorous illustrations done by Kevin L. Miller help to further break up the text, making the 256-page “Blind Curves” a quick read. Crill employs the use of flashbacks periodically throughout the book. While an effective technique for the most part, it can get a little confusing from time to time. Crill uses flashbacks to tell the story of meeting her husband Bill, his diagnosis and eventual death from cancer. While some may want this story more upfront rather than two-thirds into the book, its placement in the narrative is effective and well done. All-in-all, this is a good book about life and learning from a firsttime author. Prior to going on her journey and writing this story, Crill had worked in the corporate world, most notably as the vice president of organizational development and training for the private banking division of Citicorp for five years and as the founder and CEO of Opus Development, a consulting firm. “Blind Curves; One Woman’s Unusual Journey to Reinvent Herself and Answer: What Now?” (Opus Intl., $16.95) can be found on Amazon and other online retailers.
November 2013
November 2013
The technological revolution in music recording and distribution has the iPod generation pretty ramped up, with music available immediately by download to iPods and iPhones, or through sites like Pandora and Spotify, where you pick your music genre and listen away. It’s become a dominant part of the culture, but there’s just one problem: The sound quality stinks. It doesn’t matter if you’re listening to music through earphones, your laptop or a stereo you plug your iPod into — the sound is muffled and flat, like you’re swimming under water. You go to turn up the treble to increase clarity, but have fun finding a treble knob on an iPod or iPod player or even most conventional stereos. The best most stereos will give you is a selection of settings like “Jazz,” “Pop,” “Classical” or “Rock” that supposedly will give you the sound you want. But those settings barely have an effect. Many of us 50-plussers desperately miss the days when you’d set a turntable needle on a spinning LP and hear the crystal-clear sounds — so clear it hissed — coming through the amp and loudspeakers. You could increase or decrease the treble and bass at will. The sound was heavenly. The iPod generation thinks their music quality is pretty cool because they’ve never heard anything different. They don’t know they’re living in a muffled world of deadened sound. You can seriously get better quality from a car radio — many of which have bass and treble knobs, by the way — than you can
Give me the crystal-clear sound of an LP song
from an iPod or stereo today. But there is hope. There are some rock and roll bands who recognize this and record their music only on LPs — yes, you can still buy turntables and sound needles to operate them on — because they’ve discovered their music sounds so much better that way. I have Boston’s 1976 hit, “More than a Feeling” — maybe the greatest rock and roll song ever — downloaded to my iPod. I’ll listen to it on that device because it’s better than nothing. But I’d give anything to hear the hiss and crackle of my old LP turntable cranking out clear as crystal: I looked out this morning and the sun was gone, Turned on some music to start my day, I lost myself in a familiar song, I closed my eyes and I slipped away … —Dwight Harriman, Montana Best Times Editor
P.O. Box 2000, 401 S. Main St., Livingston MT 59047 Tel. (406) 222-2000 or toll-free (800) 345-8412 • Fax: (406) 222-8580 E-mail: • Subscription rate: $25/yr. Published monthly by Yellowstone Newspapers, Livingston, Montana
Dwight Harriman, Editor • Tom Parisella, Designer
A Monthly Publication for Folks 50 and Better
Jim Miller, creator of the syndicated “Savvy Senior” information column, is a longtime advocate of senior issues. He has been featured in Time magazine; is author of “The Savvy Senior: The Ultimate Guide to Health, Family and Finances for Senior Citizens”; and is a regular contributor to the NBC “Today” show.
How Divorce Can Affect Your Social Security
Dear Savvy Senior, Am I entitled to my former husband’s Social Security benefits? I was married for 12 unpleasant years and would like to know what I may be eligible for. — Ex-spouse   Dear Ex-spouse, You’ll be happy to know that for the most part, Social Security provides divorced spouses benefits just like they do spouses, if you meet the government’s requirements. Here’s how it works.  A divorced spouse can collect a Social Security retirement benefit on the work record of their ex-husband (or ex-wife) if they are at least age 62, were married for at least 10 years, are unmarried now, and are not eligible for a higher benefit based on their own work record.
»» Getting remarried
Since three-quarters of U.S. divorcees get married again, it’s also important to understand that remarrying makes you ineligible for divorced spouse’s benefits unless the later marriage ends. And, for those who have been married and divorced twice, with both marriages lasting more than 10 years, you can collect using the ex-spouse with the larger Social Security benefit.
»» Divorced survivor
You also need to know that if your ex-spouse dies, and you were married for 10 or more years, you become eligible for divorced “survivor benefits,” which is worth up to 100 percent of what your ex-spouse was due.
In order to collect, however, your former spouse must also be at least 62 and eligible for Social Security benefits, and you must have been divorced for at least two years. But, he doesn’t have to be receiving them in order for you to collect divorced spouse’s benefits.   Even if your ex is remarried, it won’t affect your right to divorcee benefits, nor will it affect your ex’s retirement benefits or his current spouse’s benefits.
 Survivor’s benefits are available to divorced spouses as early as age 60 (50 if you’re disabled). But, if you remarry before 60 you become ineligible unless the marriage ends. Remarrying after age 60 will not affect your eligibility.  Also note that if you are receiving divorced spouses benefits when you ex-spouse dies, you will automatically be switched over to the higher paying survivor benefit.
»» Switching strategies
»» Benefit amount
A divorced spouse can receive up to 50 percent of their ex’s full Social Security benefit, or less if they take benefits before their full-retirement age — which is 66 if you were born between 1943 and 1954. To find out your full-retirement age and see how much your benefits will be reduced by taking them early see retire2/agereduction.htm.  Keep in mind though, that if you qualify for benefits based on your own work history, you’ll receive the larger of the two benefits. You cannot receive benefits on both your own record, and your ex’s work record too.
Being divorced also offers some switching strategies that can help boost your benefits. For working divorced spouses, there’s an option that lets you file a “restricted” application with Social Security (at full retirement age) to collect a divorced spousal benefit, which is half of what your ex gets. Then, once you reach 70, you stop receiving the ex-spousal benefit and switch to your own benefit, which will be 32 percent higher than it would have been at your full retirement age.
 To find out your retirement benefits based on your own earnings history, see your Social Security statement at And to get an estimate of your divorced spouse benefit, call Social Security at (800) 772-1213. You’ll need you’re ex’s Social Security Number to get it.
 Divorced widows (and widowers) have even more options. If, for example, you are currently collecting Social Security retirement benefits on your own record, and your ex-spouse dies, you can switch to survivor’s benefits if the payment is larger. Or, if you’re collecting survivor’s benefits, you can switch to your own retirement benefits – between 62 and 70 – if it offers a larger payment.   Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit November 2013 —5
The power of stories
Museum registrar says history is more than facts and figures
Karen Reinhart is pictured in the Yellowstone Gateway Museum of Park County, above. In the photo on the cover, she holds one of the books she’s written about Yellowstone National Park. MT Best Times photos by Shawn Raecke
By Camden Easterling Montana Best Times
LIVINGSTON — “It’s the power of stories,” Karen Reinhart says of what draws her to history as an author and as a museum registrar. “History isn’t just facts and figures and who did what and where and when,” she says. November 2013 —6
For Reinhart, who works for the Yellowstone Gateway Museum of Park County in Livingston, Montana’s past is ripe with people’s individual perspectives and experiences. As the museum’s registrar, she handles responsibilities including outreach, education, research and exhibit development. Her primary role is collections management, which includes reviewing with other museum staff and advisors items donated to the museum to determine if they should be kept. Once the museum
accepts artifacts, Reinhart manages cataloging and storing them. She approaches her duties with her signature interest in people, moving beyond simply developing programs or exhibits that highlight artifacts and instead looking to incorporate the personal aspects of history. “I’m really hoping to tell the stories of Park County,” Reinhart, 54, says as she leans back in her chair in her museum office. For a recent exhibit on veterans, she gathered accounts and insights in addition to items for display. Reinhart says she’s not normally much of a war history buff, but she was intrigued by what she found. “By learning about their personal stories,” she says, “it seemed a lot more interesting to me and seemed a lot more important.” Reinhart’s interest in history and stories stems from her childhood growing up north of Lewistown in Winifred. Her parents, Glenn and Donelda Wildung, still live in that community where her father managed the Cenex for 50 years. Her father sparked her interest in history by taking her with him on drives through the countryside and talking about the people he knew who’d lived on homesteads there. “I think even though I didn’t articulate it at the time, I really enjoyed poking around old homesteads,” she says. “Driving down dirt roads that you didn’t know where they were going to end up and thrilling at finding scraps of humanity out in the boondocks, the Missouri River Breaks area — and wondering what’s the story? Where did these people go?” Reinhart’s own story includes a few diversions between a childhood interest in history and making it a career. She went on to Montana State University and graduated with a degree in business management. In 1991, she began working as a clerk for the National Park Service in Yellowstone National Park when her then-husband, Dan Reinhart, was working for NPS as the resource manager at Lake. When an opportunity came up for her to work as a ranger, she was eager for a change from clerking. “I decided I was tired of sitting in an office,” Reinhart laughs. She worked as a park ranger interpreter between 1991 and 2007, much of that time being seasonal. Her duties varied from working at the Fishing Bridge visitor’s center as well as doing backcountry thermal feature observations to leading hikes.
‘Where did these people go?’
there. The small group often gathered for potlucks or skiing or to watch “Northern Exposure.” “Really loved being there year-round,” she says. “The Lake community was really special.” Trips into town for supplies, though, could be tough. Reinhart recalls that when her children were very small, she would bundle them up — sometimes tucking one or the other of them into an oversized snowsuit she wore — and heading out for the 90-minute ride to their vehicle parked at Mammoth. The whole family, plus the dog, had to pile onto one snowmobile on occasions when one of the snowmobiles would break down. “The winter was a great privilege,” she says of living in Yellowstone’s interior during a season that’s quiet compared to the warmer months. “It was a challenge but it helped balance the summers.”
Researching the park’s past
As part of developing programs for her work in Yellowstone, Reinhart researched the park’s past. “That really got me interested in history, and local history in particular,” she says. Her research also showed her that YNP’s history include plenty of people stories about “interesting characters” and not just natural history. Eventually she transitioned careers to focus on history. Before her job in Livingston, she spent several years as the curator of education and outreach at the Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum. She’s also written two books about the park: “Yellowstone’s Rebirth by Fire: Rising from the Ashes of the 1988 Wildfires” and “Old Faithful Inn: Crown Jewel of National Park Lodges.” Her Old Faithful co-author was Jeff Henry. She has a third book on Yellowstone in the works now.
Many interests
Bear jams and winter isolation
Part of her time was spent serving as a bear protection ranger managing “bear jams.” She recalls one instance in Hayden Valley when she was able to see 11 different grizzly bears feeding on a bison carcass over the course of several hours. “That was just really amazing,” she says. She also had plenty of tourist-watching time. She remembers seeing one man get so close to a grizzly he almost touched it. In such situations, a stern warning generally was all tourists needed to correct their behavior. “I call it my ranger voice,” Reinhart laughs. Reinhart declines to demonstrate what exactly that “ranger voice” sounds like. “Oh I don’t know, I might knock things off the walls,” she jokes. Suffice to say it’s one that combines volume with firmness and was used only “when the situation warranted it,” she says. Reinhart and her then-husband and their two young children, Emma and Forrest Reinhart, lived year-round at Lake in the park’s interior for several years. Reinhart estimates a dozen other people lived in the Lake area during the winters her family spent
Reinhart now lives with her younger daughter, 9-year-old Mariah Henry, near Gardiner, making the drive from home to work a lengthy one. “That’s the only downside of this job, is the distance,” she says. She passes the commuting time by listening to books on tape. “That’s when I get my so-called reading done,” she jokes. Her auditory reading tastes run the gamut from mysteries to nonfiction. Currently, she’s using the drive time to learn Spanish to prepare for a trip to Mexico, where her older daughter is studying. Reinhart’s other interests include organic gardening plus canning or freezing her garden’s yields. Throughout the years, she’s also been interested in painting, photography and basket weaving. For about 20 years she was an avid weaver, including teaching classes and selling her pieces at shows. Her baskets, crafted from willow, cottonwood or other hedgerow materials, ranged from functional to sculptural. She has little time for weaving these days, but she still sometimes runs into people who remember her from her teaching days, she says. Now that she’s working for the Livingston museum, Reinhart’s research focuses less on the park and more on Park County’s history, which she says “is every bit as rich as Yellowstone.” When asked what story her personal history has to tell, Reinhart pauses while she mulls over a life that has included history, gardening, art and living deep in Yellowstone. “I’m the person who helps people share their stories or helps people learn to weave or garden,” she says. November 2013 —7
A Man for All Seasons: 81-year-old entrepreneur not deterred by anything
Story and photos by Alastair Baker Montana Best Times
RED LODGE — At 82, George Beaudet shows no signs of slowing down. Still possessing an acute interest in the world, he busies himself by wondering how he can help it along. He is presently involved with the newest type of energy-saving lights — LEDs — and has formed a company out of his house called Bright Lights LED Technology Inc. He works primarily with businesses both large and small. Bright Lights has developed a module to retro fit billboard fixtures, canopy lights and parking lot lights. The company has its own shoebox parking lot light that it sells and installs. The last big project Beaudet carried out was for canopy lights at the new Town Pump in Red Lodge. He has entered into the busi-
Creativity, more than the money, drives me.
– George Beaudet
ness with a passion that belies his age, but then this is George to a tee. He never looks back except when asked in interviews and never keeps any possessions. Right now all his focus is on the future, and he knows that LED lights will light up the world entirely one day. He calls his energy the Spirit of ’76, a nod to the fact he’s been selling for 76 years and won’t quit now. “You keep going forward. The Spirit of ’76. Right now with the energy situation, you can buy tomorrow or buy five years from now, but you will buy LED lights, the most energy-saving and brightest system we have. It’s a billion dollar idea. If it’s something else by then, I’ll look into that,” he laughed. “Tomorrow is another day and another idea. I’ve never worked a day in my life. I just do stuff; I enjoy the hunt for new products.”
George Beaudet, of Brightlights LED, works on a billboard retrofit that uses the LED chips. November 2013 —8
Early entrepreneur
In a sense, he is an entrepreneur, starting at 5 years old when he sold hollyhock seeds outside his house for a nickel. This led in turn to taking 1x3-inch pieces of wood and alphabet soup and gluing peoples’ names on them. “These I sold for a quarter,” he recalled. “My dad always supported me. Like when I got a cocker spaniel called Prince and I said to him, ‘I want to breed dogs.’ He said earn the money for the female and do it. So I raised ducks to eating weight, killed and cleaned them and raised enough cash to buy a female dog called Goldie, who I raised, then finally bred with Prince, had a litter of pups, and I sold them. I never thought of it entrepreneurial,” said George. “Creativity, more than the money, drives me. If you work hard, money is the byproduct of your hard work,” he said. “We’ve got to go for broke. No guts, no blue chips.” Down his path in life, George has taken this creativity with him. He said that after getting “canned” while working for Yellow Pages, he and a friend got the idea to sell the plastic covers for the phone books as well as the ample space for advertising the covers had. After delving in this for a while, he moved on to a machine tool outfit but soon left, since machine tools “were not his cup of tea,” he commented. “I’m more creative than that, so I went into the radio business, and really enjoyed it,” he said.
Radio days
“I was 36 years old and it was 1967,” George said. “I was getting old at that age. I’d get into my car, listen to the news stations, and not listen to music. I got a job in Wisconsin with an FM station, playing middle-of-the-road music at the time. No one had heard of FM then. They hired me as the sales manager. I was the only one selling. I was this straight guy, tie, sports coat, and short hair. In six months, I was wearing bells, had long hair, and getting into the music, which was now labeled underground.” George’s first big coup for the station was to convince a sound shop that they could sell 1,000 FM convertors, which could be installed in vehicles to allow the listener to get their station. The storeowner baulked at the idea but went with it. The free airtime paid dividends for both the station and the sound shop with cars parked around the block for the $19.95 convertors. “We got listeners and he sold a 1,000 convertors. It was very gratifying,” recalls George. Life in the radio world is very nomadic, and soon George moved on to pastures new — 12 pastures in fact: 12 stations in a radio career spanning 25 years. One of his final coups tops them all. When working for the LA Traffic Network, a fledgling company that needed help, George promptly secured a million dollars worth of airtime for airline tickets with Pacific East Airlines. His tagline to success was “$99 to Honolulu on Pacific East Airlines. You couldn’t swim there for less.” When they went to Chicago, he came up with the tag line from Chicago, “Going West, Fly Pacific East.”
Beaudet shows a light housing containing LED lights to be used in parking lots. baby after the manager ran away. By the late ’70s, George was back in Cleveland, but only briefly. An idea popped into his head that no one had a program representing the Top 40 hits of the week by black artists. Contacts in Hollywood soon had him swapping his snowshoes for Hawaiian shirts as he headed west to work on marketing this groundbreaking idea. “It was called Soul Sound Off, with Tim Reid, a weekly radio show picked up by 100 radio stations. When I left the Cleveland station, the owner called me ‘Nothing but a 50-year-old hippy.’ Guilty as charged, I replied,” George chuckled. Unfortunately for George, the venture lasted only nine months when his partners grew impatient waiting for financial results to kick in. The show went south and the idea was picked up by another station that cashed in. By 1979, George had been hired to be marketing and sales director for the Denver Monthly magazine. “That’s how I got in publishing,” he recalls. The magazine didn’t work out, but nothing ever seems to deter him. Six years later, he’d bought the Hardin radio station, which came with an FM license for 95.5, which he literally built from the ground up in 1986. Then, 95.5 was sold, so in 1989 he went back to California. He moved to Palm Springs, built a house, and started World Wide Media, which became Gotham Media, which also owned Mr. Cheaps Travel. This was sold in 1999 to a dot com group for 5 million dollars. “The group paid my new company Georgetown Inc., and after our non-compete we decided to give it a go again. Flyaway Travel was See Entrepreneur, Page 16 November 2013 —9
Publishing, and travel beckons
Top 40
Between stints at the stations, George had numerous ideas about making a living, from renting theaters to show movies on weekends, to producing a cult band — Bear Fat — and doing bookings for another called Underground Sunshine. In 1975 he started up the movie idea again in Cleveland, but the cold weather drove him out to wander amid further stations before ending in Hardin for three months, where he was left holding the proverbial
Good, better,Betts
Octogenarian is living the joyful life
Betts Stroh waves to the photographer as she participates, at age 79, in the Chokecherry Fun Run during Lewistown’s Chokecherry Festival last year. She was the first finisher in her age group.
Photo by Jacques Rutten/courtesy of the Lewistown News-Argus
By Deb Hill Montana Best Times
LEWISTOWN — Eightieth birthday. Skydiving. You don’t often see those terms in the same sentence ... not unless Lewistown’s Betts Stroh is in the room. Last February, in honor of her 80th birthday, Stroh celebrated by skydiving over Yucca Valley, California, where she spends her winters. This isn’t the first, and is by no means the only, adventure Stroh has undertaken recently. In 2011 she went bungee jumping in Great Falls. A participant in the Montana Senior Olympics, Stroh won her age group this year in the 50-yard dash (13 seconds). In the coming months, she has plans to ride a camel and take horseback riding lessons. When asked how she is, her standard answer is, “Joyful.” Clearly this is a woman who believes life is for living. November 2013 — 10
“I look at it like this,” Stroh said. “I only have maybe 15 years left. I have to be doing something productive; it’s not in my nature to just sit around. There are so many things I haven’t done yet. I have to try them.”
‘More than just a pretty face’
But as Betts herself will tell you, she is “more than just a pretty face.” After losing the love of her life, her husband, Jim, in 2008, Betts turned her attention to community service. “I’m always volunteering,” she said. “I call it ‘faith-based service to community.’” Chief among her many projects, Stroh is active in the St. James Episcopal Church in Lewistown and in the St. Joseph of Arimathea Episcopal Church in Yucca Valley. In Lewistown, she helped the church develop a plastics recycling program, ROWL (Recycle Our Waste Lewistown), to benefit the entire community. In California, she is working with a horse therapy program,
Above: One of Betts Stroh’s priorities is service to her church, St. James Episcopal Church in Lewistown, including walking in the Fourth of July parade with the church float, pictured above. Betts is at far right. Right: Stroh is shown celebrating her 80th birthday by skydiving in Yucca Valley, California, in February of this year.
Photos courtesy of Betts Stroh
Equus Medendi, an equine-assisted learning and therapy program, aimed at assisting former soldiers suffering with PTSD and other issues. “Just because you are older doesn’t means you have to stop giving back to community,” Stroh said. “The social aspect is important, too.” Stroh is organizing and planning a fundraiser for the Equus Medendi program. “My strength is in putting people together to get something done,” she said. “I think horse therapy is very important. We’re not doing enough for our wounded warriors, and 29 Palms (California) is the largest Marine base in North America. Those Marines don’t like to say when they are hurting. The equine therapy works really well for them, and it is all confidential. Even if our event doesn’t raise a lot of money, it will raise awareness, and that’s good.”
“He’s very adventurous,” she added. It appears the pair are a good match.
The jump
Faith, the driving force
Stroh, who seems to have the energy of two younger people put together, attributes her strength and adventurous spirit to her faith. “I owe all this to my faith, which I’ve had since I was little,” she said. “I keep going with prayer and meditation. I’m thankful for my good health — the only thing wrong is I have a little arthritis in my thumbs. That’s it. I’m not on medications. I like projects that give me some place to go and something to do.” Keeping her company through the past year is Mr. Lucky, a 2-year-old Boston terrier. Only someone as energetic as Betts would consider adopting a rescue dog that had already been returned by two other owners for bad behavior. “I took him to obedience training and that’s helped a lot,” Stroh said. “But he chewed up $150 worth of cords and things before that.”
Stroh said her 80th birthday was a milestone. She got the idea for her parachute jump after learning of former President George Bush Sr.’s jump and, despite the concerns of friends and her adult children, was determined to give it a shot. “The flight was postponed for 15 or 20 minutes due to high wind, and I did kind of wonder if that was a sign. But I went anyway,” Stroh remembers. “It wasn’t scary to jump. What surprised me at first was the air just rushing by, but then, a few seconds later, you just feel like you are floating. When I got back I told my priest that now I know what it feels like to go to heaven.” At the end of October Stroh will leave Lewistown for her winter home in Yucca Valley, and, it appears, she may not be coming back, at least not to central Montana. “I love Montana,” she said. “It’s my adopted home. But Lewistown is a small town and I feel like I need more options for getting involved with the community. So I am planning to move to Helena, where there is always something going on.” Look out Helena. Betts Stroh is headed your way. Deb Hill may be reached at (406) 535-3401 or November 2013 — 11
Maria’s little Kentucky (Avenue) home
Or the story of how a fixer-upper nobody wanted is becoming the cutest house on the block
Above: The house as it appeared before Maria Gallegos started her remodeling project.
Photo courtesy of Maria Gallegos
MT Best Times photo by Dick Crockford
Right: Gallegos sits on the porch of her transformed home after her makeover of the exterior.
By Dick Crockford Montana Best Times
DILLON — Ever since she was a little girl, Maria Gallegos has dreamed of fixing up some forlorn old structure and making it into a home — her home. Gallegos recalls as a child growing up on a Montana Indian reservation seeing abandoned farmsteads and thinking to herself, “I could fix that up into a nice little home.” On her daily school bus rides she also passed by places that were occupied but in poor condition. “I was dually fascinated with, and repulsed by, these tiny, derelict homes,” she said. “I spent many hours on the long, daily bus trips to and from school mulling over how one could repair or resurrect those buildings. I adored the dollhouse quality and quaintness of them. I tried to imagine the people that first built them. I wanted to somehow breathe life back into them and make them usable again.” Gallegos’s father was an agriculture specialist with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and she spent her childhood on various Montana Indian reservations. “I am certain that part of my passion and drive to own my own home came out of having to live in government housing provided November 2013 — 12
to BIA employees and their families. Growing up, I knew the houses we lived in were the property of the federal government and were not really ‘ours.’”
Her own space
Additionally, because her childhood homes were shared with a large family, she yearned for her own space, even as a child. “Perhaps because I was one of six children in a house where privacy was precious if not nearly nonexistent, a tiny home of my own made my girlhood dreams of a ‘home of my own’ all the more sweeter and vivid.” Many years later, she got her chance when she acquired an old house on the edge of Dillon’s east side. Gallegos purchased the little house on the northwest corner of Kentucky Avenue and Chestnut Street — which she described as being “in wickedly, horrible, scary shape” — in 2002. It had started its existence as a simple log cabin just outside of town in the late 1800s, she said. Nonetheless, it was love at first sight. “I chose my house as much as it chose me. When I walked through it, I just knew it was going to be my home.” Locals who were familiar with the property at the time were surprised to find out it had been purchased, and even more amazed when they learned who it was that bought it — a single
Above: The old house is shown jacked up as a new concrete foundation is installed before remodeling begins. woman new to the community. Word spread quickly through town, Gallegos said, adding that she found out later there had actually been wagers on how long she would stick with her decision to rehabilitate the house. When she went to buy some materials at a local building supply store, she said a clerk remarked, “‘Oh, you’re that lady.’” Gallegos was undeterred. “I had faith in my abilities to do what I have undertaken with my house,” she said. “This task was made all the more heavy, weighed down as it was with the massive amount of negativity from skeptics and naysayers who felt I should have torn it, bulldozed it or burned it down.” “I just dug in my heels and became all the more determined,” Gallegos said. At the time she first “found” the dilapidated structure, it was badly run down and sheathed in shabby asphalt siding, and some of its windows were covered over with plywood or layers of plastic sheeting to keep out the cold. There was no insulation in much of the structure, the roof was in tatters, the porch sagged and years-old fire damage in the kitchen scarred the interior. Half-rotted cottonwood trees towered above the old house, threatening to drop crushing limbs with every windstorm. Inside the house, the floors were linoleum or covered with layers of carpet, one over another. Removing the flooring was “like an archaeological dig,” Gallegos joked. Still, it was a good fit. Because of the condition, she said, “it was really inexpensive and within my limited budget.” Besides having taken on a major project in every respect, Gallegos, who works as a paraprofessional for Dillon School District 10, determined from the very beginning that she would do the work herself and proceed on a cash-only, pay-as-you-go basis. That meant work would progress at a pace dictated by time and money. “I do not have a paying job in the summer months … when I concentrate my efforts on the work on my house,” she said. That meant she must carefully plan her time and resources. “I have always been very organized and budget careful,” she said. “I am a long-term planner, and manage my finances very closely and carefully. I save up for each stage of work to be done.” Because of the poor condition of the structure early on, Gal-
Photo courtesy of Maria Gallegos
Dug in her heels
Above: Gallegos points out the home’s original hand-hewed logs that were revealed when the plaster was removed. legos also bought a well-used mobile home and set it up on the lot, between the house and an old barn, so she would have somewhere to live that would not involve paying rent. Soon, she set to work. She pulled the plywood off the broken windows and installed energy efficient replacements all around, custom ordering them to fit the existing openings. She also removed the shingle siding and found wooden lap siding that had been installed when the original cabin was “modernized” many decades ago.
MT Best Times photos by Dick Crockford
Recycling passion
What could be salvaged and saved for future use was set aside; recycling is one of Gallegos’s passions. She regularly visits outlets for recycled building materials and is always on the lookout for “seconds” and items with cosmetic damage or flaws she can buy at a discount. Her new front door, for example, was a special order that had been rejected by another customer of a building supply store. Since it was not a standard size, the store was glad when Gallegos simply made an offer that took the otherwise unwanted item out of its inventory. She also had the old house jacked up — neighbors thought she was having it hauled away — so the original stone foundation under the original cabin could be pulled out and a new foundation poured under the entire structure. The salvaged foundation stones have been incorporated into planters and support the new front veranda that replaced the sagging porch she removed. November 2013
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A “chicken coop” back porch tacked onto the original cabin was taken down to make room for a new addition that includes a new bathroom. The entire interior of the house was gutted, with drywall replacing lathe and plaster. A bright, modern kitchen is taking shape in the space that was once darkened by greasy and smoke-stained walls. Also inside, the original log walls were uncovered, and then cleaned by blasting them with baking soda which is fine enough to help prevent damaging the log surfaces. They will be rechinked and some portions will be left exposed to show off the rugged beauty of the hand-hewn logs. Early on in the project, the old roofing was removed, the roof boards repaired and a new “standing seam” metal roof installed to keep out the weather and protect the house from further deterioration.
Determination pays off
Gallegos’s determination is paying off. The lap siding that was hidden for decades, now cleaned up and repainted, brings compliments, including one remark from someone who told Gallegos how much she likes the “new vinyl siding.” The rotted cottonwoods are long gone, replaced with carefully selected shrubs and an oak tree. A new driveway leads to a garage that she bartered for. Gallegos holds two bachelor’s degrees, one in fine arts and the other in psychology, earning both — summa cum laude — from the University of Montana. The degrees reflect her main areas of interest: the creative arts and human behavior. Even though her home project has stretched out over several years, being able to engage those interest areas has helped her maintain her focus. In fact, the “human behavior” aspect has not only fascinated her but has also been a source of solace when things have been tough with her project. At the time she bought the house, Gallegos said, it was obvious that no one else was interested in it. After the purchase, there was plenty of talk around Dillon casting doubt as to the soundness of her investment. Knowing that the project would require a lot of hard work and a significant amount of time and money, she forged ahead with her plan anyway. “I saw the potential in this little house,” she said. “I am very goaloriented, and I knew that in order to reach my goal with this house I would have to do a lot of careful planning, be flexible and put my heart and soul into it. Yes, I heard from plenty of naysayers, but I did not let that get in the way of my goal. If anything, the negative remarks only made me more determined to keep moving forward.”
Above: This outbuilding, now serving as a garden shed, once was a chicken coop, but began its life as a playhouse for a little girl named Louise. Below: “Repurposed” stone salvaged from the old foundation makes a handsome planter and border for this newly planted oak tree. side of town have been spruced up.” Additionally, the Dillon city limits have been extended past her property, making water and sewer service available to others. “This area had a bad reputation as being the horrible side of town,” she said. “No one walked or rode bikes here. Now it is common to see folks out walking, jogging or biking in this neighborhood, and so many of them admire my house. They all tell me that they love watching the progress on the house and all the changes and improvements.” Gallegos is happy to provide tours of the property, including peeks into the old barn out back, as well as a look inside a little building, long used by previous owners as a chicken coop that turned out to have been built by a long-ago owner as a playhouse for his daughter. That daughter, now about 90 years old, lives in Utah. A few years ago, Gallegos said, the woman she calls “Louise” stopped by for a visit. It was Louise who revealed the original use of the little building out back. Indeed, when Gallegos was cleaning up the tiny structure, she found the name, “Louise,” scratched high up under the roof. The story goes on and on … finding the old outhouse location, learning the stories of the outbuildings on her property, feelings of pride and satisfaction at what she has accomplished. Before long, she expects to be able to move out of the trailer and into her cozy, refurbished home. “I suppose this is really the story of how the fixer-upper nobody wanted became the cutest house on the block,” she said. Dick Crockford may be reached at (406) 683-2331 or
MT Best Times photos by Dick Crockford
Not the day I quit
In the bedroom of her trailer house, in which she is still living as she works on the inside of her new home, she placed a sign to remind her every day of her commitment and her resolve: “THIS IS NOT THE DAY I QUIT. THIS IS NOT THE DAY I CRY. THIS IS THE DAY I STARE DOWN EVERY NAYSAYER IN MY LIFE WHO DOESN’T GET IT YET. BECAUSE I DO. FINALLY.” That resolve has served Gallegos well. She believes it has also resulted in something of a positive transformation for her neighborhood. “When I purchased my house, Kentucky was not the desirable portion of town to live in. Over these past 12 years, I have noted that as my house has slowly improved, a sort of contagious inspiration has crept into my neighborhood. Houses and yards on this November 2013 — 14
By John Webster The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Wash.)/MCT
There’s a drug for that ....
Suffering? Getting old? The pharmaceutical industry wants to help. Every night on TV, photogenic actors frolic with photogenic grandchildren, or lounge in bathtubs gazing into the setting sun, telling emotion-laden tales of 30-second Madison Avenue cures: E.D.? Low T? R.A.? COPD? Dry eye? Sneezy? Wheezy? Queasy? There’s a drug for that. And all the consumer needs to do — all together, now — is “Talk to your doctor.” But there are a few things the ads don’t mention: Low-cost alternatives to the high-cost drugs featured in the ads. Lifestyle changes that could make drugs unnecessary. Damaging side effects that may not be discovered until a drug has been on the market for a while. Less obvious is the fact that when consumers do show up to talk to their doctors, the drug industry got there first. Drug manufacturers ghost-write articles in medical journals, touting their products. They help sponsor continuingeducation seminars for physicians. They advertise in medical journals. They send sales representatives to medical offices, offering samples, gifts, financial incentives. So what’s a consumer to do? What’s a doctor to do? Matt Hollon, a physician and faculty member who teaches at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Spokane, gives lectures to his peers on the subject of drug advertising, and he has written about it in the Journal of the American Medical Association. In an interview, Hollon was quick to qualify his warnings, with a recognition that many of today’s prescription medicines offer huge benefits — improving quality of life, keeping people out of hospitals, reducing the need for certain surgeries, preventing strokes, knocking down cancer and more. He acknowledged that drug advertising itself can be beneficial, if it prompts people to recognize they might have a problem and seek help for it. However, Hollon said, “we’re not talking about breakfast cereal. We’re talking about drugs that have the potential to be both life-saving and life-harming.” There is a reason for the industry’s huge outlays on drug advertising, and the reason is not the same as the goal that consumers and physicians have when they meet for an appointment. The purpose of the advertising, Hollon said, is to “move a large population to take a medication” — regardless of whether that drug is needed or is the most appropriate choice for a particular patient. The industry, he said, will say it expects physicians to serve as a “safety stop.” But that’s where it gets fascinating, Hollon said. The drug industry’s advertising strategy
focuses on physicians as well. “They do marketing methods to move both (patients and physicians) in step, in sync, to newer, expensive, untested medications,” he said. And “the truly scary part,” Hollon said, is that “the same message is in ghostwritten articles in medical journals.” In 2009, the New York Times published a story describing the practice. Ghostwriting, by sources such as drug manufacturers and medical device makers, occurred in 10.9 percent of articles in the New England Journal of Medicine; 7.9 percent of articles in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association; and 7.6 percent of articles in the Lancet, the Times reported. Does the industry’s marketing strategy work? For a 2005 article he wrote in JAMA, Hollon cited an advertising campaign for Merck’s antiinflammatory drug Rofecoxib, marketed as Vioxx. The campaign was bigger than the advertising for either Pepsi or Budweiser, and sales of the drug quadrupled. But the drug sometimes was “inappropriate” for the patients who received it and came with serious side effects: heart attacks and strokes. It led, Hollon wrote, to “as many as 140,000 adverse cardiovascular events.” Translation: People died. Research has found that nearly 80 percent of physicians believe drug advertising “encourages patients to seek treatments they do not need,” Hollon wrote. Hollon is hardly alone in his concerns. With the sole exception of New Zealand, other western countries prohibit direct-to-consumer drug advertising. Between 1997 and 1999, a relaxation of federal rules opened the floodgates to televised drug ads in the United States. Another prominent critic of the drug industry’s practices is Otis Brawley, an oncologist, epidemiologist and chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society. In his 2012 book, “How We Do Harm,” Brawley cites examples of drugs and medical-industry marketing practices that, in his view, injured patients. In 2003, he wrote, the marketers at Johnson & Johnson invented a condition they called “cancer fatigue” and carried out an aggressive advertising campaign for their drug Procrit, to treat it. Procrit was touted to stimulate blood hemoglobin and reduce the need for transfusions, in patients undergoing chemotherapy. Sales soared, for Procrit as well as a competing drug, Amgen’s Aranesp. Physicians received rebates for prescribing Aranesp, Brawley wrote. But there was a problem, according to Brawley: These drugs sometimes made tumors grow faster. At an FDA hearing on the issue, Brawley made headlines when he demanded, “What data do you have to assure me that this is not Miracle-Gro for cancer?” November 2013 — 15
Where were the federal government’s watchdogs when this was going on? “In the Bush administration,” Brawley wrote, “former pharmaceutical-company lawyers were running the enforcement arm of the FDA.” Most drug advertising, Hollon said, focuses on a small number of new, expensive products that offer symptomatic relief of chronic conditions, such as indigestion, allergies and erectile dysfunction. But what does “new” mean, in the world of drugs? “Truly revolutionary therapies in medicine come along infrequently,” Hollon said. “Often, what newer drugs bring is a different formulation of an existing drug.” Nexium, for example, takes a beating in Brawley’s book. In the 1990s, AstraZeneca’s Prilosec was one of the industry’s most profitable drugs. But when it went generic, the price fell. So AstraZeneca tweaked the underlying chemical, omeprazole, and rebranded it as a new drug with a high price to keep the profits rolling in: Nexium, which remains among the most heavily advertised drugs on television today. Brawley wrote that he tried to convince a patient to use the medically identical and cheaper Prilosec, but she believed Nexium was newer and therefore better. Besides, her insurance would pay for it — though she also complained that her insurance was expensive. “She seemed to not connect” the cost of drugs with the cost of insurance, Brawley wrote. Another meaning for “new,” in the world of drugs, is the “medicalization” of normal life experiences, Hollon said. Fatigue during chemotherapy, for example. Or dry eyes. Yes, there are medical conditions that can cause eyes to be dry; but these conditions, Hollon said, are somewhat uncommon. “So if you take the normal human experience of irritated eyes and turn it into a disease,” he said, does that mean the sufferer needs a prescription drug? Hollon said he does not mind when patients provoked by an advertisement come in to discuss a concern. This creates an Entrepreneur, from Page 9 our new name and a part of Georgetown Inc. Four years ago, we became a distributor for an LED company, SeeSmart.” After a bit, George realized he could have his own factory in China and do it himself. “You never make any money working for someone else,” he said. The majority of money he makes now goes into research for his Bright Lights LED Company to make certain “we are successful,” he said.
opportunity for a conversation, and for the “sophisticated decision making” that physicians — not Madison Avenue marketers — are trained to carry out for each patient. “I’m not saying they’re bad,” Hollon said of the drug industry. Manufacturers have “created a lot of important products that have been beneficial. But all drugs come with harm. The challenge is to balance the benefits with the harm.” In his article for JAMA, Hollon recommended that FDA impose a moratorium on drug advertising for the first three years after a product is released to the market. Why? “Because the safety of a new drug cannot be known with certainty until it has been on the market for several years, and since drug withdrawals occur more than two-thirds of the time within three years of release.” The idea attracted some attention but went nowhere in Congress, where the drug industry has a long record of lobbying to protect its profits. Given the pharmaceutical industry’s practices, advocates such as Hollon and Brawley argue for an ethical separation between physicians and drug marketers. They promote awareness of the industry’s techniques and a careful focus on medical outcomes research: According to scientific data, how well does a drug work and for what situations? What are the risks? What are the alternatives? How well was the research designed? What was glossed over in the research? The physician’s goal, they contend, is to look out for patient’s medical well-being, as opposed to the wellbeing of the pharmaceutical industry’s bottom line. “One of the most overlooked problems in the U.S. health care system is avarice,” Hollon said. “Greed. Everybody in the system has been guilty of it.” EDITOR’S NOTE: John Webster is a Spokesman-Review writer who specializes in health care reform topics. Reach him at
“I don’t live in the past. I have memories, but don’t save any thing. Why save any thing? It’s what you’re doing today that counts, like technology. If you don’t keep up with the times, you’ll be behind the times. I hope when I die, I’ll have my boots on, my computer and my iPhone,” he laughed. Alastair Baker may be reached at (406) 446-2222 or news@
Looking back lightly
The “most fun” George recalls was putting on the “Jesus Christ Superstar” road show in the ’70s before its official release. “It was so much fun and exciting,” he said. “The audience was enthralled with the show. It was not a big production like Stigwood’s later on. Our show was so simple, just blue jeans, beads and long hair, and the cast sang the songs. It really was quite a production. When we went to Minneapolis, 11,000 people came to the show, we hired the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra — 106 musicians. We hired a kid from Juilliard to write the symphony score.” The story is George all over. He simply has always been with the trend, looking ahead before the sun has even had a chance to bed down. November 2013 — 16
Great News for Seniors 62 yrs of Age & Older!
COMFORTABLE & AFFORDABLE APARTMENTS Accepting Applications for Independent Seniors
Call (406) 248-9117 • 1439 Main Street • Billings, MT
Rent Based on Income, HUD 202 PRAC Live On-Site Community Administrator Free Laundry • On-Site Parking Mailboxes on Premises Electric, Gas, Water, Sewer, & Trash Included in Rent Community Room Available for Social Gatherings & Meetings
y k S g Bi Birding
Terry McEneaney is ornithologist emeritus for Yellowstone National Park, and is the author of three books: “Birding Montana,” “Birds of Yellowstone,” and “The Uncommon Loon.” He has been watching birds for 50 years and is one of Montana’s most experienced birders.
How River Otters Kill Waterfowl
EDITOR’S NOTE: Montana Best Times has been featuring some of the fascinating adventures Terry McEneaney had when he was Yellowstone National Park’s ornithologist. Following is another excerpt from a new book he is writing, “Lucky Feathers: Adventures and Experiences of a Yellowstone Ornithologist.” The more time spent in the field, the greater the chances of observing an unusual event or a rare observation. This axiom or principle has always held true for me as a field ornithologist, and will continue to hold true for not only myself but to those interested in moments of personal scientific discovery. For more than six decades, I have had a passion for birds. But along the way, while studying birds in the field and in particular at Red Rock Lakes and Yellowstone Park, I came across and became enchanted with North American river otters (Lontra canadensis) as well. At first I was enthralled by their mischievous yet entertaining behavior. But as the years went on, I recorded as much as I could about river otter ecology while collecting bird data. So much, in fact, that a treasure trove of river otter distribution data that I recorded and compiled can be found today either in my field notes or stored in the archives of the Yellowstone National Park-Research and Heritage Center located in Gardiner, Mont. On several occasions I have witnessed river otters killing birds, but almost all otter predation I witnessed occurred mainly during the summer months. In the late 1900s, Yellowstone Lake was the hotbed of otter activity, due to the abundance of Yellowstone cutthroat trout and molting waterfowl, particularly Canada Geese (Branta canadensisi) and Barrow’s Goldeneye (Bucephala islandica). For example, during a July 2005 visit to Yellowstone Lake, I observed an otter family singling out and killing one adult male Barrow’s Goldeneye, which was flightless during the molt. The otter family group singled a lone individual goldeneye out of a flock of 30 individuals. Molting waterfowl are vulnerable during this period and incapable of flight, due to the annual synchronous loss of flight feathers. The otters split out a lone individual goldeneye and worked as a team and wore out the frightened diving duck until it could no longer stay underwater, and captured it on the surface of the huge South Arm of Yellowstone Lake. The adult female otter
River otters lie on an ice ledge on the Lamar River in this Yellowstone Park file photo.
Photo by Jim Peaco/courtesy Yellowstone National Park
November 2013
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brought the dead goldeneye to shore, and the otter family consumed the entire duck in a short period of time. Yellowstone Trumpeter Swans (Cygnus buccinator) were especially vulnerable to otter predation as well, particularly during swan nesting and hatching periods. On a few occasions, I can recall a floating swan nest being visited by otters and egg clutches being completely destroyed. Newly hatched young or cygnets were also documented as being killed by river otters. Incidentally, on rare occasions I would find an adult Trumpeter Swan in the winter killed by an otter on the Yellowstone River in Hayden Valley. Over the years, I noticed how skittish waterfowl were in the presence of river otters. This was especially noticeable during the winter months when open water was very limited, particularly during extremely cold spells when ice was forming on the edges of rivers. In particular, Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos), Trumpeter Swans, Common Mergansers (Mergus merganser), and especially Common (Bucephala clangula) and Barrow’s goldeneyes showed severe restlessness in the presence of otters. I soon realized river otters were very efficient predators, but I could never figure out why waterfowl wigged out over the mere presence of otters, particularly in the winter. But to my surprise, I would eventually find out the answer to this puzzling question by spending a lot of time on the Yellowstone River in Hayden Valley in the winter conducting twice-weekly surveys by snowmobile from 1986-2007. The answer to why waterfowl were so skittish to river otters in the winter came to me in a most indirect, yet personal, way. On Jan. 14, 1993, at approximately 4 p.m., I stopped my government snowmobile to take a break from the 150-mile survey I was conducting that day. I pulled over at a place I had named over the years as “Yellowstone River Narrows,” located one-half mile north of Trout Creek in Hayden Valley. It is an area where the Yellowstone River comes very close to the road, and where there is usually open water even in the coldest of Yellowstone winters. So I shut off the snowmobile, grabbed a bit of food and water from my pack, and observed and marveled
A male and female Barrow’s Goldeneye swim by in this Yellowstone file photo. at two adult male and one adult female Barrow’s Goldeneye feeding and diving on submerged vegetation in the small rapids and open water. Around that time, I first recalled hearing several goldeneyes with wings whistling flushing from an open water area on the bend of the Yellowstone River just a quarter mile south of where I was sitting. But at the time it did not ring a bell. So I took interest in observing the feeding techniques of these three nearby goldeneyes. They would dive and were propelled using only their feet and legs, steer using their tail, and feed on submerged vegetation by adjusting the head and neck. What was fascinating was watching them swim under the clear but bubbled bordering ice shelf and secure food underwater and come up for air in the open water. On one of those dives under the ice, I watched a large, slim dark unfamiliar object (3 to 4 feet in size) come into the scene under the ice, with two of the goldeneyes coming to the open water surface in a hurry and taking off with feet paddling and wings whistling.
Photo by JimPeaco/courtesy Yellowstone National Park
Then surfaced the surprise: a river otter with a male or drake Barrow’s Goldeneye in its mouth. The otter quickly put the goldeneye out of commission, and carried the bird’s carcass up on the ice about 150 feet from me. I watched with interest as the river otter fed on the goldeneye, first chewing off its head, then the entrails, followed by the body and even the feathers. Of the feathers, the primaries or flight feathers were the last to go down the otters throat. But what was really shocking is that the river otter did not quit there — it even ate the feet of the goldeneye. The last I saw of this drake goldeneye was both of its orange-yellow feet going down the throat of the otter one at a time. I learned a lot that day. I learned that river otters can travel under ice, taking advantage of air bubbles. I also found out why goldeneyes are so skittish in the winter, and that otters are not always these cute, playful mustelids (weasels). I learned that otters are very efficient bird predators. But most importantly of all, I learned another hunting and stalking technique of how river otters kill waterfowl.
More short stories from “Lucky Feathers: Adventures and Experiences of a Yellowstone Ornithologist,” will be featured in forthcoming issues of Montana Best Times. In the meantime, enjoy Montana birds! And the Best of Big Sky Birding to you! Bird watching questions may be sent to Terry McEneaney by writing to 1215 Lolo St., Missoula, MT 59802; emailing; or visiting or If questions are mailed, include a phone number at which you can be reached.
November 2013
— 18
Gallatin County
Below is a list of volunteer openings available through the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) in communities across southern Montana. To learn more about RSVP, call (800) 424-8867 or TTY (800) 833-3722; or log on to www. ing reassurance, check on safety and wellbeing, and access up-to-date referral information to vulnerable individuals. - MSU Foundation: Volunteers needed to help set-up for alumni events at the Blue and Gold Breakfasts and Tailgate events. Multiple dates and times are available. - Museum of the Rockies: Variety of opportunities available. - RSVP Handcrafters: Volunteers to quilt, knit, crochet and embroider hats for chemo patients, baby blankets and other handmade goods once a week (can work from home). - Senior Nutrition Volunteers: Volunteers needed to help seniors with grocery shopping, meal and menu planning, and companionship, 1-2 hours a week, days and times are flexible. - Thrive Child Advancement Project (CAP): Seeking mentors to students in grades K-12, one hour commitment a week. - VFW “Sock It to Me”: Volunteers to make children’s Christmas stockings due by mid-November. Patterns available at the RSVP office.  - Your unique skills and interests are needed, without making a long-term commitment, in a variety of ongoing, special, one-time events. Contact: Deb Downs, RSVP Program Coordinator, 807 N. Tracy, Bozeman, MT 59715; phone (406) 587-5444; fax (406) 582-8499; email: - Various agencies are in need of your unique skills and interests in a variety of ongoing and one-time special events, including mailings every month. Contact: Shannon Burke, RSVP Program Coordinator, 206 So. Main St., Livingston, MT 59047; phone (406) 222-2281; email:
 - American Red Cross Blood Drive: Two volunteer opportunities available: an ambassador needed to welcome, greet, thank and provide overview for blood donors; and phone team volunteers needed to remind, recruit or thank blood donors. Excellent customer service skills needed, training will be provided, flexible schedule. - Befrienders: Befriend a senior; visit on a regular weekly basis. - Belgrade Senior Center: Meals on Wheels needs substitute drivers, before noon Monday-Friday. - Big Brothers Big Sisters: Be a positive role model for only a few hours each week. - Bozeman and Belgrade Sacks Thrift Stores: Need volunteers 2-3 hour shifts on any day, Monday-Saturday 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. - Bozeman Deaconess Hospital: Variety of opportunities to volunteer. - Bozeman Senior Center Foot Clinic: Retired or nearly retired nurses are urgently needed, 2 days a month, either 4 or 8 hour shifts. - Child Care Connections: Front desk help needed Thursdays, noon -1 p.m., to greet clients, answer phones, and general reception duties. - Children’s Museum of Bozeman: Welcome desk volunteer (s) needed for 2-hour shifts, Mondays-Saturdays. - The Emerson Cultural Center: Volunteers needed for front office, greeter/ reception, Monday–Friday 9:30 a.m.12:30 p.m. - Galavan: Volunteer drivers needed Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. CDL required and Galavan will assist you in obtaining one.  - Gallatin Valley Food Bank: Volunteers needed to deliver commodities to seniors in their homes once a month. Deliveries in Belgrade are especially needed. - HRDC Senior Programs: Seniors looking for help with meal planning, meal preparation and companionship call RSVP. - Habitat for Humanity Restore Belgrade: Volunteers needed for general help, sorting donations and assisting customers. - Heart of The Valley: Compassionate volunteers especially needed to love, play with and cuddle cats, do carpentry work, be an animal bank collector (asking local businesses to display an animal bank for donation collection) or birthday party leader. - Help Center Telecare: Volunteers needed 3-4 mornings a week 8:30-11 a.m. to make calls to homebound seniors, provid-
Fergus & Judith Basin counties
- Family Planning: In need of one volunteer to do some shredding and compiling files. - Head Start: Need volunteers to assist students with their learning skills; and someone to manage the front desk in the afternoons. - ROWL (Recycle Our Waste Lewistown) : Needs volunteers the 3rd Saturday of the month to help with sorting, baling and loading recyclables. - The Treasure Depot: Looking for volunteers to help at the front counter. - Always have various needs for your skills and volunteer services in our community. Contact: RSVP Volunteer Coordinator Cheryll Tuss, 404 W. Broadway, Wells Fargo Bank building, (upstairs), Lewistown, MT 59457; phone (406) 535-0077; email: rsvplew@
Musselshell, Golden Valley & Petroleum counties
Park County
- Big Brother-Big Sister: Volunteer to enrich a child’s life and form a lifelong friendship, once a week time commitment. - Elementary Schools, grades K-3: Volunteer reading mentors to help on a one to one basis, primarily reading help but also some math; one hour a week. - Loaves and Fishes: Need volunteers for various tasks. - Park County Senior Center: Volunteers needed in a variety of ways including bingo, games, mailings and other assignments. - The Public Library: Volunteer to help patrons choose a good read. - RSVP Handcrafters: Volunteers to help with knitting or crocheting, or share your special talent, currently getting ready for the holiday bazaar, Thursdays at 1 p.m. at the Park County Senior Center. - Stafford Animal Shelter: Needs loving volunteers to care for animals waiting for adoption. - Yellowstone Gateway Museum: Volunteers needed with ongoing projects through the winter.
- Food Bank: Distribute food commodities to seniors and others in the community; help unload the truck as needed. - Meals on Wheels Program: Deliver meals to the housebound in the community, just one day a week, an hour and a half, meal provided. - Nursing Home: Assist with activities for residents to enrich supported lifestyle. - School Lunch Program: Help serve and supervise children during lunch time. Meal provided. - Senior Center: Volunteers are needed to provide meals, clean up in the dining room and/or keep records; meal provided. - Senior Transportation: Volunteer needed to drive Senior Van to meals, fundraisers and appointments, one day a week or month, no special license needed; meal provided. - RSVP offers maximum flexibility and choice to its volunteers as it matches the personal interests and skills of older Americans with opportunities to serve their communities. You choose how and where to serve. Volunteering is an opportunity to learn new skills, make friends and connect See RSVP, Page 20 November 2013 — 19
On The Menu
Ground venison and spaghetti sauce are ideal mates
Your Best Times recipe contributor has been familiar with many food marriages — some good, some bad. One of the best marriages he has known is when venison burger and spaghetti sauce get together. A friend of mine, Debra Swandal, of Wilsall, organized a benefit that featured a spaghetti dinner a few years ago. The sauce she made was a big hit with attendees. Since I’m not shy, I asked her for her recipe. She admitted that she didn’t measure things — she just added ingredients in the amount she thought would bring out various flavors in the sauce after it had simmered for quite a while. She went to the trouble of figuring out the proper ratio in amounts that would be practical for the home chef. Her recipe is the only one I use when I make homemade red sauce with meat. My better half and I crave it. Since my wife is a quasivegetarian, I’m often surprised to find her eating the sauce without the accompaniment of pasta. Although Swandal simmers her sauce for eight to 10 hours, we’ve found it’s very good if it’s left on the stove top burner for only four hours. The longer it simmers, the more intense the flavor, however. We have ground meat from deer and antelope in our freezer along with sweet Italian sausage made from deer meat. So instead of using the ground beef the original recipe calls for, I always use ground deer meat and the sausage. The flavor of antelope meat is too delicate to hold up well in a red sauce, so we save that for other occasions. Incidentally, I instruct the meat processor to add no fat to the ground deer meat. It’s healthier that way, of course, and it doesn’t need fat to hold together on an outdoor grill. The recipe below makes enough for four meals for two people. It would be equally good with hot Italian sausage. Although I’ve never tried to can it, it would be very good if preserved that way.
Heat two tablespoons olive oil in large skillet. Saute ground venison with onions until browned. Put in large saucepan. Saute Italian sausage in remaining two tablespoons olive oil in skillet until brown. Add to saucepan. Saute garlic for one minute. Add to saucepan. Pour tomato sauce and red wine into saucepan. Add sugar, salt, black pepper and Italian seasoning. Stir thoroughly. Bring to simmer. Simmer at least four hours. Freezes well.
With Jim Durfey
Spaghetti Sauce with Ground Venison
RSVP, from Page 18
1 to 1 1/2 lb. ground deer meat 4 tbsp. olive oil, divided l lb. sweet Italian sausage 2 medium onions, diced 5 garlic cloves, minced 2 - 29 oz. cans tomato sauce 1 to 1 1/2 c. dry red wine 1/3 c. sugar 2 tbsp. salt 1 tbsp. fresh ground black pepper 1/4 c. Italian seasoning
learn new skills, make friends and connect with your community. Contact: Lorelie Elkshoulder, Volunteer Coordinator, South Central MT RSVP, 315 1/2 Main St., Ste. #1, Roundup, MT 59072; phone (406) 323-1403; fax (406) 323-4403; email: rdprsvp2@midrivers. com; facebook: South Central MT RSVP.
- WaterWorks Art Museum: Volunteer receptionists needed, 2 hour shifts Tuesdays-Sundays. If you are interested in these or other volunteer opportunities please contact: Betty Vail, RSVP Director; 210 Winchester Ave. #225, MT 59301; phone (406) 234-0505; email: - Local Area on Aging Agency: Seeking individuals to help with the fight against health care fraud. SMP (Senior Medicare Patrol) volunteers help educate Medicare beneficiaries on the importance of protecting their Medicare numbers and the importance of reviewing their Medicare Summary Notices. Training is provided. - Volunteers needed to deliver monthly commodities, once a month, to elderly shut-ins. - Volunteer needed to assist with answering phones, directing calls and taking messages, one day a week. Training will be provided. - If you have a need for or a special interest or desire to volunteer somewhere in the community, please contact: Patty Atwell, RSVP Director, P.O. Box 1324, Glendive, MT 59330; phone (406) 3774716; email:
Custer & Rosebud counties
- AARP Tax Preparers: Volunteers needed to help low income seniors prepare tax returns, must have basic computer skills, all other training provided, work about 4 hours per week Feb. 1-April 15. - Custer County Food Bank: Volunteers needed for food distribution Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. - Historic Miles City Academy: Volunteers needed to assist in thrift store with sorting and cleaning donated merchandise. - Holy Rosary Health Care: Volunteers needed in various areas. - Kircher School: Volunteer needed for lunch delivery from Miles City to the school. Free lunch and mileage is reimbursed. - Spirit Riders: Volunteer to assist with Traffic control at funerals. - St. Vincent DePaul: Volunteers to assist in thrift store with sorting, pricing, cashier and stocking. November 2013 — 20
Dawson County
November 2013 Calendar
— Wednesday, November 6
• Federation of Fly Fishers Museum, Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 • Yellowstone Gateway Museum, Thursday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 • Blue and Gold Fall Party, 6-10 p.m., Best Western GranTree • Holiday Market Room, Tuesdays-Saturdays through Dec. 24,
Inn, Bozeman
p.m., Livingston
p.m., Livingston — Thursday, November 7 • 9th Annual Fall Health Festival, 7 a.m.-noon, Park County Fairgrounds, Livingston • Senior Appreciation Breakfast, 7:30-10 a.m., Park County Fairgrounds, Livingston — Friday, November 8 • Holter Museum’s Ho Ho Holter Holiday Gift Sale, through Dec. 24, Helena • 11th Annual Beer and Wine Tasting, Depot, Livingston — Saturday, November 9 • Billings Symphony Orchestra and Chorale Sixties Revolution Concert, 7:30-9 p.m., Alberta Bair Theatre, Billings • Annual Christmas Craft Show, Civic Center Ballroom, Helena • Jam Session and Potluck, 1 p.m., Senior Center, Livingston — Sunday, November 10 • Al Bedoo Shrine Dance “Shall We Dance”, 4-7 p.m., Shrine Auditorium Ballroom, Billings — Tuesday, November 12 • Christmas at the Moss Mansion, through Jan. 4, Billings — Thursday, November 14 • Bozeman Symphony, Shane Center, Livingston — Friday, November 15
Lewistown Art Center, Lewistown — Saturday, November 16 • Livingston Dance Club, country western dancing, 7-11 p.m., American Legion, 112 N. B St., Livingston • Wine, Food and Spirits Festival-MCC Centra, 7-l0 p.m., Miles City — Friday, November 22 • Festival of the Trees, through Nov. 23, Elks Lodge, Dillon • Fall Crafters Boutique, through Nov. 23, Friday noon-7 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Livingston — Saturday, November 23 • Music with the “Stars” Christmas Concert, 7 p.m., CCDHS Auditorium, Miles City — Thursday, November 28 • 7th Annual Huffing for Stuffing Thanksgiving Day Run, Museum of the Rockies, Bozeman — Friday, November 29 • Crazy Mountain Christmas, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., downtown Big Timber • Christmas Walk and Parade of Lights, Main Street, Forsyth • Christmas Stroll, 4-8 p.m., Main Street, Lewistown • AAUW Christmas Market-MCC Centra, through Nov. 30, Miles City — Saturday, November 30 • Charlie Russell Chew Choo, Northpole Adventure 5:00 and 7:30 p.m., Lewistown
Four signs you’re happier than you think
Your emotional health isn’t just about your genes or the kind of home you were raised in. It turns out that some pretty interesting factors play a role in how joyful you feel. Scan this list to see whether your lifestyle is making you content. 1. You smiled in your school pictures. Adults who had the biggest grins in their college yearbook pictures were up to 5 times less likely to be divorced decades later than those who looked less happy, according to a new DePauw University study. A smiler’s positive disposition may attract other happy people or rub off on a spouse. 2. You have a sister. People with at least one female sibling reported better social support, more optimism and better coping abilities, according to a study presented at the British Psychological Society’s annual conference. Sisters appear to encourage communication and cohesion in families. 3. You make exercise a priority. People who work out more are less likely to be stressed and more likely to be satisfied with life, according to Danish researchers. Compared with sedentary people, joggers were
70-percent less likely to have high stress levels and life dissatisfaction, the study found. Couch potatoes who started moderate exercise — the equivalent of 17 to 34 minutes a day — experience the greatest happiness lift. 4. You stay warm with hot chocolate. Clutching a steaming beverage — coffee and tea also do the trick — can elicit a flood of positive feelings, according to a Yale University study. This may be because people associate physical warmth with emotional warmth, say the researchers. Study subjects held cups of either hot or iced coffee; those gripping warm mugs were more appreciative of friendliness in others and also felt more generous and trusting themselves. For more great tips, pick up a copy of Prevention magazine, visit and follow us @PreventionMag. November 2013 — 21
Send STRANGE questions to brothers Bill and Rich at
By Bill Sones and Rich Sones, Ph.D.
How much hidden water is there in our foods?
A. That’s the water used to produce consumer items not typically thought of as containing water, says Stephen Emmott in “Ten Billion.” Take a hamburger, for example. By the time the cow is fed and processed as meat, it takes almost 800 gallons of water to produce that one burger. With roughly 21 billion burgers eaten each year in the U.S., that’s 16 trillion gallons of water! Other heavy “hidden water” items include coffee, chocolate, cotton and the many products with semiconductor chips.  For a cup of coffee, 26 gallons of water are used, even before any water has actually been added. Worldwide, two and a quarter billion cups of coffee are consumed every year. Also, it takes about 7,000 gallons of water to produce one kilogram of chocolate, or roughly 304 gallons of water per Hershey bar. “This should surely be something to think about while you’re curled up on the sofa eating one in your cotton pajamas,” adds Emmott, which themselves require 2,300 gallons of water to produce. And irony of ironies, something like four liters of water are needed to produce a one-liter plastic bottle for water.  In 2011, Americans averaged about 222 bottles of water per capita, or approximately 70 billion bottles total.  Finally, it takes about 19 gallons of water to produce one of the “chips” that typically powers a car, GPS, laptop, phone, iPad, TV, microwave, camera-with probably about 3 billion such chips produced in 2012.  That’s at least 57 billion gallons of water just on semiconductor chips! In short, Emmott concludes, “we’re consuming water, like food, at a rate that is completely unsustainable.” Q. If cheetahs don’t really run that fast after all (based on recent research), where does everybody get the wrong impression? November 2013 — 22 Q. How much “hidden water” is there in a hamburger, a cup of coffee, a piece of chocolate? A. Ask people and they’ll cite the figure of 60 miles per hour (mph), or 97 kilometers per hour (kph), but these measurements were made with imprecise speedometers and on animals raised in captivity, unaccustomed to hunting, as reported by Alan Wilson of the Royal Veterinary College at the University of London, in “New Scientist” magazine.    For better data, Wilson designed solarpowered collars with GPS trackers and other tools and fitted them on five wild cheetahs.  The top speed recorded was 58 mph (93 kph), but usual speeds were more like 34 mph (54 kph).  What makes cheetahs such good hunters is their ability to change their speed by 9 mph (14 kph) in a single stride.  This requires about four times the muscle power used by Usain Bolt for his 100-meter world record.  Cheetahs’ added success comes from their maneuverability:  The animals they prey on are agile as well, so “the final moments of a hunt are played out with an intricate to-and-fro of footwork, rather than a flat-out race.” Q. Why are so many people these days developing “myopia,” or nearsightedness?  For this one, there are theories stretching practically as far as the eye can see. researchers aback:  “The notion that child’s play might promote normal eye growth seemed almost magical.”  Still, the evidence is far from clear:  Some scientists say the benefit could come from exposure to natural light, or a relaxation of the eye gained from viewing things at a distance, or the visual tableaux that the eye encounters outdoors.  Or it could be a mix of all three.  Or is it because of a whole generation raised on computers, video games, and excessive “near work” in school.  The “maybe” debate goes on. Q. What’s some fascinating dental history you can sink your teeth into, and how do false teeth fit in here?
A. Nearsightedness has increased steadily in North America and Europe in recent decades, with one-third of adults in the U.S. now nearsighted, says Nathan Seppa in “Science News” magazine.  From the early 1970s to the turn of the century, myopia prevalence in the U.S. rose from 25% to nearly 42% among those aged 12 to 34, a substantial shift in a single generation.  Among young adults, the rate was 28 percent in the 1970s and is now 38 percent.  For some reason, such increases have not shown up in older generations nor in people living in rural areas. Studies linking myopia to limited time spent outdoors during childhood first surfaced a few years ago, taking many
A. Strangely enough, it wasn’t until Queen Victoria’s reign in England that the dental profession started to get organized, says Molly Oldfield in “The Secret Museum.”  For the first time, one had to be a dentist to work on people’s teeth.  “Before that, anyone who fancied it — chemists, blacksmiths and wigmakers — had a go.  People had their teeth pulled out on the village green as everyone watched.”  Then in the 1870s, the Dental Reform Committee was established to regulate the profession, with dental hospitals set up to train dentists and to treat patients. Stranger still, not long ago false teeth were “quite a status symbol,” under the assumption that nothing could go wrong with them.  George Washington had a set made from hippo ivory, and it was still a popular thing to do in more recent times. For example, in 1943, after selling film rights to his first children’s story “The Gremlins,” Roald Dahl used $200 from the proceeds to buy the best false teeth available.  “Like many men his age, Dahl replaced his teeth with false ones.  Then he urged his sister to do the same, but she wouldn’t bite on the notion.” As Oldfield concludes:  “Not so long ago, people who could afford it used to get false teeth for their 21st birthday, or just before they married.  What a rubbish
birthday present — a mouth full of false Q. Until recently, little was known about the swimming behavior of most teeth.” great apes, but then scientists made Q. Do animals ever get so desperate some curious observations.  Such as that they commit suicide? what? A. Not exactly, but there are plenty of A. Your dog, like almost all other fourcases of self-destructive behavior, such as limbed mammals, will swim using doggy rhesus monkeys in captivity biting them- paddle but aquatic apes tend to opt for a selves, reports “Science Illustrated” maga- form of breaststroke, reports “New Scienzine.  This sort of behavior is usually tist” magazine.  Apart from us humans, restricted to certain individuals that have great apes usually avoid deep water for suffered early trauma, as when separated fear of unseen predators, but evidence sugfrom their mother.  Scientists believe this gests they’ll take a dip and even dive if self-biting may be a way for the monkeys they feel safe enough.  Two captive apes--a chimpanzee named Cooper and an orangto relieve negative emotions.
utan named Suryia — have learned to swim in a swimming pool. Footage taken by Renato Bender of the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, showed both these apes instinctively used a version of breaststroke to keep afloat. Our tree-swinging past may help explain this.  Both humans and the other apes have shoulder joints that can move in all directions, instead of in just one plane like those of most other mammals. “That might make breaststroke the natural choice when apes take to the water,” says Bender (American Journal of Physical Anthropology, nb4).
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1 Italian for “little ribbons” 11 Site of the Delicate Arch 15 High anxiety? 16 Cold caller’s reward 17 Irish folk song that was a Grammy-winning vehicle for Metallica 19 Montréal label 20 Anxious times for some 21 One of the halogens 22 Pressure source 23 Criticize 24 Make some concessions 26 Neurologist’s concern 29 “Get real!” 30 Old autocrat 32 Problematic lighting? 33 See 11-Down 34 Cranky 36 Be a burden to 37 Come about 39 Cave-dwelling princess in Donald Duck comics 40 Mariner’s org.
41 Goldbricks 43 Rise to the top 45 Unifying idea 46 Great Lakes catch 47 “Epitaph for a Spy” novelist 49 “The Godfather” Oscar nominee 50 Union busters of the 19th cen. 53 Woolf pack? 56 Venting venue 57 Iron Man and Captain America, e.g. 58 __ Martin: cognac brand 59 One who goes out regularly
9 Writer who said “What I cannot love, I overlook” 10 Busy with courses 11 With 33-Across, Saturn or Mercury site 12 Asian aluminum exporter 13 Freed from radio music 14 Present 18 Shout of triumph 22 One-star write-up
23 Heineken distributor in Japan 24 Standard Oil offshoot 25 Late 1990s Nasdaq phenomenon 26 Sharks whose teeth were used in Maori jewelry 27 Old tongue that gave us “rotten” and “egg” 28 Gaelic music star 29 Thick-soled shoe 31 Speak derisively
1 Play the sycophant to, with “over” 2 Agree by repeating 3 Barber shop request 4 Set-__: rows 5 Homeowner’s concern 6 Subcompact that debuted in 1975 7 Not as forthcoming 8 Winged University of Miami mascot
34 For now 35 Seemed to own the runway, say 38 Focus of an annual festival in New Mexico 40 Penpoint 42 Ones for the record book 44 Strongly motivated 46 “Cheers” role 47 48-Down, e.g. 48 M.’s counterpart 49 Clever 50 It gets flat over time 51 Steak-and-kidneypudding ingredient 52 Abbey nook 54 Was taken in 55 Fly __
November 2013
— 23
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