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John Mayer performs sold-out flood relief concert; fundraising could top $2.5 million, Family Promise receives $1 million for childcare learning center, Legendary skier Chris Davenport joins Peak Ski Company's executive team…and more

John Mayer performs sold-out flood relief concert; fundraising could top $2.5 million, Family Promise receives $1 million for childcare learning center, Legendary skier Chris Davenport joins Peak Ski Company's executive team…and more

Image by Lauren Kemp

John Mayer performs sold-out flood relief concert; fundraising could top $2.5 million

John Mayer performed to a sold-out crowd at Pine Creek Lodge during the Rise for the River Montana Flood Relieve Benefit concert on August 21. Mayer organized the concert series to help raise funds for relief efforts after historic flooding hit the area in June. Mayer is a resident of Paradise Valley. One thousand people showed up at the acoustic event, and the local lodge sign advertised his performance, which read, "Aspiring local musician, John Mayer." Two guitars were signed and donated by Mayer and were raffled after the event. [Missoulian]

Family Promise receives $1 million for childcare learning center

Family Promise of Gallatin Valley was awarded a grant of nearly $1 million through the State of Montana to increase access to childcare for underserved families who face housing instability or homelessness. Family Promise Development Director Robin Mayer shared that one in every three kids in the area does not have access to early learning, or their parents cannot afford preschool learning opportunities. Montana's childcare crisis results from insufficient supply to meet the demand and schools' inability to recruit and retain staff. The grant money will help the early learning center enroll more students for more daily hours. There will be 24 spots open for children two years old and younger and 16 spots for children three to five years old. Rising Stars Early Learning Center provides quality childcare and early learning experiences to families and their children regardless of their ability to pay. [Montanarightnow.com] 

Yellowstone to host multiple tribal activities to commemorate 150 Years of Yellowstone and Founders Day

During August 17-28, Yellowstone National Park hosted multiple tribal activities in the park to commemorate 150 Years of Yellowstone and Founders Day, which is the anniversary of the creation of the National Park Service on August 25, 1916. For more than 10,000 years before Yellowstone became a national park, it was where Native Americans lived, hunted, fished, gathered plants, quarried obsidian, and used the thermal water for religious and medicinal practices. Currently, 27 associated Native American tribes have historical and modern connections to the land and resources found in the park. During several signature week activities, the public was invited to learn about the historical and continued presence of American Indian tribes in the Yellowstone region. [Montanarightnow.com]

Legendary skier Chris Davenport joins Peak Ski Company's executive team

Peak Ski Company, founded spring of 2022 by Andy Wirth and Bode Miller, is a high-performance ski brand platform defined by grit, innovation, precision, and performance. For Red Bull mountain athlete Chris Davenport, skiing is about having fun and being part of the community. He hopes to bring these values and apply them to the company in his new role as the senior director of skiing and product innovation for the Bozeman-based company. "We're literally building products and creating experiences that give people a great time and make them feel good about themselves … and their experiences in the mountains," Davenport said. "And that's exactly what was translating through the snow, through the skis, through my ski boots, and into my body." [Explore Big Sky]

MSU nursing college receives $3.9 million to deliver healthcare to rural Montana

Montana State University's nursing college has received a $3.9 million grant that will enable the school and its partners from across the state to deliver high-quality medical, dental, and behavioral health care to kids in rural and underserved areas while providing exceptional educational opportunities for students. The four-year grant is from the United States Health Resources Service Administration. It will fund the Nurse Education, Practice, Quality, and Retention - Mobile Health Training Program, which allows for teams of students from MSU to work alongside community health care providers to provide care via mobile clinics in five different communities around Montana. More than 600 nursing students are expected to participate during the grant's lifetime. [Explore Big Sky]

The exclusive One&Onaly Resort comes to Big Sky to provide luxury as well as jobs across Montana

The One&Only is a world-renowned resort coming to Big Sky in 2024. It was ranked number two in Travel and Leisure's top 25 Best Hotel Brands, and it is finally coming to the US in Montana. Matt Kidd, managing director at Lone Mountain Land Company, spoke about the project: "One&Only is a very special hospitality and residential project here in Big Sky Montana," says Kidd, "We will have about 94 hotel rooms and 62 residences. Obviously, this is a very spectacular location here in Big Sky and to have the One&Only brand here in Montana is a big deal. This is the first location for this brand in all of the United States." The resort has 12 locations globally, and the development in Big Sky will have unique features open to the public. The resort is not just about luxury; it will provide a lot of work for Montana businesses and Montanans across the state. [KBZK]

Bozeman's own wins Montana Librarian of the Year

The Montana Librarian of the Year is an award recognized by librarians from across the state. This year's winner is Katie Biehl from the Bozeman Public Library. Not only is she recognized by her colleagues across the state, but by the community, she grew up in. "I lucked out right away with a job at the Belgrade library, and then a couple of months later, a job opened up at the Bozeman Public Library, and I applied for that," shared Biehl. Following 24 years after starting at the Bozeman library, Biehl was awarded the highest honor for librarians in Montana. [KBZK]

Summit exploring benefits of reestablishing passenger rail services

The re-establishment of passenger rail services is in talks again after their discontinuation 42 years ago. The Greater Northwest Passenger Rail Summit in Billings continues to examine everything from social benefits to environmental advantages of having the rail network in the region, especially for rural and native communities. I'm Mathews, CEO of Rail Passengers Association, says, "Rural communities throughout the United States have really been left out of the national conversation in a million different ways, and certainly one of them has to be transportation." He also believes that the development of passenger rail service across the southern region of Montana would help rural communities to connect with other urban communities. "This service can bring the rural community members into the larger community for entertainment, for connection, but also for things, like health services, for clinic visits, for education. It's a way of stitching the communities together, so the people in rural communities aren't on their own," added Mathews. Additionally, Norma Gourneau, a member of the Northern Cheyenne tribe, believes that the presence of passenger rail will open an entirely new world of possibilities to countless tribal members. [KULR8]

Great Falls author Jamie Ford appears on Today Show, gets book optioned for film 

Great Falls author Jamie Ford says it took him years to get out from the shadow of his first book, the New York Times bestseller, "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet." He traded that shadow in for an even bigger one. On August 15, Ford appeared on the Today Show after being picked by co-host Jenna Bush Hager for the Read with Jenna Book Club. The book is not the first of Ford's that has been optioned for the screen, but the production of "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet" has been stalled, making the alternative option more possible. Going on Today didn't make Ford nervous. Instead, it was a four-minute video about him and his life that gave him a sleepless night before it was released. He said he didn't get to see it before it became public, so it was a nerve-racking experience. The final result blew him away. He said he absolutely loved it. [Great Falls Tribune] 

Romney Hall celebrates 100 years on Montana State University's campus

Romney Hall on Montana State University's campus celebrated its 100th birthday after its recent reopening in November 2021. "It is a pride of our campus. There's no question about that," shared Kerry Hanson of the MSU Alumni Association. Romney is one of the oldest buildings on campus, and after renovations, it is no longer used as a gym but as one of the school's major academic buildings. The hall went from 141 classroom seats to over 1,000. The renovations were completed with around $32 million in funding, and the building kept much of its old charm. "One of the cool things in there, if you've not been in there yet, is that you can in the watershed, Cusato auditorium that's in there as well," says Hanson, "It's a large classroom and in that building was left a big circle. I'm not sure the sacrum friends, but it is the original basketball floor that was in there. So it's part of the classroom." [KXLH]

Bozeman Bucks to build an indoor practice facility

The Bozeman Bucks plan to build an indoor practice facility that will be funded through $600,000 worth of donations and donated building materials that the team raised beginning in the fall of 2021. The building will have six 80-foot batting cages, three pitching mounds, and three pitching machines. The building will also be heated, making it more manageable to practice during winter in Montana. The team hopes to break ground on the project as soon as possible and will begin using the facility before the start of next season. [NBC Montana]

6,000 world-class trout per mile is just the beginning

Missouri River Ranch provides an all-inclusive angling experience like no other. Missouri River Ranch is a premiere fly-fishing lodge on the Missouri River with 6,000 trout per mile, world-class fishing guides, well-appointed accommodations, and an exquisite all-inclusive culinary experience. The location is remote, located 50 miles from Great Falls and Helena airports but is easily accessible. The 13-guest room ranch offers modern comforts, historic charm, and a truly authentic Montana experience. Renovated in 2020, the century-old ranch sits on 160 acres near Craig, Montana. Stu Apte, lifelong angler and long-time ranch guest, shared, "Plenty of fish to be caught there, I'll tell you that," he said, adding that his fondest memories are trading stories and fly fishing tips with other guests at the ranch. "Everybody who goes to the Missouri River Ranch always goes back. I've always got a full boat of people going back–that ought to tell you something about how outstanding the whole stay is." [Explore Big Sky]

Tran family brings Scoops to town center

Janet Tran launched her newest food venture, bringing ice cream and sweet treats to the Big Sky Town Center. "Scoops," located at the kiosk in Town Center Plaza, came from a recognized need in the community to help out on hot summer days. Janet enlisted help from two of her four siblings, and they quickly jumped into action, opening the shop only ten days after signing the lease. The Tran family is serving up Wilcoxson's ice cream made in Livingston, Montana. In addition to ice cream, the family offers fresh-baked cookies and an assortment of toppings. Janet hopes to serve warm chili and other soups this winter and to return next summer to bring sweet treats and smiles to the community. "I don't want to deprive people of ice cream," she said. [Explore Big Sky]

Company Spotlights 

Montana State University:

Data Entry Associate:

The Data Entry Associate ("Associate") position within Montana State University Alumni Foundation ("Alumni Foundation") is responsible for coordinating with the Director of Data Administration and other members of the Alumni Foundation to implement prioritized efforts to accurately maintain information within the Alumni Foundation's constituent database. In addition to directly performing data and information entry, the Associate will also assist the Data and Information Services team (DIS) with project-focused efforts to complete targeted data improvement and data cleansing efforts.

Accounting Specialist:

he Accounting Specialist for the Montana State University Alumni Foundation is responsible for donor gift processing, accounts payable and accounts receivable processing, and general accounting tasks. Assigned duties require significant attention to detail and the ability to effectively manage a variety of accounting tasks. The Accounting Specialist reports to the Director of Gift Processing.