Medical center says no to recycling site

The Big Sky Medical Center will not be hosting the recycling center. Currently on Aspen Leaf Drive in Big Sky Town Center, the recycling site was slated for removal Oct. 1, but stayed in place pending the BSMC deal that never was.

A letter received by EBS on Oct. 12 from Cheryl Ridgely, Bozeman Health Chief Strategy and Business Development Officer, indicated that “prohibitive costs, logistic complications, and timing with construction staging” were factors in the decision.

“Regrettably, a public announcement was made by several community groups regarding relocation of the Big Sky recycling site to the Bozeman Health Big Sky Medical Center property, before we could complete an evaluation of the feasibility of taking on this endeavor,” the letter stated.

In a Sept. 30 phone interview, Big Sky Medical Center Administrator Tracy Reamy confirmed with EBS that the hospital would host the recycling center.

“We will be taking [recycling] at Big Sky Medical Center,” Reamy said. “It’s just a matter of time.”

Community stakeholders will hold another meeting to discuss the future of recycling in Big Sky on Oct. 22.

Riverhouse holds weekly comps

Every Tuesday during the offseason in Big Sky, the Gallatin Riverhouse Grill hosts Bingo night. Now in its third season, competition proceeds benefit Big Sky’s chapter of the American Legion: Post 99.

During the second bingo night of this offseason on Oct. 13, between 60-70 players sat down at the long tables in the Riverhouse, said Greg “Carnie” Lisk, co-owner of the barbeque joint located south of Big Sky on Highway 191, adding that he expects numbers to increase as the season wears on.

Cards begin selling at 5:30 p.m. each Tuesday, and the first game drops at approximately 6:30 p.m. Callers announce 10 games each night, including a “blackout round,” which Lisk says holds the largest jackpot of the evening. On Oct. 13 the jackpot reached $300, but the more people play the bigger the pot grows.

“Of course there’s no snow yet,” Lisk said, “but locals still want to go out and have fun. Winning $300 is like winning the lottery around here.”

Shooting range denied resort tax, for now

In a special meeting held Oct. 14, the Big Sky Resort Area District tax board voted 3-2 to withhold $10,000 of resort tax from the Friends of Red Cliff Shooting Range. The money was appropriated in June with a condition that before funds were disbursed, the U.S. Forest Service would agree to extend the boundary of the shooting range into the Big Sky Resort Area Tax District.

In a Sept. 4 memo and subsequent communications with BSRAD board members, the Hebgen Lake Ranger District stated the shooting range could not be moved to another location in the district, and the boundary of the range could not be extended, due to environmental and public safety concerns.

Friends of Red Cliff Shooting Range asked the board to amend the condition on their contract to allow work outlined in the application to continue. The money was requested for land cleanup and improvement, construction materials, and continued maintenance.

In the Oct. 14 meeting, BSRAD board members told the shooting range group that the board would entertain lifting the condition if the Friends came back to the board with a business plan outlining educational programming that is conducted within the district.

Big Sky Chamber to present housing plan

State and county entities are joining the Big Sky Chamber of Commerce this month for a presentation proposing a community housing plan.

The Montana Department of Commerce and Gallatin County officials will hold the public event at the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center on Oct. 22 at 4 p.m., and plan to discuss cost analysis, funding options, and a “current conceptual housing plan,” according to a Big Sky Chamber press release.

Under Gallatin County, the chamber applied for a state-issued Community Block Development Grant, which allows for more planning.
Studies conducted by the U.S. Forest Service and Montana State University date back to the 1970s, and established areas designated for affordable housing. One such area, a trailer court on Lone Mountain Trail west of the Conoco, was leveled to make room for the Dot Brandt 5 Bar B Ranch.

In June 2013, the Big Sky Resort Area District tax board appropriated the chamber $80,000 to hire Colorado consulting firm Economics and Planning Systems to perform a housing development study. The next year, the Chamber applied for another $165,000 of public resort tax to move forward with its Big Sky housing plan.

“The presentation will … offer the public an opportunity to ask questions, give opinions, and discuss the proposed plan,” according to the chamber press release.

Big Sky Resort re-breaks summer visitation record

On Sept. 27, Big Sky Resort closed its Mountain Village facilities after setting a new visitation record for the third consecutive summer.

The resort estimated a 10 percent increase in revenue over last year, and the big numbers are attributed to an expansion of family-friendly activities, special events, and Yellowstone National Park’s record-breaking visits this summer, according to an Oct. 5 press release.

“A lot of factors went into the success of our summer season,” said Lyndsey Owens, marketing director for the resort, citing increased exposure of its Basecamp to Yellowstone activities, and events such as the Vine and Dine Festival and The Rut Mountain Runs. “The whole community did well with many visitors drawn to the new trails and community events.”

Big Sky Resort expanded its mountain bike trails system this summer, with the Upper South Fork Trail – where riders descend from Andesite Mountain to Town Center – attracting both local and regional bikers to the resort.

Most mountain facilities, and all mountain recreation, will be closed until Big Sky Resort reopens for the winter season on Thanksgiving Day.

Former resort employee charged with embezzlement

A former Big Sky Resort employee has been charged with stealing nearly $15,000 worth of security deposits from foreign workers who were living in the resort’s Whitewater Inn.

The Gallatin County Attorney’s Office filed a felony theft charge the second week of October against Simon Ineus Carvil, as first reported by the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

Dax Schieffer, director of human resources for Big Sky Resort, contacted The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office on May 21, according to charging documents. Schieffer reported being contacted by several foreign employees of the resort who had lived at the Whitewater Inn on Highway 191 while they were temporarily employed. They charged that their $300 cash security deposits were not returned.

The missing deposits, totaling $14,550, were made between November and March. Carvil was a housing manager and responsible for taking security deposits at Whitewater Inn. Carvil denied taking any money, but couldn’t explain how the deposits had gone missing on his watch.

No date has been set for Carvil’s initial appearance in Gallatin County District Court.