Gardiner celebrates Earth Day with free music, barbecue

GARDINER CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

On Saturday, April 22, area scientists, experts and community members will celebrate Earth Day in Gardiner, Montana.

Activities include a community cleanup; fast-paced talks about land, water and wildlife; as well as live music and a barbecue. Children can participate in face painting, crafts and a trash-sculpture contest.

The event will be held in Arch Park, which was recently renovated and improved for the 2016 centennial celebration of the National Park Service. A rainy-weather backup location is at the Gardiner Community Center.

Food will be available from noon to 1:30 p.m. in the form of a zero-waste barbecue hosted by the park’s official concessioner, Yellowstone National Parks Lodges.

New this year is soul-thumping music from Satsang, whose socially conscious lead singer found inspiration for much of his creative energy in Montana’s Beartooth Mountains. The family friendly band has toured the U.S. and shared the stage with a variety of bands including Michael Franti & Spearhead. The music starts at 3 p.m.

Although Gardiner Earth Day is a longstanding local tradition, the town is opening its arms to nearby communities to celebrate the wonders the area has to offer with expanded opportunities. Additionally, the National Park Service is waiving Yellowstone park entrance fees during the weekend, with some roads opening, weather permitting.

Gardiner Earth Day is free and open to the public. Visit facebook.com/GardinerEarthDay or
gardinerchamber.com for more information.

April is Fair Housing Month

MONTANA BOARD OF HOUSING

April is Fair Housing Month, commemorating passage of the federal Fair Housing Act as part of the 1968 Civil Rights Act.

The Housing and Community Development divisions at the Montana Department of Commerce work with property owners, landlords, developers and other private partners to make sure all the associated housing programs comply and continue to follow Montana laws.

In acknowledgement of Fair Housing Month, the Montana Board of Housing recognizes three important housing actions:
– In 2016, the Montana Department of Commerce assisted approximately 9,000 individuals or families to access affordable housing through monthly rental assistance, homebuyer assistance and reverse annuity mortgages.
– In April of 1968, Congress passed the federal Fair Housing Act. Its primary purpose is to protect people from seller or landlord discrimination.
– In Montana, housing discrimination is against the law. The Montana Human Rights Act states that it’s unlawful to make decisions about housing based on a person’s race, color, national origin, religion, sex, marital status, age, disability or familial status.

Visit housing.mt.gov/fairhousing or call (406) 841-2840 for more information.

March for Science in Yellowstone part of worldwide protest

EBS STAFF

Michelle Ciotta, co-organizer of a March for Science event that will be held at Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park, estimates hundreds of people will attend the April 22 march, based on the response she’s gotten from people employed in and near the park. Ciotta said she expects free admission to the park that weekend will also boost march attendance.

According to a press release from March for Science, more than 400 events will be held across the world on Earth Day to “defend the vital role science plays in everyday life, including in health, safety, economies and governments.”

Ciotta, who bartends at the Snow Lodge in Yellowstone, said she was inspired to organize the event by President Donald Trump’s climate change policies and spending priorities. “The budget cuts that were laid forth by our president really took aim at the Department of Interior,” Ciotta said. She organized the event with Alexandra O’Connor, who works for the National Park Service in Yellowstone’s maintenance division.

Ciotta said she’s frustrated that Trump and his administration are pulling back on policies to combat climate change, including the rollback of more stringent fuel economy standards for automobile manufacturers.

The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will include speakers, as well as the circulation of petitions aimed at preventing budget cuts to environmental programs.

“A lot of people are feeling that scientific evidence is not being heard,” Ciotta said. “I think that having something at Old Faithful, which is so iconic, will bring more people out and get more people involved.”

FOBSE awards $46,500 in scholarships to Lone Peak seniors

EBS STAFF

Friends of Big Sky Education awarded $46,500 in scholarship funds to Lone Peak High School seniors on April 6 at the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center. The ceremony was followed by an informal breakfast where scholarship sponsors could meet the recipients of their scholarships.

Twelve of the 18 LPHS seniors, with GPAs ranging from 3.0 to 4.2, applied for 28 of 29 available scholarships, all of which were awarded. Students garnered multiple scholarships amounting to funds ranging from $1,500 to $5,500.

The scholarship donations came from more than 100 individuals, eight businesses, four foundations and four organizations in the Big Sky community, and were need and/or merit based. They were either offered in a general category or in support of specific disciplinary interests.

“During this third year of the program, we found that the number of businesses and people in Big Sky who are eager to sponsor a scholarship or donate to one is growing,” said Anne Marie Mistretta, who leads the Community Scholarship Program initiative with her husband Jerry Mistretta. “People are pleased with our graduates’ admissions to college, and they understand that a strong community supports students.”

Lone Peak High School anticipates 26 students will graduate in the class of 2018 and fundraising efforts to replenish the FOBSE scholarships for next year’s graduates are already underway.

To learn more about Friends of Big Sky Education, visit friendsofbigskyeducation.org.