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Fire destroys Beehive home


The Big Sky Fire Department was dispatched to 12 Beehive Basin Road in Big Sky Feb. 12 at 6:14 a.m. for a structure fire discovered by a passing motorist.

The first arriving units found the home completely engulfed with flames reaching more than 50 feet in the air.

No one was in the home at the time of the fire, but the structure was a total loss and BSFD cleared the scene at 4:30 p.m. The house had no smoke alarms, according to BSFD Chief Bill Farhat.

“This was an unfortunate example of where having automatic fire sprinkler systems and fire alarm systems would have made a huge difference,” said Farhat, indicating that the blaze had been burning for hours before his crew arrived.

“A great deal of damage could have been averted had the fire department been sent to the address during the beginning phase rather than after it was an inferno,” he added.

Assisting BSFD on scene were the Yellowstone Club Fire Department, the RAE/Sourdough Fire Department, the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office and Madison County Emergency Management.

The Montana State Fire Marshal’s Office also assisted in the incident. There is an ongoing investigation into the cause of the fire.

Michaelangelo’s Ristorante Italiano to open Big Sky locale


Italian cuisine is coming to the Meadow Village in Big Sky.

Michaelangelo’s Ristorante Italiano, named for its Zagat-rated chef Michael Annandono, will open by mid-March in the newly renovated building that housed the Big Sky Furniture store adjacent to the post office, according to Michael’s sister and business partner Emily Annandono.

The siblings have been planning a Big Sky location for approximately two years, and decided to use the name of the original restaurant, which is this May celebrating its 10-year anniversary in Cleveland, Ohio.

It’s not a chain, according to Emily, but Michael, who was named among the Best Chefs of America in 2013, decided to keep the name after Big Sky friends asked when he was going to open a Michaelangelo’s here.

“My brother started coming out [to Big Sky] five years ago,” said Emily, who is also the restaurant’s general manager. “It was his dream since he became a chef to open a location in a ski town.”

Michaelangelo’s will serve traditional food from northern Italy – a fitting choice since Michael trained as a chef in the Piedmont region of the country.

“The area is very influenced by French cuisine,” Emily said. “[The menu includes] a lot of braised meat and creamed sauces.”

Handmade pastas, risotto and a broad wine list from Italy, California, Washington and Oregon will round out offerings.

Bison capture operations begin at Stephens Creek


GARDINER (AP) – Bison wandering outside the northern boundary of Yellowstone National Park can now be captured at the Stephens Creek facility.

The Interagency Bison Management Plan called for the facility to open Feb. 15.

The management plan calls for removing 600 to 900 bison that migrate out of the park’s northern boundary this winter to reduce population growth and the potential for a larger migration in coming years.

Hunters have killed more than 300 bison outside the park this winter, and tribal hunting is expected to continue, but likely wouldn’t reach the management goal.

Additional animals will be captured and transferred to tribal groups for slaughter and distribution of meat and other parts to their members.

Copyright 2016 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Interact Club sends shoeboxes to soldiers


On Feb. 16, the Lone Peak High School Interact Club mailed 24 care packages to Montana National Guard soldiers stationed in Kuwait.

Company Bravo, 640th Aviation Support Battalion is a Helena-based Montana National Guard unit that provides Blackhawk helicopter maintenance for the 29th Combat Aviation Brigade.

Big Sky Rotary founded the Interact Club last March for kids ages 12-18. Nearly 30 local students participate. The club members are required to complete both an international and local service project each year, and last spring they raised money to fund Nepal earthquake-relief efforts.

The students raised more than $300 at the Rotary’s Jan. 22 Gold Auction to buy supplies for the soldiers, which included games, puzzle books, chap stick, deodorant, soap, pens and pencils, batteries, hard candies, and gum.

“Things that aren’t going to melt in a desert climate,” said Dale Palmer, who along with his wife Gayle is a liaison between Rotary and the Interact Club.

The Big Sky Interact members mailed approximately 80 pounds of goods to the Montana soldiers who will be stationed in Kuwait for another year.

Madison Conservation District celebrates 70 years


Madison Conservation District, an Ennis-based organization established in response to topsoil loss during the Dust Bowl, turns 70 this year.

The organization, one of 58 conservation districts in Montana, is funded by Madison County and supplemented with grants. MCD has been working with farmers and ranchers in the Madison River watershed since 1946, when awareness of unsustainable land-use practices exacerbated by the drought of the early 1930s resulted in the establishment of local conservation districts across the nation.

Sunni Heikes-Knapton, MCD’s watershed coordinator, said the group has placed water quality, minimizing sediment collection in waterways, and direct communication as the district’s top priorities.

“We learn more from our neighbors when we see them trying things rather than being told what to do from someone far away,” Heikes-Knapton said. Concerns in the Madison watershed include range health, noxious weeds, and water quantity and quality.

MCD is involved with several educational programs including a three-week summer camp for first through sixth graders centered on natural resources; winter landowner workshops; and GROWW, a k-12 program in Ennis schools where students learn about gardening, resources, outdoors, watersheds and wildlife.

Big Sky Chamber hires new membership director


BIG SKY – The Big Sky Chamber of Commerce on Feb. 16 announced Big Sky local Margo Magnant as its new membership director.

In this new role, Magnant will further develop relationships with new and existing members and grow the local, state, regional and national membership base of the Big Sky Chamber.

After graduating in 2008 from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in government and a minor in English, Margo returned to Montana where she most recently worked as the wedding and conference manager at Big Sky Resort.

“[We’re] thrilled that Margo is joining the team,” said Kitty Clemens, the executive director of the Big Sky Chamber. “Her in-depth knowledge of Big Sky, along with her previous sales and marketing experience, will make her an invaluable asset to both the Chamber and its members.”

As Membership Director, Magnant will be directly responsible for Chamber memberships, sponsorships, advertising, and events. She is keen to meet both current and future members and learn more about their wants and needs so that the Big Sky Chamber can continue to help businesses be successful.

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