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News in Brief: Jan. 4, 2019



January is National Blood Donor Month


The American Red Cross encourages people to help meet the urgent need for blood and platelets by resolving to give blood this January during National Blood Donor Month.

Donating blood or platelets is a way to make a lifesaving impact in the new year for patients like Judy Janssen, who was diagnosed with end-stage autoimmune liver disease in 2016. Janssen received frequent blood transfusions, sometimes multiple times a week, until she underwent a liver transplant last January.

“Blood donors make a really big difference with very little effort,” said Janssen, who received dozens of transfusions before and during her transplant surgery. “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for blood donations.”

The critical role of blood and platelet donors has been celebrated each January for nearly 50 years during National Blood Donor Month, which coincides with one of the most difficult times to maintain a sufficient blood supply for patients. Busy holiday schedules, extreme winter weather and seasonal illnesses often impact donor turnout this time of year.

The Big Sky Chapel will host a blood drive Jan. 10 from noon to 5 p.m., and the Gateway Community Center in Gallatin Gateway will host another opportunity Jan. 14 from 1 to 6 p.m.

To make an appointment to donate blood or platelets, download the free American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit or call (800) RED CROSS (800-733-2767).

Former Auditor named executive director of Montana Democrats

HELENA, Mont. (AP) – Former state auditor and legislator Monica Lindeen has been named the executive director of the Montana Democratic Party.

Party chairwoman Mary Sexton announced the appointment Dec. 31. Lindeen succeeds Nancy Keenan, who is retiring.

Lindeen served four terms in the House of Representatives, representing the rural eastern district between Billings and Miles City, starting in 1998. She was elected to two terms as state auditor and insurance commissioner, serving from 2009 to 2016. She has served as executive director of YWCA Helena for the past year.

Lindeen says she’s excited to get to work electing candidates who protect health care rights, defend public lands and help create jobs that pay well.

Moonlight, Spanish Peaks overall development plans moving forward


At the Madison County Commission meeting Dec. 11, the commissioners approved Moonlight Basin’s overall development plan with conditions negotiated between Lone Mountain Land Company and the Madison County Planning Board. The commission also extended Spanish Peaks Mountain Club’s request to extend the deadline until March 31 for finalizing changes to its ODP.

According to Madison County Planning Director Charity Fechter, the Spanish Peaks ODP is likely to be ready for public review in early February. The ODP was set to expire at the end of December and will set the boundaries and regulations for development in the private club.

Fechter said that Moonlight Basin has not yet submitted any preliminary plat applications yet, but that will be the next step of the process in developing additional land in the private club north of Lone Mountain.

The long-term plan for Moonlight includes the addition of 1,651 residential units, 270,000 square feet of commercial space, an 80-room five-star hotel, dorm-style employee housing, and two new chairlifts for residential access.

Yellowstone guides handling some duties with govt shutdown

BOZEMAN (AP) – While there’s no one working at Yellowstone National Park’s entrance stations or visitor centers due to the partial government shutdown, snowmobile and snow coach guides are still taking tourists in to the park’s interior.

And they’re packing in toilet paper and packing out trash.

Travis Watt, general manager of Three Bear Lodge and See Yellowstone Alpen Guides in West Yellowstone, tells the Bozeman Daily Chronicle his guides and those at other companies are pitching in to handle some of the basic duties.

Guides are also reminding visitors to clean up after themselves.

The park’s concessionaire, Xanterra, is keeping the road open and grooming ski trails.

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