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News in Brief: Nov. 9, 2018

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Vote now for Best of Big Sky 2018


Voting is now open for Best of Big Sky 2018, when EBS asks you, our readers, to cast a vote for your favorite local businesses and community members—the places and people that make this growing resort town so unique. The 2018 Best of Big Sky survey will remain live through end of day Dec. 1.

Highlights from last year’s “election” include Lotus Pad’s win for “best restaurant,” Olive B’s for “best date night restaurant,” Lone Peak Brewery and Taphouse for “best burger,” Scissorbills Saloon for “best après,” Arts Council of Big Sky for “best nonprofit,” Big Sky Build for “best builder” and Monica’s Salon for “best salon,” just to name a few.

Explore Big Sky received more than 3,000 votes last year and hopes to increase the voting numbers this year.

New categories on the ballot this year include best coffee, best fishing outfitter, best tourist attraction and more.

“This is a chance for the community to express support for the businesses that it keeps alive year-round,” said Eric Ladd, publisher of Explore Big Sky. “Year after year, the competition has gotten stronger with the growth of our community and more new businesses moving in each year.”

So, vote now and vote often. This is your opportunity to recognize another standout citizen in Big Sky, as well as your favorite eateries, après ski destinations and outdoor retailers, among others. One vote per day, per email address will be accepted.

Best of Big Sky 2018 results will be published in the Dec. 21 issue of Explore Big Sky.

Cast your vote at

Reach Air Medical air ambulance has closed its Helena base

HELENA (AP) – Reach Air Medical Services has closed its Helena base, which was served with a helicopter and a fixed-wing aircraft.

Company President Sean Russell tells the Independent Record the evolving health care market in Montana made it too difficult to sustain the Helena base. It closed on Nov. 2.

The 2017 Legislature passed a law requiring air ambulance providers and health insurers to negotiate air ambulance payments. The law prevents air ambulance companies without in-network agreements from sending patients bills for tens of thousands of dollars.

Robyn Dondero, senior director of business operations, says a Bozeman-based helicopter can serve the Helena area. Benefis Health System in Great Falls also can serve Helena with a helicopter and an airplane.

Reach Air employs 23 people in Helena. Dondero says they will be offered other jobs within the company.

Rotary Club sponsors Christmas Giving Tree


The Rotary Club of Big Sky, with the support of the Big Sky community, is once again sponsoring the Christmas Giving Tree to assist families during the holiday season. For the 11th consecutive year, the Giving Tree will help families during Christmas by providing gifts for children and a Christmas dinner for families.

Families wishing for support this holiday season can make their requests by picking up a Santa Letter from First Security Bank, American Bank, Big Sky Food Bank, or The Country Market. Santa Letters, which remain completely confidential, must be returned in the provided self-addressed stamped envelope no later than Dec. 7.

Wrapped gifts and a family Christmas dinner basket will be delivered by members of the Rotary Club on Dec. 20.

Can the Griz food drive ends Nov. 17


The 19th annual Can the Griz food drive—an off-field competition between Montana State University and the University of Montana to see which school can collect the most donations for its local county food bank—ends Nov. 17 at the finish of the first quarter of the annual Brawl of the Wild football game between MSU and UM, which will be held this year in Missoula. The winner of the competition will be announced during the second half of the football game.

Organizers of the drive ask that nonperishable food donations be taken to collection locations throughout Bozeman to support those in need in Gallatin County. A list of participating locations can be found at

Bobcat supporters can designate their contribution to MSU by telling the Gallatin Valley Food Bank or collection location host that their donation is for the Can the Griz food drive.

Those wanting to donate are also invited to bring cans to the MSU football game on Nov. 10 versus Northern Colorado. Collection bins will be located at the Ressler and XL Country tailgates.

Monetary donations may be made directly to the Gallatin Valley Food Bank by visiting Each dollar donated counts as 1 pound of food.

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