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News in Brief



By EBS Staff

Bozeman Health fires CEO

Bozeman Health, formerly Bozeman Deaconess Health Services, announced last month its board of trustees had fired President and CEO Kevin Pitzer.

In a Sept. 18 press release, the board said it had “ … recently discovered information regarding Mr. Pitzer’s past conduct, which he had not shared with the board during the due diligence process or made known at the time of hiring.”

A letter from Pitzer to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle on the same day confirmed the dismissal was directly related to a “felony theft conviction” when he was 23 years old.

Reports indicate Pitzer was convicted of embezzling $100,000 from an Iowa daycare facility for the handicapped while he kept the books for the organization from 1981-1983.

Bozeman Health CFO Gordon Davidson and CMO David Chen will split the president and CEO duties on an interim basis until the board finds a replacement.

Bozeman Health is currently in the construction phase of the Big Sky Medical Facility, slated for completion in early December.

Former LPHS girls’ basketball coach sentenced

A former Lone Peak High School girls’ basketball coach charged with unlawful sexual intercourse with two of his players, pleaded guilty in May to one felony count of sexual assault as part of a plea agreement.

Cyle Kokot, 23, was sentenced on Sept. 22 to 20 years with five suspended in the Montana State Prison, and ordered by Gallatin County District Court Judge John Brown to serve 10 years probation following the term.

In August of last year, Kokot was arrested after two players – both minors – came forward accusing their former coach of rape.

Big Sky resort tax elections

Ballots will be mailed out Oct. 16 for candidates vying for three of the five seats on the Big Sky Resort Area District Board of Directors, ahead of the Nov. 3 election.

Big Sky residents Grace Young, Tallie Lancey and Kevin Germain, and returning board members Jamey Kabisch and Mike Scholz submitted petitions for nomination.

Board members Kabisch, Scholz and Jeff Strickler are concluding their first, four-year terms. Ginna Herman and Heather Budd won’t be up for re-election until May of 2018, since election dates are moving to May after this November’s election.

The Resort Tax Board serves on a voluntary basis and oversees all aspects of collection and appropriation of Big Sky’s local 3 percent sales tax. The board meets regularly and reviews applications and appropriates funding each June.

EBS will publish candidate bios in the Oct. 16 edition.

MDT seeks public comment on Big Sky bridge rehab

The Montana Department of Transportation is seeking comments on a proposal to rehabilitate three bridges near Big Sky.

The bridges cross over the West Fork of the Gallatin River at milepost 0.3 and over the Middle Fork of the West Fork at milepost 3.5 on Lone Mountain Trail. The third bridge spans the Gallatin River on Highway 191 at milepost 49.8.

Proposed work includes bridge rail reconstruction, deck milling, overlay or deck replacement, and bridge approach milling. The purpose of the project is to take cost-effective action to extend the service life of the existing bridges and improve the road surface, according to a MDT press release.

For more information, contact Butte District Administrator Jeff Ebert at (406) 494-9625, or Project Design Engineer Nathan Haddick at (406) 444-9400. Written comments may be submitted to the Montana Department of Transportation Butte office at P.O. Box 3068, Butte, MT 59702-3068, or at Specify comments for project UPN 8792000.

Aspen restoration south of Big Sky



Forest Service crews have begun phase one of a project to enhance aspen groves east of Big Sky, south of the Porcupine Trail and north of the Twin Cabin Trail. Work will continue into October and no trail closures are expected.

The first phase of restoring aspen trees involves removing some of the conifers that compete with aspen for sunlight and moisture. Aspen must have adequate sunlight and water to reproduce, a disturbance to stimulate a hormone found within the trees, and some initial protection from animal browsing for new shoots.

“Aspen trees play a unique and vital role in this ecosystem, attracting many birds, insects and mammals,” said District Wildlife Biologist Bev Dixon. “In the past, aspen groves in the area have been declining.

“This project is designed to enhance new growth in the remaining groves by removing encroaching conifer trees and eventually reintroducing fire to stimulate new growth.”

Contact the Bozeman Ranger District at (406) 522-2520 for more information.

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