Letter from the Editor — Spring 2017

Like Oprah “loves bread,” I love spring! While wandering through months of darkness, as the cold clutches the earth and trees raise their bare branches to a somber gray sky, I think where is global warming when it’s needed? But, at the doorstep of worn patience, spring bursts forth, much like the first movement in Beethoven’s Fifth symphony. The first four notes are like a knock on spring’s door, summoning its awakening –Da-da-da-daaaa, followed by a sort of urgency and foreboding for earth to come to life. The birds begin to sing, banishing the silence of winter. Misty-eyed cubs rouse from a long slumber while playful fawns prance among the wildflowers in the meadows. Snow-capped mountains release a winter’s bounty that swell the rivers while the pitter patter of warm rain cleanses the land allowing earth to release its shackles on the seeds below. The glisten of fresh dew, the smell of sweet fragrances and the early morning hum of a lawn mower speaks of a day full of triumphant celebration. What other season rolls out the welcome mat in such colorful, formal attire? When you think about it, summer has it pretty easy… maybe that is why it is referred to as the “lazy” days of summer.

SignatureMT rolls out its spring welcome mat with a lineup of fresh and colorful stories. We begin with a labor of love as writer Shane Klippenes takes us on an overnight adventure to a historic stock operation just south of Great Falls, where ranchers prove their mettle through minor irritations to life-threatening emergencies during lambing season. And, delving deeper into Montana’s number one industry, we explore how women are breaking the glass ceiling and making huge strides in a career field traditionally made up of men. Gardener Amy Grisak, provides some insightful tips on how to grow the best and most treasured fruit of the garden, the tomato! Great Falls author, Ryan Acra, visits with us about his new book and how his super hero concept combined with humor and sharing the gift of laughter is challenging students, in grades three through six, to think outside the box when it comes to problem solving. And, have you ever wondered how Montana ended up with such a patchwork of unique counties? Writer Michael Ober takes an in-depth look at historical maps and discovers how the peopling and populating of Montana can be told in the origins of its counties. Join us as we take a trip down “Memory Lane” with World War II Hatch Gunner, Edward Maierle, as he recalls his days of service and reason for enlisting in the U.S. Navy. These and many more stories await in this issue of SignatureMT.

Remember, as the majestic fanfare of spring unfolds and the revitalization of life perpetuates around us, take time to step outside each morning and see the glisten of dew on the fresh cut grass while embracing the possibilities and work that can be done. Then, as the dying light speaks of the day’s many accomplishments, sit a spell and allow the last hours to be enjoyed in relaxation and, of course, with the spring issue of SignatureMT in hand.

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4th Avenue, Conrad, MT

Text by Claire Baiz • Photography by Daphne Wade

Creative Addictions 11 4th Ave. SW, Ste 300
Art, In the Old Arnot’s Building

Kit Finlayson’s four grandkids have no excuse to be bored—visiting their grandmother’s business is like entering a Willy Wonka craft factory, overloaded with watercolor supplies, jewelry, scrapbooking, stamping, knitting, rug making, and every imaginable paper craft. Located in the huge Arnot’s furniture building, Creative Addictions has plenty of friendly workspace, along with lotions, oils, perfume and gifts…and then there’s the gourmet chocolate.

It’s no surprise that Creative Addictions is garnering a national reputation among crafters.

Finlayson, a Conrad native and MSU graduate, loves to do all the artistic things she has in her store. Stop by, take an adult-ed class, or share the joy of “I made this!” with your friends and family.

Even if you don’t crochet, it’s easy to get hooked at Creative Addictions.

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Savoir Faire & Iconic Sinatra Style

Text by Claire Baiz • Photography by Phil Procopio

Craig Duff gets a question that’s more common for a four-year-old kid at a birthday party than a forty-two year old federal law enforcement officer. “Did you dress yourself?”

The answer is yes, head to toe—and inside out.

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Treasure Seeker

Feast Your Eyes at Feather Your Nest

Text by Claire Baiz • Photography by Marcus Serrano

“Treasures walk in on a daily basis,” says Kandy Zanto, owner of Feather Your Nest in downtown Great Falls.

That doesn’t mean Zanto sits around. She goes to auctions, estate sales, and other local shops. She even makes house calls. “Wherever I go—in person or online—I find fun things and great stories.”

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New Docs Bring High Skills for High Risk Babies & Moms

Text by Claire Baiz • Photography by Marcus Serrano

Dr. James Meserow and Dr. Jayson Lingan do delicate dances to save lives. Meserow, a Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist, and Lingan, a neonatologist at Benefis’ Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, choreograph actions with Benefis’ exceptionally skilled team. When it comes to high-risk moms and babies, everyone knows when and where to move.

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King of the Kitchen

The Genius Behind the Backyard Sipper Revealed

Text by Mark Baune • Photography by Jim Wells

We are going to switch gears this issue. Instead of zeroing in on flavor, color and alcohol content, let’s explore the various uses of my good friend, beer! It’s a no-brainer that you can cook with it but, have you ever thought of making vinegar? I stumbled upon this tasty concoction when a batch of home brew went sour and I, being a frugal individual, didn’t throw it out but rather, made vinegar. I grabbed a gallon glass jar and added some organic vinegar to my messed up brew. (Be sure the vinegar is not distilled, filtered or pasteurized.) This will inoculate it with some good “bugs” or what the pros call acetobacter. Acetobacter is aerobic, meaning it needs oxygen to convert ethanol (alcohol) into acetic acid –which makes vinegar taste like vinegar.

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