Names and faces

Shari Risken has joined Opportunity Bank of Montana as executive assistant to the chief executive officer, chief financial officer and chief risk officer. Shari has an executive assistant degree and more than 35 years of experience with an extensive background providing administrative, technical and analytical services in a wide variety of industries. Her job history includes serving in an executive level administrative position for Shodair Children’s Hospital, Providence Health Care Spokane and Washington Trust Bank. 


Ruth Mollet, FNP has joined the gastroenterology department at St. Peter’s Medical Group North. Prior to this position, Mollet was a Same Day Nurse at St. Peter’s Hospital. She earned her Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN), with a Family Nurse Practitioner Emphasis, from Devry University, Chamberlain College of Nursing in Chicago. She obtained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from Washington State University – Intercollegiate College of Nursing, Joint B.S. degree with Eastern Washington University, in Spokane, Wash.

She is a board certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner with the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. 


Christopher Lindsay, M.D., has joined the radiology department at St. Peter’s Hospital. Lindsay earned his Doctor of Medicine from the Creighton University School of Medicine, in Omaha, Neb. He completed his fellowship in body imaging with the Henry Ford Health System and his residency in diagnostic radiology from Wayne State University’s Detroit Medical Center in Detroit, Mich. He obtained his bachelor of arts, graduating maxima cum laude, in biology, from Carroll College.

Lindsay is a certified Magnetic Resonance Medical Director from the American Board of Magnetic Resonance Safety (ABMRS). He is also a member of the Radiological Society of North America, the American Roentgen Ray Society, and the American College of Radiology.

Prior to joining St. Peter’s Hospital, Lindsay was the chief of radiology/radiation oncology section and staff radiologist with St. James Healthcare, in Butte. He also served as a staff radiologist with Montana Interventional and Diagnostic Radiology Specialists, PLLC with the VA Montana Healthcare System in Fort Harrison.

Lindsay is originally from Clancy, and a graduate of Jefferson High School.


Helena native, Dillon Ewals has joined Better Body Fitness as the company’s operations director. Ewals will focus on creating a consistent customer experience, as well as streamlining day-to-day operations. His professional experience includes retail store management, sales and account management throughout the U.S. 


Mikael Bedell, M.D., has joined St. Peter’s Medical Group North Clinic. His primary focus is comprehensive outpatient and inpatient family medicine.

Bedell earned his Doctor of Medicine at the Albany Medical College in Albany, N.Y. He received his residency at Idaho State University in Pocatello, Idaho, where he served as chief resident in 1998. He received his bachelor of science, cum laude in animal sciences – bioscience and technology from the University of New Hampshire, in Durham, N.H.

He is board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM). He serves as a clinical instructor for the Albany Medical College, Department of Family and Community Medicine; the University of Washington, Department of Family Medicine; and as an adjunct faculty for the University of Utah, Department of Family and Preventative Medicine.

Prior to joining St. Peter’s Hospital, Bedell was a staff physician at the Cascade Medical Center in Cascade, Idaho, where he served as medical director and also on the board of trustees. 


Becky Schlauch is the new administrator for the Montana Department of Revenue Liquor Control Division. Schlauch has been in state government for more than seven years, previously working as business and financial services division administrator at the Department of Public Health and Human Services. She also worked for several newspapers in accounting, including as controller for the Helena Independent Record. Schlauch grew up in Circle and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and master of business administration degree from the University of Montana. 

Montana Department of Revenue contracts officer Brett Boutin becomes one of just two certified public procurement officers in the state of Montana, after earning his Certified Public Procurement Officer (CPPO) credential. As contracts officer, Boutin manages department contracts to ensure effective and efficient use of public funds. Boutin has a 25-year career in state government.


Doney Crowley P.C. has announced the promotion of Jack Connors to senior associate attorney.

Connors holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from Montana State University and a Juris Doctorate degree with honors from the University of Montana School of Law. Before attending law school, Connors owned and operated a construction company that specialized in building high-end homes in the Big Sky area. His law practice focuses on construction disputes, real property litigation and water law.

Connors works at the firm’s Helena office, and he can be contacted at either or 443-2211.


News and notes

Montana producers eligible for hay lottery 

Producers in Montana affected by drought and fire are now eligible to participate in the first ever hay lottery. Ag Community Relief, is organizing a large-scale hay donation convoy to North Dakota to aid producers in North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana. The first convoy of hay will be delivered in mid-August but more deliveries could arrive as the group continues to fundraise and seek donations and volunteers. The donated hay will be delivered to North Dakota State University (NDSU) in Fargo, N.D. Any other individuals or organizations willing to donate hay or trucking for the hay lottery should call the North Dakota Department of Agriculture’s Drought Hotline at 701-425-8454. 

Livestock producers interested in applying for the hay lottery must submit an application at Each state has its own lottery, although North Dakota will administer the applications. Eligible producers must be from a D2, D3 or D4 or fire-affected county and own at least 25 animal unit equivalents of state-specific livestock. Eligible livestock and a description of animal unit equivalents may be found directly on each state’s application. The latest drought monitor depicting the drought levels of specific counties may be found at

The application deadline is Aug. 31, 2017. 

The hay will be distributed in semi-load lots with the first drawing in early September. If additional donations are taken in after that date, more drawings will occur. Producers that are selected will be responsible for arranging hay transportation from the NDSU site. 

Questions about filling out the hay lottery application may be directed to 701-328-4764.

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OBrien leaving tourism alliance

The Helena Tourism Alliance/Tourism Business Improvement District (TBID)/Visit Helena Montana announces the resignation of executive director, Heidi OBrien. OBrien has been with the Tourism Business Improvement District since 2010 and was the organization’s first employee. OBrien is moving on to a position with AAA Mountain West. Her last day with the TBID is Aug. 16.

Anna Strange, the current TBID programs coordinator, will help maintain office operations and Jennifer Davis will continue with her role as community outreach director. A nationwide search for a new executive director will be announced in the near future.

The Visitor Information Center located at 105 Reeder’s Alley will continue operation of normal hours: Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through the end of August.


DOR certifies property taxable values

The Montana Department of Revenue has announced it has completed its annual requirement to certify taxable values of property in the state’s 56 counties. This year, department offices in all 56 counties certified the values before or on the Aug. 7 deadline.

Under state law, the department’s property assessment offices are responsible for providing the total taxable value of property to each taxing jurisdiction by the first Monday in August. The certified values include mobile homes, personal property business equipment, real property, and centrally assessed properties.

The 2017 certified taxable values for each county taxing jurisdiction are available at

Local governments establish their budgets and set their mill levies for property tax calculations and collections based on the certified taxable values provided to each taxing jurisdiction.

Property tax collections are the primary revenue source for local governments to provide public services such as police and fire protection, schools, roads and bridges, and public health and safety.

For more information, visit


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