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Afternoon farmers market at Capitol

Visitors to the state Capitol, state employees and local food lovers now have another opportunity to pick up fresh, local produce, Made in Montana products, and other goods during the week. The Capitol Square Farmers' Market, sponsored by the state departments of Agriculture and Administration, will hold markets Tuesdays from 2:30-6:30 p.m. in the Capitol south oval parking lot. 

The Capitol Square Farmers' Market will run every Tuesday (except July 4). Those interested in being a vendor should contact Julia Gustafson, Capitol Square Market Manager at



CASA honors volunteers

CASA recently hosted the 6th Annual Light of Hope Benefit in April as part of Child Abuse Prevention Month. Light of Hope celebrates the service of CASA volunteers and partners working to give hope to abused and neglected children.

The 2016 CASA Advocate of the Year recipient is David Peretto. Peretto is a commercial lender at First Interstate Bank. Over the past two-plus years, David has advocated for the best interest of 10 abused/neglected children in court, mentored five new CASA volunteer advocates and has joined a committee in assisting with the new Peer Coordinator program.

Katie Lawler is the recipient of the 2016 Friend of CASA award. Lawler is a real estate loan officer at Stockman Bank. She has been a CASA Advocate since late 2011, advocating for five children in that time. She also serves with Friend of CASA volunteers providing outreach and hosting fundraising events. Lawler has worked on the annual Light of Hope banquet committee since its inception. The last two years she has been the committee chair, helping to bring in much needed resources for the program.

Roger Renville is the 2016 Light of Hope award winner. He is the assistant Helena public defender for dependent neglect cases. Renville’s compassion for the clients he serves, combined with his skilled legal advocacy and plain old elbow grease, make him outstanding. 

At CASA of Lewis & Clark and Broadwater Counties we help abused and neglected children heal so they can live happier, safer lives. Our CASA volunteers – court-appointed special advocates – make sure kids don’t get lost in the overburdened legal and social service systems or languish in unsupportive foster homes.

CASA volunteers are asked to meet with the child regularly and are authorized to interview people in the child’s life, such as social workers, attorneys, and teachers. They attend court hearings with the child and report their findings to the judge. Learn more at or by calling 457-0797.


Library awarded NEA Big Read grant

The Lewis & Clark Library is a recipient of a grant of $14,000 to host its 11th National Endowment for the Arts Big Read in Lewis and Clark County. An initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, the NEA Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book.

The Lewis & Clark Library is one of 75 nonprofit organizations to receive an NEA Big Read grant to host a community reading program between September 2017 and June 2018. The NEA Big Read in Lewis and Clark County will focus on “The Round House” by Louise Erdrich during October 2017.

A schedule of Big Read events and programs will be available on the Library’s website once speakers and dates are finalized. Please watch the Library’s website, for more information and updates as they are available.


Big Brothers Big Sisters honors volunteers

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Helena has recognized Elena Johnson, the Big of the Year for the state of Montana. Johnson has been a Big in the Helena Big Brothers Big Sisters program since October 2014.

BBBS also recognized Mariah Cantwell-Frank as the School-Based Big of the Year. Both volunteers make a difference in the lives of two children in Helena and help fulfill our vision of all children achieving success in life.

A volunteer appreciation breakfast will be held in September where both women will be recognized along with the Big Heart Society winner. This is the second time, in recent years, that the Helena program has been selected with a statewide “Big of the Year” recipient. Jay and Anita Sherley, a Big Couple, were awarded in 2015. 

The mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.



Scholarship help available

Reach Higher Montana -- in partnership with the Lewis & Clark Library -- has launched an innovative program to help students find and apply for scholarships over the summer months. Summer of Scholarships -- S.O.S. -- aims to help area students gain awareness of the financial aid process, and the impact scholarship dollars can have when the time comes to pay tuition. Students who complete all four classes in the S.O.S. program have the chance to win a $500 scholarship and other prizes donated by area businesses.

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First, students will use the Montana Career Information System to discover their interests and how those interests might relate to scholarship opportunities. Students will also set up their free Scholly accounts through Reach Higher Montana, and learn how to search for scholarships available locally, and throughout the country.

In the second class of the program, participants will receive expert advice on writing compelling scholarship essays. Local author Virginia Reeves is partnering with Reach Higher Montana to help students tell their stories in ways that are relevant and memorable to scholarship reviewers. Essays will be reviewed by volunteer essay mentors, who will provide specific feedback to students to improve their essays.

Next, students will learn about letters of recommendation, and how they can help their references write letters to support their scholarship applications.

Finally, students will learn the importance of volunteering in the community. Some scholarships are available only to students with volunteer service, and most scholarship applications are enhanced if students can demonstrate their commitment to service.

Students interested in signing up for a class in August can call Reach Higher Montana at 406-422-1275, x 802. Regardless, Marti Johnson, Reach Higher Montana Adviser, is available to help students -- and their parents -- explore scholarship opportunities and understand the financial aid process at the Reach Higher Montana office located at 40 W. Sixth Ave. 


Loren Guerin, of Helena, has received a degree from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. Guerin graduated with a Master of Arts in international development and social change.


Elizabeth Spindler, of Helena, has graduated from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. 


Cassidy Maddio and Elizabeth Spindler, both of Helena, have been named to the dean's list at Gonzaga University for the spring 2017 semester. Students must earn a 3.5 to 3.84 grade-point average to be named to the list.


Staci Lynn Friede of East Helena; Kortney Nicole Dietz of Whitehall; Jaimie Elizabeth Anderson, Cassidy Maye Robo, Brian Michael Sandvig, and William George Turman, all of Helena, have been named to the president's honor roll at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington, for the spring 2017 semester. 


Kirsten Marbel, a 2015 graduate of Helena High School, has been named to the dean's list at the Colorado School of the Mines for the spring 2017 semester. Marbel achieved a 4.0 GPA.

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