September 2015 Around Town

A Tradition of Champions

The University of Montana celebrates homecoming with a week of festive activities Sept. 20-26 for alumni, friends, students and community members. Events include the kick-off celebration at Southgate Mall; the “Hello Walk,” a long-standing tradition in which students and alumni are invited to grab a brush to paint a greeting in any language they wish outside Turner Hall; campus decorating contests; the House of Delegates annual meeting; the Distinguished Alumni Awards Ceremony and Reception; the Yell Night Pep Rally, in which the football team, marching band, cheerleaders and Monte celebrate with a bonfire, fireworks and the lighting of the “M”; the All-Alumni Social and Dance; the Homecoming Hustle 5K (register on event day, Sept. 26, at Runner’s Edge, 304 N. Higgins); Homecoming Parade, which begins in downtown Missoula and marches along Higgins and University avenues; and the alumni homecoming tailgate and football game. For more information and the schedule of events, visit

UM Professor Named NAJA President

Jason Begay, a University of Montana assistant professor in the School of Journalism, was elected president of the Native American Journalists Association. A Navajo from Gallup, N.M., and UM alumnus, he joined the UM faculty in 2010 and serves as Native American projects director at the university and co-teaches UM’s award-winning Native News Honors Project as well as oversees Reznet, a Native American news, information and entertainment website. “NAJA’s been pretty important to me in my career,” he says. “I’m both really excited and nervous to lead the organization that has done so much for me and others.” The organization launched in 1984 to address challenges faced by American Indian journalists and to foster educational and professional opportunities for indigenous members of the media. Before graduating in 2002, Begay received NAJA scholarships and mentoring from NAJA members. Such support helped pave the way for a series of professional successes, including an internship with The New York Times and reporting positions with The Oregonian and The Navajo Times. For more information on the UM School of Journalism, visit

‘Perseverance and Passage’ at Silver Park

A metal sculpture titled “Perseverance and Passage” by artist George Ybarra has a home in Silver Park near the civic stadium. The sculpture’s significant scale and size encourages interaction between park goers and the piece. The Missoula Public Art Committee issued an art call for Silver Park last year, and the selection process took four months. “We received many proposals with merit, and the four finalists in particular presented strong and creative concepts,” says Public Art Committee Chairman Peter Lambros. “George Ybarra’s proposal was chosen for its bold sculptural representation of themes relevant to both the history of the site and of Missoula.” According to the artist, the piece is intended to commemorate the transitions in this area of Missoula and the endurance of the many travelers who have found their way along the Clark Fork River as well as to acknowledge the dedication of the industrial mill workers who worked at the mill site over the years. The sculpture is funded by the city’s Percent for Art program, the Morris and Helen Silver Foundation, and the Missoula Redevelopment Agency, the city’s urban renewal agency. Ybarra, a professional metal sculptor, has worked as an artist and curator in Missoula since 1994. His metal fabrications combine aspects of modern art with the uninhibited landscape to form original sculptures. He is also the founder of the annual Sculpture Outdoors event at Caras Nursery and Landscape, now in its 11th year.

Helmets for Ice Cream

A local Missoula resident recently donated Dairy Queen tokens to the Missoula Police Department. “Many years ago when I was maybe 8 or 9 years old, a Missoula police car pulled me over while I was riding my bike,” recalls the resident. “The officer got out of his car and thanked me for wearing a helmet, then gave me a coupon for free ice cream at Dairy Queen. I’ve never forgotten that experience and it helped shape my opinion of police officers from a very young age. Now I’d like to pass it on.” Missoula police officers are on the lookout for children on bicycles who are wearing their helmets and will provide them with a token good for an ice cream cone or a Dilly Bar. The MPD sends out a special thank you to the kind donor as well as to the city’s local Dairy Queens for helping to encourage children to ride their bicycles safely and to wear their helmets.

Valet Oil Change Services

Life moves fast, but your car won’t if it misses its scheduled oil changes. Flanagan Motors, the Garden City’s Mazda dealership, is offering Valet Oil Change Service. Instead of taking an hour—sometimes two—out of your busy schedule to wait as your car has its oil changed, Flanagan will come pick up your vehicle, change its oil and filter, and return it to a location of your choice. Valet cost is $52.95 for standard oil and $82.95 for synthetic. The service includes a complimentary safety inspection and car wash. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 406.721.9223.

Feast at the Kyra Jean Williams Fall Feastival

The University of Montana Farm to College program will host its annual Kyra Jean Williams Fall Feastival: Celebrating Montana’s Food Cycle from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 16 at the UM Oval. The annual harvest feast provides students, faculty and staff, and the community a holistic view of Montana’s agricultural food cycle. The event is the culmination of a year of planning and cooperation with more than a dozen food-producing partners. Nearly all of the items on the menu will be provided by local farmers, ranchers and food producers, who began preparations to grow and raise the food for the feast in April. Last year, the festival was renamed to honor Kyra Jean Williams who came to the Farm to College program in 2008 after graduating from Bates College. As the program’s Vista Coordinator she brought to life the annual Farm to College Fall Feastival. Kyra’s commitment to creating a sound food network for Montana’s newest generations was also demonstrated through her work making and selling organic baby food for the local farmers market and her passion for organic farming was present in all aspects of her life. For more information visit

Take a Stroll

Missoula Redevelopment Agency staff and friends of the late Hal Fraser recently dedicated a riverfront walk honoring him and the traits he embodied and used to benefit our community. Hal’s Walk was installed along the portion of the Ron MacDonald Riverfront Trail System that borders the Clark Fork River in Silver Park, near the civic stadium, from the boat ramp to the bridge crossing the irrigation ditch. It is marked by banners made of steel alloy on 11 trail-lighting poles that spell out the traits: humor, respect, passion, commitment, enthusiasm, vision, perseverance, courage, imagination, selflessness and patience. A native Montanan, Fraser came to Missoula in the 1960s to study at the University of Montana; it’s where he met and married his wife, Sharee. Fraser volunteered at UM as an alumni mentor, Grizzly sports booster and director of the end of the Homecoming Parade, and he was especially known for his work with Playball Missoula, the Missoula Children’s Theatre and the Missoula Redevelopment Agency, where he served on the board for more than 20 years. Hal’s Walk commemorates his Sunday riverfront walks with his friend Gerald Mueller. A plaque marks the site.