December 2015 Around Town

We Want to Hear From You!

At Missoula Valley Lifestyle, our goal is to share the best that our community has to offer as well as news about our neighbors. Do you have wedding or engagement news to share? Do you know an outstanding educator or student we should spotlight? Is there a great new restaurant in town that everyone needs to know about? Please let us know so we can share it with our neighbors in an upcoming issue. You can reach our team at​

Say ‘Ruff’ for Santa

Santa loves pets as much as we do. Regardless of whether the furriest member of your family was naughty or nice this year, he (or she) is welcome to come sit on Santa’s lap for a portrait at Southgate Mall at the JCPenney Court on Sunday, December 6 and 13 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. His (or her) human(s) can be in them, too. For more information, visit or call 406.721.5140.

Festival of Trees

Head over to the Florence Hotel, 111 N. Higgins Ave., for the Festival of Trees. The events support Mountain Home Montana, a nonprofit that serves young mothers and their babies from across Western Montana.

Schedule of Events:

  • Tour of Trees: Enjoy the beautifully decorated Christmas trees on December 4 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and December 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; entrance fee is $2.
  • Teddy Bear Tea: Young Missoulians and their teddy bears are invited to spend the morning sipping tea, making crafts, enjoying snacks, and visiting with Santa and Mrs. Claus on December 5 from 9 to 10 a.m. in the Governors Room. Entrance fee: $10.
  • Wine & Pine Dinner and Auction: An evening of live and silent auctions, holiday music, and a gourmet dinner party. Tickets are $65 each.

For more information and tickets, email, call 406.541.4663 or visit

Ski Season Is Here

Friday, December 4 marks opening day of the 2015-16 ski season at Snowbowl, weather permitting. Snowbowl will be open daily starting Friday, December 18 through February 29. Weekend shuttle service starts on December 19 and the pick-up will be near the Town Pump station at the base of Grant Creek at 8:45 a.m. and leave the Snowbowl parking lot at 4:15 p.m. Shuttle service will be daily December 26 through January 3. Operated by Hellgate Transportion, charge is $2 one way or $3 round trip. Snowbowl will be closed Christmas Day. Visit 
for more information.

A Million Times Yes

The community answered MCT Inc.’s goal of raising $1 million for the “One Million Reasons to Say Yes” campaign. Earlier this year, MCT launched the campaign after board member and Missoula businessman Craig Langel offered to donate $250,000 to the nonprofit—as long as MCT raised the rest. The funds are being used to retire the mortgage on the MCT building, freeing up funds to do more work with the schools and launch other programs. Congratulations to MCT!

Kudos to Sussex

Sussex School, a K-8 progressive, independent school, was chosen by as one of the 50 Best Private Elementary Schools in the U.S. The site selected Sussex School based on several weighted factors, including academic excellence, extracurricular richness, geographical and demographical diversity, and reputation. Ranking criteria include the following:

  • The school must have at least three of the six grades (first through sixth grade) that are traditionally categorized as elementary-level grades.
  • They must exceed nearby public schools in course selections 
and success.
  • They must have a reputation for producing students who are well prepared to take the next steps in 
their education.
  • Though they are organized as businesses, the schools must have a reputation for treating families with fairness and compassion.
  • They actively seek to treat parents as partners in the educational process.
  • They openly and regularly celebrate the students and their accomplishments.

“Sussex has a long history of providing an exceptional education to children and families in Missoula. From twice winning recognition from the Department of Education to this most recent ranking, Sussex has been at the forefront of teaching and learning for 45 years,” says Sussex School Director Greg Friedman. “We are very proud of our exceptional teachers, progressive curriculum, community focus, outdoor programs, and emphasis on the whole child. We welcome this opportunity for others to learn more about what makes Sussex great.”

CPA Test Now Offered in Missoula

Testing Services, a division of the Office of Career Services at the University of Montana, is now offering the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination to test-takers hoping to earn CPA licensure in Montana and other states. “Having the CPA exam offered on the UM campus in Missoula is a huge benefit to UM accounting students and anyone on this side of the state,” said Teresa Beed, UM professor and director of the Master of Accountancy program at the School of Business Administration. “Many students went to Spokane when the Helena testing site was full. Current students are elated they don’t have to travel for the exam. We’re grateful to UM Career Services for working so hard to make this a reality.” Test-takers need to go online to 
NASBA.ORG/exams/cpaexam/montana to apply and pay for the exam and to to schedule a day and time to take it.

Public Market Is Open

The Missoula Winter Public Market is open Saturdays through April 23 at the HIVE Missoula building, 800 S. Third St., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The market will be closed on Saturday, January 2. For more information, visit

Congrats to spectrUM and SciNation

The University of Montana spectrUM Discovery Area and its partner on the Flathead Indian Reservation, SciNation, have received the 2015 Paul Shin Memorial Award from the Coalition on the Public Understanding of Science. The award recognizes dedication to communicating science to the public and inspiring others to do the same. The award, which carries a cash prize, was announced at the COPUS annual conference. SciNation members Whisper Camel-Means and Stephanie Gillin, both wildlife biologists with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Wildlife Management Program, and Jessie Herbert, spectrUM’s STEM Education Program manager, jointly accepted the award. The award honors spectrUM and SciNation’s collaborative engagement with the Flathead Reservation’s communities. Their cooperative efforts include the Science Learning Tent at the annual Arlee Celebration and the Science Bytes program that provides hands-on STEM enrichment at free lunch sites during the summer.

The Gift of Life

The holidays are a time of year we look forward to with childlike anticipation. It is a time of giving, selflessness, love and joy. The tradition of giving gifts to our loved ones fills us with holiday spirit and warms us from within. This holiday season, consider giving a gift that reduces commercialism and gives a second chance to a hungry or homeless animal. With your help we can continue to give the gift of life to thousands of animals in need. Please help us fill the hungry tummies and hungry hearts of the animals we care for. Every donation, large or small, makes a difference and is deeply appreciated. To make a donation or for more information about how to help, contact AniMeals at 406.721.4710 or

Winter Wonderland Ice Skating

Get into the holiday spirit as you skate among snow banks, trees and lights during the Winter Wonderland at Glacier Ice Rink, 1101 South Ave W. There are extended public skating hours and you can warm up with hot chocolate from the concession stand. Skating dates and times are December 21-27 from 9 a.m. to noon, 1 to 4 p.m., and 5 to 8 p.m. Santa Claus will be in town…on his Zamboni…to skate with kids and pose for photos on December 22 from 5:30 to 7 p.m., December 23 from 1:30 to 3 p.m., and December 24 from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Visit for more information.

New Year’s Events

New Year’s Eve Montana Style

Grab your boots, bring your appetite and get ready to dance. KYSS FM and Chicks N Chaps have partnered to deliver this special New Year’s event. Starting at 7 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn, the Cold Hard Cash Show will play the music of Johnny Cash. The event will include a 14-dish spread from the hotel’s Executive Chef Ben. Tickets are $85 or $160 for a pair. Visit for more information.

First Night Missoula

The Missoula Cultural Council presents its annual family-friendly, alcohol-free celebration—the city’s largest performing arts festival—to ring in the new year. First Night celebrates the city’s art and culture with live music and performing arts in various locations from noon to midnight. For more information, visit