The Billings Outpost

Windows can add safety

(StatePoint) Whether you’re making a fast trip to the store or leaving on a two-week vacation, are you confident that locking your doors is enough to keep your home safe and secure?

You can go a step further by investing in impact-resistant laminate glass in your windows, according to experts. Engineered to deter forced entry by intruders, these energy-efficient windows also resist high winds and flying debris during severe storms and reduce unwanted outside noise from entering your home.

Similar in design to impact-resistant glass found in code-driven coastal area homes, special laminated glass known as SafePoint glass offers extra protection for homes, 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

“This glass is designed to help make a home a safe haven,” says Ken Kubus of Simonton Windows. “In addition to helping protect the home, laminated glass provides excellent energy efficiency and serves as a barrier against heat transfer. It also plays a role in lowering heating and cooling costs while keeping interiors comfortable. And it screens out much of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays that can damage carpets, furnishings and artwork.”

There are several other things homeowners can do to help keep their families safe at home — especially when it comes to windows:

Children should be taught at a young age to stay away from windows for their own safety.

Parents can help safeguard children by keeping furniture (including cribs) and anything else a child can climb, away from windows.

If your home has double hung windows, open only the top part of the window that children cannot reach, to allow for ventilation.

Never push on window screens, as they will not support the weight of a child or family pet. Remember, the primary purpose of a screen is to keep insects outside.

Lock windows when not in use to protect against intruders and make it more difficult for curious children to open windows.

Do not paint or nail windows shut. Every window in the home that is designed to be opened should be operational in case of an emergency.

Refrain from nailing or attaching decorative lights to the interior or exterior of window frames.

Plant shrubs or grass, and place “soft landscaping” like bark or mulch, directly underneath windows to help lessen the impact should someone accidentally fall out of a window.

More window safety tips are available by calling 1-800-SIMONTON to request a free copy of a booklet entitled, “A few things to think about when thinking about your home.”

From planning emergency escape routes to installing safe doors and windows, there are many different things you can do to help keep your family safe at home even when you are not there to protect them.

Last Updated on Thursday, 28 February 2013 18:09

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37th MATE show expected to draw thousands

The 37th annual MATE Show and Home & Health Expo will kick off on Thursday, Feb. 14, at MetraPark in Billings and run through Saturday, Feb. 16.

Doors are open each day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., except for Saturday when the show closes at 5 p.m. More than 350 exhibitors will be displaying their products in over 700 booths covering over 100,000 square feet, making it the largest show of this kind in Montana.

The MATE Show is the flagship component of the event. It features the latest farming and ranching equipment, products and services.

This year’s featured product will be the UTV or “Side-by-Side.” Demonstrations from a variety of vendors selling UTV’s will offer brief demonstrations on their respective products.

Other added events include the Bull Pen Preview presented by Northern Ag Network and KGHL Radio as well as the MATE Theater with a variety of educational classes eligible for applicator certification.

Additionally, there will also be several presentations offered on issues of key importance to the agriculture industry. MATE Show attendees will have the opportunity to enter a grand prize drawing for a John Deere X360 Lawnmower donated by John Deere and participating dealers.

The Home & Health Expo continues to expand, providing a variety of booths, services, and several additional screenings for all areas of human health and home improvement. The Home & Health Stage will provide several educational sessions.

A show has something of interest for anyone. This year’s Grand Prize of the Home & Health Expo is a Club Cadet 524WE Snow Blower sponsored by Titan Rental of Billings.

CPR Saturday will again be a feature during this year’s show (Saturday) offering attendees an opportunity to brush up on their CPR training or get certified. Registration can be done or by calling 406.255.8410.Free tickets to this year’s MATE Show and Home & Health Expo are available at the NILE office, First Interstate Bank locations, and from all MATE Show exhibitors.

For a complete list of events, vendors, and map of the 2013 MATE Show and Home & Health Expo, go

The Montana Agri-Trade Exposition (MATE Show) and the Home & Health Expo are owned by the Northern International Livestock Exposition (NILE).The MATE is held the third week of February and has a three-day attendance of more than 14,000 people.

The NILE is a nonprofit organization established in 1967 that is dedicated to the promotion of livestock, agriculture education and respect of the western tradition.

For more information contact the NILE office at 406-256-2495 or visit

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 February 2013 19:51

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Training offered in CPR

CPR Saturday will offer free CPR training classes on Feb. 16 at the Exhibit Hall (arena floor level) at MetraPark.

CPR training classes will be offered throughout the day between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Certification courses will be offered at 8:30 a.m. and 12 p.m. for a $40 fee.

CPR is an emergency lifesaving procedure used to revive someone who has stopped breathing or whose heart has ceased functioning. CPR uses heart massage and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to get the heart or lungs working again.

Between 75 percent to 80 percent of all sudden cardiac arrests happen at home, so being trained to perform CPR can mean the difference between life and death for a loved one.

Sudden cardiac arrest results in the deaths of more than 650 adults and children each day in the United States.

CPR provided immediately after sudden cardiac arrest can double or even triple a victim’s chance of survival.

Survival of sudden cardiac arrest can be as high as 90 percent if treatment is administered within 4-6 minutes of the arrest.

On average, only 24.7 percent of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest victims receive CPR.

If bystander CPR is not provided, a sudden cardiac arrest victim’s chances of survival fall 7 percent to 10 percent for every minute of delay until defibrillation. Few attempts at resuscitation are successful if CPR and defibrillation are not provided within minutes of collapse. With the proper knowledge and tools, everyone can save a life.

Register today to learn CPR by calling (406) 255-8410 or (800) 252-1246 or register online at

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 February 2013 19:50

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Kidney TRUST at MATE show


Sure, we might recall from high school anatomy that we have two of them, their function is to filter waste products and excess water from our blood, and that beloved staple of chili-making, the kidney bean, is named for its similarity in shape to the vital organ.

But when it comes to our own kidneys, how can we tell if they are truly doing an effective job of keeping us healthy? Thanks to new exhibitor, The Kidney TRUST, attendees of the 2013 Home and Health Expo will have the opportunity to ask just that.

The Kidney TRUST is an independent non-profit organization that was founded in 2006 by leading U.S. kidney care provider, DaVita Inc. It aims to benefit the 31 million Americans currently suffering from Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and was founded on the notion that “everyone should be empowered to take an active role in their health.”

The TRUST aims to assist in reducing the progression of CKD by providing free, rapid screening in non-medical settings across the country, as well as by providing financial assistance to those affected by the disease. “Kidney health is not something people think about,” said Program Developer Gloria Upchurch, “My goal, as program developer, is to educate as many people as we possibly can.”

What makes kidney health screening so important? According to Ms. Upchurch, “Out of the 31 million Americans with chronic kidney disease, only about 10 percent know they have it.” The Kidney TRUST has caught onset diabetes in several states where they have done past screenings, and the primary risk factors are nearly always present.

Before attendees have their blood drawn for screening, they are required to fill out a form indicating any potential risk factors such as family history, tobacco use and ethnicity. People with African American, Asian, Pacific Islander and Native American descent are among the most susceptible.

Home and Health Expo attendees will find the Kidney TRUST at booth 634 in the Montana Pavilion. Kidney Screenings are absolutely free and take five to seven minutes to receive results.

, which may be shared with the patients’ primary physician. To learn more about the Kidney TRUST, visit and for more information about the Home and Health Expo, including a complete list of vendors,

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 February 2013 19:49

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St. Vincent Healthcare brings back Living Well


It should come as no surprise that the top three New Years’ resolutions for 2013 had to do with improving one’s health, namely through weight loss, improved physical fitness and kicking that old smoking habit.

In the interest of this continued focus on improving one’s health, St. Vincent Healthcare will be returning to the 2013 Home and Health Expo Feb. 14-16 with a larger exhibit and a number of additional health screening services.

Attendees from previous years will remember the St. Vincent Mobile Mammography Coach, which will once again be on site Thursday and Friday of the show.

In addition to the usual breast cancer screenings, St. Vincent Healthcare will introduce its Living Well program, which will allow expo attendees the opportunity to receive comprehensive health screenings at a substantial savings.

Living Well specializes in on-site health screenings and continued education around identified risk factors. “These days, not many people have the time or energy to find out just how healthy they are,” said Colin Dow, St. Vincent Corporate Outreach Liaison, “Through the St. Vincent Living Well program we are able to give people a great overall snapshot of their health at a fraction of the time and cost.”

The health screening consists of three steps:

Participants are given a risk-assessment questionnaire to determine potential health risks in their lives, such family medical history

Measurements such as biometric blood pressure, height and weight, resting metabolic rate, body composition, BMI and pulse ox are taken to determine the body’s overall condition.

A blood draw is administered and complete blood work-up including lipid profile, metabolic panel and thyroid stimulating hormone test are recorded.

Normally this comprehensive health snapshot report costs $95, but with a coupon Home and Health Expo attendees will pay only $55.

Further testing including Vitamin D, Testosterone, ALC, and Prostate Specific Antigen will be available for an additional charge.

For more information on the Living Well program and to schedule your 15 minute appointment at the Home and Health Expo, call 1-855-277-5563 or go to

Living Well health screenings will take place at booth 619 inside the Montana Pavilion.

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 February 2013 19:48

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Pioneer West built by farmer and son


A trip to the local farm equipment store, not unlike a trip to the local feed store, serves multiple purposes. A farmer may go to pick up a part or a piece of equipment, but he goes back for the warm welcome, hot coffee and friendly handshake that come from doing business with someone he knows and trusts.

These are the values that Pioneer West was built upon when two farmers, a father and son, started building spray equipment fifteen years ago. Today, with the Pioneer West headquarters in La Grande, Oregon, a retail location in Joseph, Oregon, and a new retail location having opened in Belgrade just six months ago, the company with modest beginnings continues to grow, but remains true to its roots.

Pioneer West carries a variety of agricultural equipment including sprayers, Precision Farming electronics, irrigation systems and tractors, offering complete solutions for today’s modern farmer.

“A farmer [Greg Bingaman] owns the company,” said Pioneer West’s Kaela Curtis, “he has specialized knowledge regarding the needs of our customers.” In the company’s Belgrade store, the staff’s primary focus is providing customers with the highest quality sprayers available on the market, including large capacity Miller Sprayers and Pioneer West’s smaller capacity skid sprayers that are manufactured in-house. With the company’s commitment to its customers’ productivity long after the sale is complete, they are also Miller Certified for service and offer in-house service on all the sprayers they sell.

“Casey is outside sales and service,” said Del Richardson, store manager in Belgrade, “He was on a sales call at a farm where they were having trouble with their equipment and was able to get them back up and running at full capacity that day.”

Del Richardson and Casey will be at the MATE Show in booth #548 in the Expo Center.

They will have a Miller “Condor” sprayer on hand, complete with 1000 gallon tank and 100 foot boom, along with information on Precision Farming and the various electronics they offer to support it. To learn more about Pioneer West and the products they offer, visit

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 February 2013 19:46

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Becky’s Berries at show


The phrases “Traffic Jam” and “Road Rage” might not typically conjure up images of peacefully sipping tea while nibbling on a piece of crunchy buttered toast slathered in sweet, fruity preserves, but perhaps they should.

If you have ever spent a bustling Saturday summer morning in downtown Billings methodically investigating the wide variety of Yellowstone Farmers’ Market vendor booths, it is likely you are familiar with the delicious offerings of Becky’s Berries.

If you have not yet had a chance to sample her heavenly concoctions, you will get your opportunity at the 2013 Home and Health Expo.

Becky’s Berries may be a first-time Home and Health Expo attendee, but the business is already well-known in the Billings community. Becky Stahl of Absarokee began sharing her homemade jams, jellies and syrups with eager Yellowstone Farmers Market attendees in 2004. Since then, her business has continued to grow, even in a challenging economy.

“When I told my husband about my idea to start this business, he said, ‘You are going to make a living making jam?’ I’m going to try,” said owner, Becky Stahl, “I’ve never looked back.”

Her signature, Made in Montana jams and jellies are prepared blending local ingredients such as huckleberries, chokecherries and wild plum with strawberries, peaches and even jalapeños. “Traffic Jam” is a blend of raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and marion berries while “Road Rage” throws a kick of jalapeños into the mix.

According to Becky, “Road Rage” and her other gourmet pepper jellies, with combinations like mango jalapeño and pineapple jalapeño, are her biggest sellers.

Becky will have plenty of items on hand for sampling and purchase at booth #663 inside the Montana Pavilion. Her products may also be purchased on her website at and locally in Billings at the Good Earth Market and Buffalo Chips.

Last Updated on Friday, 15 February 2013 19:47

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Material Flow open here


In business, improving efficiency all comes down to employing the right tools to get the job done, regardless of the industry. That’s where Material Flow can help.

Headquartered in Donald, Ore., with a sales branch in Anchorage, Alaska, Material Flow opened the doors of its Billings sales branch within the last year and a half. With its unique approach to sales, service, parts and rentals, Material Flow has the tools and knowledge necessary to improve efficiency in nearly any production-oriented sector.

Attendees to this year’s MATE Show will be introduced to a small sampling of what Material Flow has to offer at booth 86 inside the Expo Center. Complete product lines include forklifts, conveyor systems, overhead cranes, racking and shelving and a variety of other material handling equipment.

What sets Material Flow apart from the competition, in addition to its quality product offerings, is the company’s ability to assist customers in developing solutions to production concerns with the help of custom design services.

They also service the products they sell, in-house, providing specialized expertise and peace of mind to the purchaser. “We service a variety of industries,” said General Manager, Steve Arnold, “including farming, the oil industry and warehousing. And we don’t disappear as soon as the sale is final.”

To learn more about Material Floor and the products it carries,

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 February 2013 19:41

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Don’t worry, it’s OK to eat quinoa from Andes


By ARI LEVAUX - @arilevaux

Many quinoa-lovers have hit the existential skids recently, thanks to a story in England’s Guardian about the supposedly negative effects of buying imported quinoa.

“The appetite of countries such as ours for this grain has pushed up prices to such an extent that poorer people in Peru and Bolivia, for whom it was once a nourishing staple food, can no longer afford to eat it.”

This was one of several stories in the last few years published by the likes of NPR, Associated Press, and the New York Times. Some, like the Guardian, went to the extreme of guilt-tripping readers against buying imported quinoa. The idea that worldwide demand for quinoa is causing undue harm where it’s produced is an oversimplification at best. At worst, discouraging demand for quinoa could end up hurting producers rather than helping them.

Most of the world’s quinoa is grown on the altiplano, a vast, cold, windswept and barren 14,000-foot Andean plateau spanning parts of Peru and Bolivia. Quinoa is one of the few things that grows there, and its high price means more economic opportunities for the farmers in one of the poorest parts of South America.

An analysis by Emma Banks for the Andean Information Network responds to many of these quinoa questions with nuance largely absent from the press reports.

“The impact of rising food prices is complex and encompasses food security and sovereignty debates,” Banks wrote. Food security means having enough to eat, while food sovereignty means having a voice in the food system. These are impacted differently in different places by increasing prices. But some generalizations can be made.

“Quinoa fetches a guaranteed high price affording farmers economic stability. This economic power has also translated into political power though producers’ associations and cooperatives. Since the 1970s, these organizations have worked toward greater producer control of the market, spurring other political actions such as blockades and protests for greater economic and environmental rights in quinoa-growing regions.”

Relevant to the food security discussion, though absent in all of the recent quinoa press coverage, is the fact that, as Banks notes, “Bolivian government nutrition programs have begun to incorporate quinoa into school breakfast and new mothers’ subsidies.” Similar programs are under way in Peru, New York Times reporter Andrea Zarate told me by phone from Lima.

Edouard Rollet is co-founder of the fair-trade import company Alter Eco, which deals in Bolivian quinoa.

His company works with 1,500 families in about 200 Bolivian villages. “I’ve been going to the altiplano once or twice a year since 2004,” Rollet told me by phone. “The farmers are still eating quinoa.” He said that over the years he’s watched how the extra income from rising prices has allowed the families he works with to diversify their diets dramatically, adding foods like fresh vegetables.

Of course, not all quinoa growers are fortunate enough to sell their product to fair-trade organizations, and many receive less for their product. Regardless of the price, Rollet says, an average small farmer with 2 or 3 hectares to work will set aside roughly a tenth of his harvest for personal use, and sell the rest. It’s hard to see how rising prices could be considered anything but good for these people.

Of greater concern to Rollet is the environmental degradation that could result from more aggressive quinoa cultivation. His and some other quinoa merchants require an organic, rotational grazing system in which llamas are pastured on fallow fields, which helps stabilize the soil - and ensures llama meat on peasant tables. Reportedly, it’s really good with quinoa.    

This isn’t to say there are no growing pains as the worldwide demand for quinoa continues to grow. There have been squabbles over land and water. Farmers have been screwed by middlemen.

In her analysis, Emma Banks points out that while quinoa farming has for years received state support in Peru, in Bolivia it’s largely been a grassroots effort, with producers organizing and collecting the necessary equipment to process seeds and bring back quinoa real, the most commercially viable variety of quinoa.

“The quinoa boom greatly benefits farmers in spite of little state support,” she wrote.

The United Nations has declared 2013 the International Year of Quinoa, saying it has the potential to advance food security around the globe and prevent malnutrition. In fact, quinoa is so nutritionally complete that NASA is considering it as astronaut food for long space rides. It’s a favorite of vegetarians because it’s so high in protein, and because it’s a rare plant-based food that contains a full complement of amino acids.

Interestingly, the Guardian story seemed as much a hit-piece on vegetarians and vegans as on quinoa eaters.

“Britain excels in producing meat and dairy foods ... . However, a rummage through the shopping baskets of vegetarians and vegans swiftly clocks up the food miles, a consequence of their higher dependency on products imported from faraway places.”

While attempts to grow quinoa haven’t worked out in Britain, Locovores in the U.S. can take heart at the fact that farmers in Oregon and Colorado are figuring out how to grow it. That said, domestic quinoa sells out quickly after every harvest, so for the time being quinoa lovers will be importing most of theirs from the altiplano.

There is, in fact, a ghastly irony here. It’s when media stories discourage people from buying imported quinoa in the name of solidarity with the locals. But instead of helping, such reports threaten to kick the legs out from under one of the most promising industries in one of the world’s poorest places.

Last Updated on Thursday, 07 February 2013 20:06

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Artwalk includes fundraiser for Venture

“The Mothership,” a photograph by Sean Heavey, will be on display as part of his “The Sky Above” exhibition at Jens Gallery and Design.The Winter Artwalk in Downtown Billings will be held on Friday, Feb. 1, from 5-9 pm. Galleries, all locally run businesses, will present new works by area visual artists.

Refreshments, live music, raffles for gifts from galleries, art demonstrations, the artists on hand to discuss their work and a great way to chase away the winter blues all are good reasons to join the party. The Artwalker bus, a free two-hour tour of the Artwalk galleries sponsored by Walker’s Grill will begin at the Good Earth Market at 5 p.m. and 7 pm.

Maps are available at all of the galleries and give the bus stop schedule. Maps can also be downloaded by visiting or see the map on Page 17 of this issue.

Artwalk will feature a fund raising event for the Venture Theater during the evening. Artwalkers may stop by the Kennedy Stained Glass and purchase a raffle ticket with a donation of $5 or more for a chance to win a piece of bevel and clear textured stained glass, handmade by Susan Kennedy Sommerfeld and her staff.

Among the highlights, Stephen Haraden Studio presents his new paintings. Purple Sage Gallery features the work of oil painter, graphic designer and illustrator, Thomas English.

Originally from Texas but now living in Montana, Thomas works in oils and pastels.

He is both a plein air and studio painter.

Last Updated on Thursday, 31 January 2013 12:35

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