YVEC Continues to Grow

Growth continues for Yellowstone Valley Electric Cooperative but at about half the rate of what it used to be. Most of that growth is happening in the area between Billings and Laurel, reported Terry Holzer, Manager, at the 73rd Annual Meeting of the cooperative in Billings last week.

With plans to retire after 32 years as manager, Holzer said that this annual meeting will probably be his last.

The $68 million will enterprise that is YVEC grew about $2 million in 2010, compared to about a half million decline in the recession-ridden 2009. The company added 327 meters and replaced 371 poles. They now have 16,992 connections throughout the system which serves a six-county area.

As the cooperative has had to move to more expensive power with the ending of its Bonneville Power Administration contract, they raised rates in January, 4.5 percent. The more expensive power from PPL has raised power costs $750,000 annually.

Read more: YVEC Continues to Grow

Montana Gets Second Chance at Bakken Oil

Oil Wells[Clarification: Information regarding Denbury's failed plan for Elk Basin does not pertain to two other Montana projects -- Cedar Creek Anticline and Belle Creek -- while the company plans to divest itself of the Elk Basin property they are moving forward with the other two, with expectations of going into production as soon as they complete the construction of a pipeline, in early 2013.] By Evelyn Pyburn

Even though it hovers at the western edge of the Bakken, Baker, Montana is being focused upon as “the hub of the Williston Basin.” Baker is where oil companies are headquartering and where pipelines are intersecting.

What’s happening in the Bakken and the resurgence of eastern Montana oil fields dominated much of the discussion at the recent Montana Petroleum Association (MPA) Conference in Billings.


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Mary Olson - IBM (left) and Karen Campbell, CommuniBiz

No doubt about the technology nature of IBM. Mary Olson as a local representative of the company is looking for ways to help other businesses apply education technology.

Through her business, CommuniBiz, Karen Campbell has for the past ten years worked as a consultant for telecommunication companies. Most of her clients are outside the state. She also teaches communication skills.

Billings Clinic Gets New MRI System

Billings Clinic announces the installation of a Magnetrom Skyra 3T Open Bore MRI and a Magnetrom Aera 1.5T Open Bore MRI system from Siemens Healthcare. In the past MRI exams have not always been comfortable for or well tolerated by certain patient groups, including the elderly, obese (up to 550 pounds) individuals or those who experience claustrophobia, excessive pain or limited mobility. This is due to the relatively small doughnut-like opening where the patient lies, called the bore, and the long tube-like structure of the machine, which can feel confining. However, the Magnetorom Skyra’s large 70-cm open bore – along with its ultra-short length can reduce patients’ anxiety and help put them at ease.

The new equipment, the 3.0T Open Bore MRI, the 1.5T Open Bore MRI, and a new 64 slice PET/CT, offers a greater level of comfort for patients, increased capabilities, and the latest technology with the most powerful clinical magnets available.



Read more: Billings Clinic Gets New MRI System

Custer Country Guide Available

Custer Country, Montana’s largest tourism region, has released its 2010 Custer Country Vacation Guide.  Newly-organized and containing  new photos and articles, the 132-page guide covers events, attractions and historic information about the 34,000 square-mile region that covers 13 counties and two Indian reservations in southeastern Montana.

Those interested in the legend of Lieutenant Colonel  George Custer, the Indian wars, Captain William Clark’s exploration of the Yellowstone River, hunting, fishing, biking, motorcycling, bird- and wildlife-watching and photography will enjoy this handy guide to what there is to see and do in Custer Country.  Motorcyclists and RVers will also find the guide useful for pointing out the off-the-beaten-path routes to take to avoid traffic and crowds, and to find the most scenic routes from major cities to the small, friendly towns in the region.

Read more: Custer Country Guide Available

Corey Jensen - Vision Net

Vision Net, based in Great Falls, is a low-profile company that serves high-profile clients. The company owns fiber optic lines on which capacity is sold to re-sellers who in turn sell it to their customers. Vision net is also the largest provider of video conferencing services to a wide range of businesses, organizations, and educational institutions. Corey Jensen is the operations manager in the Billings office, which has seven employees. State wide the company employs over 100 people.

2010: A fine year for Montana Agriculture

The year 2010 will be long remembered in most of Montana for green grass all summer, low fire danger and heavy calves.  For a change, Montana farmers and ranchers could really smile about the price they received for their commodities, from cattle to wheat and wool to sugar beets. Sure, there were a few times this summer and fall when you wondered if it would stop raining long enough to get your hay baled or your grain harvested, but Montanans will rarely cuss moisture, and we had moisture aplenty. It’s a real pat on the back for all that hard work you’ve done when you take the calves to the sale barn and receive a high price for them. The same with grain harvest.  In agriculture, the market is so volatile that any time you receive a nice paycheck for those days and nights spent in the calving shed or on the combine—it truly is your reward for a job well done. Even more rewarding  is the knowledge that you are providing food and fiber for a hungry world.

Read more: 2010: A fine year for Montana Agriculture

NoWhere but Up!

No Where But UpBarkey, one of the state's top economists, responded, "We have enormous problems to work out. There are a lot of things to worry about... We are managing short term problems so they are no longer impeding short term growth. We would all feel better if we knew where Congress was going to land in regulatory reform."

The economists believe that Montana's economy actually turned around last summer, following a year of minus one percent negative growth, a dip that was about 1.5 percent worse than they predicted for the state last year. But, that's only if we don't have a "double-dip recession," warned Barkey. A double-dipper could happen if the monetary authorities decide to tighten the economy too early, he explained – or if there are more job losses, and the savings rates increase significantly, which will leave consumer spending weak.

Read more: NoWhere but Up!

Joe Landsverk - Wood’s Powr-Grip

Wood’s Powr-Grip of Laurel is a well-known and highly successful manufacturer of vacuum lifters, but the company’s market director, Joe Landsverk is looking for new opportunities. A decline in the building industry has had a direct impact on Wood’s Powr Grip sales, said Landsverk, leaving the company with a lot of manufacturing capacity. They have top machine shop space available and Landsverk is hoping to find an emerging or growing enterprise that can use it.

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