Allegiant Airlines has begun offering twice weekly flights from Missoula to Los Angeles year-round. The flights are in addition to the flights Allegiant already operates from Missoula to Mesa and Las Vegas. Delta will stop its daily flight to Seattle from Missoula in September.
The Southeastern Montana Development Corporation (SEMDC) of Colstrip met in Miles City for the first time The SEMDC has begun moving their quarterly meeting to other locations within their service area which includes Custer, Rosebud, Treasure and Powder River counties. SEMDC offers one-on-one counseling to small businesses, grant administration, business loans, classroom business training and grant writing assistance and potential funding identification.
Michael Moore of Anaconda invented a lift gate to affix directly to universal shipping containers that could create world-wide savings in fuel costs, mileage, and labor and time. Butte-based Headwaters RC&D Inc. has received $26,855 in state money to assist Michael Moore with a business and feasibility study for manufacturing the lift gate. Headwaters was given money by the Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund Planning Grant program.
Headwaters RC&D has received $20,520 of planning funds to assist the Jefferson Local Development Corp. with a master plan for the city of Boulder. The grant will help local governments in making policy decisions that promote long-term economic development and provide guidance toward consistent marketing of Boulder.
Stockman Bank has announced the opening of their new location on the corner of Holly and Third Avenue Northwest in Sidney. The grand opening will take place July 6 -8. Stockman will keep their existing drive-up location at 120 2nd Street Southwest to continue serving customers in central downtown Sidney.
Kalispell Center Mall is set for Herberger’s plan to double the size of its store. Herberger’s will add 40,000 square feet to the west side of its existing 40,000-square-foot store. Construction will begin this summer and be completed by the summer 2017.
The Mertz Company, of Houston, Texas, has applied for permission from the state to drill an oil well in Montana. One of the biggest problems confronting the project is overcoming the expense of trucking. If approved by the Oil and Gas Commission this will be the first drilling rig to operate in Montana since December. In October 2012 there were 25 rigs in Montana. North Dakota, meanwhile, has about 25, down from 189 at peak production.
ONEOK is building a new headquarters in Sidney. The company captures natural gas in pipelines and conditions it before sending the fluids on for either sale or further processing, as needed. The company employs about 85 people.
A Russian delegation met with BLM mangers, fire and forestry personnel at the Bureau of Land Management HiLine District Office in Great Falls, June 9. The visitors represented the Russian Greenpeace organization and Moscow State University to learn about BLM’s Fire and Forestry management programs. Language barriers took the process three times longer than normal, reported BLM officials. The delegation was hosted by the Advisory Commission on International Relationships (ACIR) and Open World Leadership Center (OWLC). ACIR’s mission is “to promote, facilitate and nurture international relationships for the city of Great Falls.” OWLC is an independent government agency of the U.S. Congress that hosts current and future leaders of several Eurasian countries. BLM officials commented that “the fire management situation in Russia is not all that different than our situation in the United States in regards to human caused fires. There are many differences in our management practices, though. Much of the wildfires in Russia are extinguished exclusively using a volunteer workforce. Fire prevention, as well as suppression coordination and training are managed by non-government organizations in Russia. Forest resources are managed to exclude fire, particularly planned ignitions such as prescribed fire.”
Bozeman’s cost of living was 1.6 percent above the national average as of January, compared to 260 other urban areas in the U.S. The Cost of Living Index compares costs for professional and executive households. The latest report compared data for the first quarter of 2016. The first quarter 2016 housing index score was 108.8, meaning that area housing was 8.8 percent above the national average for the quarter. The best bargain was related to utility costs, which were 6.7 percent below the national average as of January., Laramie, Wyoming had a cost of living at 92.0 or eight percent below the national average. Pierre, South Dakota’s was 1.3 percent above the average. Manhattan NY was 227.
A Washington state collaboration of insurance companies has announced the use of drones to do property inspections. The Property Drone Consortium expects to assess imaging technology that will enable safe operations and inspections while gleaning far more than the eye can see. The data will enable inspectors to see many roof maladies and allow researchers to develop methods for automatically identifying these features from the imagery, enhancing the insurance and roofing industries ability to do a better job of protecting their workers and their customers.
A husband and wife team, Remi and Kristen Berube of the Kalispell area have purchased the Valpak franchise for “The Big Sky Territory of Montana.” They mailed their first Valpak Blue Envelope at the end of March to 50,000 households in Missoula, Ravalli and Mineral County. The couple also owns and operates Big Sky Denture Group. Both Remi, who grew up in Flathead Valley, and Kristen, who has lived in Montana since early childhood, are denturists by trade and have owned their full-service denture clinic in Missoula for 10 years.
Curt Barnekoff has been elected to the Montana Grain Growers Association’s Board of Directors. Barnekoff is the partner-in-charge of Wipfli’s Havre office and specializes in providing tax solutions and business succession planning services to businesses in the agriculture industry.
Par Pacific Holdings, Inc. of Houston paid $271.4 million for the 18,000 BOPD refinery in Newscastle, Wyoming, purchasing it from Wyoming Refining Co. The acquisition includes the 140-mile Thunder Creek crude oil pipeline gathering system. The acquisition also includes a 40-mmile clean products pipeline system that feeds into the Magellan Products pipeline serving markets and a priority jet fuel terminal in Rapid City, SD.
The University of Wyoming declared a financial crisis for the institution after receiving approval from the UW board of trustees to do so. UW faces a $50 million reduction in finding over the next two years, due to a state economy that’s in trouble. The budget for the current fiscal year will eliminate 70 vacant positions.

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