Transco Railway Products, a Miles City rail car repair shop, is looking for more employees. The company has expanded to meet the new railcar regulations and to decrease the turnaround time. The company has invested $1 million on new equipment and upgrades this year.

Flathead County’s health care business sector has an investment goal of $147 million new and upgraded facilities planned for a six-year span. The health care industry is the leading employer in the County, with 6,300 jobs. The industry funds approximately $313 million in annual payroll.

Bozeman Health has announced the opening of the Belgrade Clinic Medical Campus. The $10 million facility, will house oncology, radiology and urology services.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that Montana was the fastest-growing state in median household income. Analysts estimated Montana’s median household income grew 6.8 percent to $49,509, more than $3,000 over the 2014 median. The amount is below the $55,775 national average

Montana cattle producers will benefit from a recent decision by China to open its border to shipments of U.S. beef. China, along with many other countries, closed its border to American beef when the United States found its first case of mad cow disease in 2003. The Chinese announcement did not specify when the borders would be opened.

The Great Falls metro area economy grew considerably faster than the nation’s economy last year due to expansion of manufacturing, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Great Falls GDP grew by 3.7 percent last year while the nation as a whole grew by 2.5 percent. The metro Missoula’s GDP grew at 3.6 percent last year, slightly less than the Great Falls economy. Metro Billings continued its strong growth, with a 6 percent increase in GDP.

The Glendive City Council has voted to approve a proposal by the Montana Department of Transportation to reconfigure Merrill Avenue from a four-lane street to a three-lane street. Both of Glendive’s major four-lane streets are slated for reconfiguration from four lanes to three. The reconstruction projects will not begin until 2019.

Oil well operators have been saying the Bakken is getting better but North Dakota Department of Minerals has the numbers to prove it. Today’s wells have a life span that is five years longer with initial production on new wells increasing over 400 barrels per day. Multi-well pads, new bit technology, new motor technology, new mud technology are lowering the costs of producing in the Bakken.

The Montana Supreme Court has upheld a 2012 order from the Montana Public Service Commission rejecting a request for $1.4 million by Northwestern Energy to increase electricity rates due to an unforeseen power plant outage. NorthWestern made the request due to a three-month plant outage which required NorthWestern to buy electricity from third parties.

The Missouri Flats Inn and the Marquis Plaza and Suites will be closing their doors.. The Williston hotels employ over 30 people. The hotels are for sale but have yet to find a buyer. There are over 2,300 hotel rooms in the market, and the loss of the two properties will account for 105 fewer rooms.

North Dakota’s chief archaeologist has found that no burial sites were destroyed by Dakota Access Pipeline construction. Seven archaeologists from the State Historical Society of North Dakota surveyed the construction area. The archaeologists found no human bone or other evidence of human the burials or cultural materials in the 1.36-mile contested corridor.

The Federal Aviation Administration awarded $26 million in additional federal funding to the city of Williston to support the construction of a new airport. Since 2007, the annual number of enplanements at Williston Airport ballooned from 7,800 to 120,900 in 2014.

The city of Bozeman has hired a lobbyist to push for local sales taxes during the 2017 legislative session. The city, like Billings and some other cities, want authority to impose a local option tax, similar to that allowed to communities that are dependent on tourist trade.

Circuit Judge Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit will assume senior status on December 31, 2016. Judge O’Scannlain, appointed to the court by President Ronald Reagan, has served for 30 years. The next president will nominate a successor to Judge O’Scannlain’s seat on the Ninth Circuit.

Williston N. D. is building $5 million animal shelter, the new Buck Scheele Family Animal Center. Animal Rescue is spearheading the 18,000 square foot project with financial support coming largely from the family of the late Buck Scheele.

The Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship at Montana State University has been recognized for its strong finance curriculum. The CFA Institute, an organization comprising investment professionals, recently welcomed the college into the CFA Institute University Recognition Program.

Governor Steve Bullock has appointed Corey Welter to Montana’s Board of Oil and Gas Conservation. Welter graduated from the University of Montana with a degree in History and Political Science. He worked in the oil fields of Montana and Wyoming starting as a rig hand and working his way up to tool pusher and later as a drilling engineer. He formed Welter Consulting providing drilling and completion consulting.

Bozeman’s overall cost of living was 0.4 percent below average as of April, compared to 260 other urban areas in the United States. Bozeman’s overall index score resulted from below average costs in four of the six index sub-categories. Nationwide, the after-tax cost for a professional standard of living ranged from 126 percent above the national average in Manhattan, NY to about 24 percent below the national average in McAllen, TX.

NorthWestern Energy announced that David Hoffman has joined the company as the Director – Government Affairs (Montana). He will replace John Fitzpatrick who will retire this fall.

Montana State University recently earned the 310th spot on Forbes’ “America’s Top Colleges” list. The placement was up from last year’s ranking of 325 and was the highest rank of a public or private institution in Montana. MSU also ranked higher than many of its peer universities in the West, including Washington State University, Utah State University, Oregon State University and the University of Idaho.

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