Bill's Auto Parts of Hardin has celebrated 40 years in business. Mike and Beth Ann Stenerson, owners, say the business was started by Mike's parents Bill and Dorothy in 1976. The business opened in a new building in the 200 block of North Cody. In 2008 the business relocated to Center Avenue, across from Shopko.

The Miles City Area Economic Development Council announced that the small business development center (SBDC) will move from Colstrip to Miles City. The SBDC was created in 1989 to provide free one-on-one advice to business entrepreneurs. John Sisson was the SBDC director until the end of 2016. The Wolf Point SBDC office is relocating to Sidney.

Jore Corporation of Ronan, which manufactures power tool accessories, has received the largest jobs-workforce training grants of six handed out by Governor Bullock recently. Two Missoula companies also received grants from the state. Statewide, the grants are worth more than $411,000 and will fund training for 84 new jobs. Twenty-one of those jobs will be created at Jore. Consumer Direct Care Network and Advanced Technology Group were the Missoula recipients.

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality has announced the fines to be levied against Bridger Pipeline for the January 2015 rupture of the company's Poplar Pipeline. The rupture released 30,000 gallons of crude oil into the Yellowstone River. The DEQ has stated that Bridger Pipeline has agreed to a "Consent Order" under which the company will pay a $1 million civil penalty for the spill.

The VA Montana Healthcare System's performance rating from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs dropped from two stars to one in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2016.The VA determines a rating each quarter based on factors like deaths, complications and wait times. A rating of one star is the worst and a rating of five stars is the best.

Love's Travel Stops and Country Stores hosted a meeting of property owners and residents of the area surrounding their proposed east end truck stop in Butte. The project could range from 15 to 18 acres and would include a tire center, a second 9,000-square-foot store with space for two food franchises, and 137 parking spaces for tractor trailers. The neighborhood is not supportive of the project.

Two mixed-use developments are scheduled for completion in Big Sky within the next six months. The first to be completed is a 40,000-square-foot building. The building will include space for several restaurants and retailers, as well as a number of one and two-bedroom apartments.

Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport has announced that American Airlines will offer seasonal non-stop flights to Chicago beginning in June. Operating through its regional partner SkyWest, American will offer one flight per day between June 2 and Oct. 4.

Glacier National Park had a record-breaking number of visitors through its gates in 2016.Almost 3 million people visited the Park over the course of the season. Montana's other national park, Yellowstone set a visitation record in 2016 with 4.2 million visitors in 2016.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced that Montana State University, the University of Alaska, and Michigan Tech University have been selected as three of 18 institutions across the country to lead research on the major transportation challenges that the nation will face over the next three decades.

The Montana Public Service Commission selected its leadership for the next two years. Commissioners Brad Johnson, R-East Helena and Travis Kavulla, R-Great Falls, were elected in a unanimous vote to the positions of chairman and vice chairman, respectively.

North Star Caviar in Williston ND is well known for its paddlefish caviar from the confluence of the Yellowstone and Missouri River, along with its generous grant funding efforts to non-profit groups improving conditions of historical, cultural, and recreational projects in the region. (Glasgow, Montana has a similar project.) Just like the commodity ups and downs of cattle and oil, caviar too, is experiencing a decrease in sales and demand.

Montana State University President Waded Cruzado has been reappointed to the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development by President Obama. The Board for International Food and Agricultural Development, BIFAD, is a seven-member advisory council that advises USAID on agriculture and higher education issues pertinent to food insecurity in developing countries. The president appoints members, who primarily represent the academic community. BIFAD was established by Title XII of the Foreign Assistance Act. Cruzado will serve on the BIFAD board while continuing in her position as MSU president. She first was appointed to the BIFAD board in 2012.

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