Refinery and energy processing developer Quantum Energy, Inc. issued a shareholder update on corporate activities for the Dominion Energy Processing Group, Inc. refinery project in Stoughton, Saskatchewan: Quantum’s Canadian subsidiary, Dominion Energy hosted two public meetings in Saskatchewan. According to company officials the plan is to build a 40,000 barrel per day refinery, with the first phase of the three phase project to begin construction in June. The project would cost an estimated $600 million, with a total cost of $1 billion by the time all three phases are completed.

Montana Republican State Senator Ryan Osmundson introduced a bill, SB 206, in the state Legislature to exempt Montana from participating Daylight Saving Time. The bill has been tabled in committee. Montana will change from Mountain Standard Time to Daylight Saving Time on March 12.

Ski areas are enjoying what is being called an “epic” season. Snow fall has been extraordinary. This past weekend Bridge Bowl near Bozeman had 26 inches of new snow fall — two and a half feet of powder — creating long lines and standing room only crowds on the ski slope.

The City of Bozeman has imposed new regulations on food trucks, restricting the hours they may operate, increasing inspections and fees to operate, in order to protect established restaurants from competition.

Four Corners in the Gallatin Valley will soon have a new Taco del Sol shop. The new Mexican fast food establishment will open in April on Huffine Lane. The business is that of Marley McKenna who already has another Taco del Sol in Bozeman on Main Street.

Butte’s planning board approved a proposal from Town Pump Inc. to rezone four acres of land near the company’s corporate headquarters on South Main St. It may be a site for a storage building for casino equipment.

After 85 years in business, Family Christian stores based in Grand Rapids, Michigan is closing all of its 240 stores. They have two stores in Montana, one in Great Falls and another in Bozeman.
The co-founder of Home Depot and Atlanta Falcons owner, Arthur Blank, recently purchased another ranch in Montana in the Paradise Valley. It is adjacent to the Sky Guest Ranch which he bought in 2001.

The Great Falls Chamber of Commerce has named a new president and CEO, Shane Etzwiler. Originally from Fort Benton, Etzwiler has been a manager of retail stores such as Herberger’s Cabela’s and Hobby Lobby.

Friesen Nutrition, a Canadian livestock nutrition company, plans to locate in Great Falls. The company is based in Medicine Hat, Alberta. It previously had a warehouse in Great Falls, but is now planning a retail store to sell its livestock nutrients as well as fabric and textiles, bulk cloth, farm clothes, and products for veterinarians. It will employ 11 people as well as two contracted veterinarians to assist poultry and swine producers to make sure they meet government regulations.

The Big Sky Chamber of Commerce, with funding support from Gallatin County, Madison County and Big Sky Resort Tax, recently hired Sanderson Stewart, to complete a transportation study to evaluate traffic safety and operations primarily along the MT Hwy 64 corridor and to assist with planning for priority projects.

In an independent study by RootMetrics, Verizon was rated the #1 network in Montana for the seventh time in a row, according to a company report. RootMetrics also ranked Verizon highest in overall network performance across the U.S.

It’s been a long time since a list of the US rig count showed Montana having anything other than a “0” next to its name. This past month a number “1” showed there. Nationwide the rig count, as of Feb. 10, went up by 12 with 741 active rigs drilling — 200 more than were drilling at this time last year. North Dakota has 36 rigs and Wyoming 18. (Oil Patch Hotline)

The MDT Aeronautics Division and the Montana Aeronautics Board awarded a little over $600,000 in loans and grants to 19 small Montana towns’ airports as part of its annual loan and grant program. There was about $232,500 in grants and about $371,000 in loans available for disbursement this year. Most of the money given in grants and loans goes to leverage 90/10 Federal (FAA) match dollars for large airport construction projects.

In 2015 the Library Journal named the Belgrade Community Library the Best Small Library in America. Now, after a year of planning in collaboration with Montana State University’s School of Architecture Community Design Center, the Belgrade library is doing a major expansion. Under the direction of Tom McNab, associate teaching professor in the School of Architecture in the College of Arts and Architecture and the director of CDC, eight architecture and mechanical engineering students prepared a design to remodel and enlarge the library.

The Montana Historical Society has named acclaimed author Ivan Doig to its list of Outstanding Montanans. Doig (1939-2015) is the author of 16 works of fiction and nonfiction primarily set in Montana. Doig’s widow, Carol Muller Doig, awarded Doig’s archive to Montana State University in 2015. The university library has digitized the entire collection; it is now available to the public on the Web as well as in print in the library’s Special Collections and Archives.

Because of persistent and sometimes violent demonstrations against the Dakota Access Pipeline, North Dakota state legislators have given overwhelming support to new laws that toughen up penalties against rioters. (From Oil Patch Hotline)

A balance between home sales and houses on the market was met in January - finally breaking the buyer’s market in Williston. The rate of housing coming online in recent years may have confirmed for some the narrative that the region had bust following the abrupt fall in oil prices in 2014. But home sales remained healthy despite it all, real estate agents say. In fact, the array of options, normalized prices and low interest rates formed perfect conditions for new homebuyers. Many young families decided to weather the downturn, which was reflected through increased home sales, student enrollment and record birthrates.

According to the latest Cost of Living Index report, which averaged data from the first three quarters of 2016, Bozeman’s cost of living sat at 0.8 percent above the national average for the year as compared to 264 other urban areas in the United States. Nationwide, the after-tax cost for a professional standard of living ranged from 128 percent above the national average in Manhattan, NY to about 24 percent below the national average in McAllen, TX. Bozeman is in the only Montana city included in the study.

Bridger Popular Pipeline Oil was fined $1 million by the Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality stemming from a crude oil pipeline break in January 2015, that dumped 758 barrels into the Yellowstone River. Under the stipulation, the Casper-based company will pay $200,000 to the state general fund and spend $800,000 on environmental projects that reduce pollution and benefit public health. It was determined that a weld on a section of the 12-inch line broke, releasing the crude oil.

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