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NorthWestern Energy wants to spend over $287 million over the next seven years to improve the infrastructure of its electrical and gas distribution systems throughout the state. The plan is the most cost effective means of updating aging infrastructure, while also positioning the system to embrace “Smart Grid” technology in the future.
The plan must first be approved by the Public Service Commission (PSC), which will include approving an electricity rate increase of 8.2% and gas rate increase of a 4.9%. If spread over a longer period, as NorthWestern Energy wants, it would amount to about $6 on the average monthly electric bill and $3 on the average gas bill.
Finding a building site of about 1.5 acres with a usable rail siding in place is all that is needed for Pulses International, LLC (PI) to put down roots in Hardin. The company specializes in pulse crops, beans, yellow peas, chickpeas, lentils, which some producers are growing in addition to their regular crops of beets, wheat or barley. Two members of the company visited Hardin recently and voiced their desire to build a processing plant here. The TRA (Two Rivers Authority) hosted the meeting.
Mat Chaudhry, Ph.D., president of the company and partner Virender Bhogal were in Hardin to see if producers were interested in growing more pulse crops. If they are, the company wants to break ground in March and be ready for operation by the end of August.
Joanie Swords a longtime Billing’s native, has opened a French Café, called Harper & Madison, named after her children. She completely remodeled the building that once was home to Good Earth Market and Poly Foods, at 3115 10th Ave. N. Her specialties will be European Style Desserts, fresh pastries, baked goods, and Espresso. She will also have soups, salads, Panini and sandwiches.
Joanie has many years of cooking experience as the previous owner of Poet Street Market and Dancing Oven
Maybe you missed it, but the recession ended in the summer of 2009, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.
While we are slowly coming out of the recession — the “longest, deepest recession since World War II” – it is exposing imbalances in the economy, said Barkey. The imbalances were there before – some were “going on for decades” but must now be addressed. They are:
— A lack of savings. “Savings must increase if households are to avoid drastic reductions in standards of living.”
Tim Ludewig has been promoted to vice president, branch manager of Stockman Bank King Avenue. His responsibilities include overseeing bank operations, management and employee supervision, and all lending activities.
Ludewig has 18 years of financial experience, which includes commercial, real estate and agricultural lending, business development; along with investment sales and account management. He was previously the vice president, commercial loan officer at the Stockman Bank King Avenue office.
He is an active member of the Billings Home Builders Association and is currently a member of the Chamber’s Leadership Billings program.
He is located at 2700 King Avenue West, Billings.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service announced that above average mountain precipitation for the third consecutive month has resulted in February 1 mountain snowpack being above average and well above last year. January mountain precipitation west of the Divide was 131 percent of average and east of the Divide was 110 percent of average.
The first of February is when we are at 65 percent of our seasonal snowpack maximum west of the Divide and 63 percent of our seasonal snowpack maximum east of the Divide. State-wide mountain snow water contents were 113 percent of average and 154 percent of 2010. West of the Divide snowpack was 113 percent of average and 157 percent of last year and east of the Divide snowpack was 111 percent of average and 149 percent of last year.
Diane Kautzman, Branch President, Rocky Mountain Bank, Bigfork, was recently elected by the Membership to the Board of Directors of the Montana Bankers Association. She will serve two years as a policy maker for the banking community, representing the Western Region. Kautzman has held the position of Branch President at Rocky Mountain Bank, Bigfork since June 2008. Prior to this position, Diane had an extensive career in retail management which began in 1995 at Valley Bank of Helena. Diane worked for a large national bank for four years in the Spokane area and moved to the Swan Lake area in 2004 where she worked for Flathead Bank until 2008.
Manufacturing in Montana is expected to show “modest improvements” in 2011, continuing the slow economic recovery that began in the last half of 2009. As manufacturing improves so will the state’s economy, since most manufacturing is basic industry, which brings new revenue into the state, and sustains secondary service businesses.
Montana manufacturers should continue to benefit from improved export activities, reported economists at the Montana Economic Outlook Seminar, produced by the Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER). The weakness of the dollar has spurred sharp increases in US exports as the global economy improved in 2010; emerging economies such as Latin America and China showed rapid growth.
The Big Sky Business Journal
P.O. Box 3262
Billings, MT 59103