• A team of researchers from universities around the world, including Montana State University have been studying the dialects in the howling behavior of wolves and other canid species.” A recent report from MSU concludes that howling wolves have dialects, one group from another, as well as across species.
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  • Montana Small Business Person of the Year is Greg Thayer, CEO of Great Falls-based Montana Milling, Inc. Two Billings businesses were also among the honorees announced by the Montana US Small Business Administration.Lena Wharton of Wharton Asphalt LLC in Billings has been recognized with the Montana Woman-Owned Small Business award; and Jim Markel and Perry Jones of Red Oxx Manufacturing,
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  • The Montana Supreme Court received a 60 percent rating in the sixth biennial review conducted by the Montana Chamber of Commerce. Focusing on its decisions on crucial business cases, the review saw “ just a slight drop from its 63% rating on the 2014 review but much higher than its 41% rating in 2012,” reported the Chamber.
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  • The Interior Department announced its plans to cancel a decades’ stalled oil and gas lease in the Badger Two Medicine region of Northwestern Montana. This decision followed a hearing [on March 16], wherein U.S. District Judge Richard Leon gave the Interior Department 24 hours to act.
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  • During a tour of campaign stops and press conferences in the Billings area, a couple weeks ago, Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Greg Gianforte focused on energy issues and the potential impact of the Clean Power Plan (CPP). He urged everyone to “stand united” with Colstrip as its future is threatened with the implementation of the CPP.
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  • Among Montana businesses that hang in the balance depending on the outcome of the legal issues and implementation of the Clean Power Plan is the Hardin Generating Station.Located near Hardin, the core of Big Horn County, the plant is the state’s cleanest coal-fired plant, generating 119 megawatts of electricity, under the management of Colorado Energy, LLC.
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  • Montana Chads at 3953 Montana Avenue will become the High Horse Saloon and Eatery under new ownership in April.Partners Reid Pyburn, Scotty Ugrin and Jim Kisling are purchasing the business from Ted Fink, who started the business ten years ago.
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  • In a split vote, County Commissioners approved a highly controversial zone change request– one that will allow a 50-year old family-owned helicopter business in Yellowstone County to continue to grow next to the Billings Airport. The decision came after almost 40 citizens testified during a two and a half hour public hearing in a standing-room-only commissioners’ board room.
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  • During the recent controversy regarding the zoning around the airport there were often comments that made anyone who believes in property rights, cringe, time and time again. Not that that is anything new.Overtime, our society has moved from having a profound respect for the rights of the individual, who has invested dearly for the legal authority to use a piece
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  • Those breakfast potatoes Montana State University students devour on campus, they’re made with potatoes from Whitehall and fried in safflower oil from Big Sandy. Those fancy coffee drinks — brewed with beans roasted in Whitefish. The dough for Miller Dining Hall’s hand-thrown pizzas (up to 600 in a day), is made from Montana-sourced wheat.“And as you can imagine, that’s a
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  • The Montana Chamber of Commerce’s annual Power-Base (P-base) survey of 800 voters statewide in Montana reveals that people respect businesses and that business organizations like the Montana Chamber are well-regarded. And, that Montanans want to fight the Clean Power Plan and are rather split on increasing the gas tax.
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  • Being recently informed that there will likely be no settlement regarding the CHS tax protest for almost two years, Budget County Finance Director Kevan Bryan, asked Yellowstone County Commissioners to appeal to the state to expedite the tax protest process as it pertains to large taxpayers, so local governments can plan and budget better.
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shape upEntries are now being accepted for the 10th Annual Shape Up Montana program, a three-month team-based project of the Big Sky State Games that encourages Montanans to make healthier nutrition choices and be more physically active.

Since it began in 2003, over 43,000 Montanans have logged more than 10 million activity miles and shed 82,948 pounds! Organizers are working to reverse the progression of obesity and overweight trends in Montana.  This year’s program features a new user friendly website.

The early entry deadline is January 24. 

The “Shape Up Montana” program works with the business community, member organizations and families to engage their employees and members in a team format that spurs increasing physical activity and encourages healthy eating habits.  Past Shape Up Montana teams included businesses, church groups, organizations, friends, clubs, school staff and families.

 The team competition offers two categories:

  Accumulated Activity based on logging miles with the aid of an activity conversion calculator and Weight Loss due to healthful eating and physical activity. 

Teams of 4 to 10 individuals work together for three months (February 1 - May 1) helping each other and their team to either log mileage or lose weight.  Mileage is converted from regular daily activities (yard work, housework) and aerobic activity (swimming, running, walking, cycling, etc.). 

The cost for the three-month program is $15 and $10 for employees of Big Sky State Games (BSSG) program sponsors.  Everyone who enters will receive a Shape Up Montana T-shirt, weekly challenges, exercise videos, nutrition and physical activity tips/articles, access to numerous wellness calculators and free entry into the 27th Annual Big State Games Fitness Walk held July 20, in Billings.  Awards will be presented to the top three teams in each division.

Online registration, entry forms and more information are available at www.shapeupmontana.org or call (406) 254-7426.    Entry forms are also available at the Big Sky State Games Office in Billings (490 N. 31st, Suite 200).  

Shape Up Montana is presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana. Community Sponsors include Billings Clinic, Billings Gazette and Montana’s News Station (KTVQ, KBZK, KXLF, KRTV, KXLH, KAJ18, KPAX). 

Contributing partners include Albertsons, Eat Right Montana, Montana Chamber Choices, TwoMedicine, Montana Beef Council and Wendy’s.

The Big Sky State Games’ Major Sponsors are First Interstate Bank, Kampgrounds of America, and Montana Cycling and Ski.


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