• "We are an amazing community and have an amazing economy," said Jeremy Vannatta in addressing attendees of the Montana Economic Outlook Seminar, in talking about Yellowstone County. Vannatta, Director of Business Outreach, Recruitment & Marketing at Big Sky Economic Development was one of numerous speakers talking about the economic prospects for 2015. Vannatta underscored that Yellowstone County leads the state
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  • "Graduation Matters." Does it? When does it matter? Does it only matter for certain students? Does it still matter even when one district stands to lose money to another? Or, does not being part of the "right neighborhood" justify sacrificing the futures for some kids over others? Does it make sense that a community of some 8000 people might have
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  • The sale of Girl Scout Cookies, which begins this month, will move into the era of e-commerce with Digital Cookie 1.0. At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas it was called the biggest "Next Big Thing." The sale of the very popular cookies not only supports the activities of Girl Scouts but provides them with an opportunity to learn
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  • Oil prices could dip as low as $27 a barrel by mid-summer predicts Eric Sharpe. The declining prices are already having profound impacts in the US, including the Bakken. It is hitting the service businesses especially hard, many will not survive. The low prices are triggering a consolidation of companies; a weeding out of the weaker companies, while others lay-off
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  • Hillary Stevenson, from Genscape U.S. shale producers may begin producing less as crude prices drop to five-year lows – with some North Dakota Bakken operators already treading water – as rig counts nationwide are poised to decrease by nearly 600 in the next six months, according to Genscape. U.S. oil rigs will fall below 1,100 for the first time in three years,
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  • by Evelyn Pyburn   For 27 years, a company in Forsyth has been manufacturing and marketing its product to the world proving, that "so long as you have UPS, the internet and a good product, it is possible to do business in a small town in Montana." There haven't been many drawbacks to building a business in Forsyth, said Celeste
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  • Billings and Yellowstone County will have to find living space for 70,000 people in the next 20 years. That's how much the largest community in Montana is projected to grow, according to Candi Millar, Director of the City County Planning Department, who is overseeing the development of an update to Yellowstone County's Growth Policy, which is a master plan of
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  • As North Dakota crude prices decline – latest prices are averaging $48 a barrel – there will be new pressure by producers to get better rates on rail shipping, which has varied from $9 to $15 a barrel. "Rail rates should come down especially since the fuel surcharge is off," said Houston analyst Andy Lipow. "The main effect will be from the
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  • Environmental groups are expected to be disappointed with a coming Environmental Protection Agency regulation for coal ash, a waste produced when coal is burned for electricity and which is used in many building materials. The EPA appears poised to label the ash a solid waste, rather than "hazardous," in the new rule. Environmental groups have pushed for the more stringent
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  • Passing state legislation to allow local option tax authority is the Billings Chamber's number one priority. The Chamber supports local option taxing authority as a mechanism for augmenting current revenues for municipalities. A "local option tax" is a local sales tax on goods and services.
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  • While it may be no surprise to locals, Billings is among the ten best beer cities in the US. Billings was ranked in tenth place by Livability, a company that explores what makes small to medium sized cities great places to live. The top beer town is Bend, Oregon. "Billings offers innovative and award-winning breweries, residents who consume beer at
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  • The Magic City Blues will be held a week earlier this year. After 14 years of holding the popular event the first weekend of August, the dates are being moved forward one week to July 31 – August 2 in 2015, according to Tim Goodrich, Magic City Blues owner and founder. Otherwise the venue will remain the same as last summer,
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George BushFormer President George W. Bush will be visiting Billings next May.

He will be guest speaker at the Montana Missions Banquet, a fundraiser for Provision International, on May 11 at the MetraPark Expo Center.

Provision International is an organization that is dedicated to feeding, clothing and sheltering the poor of the world. The organization was founded in 2003 by Montana native Dick Larson, a former building inspector for the state.

In 2001, a short-term missions team from Montana traveled into Eastern Europe. The team experienced first hand some life changing encounters, which exposed them to the hardships and realities many people of the world face.

 

Larson, a member of that team, returned to launch Provision International.

The organization gathered donations of medical equipment from hospitals and facilities throughout the United States and shipped it to depressed countries.

Since then Provision International has become a ministry of worldwide outreach providing everything from food and clothing to housing and schools. They have served the needy in countries from Brazil to El Salvador, Kenya to Madedonia, Poland to South Korea and Tanzania to the Ukraine.

Tickets for the evening are $250.

For ticket information go to www.provisioninternational.org

 

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