• Billings has been named America’s Best Town 2016 by Outside Magazine, emerging victorious over some 64 other cities nationwide in a social media competition.Billings went into the contest as a wild card, so to have come out on top is “sort of a Cinderella Story,” said Kelly McCandless of the Billings Chamber of Commerce, who helped organize the voting campaign.
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  • Over the last 17 years, Travel Café’ owner Billie Ruff and her team have helped thousands of clients plan business trips and vacations to places far and wide from her office on North Broadway. Now, she says, it’s time for the travel company to make a move of its own.
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  • Setting aside the political world and re-entering the business realm, former state representative Ken Miller and his wife, Peggy, of Laurel, are launching a new business – one that holds great promise for home owners and other would-be entrepreneurs.
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  • The Billings Chamber announced $120,000 in major contributions to the Yellowstone Kelly Interpretive Site. The donations bring the total amount of money raised to $383,780 from 42 individual and organizational contributors.
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  • Registration is open for the 31st Annual Big Sky State Games in Billings. Most sports fall on the weekend of July 15-17. This Olympic-style multi-sport festival for amateur athletes of all ages and skill levels draws 10,000 athletes each year. Elite, junior, senior and recreational athletes will compete for coveted medals in 36 sports.
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  • The new High Horse Saloon and Eatery at 3953 Montana Avenue will hold its Grand Opening on Friday and Saturday, May 20 and 21.The former location of Montana Chad’s has been completely remodeled and updated. Guests will be greeted with a completely new look, says co-owner and manager, Reid Pyburn. The menu too is new, featuring home cooking with lots
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  • Montana Merchandising, Inc. was started in 1972 by Eugene Thayer in Great Falls. After graduating from Montana State University, with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics (the first in his family to earn a degree), Eugene worked for General Mills and Greely Elevator Company. Eugene didn’t want to leave Montana so he saved up $35,000 and started his own grain
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  • Red Oxx Manufacturing, Inc. and owners Jim Markel and Perry Jones are this year’s Montana Veteran-Owned Small Business of the Year, named by the Montana Small Business Administration.Red Oxx was started in 1986 by Jim Markel’s veteran father, Jim Senior. A veteran himself Jim Senior had a passion for fitness and decided to create and sell unique gym workout accessories;
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  • In such a busy world it is easy to quickly note the Montana businesses which have been recognized with the SBA Small Business awards, and scan on by without giving more than a passing thought, but I would urge readers to take a second look and ponder a moment, that which we all take so very much for granted about
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  • Lena Wharton of Wharton Asphalt LLC in Billings named SBA’s 2016 Montana Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year.Wharton Asphalt is an asphalt construction and maintenance company based in Billings, specializing in services including patching pot-holes, sealing driveways, crack sealing, paving roadways, and all things in between. Wharton Asphalt also currently does work in Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Idaho and Utah.
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  • Golden Entertainment, Inc. has purchased substantially all of the assets of Amusement Services, LLC, owned by co-founder, Tim Carson, Billings.Amusement Services is one of the largest distributed gaming operators in the state of Montana and currently operates more than 1,800 gaming devices located in approximately 180 retail locations across the state, including five Native American locations with contracts that comprise
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  • County Commissioners have asked the Montana Department of Revenue to act more expediently on the CHS refinery’s tax protest and to more accurately set the county’s taxable valuable, so tax jurisdictions in the county can better budget.“This is big stuff,” said Kevan Bryan, County Finance Director, concerned that CHS is seeking more a of reduction than the county guesstimated and
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Montana is one of nine states selected to receive a two-year, $300,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to help create a more highly educated and diverse nursing workforce.

 

According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the grants provide funds for nursing coalitions in each state to work with academic institutions and employers to help nurses earn advanced degrees. In particular, states will encourage strong partnerships between community colleges and universities to make it more efficient for nurses to transition to a baccalaureate degree and beyond. The ultimate goals are to improve patient care and help fill faculty and advanced practice nursing positions. In Montana, the goals for the first two years of the grant include improving incentives for nurses who seek additional education and removing barriers so registered nurses with associate degrees can progress toward a bachelor's degree in nursing.

The Montana grant will be made to the Montana Area Health Education Center in the MSU College of Nursing on behalf of the Montana Action Coalition. In addition to Montana, states chosen to receive similar grants are California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Texas and Washington.

The funding comes from a new Robert Wood Johnson Foundation program, Academic Progression in Nursing, or APIN, which is designed to respond to recommendations from the Institute of Medicine for improving health in the U.S.  

"The Montana Action Coalition is thrilled to have been chosen as a recipient of this grant," said Casey Blumenthal, vice president of MHA, An Association of Montana Healthcare Providers. "The goal of the Montana project is to build partnerships among nursing education and practice to help achieve the new national recommendations for nursing education."

According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, about half of nurses in the United States have a bachelor's degree or higher, but the Institute of Medicine recommends that 80 percent of the nursing workforce have bachelor's degrees by the year 2020. 

"The nation needs a well-educated nursing workforce to ensure an adequate supply of public health and primary care providers, improve care for patients living with chronic illness, and in other ways meet the needs of our aging and increasingly diverse population," said Pamela Austin Thompson, national program director for APIN, chief executive officer of the American Organization of Nurse Executives and senior vice president for nursing at the American Hospital Association. "We have great confidence in the nine states that will receive these grants to implement bold and effective strategies that will work in their states and create models that other states can utilize."

In addition to awarding grants, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is supporting "The Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action," a collaborative effort to advance solutions to challenges facing the nursing profession. The campaign is coordinated through the Center to Champion Nursing in America, an initiative of AARP, the AARP Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It supports 49 state-based action coalitions around the country that are leading the APIN work in each of the nine funded states.

APIN is run by the American Organization of Nurse Executives on behalf of the Tri-Council for Nursing. The Tri-Council for Nursing consists of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the National League for Nursing, American Nurses Association, and the American Organization of Nurse Executives, which is leading the $4.3 million, two-year initiative. 

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on pressing health and health care issues in the United States and works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, measurable and timely change. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org.

 

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