• 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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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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