• 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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The Montana Land Board holdings generated almost $120 million for Montana public schools over the past year.

The Board manages more than 5 million acres of land, and a slightly larger area in mineral rights. The board is run by the five statewide elected officials, including the governor, attorney general, state superintendent of schools, state treasurer and secretary.

 

The land is held in trust to fund schools in the state. Annual revenues have increased from about $80 million in 2004.

The Department of Natural Resources and Conservation said the holdings are now worth roughly $2.6 billion. It said the value of its agricultural land has been increasing in recent years.

About 8 percent of state school budgets come from the land trust.

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