• Language matters when it comes to talking about energy, says Mark Mathis, a noted author, consultant, and filmmaker, and he urged attendees of the Montana Petroleum Association’s annual luncheon to change terminology in speaking of energy issues, and to take control of their own message.Call carbon based fuels TECHMAP fuels. Don’t call them, “fossil fuels,” which carries with it a
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  • Six businesses will receive Montana Family Business Program awards at the 2016 Montana State University Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship State Farm Insurance Family Business Day, set for Friday, Oct. 7, at the Best Western Plus GranTree Inn in Bozeman.
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  • The numbers show Montana Fair had another very successful year.Metra Park Manager Bill Dutcher reported the fair numbers to Yellowstone County Commissioners on Tuesday. Metra Park depends on fair revenues to fund about a fourth of their annual budget.
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  • Just as Daytona Beach is noted as the home of NASCAR, members of the Professional Indian Horse Racing Association (PIHRA) hope to make Billings synonymous with Indian Relay Races. Having held their national championship in Billings for the first time last year, with great success, Metra Park’s Grandstand will once again be the venue September 22-25.
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  • Big Sky Economic Development (BSED) will hold their annual board meeting in conjunction with a summit on the economy of the health care industry, October 12 and 13 at the Doubletree by Hilton in Billings.The event begins on Wednesday, Oct. 12, at 10 am, with a presentation on the year in review by the leadership of the Big Sky Economic
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  • Some years ago a veteran manufacturer in Montana, owner of his own, very successful company, attending a seminar on “sustainability” was heard to declare, “We have always been sustainable. Successful manufacturing has always been about sustainability. It’s about keeping costs down and operating efficiently.”
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  • Once again Montana ranks at the top of the list of states with the highest rate of entrepreneurship, in the 2016 Ewing Marion Kauffman index. It is the fourth year in a row that Montana has ranked at the top, although Montana has been a leader in the rate of entrepreneurship for decades.
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  • Montana State University’s Montana Manufacturing Extension Center recently released the 2016 version of their annual State of Montana Manufacturing report, showing that Montana has increased its manufacturing base.
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  • Billings-based GTUIT, LLC has earned the 203rd position on Inc. magazine’s 2016 Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing private American companies with a three- year revenue growth rate of 1,894%. For 35 years, Inc. has tracked the fastest-growing private companies which have included firms like Microsoft, Under Armor, Oracle and Yeti Cooler.
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  • This issue of the Big Sky Business Journal reports on the end of a proposed project that makes one wonder if everyone understands the nature of economies and the importance of setting community priorities right.
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  • The Billings Alliance, during its quarterly board meeting, endorsed and agreed to help fund a campaign by the Billings Area Chamber of Commerce, to again approach the Montana state legislature to pass legislation that would give municipalities the power to enact local option taxes.
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  • Billings civic leaders have spent a couple of years trying to improve Billings air service, amid a lot of talk in the community that it is not competitive with Bozeman, and not keeping up with the times. To better inform the community about the facts, a community informational meeting was held last week co-hosted by Big Sky Economic Development (EDA),
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Montana State University set an enrollment record this fall, with 12,764 students attending classes, MSU officials announced.

MSU has set enrollment records in three out of the last four years. The 2009 headcount is 395 more students than the previous record, set in 2008.

Significantly, the university has a record number of freshmen enrolled, 2,281. The previous record of 2,225 was set in 2005.

"A big freshman class is a vote of confidence. Both Montana residents and out-of-state students are choosing us," said MSU President Geoff Gamble.

A 20 percent increase in Native American freshmen helped set the record. The number of Native American freshmen rose from 54 students in 2008 to 65 students this fall. Overall, Native American enrollment is at a historic high of 377 students - a 79 percent increase since Gamble took office in 2000. Increasing Native American enrollment has been one of his primary objectives.

"All our students receive a great education here, with hands-on opportunities to do cutting-edge research or explore creative endeavors in the humanities - both preparing them well for their careers after college," Gamble said.

Not only is it MSU's largest entering freshman class, but on average, it is also the brightest.

The average ACT score of this fall's, full-time, entering freshman is 25.14. A common measure of a student's academic accomplishment in high school, the ACT scale is from 0 to 36.

This fall's full-time freshmen have an average ACT score 0.7 higher than the university's previous record holders, the entering class of 2008. Since 1998, the university has never seen a jump in ACT scores greater than 0.3 from class to class.

 

"This is remarkable. MSU is seeing an unprecedented jump in the quality of its entering, full-time freshman," said Allen Yarnell, vice president of student affairs.

Additionally, 58 entering freshmen scored in the 99th percentile on the ACT. One freshman had a perfect score. Together, they make up the largest group of top-scoring ACT students ever in an MSU freshman class.

"We have committed staff; we have superb faculty; and we prepare our students for great success. Quality students recognize that," Yarnell said.

Since 2006, MSU has been the only university in the five-state region of Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and North and South Dakota to meet the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching's criteria for the highest research classification. Since 2000, research funding earned by the university has grown 61 percent, from $61 million to $98.4 million in fiscal year 2009.

Last year, MSU's research directly provided $7.76 million in undergraduate and graduate salaries, benefits, scholarships and fellowships. Additionally, two MSU students won Goldwater Scholarships last year, the nation's premier scholarship for undergraduates studying math, natural sciences and engineering. MSU is ranked 11th nationally for Goldwater winners, just behind Yale and MIT.

"On top of all we have to offer academically, MSU students get to live in this beautiful setting that is the Rocky Mountains. That's part of our message and we believe it's being heard," Gamble said. "We are Trout U and the University of the Yellowstone. That's very appealing to students."

In the past six years, MSU has been ranked No. 1 in the country by Fly Rod & Reel magazine for undergrads angling for an education near trout streams; No. 5 in Outside magazine's "40 Best College Towns;" No. 4 ski town by Skiing magazine, and in the top 10 hunting and fishing universities by Outdoor Life magazine. Bozeman was named one of top three cities for an adventurer to start a family in the October 2009 issue of National Geographic Adventure.

MSU also has a good reputation among employers, which translates into opportunities for graduates, Gamble said.

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