• Montana's beer and wine distributors are major contributors to the economy, with impacts throughout the state and across industry sectors, reports the Bureau of Business and Economic Research. Because of the operations of the Montana Beer and Wine Distributors Association, Montana's economy is larger, more prosperous and more populous, write Colin Sorenson and Patrick Barkey in the most recent issue
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  • As one listens to the rhetoric regarding President Obama's power- grab as it pertains to the issue of illegal immigration, one has to wonder where thinking Democrats really are – after all, if such Presidential fiat is left to stand, what a wondrous tool for the next Republican President, not to mention the end of "rule of law" for commoners. But
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  •   When it comes to trade, who Montana's top trading partners are is usually quite a surprise. The data is hard to track but a recent research project from the Brookings Institute which mapped the direction of freight from one point to another gives some insight into where Montana gets its goods and who gets Montana exports. Understanding the movement
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  •   In an effort to increase tourism to Billings and building visibility for the community as a destination, Visit Billings takes over part of the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport this holiday season, purchasing all of the advertising space in Delta's Concourse G from November 24, through January 4. Concourse G handles both national and international passengers for Delta and will serve
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  • The Montana Women's Run announced that $100,000 is being donated to women's health and fitness programs in the Billings community from funds raised this year. This year's funds are being donated to five organizations, the YWCA, $43,000; Billings Clinic Foundation, $27,000; Rocky Mountain College Women's Cross-Country Scholarship Program, $5,500; MSU-B Women's Cross-Country and Track Scholarship Programs, $5,500; and Billings YMCA,
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  • Seafoods of the World, 5800 Interstate Avenue, is expanding their store. About their expansion Owner Dave Smith said, "It became apparent after our move into our new building 10 years ago that we would someday have to expand our facilities." The business sells wholesale and retail fresh seafood. They ship product to nine western states. Jones Construction has broken ground
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  • by Jessica Sena, Montana Petroleum Association   One of the most exciting things to take place in this country over the last few years has been the resurgence in American oil from American soil. The conversation about energy has changed from one about scarcity to one of abundance. Along with the tremendous uptick in drilling and production, has come the
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  • A familiar group of people will be providing the same services in the distribution of Chevron and Exide products, in Billings, but under a different company and in a new location. George and Lynne Fairchild, Terry Thomas and Ron Berry of the staff from the Chevron division of GM Petroleum/Pelican Oil have opened the Billings branch of Fickler Oil Company
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  • Weaver Cattle of Big Sandy was the recipient of the Family Business Award in the old business category (operating at least 50 years). The award was made during the Montana State University Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship State Farm Insurance Family Business Day, Oct. 10, in Bozeman. The land that has shaped the Weaver family was purchased in
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  • Project Meats of Billings was the recipient of the Family Business Award in the new business category. The award was made during the Montana State University Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship State Farm Insurance Family Business Day, Oct. 10, in Bozeman. Developing customer trust and confidence was what Shane and Tanya Flowers, Huntley, knew was the challenge when
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  • Nxgen Payment Services of Whitefish received the Family Business Day award in the medium business category (30-50 employees). The award was presented by the Montana State University Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship State Farm Insurance Family Business Day, Oct. 10, in Bozeman. Providing credit card processing services the company does business in a dozen states, Canada, the United
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  • Gruber Excavating of Clancy was the recipient of the Family Business Award in the very small business category (10 or fewer employees). The award was presented during the Montana State University Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship State Farm Insurance Family Business Day, on Oct. 10, in Bozeman. Gruber Excavating started in 1975 with the purchase of a dump
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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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