• by Evelyn Pyburn What was behind the Donald Trump presidential victory? While pundits dissect, bisect and analyze every nuance of every issue and every demographic sector, wondering what they missed before, and are now hoping to get it right – there’s not a one who’s mentioned the real underlying theme of it all — the rule of law.The election demonstrated
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  • The Montana Chamber of Commerce will hold a briefing for its members and interested business people regarding its 2026 Strategic Plan on November 30, 12 pm in Billings at the Northern Hotel.
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  •   Following Black Friday comes Shop Local Saturday, November 26. The purpose of the day is to focus on the importance of supporting local businesses.Over the past few years, Shop Local Saturday” has grown in its impact year over year, as communities realize that small local shops are an important part of each community’s economic base. To support them means
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  • Farmers Insurance has launched an innovative insurance policy for food truck owners – a growing market. Farmers have begun to offer licensed food truck owners a single policy that combines commercial automobile coverage for their truck with a restaurant business owner policy.Montana is one of the 28 states where the policy is now available.
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  • The proposed Inner Belt Loop which would connect the Heights to the westend of Billings has been pulled from the back burners by the Billings City Council, and urged forward with the likelihood of being funded by issuing bonds.The plan has been talked about for a long time, said Mayor Tom Hanel, and it’s time to “get serious” about what
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  • The Montana Infrastructure Coalition is working on a non-partisan legislative package that will help address some of the most pressing infrastructure needs in the state – most especially water and wastewater systems for communities. The Montana chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) estimates that the total annual reinvestment by Montana communities, to maintain their $15 billion dollars
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  • Asian Fusion has opened in the food court of Rimrock Mall, the newest venture of the husband and wife team of Howard Shen and Tina Wu.
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  • Associated Employers, a support organization for employers in Montana and Wyoming, celebrated one hundred years in 2016. For any organization to sustain itself for 100 years is a significant achievement in any arena, but for a non-profit service organization, relying on voluntary membership fees from individuals noted for their pragmatism, it is especially noteworthy.
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  • The Billings Chamber of Commerce announce that the Institute for Organization Management, the professional development program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, has appointed Jennifer Reiser, IOM, Chief Operating Officer of the Chamber, to the West Board of Regents. As a member of this Board, Reiser will implement the policies created by Institute’s National Board of Trustees.
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  • Oil in the Bakken may be making a comeback that will surprise many and it may be more than some might wish, Lynn Helms, director of North Dakota’s Department of Mineral Resources, is being reported as proclaiming this past week. While the process is slow, the numbers are building up, according to Helms, who believes that his department’s projections of
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  • To be in business is noble and virtuous.To implement a plan for a good environment in Montana for business will cost Montana Chamber members a million dollars.Business people were called upon by Greg Gianforte to be proud of what they do in the private sector, and to do their part in planting “a spark” of entrepreneurship in young people. Gianforte
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  • Susan Lynch has joined Stockman Bank as compliance lending officer. Her responsibilities include developing and integrating policy and procedure consistent with regulatory requirements for lending functions, as well as developing and presenting training programs for employees on lending compliance procedures in all 34 Stockman Bank locations.
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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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