• The Billings Chamber announced $120,000 in major contributions to the Yellowstone Kelly Interpretive Site. The donations bring the total amount of money raised to $383,780 from 42 individual and organizational contributors.
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  • Registration is open for the 31st Annual Big Sky State Games in Billings. Most sports fall on the weekend of July 15-17. This Olympic-style multi-sport festival for amateur athletes of all ages and skill levels draws 10,000 athletes each year. Elite, junior, senior and recreational athletes will compete for coveted medals in 36 sports.
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  • The new High Horse Saloon and Eatery at 3953 Montana Avenue will hold its Grand Opening on Friday and Saturday, May 20 and 21.The former location of Montana Chad’s has been completely remodeled and updated. Guests will be greeted with a completely new look, says co-owner and manager, Reid Pyburn. The menu too is new, featuring home cooking with lots
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  • Montana Merchandising, Inc. was started in 1972 by Eugene Thayer in Great Falls. After graduating from Montana State University, with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics (the first in his family to earn a degree), Eugene worked for General Mills and Greely Elevator Company. Eugene didn’t want to leave Montana so he saved up $35,000 and started his own grain
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  • Red Oxx Manufacturing, Inc. and owners Jim Markel and Perry Jones are this year’s Montana Veteran-Owned Small Business of the Year, named by the Montana Small Business Administration.Red Oxx was started in 1986 by Jim Markel’s veteran father, Jim Senior. A veteran himself Jim Senior had a passion for fitness and decided to create and sell unique gym workout accessories;
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  • In such a busy world it is easy to quickly note the Montana businesses which have been recognized with the SBA Small Business awards, and scan on by without giving more than a passing thought, but I would urge readers to take a second look and ponder a moment, that which we all take so very much for granted about
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  • Lena Wharton of Wharton Asphalt LLC in Billings named SBA’s 2016 Montana Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year.Wharton Asphalt is an asphalt construction and maintenance company based in Billings, specializing in services including patching pot-holes, sealing driveways, crack sealing, paving roadways, and all things in between. Wharton Asphalt also currently does work in Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Idaho and Utah.
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  • Golden Entertainment, Inc. has purchased substantially all of the assets of Amusement Services, LLC, owned by co-founder, Tim Carson, Billings.Amusement Services is one of the largest distributed gaming operators in the state of Montana and currently operates more than 1,800 gaming devices located in approximately 180 retail locations across the state, including five Native American locations with contracts that comprise
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  • County Commissioners have asked the Montana Department of Revenue to act more expediently on the CHS refinery’s tax protest and to more accurately set the county’s taxable valuable, so tax jurisdictions in the county can better budget.“This is big stuff,” said Kevan Bryan, County Finance Director, concerned that CHS is seeking more a of reduction than the county guesstimated and
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  • John and Courtney McKee, co-founders of Headframe Spirits in Butte, are this year’s Montana Small Business Champion of the Year.
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  • Husband and wife team, Dustin and Rachel Rising, owners of Bozeman-based retail store Bibs and Binkies, will be presented the 2016 Montana Small Business Administration (SBA) Millennial Entrepreneur of the Year award on May 2 in Missoula.Bibs and Binkies is a Bozeman retail store focusing on high quality baby gear and gifts at competitive prices. They strive to provide excellent
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  • 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 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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