Montana Highlights

The Idaho Conservation League and the Endangered Species Coalition have asked federal officials to do a status review that could lead to relisting wolves under the Endangered Species Act in Montana and Idaho. Both states’ management of wolves has been under federal oversight for five years after wolves were delisted a decade ago. The groups claim that oversight needs to be reinstated because the previous five-year monitoring period has been demonstrated to be inadequate. The groups said the changes in wolf hunting laws pose such a serious threat to wolf populations that they trigger a status review requirement as outlined in a 2009 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Dorio’s, an Italian restaurant, has opened on California Avenue in Libby. They are currently serving lunch with plans to begin dinner service soon. Phone is 406-200-3193

Montana’s state parks have recorded more than 1.57 million visitors thru June 2021. This is an  11% increase over the same period last year and a 44% increase over the same period in 2019, according to the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Twenty-seven of the 45 state parks that were open from the start of January through the end of June reported increases in visitation over the same period in 2020. More than half of all visitations occurred in Region 1, headquartered in Kalispell, and Region 4, headquartered in Great Falls.

U.S. Minerals, Inc., admitted recently to violating the Clean Air Act, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. U.S. Minerals has agreed to settle a related civil case regarding violations brought by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). U.S. Minerals pleaded guilty to one count of negligent endangerment, a misdemeanor, under the Clean Air Act. Under the terms of a plea agreement in the criminal case, the government and U.S. Minerals will recommend to the Court that the company be placed on probation for five years and pay a $393,200 fine.

 According to data from the 2020 Census, Montana is changing demographically. Overall the state’s population grew about 10% with 38 counties showing some growth over the past decade. Gallatin County added the most new residents with 29,447 or 33%. Rosebud County lost the most residents with 904 fewer residents than in the 2010 Census. Percentage wise, Liberty County showed the steepest drop in population with a loss of 16% over 10 years. The percentage of white people dropped one percent to 9...

By Evelyn Pyburn

When it comes to housing affordability, Billings is in a better situation than many other areas of the state, but the plight of other areas still impacts Billings.

“It’s better to get ahead of the issue of housing affordability,” said Colten Bryant, in speaking at the Housing Strategy Summit in Billings. Bryant and Dave Dixon of Cushing Terrell presented data on a housin...

US consumer confidence has plunged to its lowest point in over a decade according to the University of Michigan confidence survey. Americans are worried about personal finances, unemployment and inflation.

The decline is attributed to a combination of things including the resurgence of the virus but most especially rising inflation rates. The spike in prices for consumers in July were 5.4 p...

By Evelyn Pyburn

The real issue about global warming is the conclusion that government has all the answers. Even if it is true (and it could be, it has been in the earth’s past), before we relinquish power over to government we should ask why. Why should we let government dictate how to deal with a catastrophe – any catastrophe.

How often is it that government has the right answers?

F...

A new collaboration between MSU Billings, Montana State University’s College of Nursing, the Montana Office of Rural Health and Area Education Center, and Billings Clinic aims to help address a shortage of mental health providers in eastern Montana.

 The partnership, known as Montana Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training – Eastern and North Central Montana, or BHWET-East, will ...

The Idaho Conservation League and the Endangered Species Coalition have asked federal officials to do a status review that could lead to relisting wolves under the Endangered Species Act in Montana and Idaho. Both states’ management of wolves has been under federal oversight for five years after wolves were delisted a decade ago. The groups claim that oversight needs to be reinstated because t...

Denbury CEO to Speak Here

Christian S. Kendall, President and Chief Executive Officer of Denbury Inc., will be the guest speaker at the annual Montana Petroleum Industry’s Appeciation Day Luncheon on Sept. 1, in Billings at the Doubletree Hotel, 3rd Floor, 11:30 am. Kendall also serves as a member of Denbury’s Board o...