Montana Highlights

A new lift opened last week on Whitefish Mountain. Until the new lift, Chair 6 was the only way to get from the lodge to Chairs 1 and 2, the major lifts up the resort’s front-side. The Snow Ghost Express, officially known as Chair 4 whisks skiers up Inspiration Ridge. With chairs are wide enough to hold six skiers at a time, the resort estimates that the new lift will be able to serve over 2,000 skiers per hour.

Tax revenue from wine is forecast to be flat in  Montana the next couple of years, and per capita beer consumption is on the same path, Revenue from taxes on booze is projected to go up slightly, and income from taxes on tobacco products will be down overall. As expected, marijuana is forecasted to make a large contribution to state budget.Tax revenue from cannabis is projected to hit $50.7 million in the 2024 and $57.5 million in 2025.

The total number of teaching licenses issued in Montana has decreased by 9% in the last five years, according to the Office of Public Instruction. In that time, the amount of new licenses issued decreased by 21% and the number of educators who have maintained their licenses shrunk by about 7%. Emergency authorizations, which allow people who are not currently qualified educators to fill vacant positions, grew by 42% from 2018 and peaked with 173 emergency licenses in 2021.

The Golden Yolk Griddle, a burrito and sandwich shop in downtown Missoula has announced. it’s starting a late-night breakfast service from 11 p.m. until 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

J.W. Heist Steakhouse, at 27 E. Main St., opened Jan. 3, and will be open for dinners only. Owners Michael Ochsner and Brett Evje have wanted to open a steakhouse in downtown Bozeman since 2009. The business partners, who also co-own Plonk, have wanted to fill a gap left by their favorite fine-dining restaurant Boodles since it was destroyed in a natural gas explosion in 2009. The pair instead opened Plonk in 2009.

Former legislator Brad Tschida will take the executive director position at the Montana Public Service Commission starting Jan. 17, 2023. The agency announced  that Tschida, a Republican from Missoula and “lifelong Montana resident,” accepted its offer. The Public Service Commission is made up of five elected commissioners from five districts in Montana, currently all Republicans, who oversee regulated utilities.

Rick Weaver, the longtime regional publisher at Hagadone Media Montana, will retire at the end of January. In his role, W...

KLJ Engineering is proud to welcome four new employees to its Billings office. These new employee-owners will be working in multiple markets across KLJ.

Joining KLJ’s survey team is Tyler Mayhue. While working as a survey technician, he is actively pursuing his degree in mechanical engineering from Arizona State University. Mayhue also has a bachelor’s in business administration.

Luke Wa...

Samuel Stebbins,  24/7 Wall St. for Center Square

Public employee pension systems are some of the largest financial liabilities on state government balance sheets. The 50 states have over $4.5 trillion in cumulative pension liabilities combined, roughly double the amount all 50 states spent in fiscal 2020. For years, state pension systems were woefully underfunded in much of the country, bu...

Once upon a time, in a land where our leaders tended to have more concern for their constituents then they do now–-though nothing as per their job descriptions in Thomas Paine’s Common Sense–-established the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).  The purpose of the FTC is/was to curtail potential monopolies causing a lack of competition in various segments.  A lack of competition puts the consumer “...

Hannah Olson joined the Billings Chamber of Commerce as the Director of Communications and Marketing in late September, 2022.

Olson comes to the Chamber with an abundance of experience in communications and community engagement. She previously worked with nonprofits like Big Brothers Big Sisters of Yellowstone County and YWCA Billings and in public involvement with DOWL Civil Engineers. Act...

A new lift opened last week on Whitefish Mountain. Until the new lift, Chair 6 was the only way to get from the lodge to Chairs 1 and 2, the major lifts up the resort’s front-side. The Snow Ghost Express, officially known as Chair 4 whisks skiers up Inspiration Ridge. With chairs are wide enough to hold six skiers at a time, the resort estimates that the new lift will be able to serve over 2,0...

International Jet Donates Flight Hours

International Jet has donated 10 total hours of flight time on a Learjet 55 (N5572) to Angel Flight West, a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization that arranges no-cost, non-emergency air travel for children and adults with severe medical conditions and other compelling needs. Thanks to this d...