Blue Dog RV has opened on U.S. 2 East in Kalispell. The business offers a wide selection of vehicles and a full-service RV repair shop. The Kalispell store is the 16th Blue Dog dealership in the Western U.S. and the first in Montana. The business is opening in the former home of Pierce RV. Blue Dog RV, is locatred at 3138 U.S. 2 East.
The city of Whitefish is exploring options for its recycling site currently located on the city-owned snow lot. The city in 2016 consolidated its recycling into one centralized site at the snow lot after closing several satellite recycling locations.
The Green Party has qualified to have candidates on the 2020 ballot in Montana. Signature gatherers turned in more than 11,000 signatures in Gallatin, Lewis and Clark, Missoula, Silver Bow and Yellowstone counties before the March 2 deadline. Enough were accepted to meet the minimum qualification requirements. Club For Growth Action, a conservative political action committee that supports state Auditor Matt Rosendale in his U.S. House race, filed paperwork in February to allow it to spend money to qualify the Green Party for the ballot. However a spokesperson stated that they had changed their minds after learning someone else had undertaken the effort. No other organization had filed paperwork with the Commissioner of Political Practices. Any spending would have to be reported by April 15.
Despite a dry November and December, snowpack totals in river basins across Montana have improved and are near to above normal for this time of year. According to the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Water Supply Outlook progress has been made due to normal to record-setting snowfall in February in mountain ranges that supply water to regional rivers and streams. Statewide, precipitation levels were 137% of normal, compared to 93% of normal around the same time last year.
Hobby Lobby has announced an opening date of mid-May 2020 for its new Bozeman store. The arts-and-crafts business originally announced plans to open in March 2019. Hobby Lobby will hire between 35 and 50 people and pay $15.70 for full-time employees and $10.45 for part-time.
As the amount of Bakken gas production has increased, future BTU limits on the Northern Border pipeline have become more likely. That is what is prompting a proposal for an alternative, high-BTU gas market in the Williams-Mountrail County region. Liberty Midstream Solutions is proposing a 4.7 mile, 8-inch residue pipeline on privately owned lands in the area to take high-BTU residuals to an existing third-party line, from where it could be sent to markets in Chicago.
Construction has been completed on Montana Craft Malt, a facility near Butte that will produce 10,000 tons of malt per year from Montana-grown barley. Montana Craft Malt plans to tap into barley grown in Montana and supply specialty malt to the brewing industry in Montana and elsewhere. The U.S. Craft Brewers Association reports that revenue continues to grow in the industry and in 2018, grew to $27.6 billion. Craft beer now has a 24% dollar share of the U.S. beer market, state officials said in a news release. In Montana, 92 breweries are operating with four new breweries in planning as of January.
A 65,000-square-foot, four-story hotel will be one of the first buildings to be built in the Yellowstone Airport Plaza. in Belgarde. The former gravel pit that will be transformed into a mixed-use site with hotels, restaurants and other businesses. The investment and development division of Energy Real Estate Solutions (ERES) announced its plans to build the 120-room hotel recently.
Oil and gas prices plunged more than 30 percent recently. As Russia and Iran disagreed on pricing and production levels. This led to OPEC’s cutting its China crude oil price by $6 to $7 per barrel and ramping up its crude oil production by 2 million barrels per day. The sell-off was the biggest one-day drop since 1991 and the Gulf War.
Continental Oil will ramp up its activity in the Bakken for 2020, running nine rigs instead of six, in an oil reserve Continental’s founder and Executive Director Harold Hamm has said is the best in the country.
Continental’s Bakken crude oil production grew 14 percent year over year, while its gas capture exceeded 90 percent, according to figures presented by Continental executives during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call. That was despite spending 60 percent of its 2019 capex budget in Oklahoma.
In order to address the shortage of pilots across the country, an Air Force-funded program the Civil Air Patrol in Gallatin County is sponsoring a training program for about 30 cadets called the Gallatin Composite Squadron. Cadets are between the ages of 12 and 18.
Collette Hanson, Helena, who has worked at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana for 35 years, has been named president of the organization.
The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the nation’s leading small business advocacy organization, announced that Brad Close has been selected by the board of directors as the organization’s president. Close has been serving as Acting President since December and has been with NFIB for more than 18 years. NFIB is an organization of business owners who annually determine the organization’s positions and goals by a survey of members.
Aaron Whitten has been appointed general manager of the new Kimpton Armory Hotel Bozeman. The property is the first Kimpton in Montana and is slated to open spring 2020. The 122-room hotel is located one block off of Main Street in the historic 1941 National Guard Armory building. It includes three dining venues and a music hall.
The U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has provided another $1.1 million in funding for HUD’s new Foster Youth to Independence (FYI) Initiative. Ten housing authorities will receive this funding, continuing HUD’s efforts to assist young adults transitioning out of foster care. In January, HUD awarded nearly $500,000 to the FYI Initiative and an additional $260,000 in February
Mild winter weather in the Bakken has created an unusual uptick in January’s jobs report. Williston’s Job Service saw 1,185 openings for the month. Construction and extraction work rose 40 percent while CDL transportation careers remain number one with a 20 percent increase. Out-of-state workers continue to move to the area as the average wage remains strong at $27 an hour.
Rian Nelson has opened Big Sky Bakery and Coffeehouse at 110 N. Central Ave., in front of the Magic Mirror building, Sidney.
Demolition began to make room for a new Town Pump in Uptown Butte. The new Town Pump will replace the Town Pump currently located at the intersection of Montana and Platinum Streets in Uptown. Jim’s Corner Bar was demolished to make room for the new gas station and convenience store. The new store will have an expanded deli, new gas islands and better according to Town Pump’s Director of Corporate Communications, Bill McGladdery.