By Michael Vondra

Bitcoin: Investing or speculating?

Many people have decided that bitcoin is the next big thing – and they are backing up their enthusiasm with dollars. Should you, too, consider putting money into bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies?

First of all, keep in mind an essential piece of financial advice: Don’t invest in something you don’t understand. And bitcoin is not easily understandable. There’s no physical bitcoin, nor is it backed by a bank or government. It’s a digital currency, used for transactions on a decentralized network of computers. The market’s demand for bitcoin largely determines its price, though other factors are also involved.

And this price can vary widely. Since bitcoin was introduced in 2009, it has gone through periods of enormous gains and precipitous declines. Its short history has reminded market watchers of the bursting of the “” bubble in 2000 and the housing market bubble in 2007. These results have raised the following question about purchasing bitcoin: Is it investing or speculating?

There’s a big difference between the two. Speculators engage in risky transactions with the hope of profiting from short-term price fluctuations in various financial vehicles. Investors, on the other hand, stick with these practices:

• They follow a long-term strategy. Real investors follow a long-term strategy based on their goals, risk tolerance and time horizon. Generally speaking, long-term investors don’t do a lot of buying and selling, saving on fees and potential taxes. But this “buy and hold” approach doesn’t mean investors put their portfolios on autopilot. Instead, they review their portfolios at least once a year to make sure their investment mix is still appropriate for their needs.

• They focus on quality. Long-term investors stay away from the flashier – and riskier – financial instruments. Instead, these investors seek quality. When they’re considering stocks, for example, they look for companies with solid fundamentals, including strong management teams, competitive products and services and business plans that bode well for the future. When they buy bonds, they seek those with high credit ratings issued by the independent rating agencies. Focusing on quality doesn’t yield quick results, but it can instill confidence in one’s investment choices.

• They diversify their holdings. If a downturn in the financial markets affects one type of asset particularly hard, and your portfolio contains a high concentration of that asset, your financial strategy could be jeopardized. Long-term investors reduce this risk by owning a variety of investments. While diversification can’t guarantee profits or protect against all losses, it can help reduce the impact of market volatility on your portfolio.

And here’s one more difference between investors and speculators: track record. Investors put their money into companies that provide tangible goods and services, and these companies have historically grown with the overall economy. Stocks and bonds are established investment vehicles with well-defined and regulated markets. Consequently, investors can assume a certain degree of predictability, though, of course, stock prices will always fluctuate in the short term and there are no guarantees against loss of principal. Cryptocurrencies, on the other hand, are relatively new, largely unpredictable and will likely face increased regulation in the future, with the ultimate risk being an outright ban by some governments.

You work hard for your money – so think carefully about how you can best put it to use to help you reach your lifetime goals.

Michael A Vondra

Certified Financial Planner Practitioner

Edward Jones

West Park Promenade 8, LLC, 1603 Grand Ave, 827-8100, Eric Nord (Legal Counsel), service

Marshroom Farms LLC, 406 Johnson Lane, 671-2750, Steven Marsh, service

Mr & Mrs GG Solutions, 1491 Sourdough Ln, 361-737-1488, Joey & Reida Gallegos, service

The Whistling Artisan LLC, 1802 12th St W, 272-2619, Casey and Abby Cook, service

Clocktower Inn LLC, 2511 1st Ave N, 325-1732, Stephen Wahlrich, general contractors

MAC Electric, 3116 Boulder Ave #5, 561-9793, Mark Reese, electrical contractors

Little Adventures Preschool, 3024 2nd Ave N, 860-8562, Judith Stannebein, schools

Gopuff, 618 S 25th St, 973-945-3694, Owen Bonnet, retail sales

Meeting Pair LLC, 212 Brookshire Blvd Unit 2, Reese Queen/Cody McCombs, service

Circle T Construction LLC, 202 E 1st Ave Ste 1, Big Timber, 932-5612, Colter Todd, general contractors

Night Wolf trucking LLC, 610 S 44th St W #6112, 701-421-5037, Robert Mitchell, misc

Parkway C&A, LP, 1000 Civic Circle, 469-322-3718, Lewisville TX, Jeff Berry, general contractors

Nolan Property Management Inc, 3011 Daystar Dr, 696-6947, Adam & Kristi Nolan, service

Scottie’s General Constricting, 1722 Padres Way #6, 904-923-2203, Andrew Bonner, general contractors

Danielle Adelman LMT LLC, 2619 St John’s Ave Ste F, 360-661-4622, Danielle Adelman, solo practitioner

Montana Granite Industries, 1010 1st Ave S, Great Falls, 452-8129, Daren Rummel, retail sales

Biddle Photography LLC, 2005 Hewitt Dr, 672-5857, John Biddle, service

Koenigstein Eis, 1519 McMullen Ln, Laurel, 208-6548, Melanie Tripp, restaurant

Whiskey One LLC, 927 Nutter Blvd, 260-8796, Nicholas Scott, retail sales

Good & Tight Plumbing LLC, 5110 Central Ave, 321-4318, Mason Shanks, plumbing contractors

Senior Fit Billings with Lorne, 777 15th St W, Lorne Doty, service

Device Child, 401 N 15th St, 534-9061, Kolbi Fox, service

Duane Youngren Contractor LLC, 1112 Clark Ave, 426-4027, Duane Youngren, general contractors

Legacy Craftsman, 22 Hilltop Rd, 671-0517, Eric Logan, general contractors

WH High Sierra 50 LLC, 21080 Centre Point Parkway, Santa Clarita, CA 661-222-9201, Randy Miyashiro, general contractors

Enecon Rocky Mtn, 7049 Pryor Ridge Trail, Huntley, 530-5295, Brian Zier, general contractors

Advanced Therapeutics of Montana, 1500 Poly Dr Ste 206, 794-2691, Michelle Hert, solo practitioner

Diamond T, 220 Hogan Rd, 690-2515,Huntley,  Paul Siewert, service

The Dawghouse Training, 2804 Minnesota Ave, 697-3753, Anton Grier, service

Rockwell design LLC, 3619 Corbin Dr, 861-6687, Alexa Szymanowski, service

Tenacious Sauna Self Care Retreat LLC, 71 25th St W, 697-4970, Leona Lee, service

Escentia Salon – 2, 670 King Park Dr, Ste 5, 281-1174, Kendra Halvorsen, service

Canyon Creek Consulting LLC, 1629 Ave D Ste 2, 697-9817, Marlayne Worthington, service

Deborah G Robinson, 911 Custer Ave, 672-6597, Deborah Robertson, service

Good Flooring, 22 Northglen Dr, 321-1574, Zachary Cisse, service

Taskmaster Enterprises, 812 Ave D, 670-9144, Edward Colbert, general contractors

Soup and Such LLC, 2716 3rd Ave N, 294-01448, Mike Craighill, restaurants

Homefront Builders, 817 N 25th St, 591-3356, Leo Pinnick, general contractors

ASG Builders, 2045 Broadwater Ave Ste 2, 599-1801, Ashley Steen, solo practitioner

Dream Chasers Racing, 135 Monarch St, 598-3943, Richard Todd, service

Bella Spa Body Mind Spirit, 629 grand Ave, 245-2772, Lydia Larvie, solo practitioner

Katie Taylor events, 2718 Auburn Circle, 304-2669, Katie Taylor, service

TJ Construction Inc, 160 W Cedar, Forsyth, 698-1840, Tim Jones, general contractors

Outright Neat, 1104 19th St W, 591-8858, Jaida Ontiveros, service

National Rarities LLC, 2190 S Mason Rd Ste 310, St Louis MO, 888-787-1112, Dennis McCafferty, service

Oberg’s Dog Grooming, 7846 Oberg Ln, Shepherd, 855-4367, Tierria Oberg, service

Billings Construction Company, 530 Sioux Lane Unit A, 970-0414, Joshua Edge, general contractors

Plains Contracting, 601 Salida Way, Unit B4, Aurora CO, 720-933-8749, Lee Longanbach, general contractors

Rim City Roofing, 2315 1/2 Lewis Ave, 647-8199, Thomas Hoppe/Hector Gonzales, roofing contractors

Marx Mini Dump Truck Service, 7122 Helfrick, 606-2018, Marcus Whisler, service

Shively Contracting LLC, 516 Kearney St, 200-8137, Jeremiah Shiveley, general contractors

Eagle Home Repair and Maintenance, 1023 S 8th Ave, Laurel, 439-7713, Dennis Murphy, service

Practical Pixie, 5607 Cardinals Way #2, 231-6307, Kayla Wolfe, retail sales

The White Feather Boutique, 131 Moore Ln Ste C, 860-3044, Pamela Heine, retail sales

Martin Home Inspections, 701 S 33rd St, 750-5742, John Martin, service

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 provide training opportunities and financial support for students working to become psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners, mental health counselors or psychiatrists. The work is supported by a four-year, $1.8 million grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration.

The partnership’s goal is to increase access to high-quality and culturally appropriate behavioral health services in 38 of Montana’s counties in eastern and north-central Montana. That access is desperately needed, according to Stacy Stellflug, the grant’s principal investigator and project director and an assistant professor at the MSU College of Nursing’s Billings campus location.

“Like many places in the country, counties in rural Montana struggle to respond effectively to individuals in acute behavioral health crisis,” Stellflug said. “In a frontier region, like eastern Montana, where there is a low population and high geographic remoteness, an individual experiencing a behavioral health crisis may be hundreds of miles from a hospital, and the nearest hospital may not have licensed behavioral health staff available to properly assess the patient and determine how to respond.” 

Montana is at the epicenter of the country’s mental health crisis, which makes the need for mental health care even greater. For more than 30 years, Montana has ranked in the top five states for the highest suicide rates for all age groups, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Stellflug also pointed to a recent Montana Healthcare Foundation report that identifies significant behavioral health concerns for Montana citizens. The report found that one in five Montana adults reports having a depressive disorder, 20.8% report binge drinking — compared to 16.8% nationally – and 7.7% are classified as “heavy drinkers,” which is compared to 6.2% nationally. Montana youth also report depression, alcohol use, binge drinking and illicit drug use. Montana also has the second highest rate of alcohol-related deaths in the U.S., according to a National Vital Statistics Report.

MT BHWET-East will be led by a team within MSU’s College of Nursing and the Montana Office of Rural Health and Area Health Education Center. It will focus on increasing access to mental health services in some of Montana’s most rural and isolated communities. In addition to supporting future mental health providers, the program aims to expand and enhance community partnerships to increase the number of training sites that integrate mental health care. It will also work to support providers’ awareness of culturally appropriate care, awareness of population needs and more. 

“Montana continues to face a behavioral health care workforce shortage, especially in our rural and frontier regions,” said Kailyn Mock, director of the Montana Office of Rural Health and Area Health Education Center at MSU. “Supporting behavioral health professional trainees through their academic careers, providing comprehensive integrated behavioral health education, and creating team-based training opportunities in our communities is a successful model for growing Montana’s health care workforce.”

NorthWestern Energy has entered a power purchase agreement with Apex Solar LLC. The Public Utility Regulatory Act (PURPA) contract is for 80 megawatts of generation from a solar facility Apex Solar is developing in Beaverhead County near Dillon, Montana.

The facility is required to begin delivery of generation in November 2022. When it comes online, NorthWestern Energy expects to have 177 megawatts of solar generation serving Montana customers. NorthWestern Energy also has a power purchase agreement with MT Sun LLC for an 80 megawatt solar facility under development in Yellowstone County, which is scheduled to begin delivering generation in January 2022.

“The new solar generation provides diversity to the generation and supply contracts serving our Montana customers,” said Bleau LaFave, NorthWestern Energy Director Long-Term Resources. “NorthWestern Energy is developing a diversified portfolio to cost effectively provide reliable energy service for our customers.”

Dear Editor,

On August 3, 2021, the Yellowstone County Commissioners faced one of its most significant votes in recent memory relating to the recreational marijuana issue as a result of I-90. Whether you were for the Board action, or against it, is was important for each Commissioner to participate.

Commissioner Pitman stated he had a family event to attend out of state. While family is important, so is the County’s business.

The decision to place the matter on the ballot in November as to prohibiting non-medical marijuana businesses in the County was and remains enormous.

It failed on a 1-1 vote. Due to Pitman’s conspicuous absence, the measure died for lack of a majority.

The public deserves to know where Pitman stands. He could have given his proxy to a like minded Board member. He could have called in (voice/zoom/etc) to let his opinion be known. He could have left his comments to be read into the public record. All of these things he COULD have done to serve Yellowstone County voters/citizens and still attended his family event.

This measure has been known about for some time. There were many opportunities to prepare and share his thoughts rather than hide behind a family excuse to avoid taking a tough stand. Is that what we want in a Commissioner? I would have been there for Yellowstone County citizens and voted.

Vote for Mark Morse in the 2022 Republican primary for Yellowstone County Commissioner. I am the American Patriot who will best represent voters/citizens and not make excuses.

Mark Morse

Billings, Montana

The Billings Realtor’s Association and community partners are holding an in-depth discussion at the 2021 Housing Strategies Summit, on current housing trends, challenges, and opportunities for the Yellowstone County region.

The Billings Realtors Association and Big Sky Economic Development is hosting a Housing Strategies Summit on Tuesday, August 24, from 7:30 am to 1:30 pm at the Billings Hotel and Convention Center. 

Presenting will be Dr. Patrick Barkey with the University of Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research and Dave Dixon with Cushing Terrell, and other housing experts on the latest market trends.

Industry experts will provide an overview of the current state of the housing market in Yellowstone County and the surrounding region. Dr. Barkey will offer an update on the state of the regional housing market and projections for the future. Dave Dixon will update attendees on the regional housing survey currently underway in Yellowstone and adjoining counties.

Local lenders, builders and developers, along with representatives from the Montana Departments of Commerce, Environmental Quality, and Natural Resources and Conservation will engage in panel discussions regarding the latest lending, permitting and development challenges at both the local and state level.

The Billings Realtors Association is aiming to have diverse attendance from community leaders, elected officials, government offices, industry leaders, community development professionals, and those impacted by the current housing situation. Participate in an interactive conversation with panelists during the working lunch to explore innovative solutions to housing needs in our region.

All are invited to attend to learn more about how current housing trends impact business and recruitment efforts now and into the future. All participants will be invited to participate in exploring solutions to ensure the strength of the local business environment.

Registration is limited. Pre-registration is required at http:// events.r20. register/ event?oeidk=a07eibv7ewc4f53735b &llr=uuxlqq7ab

For more information, contact Bob Leach or Mary Grant at the Billings Realtors Association at 248-7145 or

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 of Directors. He joined Denbury as Chief Operating Officer in September 2015 and was named President in October 2016. He was appointed to his current role as a Director and CEO, July 1, 2017. Prior to joining Denbury, Chris was with Noble Energy for 14 years prior to that, holding a wide range of domestic leadership positions, primarily in the Eastern Mediterranean, Latin America, and the Gulf of Mexico.

The luncheon is part of Montana Petroleum Association’s annual conference, which will be held in Billings Aug. 30 – Sept. 1.

Features of the conference include discussions about “Montana’s Tax Picture, Government Revenue vs. Tax Equity,” with Brendan Beatty, Director, MT Department of Revenue; Bob Story, Executive Director, Montana Taxpayers’ Association; and Kurt Alme, Montana State Budget Director.

Also a panel discussion on “Methane Monitoring and Control” with Dustin Anderson, Oasis

Petroleum North America, LLC (Moderator); Benjamin Losby, Operations and Accounts Manager, Bridger Photonics; Debbie Skibicki, Director of Consulting Services, Bison Engineering; and Matthew Todd, Director, API’s Environmental Partnership.

Another panel discussion will focus on “Regulatory Update with MT DEQ, MT DNRC, and MT

BOGC” with Alan Olson, Executive Director, Montana Petroleum Association (Moderator);

Christopher Dorrington, Director, MT Department of Environmental Quality; Amanda Kaster, Director, MT Department of Natural Resources and Jim Halvorson, Administrator, MT Board of Oil & Gas Conservation.

For more information email:

The Department of Transportation wants to move the rest area near Bozeman to Three Forks to a site near Wheat Montana. Residents of the area, however, are objecting to the plan based upon fears that rest areas become magnets for crime, which will impact the residential community. MDT said the purpose of the rest area, which will be double the size of the current rest area, is to offer a safe place for travelers to stop during harsh weather and road closures. Construction would start at the end of this summer.

Officials at the Sidney-Richland Airport are in the beginning stages of expanding their terminal, including giving more space for TSA agents during screening and baggage claim. The airport is considered a primary airport with over 10,000 enplanements a year, which qualifies it for $1 million in federal funding.  Since the pandemic the airport has been at about 78 percent of capacity.

Montana State University is suggesting vaccinated and unvaccinated staff and students wear a mask indoors on campus due to the rise in the spread of COVID-19 and its variants. The university emailed all students about a new vaccine incentive program during the fall which would give prizes each week to fully vaccinated students.

Sun Country Airlines, based in Minnesota, will begin flights between Williston and Las Vegas beginning Sept. 2.

The Montana Scene is a lifestyle clothing and apparel company in Bigfork, owned by Melissa Bonnet and her husband, Sean. It opened in 2010 known as Bear Food Inc., a giftshop and deli, but was rebranded in 2014 to The Montana Scene a clothing company that shares their love for the great state of Montana. Thanks in-part to the popularity of their designs and a strong web-presence, the Montana Scene has since grown to multiple storefront retail locations in Missoula, Whitefish, Bozeman, Kalispell, including children’s boutique, and a new micro-retail concept store.

The XWA AIR SHOW is coming Saturday, September 11 from 7 a.m-12 p.m. at the Overland Aviation tarmac in Williston, ND. It is being sponsored by the city. (

Billings Clinic’s 140,000-square-foot facility is expected to open in Bozeman in the late spring of 2022. The plan for the center includes a multispecialty physician group practice, urgent care and an outpatient surgical center. The facility will employ more than 250 people in Bozeman, including more than 50 providers. Three of those new physicians have already arrived and are seeing patients. By Sept. 1, 10 more physicians will arrive and begin practicing in Bozeman in the specialties of OBGYN, family medicine, internal medicine, urology, radiology and ophthalmology. Because these physicians are ready to start practicing right away and due to the growing need for more health care services, temporary onsite clinic space will be available for patient care beginning on Sept. 1 and continuing in construction of the full facility is complete.

Many people in Bozeman are being forced to live in RV’s due to the high demand for housing in Bozeman. Others have been forced to turn their homes into rentals. Many Bozeman homeowners are selling their houses and moving to lower priced markets in the state. The Human Resource Development Council in Bozeman said they are currently working with over 35 different campers to help those people in need. The agency said that the number of people without stable housing in Bozeman has doubled over the past year.

The U.S. trade deficit increased to a record $75.7 billion in June. The Commerce Department reported that the deficit rose 6.7% from a revised May deficit of $71 billion. The June deficit set a record, topping the old mark of $75 billion set in March. The trade deficit represents the gap between what the country exports to the rest of the world and what it purchases from other countries.

Plastic Design and Manufacturing, or PDM, a plastic manufacturing company Manhattan, is nearly doubling the size of its factory. A custom injection molding company, PDM plans a 20,000-square-foot expansion to its building and expects the addition to be completed by October. The company makes custom injection-molded plastics, ranging from the plastic tops on Werner ladders to dog food bowls and other pet products. The company also has a factory in Juarez, Mexico.

The Huckleberry Children’s Boutique held a ribbon cutting and grand opening on July 31 in Sidney. Huckleberry will fill the need for clothing and accessories for babies and new mothers in the Sidney area. Huckleberry Children’s Boutique is located at The Shoppes at Pifers General Store building, 141 7th St. SW. 

Zach and Kate Whipple-Kilmer have opened Limberlost Brewing Co. is open in Thompson Falls. The brewery is full of local historical items and material. The brewery is located at 1017 Main St, Thompson Falls.

The city of Missoula has agreed to buy a 21-unit apartment building that provides affordable housing for people living with mental illness or disabilities. The apartment building was built in 1998 with public funds. It was put on the market for over $2 million. The City of Missoula will be purchasing the building through the Missoula Redevelopment Agency.

The City of Kalispell is breaking records for water usage as the heat and drought continue. Kalispell’s water demand has reached up to 12.4 million gallons in a single 24-hour period; last year’s daily record was 11.51 million gallons.

Visitation to Montana parks has increased 11.1% over 2020 and 44.1% over 2019, according to data provided by the University of Montana’s Institute of Tourism and Recreation Research. In 2019, out-of-state guests brought in $3.76 billion in revenue, and even with the travel challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 saw $3.15 billion of revenue. The Helena City Commissioners voted to amend the conditional use permit (CUP) for Helena Agri-Enterprises, LLC, better known as Helena Chemical. The amendment will allow the company to periodically store anhydrous

By Evelyn Pyburn

So how do you move a 148,000 pound dump truck with 9-foot tall tires from a mine site to the fairgrounds?

In pieces.

And, using other really big trucks and a crane.

The CAT 777F that Westmoreland Mining Company is bringing to Dig It Days at Montana Fair cannot just be driven down the highway. A vehicle that is 20 feet wide, 35 feet long and 17 feet tall is too big and heavy for even an interstate highway. And, even to be transported in pieces requires special permitting from the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT).

T&E crews will be breaking the CAT down and then loading it, using a crane from Hogan Corp Services, and then transported by a crew from Maxim Crane Works, 185 miles cross country, to be reassembled at Montana Fair in Billings, by the T &E crews.

Cody Calonge, Billings Operations Manager for Maxim Crane Works, explained that it will take two other really big trucks, one with 13 axles and with 100 ton capacity to haul the chasse, wheels and motor, and another truck with a 54-foot lowboy to haul the truck box.

In total the vehicles will be moving 215,000 pounds of machinery.

The CAT 777F alone weighs 148,000 pounds when it’s empty, and it weighs 360,000 pounds loaded. It has a bed capacity of 105 tons.

With the goal of being able move the truck on Monday, August 16, Calonge has been working closely with MDT, providing them with truck dimensions, weights and maps of possible routes, to get permitted. After long hours of ironing out the details, the route has been set from the mine at Colstrip to move along Highway 39 to Forsyth  and then to Old Highway 10, to Highway 12 through Roundup and down Highway 87 – right through Main Street in the Heights— to Metra Park.

Three pilot cars with drivers will be needed for each unit because of their size.

A trip that would be about a 3-hour drive for a normal vehicle will take between six and eight hours to move the CAT. Calonge said he hopes to be on the road by 6 am and arrive in Billings between 2 and 3 p.m.

The whole process of moving the CAT 777F calls upon the skills and knowledge of a lot of different roles in the construction industry.  It is a microcosm of the opportunities that exist in the industry for all kinds of jobs and careers, of which there are so many that most construction businesses in Montana have open positions that they have not been able to fill for months because of a shortage of job-seekers.

According to Calonge not just any heavy equipment operator can move something like a 13-axle load. You need truck drivers who specialize in moving over- sized equipment. It’s a specialty in which the operator has to have much expertise usually acquired by years of experience, starting out with driving smaller trucks, and graduating to operating larger and larger vehicles. A specialized truck driver can earn $30 to $35 an hour.

A crane like the one that will be used in placing the truck box on the trailer also requires a highly-trained and skilled worker. A crane is probably the most dangerous piece of equipment operated in the construction business, said Calonge. Cranes are becoming more and more sophisticated with computerized systems, that while making their operation versatile and easier, also require more knowledge and training than in the past.

The mechanics who tear down the CAT 777F must be extremely good mechanics and be very familiar with the truck, realizing that it too is a very sophisticated piece of equipment. The mechanics will have a lot of pieces to keep track of in moving the truck. They must know where each piece goes when it comes to reassembling, which will probably take four to five hours.

Even the pilot car drivers have to “have their wits about them,” said Calonge. The pilot car drivers are responsible for managing traffic, setting up road blocks to allow the trucks to use the entire width of bridges, warning on-coming traffic of a wide load, getting through intersections, etc.

The management, orchestration and oversight that Calonge brings to his job is another dimension of the construction business. Tending to details and scheduling the many teams involved is a daily challenge. Just getting the permitting was a challenging undertaking.

The possible routes are built on computers and researched as to potential problems and barriers that must be negotiated.  The utility companies, telecommunication companies and officials of the counties through which they travel must be notified and consulted regarding potential obstructions and problems that must be overcome.

And, there are a host of technicians related to the construction industry who are called upon to help them resolve problems. And still within the industry there are many less visible roles to be played in sales and management, human resources, legal and financial.

When one considers all that is involved in the project of getting the CAT 777F to Dig It Days, so that many people who have never had the opportunity to see such an amazing piece of equipment, it must be realized that this is indeed a great gift to the community being made by Westmoreland Mining and all the other companies involved .

Following their meeting in late July on wildfire, Governor Greg Gianforte urged President Joe Biden to support the bipartisan Resilient Federal Forests Act.

“Introduced by 70 members of Congress in July with the backing of 90 organizations, this bill will support proactive, science-based forest management at a pace and scale that match the urgency of the forest health crisis we face,” the governor wrote in a letter to the President.

Outlining the benefits of the bill, the governor continued, “It gives the U.S. Forest Service additional tools to manage millions of acres of federal forest and reduce wildfire risk. It also addresses a concern raised in our conversation by Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, which I was encouraged to hear you share, by helping to end frivolous lawsuits that delay essential forest management projects from moving forward.” 

In his meeting with President Biden and other governors last month, the governor called for meaningful forest management to improve forest health and reduce the risk of wildfire. Several other governors joined him in that call.

At the state level, the governor has set out to more than double the number of acres treated this year as compared to last year in Montana.

In late July, the governor announced signed project agreements for 14 cross-boundary, active management projects associated with the Montana Forest Action Plan.