The Flathead Lake real estate market set a record for sales in September. $43 million in lake shore properties were sold last month. The largest sales was a 15,000 plus square foot house that listed for $21 million. The year-to-date total sales on Flathead Lake is $157.4 million, compared to $117.5 million in 2020.

Daniel Pendergraph has voiced the question: What impact might this boom in human activity have on the pristine water quality of backcountry lakes? In a new study published in Wilderness & Environmental Medicine, Pendergraph and others set out to determine if increased human visitation to the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area led to an increase in human fecal contamination in backcountry lakes. The teams collected ssamples from 21 lakes and two snow melt streams. Human-associated bacteria were found in very low abundances in all sites tested, which means they were present but not quantifiable. Only one of the sites had a quantifiable presence of the bacteria, but the number was still relatively low.

Dan Graves, Whitefish Mountain Resort CEO plans to retire at the end of the 2021-22 ski season, according to a report from the resort. Graves helped grow and promote the resort during his 15-year tenure. The 2020-2021 season was the resort’s busiest ever, with nearly 460,000 skier visits. Nick Polumbus, the resort’s director of marketing and sales, will take over as CEO upon Graves’ retirement.

The Kalispell City Council has decided to put in place regulations that will restrict marijuana businesses to Kalispell’s industrial zones. Marijuana dispensaries, cultivation and manufacturing will be an administrative conditionally permitted use in those zones, as long as they are placed more than 300 feet from schools, parks, churches and residential zones.

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality has detected a groundwater plume containing toxic chemicals under Butte High School. The plume was first detected in 2009. The Environmental Protection Agency contracted a preliminary investigation of the site over a decade later. The 2021 report found the site posed a potential risk to human health and recommended a thorough site inspection. The chemical concentrations found in 2009 present a fairly low risk to people, as does the potential exposure pathway.

Hachi Sushi Pub is opening this winter inside the Market at Ferguson Farm in Bozeman. The restaurant will focus seasonal seafood from West Coast markets. They will offer different styles of sushi as well as fusion flavors. The restaurant and bar’s concept is heavily inspired by Japanese pubs, called izakaya, which serve drinks and a variety of small dishes and pub fare.

Tina Cusker and her husband, Brett Cusker, are opening La Cuisine, a kitchen store and culinary classroom. La Cuisine offers a variety of kitchen ware and supplies, including many Montana made products. La Cuisine plans to host weekly cooking classes in a newly renovated commercial-grade kitchen. La Cuisine, at 2405 W. Main St., is will be open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Weekly cooking classes are planned to be held Tuesday evenings.

The bank in Fairview has been a part of the Fairfield community since 1941. Over the years the name has changed from Fairview Bank to Montana Bank of Fairview, then to First Security Bank – West and currently Merchants Bank. Merchants Bank acquired the Fairview Branch on Oct. 14, 2011 and the ten year anniversary was celebrated recently.

Oil and gas operators across the nation are preparing to announce carbon reduction goals and ESG plans. ONEOK is the most recent Bakken company to announce an ambitious ESG goal. It will reduce both Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030, as compared to 2019 levels. Scope 1 and 2 emissions include direct emissions from company-operated sources and indirect emissions from purchased power. Oasis Petroleum has released the first of what it plans to make an annual sustainability report, which outlines the company’s ESG measures. Liberty Oilfield Services ESG statement turns things around to look at energy through the lens of making human lives better.

Williams County commissioners have rejected a proposal that would have limited the number of TENORM facilities permitted in the county. The idea came up during discussion of requests by WISCO and Secure Energy Services for permission to accept up to 25,000 tons annually of TENORM wastes.

The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks has begun a significant restructuring including the hiring of new upper management that will oversee a responsibilities from statewide site maintenance to recreation management. Hope Stockwell is the manager of the new FWP Parks and Recreation Division. The division includes Montana State Parks and maintenance of sites including state parks, fishing access sites and wildlife management areas plus all of the department’s recreation and access programs including Block Management, trail grants and recreation planning such as work on the Madison River. While sites such as fishing access sites might be funded through license sales, they often see plenty of use for non-fishing recreation.

The Little Shell Tribal Health Clinic, which is located at 425 Smelter Ave. NE in Great Falls, is set to open on Nov. 11. Indian Health Service (IHS), a federal agency that provides medical care to federally recognized tribes, is expected to run the clinic initially, but the tribe plans to assume clinic leadership within three years. The 10,000-square-foot clinic includes 12 exam and behavioral health rooms and features a pharmacy with drive-thru access. 

The latest numbers show Williston Basin Airport was about half of what it was in 2019, but triple the numbers from the same time in 2020. Over the last few months both Delta and United Airlines have returned to a pre-COVID level of service at XWA.


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