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 91% of the state’s population. American Indian/Alaskan Native is the largest minority at 9%. The number of Hispanic residents grew by one percent moving up from 3% to 4%.

Sweet Retreat Creamery has opened in Columbia Falls at 734 Ninth St. W. Sweet Retreat is open from noon to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

Starbucks coffee shop has opened at the Glacier Basecamp Lodge in Columbia Falls. The new Starbucks will be in the front of the lodge close to the intersection of U.S. 2 and Montana 206. The lodge is a 7-acre property with lodging options there include kitchenettes, family suites and recreational vehicle sites.

At the end of 2020, the average home sale was $352,234 in the Helena market. There were 1,050 homes sold in 2020 with the average days on market being 10. In July of 2019, there were 204 homes for sale in the Helena market – in July of 2021, there were 67 homes for sale.

Aug. 16, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks announced new fishing closures along the Big Hole River in the areas between Dickie Bridge and North Fork. These closures, related to the low volume of waterflow, will remain in effect until Oct. 31, or until FWP says otherwise

The Montana Community Foundation (MCF) announced the addition of two key staff members located in Billings and Havre. Heather Ohs and Jim Bennett join MCF as Philanthropy Officers. They will work with donors and professional advisors to achieve their charitable goals through estate giving and planned giving. Ohs lives in Billings and has more than 20 years of experience in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. Bennett lives in Havre and has extensive knowledge of relationship management, fund development, and donor stewardship. Jim was most recently the Relationship Manager at Northwest Farm Credit Services.

Volunteers of America Northern Rockies (VOA) and Peak Wellness Center (PWC) have officially joined forces through a merger. The combined organization served more than 15,000 individuals across Wyoming, Montana and Western South Dakota last year.  On September 8, from 12- 1:30 pm Volunteers of America will host a luncheon to celebrate the merger. The Honorable Mark Gordon, Governor of Wyoming, will deliver the keynote address and other speakers will include Jeff Holsinger, CEO of Volunteers of America Northern Rockies and Mike King, National CEO of Volunteers of America Inc.  

On average, single family homes in Gallatin County sold in less than a month during July. Last month also marked the fifth consecutive month in which sellers received more than 100% of their list price in both the single family and condo/townhome markets. The number of new listings decreased 6.4% in July compared to last year, from 219 to 205. Pending sales decreased 27.2%, from 243 to 177. The number of closed sales decreased 37.7%, from 231 to 144. The average days on market decreased 46.8%, from 47 to 25. The median sales price increased 42.1%, from $489,000 to $695,000. Sellers received 100.9% of their list price, up from 99.2% last July. The inventory of available homes decreased 28.6%, from 318 to 227, while the months’ supply of inventory dropped 30.4%, from 2.3 to 1.6.  

Montana Public Radio has been awarded a $300,000 grant from the Otto Bremer Trust to expand news coverage across western and central Montana over the next two years. MTPR will soon add news reporters in Butte and Great Falls.

The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced the appointment of Ryan Lankford to serve on the FSA state committee in Montana which oversees the delivery of FSA federal farm programs to the state’s agricultural producers. Members of the FSA state committee are appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture and are responsible for the oversight of farm programs and county committee operations. Lankford, of Chinook, produces conventional and certified organic small grain, pulse and seed crops. 

Northern Ag Network reports: The Rosebud County Cattlewomen have established an account for cash donations to be given to ranchers affected by the Richard Spring, Rough Draw and Slough Grass fires. In one of the worst fire years on record for Montana, over 2,000 fires have burned more than half a million acres and continue to burn. The Richard Spring fire in Rosebud County has burned 170,000 acres as of this writing).

American Prairie, an organization that is acquiring and collaboratively-managing prairie lands in Montana to establish an ecosystem for wildlife, has increased its enrollment of thousands of acres in the in the Block Management hunter access program managed by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. The organization claims that the move boosts property open to hunters.20 people have drawn a bison permits for a bison hunt and 18 drew permits or elk on the Blue Ridge property. Landowners enrolling in the Block Management program receive limited liability protection, livestock loss reimbursement, and compensation (up to $25,000) to offset potential public hunting impacts.

 Big Sky Care Connect (BSCC), a health information exchange (HIE), is partnering with Health Catalyst Inc. (HCAT), a provider of data and analytics technology and services to healthcare organizations, to provide clinicians throughout Montana access to Health Catalyst’s technology and services to advance data-informed healthcare improvement throughout the state. Before the go-live launch of BSCC in 2020, Montana was just one of two states in the U.S. without a state-designated HIE, a system for improving patient health through sophisticated information technology. BSCC feeds data from healthcare providers across the state into a centralized digital network which serves as a real-time information portal for participating providers, patients and payors in Montana. Healthcare organizations of all types throughout Montana can participate in the network.

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 percent higher than in June and the highest 12-month spike since 2008. But rising costs for producers are even more dramatic.  The inflation rate increase of production costs is the biggest on record, at 7.8 percent, year over year.

The survey released on August 13 showed that the consumer index was down from July’s reading of 81.2 to 70.2, a level not seen since 2011. The 13 percent slide was one of the sharpest in the past 50 years, exceeded only by an 18.1 percent drop in 2008 and a 19.4 percent fall in April 2020, when economic constraints imposed because of the virus threw the economy into a tailspin.

The decline in confidence was broad and impacted almost every aspect of the population (age, income, education) and in all regions, according to survey director, Richard Curtin.

A concern of economists is that the consumers’ lack of confidence could mean a drop in how much they spend. Consumer spending is considered by some as a major driver of the economy.

Policies that are flooding the economy with extra cash is in large part the reason for inflation and it has thwarted what had been an unprecedented economic recovery, erasing increased benefits and wages for workers. Inflation is putting pressure on the federal government but the response has been to increase the flood of easy money, with the belief of officials that “the current bout of inflation is transitory” and will improve once the labor market has recovered and become more solid.

As many people have moved into Montana from other parts of the country, and also, given the ease of banking on-line, JPMorgan Chase already has an established client base in Montana with whom they want to maintain close ties. To do that the bank has opened their first branch in Montana in Billings Heights at 904 Main Street, Ste. 5.

The plan is to open four branches in the state, according to Claudius Duncan, Chase’s Market Director of Banking for the region. Their second location will also be in Billings and is already under construction near Rimrock Mall. It is projected to open near the end of September.

A third location will be in Helena at North Montana and East Custer, to open in early November.

A fourth branch is planned for Bozeman, upon which construction will begin soon with the goal of opening in the spring.

“We look forward to establishing our roots in Montana, where we’ve been serving credit card and corporate customers for more than a decade,” said Duncan. Montana has seen tremendous growth from employment to housing,” noted Duncan.

The Heights employs 10 employees, of which two are former Montanans who are returning to home ground. Duncan said that there are several employees who will be transferred to Montana to the new locations who are pleased about being able to return to their roots, but most of their employees will be hired locally. Duncan, in fact, emphasized the opportunity they offer for meaningful careers, noting that entry level positions begin at $18 an hour, which include bankers, branch managers, business bankers and financial advisors

Sean Paulauskis will be branch manager in the Heights. “We’re so proud to be able to open our branch doors here and meet the people of Billings,” said Paulauskis. “This expansion is about new relationships, new financial journeys, and better access to our products, services and people in the community, which is going through an important revitalization.” 

The new 3,289 square foot branch in the Heights will provide a full range of services, including checking and savings accounts, business banking, mortgages, investment products and advisors. This expansion adds to the firm’s current base of more than 164,000 consumers and nearly 10,000 business clients in the state of Montana. The bank has been doing business in the state for years serving clients through its auto, credit card and mortgage business.

“When we come to a market, we bring the full force of JPMorgan Chase, our first-class customer service and our commitment to community,” said Duncan.

The Billings branch features innovative technology and a state-of-the-art layout to serve individuals and businesses, creating an inviting environment that will provide a seamless customer experience.

Self-service transaction areas are available including a digital access bar and one interior ATM, one drive-through ATM and one in the exterior of the branch, accessible by debit card afterhours. The branch also features Chase Private Client offices, teller services, a night depository, and free Wi-Fi.

The branch will be open 9-5 Monday through Friday and 9-2 on Saturdays. An ATM in the vestibule and a drive-up ATM will be available 24 hours a day. The branch phone number is 406.371.2613.

In addition to the walk-up options, customers can enroll in online banking at, and download the award-winning Chase mobile app to enjoy the anytime/anywhere convenience of digital banking.

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: