The HUB Drop-In Center in Downtown Billings with be closing its doors, effective October 1. The Board of Directors for the Mental Health Center made the difficult decision at its July meeting, after months of serious consideration of multiple alternatives.

The decision to close The HUB allows the Mental Health Center to maintain all other services at full capacity, said Board Chairman, Carl Seilstad, including the “Project to Assist in the Transition from Homelessness” or PATH program. That program will be relocated to the Center’s main campus on North 29th Street. The Mental Health Center serves many other vulnerable populations including military veterans, senior citizens, people with co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorders, and families with youth experiencing their first psychotic break.

The Region III Mental Health Center is a registered non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation dedicated to the establishment, development and maintenance of high-quality mental health and chemical dependency care in South Central Montana. The Mental Health Center has been serving the needs of our community since 1971.

The programs and services provided by the Mental Health Center:

—Program for Assertive Community Treatment (PACT)

The PACT Team helps individuals with severe disabling mental illness maintain independence and remain in a community setting.  From a psychiatrist and nurses to therapists and rehab aides, nearly 90 clients are visited daily by the PACT team.

—Projects to Assist in the Transition from Homelessness (PATH)

Previously located at The HUB, the PATH program will move to 1245 N. 29th St., located between the MSUB and hospital campuses. Clients in the PATH program receive extensive case management services and are actively working to overcome homelessness.

—Early Psychosis Intervention Clinic (EPIC)

The first psychotic break experienced by a teen or young adult can be traumatizing for both the patient and their family members. In partnership with Billings Clinic, the Mental Health Center offers a wraparound approach for youth 15-21 through the EPIC program.

—Regional Satellite Offices

Satellite offices in Columbus, Big Timber, Red Lodge, Roundup, and Lewistown provide services for individuals in our rural and frontier areas. Services include both mental health and addiction counseling. 

—Rainbow House Day Treatment Center

Seniors, people with disabilities and individuals with mental illness often utilize the Rainbow House as a safe space to gather, learn, eat and build relationships. The facility near North Park also houses CPR, Mental Health First Aid and other community trainings.

—Group Home and Community Apartments

The Mental Health Center operates a group home for a small number of carefully-screened individuals who stand to benefit greatly from a structured residential setting. The nonprofit also maintains a few apartments donated to the organization for affordable housing.

— Journey Recovery Program

Substance Use Disorders can cause long-term health problems and often interferes with relationships at work, school or home. Our Licensed Addiction Counselors offer clients a supportive environment and a pathway to recovery through evidence-based treatment.

—Outpatient Therapy

For some individuals, a few counseling sessions is all that is needed to regain control of their lives. For others, therapy can take longer to yield the same results. The Mental Health Center’s team of licensed clinicians is here to offer hope and share solutions.

—Psychiatric Services

Once someone is diagnosed with a mental illness that requires pharmaceutical intervention, the prescribers at the Mental Health Center offer medication management at an affordable rate that is covered by many different insurance carriers, including Medicare and Medicaid.

 The Region III Mental Health Center is a registered non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation dedicated to the establishment, development and maintenance of high-quality mental health and chemical dependency care in South Central Montana. The Mental Health Center has been serving the needs of our community since 1971. Our compassionate, caring staff is experienced in a wide variety of counseling services including individual and family counseling and psychiatric services. Our ultimate goal at the Mental Health Center is to help people of all ages overcome the roadblocks that keep them from enjoying a healthy, happy, productive life. 

After an exciting inaugural event last August, the goal of organizers this year was to make Dig It Days bigger and better, so it is with great dismay that Yellowstone County News and Dig It Days sponsors and volunteers, have decided it is best to cancel the event this year because of the uncertainties associated with the COVID-19 virus.

The very first Dig it Days was launched last summer by Yellowstone County News as a unique fundraising event that offers a wonderful experience for the whole family— fun, educational and entertaining.

With the biggest display of static heavy equipment, trucks, farm equipment, and emergency services vehicles ever assembled in Yellowstone County, kids explored, inspected, crawled around, climbed on, up and over the equipment, taking pictures and pretending to operate, unimpeded by time restraints or silly “rule-making” adults.  They were able to operate a back hoe for real and play to their hearts content in a mountain of sand, with lots of toys. Booths offered other fun activities and food. There were free t-shirts, and admission was $5 per person with the proceeds going to local non-profit organizations for children.

Sponsors, which included Northwestern Energy, RDO, Knife River, and Exxon Mobile Pipeline Co, remain excited about the opportunity Dig It Days offers to introduce children to the world of construction on the way to shaping future careers and an understanding of the world. Despite this year’s disappointment they too are looking forward to producing an even greater event next summer.

Dig it Days is the kind of event that Jonathan and Tana McNiven, owners of the Yellowstone County News, have always wanted to be part of. “It’s educational, family wholesome, constructive and supportive of business and the community,” said McNiven.

The Platinum Anniversary of Business Days at the Capitol is coming on January 6 & 7 at the Best Western Premier, Helena Great Northern Hotel. It begins with lunch at 12 pm. Seminars are held from 2 to 4 pm. From 6 to 9 pm will be a Lawmaker Appreciation Reception & Banquet. On Tuesday, Jan. 7 the program will begin at 7:30 with Eggs & Issues Breakfast, followed by seminars and with The Last Word Closing Luncheon. For more information contact Stacye@MontanaChamber.com.

The Montana Outfitters and Guides Association is hosting their 45th Annual Winter Convention, January 9-11, in Bozeman. MOGA’s yearly convention draws more than 100 outfitters and guides for education, advocacy and networking. This year’s conference also includes a Gubernatorial Forum on Saturday, January 11, with all leading candidates for the upcoming race for Montana Governor participating. All events will be held at the Best Western Plus GranTree Inn and Holiday Inn, in Bozeman. https:// one.bidpal.net/ 2020mogaconvention/ browse/ fixedPrice

The 45th Annual Economic Outlook Seminar will be held in Billings on February 4 at the Northern Hotel. This year’s half day seminary, annually presented by the Bureau of Business and Economic Research will focus the challenge of finding good workers. “The economic success of local communities and the entire state depends on making the best match between workers and workplaces. Montana has some advantages in attracting talent, but there are plenty of things we could do better.” The event will is held in ten Montana communities. Details are available at http:// www. economicoutlookseminar. com/ s

The Montana Society of Certified Public Accountants will hold their annual industry conference in Helena on March 18 and 19. Registration information may be accessed at www.mscpa.org/ professional_ development/ course/ 0320/ industry_ conference

The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) will hold an open house for the sidewalk and shared-use path project proposed in Columbus. The open house will be held January 14 from 6- 8 p.m. at the Columbus City Hall, Council Meeting Room, 2nd Floor (408 East 1st Avenue North). 

The Montana State University Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics and MSU Extension will host the 13th annual agricultural economics conference, “Managing Risk and Uncertainty in Agriculture” on Friday, Nov. 1. The conference is part of the College of Agriculture’s annual Celebrate Agriculture weekend. Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. in the Procrastinator Theater in the Strand Union Building, and the conference will run from 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Register by phone at 406-994-3511 or online at www.ampc.montana.edu/fallconference/.  More information can be found at www.agriculture.montana.edu/celebrateag.

The Montana Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual conference on Oct. 30 at the Hilton Garden Inn Missoula. Keynote speaker will be Boeing Helena Director Reyna Cardenas. Cardenas will share how Boeing Helena crafted a successful talent pipeline. For details go to Montana Chamber of Commerce website.


The Montana Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual conference on Oct. 30 at the Hilton Garden Inn Missoula. Keynote speaker will be Boeing Helena Director Reyna Cardenas. Cardenas will share how Boeing Helena crafted a successful talent pipeline. For details go to Montana Chamber of Commerce website.

Registration is open for Big Sky Fit Kids (BSFK) Fall Fit Kids Day, a new and FREE youth program of the Big Sky State Games. Like the Big Sky Fit Kids spring program, the goal of Fall Fit Kids Day is to get kids more physical activity.  To register for Big Sky Fit Kids Fall Fit Kids Day visit bigskyfitkids.org or call with questions 406-254-7426. Town Pump is the Presenting Sponsor of Big Sky Fit Kids. KTVQ, and Albertsons are Community Sponsors and Contributing Sponsors include Montana Association of School Superintendents, Billings Clinic, and Wendy’s.

Registration is now open for the 16th Annual Young Ag Leadership Conference (YALC)! The conference is set for October 4-6 at the Copper King Convention Center in Butte. YALC is a collaborative effort between nine of Montana’s agricultural organizations, offering attendees a chance to discuss current ag issues, take part in various workshops, meet with industry leaders, and network with fellow young people. Anyone aged 18-40 and interested or involved in agriculture is encouraged to attend. The cost of registration is $50 including all meals provided. After the pre-registration date of September 25, fees increase to $60. To register, go to eventbrite.com   and search Young Ag Leadership Conference.  Contact Leah Johnson at (406) 733-2079 or leah.nelson.johnson@gmail.com for questions. 

The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center in Bozeman is encouraging manufacturers to plan an event to recognize Manufacturing Day which is October 4. The organization says there are lots of options:

  • Tours of your facility, especially if you have new equipment or processes
  • Product demonstrations
  • Learning and hands-on activities for children and students, at your site or at schools.

Another idea: invite a teacher – or perhaps a group of teachers. They are the ones who touch the future generation who will carry forward the industry. To see first-hand how the technology to which they are introducing students is actually used is very enlightening and helps encourage students to understand the many opportunities before them.

For more ideas and for assistance contact MMEC at  http://www.montana.edu/mmec/news/MFGDay.html

The Yellowstone Valley Food Hub will be hosting its 3rd annual fundraiser at the Wild Flower Kitchen in Absarokee on Saturday, October 5. The event, “Chef Goldman’s Farm to Table Dinner,” will feature food raised by the Food Hub’s local producers. A Barn Dance will immediately follow the dinner at the same location.

“This has been an exciting year of growth for the Yellowstone Valley Food Hub, and our farm to table dinner is a great way to celebrate all we’ve accomplished and see where we are headed with the help of our local community,” said Annika Charter-Williams, a Shepherd rancher and President of the Food Hub Co-op Board.

“Our customers tell us how much they appreciate the taste and quality of our locally produced food over the products trucked in by corporate farms to big grocery store chains,” continued Charter-Williams.  “Food like ours, which is grown and raised by local producers who truly care, becomes even more delicious in the hands of a skilled chef like Nick Goldman. Whether you’re a hard-core foodie or simply someone who wants to enjoy an amazing meal that benefits family agriculture, we can’t wait to see you at the Wild Flower Kitchen in October.”

The Yellowstone Valley Food Hub was officially launched last year after the Northern Plains Resource Council and its Billings area affiliate, the Yellowstone Valley Citizens Council, brought together area farmers and ranchers to create an independent growers cooperative. Northern Plains helped the producers raise funds to hire a general manager and launch an online local food marketplace.  Chef Goldman’s Farm to Table Dinner is a fundraiser to help the growers cooperative spotlight quality local foods and grow in the year ahead.

Since its initial launch, the Yellowstone Valley Food Hub has expanded its product offerings and developed a system that allows customers to place orders online with weekly pickup locations in Billings, Red Lodge, and Absarokee.  

Attendees of the fundraiser can meet and socialize with the farmers and ranchers who produced the food served in the dinner. Locally-sourced raffle prizes and auction items will also be part of the event.

Chef Goldman’s Farm to Table Dinner is on Saturday, October 5, at the Wild Flower Kitchen in Absarokee. The 4-course dinner features food from 12 local farms and ranches. 

Doors open at 4 p.m. and the dinner lasts from 4:30-7:30 p.m. A Barn Dance follows the dinner from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.; admission to the dance can be purchased with or without a dinner ticket.

Tickets for the Dinner only are $125 per person; tickets to the Barn Dance only are $25; and combined tickets for both the dinner and dance are $135. To learn more, visit www.yvfoodhub.com/.

Registration is now open for the 16th Annual Young Ag Leadership Conference (YALC) The conference is set for October 4-6 at the Copper King Convention Center in Butte. YALC is a collaborative effort between nine of Montana’s agricultural organizations, offering attendees a chance to discuss current ag issues, take part in various workshops, meet with industry leaders, and network with fellow young people. Anyone aged 18-40 and interested or involved in agriculture is encouraged to attend. The cost of registration is $50 including all meals provided. After the pre-registration date of September 25, fees increase to $60. To register, go to eventbrite.com   and search Young Ag Leadership Conference.  Contact Leah Johnson at (406) 733-2079 or leah.nelson.johnson@gmail.com for questions.