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Libby native Whit Gautreaux is co-founder of a San Francisco start-up.  He and his partner are manufacturing the “firelight flask.” The 750-milliliter flask comes with two stainless steel cups. The flask is insulated. The product is meant to allow outdoorsmen and women to enjoy spirits and wine in environments not conducive to glass bottles.

Montana officials are unsure as to why Montana is among the worst states in the country for workplace injuries and illnesses. The mining, logging and construction sectors have the highest rates of injuries on the job in the nation. Montana outpaces the national average in every sector. The trend is reflected in the state’s workers’ compensation insurance premiums. Premiums in Montana were the highest in the nation as recently as 2010

A Bozeman developer has filed plans with the city to build a five-story, 110-room hotel on East Main Street next to Town Pump. The company is Braxton and Klein Capital Partners. Bozeman engineering and planning firm Sanderson Stewart is also listed on the application.

Federal geologists have agreed to reevaluate the amount of recoverable crude oil in North Dakota. Industry officials want the USGS to take into account 17 other formations in western North Dakota’s oil patch that could be exploited using technology developed for the Bakken and the Three Forks directly beneath it. The USGS has released data that showed 7.4 billion barrels of oil could be recovered from the Bakken and Three Forks spanning parts of North Dakota and parts of Montana.

North Dakota is moving ahead with 41 changes to its oil and gas rules, many of which are likely to be applied across the Bakken. Royalty statements and sundry notices on oil spills less than 10 barrels were both prominent in comments received by North Dakota’s Oil and Gas Division. The North Dakota is still requiring total cleanup of all spills, and the sundry notice would have created a paper trail for inspectors to ensure things are done properly.

The state of Montana will start charging a 3-percent administrative “fee” to register vehicles valued at $150,000 or more. Lawmakers passed the new “fee” during the last state legislature with the expectation of increasing state revenues by $25 million over the next two years.

The Board of University and School Lands (Land Board) awarded grants to a number of airports in western North Dakota impacted by oil development and activity. These grants will help modernize and improve the facilities for a number of years to come. The Williston and Dickinson Airports received a total of 17 energy impact grants. The grants totaled $18.5 million for Williston and $1.4 million for Dickinson.

The Montana Department of Transportation is wrapping up the Rockvale- Laurel project, now in its final phase.  The project adds 6.6 miles of two-lane highway to the newly constructed U.S. Highway 212, completing four-lane from Rockvale to Laurel.

Wheatland County Chamber of Commerce recently launched the first ever “MINNOW TANK” Business Plan Competition to spawn entrepreneurship as a strategy for economic development in their rural community. Wheatland County, including the communities of Harlowton, Judith Gap, Shawmut, and Two Dot, has a residential population of less than 2300 people and a total of 136 businesses. Eligible participants must prepare and submit a Business Plan on or before January 15, 2018.

MSU-Northern welcomed new Provost and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs, Dr. Neil Moisey, to campus.  Moisey is a longtime member of the Montana University System. He has been the Special Assistant for Academic Affairs, during which time he chaired the Executive Committee of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) Academic Leadership Forum.  He was also the Deputy Commissioner for Academic Research and Student Affairs for the Montana University System.  This position serves as the system’s chief academic officer overseeing activities, planning, analysis and accountability reporting for the Montana Board of Regents.

A former clerk for Judge Alex Kozinski, who for many years served as chief judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, has accused the judge of sexual misconduct. Another five clerks have also made similar claims, saying they were subjected to viewing pornography and to inappropriate sexual comments. The Ninth Circuit is a U.S. Federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the district courts in Montana, Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Montana State University expects more than 1,190 students will receive degrees during MSU’s fall commencement, set for Saturday, Dec. 16.

The recent Special Session of the Montana Legislature took a big chunk out of funding for the Montana Manufacturing Extension Center (MMEC). The cut represents a 40 percent reduction in the state’s share of funding for this biennium. Several manufacturers and MMA opposed this cut, which was more than just reversing an increase. MMEC is a statewide manufacturing outreach and assistance center staffed by full-time professionals with extensive experience in manufacturing and business in a variety of industries.

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) reports that optimism was up in the third quarter as measured by NAM Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey. In March, 93.3 percent of respondents felt positive about their own company’s outlook, an all-time high in the survey’s 20-year history. This dropped slightly in the second quarter to 89.5 percent, then rose a bit again in the third quarter to 89.8 percent. As a result, this year NAM saw the highest consecutive three-quarter average—90.9 percent having a positive outlook for their company—in the survey’s history. Also, the Montana Manufacturing Extension Center reports that the Institute for Supply Management said manufacturing expanded rapidly in September, expanding at its fastest pace since May 2004. In September, new orders (up from 60.3 to 64.6) and production (up from 61.0 to 62.2) both grew at rates not seen since February, and more importantly, hiring (up from 59.9 to 60.3) accelerated at its briskest pace since June 2011.

Missoula  is trying to raise several hundred thousand dollars in revenue guarantees to attract new flights and airlines. Missoula Airport Director Cris Jensen, said most of that money comes from grants but also from donors. Also to help encourage new airlines and flights, the airport is pursuing a multi-year expansion of its terminal. The Missoula office of A & E Architects is designing the facility. Jensen hinted that Missoula could get a direct flight from Houston, Texas. Last June, Missoula International Airport received a $600,000 air service development grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to help land nonstop service to the Texas market. As part of that, the community was required to provide a $400,000 match.

Sidney’s Dr. Shari Twigg recently became Board Certified through the American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine. She joins over 300 physicians worldwide who have passed the Board Certification written exam and oral presentation. To be eligible for this ten-year certification, physicians must complete the Level 1 Certificate and Level 2 Diploma Courses in Aesthetic Medicine in addition to six months of practical experience in the field. Dr. Twigg originally started her career years ago in the aesthetic skincare field, working in a world renowned spa and making a name for herself as an award-winning makeup artist. After going on to become a physician and working in obstetrics and gynecology for several years, she combined her medical expertise with her passion for aesthetics

A Montana State University professor has received the highest honor given by the American Society for Engineering Management. Bill Schell, an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, was named an ASEM Fellow at the organization’s annual international conference, which was held Oct. 18-21 in Huntsville, Alabama. The award recognizes professional accomplishments, distinguished service and longtime membership with ASEM. After earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in industrial and management engineering at MSU in 1997 and 1999, Schell led a successful career in engineering management with Wells Fargo, American Express and Livingston, Montana-based PrintingForLess.com. In 2010, he returned to MSU to teach and played a key role in restructuring the curriculum for the industrial and management systems engineering program and creating a new degree option: the engineering management minor. While at MSU he has published more than 40 peer-reviewed papers and received roughly $500,000 in research funding.

Facetiming, texting or emailing with a personal physician is part of a new healthcare model that will launch at a Missoula-based medical walk-in clinic. CostCare will be modifying their Mullan Road location to “Direct Primary Care” on Jan. 1. The new model will offer routine medical care at a low monthly rate and include direct and easy access to a physician. CostCare will charge $70 a month for adults and $25 for children under 18.