The Atlantic Richfield Company has petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear its appeal of a lawsuit filed against the company by residents of Opportunity, Montana. Atlantic Richfield said in its official petition that it has spent $470 million in cleanup costs in  Anaconda. A jury will decide whether Opportunity and Crackerville residents have the right, under state law, to demand a more extensive cleanup than what the Environmental Protection Agency originally ordered Atlantic Richfield to do. Atlantic Richfield has asked that the jury trial be moved to Richland County, east of Great Falls.


Yellowstone National Park geologists have reported the third eruption from the world’s largest active geyser in the past six weeks. The National Park Service says a park visitor reported seeing a rare eruption of Steamboat Geyser last week. Park geologists compared the report with seismic activity and the discharge of water and concluded the eruption happened around 6:30 a.m. The geyser has also erupted on March 15 and April 19 of 2018.


SpringHill Suites by Marriott opened for business April 12 in Great Falls. The hotel is part of a 12.5-acre development that sits west of West Bank Park and stretches to Stockman Bank.  SpringHill Suites is a 132-room hotel in West Bank Landing. Several of the rooms have balconies that overlook the river


The app development side of Montana’s much-lauded tech sector will continue its upward trajectory. The sixth annual report, the State of the App Economy released by The App Association details the growth of an almost $1 trillion industry. The app industry employs 4.7 million workers across the country as developers, managers, software engineers and teachers. Montana represents a small part of the industry but the state’s app economy is blossoming. In Montana, 3,700 individuals work building and maintaining apps. That number is set to grow more than 18 percent by 2024. Foundant Technologies and app developer Triple Tree LLC. of Bozeman were mentioned in the report.


The 2018 North Dakota paddlefish season opens next week and will continue through May 21, or until the 1,000 fish harvest cap is reached. In 2017 over 3,300 paddlefish licenses were purchased. Paddlefish reside in 22 states throughout the Missouri and Mississippi river basins. The largest on record was 198 lbs and caught in Iowa in 1916. The North Dakota record for paddlefish was 130 lbs, caught in 2010. This year’s snagging hours will be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily with Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays designated as catch and keep days. On Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays snag-and-release of all paddlefish is required.


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is providing Stillwater County a $170,000 Brownfields grant to clean up the former Stillwater Community Hospital property at 44 West 4th Avenue North in Columbus, Montana. The County will use the EPA funds to remove asbestos, polychlorinated biphenyls, lead-based paint, and mold in portions of the old hospital building. Once cleanup is complete, the building will be redeveloped.


A cold February hurt North Dakota’s oil production but not natural gas. According to Lynn Helms, North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources director, the state set a new record, 2,102,266 mcf per day of natural gas in February. McKenzie County’s 3,935 producing wells accounted for 40 percent of the state’s oil and just over 51 percent of North Dakota’s natural gas production. 


The Gallatin Association of Realtors reports that the first quarter of 2018, reveals a greater number of condo/townhouse sales and a decrease in housing inventory. The number of new single-family home listings in Gallatin County decreased 12.3% from 195 in March 2017 to 171 last month. The total number of units sold dropped from 130 to 113, a 13.1% decrease. The average sale price, however, increased 22.8% between 2017 and 2018, going from $351,101 to $399,000. The inventory of homes for sale dropped nearly 20%, from 438 to 351. In the condo/townhouse market, the number of new listings dropped by 1, from 92 in March 2017 to 91 this year. The number of closed sales jumped 31.4%, increasing from 51 to 67 between 2017 and 2018. The average sales price remained steady, dropping just 1%, from $370,164 to $366,425. The inventory of available homes for sale increased just 0.5%, from 192 to 193.


Montana college student entrepreneurs competed at a startup competition held recently in Missoula earned awards and funding to support their startups. The students were competing at the 29th annual John Ruffatto  Business Startup Challenge, April 13,  at the University of Montana. Over the course of the competition, the teams made their pitches in front of more than 50 judges ranging from small business owners to larger company executives. In all, 11 finalists represented MSU and the University of Montana at the competition.


The Chippewa Cree Tribe has partnered with Evergreen Skate parks and the Jeff Ament Foundation to construct a skate park for the Rocky Boy and Box Elder communities. Construction has begun and will last approximately 4-5 weeks. The new skate park will be located North East of the Box Elder School in the open field next to the Family Resource Building. Evergreen is working closely with CCT Planning & Development and CCT Cultural Resource Preservation to ensure the project is a success.


The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) and Stillwater County have scheduled an open house to discuss the plan to replace the bridge over the Stillwater River about two miles northwest of Absarokee. The bridge is located on Local Route 48249, also known as Johnson Bridge Road.  The meeting will be held in Absarokee on Thursday, May 10, from 4 - 7 p.m. in the Great Room at the Cobblestone School Community Center located at 203 S. Woodard Ave. The presentation will start at 6 p.m.


Leadership Montana, the state’s premier leadership development organization, has hired Jennifer Davis of Helena to serve as the Alumni Relations Manager. A 2009 graduate of the flagship program, Davis will manage programming and events that directly benefit nearly 600 alumni across the state. Leadership Montana is a collaboration of leaders from business, labor, healthcare, higher education, non-profit organizations and government coming together to form a strong partnership for the betterment of our state.


McDonald’s franchises in the Flathead Valley have been sold. Former franchise owners Scott Hadwin and his wife Michelle have sold their five locations to Chris and Bud Jahnke. Chris and Bud have been operating two McDonald’s restaurants in Lolo and Hamilton. 


12,475,000 travelers passed through Montana in 2017. According to the University of Montana’s Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research this new record brought $30.7 million into the state in lodging tax revenue. The majority of these collections are funneled back into promotional material produced by the Montana Department of Tourism and Business Development.