The Old Bridge Pub and Sub in Bigfork has sold to Emily and Louie Bertino. The couple purchased the business from Tracy and Don Darue. The new owners plan to keep much of the menu intact, but will institute changes such as expanding operating hours each day. They also plan to add a roof deck.

An Agreement in principle has been reached by the parties involved with the Anaconda Superfund cleanup. The EPA, the Atlantic Richfield Company, the state of Montana, and Anaconda-Deer Lodge County are the participants in the agreement. The Anaconda cleanup has been ongoing for 35 years. Anaconda’s environmental damage was caused by approximately 100 years of copper smelting.  

From Missouri Breaks Brewing in Wolf Point to Cut Bank Creek Brewery, the Hi-Line has become a Montana micro-brewery destination. Most recently the Blue Ridge Brewery has opened in Malta. Bryan and Brianna Shores are celebrating the grand opening last week of Blue Ridge Brewery.

On July 18 the Trump administration eased rules for handling toxic coal ash from more than 400 U.S. coal-fired power plants. The utilities had pushed back against regulations adopted under the previous administration. The move represents the latest action by Trump’s EPA to boost the struggling coal industry by rolling back regulations. It gives state regulators flexibility in how they deal with the waste piles that result from burning coal for electricity. U.S. coal plants produce about 100 million tons annually of ash and other waste.

A federal judge rejected claims that a long-stalled irrigation dam in Montana would doom a primitive, endangered fish species, prompting U.S. officials to say that a contract for the project will be awarded by the end of the year.

Cape Air Airlines is enjoying an 50% increase in ridership this year. Ridership is up in all cities served by Cape Air.

An announcement was made last week for a proposed $280 million infrastructure package that will provide money for improvements in non-oil producing counties across the state of North Dakota.

Access to mental health care services is available to more individuals in the Gallatin Valley thanks to a grant from the Montana Healthcare Foundation and a partnership between Montana State University and the Gallatin City County Health Department. With the grant, which is worth nearly $70,000, MSU counseling professors Anna Elliott and Rebecca Koltz from the MSU Department of Health and Human Development in the College of Education, Health and Human Development have partnered with the Gallatin City County Health Department’s Healthy Gallatin Home Visiting program. Through the collaboration, health department home visitors with the program may refer individuals and families to an MSU clinic for counseling services.

Steve Brackman, PE, has been promoted to Associate in the Missoula office of DCI Engineers. He has 20 years of experience in designing structural systems involving all material types, with an emphasis on heavy timber and log framing systems. Brackman’s project portfolio ranges from residential and commercial to industrial and medical buildings. Some of his current projects include Glaxosmithkline and NIH-Rocky Mountain Labs. DCI Engineers is a nationally accredited and recognized civil and structural engineering firm. Founded in 1988, DCI Engineers employs more than 320 engineering, technical, and support staff members in offices in Seattle and Spokane, Washington; Portland, Oregon; Irvine, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco, California; Austin, Texas; Anchorage, Alaska; Denver, Colorado; Missoula, Kalispell, and Bozeman, Montana. Employees of DCI Engineers are respected professionals in their specialties, with grounding in practical design.

The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) officially ended data collection for the 2017 Census of Agriculture on July 31. Farmers and ranchers are expected to complete surveys from the Census of Agriculture. It conducts the survey once every five years, which provides the only source of comprehensive agricultural data for every state and county in the nation. NASS is required by law – Federal law, Title 7 USC 2204(g) Public Law 105-113 – to keep all information confidential, to use the data only for statistical purposes, and to only publish data in aggregate form to prevent disclosing the identity of any individual producer or farm operation.

Jennifer Stracener of Butte has won a free trip to Arizona from Plexus Worldwide. She won the trip because of the success of her home-based business. Stracener, a stay at home mom raising her grandchildren, was flown to Scottsdale, Arizona with a guest, where they received the royal treatment: Luxurious accommodations, a spa visit, lunch with the Plexus events team, dinner with Plexus executives, and a tour of the corporate offices, plus $300 spending money. Plexus Worldwide is a leading direct-selling health, wellness and weight management company with products including the new Plexus Lean.

Ward Group announced that Farm Bureau Property & Casualty Insurance Company and Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company have been named to the 2018 Ward’s 50 group of top performing companies. Together, the companies go to market as Farm Bureau Financial Services. It is one of nine organizations with affiliated companies named to both the Property-Casualty Ward’s 50 and Life-Health Ward’s 50 lists this year.  
Mr. Frost Snow Crème, opened at 102 N. Central Ave., Sidney, in the Yellowstone Marketplace. It is the first of many businesses planned by owner Cody Shanks. He recently moved to the area for an oilfield job, but found his interest lies more in providing tasty concoctions to eager customers.

Bayliss Ward, NCARB, AIA, of Bozeman, Montana, was elected secretary of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) at its 99th Annual Business Meeting. Most recently, he served as director of NCARB’s Central States Conference (Region 5), which includes Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

The Gallatin Association of Realtors recently released its residential real estate market statistics for the second quarter of 2018, revealing an increase in sales volume and a tightening inventory of available homes. Single-family sales jumped 10.1 percent in the second quarter of 2018 compared to last year, going from 425 to 468 units sold, while the average sales price in the single-family market increased 13.1 percent. Condo/townhouse sales increased 15.4 percent, rising from 208 to 240 units sold, and the average sale price in the condo/townhouse market jumped 21.1 percent. The number of new single-family listings in June 2018 increased slightly from 242 to 247 compared to June 2017, a 2.1 percent jump. The number of pending sales also increased slightly from 140 to 142, a 1.4 percent change over last year. The number of units sold decreased 7.8 percent, from 193 last June to 178 this year. The average number of days on market was 54, a 15.6 percent decrease from 64 last year, and the months supply of inventory decreased 7.3 percent, from 4.1 to 3.8.

Montana State Fund (MSF), the state’s largest workers’ compensation insurance company presented the City of Baker with a certificate of appreciation for 100 years of customer loyalty and commitment to workplace safety. MSF was created in 1915; the City of Baker has been a policyholder since very near the beginning. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Montana still ranks amongst worst in the nation in terms of on the job accidents and fatalities, although incidents have been trending downward.  “The goal of Montana State Fund, and every employer, should be to send workers home to their families at the end of each day in the same condition as when they clocked in. Reducing on the job accidents should be paramount,” said Hubbard.”