With the renovation of a downtown Polson landmark, Blodgett Creamery Coffee Saloon opened two years ago at the corner of Main Street and Fourth Ave. The restaurant has become a popular gathering spot. Debra and Jeff Blodgett are the owners of the Creamery. The Creamery service area is managed by Morgan Kates, the daughter of Debra and Jeff, while their son Cody manages the kitchen and inventory.


 The Department of Interior has announced that visitor spending in communities near national parks in 2018 resulted in a $40.1 billion benefit to the nation’s economy and supported 329,000 jobs. The financial contributions of Glacier National Park visitors increased in 2018, with nearly 3 million visitors spending an estimated $344 million in local gateway communities. These expenditures supported 5,230 jobs. In 2017 visitors to Glacier spent $275 million. The three biggest categories of visitor spending for Glacier Park broke down to 40% in lodging, 16% at restaurants and 10% for transportation. In Montana overall in 2018, 5.5 million park visitors spent an estimated $633 million in local gateway regions while visiting the eight Montana sites in the National Park Service system.


A National Park Service report shows that 4.1 million visitors to Yellowstone in 2018 spent $512.6 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 7,089 jobs.l


More than 200 new housing units are coming to Missoula and will be priced to those who make far less than the median income. A partnership between the city, county and multiple nonprofits will develop the units. The units will be in a variety of floor plans, but all will be available to people making at or below 60 percent of Missoula’s Area Median Income. The Missoula Housing Authority, Homeword and Blueline Development propose to construct the homes. There will be no direct financial contributions from either the county or the city, so there will be no taxpayer dollars spent on the project


Montana’s Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center in Anaconda is among the locations to be closed down across the country. The Trump Administration announced the cuts to centers last week. The program began in 1964. The Trapper Creek Civilian Conservation Center in Darby will now be the only Job Corps Center left in the state. 


A new salon has opened in West Glendive. named Cloud Nine Salon, owned and operated by Stephanie and Justin Henderson.


The Glendive Chamber of commerce has welcomed a new director. Christa Van Dyke . She is taking the reins from interim director Christine Whitlach. Van Dyke is not new to the area. She grew up in Terry where she graduated from high school before moving away for college. She graduated from the Colorado Institute of Art and worked in publication and advertisement. Van Dyke found her way back to Eastern Montana where she briefly served as the editor for the Terry Tribune and then moved to Glendive. Also new to the Chamber is Brendan Heider, who will be serving as the Chamber’s communications director.


Montana Rail Link announced a its largest-ever capital spending program, of $95 million in 2019 for new technology upgrades and safety modifications. MRL will install Positive Train Control, which can overpower a train remotely and even stop it automatically before a crash occurs. Remote control GPS radio towers across the network, can remotely direct the movement of trains, including stopping it if the crew is incapacitated.


Human Resource Development Council in Bozeman has announced plans to build Montana’s first tiny home village for people without a place to live. Fannie Mae, a federal mortgage organization, announced a $500,000 grant for the project. HRDC’s plans call for a village of houses with roughly 200 square feet of living space.


Also in Bozeman, an idea is being floated to utilize half of the $1.2 million generated annually in the Tourism Business Improvement District (TBID) to help fund a new field at Bozeman Sports Park. The funds come from a $2 per night fee charged by the city’s 30 hotels, for the purpose of promoting marketing the community to tourists and travel to the area.


Old Dominion Freight Line recently broke ground on a new $8.3 million, 21,800-square-foot freight terminal on 20 acres in the Montana Connections Business Development Park of Butte. Old Dominion currently operates an approximately 10,000-square-foot freight terminal across the road from the site of its new 42-dock facility.


CTL|Thompson, Inc., Denver, a full-service geotechnical, structural, environmental and materials engineering firm has opened a satellite office in Bozeman. The new office will allow CTL to provide construction observation and materials testing services, engineering investigation and design services to assist development, design and construction companies in the region. The office was established in cooperation with Western Materials Testing, 1401 Gold Ave. CTL has provided geologic and geotechnical engineering services for large-scale development at the Big Sky and Moonlight Basin ski areas.


Socati Corp., a processor of hemp extract with remediated THC, has acquired a Missoula-based company, Blue Marble Biomaterials, a manufacturer of natural and sustainable specialty compounds for the global food, fragrance and cosmetic sectors. The acquisition marks a major milestone in Socati’s capability to meet the rapidly growing demand for high-quality, hemp-derived ingredients, including CBD and other cannabinoids.  Socati will acquire Blue Marble’s food-grade, 22,000-square-foot Missoula, manufacturing facility, enabling Socati to rapidly scale its production to become one of the industry’s largest suppliers of broad spectrum hemp extracts, which have undergone a proprietary process to remediate THC below lab-detectable levels while leaving CBD and other synergistic cannabinoids intact. Blue Marble’s testing laboratory also was acquired, allowing Socati to advance its analytical capabilities. Blue Marble CEO James Stephens will join Socati as general manager of Socati Montana. Blue Marble’s entire team of chemists, microbiologists, chemical engineers and industrial engineers also will join Socati.


The Gallatin area real estate market is heating up as Summer approaches, according to statistics from the Gallatin Association of Realtors.  Median sale prices were up in April 2019 compared to the same period last year, while the month’s supply of inventory and the inventory of available homes both dropped.  The median sales price increased 5.6 percent, rising from $402,500 in April 2018 to $425,000 last month. The number of units sold decreased from 138 in April 2018 to 118 this April, a 14.5 percent drop. New listings increased 15.6 percent, from 179 last April to 207 this year, and the number of pending sales increased 5.9 percent. The average number of days on market was 73, showing a 2.7 percent decrease from last April, and the month’s supply of inventory decreased 10.3 percent, from 2.9 to 2.6.


The United States Senate has confirmed President Trump’s nomination of Los Angeles attorney Daniel P. Collins to serve as a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Judge Collins, who is expected to maintain chambers in Pasadena, California, fills a judgeship vacant since December 11, 2015, when Judge Harry Pregerson of Woodland Hills, California, passed away. Judge Collins had been a partner at the law firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, in Los Angeles since 2003 and from 1998 to 2001.


With more than 21 years of experience, owner Kip Sizemore of JW Mechanical is bringing his heating and cooling services to the MonDak area. Sizemore moved his business from Helena to Sidney. Sizemore said. “Someone told me there’s a real need for this service in the area .  JW Mechanical offers residential furnace and air conditioning installation and service, commercial preventative maintenance and new unit installations along with commercial refrigeration services. He and his one employee will perform all the work.


The Gallatin County Rest Home in Bozeman is facing financial shortfalls. It is expecting to end the fiscal year with a $1.3 million deficit. Continued deficits since 2013 has drained reserves and the dedication of one mill of support from the county has failed to reverse the facility’s financial declines. Rest home administration and county officials are trying to find ways to circumvent its closure which would dislocate some 60 residents. Contributing to is financial declines is the fact that the elderly and their families have a broader range of choices now compared to the past. In  the 1990s  all 94 beds were occupied and there was a waitlist. Most of today’s  residents are on Medicaid.


Facing increasing demand for parking in the downtown area, Bozeman city officials are considering creating a parking district in which motorists would have to purchase parking permits. Bozeman already has two such districts in the MSU area and the high school area, where permits are sold by the city for $25 each.