Empire Petroleum Corp. of Tulsa paid $5.6 million for 184 stripper wells producing 375 BOEPD in a dozen Williston Basin counties covering leases on 20,700 acres. Much of the acreage is located near leases already owned by Empire. The assets were sold by EnergyQuest II LLC. Empire is financing the transaction through an existing senior revolving loan agreement with CrossFirst Bank located in Tulsa, OK, that was increased from $1.3 million to $9 million. (Oil Patch Hotline)


Montana State University - Northern Alumni Foundation has hired Shantel Cronk as their new Executive Director. Cronk  takes over from Jim Bennett, who left the position in June. Cronk, a fourth-generation Montanan who grew up on a ranch along the Hi-Line, is a graduate of Chinook High School and received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Concordia College in Minnesota, majoring in both Communications and English. For the past 20 years, Cronk has worked for global companies, including Nike, Adidas, Red Wing Shoe Co., and most recently, Deckers Brands based in Santa Barbara, CA. 


Median sale prices rose and the inventory of single-family homes tightened in July, according to the Gallatin Association of Realtors. The number of new single-family listings increased compared to July of 2018, rising from 198 to 206, a 4% increase. Pending sales increased 6.9%, going from 145 to 155, while the number of closed sales spiked from 135 to 192, a 42.2% increase. The median sales price increased 10.1%, from $420,000 to $462,350. The average number of days a home spends on the market decreased 8.2%, from 49 to 45. The inventory of available homes decreased 15% compared to last year, dropping from 560 to 476, while the months supply of inventory decreased 18.6%, from 4.3 to 3.5. Sellers received 98.7% of their list price in July, a slight increase from 98.5% last year.


The board of directors of MDU Resources Group, Inc.declared a quarterly dividend on the company’s common stock of 20.25 cents per share, unchanged from the previous quarter.


Bozeman is asking for the public’s input on community housing. Officials say starting professional wages aren’t enough for housing, and employers can’t find enough laborers who can stay in Bozeman. The housing crunch is pushing many workers into neighboring communities such as Livingston.


The Montana Chamber of Commerce in Helena is moving to the Steamboat Block building in downtown. The new address is: 616 Helena Ave., Ste. 300. The mailing address is PO Box 1730, Helena, MT 59624.


ClassPass  will create 80 additional jobs, bringing the positions filled in the company’s Missoula office to more than 100, as it continues its pursuit of expanding globally. ClassPass, a business which came to Missoula a year ago, connects members to fitness studios and gyms through technology. Provided by the Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund, the worker grant provides a reimbursement of up to $7,500 for each job created. The positions must pay at least $18.99 an hour to be eligible for that level of reimbursement.


A groundbreaking event celebrated the future of the Alpenglow Apartments, 38 new affordable homes for families and individuals in Whitefish. Homeword, a Missoula nonprofit housing developer and the Whitefish Housing Authority partnered to put the estimated $8.7 million deal together, primarily using $6.75 million of federal Housing Credits allocated by Commerce’s Montana Board of Housing and nearly $1.5 million from Commerce’s HOME Investment Partnerships and Housing Trust Fund programs.


The Rand Corporation has reported that in Montana health care has one of the highest markups. Patients pay an average of 2.77 times what Medicare pays. The study of hospital pricing for privately insured patients said in all 25 states, these patients paid an average of 2.4 times what the government-insurance plan Medicare pays, for the same procedures.


W+H Babcock, two five-story structures are to be located in the 1600 and 1700 blocks of West Babcock Street in Bozeman. The building is named after William H. Babcock, a historic architect and carpenter from Bozeman. The buildings will come to 163,500 square feet. They are separated by a driveway and will share similar designs.


Low interest rates are driving the $125 million Bozeman voters agreed to spend on a new high school and renovation of the old high school down by approximately one-third. The savings are projected to be approximately $35 million.


Belgrade has long been thought of as a bedroom community to Bozeman, with a sleepy downtown and suburban feel. In the recent past downtown Belgrade has seen an increase in economic activity. Vacant retail space is being occupied and there are more cars on the street.


New Mexico-based Navajo Transitional Energy Co. will pay Wyoming-based Cloud Peak Energy Corp. $15.7 million for the coal mining company. The deal was recently approved by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross in Delaware. The Navajo Transitional Energy Co., owned by the Navajo Nation, will assume Cloud Peak’s debts. The debts include a $40 million, second lien promissory note and up to $20 million in debts accrued since Cloud Peak filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.


An email filter is being blamed for blocking a majority of 19,000 emails that were sent to the Public Service Commission in support of a public hearing on the expansion of the Dakota Access Pipeline from 570,000 to 1.1 million barrels of crude oil per day. The North Dakota Public Service Commission has set a public hearing for the pipeline’s expansion at 9 a.m. Nov. 13 at the Emmons County Courthouse Auditorium, 100 Fourth St. NW in Linton.


Showboat Cinemas in Polson is adding four new screens and auditoriums in the coming months. The company recently broke ground on the two building project. Local cinema company Polson Theatres is adding two buildings on the north and south sides of its existing theater in downtown Polson. The expansion will result in six movies screens.


The Flathead National Forest is preparing to make improvements to the Lion Lake dam located near Hungry Horse. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation built the Lion Lake dam in the late 1940s for the government’s camp water system during construction of the Hungry Horse Dam. At some point, the original lake elevation was raised 3 feet above the design level to enhance the lake’s fishing and recreation features. The plan is to make the repairs during the summer of 2021.


The almost century-old Firestone Building in Missoula was demolished recently to allow for the construction of a six-story, $22 million hotel. HomeBase Partners, a Bozeman-based development group, is developing the project at 139 E. Main St. There will be 105 rooms.


Helena officials recently revoked Sapphire Bar's ability to allow patrons to drink on an outdoor patio. Officials have now closed the city-owned patio due to concerns about "public health and safety." The Sapphire Bar has long been a center of controversy on the Downtown Walking Mall. Residents of nearby buildings have reported vomit, glasses, bottles and other waste around their buildings.