TC Energy Corporation has launched an open season to solicit binding commitments for crude oil transportation services on the Keystone Pipeline System from Hardisty, Alberta to Patoka, Illinois. Interested parties may submit binding bids for transportation capacity during the open season that will close at 12 p.m.MT on February 19, 2021. Information regarding the open season is available online or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Montana’s legislative leaders are highly recommending but not requiring face coverings for people participating in the Legislature. The panel voted 6-2, with both Democrats voting no, to temporarily accept recommendations that masks be highly recommended and temperature checks highly encouraged for people entering the Capitol and that people with symptoms or awaiting a test participate in the Legislature remotely. They also agreed to wear masks while interacting with legislative staff in their offices.
Frame of Reference Fine Art from Whitefish, is opening a second location at 573 Electric Ave. in Bigfork. The second location will precipitate a name change to FOR Fine Art. The new shop will feature similar genres as the orinial location but also include work by artists exclusive to the Bigfork location. FoR Fine Art is tentatively scheduling a soft opening for Valentine’s Day 2021.
The Ratkowskis family of Kalispell are launching Montana Milk Moovers, a family business they started last spring to connect customers with local agriculture producers. The Ratkowski family works with producers in Kalispell to collect fresh milk, meat, produce and other groceries every day. Recipients sign up online and indicate the quantity and frequency they’d like to have their orders. Customers pay to install a porch box that keeps their products cold and fresh, plus a delivery charge.
Two conservation groups Friends of the Wild Swan and the Swan View Coalition have taken issue with clear-cut openings that have been proposed by Flathead National Forest officials as part of a forest management project near Bigfork. The groups claim that four clear cuts proposed within the Bug Creek Integrated Resource Management Project are larger than what the revised Flathead National Forest Plan recommends for such projects. The public has one month to provide comment on the four openings in Bug Creek.
Great Falls-based Benefis Health System has announced plans to open the space at 2960 N. Washington St. Helena, in the middle of the year. The new facility will complement the Benefis clinic being built at the former site of the Capital Hill Mall on Prospect Avenue.
Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality has issued a water quality certification for the Keystone XL pipeline project in eastern Montana, required since the pipeline would cross 201 wetland and water body features, including streams and rivers, that are regulated by the Clean Water Act. Conditions of the issuance include spill prevention measures as well as a re-opener clause, which would allow the certification to be modified to ensure ongoing compliance with applicable water quality standards. These conditions also include an oversight role for the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation Office of Environmental Protection. Joe Biden has pledged to shelve the project, which was first proposed 12 years ago, although it is not clear what the legal framework for that would be, given that construction of the $8 billion project under the U.S.-Canada border has already begun.
A proposal to allow “work camps” in the West Glacier region to house summer employees has been proposed by a land use committee for the area. In past years some employees have lived in campgrounds in tents. The regulations require that neighbors be informed of a proposed work camp. If the planning board, approves the new regulations, it would forward the regulations to the county commissioners for final approval.
Scott Osterman of Applied Materials in Kalispell, has been nominated by Gov. Greg Gianforte to lead the Montana Department of Commerce. Osterman is originally from Northcentral Montana. Over his business career he has served in Fortune 500 companies and venture start-ups. He has been employed in the semiconductor, automobile and high-tech hardware and software industries.
According to a Stanford University and University of California SD report wildfire smoke accounted for up to half of all health-damaging small particle air pollution in the western U.S. in recent years. Researchers used satellite images of smoke plumes and government air quality data to model how much pollution was generated nationwide by fires from 2016 to 2018 compared to a decade earlier.
Helena Regional Airport is seeking to entice American Airlines to come to Helena. The airport plans to apply for a Department of Transportation Small Community Air Service Development Grant. The airport has met with several airlines in order to bring more opportunity to Helena. Currently Billings is the only Montana airport that has direct flights to Phoenix.
Due to the crippling COVID restrictions on business another restaurant in Montana is closing. After almost 30 years of business, Santa Fe Red’s in Bozeman closed January 5. A full-service Mexican restaurant and cantina that opened in 1994, the business managed for a while because they had outdoor seating, but when the weather got cold weather it ended their reprieve.
At the same time, a new business is opening in Bozeman. A smoothie shop offering acai bowls, smoothies and post-workout recovery shakes called Blended Shakes and Smoothies has opened on Main Street across from Bozeman High School. Michelle Ronsen is the owner of the shop which provides dine-in or to go smoothies
St. Peter’s Health in Helena announced the completion of a $9 million expansion to its hospital operating room. The 2-year renovation project began in 2017. It included the expansion to the center’s operating room and sterile processing department, introducing cutting-edge surgical equipment and technology. It is expected the new facility will help in recruiting more surgeons and surgical specialties.
Gallatin County’s residential real estate market saw increases in closed sales and average sales price last month, while the inventory of available homes tightened significantly in November compared to last year. In November, median sales prices increased 46.4%, from $420,000 in November 2019 to $615,000 in November 2020. Closed sales increased 39.1%, from 110 to 153, and pending sales jumped 19.1%, from 89 to 106. The number of new single-family listings increased 21.3% compared to November 2019, from 75 to 91. The average days on market increased 14.6%, from 41 to 47. Sellers received 99.2% of their list price last month, up slightly from 97.9% last year. The inventory of homes for sale decreased 66.6%, from 467 to 156. The months supply of inventory decreased 71.4%, from 3.5 to 1.0 compared to last year.
Allegro Group, Inc. has acquired LEAD 406, a leadership development and experiential learning company based in Bozeman. The acquisition expands Allegro Group’s consulting practice. LEAD 406 Managing Partner Phil Kornachuk joins Allegro Group as Managing Director of Leadership Development. He will head the company’s new office in Bozeman. Allegro Group, founded in 2015, helps companies build and develop high-performance leadership teams..
According to homeselling platform iSoldMyHouse, Nebraska, Iowa, North Dakota, Kansas and Maine have the happiest people, made happy by having the most affordable cost of living, low crime rates, high employment and graduate rates, longer average life expectancies, high-quality hospitals, pristine air quality, and plenty of sunshine. Montana was in the second tier of happy people. Unhappy people are to be found in states like California, Nevada, Alaska, Louisiana, West Virginia, Pennsylvania.
The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) recently issued a new load posting for the Old Highway 10 Drainage Bridge six miles east of Hysham, in Treasure County. The posting is part of a multi-year effort to update load ratings and postings on Montana bridges as mandated by the Federal Highway Administration. The FHWA mandate is in response to changes in the trucking industry over the last decade. Truck manufacturers are building specialized hauling vehicles (SHVs), which are capable of legally carrying heavier loads than typical vehicles have in the past. These SHV configurations concentrate heavy loads over a short length, and they have been found to overstress bridges beyond what was previously modeled by standard commercial vehicles.
Montana VA Health Care System (MTVAHCS) has been selected to lead a national VHA pilot program to bring vaccines to rural Veterans. On the morning of January 21, a vaccination team will fly doses of the Moderna vaccine in special plug-in coolers from Fort Harrison’s ultracold on-site freezer to Havre. MTVAHCS staff has begun calling eligible enrolled Veterans to schedule vaccine appointments.