By Evelyn Pyburn

We have a government right now that is trying to destroy America’s ability to create new wealth. That best explains everything that is happening.

That shouldn’t be surprising, because that is the only way to destroy the US. It is after all, our amazing ability to produce, and having the freedom to do so, that has made our country strong since its founding, and that remains the source of our power and influence in the world today.

Many people do not know that it was very much because of our country’s ability to gear up production and the people’s willingness to work tirelessly in support of our troops that won WWII. At root of that miraculous response was the freedom that people and industry had to react quickly and creatively and fervently, to produce all the things needed by the military. When Pearl Harbor was attacked, there was almost nothing in the US with which to conduct a war except for our production capability.

Our greatest defense of freedom, far more so than armies and government, has always been the ambition and spirit of workers to work and businesses to innovate and produce. It is in our DNA. Whatever else you have to say about Americans, we have been the greatest wealth generators on earth, in all of history.

Great generation of wealth is what has backed up the American dollar far more so than gold and silver.

No matter what insane policies have been put in our path, they have always failed to be as devastating as predicted because most analysts almost always failed to fully appreciate, or even recognize, the staggering level of wealth that this country produces and is capable of producing. Not that progressive policies haven’t been harmful, but despite intent, they have failed to erode the basics of our economic foundation, because we, the people, have always generated more wealth than what adversaries have ever been able to destroy.

And they DO try to destroy it. It’s been coming at us from all directions. We hear about it in the news, we feel it, we see it, but can’t comprehend that that is really what they mean to do.

Their first target of destruction is the individual’s right to choose in regard to how we want to live our own lives. If government can force you, as an individual, to get vaccinated, is there anything they can’t force you to do? If you accept the authority of government to do that, then for progressives the battle is won.

And, they win forever, if they target children in their most formative years, with a profound lesson of acquiescence to authority, which is happening right now with mandates to wear masks in school.

Eliminating our right to own firearms is a most important part of undermining our liberty and the individual’s ability to be self-sufficient. It is not only a means of self-protection but for hunting for food and defending our property.

The next step to destabilize the individual’s ability to create wealth, is to devalue and erode the means of exchanging value for value. They must destroy the strength of the dollar by spending money that doesn’t exist, to the tune of trillions and trillions of dollars. Flooding the economy with money that is based on nothing more than the value of paper smeared with green ink, such is an absolute guarantee to inflate prices of everything we use for producing. It is a huge tax that goes largely unrecognized as such by most citizens.

It is worse than normal taxes because it impacts everything indiscriminately. At least income or property taxes are something you pay only if you have an asset which generates the tax. Inflation impacts the poorest of the poor. It also devastates and disrupts markets, but most importantly it hugely cripples the ability of Americans to produce.

Beyond that there are policies and laws that are striking at the very core of markets, from the shutting down of pipelines to pushing farmers off the land; from forcing businesses to close or to reduce capacity, to forcing them to shut out workers from job opportunities because they refuse to get vaccinated; from encouraging workers not to work with infusions of largess of federal unemployment or child care benefits, to curtailing business conferences or gatherings where information and ideas are shared; by making travel difficult and limiting citizen interaction, by disrupting supply lines, to crippling distribution systems; by increasing production costs by curtailing energy production which pushes up prices, whether it is oil and gas or putting energy plants out of commission; by instilling distrust and fear to go shopping because of violent demonstrators who murder innocents and burn businesses. 

Is there any aspect of our lives that hasn’t been assailed by unrelenting and disruptive mandates that are placing life in turmoil? Not even individual efforts to be prepared for any catastrophe, most especially an overbearing government, are being overlooked. Why else would media belittle and demean people who raise, prepare and store their own food by urging people to distrust “preppers” as “extremists.” How can you be an extremist for being prepared for barren grocery store shelves? Or contaminated water supplies? Or power failures?

The only answer that can be, is that if everyone was prepared for food shortages and were able to provide for themselves, they would be impervious to threats, less compliant and more capable of continuing to produce. They are considered “extremists” because they would not be part of the middling, compliant crowd.

One of the lessons that we should all have learned with the shut-downs of businesses and stay-at- home mandates that took workers away from jobs, is how important everyone is and how vital every job is in contributing to a strong vibrant market place. There is no job so menial or career so mundane as not to be significant to the well-being of a community and the success of our society. It is these activities — most often taken for granted as just everyday life — that is the foundation of our liberty, secures our safety and sustains our economy.

It is every citizen’s ability to contribute, to produce and to provide for ourselves and our families that shores up freedom by making the power mongers irrelevant to our lives.

If citizens can generate wealth – everything they need – what do they need government for? Seekers of power over others cannot allow us to be self-sufficient. They see that citizens must be subjugated to the state and be of a mind to believe they need government. We must be convinced that we  need the wielders of power, for them to retain power.

The greatest defense we can put before the enemies of freedom is a determination to continue to be productive and self-sustaining.

Financial Moves for Women Business Owners

By Michael Vondra

If you’re a woman who owns a business, you may have some challenges not shared by your male peers – but you also have several opportunities to help improve your financial future.

You may already be taking some or all the right steps, but here are some ideas to be sure you’re considering and revisiting as your business grows:

• Refresh your network. Are you involved in networking with other women business owners? Many of them may have insights into the issues women face in the business world, as well as suggestions about lending programs and business-friendly banks. You may also enjoy passing along your lessons learned to others.

• Review your business structure. If you go into business as a sole proprietor, you’ll have to report your business income on your personal income tax return. If you incorporate or form a limited liability company (LLC), you can protect your personal assets – such as your house and your investments – from creditors because these assets will be separated from your business assets and debts. You might also consider other, more complex entities, known as C and S corporations. There’s no single “correct” business structure and the most appropriate one for you may change over time, so, in choosing one that’s right for your needs, you’ll want to consult with your tax and legal advisors.

• Do an insurance checkup. To protect yourself and your business, you may want to review your insurance to make sure you have the right kinds and amount of coverage. General liability insurance can be appropriate for sole proprietors, if you’ve established an LLC or you’ve incorporated your business. If you provide some type of professional service (i.e., legal, accounting, engineering and so on), you might need professional liability insurance. And no matter what business you own, you might want to add disability insurance to replace some of the income you’d lose if you were injured or became ill.

• Consider all your retirement options. If you’ve got your own business, you’re solely responsible for funding your retirement. Fortunately, as a business owner, you’ve got several attractive options, including an “owner-only” 401(k), a SEP-IRA and a SIMPLE IRA. In deciding which plan is right for you, you’ll need to consider several factors, including the number of employees, if any, and the nature of your business. However, all these plans are relatively easy to set up and administer and offer potential tax benefits. And even though you’ve got plenty to do already, you should make the time to establish or review your own retirement plan – because eventually you’ll need all the resources you can accumulate to enjoy life as a former business owner.  

You can also find valuable information on programs for women business owners by visiting the Small Business Administration’s website at and searching for “women-owned businesses.”

Running your own business can be challenging – but by making some positive financial moves and getting the support you need, you can also find business ownership to be highly rewarding, personally and professionally.

Michael A Vondra

Certified Financial Planner Practitioner

Edward Jones

How receptive are people in the various countries to the idea of free markets?

A new Global Index of Economic Mentality (GIEM) indicates that the United States scores high among 74 countries, ranking fourth with only New Zealand Czech Republic and Sweden being more receptive to free market concepts. But digging deeper into the numbers indicates that the US score has mostly to do with the views of older citizens. “In contrast, the attitudes of the younger US cohorts are decidedly anti -freedom. In fact, the gap between the US generations in this respect is the greatest of all the countries (New Zealand and Australia being next) in the world.”

For decades the world’s countries have been ranked in various indices for economic freedom and the like. These rankings try to measure the extent to which current legal and/or institutional conditions permit individual economic activity. They have been shown to correlate strongly with prosperity and human well- being.

The new GIEM, compiled by Brad Lips (Atlas Network, Washington, D.C.), Pal Czegledi (University of Debrecen, Hungary), and Carlos Newland (ESEADE University and Torcuato Di Tella University, Buenos Aires, Argentina), measures public opinion about economic freedom rather than the extent to which it is actually practiced. A high GIEM score indicates that its citizens support the idea that their government should not play a major role in directing or regulating economic activity or in redistributing income. GIEM measures public opinion toward a system of free enterprise rather than the extent of its realization in practice.

New Zealand has a score of 0.76, while the US score is 0.71.

Ranking at the bottom is Iran, Egypt, Russia, Azerbaijan, Montenegro, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and Bosnia. The scores range from 0.33 to 0.24.

Great Britain had a score of 0.60 and ranked 16th, Switzerland ranked 21st and scored  0.58, Hong Kong’s score was 0.57, France, 0.55. Mexico ranks 31st and scored 0.52 followed by Japan at 0.52 and  Germany, scoring 0.51. China ranked 51st and scored 0.43.

Countries that embrace a free-market mentality tend to have more efficient economic institutions and higher per capita GDP than those who support socialist, interventionist mentalities. However, there are notable differences.

For instance, although Chile’s free market institutions have made it the most prosperous country in South America, it has the lowest GIEM score on the continent, even a notch below Argentina, and 64th overall. These data suggest that the Chilean public has not been convinced of the benefits of the free-market system that has lifted them out of poverty.

The existence of inconsistency of practice and ideas, goes a long way toward explaining the recent disturbances in Chile and its dramatic lurch away from freedom.

In spite of New Zealand’s current totalitarian behavior, it tops the mentality chart due to the public embrace of ideas propagated by Sir Roger Douglas, New Zealand’s former minister of finance (1984–1988) in the reformist Labour Government during the tenure of prime minister David Lange.

The high ranking of the Czech Republic can be traced to radical education in free-market ideas by Václav Klaus, former minister of finance (1989–1992) of Czechoslovakia, and former prime minister (1992–1998) and president (2003–2013) of the Czech Republic. Klaus led the Czech Republic’s transition from communism to a free-market economy. In contrast to Chile, there is consistency between thought and action in the Czech Republic.

In recent decades economic freedom in the US has steadily fallen from its previously high level, but it still scores high in having a largely free market mentality. This turns out to be due to the attitudes of older citizens who were educated about principles of freedom and have seen free markets function. In contrast, the attitudes of the younger generations, denied similar educations, resist free market concepts and are more inclined to support top-down statist controls.

Evelyn Pyburn

Utility companies in the US are concerned about potential power outages this winter according to a number of media including Bloomberg News and Epoch Times and Washington Post.

Bloomberg quotes the head of Xcoal Energy  Resources saying, ““We’ve actually had discussions with power utilities who are concerned that they simply will have to implement blackouts this winter.” 

Of greatest concern in the US are areas in New England and California.

“If markets don’t stabilize soon, especially as the northern hemisphere heads into colder months, we could be in for a very rough winter,” says yahoo!news.

The concern is one that Montana’s NorthWestern Energy officials share. In the last issue of Big Sky Business Journal the company explained that those concerns have spurred their decision to move up construction of a natural gas- fired power plant in Laurel to be used for backup generation.

Currently NWE supplies are not adequate to provide the energy needed during periods of peak demand. They must purchase the energy needed in a market that is very high priced; and given the demands and vulnerabilities of other states, is becoming increasingly uncertain. And, even if they can purchase the energy, they may not be able to get it to Montana because transmission capacity is also very uncertain. It’s a precarious situation for a state that regularly plunges into sub-zero temperatures in the winter.

The U.S. has enough gas to get through a normal winter, said James Shrewsbury, co-chief investment officer of e360 Power LLC, a gas and power hedge fund in Austin, Texas at But sustained low temperatures could create gas shortages. “If we get a prolonged cold this winter, there will be problems.”

Having been forced to abandon many fossil-fueled energy sources in the US, with very little replacement, energy prices have escalated, as in keeping with the law of supply and demand. Natural gas and coal prices “just hit their highest levels on record,” said Tom Friedman in The New York Times. “Oil prices in America hit a seven-year high, and U.S. gasoline prices are up $1 a gallon from last year.”

Forbes reported that Bank of America has predicted the possibility that the price for crude oil could exceed $100 per barrel over the winter and “precipitate a global economic crisis.”

The shortages are not unique to the US, in fact the US has so far been “spared the worse” because the country is “an energy producer,” says the Washington Post.

“Energy is so hard to come by right now that some provinces in China are rationing electricity, Europeans are paying sky-high prices for liquefied natural gas, power plants in India are on the verge of running out of coal, and the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in the United States stood at $3.25 on Friday — up from $1.72 in April.”

A common thread of media reports is that the shortages are the consequences of “pent up demand” brought on by COVID restraints on business. There is obvious reticence in the news reports to mention that another possible cause is curtailed production resulting from government mandates on utility companies, which are “green strategies” to deal with global warming predictions. But some reports do suggest that the situation is not just problems brought on by COVID.

The Washington Post states,  “Energy analysts argue that Europe moved too quickly away from fossil-fueled power, before ensuring that sufficient renewable sources could take up the slack in an emergency. Caught halfway in a transition that should take decades, they say, Europe is now scrambling to find coal and gas to burn in its remaining traditional plants.”

There remains many who refuse to lay the blame at the door of global warming policies that abandoned using fossil-fuels. Last spring when cars were lined up at gas pumps in the east, gas shortages were attributed to the “unintended and unexpected price of efficiency.” “The market-driven energy sector has spent a decade or more cutting costs, streamlining and digitizing,” accused an article in the Washington Post.

Another report points out “Texas and California have driven the price of electricity down by throwing out the old regulatory structure — the structure that made sure utilities earned enough to invest in backup resources.” So, when things go awry there is no backup.

While probably true, blame goes deeper than just the decisions of the “energy industry;” just to mention “regulatory”  means you are talking about the government in one fashion or another. In almost every case the industry has been functioning under political pressures and regulatory edicts that have dictated the adoption of alternative energy sources, while advocates of alternatives have shown little interest in addressing the shortcomings of those alternatives – most especially in developing backup resources.

Stated another report, the blame lies with industry that “has stripped redundancy out of its systems, at the risk of leaving customers in the lurch when things go wrong.”

The “Greens” of Europe and Russia are claiming that governments are manipulating crisis in order to “create a sense of urgency.” E.U. climate chief Frans Timmermans said those who blame the Green Deal are doing so for “ideological reasons”.

Rushing back to fossil fuels would be a mistake, they say. They want to double-down on green policies with no explanation on how to provide backup resources when temperatures plunge and wind turbines ice up as happened early this spring in Texas.

The Post quotes Timmermans saying, “The wrong response to this would be to slow down the transition to renewable energy. . .The right response is to keep the momentum and perhaps even look for ways to increase the momentum.”

The situation is one that is resurrecting interest in coal.

The International Energy Agency says that the US is “poised” to increase its use of coal, noting that currently most of the demand for coal comes from China and India. reports more coal is being used, which is “now in short supply.” Contributing to the shortage is that regulatory threats on the coal industry has made suppliers reluctant to invest to maintain or to increase production.  “Now, U.S. utilities’ stockpiles are shrinking and it’s not clear whether U.S. miners will be able to meet their increasing calls for more fuel. . . U.S. utilities are switching away from gas and expected to burn about 23% more coal this year,” said

yahoo!news adds, “urging energy prices will likely add further inflationary pressures to the global economy, as the rising cost of shipping and travel gets passed onto consumers around the world. The increased costs and disruptions will also contribute to shortages in a wide range of products announced that consumers at the wholesale and retail levels can expect this winter shortages of electronics, vehicles, clothing, furniture, and food.  Rising energy costs contributing to increases in transportation costs will augment scarcity of materials and a lack of employees for “a one-two punch for consumers”.

According to Forbes magazine, food price in general has increased 3.4 percent in one year, meat is up 5.9 percent, milk is over 6 percent more expensive.

Other shortages expected include furniture prices have already risen almost 9%, jewelry is over 10% higher, and major appliances prices are up more than 12%.

The shortages won’t be as severe in the US, speculates, because  the US produces a lot of natural gas, “making us less dependent on foreign supplies of energy. That self-sufficiency should insulate us from the worst of the energy turbulence around the world, at least for a while — though inflation, already running high, could still end up dampening the economy more broadly.”

People in the US are quitting jobs at record rates.

The Labor Department’s monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report showed that 4.3 million people left their jobs in August, an increase of 2.9 percent or a 242,000 job increase from the previous month – the highest figure in data that goes back to December 2000.

Most of the increase – 157,000 quits —was recorded in the accommodation and food services industry, while 26,000 more left the wholesale trade business, according to Epoch Times. State and local government education saw 25,000 more departures.

Employers laid off approximately 1.3 million workers in August.

Since the declines occurred prior to President Joe Biden’s mandates for businesses to coerce employees to get vaccinated or be continuously tested for COVID, speculation is that workers may have quit due to fears of the COVID Delta strain. However, it is possible that some left jobs due to mandates “in certain markets,” such as United Airlines that announced its vaccine mandate in early August.

In industries such as manufacturing, construction, transportation, and warehousing, quits barely increased. In professional and business services, which includes fields such as law, engineering, and architecture, where most employees can work from home, quitting was largely flat.

Quits rose the most in the South and Midwest.

NFIB President Brad Close wrote a new op-ed in USA Today explaining why the latest tax plan from lawmakers would be detrimental to small businesses.

Close notes that small businesses aren’t looking at one or two tax hikes under the proposed plan – they’re looking at a slew of tax increases that would hit them from every angle including raising small business income taxes, capping the small business deduction, and raising capital gains and estate taxes.

“As usual, the White House offered platitudes this month at the start of Small Business Week. Small businesses are the ‘engines of our economic progress.’ The ‘pillars of their neighborhoods.’ And so on. But a few days later, the House of Representatives, with the White House’s backing, announced one of the most dramatic assaults on small business in decades. Lawmakers unveiled a massive tax-hike package that would jam those ‘engines of our economic progress’ and topple many of those ‘pillars of their neighborhoods.’”

“These tax hikes are bad enough, promising job losses and shuttered stores across the nation. But the White House and Congress also want to raise costs on small businesses in other painful ways. Case in point: The $3.5 trillion House bill would mandate that all businesses with five or more employees auto-enroll them in a retirement plan. A third of small employers offer a retirement plan.”

Justin Jawort Construction, 535 S Billings Blvd, 59101, 670-4243, Justin Jawort, general contractors

Michels Construction inc, 817 Main St, 53006, Brownsville WI, 920-583-3132, Micon Holdings, general contractors

Sunshine Express, 443 S 23rd St W, 59102, 248-3320, Marlee & Courtney Zentner, restaurants

Billings Jail Bail Bonds LLC, 1712 George St, Butte MT,59701, 593-0422, Jay Hubber, service

L and L Solutions LLC, 912 N 24th St, 59101, 200-5870, Loyd & Lynn Knudsen, service

Adas Calibrations of Billings, 1724 1st Ave N, 59101, 855-6972, Shaun & Janice Combs, service

Divergent Works Consulting #A1235914, 4513 Corral Dr, 59101, 696-7925, Kimberly Nuss, service

Collect Events + Rentals, 1118 Toole CT, 59105, 860-4871, Paige Hatzenbihler, service

Meyer Rescue Supply Company, 2114 Marisela St, 59105, 630-699-1914, Levi Meyer, retail sales

 Spudnick, 4406 Tar Heels Way Apt #2, 59106, 945-5027, Leslie & Nicolette Modic, restaurants

Bridgelite Auto Glass, 2830 Zimmerman Trl #3, 59102, 970-8737, Moria Beckman/ Greg Vincent, service

Luxe Studio, 2545 Central Ave Ste M#5, 59102, 599-4880, Amanda Scoggin, retail sales

Billings Aesthetics LLC, 3839 Grand Ave, 2048 Overland Ave, Kim Griner, service

Skin Body & Soul Aesthetics LL, 3839 Grand Ave #, 59102, 671-2363, Erin O’Neil, service

Rabbithole Ronald, 827 2nd Ave N, 59101, 206-483-6076, Ronald A Smith, service

Bad Bear Construction, 1100 Back Bay Dr, 59106, 850-8265, Michael Martinez, general contractors

Abraham Quintus, 3035 Western Bluffs Blvd, 59106, 861-4411, Abraham Quintus, general contractors

Tandem Investments LLC, 2950 Walden Place, 59102, 690-8876, Kristi Drake/Kevin Odenthal, real estate rental

Logan Lybeck Construction, 506 Burlington Ave, 59101, 209-2538, Logan Lybeck, general contractors

MW Avenue C LLC, 1607 17th St W, 59102, 208-559-7284, Casey Lynch, real estate rental

J Bar K Contracting, 4713 Farm Vista,  Laurel 59044,  208-2792, Jurgen Kuhr, general contractors

Budget Storage MT LLC, 5745 Elysian Rd, 59101, 591-4815, Alfred Koelzer, service

Anderson Sales Inc, 2907 W MacDonald Dr, 59102, 855-7597, Darrell Anderson, general contractors

 Donna’s Massage Therapy, 4215 Montana Sapphire Dr, 59106, 861-7839, Donna Podolak, solo practitioner

Aimee Rust LCPC LMFT LLC, 51 N 15th St, 59101, 697-0369, Aimee Rust, service

Whitey Boulder Cleaning Service, 2323 32nd St W #90, 59102, 304-9535, Lashonda Boehmy/Emilie Anderson, service

406 Fence LLC, 8048 Shepherd Rd #6, 396-5458, Eric Hadnott/Brandon McDonald, general contractors

On Point Cosmo Beauty LLC, 2715 1st Ave N Ste B, 59101, 661-2236, Cedric O’Neal, retail sales

 Beach Waves Salon, 11 S 24th St W Ste 9, 59102, 307-272-4160, Brittany Bauer, cosmetology

SMT Services, 1021 Yellowstone Ave #2, 59102, 672-2489, John Mueller, service

Dye Hard Salon & Spa LLC, 301 S 24th St W, Ste 2, 59102, 307-431-2063, Shandelle Allred, cosmetology

Perspective Land Revisement, 1609 8th Ave N #6, 59101, 208-6321, Demar Pugh, service

Intuitive being & Wellness, 1485 Black Eagle Trail, 59101, 672-7237, Ronnie Harris, service

Tint Factory, 536 S 18th St W, 59102, 652-3911, Vernon Ball, service

Rocky Mountain Roofing LLC, 7415 Burlington Ave, 59106, 574-355-5494, Alexis Hellman, general contractors

Great States Construction, 1700 42nd St S Ste 2000, Fargo ND 58103, 701-205-4717, Kevin Hochman, general contractors

Silver Peak Contracting, 1510 Longhorn Way, 59105, 451-1569, Spencer Simard, general contractors

Kampwild Construction, 1525 St John’s Ave, 59102, 366-3614, Daniel Kamp, general contractors

Selby Design LTD, 4215 Montana Sapphire Dr, 59106, 360-649-5325, Tami Selby, service

Nathaniel R Heldt, Neckarstrasse 92, 70190, Nathaniel Heldt, service

Tightline Home inspections, 1636 Wicks Ln, 59105, 697-5325, Joshua Leishman, service

Red Bear Contracting, 558 Elbow Creek Rd, Roberts 59070, Nicole Joyce, general contractors

Backyard Theater, 2861 Colton Blvd, 59102, 647-9027, Travis Kuehn/Alexis Cooper, service

 Nick Morrison, 4023 Bell Circle, 59106, 690-3030, Nick Morrison, restaurants

Massey Construction, 344 Quaking Aspen Ln, 59105, 426-8563, Trevor Massey, general contractors

Toole Design Group LLC, 8484 Georgia Ave Ste 800, Silver Spring MD 20910, 301-927-1900, service

English Artistry, 1922 Mulberry Dr, 59102, 321-2082, Jenna English, cosmetology

Oh Happy Clay, 9 Chestnut Dr, 59102, 794-7639, Mariah Storlie, retail sales

Montana Big and Small,  206 N 29th St Ste 27, 59101, 696-0797, Michelle Wunker, retail sales

Patti McCaslin Cleaning Extraordinaire, 814 Date Ave, Laurel 59044, 843-902-1896, Patricia McCaslin, service

Dunkle Construction, 4601 Central Ave, 59106, 850-1649, Larry Dunkle, general contractors

Innes Construction co. Inc, 822 S 46th St, Grand Forks ND 58201, 701-746-5461, Bryan Fosse, general contractors

406 Handyman Service LLC, 5402 Lazy Willow Ln, 59101, 670-7924, Darian Kuntz, general contractors

Reliable Home Repair of Billings, 1101 Keno St, 59105, 927-3210, Douglas Vander-Walker, general contractors

Bowers home inspection LLC, 5343 Golden Hollow Rd, 59101, 546-3191, Mark Bowers, service

Murphy Ave LLC, 4619 Murphy Ave, 59101, 579-3191, Tyler Vine, real estate rental

Direct seal LLC, 809 N 24th St #1, 59101, 647-0397, William J Porta, service

Zing MT, 2940 Hesper Rd, 59106, 696-4151, Kristopher Klein, service

Crashes Automotive repair, 405 N 15th St, 59101, 413-1136, Edward White, auto business

Dale Musgrave, 141 Annandale Rd, 59105, 606-2958, Dale Musgrave, general contractors

Galloping Swede LLC, 1004 Princeton Ave, 59102, 697-4466, Matthew Thurston, general contractors

406 Gutters, 504 Minnie Place, 59101, 697-1149, Brandon Chapman, general contractors

Doobers Custom Fishing Rods, 4441 Yellowstone Trail, 59101, 672-5619, Joshua Sam, retail sales

Minds into Focus Consulting LLC, 2048 Overland Avenue, 59102, 647-0817, Joel Grinder, service

Kris Kuhr Construction, 4446 Loma vista Dr, 59106, 670-7153, Kris Kuhr, general contractors

Montana State University Billings enrollment 2021 data which shows a 10 percent increase in first-time freshmen enrollment from last fall semester. At its official 15th class-day count, 4,112 students were enrolled with 2,375 students at University Campus and 1,737 at City College.

With in-demand degree programs, affordable tuition, numerous scholarship opportunities, robust student services, and flexible in-person, online and HyFlex courses, more students are realizing that attending college away from home is not always the best option for them, which is reflective of MSUB’s first-time freshmen enrollment numbers, say officials.

Notable areas of growth for MSU Billings’ fall 2021 semester compared to fall 2020 semester included:

* 22% increase in American Indian graduate students

* 13% increase in new Yellowstone County student enrollment

* 7% increase in overall undergraduate transfer students

* 5% increase in degree seeking graduate student enrollment

* Programs with significant enrollment growth: Welding and Metal Fabrication Certificate 120%, Welding and Fabrication (AAS) 13%, Business Administration (BS) 29%, General Business (AAS) 29%, Health and Human Performance (BS, MS) 42%, Outdoor Adventure Leadership (BS) 40%, Psychology (BA) 40%, Psychology (BS) 37%, Psychiatric Rehabilitation (BS) 10%, Health Administration (BS) 6%.

Vice Chancellor for Student Access and Success Kim Hayworth mentions that MSUB has seen a 13 percent increase in new Yellowstone County student enrollment this fall. She says that she is happy that more local students are taking advantage of MSUB’s high-quality programs and affordable tuition. “More of our local students are realizing what an attractive option MSUB is and are choosing to stay close to home,” says Hayworth. “We are also excited to welcome our new and transfer students to campus where they will receive such a high-quality and individualized college experience.”

MSUB’s College of Health Professions and Science (CHPS) also experienced an enrollment increase in their health programs. CHPS is housed in the newly completed, state-of-the-art Yellowstone Science and Health Building, the only one of its kind in the region.

The number of Dual Enrollment students (where high school students take college courses at their high school or at MSUB) increased significantly, which speaks to the strong partnership MSUB has with School District 2 (SD2) and other Yellowstone County schools. Provost Sep Eskandari gives a nod to those who have worked hard to build relationships with surrounding schools to promote Dual Enrollment. “Students who take college-level courses in high school save a significant amount in college tuition, and in many cases, will have little to no student debt when they graduate college.”

Montana is among 18 states that have unemployment rates lower than before the pandemic, according to WalletHub.

Surprisingly, D.C. had unemployment claims last week that were worse than the same week last year. 

Leading the way in recovery over the past week is South Carolina, followed by Arkansas, Kansas, South Dakota and West Virginia. Montana ranks sixth among the states.

Least recovered states are District of Columbia, Virginia, Michigan, Nebraska and California.

There are currently 8.4 million Americans unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in total. There were 326,000 new unemployment claims nationwide, which is a lot fewer than the 6.1 million during the peak of the pandemic (a 95% reduction).

Red states are recovering more quickly than Blue states, in general.

By Bob Pepalis, The Center Square

A long drought and extreme high temperatures don’t seem to have decreased possibilities for good hunting seasons, a Montana Outfitters and Guides Association official said.

Despite the heat and dry conditions, animals seem to be doing fine, Mac Minard, executive director of the association, told The Center Square. But it will be localized.

“Today I’m in the extreme northeast corner of Montana, and the country looks great. Grain and crops haven’t been bad. They’ve been OK,” he said.

The day before he was in the Bear Paws, south of Northern Great Falls and south of Hammond. The Bear Paws looked pretty good, though extremely dry.

“But the animals are doing fine. We’re seeing very good numbers of deer in most places. We’re seeing excellent horn growth on the elk,” Minard said.

He said it looks like the drought will have very little if any effect on most of the places he’s visited, and it looks to me like the drought is going to have very little, if any, effect on most of the places visited. He expects a good hunting season.

The National Integrated Drought Information System on Sept. 19 reported that 98.7% of Montana was in at least a severe drought, with more than 68% of the state in an extreme drought. In an extreme drought, crops are not harvestable; winter pasture is opened for grazing; soil has large cracks; fields are bare, and fire restrictions increase.

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte declared a statewide drought emergency on July 1.

Hunters still need to be aware in super dry areas, like around Jordan, Minard said.

“Parking your vehicle can be a very dangerous proposition if you’re not paying attention. And we’ve got to be super, super careful this year about where those vehicles are parked,” Minard said.

Hunters need to make sure the grass doesn’t touch the catalytic converter when they park and take special precautions to make sure they aren’t creating a problem, he said.

All the reports he’s received across the state have been good, which was not what people might have thought.

It won’t necessarily be good news for all hunters.

“I think waterfowl, some bird hunters are going to be a little disappointed. But the big game stuff seems to be doing quite well actually. And as I said horn growth has been surprisingly good,” Minard said.