Several local businesses are requesting tax abatements from Yellowstone County on their investment in new equipment. The abatements are for qualifying Class 8 Property – primarily manufacturing concerns that generate economic growth. A recent change in state law (SB 530) requires that county commissioners grant the abatement requests, with the only options available to them being whether to apply the abatement at the 80 percent, 90 percent or 100 percent.  The abatement is phased out over the next five years at which time the company pays the full property tax.

The County Commissioners approved a supplemental application for a tax abatement request from CHS. In January, the County Commissioners approved, at 80 percent, an initial property tax abatement request from CHS for manufacturing equipment totaling in value $38,872,419.88.

They have also approved, at 80 percent, an abatement request of Class 8 property from Phillips 66 on the investment of $7,459,311 of equipment.

The Commissioners also approved a tax abatement for Signal Peak Energy and Coca Cola are requesting abatements on new investments in their businesses.

Signal Peak Mine will receive a 80% abatement n $36,841,583 of manufacturing equipment located in Yellowstone County.

Coca Cola received an 80% tax abatement on $47,150,873 involving the construction of their new manufacturing plant.

Yellowstone Valley Electric Cooperative (YVEC) had a really big year last year, having grown by 500 additional customers and adding to the utility’s infrastructure to keep ahead of such phenomenal growth. Such was the big news that crowned the annual membership meeting last week.

“The Energy to Thrive” was the theme of the 85th annual membership meeting at the Pavilion at Metra Park on March 26, which was attended by some 200-plus people.

Over the past ten years, YVEC has seen “tremendous growth,” said CEO/General manager Brandon Wittman. Revenues have increased $7 million, of which residential customers are 75 percent of sales.

But, said Wittman, “We are not about the bottom line. What makes us different is that we are focused on the members.”

Wittman mentioned frequently the company’s goal to be as efficient as possible in order to keep energy rates as low as possible for their members. The fact that they have not had to increase rates for 12 years speaks to the co-op’s success, but increasing inflation pushed them to have to raise rates 4 to 4.5 percent, last November.

But that is still less of an increase than the increase of 26.9 percent last year by their biggest competitor, pointed out Wittman. “We absorbed as much as we could for as long as we could,” he said, “We are still very competitive.”

YVEC’s last rate increase of 6 percent was in 2011.

The second largest electric cooperative in the state, YVEC now serves some 23,000 members, “and we try to be the energy solution for all of them,” said Wittman. For the past few years the co-op has averaged the addition of 350 meters /customers a year, and now they are averaging 500.

To keep ahead of that demand is the challenge before the staff and the board of directors. 

Board Secretary/Treasure, Scott Hofferber, who was unanimously re-elected to the board (trustee for district 3) during the meeting, told the membership, “You have a great board working for you.” His words were echoed by Vice President Dave Kelsey, who was also re-elected (trustee for district 6), who said, “We have an outstanding board, who has serious discussions about our power.” To keep the power going and to keep it affordable “is an ongoing battle,” he said, given the mandates and regulations that keep coming at energy providers.

Growth has required expansion and constant upkeep of the facilities. In 2023, YVEC purchased land near Park City to build a new substation to meet current and future needs. Billings and Worden substations were also upgraded to add capacity and new technology.

Additional office space was added to the operations center and additional land was purchased adjacent to the center for a new yard for storage and inventory.

“We build systems to work 30 years, not just today,” said Wittman.

With the continued growth YVEC has added new employees. For a decade the co-op averaged about 47 employees, last year they added several more to total 54 full time employees and two part-time. All of their employees were invited center stage to be introduced.

Providing their employees with the good equipment and current technology is part of the co-ops strategy to operate in the most efficient manner possible to keep costs and rates as low as possible. Wittman explained that there are 900 electric co-ops in the country and on average they serve 300 members per employee. YVEC serves 438 members per employee. “We are in the top five percent when it comes to this ratio,” he said.

YVEC invested $42.5 million into the plant over the past ten years.

Other members of the board of directors are: Larry Kaufman, President and trustee for district 4; Greg Neibauer, assistant secretary / treasurer and trustee for district 5; Bill Keller, trustee for district 1; Daniel Swartz, trustee for district 2; and Chris White, trustee for district 7.

YVEC was organized in 1937 and serves a 10,000 square mile territory including six counties. In its first year of operation it served 17 connected meters.

Total value of utility plant is $118,175,256. YVEC purchase 320,413,461 kilowatt hours of electricity in 2023.

The utility has 142,330 miles of high voltage transmission lines, and 2,678,456 mils of distribution lines.

The company paid $1,449,286 in property taxes in 2023.

2023 revenue was $39,549,604 and long term debt is $56,231,856.

Stockman Bank has been recognized by S&P Global Market Intelligence as one of the top 50 best-performing U.S. community banks of 2023, among banks with $3 billion to $10 billion in assets.

S&P Global Market Intelligence ranks institutions based on returns, growth and funding but places a premium on the strength and risk profile of balance sheets. The rankings were launched in 2011 to assess the performance of community banks.

“This recognition reflects not only our exemplary financial performance, but the dedication and expertise of our staff, who put the needs of our customers and communities first,” stated Bill Coffee, CEO of Stockman Bank. “For more than 70 years, as a family-owned, privately held community bank, we have not wavered from our focus on serving the financial needs of all Montanans through outstanding service based on western values, local management and prompt decision making.”

Par Montana, a subsidiary of Par Pacific Holdings, Inc., was recently honored for its 2023 safety performance by the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufactures (AFPM).  The award is part of the refining and petrochemical industry’s ongoing commitment to enhance and recognize outstanding workplace safety.

The awards are considered the premier recognition of the industry and are part of a comprehensive program developed by the AFPM Safety and Health Committee to promote safe operations in the refining and petrochemical industries.

The Par Montana refinery in Billings was elected for an Elite Silver Award, recognizing sites that have attained top industry safety performance in 2023 while demonstrating excellent program innovation and leadership over time. Elite Silver status represents the top 10 percent of industry safety performance.

The past year also represented a year of change for the Billings refinery employees as they prepared for ownership transition from ExxonMobil to Par Pacific Holdings. George Graham, the Health, Safety, Security and Environment manager at Par Montana, said being recognized for a year of safety excellence shows that leaders, frontline workers and contractors all prioritized personal and process safety when it was need most.

Kim Jakub, Senior vice President of Rocky Mountain Refining for Par Pacific and former refinery manager in Billings, said the award demonstrates a continuing commitment to safety by everyone at the site. “It is a well-deserved recognition for the Billings team,” she said.

As an example of new initiatives in 2023, the refinery completed the rollout of a new homegrown, safety program as a result of the transition to Par Pacific. This initial rollout was only the first step in a series of new leadership growth and development initiatives, as a component of a sustainable program. The refinery has also implemented new technologies to help monitor for potentially dangerous gases and improved personal protection for planned maintenance activities.

Rudyard Kipling

Owning Yourself

By Evelyn Pyburn

Few quotations strike closer to home during the current era than this, especially as it pertains to speaking truth as we see it.

I understand the reasons. In my youth I used to feel quite intimidated at having to speak in a public setting of any sort. I doubt that I was unusual in that. But as with so many things in life, I learned that the more you do it the better you get at it and the more confident you become.

Speaking up when it is the right thing to do makes you feel better about yourself, even if you find out you are wrong in what you say – you learn something new and the world does not end. It’s a challenge that encourages being well informed and requires a lot of thought, so you know why you come to the decisions that you do.

So why should one find it necessary to speak up at times? Because untruths must be challenged. Truth must be recognized even when we don’t like it. Wrong information, deceit, or mistakes often harm others. One cannot build a civilized society on untruths, maintain peace or have justice with falsehoods, and falsehoods cannot stand if they are challenged by the truth. Also, whether in your personal life or in society in general, one cannot change or improve what hasn’t been accurately identified, and that requires adherence to truth.

What most people are afraid of in speaking out is “what will others think of you?” That thinking must surely come from us being social creatures and wanting to be part of the group. It’s why Rudyard Kipling calls it “hard business.” It is not easy to stand alone, and you often will have to stand alone, because human beings are very, very susceptible to “group think” – as cowardly as it might be, it feels safe.

But while you may worry what others may think, as Kipling also points out, what you think of you is far more important. After all, you have to live with you far longer than with anyone else. The more comfortable you are with yourself the more happy that life will be. Internal peace comes in knowing that you stand for what you believe is right and you have the strength to deal with truths and reality.

One of the funniest ironies of life has to be that when a person is worried about what someone else is thinking of them, the likelihood is, if they are thinking about you at all, they are wondering what you are thinking of them. And, the real truth is (which might be disappointing to discover) most people don’t think about you as much as you think they do. In the broader world, you just aren’t that important! So, you might as well be important in your own little corner of the world.

And, you might as well know why it is you believe the things you think you believe to be true. Far too many people simply adopt the opinions of those around them and never give them any deep thought. If they have confidence in those opinions it comes from believing “everyone else thinks this, so it must be right.” Seldom is that the case.

One of the keys in speaking your mind is to LISTEN to the responses. You will find new knowledge, no matter the response. One of the things I have come to realize in such discourses is that I learn more from people who disagree with me than from those who agree.Kipling also points out, not only might you have to stand alone but it might also be frightening — a factor that also has a great deal of relevance in today’s world. But one should understand the significance of the various kinds of push back you might encounter. When people have no reasonable argument in a debate of ideas their first point of refuge is name calling. It’s not only a short cut to having to think, but it often succeeds in intimidating those with the stronger arguments into silence, which for those who tend to believe in “might over right” is some kind of hallow victory.

Coerced censorship is an even greater admission of having lost the debate. The kind of censorship we have been witnessing by those who control social media and a President who establishes a bureau of censorship is to admit that they recognize themselves to be intellectually bankrupt, and any kind of victory they hope to attain requires silencing all intellectual discourse. But, most of all they are declaring that they very vehemently believe in “might over right.” They are in fact the reason that we must be brave enough and strong enough to speak truth when seeing its need, because their acts of coercion against innocent citizens demonstrate most clearly what is at stake: our very freedom, and the right to “own ourselves.”


By Kevin Bessler, The Center Square

Saying it’s too much, too soon, numerous groups are denouncing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s recently announced emission standards, with the Illinois Corn Growers Association being one of them.

On March 20, 2024, EPA announced a final rule, Multi-Pollutant Emissions Standards for Model Years 2027 and Later Light-Duty and Medium-Duty Vehicles, that sets new, more protective standards to further reduce harmful air pollutant emissions from light-duty and medium-duty vehicles starting with model year 2027.  

The EPA said the new rules, which are less strict than what the agency proposed last year, will avert 7 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

“The standards announced today are a step forward for cleaner air and lower costs for drivers,” said Peter Huether, senior research associate with the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. “They will lead to the cleanest vehicles to date and help us meet the president’s climate pledges.” 

As EVs sit on car dealer lots, some companies are scaling back their electric offerings, including Ford and GM.

A new poll by The Center Square Voters’ Voice shows that nearly two-thirds of voters say the government is pushing EVs too hard because there is insufficient demand. 

Garrett Hawkins, vice president of the Illinois Corn Growers Association, said the rush by the government to convert to battery EVs would be devastating for the Illinois farming community.

“With this policy, we could have a 50% decrease in the price of corn, and with that you would have rural America and farmers not doing as well,” said Hawkins. “It’s going to be a direct hit to the Midwest.”.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said his goal is to have 1 million EVs on Illinois roadways by the year 2030. State officials said there will need to be around 36,000 charging ports to support that number. 

Critics also point to the high cost of electric vehicles. The Rivian R1T EV pickup truck, manufactured in Normal, starts at $73,000.

“It is disappointing that the Biden Administration continues to be actively working against its stated goal of ‘equipping the American middle class to succeed,’” said David Holt, president of Consumer Energy Alliance. “While electric vehicles clearly have a role in our vehicle mix, the middle class cannot succeed with the EPA forcing an unworkable, expensive EV quota on working class families.” 

NFIB (National Federation of Independent Businesses) filed an amicus brief in the case State of Texas v. President Joseph R. Biden at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. This case questions whether the President and Department of Labor (DOL) have authority to increase the minimum wage for federal contractors. NFIB’s brief argues that the lower court correctly decided that the DOL rule, Increasing the Minimum Wage for Federal Contractors, exceeded the statutory authority delegated by Congress.

“At a time when small businesses are battling historic inflation and labor shortages, this decision will have economic consequences for many small business contractors,” said Beth Milito, Executive Director of NFIB’s Small Business Legal Center. “Small business owners already strive to provide their employees with the highest wages and benefits they can afford. Mandating further increases to their operating costs will only make it harder for them to do so.”

NFIB’s brief argues two main points: 1) the Procurement Act is a limited Congressional delegation of legislative authority, and 2) the court must subject the rule to meaningful judicial review. NFIB filed the amicus brief with the Pacific Legal Foundation.

The NFIB Small Business Legal Center protects the rights of small business owners in the nation’s courts. NFIB is currently active in more than 40 cases in federal and state courts across the country and in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Sky Creek Ventures Llc, 6715 Cove Creek Dr, (503) 931-0761, Elgas, David And Jamie , Real Estate Rental, Billings, Mt, 59106

 Emm Topnotch Construction Llc, 20 Allen Creek Ln, (406) 922-7266, Morales, Elda , General Contractors, Columbus, Mt, 59019

 Lower Llc/Ulhl, 2646 Grand Ave Ste 2, (406) 294-2660, Bauer  Tristi , Bank/Loan Agencies, Billings, Mt, 59102

 Scotty And I… Schneider Enterprises, 2609 4th Ave S, (406) 702-0984, Schuchard/Schneider, Jennifer/Scott – , Service, Billings, Mt, 59101

 Franco Siding & Remodeling Llc, 7841 Alderson Ave, (732) 799-8317, Franco, Maira – , General Contractors, Billings, Mt, 59106

 Resilient Nails Llc, 2910 Grand Ave, (406) 633-5578, Hernandez/Nava, Sierra/Randall – , Service, Billings, Mt, 59102

 Artisancto Productions Llc, 342 Sioux Ln, (406) 861-0315, Verdell, Duhart , Retail Sales, Billings, Mt, 59105

 Powerwash 406, 2424 1st Ave S, (406) 694-5757, Marks, Rachell – , Service, Billings, Mt, 59101

 Smoothie Lab, 212 N 29th St, (406) 465-6733, Jones, Zoe , Restaurants, Billings, Mt, 59101

 Ineedfitness, 2518 Custer Ave, (406) 647-5082, Lachenmaier, Megan – I, Service, Billings, Mt, 59102

 Billings Wing Company, Llc, 411 S 24th St W, (406) 294-9464, Goube, Steven – , Restaurants, Billings, Mt, 59102

 Dakava House Downtown, 224 N 29th St, (406) 371-5258, Grundhauser, William , Restaurants, Billings, Mt, 59101

 Cottonwood Construction, 2804 Hoover Ave, (406) 690-1660, Wright, Trevor – , General Contractors, Billings, Mt, 59102

 Rare Motor Cars, 8270 Pond Rd, (406) 661-3988, Diament, Richard – , Retail Sales, Billings, Mt, 59106

 Wayne’s Handyman Service, 1606 Ash St  Ballantine #11, (406) 647-8001, Yates, William – , Service, Ballantine, Mt, 59006

 Decorative Concrete Artisans, 7003 Northwind Drive, (406) 876-0978, Devlin, Dustin – , General Contractors, Billings, Mt, 59106

 Get Clean Llc, 1301 Alder Ave, (406) 794-2941, Stewart, Nicholas – , Service, Laurel, Mt, 59044

 Featherstone Llc, 2525 Minnesota Ave, (484) 888-2050, Lorenz, Paula – , Retail Sales, Billings, Mt, 59101

 Shaundel Krumheuer Dba 504 Square Feet, 1314 4th Ave N, (406) 647-0153, Krumheuer, Shaundel , Retail Sales, Billings, Mt, 59101

 Ultra406 Enterprises Inc, 1208 N Frontage Rd #17, (406) 690-9634, Steffes, Justin L – , Service, Billings, Mt, 59101

 Mt Balloon Designs Llc, 1834 Bridge Stone St, (406) 690-1916, Derrick, Nicole , Service, Billings, Mt, 59106

 Doggy Duties, 2230 Fairway Dr, (406) 208-4814, Southard, Kevin & Cipriana , Service, Billings, Mt, 59102

 Tck Hospitality Llc, 19580 West Indian School Rd Ste105-107, (605) 519-0901, Karli, Tim – , General Contractors, Buckeye, Az, 85396

 Victor’s Tree Service, 1408 West Ramshorn, (406) 855-7841, Perez, Victorino – , Service, Laurel, Mt, 59044

 Balance Minds Bookkeeping, 1134 Central Ave, (406) 694-5850, Stoner, Jada-Rose – , Service, Billings, Mt, 59102

 Home Ready Services, Llc, 138 Northern Avenue Apt A, (406) 208-6864, Harper, Lorita , Service, Huntley, Mt, 59037

 Billings Auto Detail, 317 S 26th St, (406) 206-3756, Poppler, Austin – , Service, Billings, Mt, 59101

 Mvd Express, 3470 Gabel Rd Ste 1, (505) 304-1165, Fusco, Rick , Service, Billings, Mt, 59102

 Treasures Rediscovered Llc, 8958 Belmar Court, (978) 728-9464, Blackburn, Chad – , Service, Saint Louis, Mo, 63126

 Knightshadow Properties Llc, 6133 Farmstead Ave, (406) 671-3711, Knight, Dan – , Real Estate Rental, Billings, Mt, 59101

 Heirloom Estate Services, 3215 Redwood Ln, (406) 697-3822, Hutchinson, Mary – , Service, Billings, Mt, 59102

 Phoenix Freight Services Inc, 439 S Lakeview Dr, (406) 781-4453, Faldzinski, Anthony – , Service, Billings, Mt, 59105

 Laces’ Luxuries, 7010 Shepherd Rd, (406) 629-0159, Robinson, Lacey – , Service, Shepherd, Mt, 59079

 Meschnark Cleaning Services Llc, 3040 Central Ave D108, (702) 232-3390, Meschnark, Brit – , Service, Billings, Mt, 59102

 Billings Best Comedy, 627 N 14th St, (406) 598-4343, Miller, Heather – , Service, Billings, Mt, 59101

 Al’s Crochet Critters, 424 Custer Ave, (509) 281-0341, Campbell, Alaura – , Retail Sales, Billings, Mt, 59101

 Sara Lynn Asap, Llc, 1106 Primrose Dr, (406) 670-8990, Baischi, Lynnette – , Service, Billings, Mt, 59105

 Starbucks Coffee #71295, 3049 Meadow View Dr, (206) 594-7273, Starbucks Corporation, , Restaurants, Billings, Mt, 59102

 Wild Gal Wardrobe, 410 E Alkali Creek Rd, (406) 927-5576, Wildman, Kaitlyn , Retail Sales, Billings, Mt, 59105

 Hilmes Motorworx Llc, 2027 George St, (775) 299-8081, Hilmes, Dillon , Service, Billings, Mt, 59102

 Black Hills Federal Credit Union , 4002 Montana Sapphire Dr, (404) 431-1204, Taylor, Tyson , Bank/Loan Agencies, Billings, Mt, 59106

 Julie Rocks & Gems, 321 Broadwater Ave, (406) 839-5768, Kraenzel, Julie , Retail Sales, Billings, Mt, 59101

 Presence By Evot, 5852 Autumnwood Dr, (406) 855-0101, Oblander, Tove – , Service, Billings, Mt, 59106

 Magic City Roll Offs Llc, 100 Lakewood Ln, (209) 981-8205, Aynaga, Brandon – , Service, Billings, Mt, 59105

 B&S Dirt Worx Llc, 1514 Rancho Vista Ave, (406) 230-0171, Maetzold, Samuel J – , General Contractors, Billings, Mt, 59105

 Maid For It Cleaning, 26 Hartland St N, (406) 601-0964, Modine, Kacee , Service, Billings, Mt, 59105

 Jesse Harris Photography, 427 Hallowell Ln, (406) 384-8549, Myers, Jesse – , Service, Billings, Mt, 59101

 Marble Coffee Co- Roastery, 3485 A J Way # 110, (406) 371-6529, Marble, Jen/Jason – , Retail Sales, Billings, Mt, 59106

 Don The Plumber, 1625 Front St, (406) 672-1587, Summens, Don , Plumbing Contractors, Billings, Mt, 59101

 Handy Home Services, Out Of City, (406) 640-8846, Skender, Jeremiah – , General Contractors, Billings, Mt, 59101

 The Sippin’ Waggin’, 1303 Concord Dr, (406) 371-2249, Boucher/Benson, Leigh/Evelyn , Restaurants, Billings, Mt, 59101

 Mastec Network Solutions Llc, 1825 Ponce De Leon Blvd #543, (949) 637-9674, Ruehle Kathi , General Contractors, Coral Gables, Fl, 3134

 Christy’s Treats, 315 S 2nd Street, (406) 425-4479, Coulimore, Christine – , Service, Bridger, Mt, 59014

 Mch Construction Montana Llc, 46 Cedar Pointe Loop, (406) 702-0219, Alkire, Hazen , General Contractors, Columbia Falls, Mt, 59912

 On Top Construction, 13 Lapin St, (406) 702-5268, Helms, Jessie – , General Contractors, Billings, Mt, 59105

 Beauty And Balance Wellness Studio Llc, 1140 16th St W Ste 15, (406) 591-5182, Bernstein, Dawn , Cosmetology, Billings, Mt, 59102

 Omelio Constructions, 302 Jackson St Trailer #23, (406) 444-3665, Ramirez, Omelio – , General Contractors, Billings, Mt, 59101

 Revington Properties, 930 Ginger Ave, (615) 330-8228, Cole, Morgan – , Real Estate Rental, Billings, Mt, 59105

 Black’s Portable Buildings, 2376 Main St, (406) 591-1961, Black, Karen – , Retail Sales, Billings, Mt, 59105

 Mark Ryan Arts, 483 S 44th St W, (406) 839-6835, Ager, Mark – , Retail Sales, Billings, Mt, 59106

 White River Janitorial & Security, Hwy 212 Mile North, (406) 591-0315, Risingsun Jr, Irvin – , Service, Busby, Mt, 59016

 Superior Tire, 1707 St Johns Ave, (406) 690-4630, Huskey, Dayton – , Service, Billings, Mt, 59102

 Two Buffalos Construction, 327 Jemstone Drive, (406) 371-6635, Moreno, Annie – , General Contractors, Billings, Mt, 59101

 Alpine Chic Boutique, 1514 Prairie Meadow Ln, (406) 951-1317, Klein, Hailey – , Retail Sales, Billings, Mt, 59101

 Terry Watley Dry Wall And Paint, 2101 11th Ave N, (406) 647-9420, Watley, Terry – , General Contractors, Billings, Mt, 59101

 Tire Despose-All, 4230 Carlton Ave Sw, (406) 672-0950, Nease, Joshua , Service, Billings, Mt, 59101

 Sunrise Collectibles, 536 Avenue C, (406) 696-0754, Perez, Tajin , Retail Sales, Billings, Mt, 59102

 One Of A Kind Handyman Llc, Out Of City, (406) 794-8475, Flattum, Lili – , General Contractors, Billings, Mt, 59101

 Williams Photo Company, 429 N 33rd St Apt 610, (406) 670-7859, Williams, Rylee – , Service, Billings, Mt, 59101

 Electronic Toys, 300 S 24th St W, (347) 702-0504, Salem, Gasser – , Retail Sales, Billings, Mt, 59102

 North Fleet Services Llc, 2191 Overlook Dr, (509) 429-8379, Stalder, Bert & Kristi , Service, Billings, Mt, 59105

 Mcp Development Inc, 3501 Sw Fairlawn Rd Ste 70, (785) 273-3880, Tolin Patrick – , General Contractors, Topeka, Ks, 66614

 Chloes Nails Llc, 1423 38th St W, (307) 461-3226, Wilson, Chloe – , Cosmetology, Billings, Mt, 59102

 Arnold Machinery Company, 8406 Rainy Lake Rd, (406) 927-5271, Pugmire, Jon – , Retail Sales, Billings, Mt, 59101

 Burger King #2195, 790 King Park Dr, (406) 656-6711, Stanfield,  Colin – , Restaurants, Billings, Mt, 59102

 R & J Concrete Llc, 2616 Old Hardin Rd #14, (406) 647-6914, Overhuls/Ahern, Rusty/Jonathan , General Contractors, Billings, Mt, 59101

 Big Sky Carpet & More, 1938 Saint Andrews Dr, (971) 400-4925, Mclaughlin, Justin – , Service, Billings, Mt, 59105

 Roofix Technologies Llc, 5 W Mendenhall St #202, (855) 614-0653, Miller, Byron – , Roofing Contractors, Bozeman, Mt, 59715

 Blue April Llc, 343 Quaking Aspen Ln, (406) 670-2225, Sheppard, Shawn – , Service, Billings, Mt, 59105

 Bigsky 406 Enterprises, 661 Light Stream Ln, (406) 601-2134, Page, Jeremy & Marion – , Retail Sales, Billings, Mt, 59106

 Hamilton Property & Construction, 2122 Bitterroot Dr, (406) 671-7100, Hamilton, Christopher – , General Contractors, Billings, Mt, 59105

Mc Properties LLC, 2205 Myrtle Dr, (406) 698-3675, Propp, Karin, Service, Billings, 59102

D Nez Studio Salon, 2906 1st Ave N, (406) 839-3595, Nez, Duane, Retail Sales, Billings, 59101

Magic City Commercial Cleaning, 484 Greenspring Pl, (406) 647-3607, Kephart, Erik  Billings, 59102

Platinum Exterior Solutions LLC, 2039 Pryor Ln, (406) 690-3434, Hall-Shipley, Vincent, General Contractors, Billings, 59102

Heights Inn Mobile Court, 496 Riley Dr, (406) 252-4581, McCune, Jeremy, Billings, 59105

Billings Vacation Rentals LLC, 1206 Cordova St, (406) 670-9790, Clancy-Loveridge, Megan,Service,Billings, 59102

Beartooth Sewing, 1441 15th St W,  , Weigel-Vernard/Weigel, Timber/Weigel,Retail Sales, Billings, 59102

One Sock Lizzy, 615 Avenue D, (812) 340-5039, Sloffer, Elizabeth Marie Retail Sales, Billings, 59102

The Pamper Cottage LLC, 1831 Main St Ste 1, (406) 500-1556, Egelans/Nelson, Jamie/Chantel,Service, Billings, 59105

Liz Enslow Counseling, 930 Jackson St, (406) 690-5937, Enslow, Service, Billings, 59101

Milk River Ag, 40350 Us Hwy 2, (406) 399-1113, Jensen (Member), Ryan, Retail Sales, Chinook, 59523

Micah Olds Construction, 2406 Brentwood Ln, (406) 224-2225, Olds, Micah, General Contractors, Billings, 59102

Bar 10 LLC, 1236 South Hay Creek Rd, (406) 224-2945, Barlow, William, General Contractors, Pryor, 59066

Evergreen Services, 3201 Leeann Blvd, (812) 704-3456, Elkin, Bethany, Service, Billings, 59102

Heishman Custom Engravers, 3867 Avenue C, (406) 860-4400, Heishman, Steven, Service, Billings, 59102

Redmex Billings LLC, 4110 Bennett Ave, (307) 251-2779, Solorzano, Alex,  Restaurants, Billings, 59105

Dan Sullivan, 1802 Alderson Ave, (406)671-5038, Sullivan, Dan – Dan Sullivan, Real Estate Rental, Billings, 59102

Price Unlimited, 416 Gay Pl, (406) 717-9778, Price/Fry, Adam/Jill – Price Unlimited, Retail Sales, Billings, 59102

NHJ Properties, 1103 Cook Ave, (406) 579-4903, Pancheau, Hannas, Real Estate Rental, Billings, 59102

American Cornhole League Montana, 2901 Beech Ave, (406) 839-0723, McDuffie, Melvin, Retail Sales, Billings, 59102

Liberty Title & Land Company, 1575 Shiloh Rd Ste F, (406) 204-7020, Wells/Dawson, Steve/Mark, Service, Billings, 59106

Mountain Peak Counseling & Consulting, 2048 Overland Ave Suite 102a, (406) 298-0979, Jansma, Phyllis, service, Billings, 59102

Destefano Consulting LLC, 1780 Shiloh Rd Ste B, (307) 299-9431, Destafano, Quinn,  Service, Billings, 59106

Switzer Land Holding LLC, 2147 Poly Dr, (406) 656-4288, Switzer, Karen, Real Estate Rental, Billings, 59102

Solid Ground Rentals LLC, 241-259 Westchester Sq S, (406) 656-4288, Switzer, Karen, Service, Billings, 59105

Baileys Frozen Novelties, 133 Clark Ave, (406) 860-7034, Beals, Christi, Restaurants, Billings, 59101

B&B Equities LLC, 8428 Stillwater Dr, (541) 232-0401, Burns, Coby, Real Estate Rental, Billings, 59106

7f Services LLC, 6620 12 Mile Rd, (406) 647-9424, Finch, Lindsey, General Contractors, Shepherd, 59079

Concordance Health Care Solutions, 1535 Industrial Ave, (406) 371-2052, Cheek, Brianna, Wholesale, Billings, 59101

Zac Birdinground Construction, 1223 Cortez Ave, (406) 861-5187, Birdinground, Zac,  General Contractors, Billings, 59105

A & Z Construction LLC, 1777 Birdie Ln, (406) 850-4424, Leep/Norris, Austin/Zach, General Contractors, Billings, 59106

Picture Perfect Landscaping And Sprinklers LLC, 3101 Buttercup Dr, (406) 839-0641, Sheridan, Patrick, Service, Billings, 59102

Just Vapes, 1313 Grand Ave 8b, Brockman, Cathie, Retail Sales, Billings, 59102

West End Farmers Market, 3201 Hesper Rd #5, (406) 702-0283, Leberger, Marc, Service, Billings, 59102

Angel-Up Remodeling Construction, 3810 Bestrom Cir, (406) 860-2245, Moreno-Sandoval, Pedro Angel, General Contractors, Billings, 59101

Giftedbird Massage, 2215 Broadwater Ave, (406) 691-9000, Raffaell, Tina, Solo Practitioner, Billings, 59102

Cleaner Office LLC, 3820 Avenue C, (406) 839-3904, Adams, Cheyann, Service, Billings, 59102

Bruguier Design & Construction LLC, 972 Senora Ave, (541) 419-1737, Bruguier, Julene, General Contractors, Billings, 59105

Elite Property Solutions LLC, 331 Howard Ave, (406) 860-9179, Wilson, Dawn,  Service, Billings, 59101

Fine Line- Residential Home Improvement, 1204 Fairvale Dr, (406) 606-9754, Stauffer, Direlle, Service, Billings, 59101

Grime Scene Unit LLC, 435 19th St W, (406) 608-7373, Jenkins, Andrea, Service, Billings, 59102

Morning Star Cleaning, 670 Revolution Ave, (406) 539-5727, Fishel, Marlen, Service, Billings, 59105

NCI Group Inc Dba Fortify Building Solutions, 7570 Entryway Dr, (406) 970-2039, Ruvalcaba, Edith,  Manufacturing, Billings, 59106

Beartooth Mountain Creative, 1709 Sagebrush Rd, (858) 952-8949, Kelso, Alethea , Service, Billings, 59105

All In The Details LLC, 487 S 44th St W Apt 5-309, (406) 850-1639, Pearl, Edward A,  Service, Billings, 59106

Dumpster Direct LLC, 8930 Longmeadow Dr, (307) 267-1722, Entrekin/McClure, Josh/Dylan, Service, Billings, 59106

Kiss From A Nose Dog Bakery, 1125 Custer Ave #5, (406) 894-9926, Alvarez, Debbie,  Retail Sales, Billings, 59102

Billings Mediation Center, 100 N 27th St Ste 255-A, (406) 672-4570, Mclean, Temple,  Service, Billings, 59101

Full Throttle Auto & Cycle Sales Inc, 2506 Phyllis Ln, (406) 259-1347, Mitchell, Cord  Auto Business, Billings, 59102

Crisp & Green, 1595 Grand Ave #240,  , Gisi, Phil,  Restaurants, Billings, 59102

Atlas Retail Services, 5176 Waring Road 46, (760) 420-1276, Bloor, Craig, General Contractors, San Diego, 92120

Health Haven Vending LLC, 2451 Bonito Loop, (406) 318-9633, Dewiter, Douglas,  Retail Sales, Billings, 59105

Healing Minds, 944 Avenue B, (406) 696-5260, Lewis, Breanne, Service, Billings, 59102

P1n3-Tech Solutions, 1601 Lynn Ave, (406) 927-3310, Newman, James, Service, Billings, 59102

The Tin Tavern LLC, 40 Jefferson St, (406) 850-5058, Child, Amber, Service, Billings, 59101

Treasure State Improvements, 2611 7th Ave N, (307) 262-1441, Gray, James, General Contractors, Billings, 59101

Lindaland Embroidery LLC, 8455 Black Marlin Dr, (406) 860-7483, Werbelow, Linda,  Service, Billings, 59106

Raymond Handling Concept Corp (General Construction, 41400 Boyce Rd, (562) 745-7500, Lopez, Sonny, Corp (General Construction, General Contractors, Fremont, 94538

Blick’s Body & Paint, 6552 South Frontage Road #4, (406) 647-4858, Blickley, John,  Auto Business, Billings, 59101

Fifth Click, 626 S 38th St W Unit 1, (406) 200-2493, Sullivan, Andrew, Retail Sales, Billings, 59102

Sunshine Massage, 511 N 30th St, (406) 503-2561, Jia, Sujuan, Solo Practitioner, Billings, 59101

Ks Chuckwagon, 152 Whitebird Crk Rd, (406) 780-1540, Kornick, Kyle & Sarah,  Restaurants, Columbus, 59019

Sc Salz LLC, 3835 Avenue C, (406) 672-6699, Salz, Claire, Retail Sales, Billings, 59102

Yellowstone Investigative Services LLC, 1125 Kootenai Ave, (406) 698-2097, Wallis, Vincent, Private Investigators, Billings, 59105

Precision Warehouse Design LLC, 1408 S Main St #319, (972) 251-0999, Dewall Marc, , Service, Carrollton, 75006

Sapper Tile, 911 Washington St, (406) 208-1791, Johnson, Matt, General Contractors, Billings, 59101

Elite Health And Wellness, 1532 Sage Dr, (406) 855-7126, Shvets, Alyona, Service, Billings, 59105

Finpro Solutions LLC, 1239 Harvard Ave, (406) 861-8546, Gillen, Lyman, Service, Billings, 59102

Midwest Shooting Center, 1020 Central Ave Ste 4, (406) 239-9320, Mcquillan, Thomas ,Retail Sales, Billings, 59101

La Cocina Filipina, 2260 St Johns Ave, (406) 861-7453, Vicente, Lain, Restaurants, Billings, 59102

Laura Rumba (Libra Ventures), 1636 Touch Stone St, (406) 750-7818, Rumba, Laura , Real Estate Rental, Billings, 59106

Contra Enterprises LLC, 2012 Storehouse Rd, (307) 258-5964, Dvarishkis, Christianna, Real Estate Rental, Shepherd, 59079

Stevens Equipment Supply LLC, 220 S 8th St W, (406) 206-7029, Levra (Vp), Karen,  Wholesale, Billings, 59101

Kaur LLC-Bullwackers, 1517 Broadwater Ave, (406) 248-9855, Kaur, Amandeep,  Billings, 59102

Antoinette’s Cajun Cuisine, 410 Pennsylvania Ave, (406) 200-1919, Lowery, Antoinette,  Restaurants, Laurel, 59044

Rebecca Baumgardner Psycotherapy LLC, 208 N Broadway Ste 313, (406) 894-0179, Baumgardner, Rebecca, Service, Billings, 59101

H & T Arms: Custom Works Of Montana, 2142 Harnish Blvd, (910) 835-7036, Hanson, Chandler, Service, Billings, 59106

Mountain Movement Rehab And Training, LLC, 4109 Palm Beach Way, (727) 686-0702, Lukas, Cara,  Service, Billings, 59106

The Montana Rural Water Systems has named the manager of Lockwood Water and Sewer District, Mike Ariztia, as “Manager of the Year.” That Ariztia should be recognized as the best manager in the state came as no surprise to people in Lockwood, who have been observing Ariztia’s outstanding achievements over the past nine years that he has served as the district’s manager.

The Lockwood community is fortunate to have Mike as our manager, said Carl Peters, President of the LWSD board of directors. The award was presented last week at the state annual meeting of the Montana Rural Water Systems in Great Falls.

Peters went on to say, “Mike is a thoughtful, fair minded, dedicate, and hardworking manager, with integrity and excellent communication skills and he has a great sense of humor toward his fellow LWSD co-workers, board members and customers, along with the District’s professional advisors and representatives from both state, federal and local governmental agencies.”

Ariztia came to Lockwood in 2015 to serve as manager and was immediately plunged into the $9 million Phase II of the Lockwood Sewer Project, which included 43,000 lineal feet of sewer main and over 600 services to property lines.

Ariztia has worked years with LWSD engineering consultants, Morrison Maierle, for planning and design decisions and with Nittany Grantworks on grant applications to help finance and build several major projects. Among those projects were:

—The $3.5 million upgrade to the Yellowstone River raw water intake in 2017-18 built a new pump station, replaced and added screens, increasing capacity and reliability;

—The $9 million Water Treatment Plant Upgrade completed in 2023, added UV disinfection, two additional filter/ clarifier trains for continued drinking water standards compliance, increased capacity, redundancy and reliability;

—The current $26 million Phase III Wastewater Project which will include 70,000 lineal feet of sewer line to nearly 800 residential properties and to larger undeveloped areas for future residential development;

—Other completed projects include a new “state of the art” dual bulk water station, and the installation of a major loop for the water system to provide a secondary feed to the system’s largest storage facility.

Ariztia is currently working with the Montana Department of Transportation on the redesigned I-90 Johnson Lane Interchange and the Billings Bypass for modifications to the LWSD water and sewer lines under Interstate 90 to a potentially large industrial area which will need water and sewer service.

Ariztia also works with Par Montana on their wastewater needs.