Jersey Mike’s Subs, known for its fresh sliced/fresh grilled subs opened at 1640 Grand Ave., in Billings on December 27.  

Franchise owner John Vagner  held a grand opening and fundraiser in the new year from January 3 to Sunday, January 7, to support the Boys & Girls Club of Yellowstone County. Customers who receive a special fundraising coupon distributed through a grassroots effort prior to the opening can make a minimum $3 contribution to Boys & Girls Club of Yellowstone County in exchange for a regular sub. Customers must have a coupon to be eligible.

Guests can place orders in-store or for pickup through the website or through the Jersey Mike’s app. Additionally, delivery is available in most areas through the Jersey Mike’s app or through third-party delivery partners. Curbside pickup is available for orders placed in Jersey Mike’s app. 

Jersey Mike’s premium meats and cheeses are sliced on the spot and piled high on in-store baked bread. Jersey Mike’s fans crave their subs made Mike’s Way® with the freshest vegetables – onions, lettuce and tomatoes – topped off with an exquisite zing of “the juice,” red wine vinegar and an olive oil blend. Authentic cheesesteaks are grilled fresh. 

Jersey Mike’s is looking for individuals interested in career opportunities to join their team. Candidates are invited to apply at jerseymikes.com/careers.

The restaurant’s hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week.

Jersey Mike’s Subs, with more than 2,500 locations nationwide, serves authentic fresh sliced/fresh grilled subs on in-store freshly baked bread — the same recipe it started with in 1956

Nelson’s Ace Hardware of Whitefish is celebrating 75 years in business. The family broke ground for a new location in July 2018 and opened the doors in March 2019 on US Highway 93. Ace Handyman is a new service that began operating in October.

The Lucia de Brito Franco Art Gallery has opened in Columbia Falls. The Gallery is located at 638 Nucleus Avenue, Suite 103. It contains the works of de Brito Franco but also that of local artists. De Brito Franco has displayed work in Portugal, the Azores and Switzerland.

Café Zydeco is for sale as its owner looks to move on from his 25-year career at the restaurant. Listed for sale last spring the cafe’s owners hope to sell the property and the business for close to $3 million. Café Zydeco’s menu features a variety of Cajun-style items.

NorthWestern Energy customers will see rate increases in January. Montana’s Public Service Commission voted unanimously to allow NorthWestern the opportunity to recover $2.9 million under terms approved by commissioners last fall. At issue is the $208 million base cost used to determine whether customers have paid too much, or too little for power over the previous year.

Restaurateurs Shadd and Amanda Cullinan have finalized the purchase of Sidney’s Rodiron Grill at 520 N. Central Ave., completing the sale on Dec. 14. Soon thereafter the crowds formed a line waiting in anticipation of trying restaurant’s menu. Renamed Saloon 27, owner Shadd Cullinan, expects to supply great service with quality food.

Williston Basin International Airport has recorded an almost 32% increase in boardings during last month compared to a year ago. According to statistics provided by the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission, the airport saw 8,461 enplanes in November 2023, up 2,041 passengers from the 6,420 enplanements recorded in November 2022. 8,030 passengers deplaned up from the 6,011 number of passengers who deplaned in November 2022.

After years of new arrivals swelling Montana’s population and straining its housing supply, new data released recently by the U.S. Census Bureau indicates that the volume of net migration into the state has declined. As of July 1, 2023, the agency estimates Montana had 1,132,800 residents. That’s about 9,900 more than a year prior, or a 0.9% increase. Data published by the Census Bureau estimates that, as of July 2023, Montana had about 527,800 housing units — one potential home for every 2.1 residents. Since the 2020 census, however, the agency’s figures indicate Montana’s housing supply has grown by a comparatively slim 13,000 units, adding only one home for every 3.7 residents of population growth.

The Teton Airport Commission has signed a five-year lease with Scapegoat Aviation L.L.C. of Choteau to operate a fixed-base operation at the Choteau airport. Scapegoat Aviation’s owners are Ben and Chrissy Hodgskiss and Bill and Heather Hodgskiss. Scapegoat Aviation approached the Airport Commission last fall with a proposal to lease property at the airport for the operation of an aviation-based business that will provide initially jet fuel and aviation fuel sales, hangar and ramp rental.

A ballot initiative to change how elections are won in Montana to a majority vote system is a step closer to appearing on the ballot. Legislators took a 9-1 vote to support the proposed change in a special State Administration and Veterans’ Affairs Interim Committee meeting. Proponents now need to gather enough signatures for the issue to go to the voters this November. Some committee members expressed concern about what they see as lack of clarity in some of the definitions– including to which elections this Constitutional amendment would apply.

The Heart Butte School Board is set to terminate 31 staff members at an upcoming meeting next week likely in order to cut district costs. The board will also decide whether to accept five resignations. Terminations include 11 teacher’s assistants, two mental health professionals, a substitute art teacher, the sub-administrative secretary, a truancy officer and 15 custodial, maintenance and kitchen staff members. Resignations include two teachers, the athletic director, a truancy officer and Augare.

Starting Feb. 5, the U.S. Postal Service will be delivering the Great Falls Tribune as part of an effort to improve delivery consistency and optimize resources amid ongoing labor challenges, fluctuating fuel prices, competition for workers from door-to-door delivery services and increasing digital demand. The Great Falls Tribune will continue its coverage of local news, high school sports and other issues of interest to Cascade County readers from our journalists based in Great Falls and state partners.

According to a press release from the Williston Fire Department, they received an initial report of an explosion at a site with multiple injuries and dispatched at 6:11 p.m. The site was located southeast of 13 Mile Corner at the intersection of 131st Avenue NW and 62nd Street NW. The fire department responded to the scene. There, it was determined there were five workers present, with three sustaining injuries. The three injured parties sustained burns and were transferred by fixed-wing air medical services to Swedish Medical Center in Aurora, Colorado.

Hoping to preserve dwindling native bull trout populations, state wildlife officials are looking to remove lake trout from Swan Lake. Bull trout, which are native to the valley, have struggled since the introduction of invasive species like lake trout, rainbow trout and mysis shrimp in the region. The decision to develop a plan to remove lake trout came after state biologists observed a historically low number of bull trout redds, or spawning nests, in the Swan’s watershed system in 2023. The first step, which residents can comment on until Jan. 23, requires seeking the Fish and Wildlife Commission’s permission to initiate a public MEPA process where the removal of lake trout from Swan Lake will be evaluated.

According to Coal Zoom, Federal mine regulators have rejected a “citizen’s complaint” concerning state regulation of the Signal Peak Energy’s Bull Mountain Mine near Roundup. The complaint is a request for intervention, filed by Northern Plains Resource Council, Moms Clean Air Force, Montana Environmental Information Center, 350 Montana, Citizens for Clean Energy, Families for a Livable Climate, Montana Health Professionals, Sierra Club and WildEarth Guardians. The groups asked the OSM to inspect the mine or require DEQ to open the mine to public inspections.

Talks of consolidating Glendive City Court with the Dawson County Justice of the Peace have entered the sphere of the Dawson County Commission, as Mayor Deb Dion was present at its first meeting of 2024 to provide information regarding the effort. According to Dion, consolidating the courts and authorizing Justice of the Peace Stacey Nerison to preside over all respective hearings is one way the City of Glendive and Dawson County could potentially save money and resources. The idea to consolidate courts was first introduced by Dion during the meeting of the City of Glendive’s Ordinance Committee on Dec. 20, where she explained reasons for considering a consolidation of courts stem from a need to free up funds for better animal control in Glendive, at least within the city’s limits.

A low snow year is impacting local businesses and tourism to Yellowstone National Park, with the park temporarily barring some roads to snowmobile travel due to the lack of snow. The park’s winter season kicked off on Dec. 15 with a limited coating of snow on the roads but still enough to allow for snowmobile travel. But on Dec. 27, the park closed roads in the west side of the park to snowmobiling, specifically the popular 30-mile route from West Yellowstone to Old Faithful.

Take 5 Oil Change has opened at 52 N. Main St. in Kalispell. The opening marks the first of eight planned stores within Montana, currently making Last Best Oil Change, LLC the exclusive operator of Take 5 Oil Change garages in the Treasure State. 

With a new $26.7 million grant from the U.S. Air Force, Montana State University will establish a facility with the mission of moving advanced quantum technology applications in cybersecurity, communications technology and national defense from concept and testing to market. The 20-month grant from the Air Force Research Laboratory in Rome, New York, will support MSU’s Applied Quantum CORE facility, to be located within the INDUSTRY Bozeman building, which is currently under construction. The grant funding will purchase equipment to test prototype quantum components in the extremely cold environments in which they operate.

Construction of the Great Falls Civic Center is nearly finished, following three years of construction. The original infrastructure was built in the 1930s and a recent $5.7 mil investment will help preserve the civic center for decades to come, say officials.

In order to increase production and add new agriculture products, the  U.S. Department of Agriculture is providing $3 million to the State of Montana. The funds are to support technology that will “place products in consumer markets” throughout the state.

A press release claims the state’s investments through Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure (RFSI) Program will create a food systems infrastructure to support competitive and profitable market access for farm products.

Montana’s Department of Agriculture is accepting pre-applications for this Infrastructure Grant funding through Jan. 8, 2024.

In May 2023, USDA announced the availability of up to $420 million through RFSI to strengthen local and regional food systems. Through this program, AMS has entered into cooperative agreements with state agencies, commissions, or departments responsible for agriculture, commercial food processing, seafood, or food system and distribution activities or commerce activities in states or U.S. territories. RFSI is authorized by the American Rescue Plan.

USDA Marketing and Regulatory Programs, Under Secretary Jenny Lester Moffitt said, “The projects funded through this program will create new opportunities for the region’s small and midsize producers to thrive, expand access to nutritious food options, and increase supply chain resiliency.”

According to the federal government’s press release the program will fund projects that support the addition of new technology to increase production and add product lines for agriculture products, invest in business capacity to place products in consumer markets, build cold storage capacity throughout the state, and expand food distribution lines. “The state’s priorities are informed by stakeholder engagement and outreach to underserved producers to better understand their needs,” it claims.

Montana’s Department of Agriculture Director Christy Clark said in accepting the federal funding, “These grants support infrastructure to invest in capacity and the expansion of food distribution lines,” that will improve “Montana’s producers’ ability to innovate and grow their operations.”

Dylan Meccage recently returned to Stockman Bank as a Commercial Loan Officer at the Billings Downtown location. His responsibilities include developing and servicing commercial and construction loans and assisting clients with their lending and credit needs.

Meccage brings over four years of banking experience to the position, which includes commercial lending, credit analysis and business development. He began with Stockman Bank in 2019, serving in his latest role as a commercial loan officer. Prior to returning to the bank, he was an appraisal analyst. His background and past experience will be an asset to Stockman Bank and help expand their commercial loan portfolios.

Meccage earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, with an emphasis in Management from Montana State University Billings, graduating Cum Laude. He is active in the community, serving as Vice Chair on the Board of Directors for Head Start Inc., and volunteering as a Varsity Boys Basketball Assistant Coach in Lockwood.

Meeting with representatives from Taiwanese trade associations and importer groups, Gov. Greg Gianforte promoted Montana’s high quality commodities and growing industries to expand economic opportunities for Montanans in Taiwan.

“Taiwan is home to some of the most quality-driven buyers in the world, and Montana delivers – whether our superior grains and beef or world-class semiconductor machinery,” Gov. Gianforte said. “Montana is also seeing rapid growth in industries like photonics and bioscience, creating new opportunities to strengthen our partnership with Taiwan as a global powerhouse for technological innovation.”

Promoting Montana agriculture, Gov. Gianforte met with the U.S. Wheat Associates and the Taiwan Flour Miller Association, the main importer of Montana wheat. Wheat is Montana’s largest export to Taiwan, totaling $32 million in sales.

Taiwan is also an important market for Montana cattle producers, with $16 million of Montana beef exported to Taiwan last year.

The governor then addressed bio and defense firms at a roundtable luncheon, spotlighting Montana’s photonics and bioscience industries. Montana ranks sixth among states for bioscience industry growth, and has one of the highest per capita concentration of optics, photonics, and quantum companies in the United States.

Later, the governor met with representatives from the Taiwan External Trade Association and the Taiwan Trade Office, and he joined his delegation to network with over 80 business members of the Taiwan-USA Industrial Cooperation Promotion Office (TUSA).

TUSA focuses on smart machinery, biomedicine, green energy, and the semiconductor industry. Industrial machinery, largely for semiconductor applications, is Montana’s second largest export to Taiwan.

There, the governor oversaw the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on advanced manufacturing between the Montana Photonics and Quantum Alliance and TUSA.

Billings Logan International Airport (BIL) is welcoming Sun Country Airlines with new seasonal air service connecting Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport (MSP) and Billings. The service is scheduled to begin June 19 and run through to August 28, 2024 with flights operating twice weekly.

 Sun Country Airlines is a Minneapolis-based airline that provides convenient and affordable air travel options. Beginning June 2024, passengers will have the opportunity to book Sun Country between Billings and Minneapolis-Saint Paul on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

The anticipated departure times are 11:00 am on Wednesdays and 7:00 am on Saturdays, providing flexibility for both business and leisure travelers. Jeff Roach, the Director of Aviation and Transit for Billings Logan International Airport, states, “Billings Logan International Airport is very excited that Sun Country Airlines is announcing new air service between Billings and the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport during the summer of 2024. The BIL Airport Team looks forward to partnering with the airline as they begin scheduled flights to Billings.” Roach added, “This is another win for the community’s air service development effort.”

The new service brings forth opportunities for travelers in Billings and the surrounding region to enjoy access to the Twin Cities .

The Montana Public Service Commission (PSC) has approved a rate increase of 28 percent over a year ago for NorthWestern Energy customers. It will become effective next month, however much of the approved increase has already been incorporated into customer bills, because of an interim rate increase granted by the PSC in September 2022.

The increase amounts to $100 million in increased revenues for NorthWestern Energy — $82 million in electricity revenues and $18 million in natural gas revenue. A portion of the rate increase is due to NorthWestern Energy’s increased property taxes, which the PSC cannot alter.

According to PSC legal counsel, 40% of the rate increase can be attributed to “flow-through” costs, including property taxes and market power purchases, which the company is forced to purchase when peak use exceeds the available production from its own power plants.

The escalating increase in costs of generation is, in part, attributable to the utility company’s federal mandate to shift to alternative energy sources and away from lower cost carbon based production.

A couple dozen people testified before the PSC saying the rate increase is unfair, especially for people on fixed incomes. Some of the utilities largest commercial customers opposed the increases, claiming that the commercial rates subsidize residential customers. Among those speaking in opposition to the proposed rate increase were representatives of organizations like the Montana Environmental Information Center (MEIC), which in the past has strongly advocated for more expensive alternative energy sources to reduce carbon emmissions.

In testimony before the PSC, MEIC and others, who have opposed it, were critical of NorthWestern Energy’s natural gas plant under construction at Laurel, however, none of the cost of building that plant is included in calculating this rate increase. NorthWestern Energy claims the plant is necessary to enable them to meet peak energy demand and avoid having to purchase high priced energy on the market, previous costs for which are included in this rate increase.

The last electrical rate increase NorthWestern Energy received was 2018, following a rate increase for natural gas in 2016.

Since their last rate increases, NorthWestern reported that it has invested $835 million into its electricity infrastructure and $257 million in its natural gas infrastructure.

Taking into account the inclusion of the interim rate in the bills, an average residential customers using 750-kilowatt hours per month will see an increase in their bill of about $8 or 7.6%.

Montana Rental Homes LLC, 6151 Farmstead Ave Unit 102, 59101, 230-1347, Brodi Hart, real estate

rental

KG Concrete Design, 249 Coburn Rd, 59101, 672-9487, Keith Gausen, general contractors

Recovery Management Solutions LLC dba RMS Montana, 9026 Kautzman Rd, 59101, 888-393-6880, Look

Enterprises, service

Wild Whisk LLP, 5408 Corner Stone, 59106, 927-5149, Joseph Chambers, retail sales

Schelly Rentals, 6107 Northstead Ave, 59101, 209-2650, Schnelback/McNulty, real estate rentals

Hanson Builders MT Inc, 1110 Radiant Ct, 59106, 794-2171, Lee Hanson, general contractor

Briggs Music Creations LLC, 501 S 44 th St W Apt 2-1026, 59106, 270-7995, Jaqueline Briggs, service

Cederberg Therapies, 2411 Arvin Ln, 59102, Joshua Cederberg, service

Branded Image Group, 227 E Emory Rd, Powell TN 37849, 865-328-8308, general contractors

Growing Minds Childcare, 320 Viceroy St, 59101, 861-8308, Brytne Najar, miscellaneous

Kyle Ryan, 736 Lewis Ave, 59101, 804-212-6607, Kyle Ryan, miscellaneous

Hannah Tippet Healing LLC, 2048 Overland Ave Ste 201-Unit B, 698-1546, Hannah Tippet, service

Underriner Wholesale LLC, 3657 Pierce Parkway, 59106, 255-2322, William Underriner, wholesale

Full Throttle BBQ, 6311 Bear Paw Dr N, 59106, 697-6681, Adrian Mantei, restaurants

Confetti Heart Studio, 2821 2 nd Ave N, 59101, 598-1956, Elizabeth Regale, service

Manbitto LLC, 234 Grand Ave, 59101, 694-9237, Maria Bates, restaurants

Metropolitan Security Services Inc, Walden Security, 59101, 423-702-8200, Amy Walden, service

Softball With Morgan, 2795 Enterprise Ave Unit 3, 59102, 241-8502, Morgan McGinnis, service

Vibe Marketing & Events, 928 Broadwater Ave #230, 59102, 697-4112, Elizabeth Pincolini, service

Speers Construction, 512 Avenue F, 59102, 697-3308, Justin Speers, general contractors

Weston-Techlaw JV, LLC, 711 Central Ave, 59101, 703-818-1000, Belinda Smith, service

B.A.M. Janitorial, 358 Westchester SQ S, 59105, 696-0356, Macrow/Gates, service

Grossman Properties, 530 Sioux Lane, 59105, 259-6151, Rudy Grossman, general contractors

Counting On, 4917 Piegan Trail, 59106, 346-0123, Wendolyn Hengst, service

Black Rattler Asphalt LLC, 333 Feldspar Way, 59106, 855-7883, Scott Mackney, service

Five Brothers, 3907 Palisades Park Dr, 59102, 973-766-4202, Mahmod Suleiman, general contractors

Benner Contracting, 3630 Broadwater Ave, 59102, 672-6047, Les Benner, general contractor

Waffle Cones LLC, 358 Westchester Sq S, 59105, 696-0356, Matt & Nicole Macrow, restaurants

Anderson Mills LLC, 2103 Morocco Dr, 59105, 927-6576, Luke Anderson, service

Tiffany Dalton, 1402 Valley Heights Rd, 59105, 698-0229, Tiffany Dalton, service

Wyo-Ben Inc, 1345 Discovery Dr, 59102, 652-6351, Amanda Goertz, service

Wyo-Ben Pet, 1621 S 32 nd St W, 59102, 652-5257, Amanda Goertz, manufacturing

HR Painting, 506 ½ Howard Ave, 59101, 630-947-6002, Karen Schroeder, general contractors

Tonya Homecare, 234 Alderson Ave, 59101, 598-6148, Tonya Oberg, service

Booth and Sons Hauling, 1130 PK Rd, Shepherd 59079, 384-3430, Colby Booth, service

Tony Ennenega CPA PC, 201 N Broadway 7B, 59101, 425-457-2277, Tony Ennenga, service

RKM Enterprises Inc dba Bad Boys Cycles, 201 Enterprise Ave Ste A, 59102, 248-7203, Roy Mills, service

Kiayah Wendel LMT, 141 Avenue E, 59102, 696-6351, Kiayah Wendel, service

HC West LLC dba A&D Fire, 6900 Kesltrel Dr, Missoula 59808, 360-7726, Cliff Gilliam, service

Madshire LLC, 2901 Monad Rd #141, 59102, 671-1849, Stephen Clayton , retail sales

Boomin Boba Tea LLC, 5555 Forest Hills Dr, 860-0664, Charles Solem, restaurants

Global Travel Adventures, 2817 Lewis Ave, 59102, 698-8335, Tamara Bailey, service

Discreet Notary Services, 2975 Canyon Dr, 59102, 200-1360, Michaela Rimer, service

Gutter Vac Pro, 3000 La Paz Dr, 59101, 861-7757, Nicholas O’Connor, service

Green Horizon, 3000 La Paz Dr, 59101, 861-7757, Nicholas O’Connor, service

Intermountain Wind and Solar LLC, 1041 N 950 W Ste 5000, Centerville UT, 84014, Mark Allred, service

Miquel Construction, 1201 Cook Ave, 59102, 839-8812, Miquel Gasca, general contractor

Chris Mountsier Drywall & Paint, 1110 Locomotive Circle, laurel 59044, 696-9322, Chris Mountsier,

service

Pentacron Industries, 1205 Yellowstone Apt A, 59102, 670-1491, Knight Johnston, general contractors

Cannasseur Tour LLC, 7 King Henry Place, 59105, 794-5069, Brendon Hanser, service

Creekside Construction of Montana LLC, 7 Beacon Trail, Clancy 59634, 240-9549, Matt & Teresa Grange,  general contractors

Arlos Tire Service LLC, 16 Gold Pan Ln, 59105, 671-9776, Alan Johnson, service

PSBS Enterprise LLC, 3909 S Tanager Ln, 59102, 875-0792, Pamela Stanford, service

Gray Ghost Contracting, 758 Aquarius Pl, 59105, 606-2887, Jake Routh, general contractors

Riddle & Sons LLC, 6631 Brave Lookout, Shepherd 59079, 690-7473, Riley Riddle, general contractors

406 Carpet Cleaning, 2938 Springfield Ave, 59101, 850-4183, Rob Tinineko, service

TF General Services, 803 Siesta Ave, 59105, 672-0980, Trenton Frasca, general contractors

A Buyers Choice Home Inspections, 2131 Entrada Rd, 59105, 200-2660, James & Kellie Meek, service

MJ Rogers LLC, 306 N 29th St, 59101, 672-4429, Joel Rodgers, real estate rental

Dreamland Construction, 610 Richard St, 59101, 200-0397, Tyrel Moore, general contractors

Asset Management Professionals, 1668 Gleneagles Blvd, Ste 2, 59105, n/a Dawn White, service

Vibe Up and Thrive LLC, 2323 Rimrock Rd, 59102, 371-5215, Robert Evans, service

MNMT Investments, 1502 Glacier Peak Cir Unit 3, 59101, 845-6741, Matthew Mikkelson, general contractors

Glasser Solar Inc, 8376 E 132nd Dr, Thornton CO 80602, 303-557-2265, Alyssa Bosselli, service

Oasis, 543 Aronson Ave, 59105, 969-3800, Chuck Barthuly, general contractors

Faction Constructors LLC, 10 Wagon Trail Rd, 321-2929, Teri Heinen, general contractors

Medevals of Montana, 2501 St Johns Ave, STE C, 59102, 949-235-3593, Nancy Milby, service

Potelco Inc, 205 S Washington Ave, Laurel 59044, 253-863-3593, Potelco Inc, service

Journey to Healing, 2812 1st Ave N Ste 425, 59101, 272-6583, Tia Robinette, service

The Good Rest Wellness LLC, 2215 Broadwater Ave, 59102, 272-4903, Chelsea Horn, solo practicioner

Shoot Pool and Relax, 4104 Buchanan Ave, 59101, 855-3671, Sarah Muhs, real estate rentals

Royal Roofing, 7472 Edmonson Ave NE, Monticell MN 55362, 763-295-0540, Staci Revering, roofing contractors

Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission has voted to approve the acquisition of a new wildlife management area proposed for the Lower Yellowstone River. The Wildcat Bend Wildlife Management Area is located in Rosebud County. The property is about 2.5 miles downstream from the Far West Fishing Access Site east of Forsyth. It is a 328 acre site

The Missoula Airport has announced that Sun Country Airlines, will make its debut on June 26, 2024. The airline will offer nonstop flights to their Minneapolis/St. Paul hub twice a week, every Wednesday and Saturday, until late August.

Mazevo Coffee is constructing a 1,614-square-foot building that will be located at 2500 Brooks Street in Missoula. This will be the 6th Mazevo Coffee location in Montana.

Sun Country Airlines is also coming to the Billings Logan International Airport with new seasonal air service to Minneapolis-Saint Paul. Sun Country is a Minneapolis-based airline known for providing affordable travel options. Beginning in June, passengers can book Sun Country flights between Billings and Minneapolis-Saint Paul on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

The complete renovation and rebuild of the iconic Wagon Wheel Bar in Choteau is nearing completion with the opening coming soon, The new “Wagon Wheel Bar and Grill” will feature a full-service bar and restaurant.

The Gallatin County Commissioners recently approved a dormitory-style employee housing building in Big Sky. The Powder Light Subdivision will have another residential building for affordable employee housing at Big Sky. The new structure will offer 12 residential units and one commercial space.

Montana’s Trail to the Stars, a project that guides visitors to sites where they can view the night skies, has received a national award for collaboration. Montana’s Trail to the Stars won the Excellence in Tourism Collaboration Award, presented at the 2023 National Extension Tourism Conference.

Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus was first detected in wild birds and domestic poultry in Montana in spring 2022. While HPAI cases in wild birds declined over the summer, but it has been detected in some parts of Montana this fall. HPAI viruses are extremely infectious and fatal to poultry and some species of wild birds. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is testing wild birds that display symptoms

Despite an even broader reservation system in 2023, visitation to Glacier National Park is up over last year. Overall visitation through August was 2.249 million, which is an increase of 1.7% over last year.

In 2022, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that there were 48,165 new residents that moved to Montana from other places, an 8.1% increase from the 44,531 new residents that came in 2021. Washington topped the list of states where new Montana residents came from in 2022. Montana also lost 38,483 people to other states in 2022, for a net population gain of less than 10,000.

The sting of high natural gas prices to heat your home over the past two winters is expected to ease for the upcoming heating season, which runs November through March. Montana-Dakota Utilities anticipates natural gas prices to be about 30 percent less than last winter. The company projects that the average residential customer will pay about $450 for the five-month winter season, or $90 a month; that is down about $200 from last winter, or a decrease of $40 a month.

Fire was discovered at the historic Jordan Inn property in downtown Glendive last week with the Dawson County Dispatch Center receiving a call at approximately 10 p.m. The Glendive Fire Department determiend that the entire 3 story building was compromised. The Jordan Inn had been condemned for 10 years, and was shuttered since 2013.

Jessie and Kyna Williams haved opened Switchback CrossFit gym at 33 Second Avemue East in Kalispell. The building was previously an abandoned truck repair shop.

Montana has a new draft plan to guide its management of wolves, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has announced. The Montana Gray Wolf Conservation and Management Plan drafted by FWP would replace the 20-year-old document that’s guided Montana’s approach to managing wolves since 2011. Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks will be taking comments on the plan through Dec. 19 and is hosting a series of meetings around the state to answer questions related to the plan starting Dec. 7. The plan can be found at https://fwp.mt.gov/wolfproposal

Missoula City Council  and Missoula County Commissioners have each allocated $1 million toward the acquisition of Marshall Mountain, a former ski area and now popular recreational area in Missoula County. The property is being sold for $3.2 million. The area is expected to serve  backcountry skiing and other year-round recreation.

Williston, ND has been awarded the 2027 14-year-old Babe Ruth World Series to be held at Ardean Aafedt Stadium. This will be the sixth time that Williston has hosted the series.

Gov. Greg Gianforte presented his annual Forest Products Award to J. Shar Timber Harvesting, a family-owned and operated cut-to-length timber enhancement company in Libby.  J. Shar, Timber Harvesting sustainably harvests timber using tethered logging equipment. The Forest Products Award recognizes an outstanding person or entity for their work to actively manage Montana forests, responsibly develop forested resources.

A regional seed sales company operating in North Dakota and Montana is taking the first step towards developing a seed-crushing plant in northwest North Dakota. Buckshot Seeds was recently awarded grant funding from local government to do a feasability study. Buckshot Co-Owner Mark Erickson said the plant would mainly crush canola, creating a high-quality feed for cattle. The oil produced from the crushed canola would be sent to overseas fish farms, which are in high demand.

The Young Automotive Group held a grand opening for Young Mazda Missoula dealership. Young Automotive Group president Spencer Young Jr. said. “Our group is new to Montana and the city of Missoula.” It was previously Flanagan Motors Mazda.

The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) announced a proposal to resurface approximately 6.5 miles of Interstate 94, east of Billings in Yellowstone County. The project begins about one mile east of Huntley and extends east for 6.5 miles, ending approximately two miles west of Ballantine.

Proposed work includes full width crack sealing, applying a seal and cover (chip seal) to the travel lanes, and fog sealing the shoulders. Work will also include bridge deck repair, upgraded pavement markings, signage, and guardrail replacement. The purpose of the project is to preserve and extend the service life of the existing asphalt, and enhance roadway safety features.

Construction is tentatively planned for 2027 depending on completion of design and availability of funds. No new right-of-way or utility relocations will be needed.

MDT welcomes the public to provide ideas and comments on the proposed project. Comments may be submitted online at http:// www.mdt.mt.gov/ contact/ comment- form.aspx or in writing to Montana Department of Transportation, Billings office, PO Box 20437, Billings, MT 59104-0437.