Ten years after opening its first North American store, Fjällräven, the Swedish-heritage outdoor gear retailer opened its first store in Montana, in Bozeman. Fjällräven (pronounced Fyall-rev-en) offers hiking and camping gear. Before 2020, Fjällräven was primarily known in North America for its popular Kånken backpacks.
The Mexican family restaurant, Rio Sabinas, located at Shiloh Crossing, closed their doors for good September 24.
Montana State University’s fall student enrollment is the largest in its 130-year history, with 16,978 students pursuing the many benefits of higher education at the state’s largest university. The new enrollment is up 2% over last fall’s headcount, an increase of 290 students. MSU’s previous enrollment record of 16,902 was set in the fall of 2018. MSU’s enrollment solidifies its position as the largest university in the four-state region of Montana, Wyoming and the Dakotas.
The Gallatin County residential real estate market saw continued strong demand in August. According to statistics median sales prices in the single-family market increased 7.6% compared to last August, from $775,000 to $834,000. Closed sales fell slightly by 1.9%, from 107 to 105. The median number of days homes spent on the market decreased 41.7%, from 36 to 21 days. The average percent of list price received ticked up slightly by 0.7%, from 97.4 % to 98.1%. The median price per square foot sold increased 1.9%, from $373 to $380. Pending sales increased 1%, from 103 to 104. The number of new listings increased 11.8%, from 144 to 161. End-of-month inventory decreased 11.9%, from 413 to 364. The month’s supply of inventory fell 10.2%, from 3.86 to 3.47 months.
The Montana Chamber of Commerce has warned, “If a government shutdown does occur, it is likely to be significant in duration with no clear path for reopening the government.”
The U.S. Department of Transportation has announced that Cape Air will continue to provide Essential Air Service (EAS) from Billings to five communities in eastern Montana, which include Havre, Glasgow, Glendive, Sidney, and Wolf Point. The new four-year contract runs from January 1, 2024-December 31, 2027. Cape Air will continue to use its 9-passenger Cessna 402, Tecnam P2012 Traveller, and Cessna Caravan to serve the region.
With little private market interest, again tax dollars are subsidizing the installation of electric vehicle charging stations. Montana State University’s first Level 2 EV charging stations were installed this summer on the west side of American Indian Hall and on the south side of Hyalite residence hall. A third station is slated for installation on the southwest corner of the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse parking lot later this year. MSU Parking Services said EV drivers will be able to access the stations on a first-come, first-served basis and will be charged $3 per hour to park, payable at the charging station. University officials will closely monitor station usage and other factors to determine where to best locate additional chargers in the future. They also will assess whether there is a need to provide chargers for electric bikes.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the approval of a Climate Vulnerability Assessment (CVA) project for the Smurfit-Stone Mill site in Frenchtown, Montana. CVAs help EPA project managers design Superfund remedies that are resilient in the face of a changing climate, taking drought, severe weather, temperature, wildfire and other factors into account. The site, a former paper and pulp mill located three miles south of Frenchtown, Montana, covers 3,200 acres and is divided into three operable units spanning agricultural lands, the former mill site and parts of the Clark Fork River floodplain. Efforts are currently underway to characterize and understand risks related to prior site activities and waste disposal practices.
Two environmental groups are suing the state of Montana over wolf trapping regulations they say violate federal law by failing to protect grizzly bears from unintentional trapping. At issue are Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks regulations that allow trapping of wolves in grizzly habitat. Traps set for wolves and other species like coyote and marten can unintentionally trap grizzlies instead. Grizzlies in the Lower 48 states are protected as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.
Tamus Gannon and Lisa Gannon, owners of Swan River Gardens in Big Fork are celegrating their 25th year in business. Swan River Gardens has four greenhouses dedicated to custom growing and another dedicated to deer-resistant plants.
Cynthia Koch, Three Rivers Bank of Montana’s Assistant Controller, has been named the 2023 Montana Independent Bankers Association, Outstanding Young Banker. This award is to recognize young, upcoming leaders in Montana’s banking community.
The BLM Montana-Dakotas State office will wrap up 2023 with a December lease sale in North Dakota. This was the first full year of federal leases offered under regulatory reforms championed by President Joe Biden. There were concerns in the fossil fuel industry ahead of the new rules that tougher leasing standards would discourage interest in low-production areas, like Montana. In June, Montana parcels nominated for a September sale were withdrawn following concern by an environmental group that the new lease terms were being ignored. Yet lease sales continued .