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Nelson’s Ace Hardware in Whitefish is moving from its Central Avenue location to a new location on U.S. 93 S. Nelson’s has been serving the community for 70 years. The new location is 14,500 square feet and will offer twice the retail space as the current location. The new store was built by Saurey Custom Builders.

 

Officials say oil and gas leasing on more than 20 square miles (about 52 square kilometers) of land in Beaverhead and Madison counties has been deferred indefinitely. The Bureau of Land Management Dillon Field Office has said that the agency received so many negative public comments last month on the proposed oil and gas leases that it deferred those parcels.

 

A Bozeman-based economic think-tank has confirmed that counties with economies tied to outdoor recreation show stronger growth than places without. The Headwaters Economics study looked at rural, micropolitan and metropolitan counties, finding growth in counties with robust access to trails, skiing and other recreational opportunities. The majority of metropolitan counties in the study saw greater numbers of people moving to their cities, and recreational areas grew more than non-recreational counties.

 

A report released by the Gallatin Association of Realtors shows a significant leap in median home prices in Gallatin County, coming as no surprise to anyone who has lived in the area long enough.  GAR’s report shows a 13.2 percent increase in overall median sales prices in Gallatin County, jumping from $331,150 in 2017 to $374,750 in 2018. Meanwhile, housing inventory remains low.

 

MDU subsidiary WBI Energy has proposed a project to outlet a large portion of constrained gas in the core of the Bakken. WBI is proposing to build 67 miles of new pipeline in the area, which will take at least 200 million cubic feet per day of processed gas to market. The North Bakken Expansion Project will cost $220 million and includes a 20-inch diameter pipeline and two associated compressor facilities.

 

The Sidney Area Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture is in the market for a new executive director after Susan Joy announced her decision to step down recently. She has served as executive director since July of 2017. She is leaving to take a position in Helena with the Montana Chamber of Commerce. 

 

Flathead Valley Community College has the only two-year brewing program in the state. The Brewing Science and Brewing Operations will grant those that graduate from the program an Associate of Applied Science degree. The popularity of breweries in the state created this program at FVCC. According to the Brewers Association, Montana ranks third in the nation for craft breweries per-legal-drinking-age-capita.

 

Kalispell Public Schools has contracted with Aspen Communications to assist with community outreach to inform the public about a proposed $1.2 million high-school district general fund levy slated to be on the May ballot. The Kalispell communications firm will provide services through May at a total cost of $8,500. The money will be paid for with general funds.

 

Missoula has been named as one of the 20 Game Changing Places to live in western United States by Sunset magazine. “The cargo-clad wax poetic about the single-track trails and paddling waters, but Missoula’s also got a geeky side: The new Big Sky Code Academy offers software development boot camps, and the city ranked ninth in the nation for start-up activity in 2017. Mostly California towns ranked higher than Missoula.

 

Job Service North Dakota will have its Spring Multi-Employer Job Fair March 27, from 3 p.m. - 7 p.m. at the Rough Rider Center in Watford City. Organizers are accepting booth registrations. Contact Job Service at 701-774-7900 for more information.

 

Montana State University’s spring headcount has set a new record of 15,694 students, marking more than a decade of continuous enrollment growth. The spring total is up approximately 200 students over last year at this time. The growth is credited to efforts aimed at keeping students in school and on track to graduate in four years with minimal student debt.  MSU’s retention rate — the number of incoming freshman who return to the university for a second year of study — increased this past fall to 77 percent for first-time/full-time students, the highest percentage in 30 years. Keeping students in school between their freshman and sophomore years has been shown to increase the likelihood those students will continue on with school and ultimately complete their degrees.