As of March 1, snowpack levels across southwestern Montana were well above normal, according to the most recent snowpack report from the Natural Resources Conservation Service. The Gallatin, Jefferson, Madison and upper Yellowstone river basins all had more than 115 percent of their normal snowpack for the start of March. Overall snowpack for the state was at 110 percent of normal with western Montana at 101 percent and eastern at 114 percent. The Kootenai and the Sun-Teton-Marias basins were at the bottom with 91 percent of normal. The Madison basin came in at the top with 130 percent. While all regions of the state received above normal snowfall, storm patterns through the month favored areas in the southern part of the state where storms approaching from the southwest can drop significant snowfall. There are still a few places in the state that are below normal for snowpack, and streamflow forecasts. 


Knight Nicastro welcomes Dylan McFarland as an attorney in the firm’s Missoula, Montana office. McFarland brings extensive experience handling complex civil litigation and is a revered member of the community, having played collegiate football for the University of Montana. McFarland joining Knight Nicastro continues the firm’s recent growth in the Northwest, following the additions former Senior General Attorney for BNSF Railway James Roberts, and former Assistant United States Attorney Adam Duerk earlier this year.


The SBA approved a $374,000 SBA 504 loan as part of a $905,000 purchase of commercial real estate in Bozeman for Anderson’s Masonry Hearth and Home! This new real estate will house Anderson Masonry’s newest acquisition, Bare’s Stove and Spa.

Rocky Mountain Power is selling the 107 megawatt power plant in Hardin to Big Horn Datapower Holdings LLC. The name indicates the company is a cryptocurrency businesses, engaged in blockchain mining, which consumes great amounts of energy.  50 to 60 jobs could be created by the new endeavor.


Bob Quinn, president and founder of Quinn Farm & Ranch and Kamut International in Big Sandy released his first book: Grain by Grain: A Quest to Revive Ancient Wheat, Rural Jobs & Healthy Food.


Gallatin County is exploring funding options to build a new Law and Justice Center. County Commissions are considering asking voters to fund the project in November. The proposed two-story building would house the sheriff’s office, justice and district courts, county attorney’s office, youth court services, victims services and the clerk of district court’s office.


Footwear, the True to the Trail outdoor footwear company headquartered in Bozeman, has entered into a one-year sponsorship agreement with the Mount Washington Observatory (MWO) as its Official Footwear Provider. Along with category exclusivity, the agreement includes special access for Oboz to the Observatory’s summit facility and presenting sponsor status of the Nation’s Premier Hiking Event, Seek the Peak, MWO’s largest fundraising event of the year. Founded in 2007, Oboz Footwear builds ‘True to the Trail®’ outdoor footwear.


Williams County Public School District No. 8 in Williston, ND will ask voters to OK an $89 million bond to pay for two new elementary schools and a high school. The District 8 board voted 5-0 Tuesday, Feb. 26, to prepare a resolution calling for a special election this spring. The bond will pay for two 600-student elementary schools, a 600-student high school with athletic facilities and the land where the new schools will go. 


A new ranching system degree that is expected to help sustain the agricultural heritage of the Northern Great Plains and Intermountain West will be offered at Montana State University beginning this fall as part of a new umbrella program. The program, called the Dan Scott Ranch Management Program will offer a bachelor’s degree in ranching systems; in the future, it will also offer outreach workshops and professional networking for the ranching community.


In 2012, a report from Regional Technology Strategies identified a quickly growing cluster of optics and photonics companies and research institutions in Montana. According to this report, the cluster of more than 25 organizations were the highest per capita concentration of optics and photonics companies and research institutions in Montana. Many of these organizations are located in Bozeman.


In order to control bison numbers, bison managers try to control the Yellowstone National Park’s population’s size through hunting and capture-for-slaughter. Last fall, biologists estimated there were about 4,500 bison in Yellowstone. They plan to reduce numbers by 600 and 900 animals this year.


A popular food truck, Wally and Buck, opened a brick and mortar store in the Roam building in Missoula. Travis and Kelsey Walnum began their food truck business in 2015 when they remodeled an aluminum trailer into a food truck, according to a story from ABC FOX Montana. Wally and Buck’s sources its meat from a local business, the Oxbow Cattle Company.


Also in Missoula, visitors will have a new option in downtown as the Mercantile hotel has opened its doors. The new hotel is a five-story, 175-room Residence Inn by Marriott. Also in the Mercantile will be new several new restaurants and bars, which are set to open up later this year. The project is that of HomeBase Partners, and HomeBase Partners developer Andy Holloran said they are planning to build another new hotel next door at the site of the old Firestone building on the corner of Main and Pattee.


Texas Ski Council, a club dedicated to pursuing the sport across the country and the world, brought 130 skiers to Whitefish Mountain Resort, “To encounter the ski hill, the people running it, and the town it’s in, and have a good time.” The Texas Ski Council, bringing seven of its 14 member clubs, arrived in Whitefish on Feb. 23 and stayed until March 2. The club’s business provides momentum for the ski hill, but it’s also good news for the latest direct flight offered from Glacier Park International Airport, which will start flights to and from Dallas-Fort Worth in June. Members of the Texas Ski Council said the flight would be a boon to their club.


Montana ranks 27th in the level of corporate income taxes collected per capita. It collects $119, compared to first place contender New Hampshire with $427. Five states, including Wyoming and Texas do not collect the tax.


A nationwide employee benefit administration company is opening an office in Missoula, aiming to hire students at the University of Montana and Missoula College to fill its workforce. Started in 1998, Businessolver has seven locations across the United States and more than 1,000 employees. The company wants to provide its Benefitsolver platform to other companies in Missoula, as well as hire recent graduates in the information technology field to help develop the software. While the company is still looking for an office to lease in Missoula, Pohl said the search for his first 10 employees will begin in May. Leaders from the office in Colorado will train the new hires.


The annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the Great Falls economy (Cascade County) is estimated by JobsEQ to be $3.147 billion in 2017. After Health Care and Social Assistance, the next largest contributor to the economy is Real Estate / Rental and Leasing with an estimated annual GDP contribution of $352 million. Residential real estate accounts directly for 1,357 local jobs last quarter.