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Montana State University announced that its newest residence hall will open in fall 2020, to be named Hyalite Hall. Construction on the $50 million project began in May 2018. Hyalite Hall will house up to 510 students. It is being funded by student room and board fees; no taxpayer dollars are being used.

 

A Columbia Falls company started a year ago making bikes specifically for use in Montana mountains. Called Esker Cycles the company is owned by Tim Krueger. The bike features a dual link suspension and the frames are made in Taiwan and then assembled at the warehouse in Columbia Falls. Most of the bikes go to dealers, but the company also sells direct to consumers.

 

Kalispell economic developers are optimistic about the potential for properties that have been vacated by major businesses in the community. The unincorporated area of Evergreen near Kalispell was home to Shopko and Kmart, Green Hyundai and OfficeMax, but recent closings and relocations have left large vacant spaces. But located as it is along the highly trafficked U.S. Highway 2, Montana West Economic Development President Jerry Meerkatz says interest in the area is sure to materialize. According to U.S. Census data, Evergreen’s population was 7,552 in 2017, up from 6,283 in 2013.

 

Only 2.7% of Gallatin County’s employees work in agriculture, according to a 2019 Prospera Business Network report.

 

The state of Montana received $19 million from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to support a statewide health information exchange that will give providers access to patient data in real time. Governor Bullock tasked the Governor’s Council on Health Care Innovation in 2015 with looking for ways to establish a statewide health data center to improve patient care, save time and resources, and reduce costs. A coalition established the nonprofit organization Big Sky Care Connect to develop and administer the information exchange, to begin operation in 2020. The system will connect records from pharmacies, labs and imaging, urgent care, specialists, doctor offices and hospitals and other providers such as dentists and optometrists. The funding is provided through a 90/10 federal match. CMS provided $19 million and the state’s 10 percent share is comprised of an appropriation from the 2019 legislature and private funds Big Sky Care Connect has raised. Big Sky Care Connect is working with data privacy and security experts to select a technology vendor that specializes in creating secure systems to manage health care data.

 

American Airlines plans to add a direct flight to Philadelphia on Saturdays, making it Bozeman’s 18th nonstop destination. Along with Philadelphia, the airline will add flights to New York’s LaGuardia Airport on Saturdays and Los Angeles daily, for the summer 2020 season. American will operate flights to Los Angeles using a 76-seat Embraer E175 aircraft from June 4, 2020 through Sept. 8, 2020. New York and Philadelphia flights will operate with 160-seat Boeing 737-800 aircraft on Saturdays from June 6, 2020 through Sept. 5, 2020.

 

Because of the critical shortage of outbound crude oil pipelines in Canada, Enbridge Inc. is proposing an expansion of its older Express Pipeline. The current pipeline runs 731 miles from Hardisty, Alberta to Casper, WY, and then connects to the Platte Pipeline. Built in 1997, the pipeline now carries 193,000 BOPD, and has enough capacity to increase shipments to 280,000 BOPD. (From Oil Patch Hot Line)

 

Montana State University is experiencing its highest graduation and retention rates in a generation —  a stark contrast from the University of Montana - which continues to see a drop in enrollment. This year, with 16,766 students studying at the university, MSU has the second-most number of students that have ever been enrolled in a single university at one time in Montana (second only to last year’s enrolled students). It’s been Montana largest university for the past six years. The University of Montana has experienced about a 30% drop in fall enrollment since it peaked in 2011.

 

Mike Goguen,  Two Bear Capital Founder and Managing Partner has announced a Montana-based venture capital firm to “accelerate advancements for good” with an emphasis on biotech and AI (artificial intelligence). Goguen is a philanthropist and resident of the Flathead Valley.