The Montana Lottery Commission has approved a draft of rules that will legalize sports wagering in Montana. Once the Office of the Montana Secretary of State publishes the rules on Dec. 6, Montana Lottery will begin taking applications for licenses. The Lottery also announced a name for the new sports-wagering product – Sports Bet Montana. Only establishments with full liquor licenses and gambling licenses will be eligible to apply for sports-wagering licenses.


Fort Benton joined the ranks of the craft beer market in Montana when Golden Triangle Brewing Co. opened recently. Brandon Roberts and Stacia Fuzesy are the owners of the new business. The brewery gets its name from Montana’s “Golden Triangle” area in the northcentral part of the state.


There was a surge in one number in September’s oil production report that particularly surprised North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms. The number that surprised Helms was a surge in inactive well counts, which rose by 400 during the month of September.


Porteus BBQ has opened in Bigfork. The portable barbecue business moved into the former Montana Club building on Montana 35. Sherry and Randy Toaves are the owners. The restaurant needed a few renovations and plans to add a smoker to the kitchen. Sherry bragged that the restaurant features a lot of house-made items, such as cornbread, desserts, vegetable casseroles and soups.


Summit Beverage in Missoula is located next to Costco. The two businesses are finalizing an agreement to have Costco buy the Summit Beverage building for expansion. Summit plans to build a new facility at the intersection of West Broadway and a future extension of Mary Jane Boulevard.


There will be a new 15,000 sq. ft. facility in Helena called the Flying Giant Adventure Park. The business will be built next to Sleeping Giant Lanes. The owners Ron and Danielle Bolan and Vince Sacchari are planning an large array of fun and healthy things. There will be trampolines, rock climbing walls, a three-story soft play jungle gym, and an overhead obstacle and agility course plus many other programs and games.


Heidi’s Casino at 2050 Ray Ave. north of the Comfort Inn and Suites is has opened in Helena. The owners are Heidi Eide and Michael Eide. They are proud of their unique antique furnishings from around the Helena area.


Williams County in North Dakota will use the largest wind turbines available in the United States for the areas new wind farm. The Aurora Wind Farm, near the Lindahl Wind Farm which is near Tioga, is the latest in a line of wind energy projects. The Aurora wind farm will produce 299 MW, and will be built across both Williams and Mountrail counties.


Condo and townhouse home sales and median sale prices increased in October compared to last year, for the Bozeman area, according to the Gallatin Association of Realtors. Median sale prices in the condo/townhouse market increased 5.7%, from $307,500 to $325,000. Sellers received 98% of their listing price, down slightly from 98.4% last year. The number of new single-family listings decreased compared to October of 2018, falling from 138 to 130, a 5.8% decrease. Pending sales decreased 20.5%, going from 132 to 105, and the number of closed sales fell from 171 to 129, a 24.6% decrease. The median sales price increased slightly by 1.9%, from $450,000 to $458,600. The average number of days a home spent on the market dropped by 16.1%, from 62 to 52.


In Bozeman, Nu2u! Thrift Outlet and Pawn Depot on North Seventh Avenue is going out of business.


The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is seeking public reaction during the next year for a proposed 1,150-mile pipeline corridor that could open up access to 500 new oil and gas reservoirs. The Wyoming Pipeline Corridor Initiative could lead to construction of pipelines for CO2, crude oil, and gas used for enhanced oil recovery operations. Ryan McConnaughey, of the Petroleum Assn. of Wyoming, said the potential for added oil revenue from enhanced oil recovery (EOR) operations, estimated at 1.8 billion barrels, “could be a big step for the oil and gas industry here in Wyoming”, said McConnaughey.  The PAW is a supporter of the WPCI. (From Oil Patch Hotline)



The Montana Board of Regents approved 2% pay raises for 2020 and 2021 for 1700 classified employees of the state’s university system and administrators, including university presidents and the commissioner of higher education. The board also approved a $150,000 a year increase for Waded Cruzado, Montana State University President, which puts her annual salary at more than $476,000.  The approval spurred a 2% raise for other university staff who are not represented by the union. The 2019 Legislature approved money to give state and university employees 50-cent per hour raises, at a cost of more than $8 million next year.


A special summit was held in Billings on Nov. 15 regarding concerns about feral pigs moving into Montana from Canada. Dr. Ryan Brook, an Associate Professor at the University of Saskatchewan who studies the wild pigs, says the pigs have become an emerging crisis in Canada. They are native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa. They are considered vicious and pose a threat to human life. They cause extensive environmental damage and eat wildlife and pets, and spread disease. If they get a foothold they can be expensive if not impossible to eliminate.


A huge expansion costing between $35 million and $40 million, that will more than double the capacity of the Dakota Access Pipeline to 1.1 million BOPD, was proposed by Energy Transfer Partners. Work will be completed by February 2021. The company said it is anticipated that crude oil production out of the Williston Basin will increase between 350,000 to 450,0000 BOPD over the next five years, with current production exceeding 1.3 million BOPD. The 36-inch crude oil pipeline runs 1,172 miles from Stanley, ND to Patoka, IL. (From Oil Patch Hotline)


Hans McPherson, Stevensville, was re-elected as president of the Montana Farm Bureau Federation during the organization’s convention Nov. 11-14. Cyndi Johnson, a Conrad small grains farmer, was re-elected as vice president. Newly elected to the board were: Kris Descheemaeker, a cattle rancher from Lewistown; Joy DePuydt, a cattle rancher from Saco; and Ed Bandel, a wheat farmer from Floweree. Re-elected were Craig Blevins, a cattle rancher from Ronan, Gary Heibertshausen, a sheep rancher from Alzada, and Scott Stoner, District 9, a horse rancher from Helena. Carla Lawrence, Boyd, was elected as the MFBF Women’s Leadership Committee Chair. Gil Gasper, Circle, was re-elected as the MFBF Young Farmer and Rancher Chair.


The Montana High Tech Business Alliance announced that Randy Chesler, Glacier Bancorp President and CEO; Leland Johnson, ExcelliMatrix Founder and CEO; and Sam Lucas, Triple Tree LLC Co-Founder and CEO, were elected to its Board of Directors.


Five leaders from Belarus, an Eastern European country tucked between Russia, the Ukraine and Poland, visited Montana recently. They came to learn what makes things tick in Montana, politically, economically and socially. They were invited under the auspices of the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program, and The Meridian International Center. They were hosted by World Montana. They visited with government agencies and non-profit organizations in Helena. They also visited Yellowstone National Park.


VOORMI, a specialty outdoor wool factory store based in Colorado, has opened a store in Bozeman. The business specializes in “guide-worthy authentic technical outerwear” made entirely from natural fibers. Founded in 2010,  VOORMI spent the first four years engineering its own fabrics, and now has eight fabrics from which they make a variety o apparel from lightweight t-shirts to hard-shell ski coats.


Also in Bozeman, a joint venture is building a four-story, 52-unit apartment building, with retail and office space on the ground floor in the cannery district. To be called The Cannery Flats, it is a project between the Cannery District Partners and Chicago-based Monroe Residential Partners.


Former MSU athletes, track star, Amanda Molock and former football player Jonathan Molock, have opened The Cove Athletic Club in Belgrade.


In Missoula, local businessman Nick Checota is planning to build a $100-million, 60,000-square-foot events center with a hotel, condos and restaurants overlooking the Clark Fork River downtown. To be built with the support of a tax increment finance district in Missoula, the development will be called the Drift. It will  host conventions, performing arts shows, traveling Broadway plays, comedy acts and banquets. It will be designed to accommodate 6,000 people standing, 3,000 people seated or 1,000 people at a banquet with tables. Plans also call for one fine-dining restaurant, one fast-casual restaurant, a 200-room boutique-style hotel, 45 residential condominiums and 10,000 square feet of additional event space. The city has agreed to provide $16.5  millions  from a tax increment finance revenue bond, with which to purchase the events center to be leased back to Checotas, who is already a noted event planner in the community.


Texas-based Denbury Onshore (Denbury) has received approval from Montana regulators to expand their multi-lateral Madison drilling program on the prolific Cedar Creek Anticline. The firm recently permitted the Cabin Creek #CH21-17NEH, ne-nw 17-10n-58e, Fallon County, and plans to drill a pair of horizontal pathways off the main wellbore. Denbury’s newest activity spots some 18 miles northeast of Baker, Montana, and within Cabin Creek Field, a huge oil pool that following its discovery in 1953 has cumulated more than 121 mmbo.