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ccording to statistics from the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office, there were 42 stolen vehicles in Flathead County from the beginning of August through the end November, which means nearly one every three days. The majority of stolen vehicles have occurred in the Kalispell and Evergreen areas, but several were stolen between Kalispell and Whitefish.

 

National Park officials in Wyoming have made plans to slaughter between 600 and 900 Yellowstone bison this winter in order to manage population numbers and monitor annual tribal hunts.

 

A Montana State University economist and his co-author were recognized by the Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists for the innovative thinking behind their paper on how oil booms influence poverty rates in rural areas. “Left in the Dark? Oil and Rural Poverty” by Brock Smith and Samuel Wills was published in the journal’s October 2018 issue. According to Smith’s doctoral thesis he found oil discoveries have a positive effect on a country’s gross domestic product. The new oil money tends to line the pockets of the powerful and connected. However he was interested to see if any of that wealth found its way to the poorest sections of the population.

 

Kampgrounds of America, the world’s largest family of family-friendly, open-to-the-public campgrounds, has announced that the Red Lodge KOA Journey Campground has earned the 2020 KOA President’s Award. This award was presented November 11th at KOA’s 2019 Annual International Convention in Savannah, GA. KOA surveys hundreds of thousands of campers each year regarding their KOA camping experience. The KOA President’s Award is presented to those campgrounds meeting exceptional quality standards and those which receive high customer service scores from their camping guests.

 

Gasoline prices have fallen 2.1 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.66/g on Dec. 9, according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 615 stations. Gas prices in Montana are 4.0 cents per gallon lower than a month ago and stand 4.1 cents per gallon lower than a year ago.

 

Oasis Petroleum is running two drilling rigs in the Williston Basin now. Current 2020 plans are to continue those activities. The company has 414,000 net acres in Williston, which translates to about 1,385 wells it can drill. Oasis has completed a gas processing facility in McKenzie County, the Wild Basin plant. That brought the Wild Basin area to 320 million cubic feet per day in gas processing capacity. Oasis has been in the Williston Basin since 2007.

 

On properties purchased along Williams County, North Dakota, Road 9 there is an abandoned coal mine not reported in the land sale to Shift Services. NW. Exploratory drilling has found a  trail of sinkholes following the path of the abandoned Williston Coal & Ice Company mine, which operated from 1913 to 1936.

 

MSU will be graduating 853 candidates for undergraduate degrees and 165 candidates for graduate degrees at the end of this term.  In addition, 141 students who completed master’s and doctoral requirements in the summer and 31 Gallatin College students will be eligible to participate in graduation ceremonies.

 

Thanks to heavy and early snows, Montana ski resorts were able to open early. Big Sky had over 70 inches of snow in October, and their fortune continued into November with chilly temperatures keeping snow on the ground. A snowstorm starting on Thanksgiving, the same day the resort opened, skiers found themselves reaping the rewards over the weekend. It was one of the biggest terrain openings nationwide, with over 1,000 acres now open.

 

Island Kitchens is a new Jamaican restaurant in Sidney. Cal Gordon, who was born and raised in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, is the owner and founder. His wife is from Savage, Montana, which is what bought him to Montana. The restaurant features more than Jamaican cuisine.

 

Bozeman reports that business is continuing to boom, but there are downsides. Hiring has become difficult with the Bozeman unemployment rate standing at 1.8 percent compared to a national average of 3.7 percent. And, the cost of living is escalating, making it hard for entry-level wage earners. The average cost of a one-bedroom apartment starts at $1200 in Bozeman. Local businesses are finding that there is increasing competition from national chains.

 

Bill and Dana Milton of Roundup were presented with $10,000 and a crystal award at the 100th Montana Farm Bureau Federation’s Convention in Billings on November 12.  as the recipient of the inaugural Montana Leopold Conservation Award.  Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the award recognizes farmers and foresters who inspire others with their dedication to land, water and wildlife habitat management. The Miltons, who are Musselshell County Farm Bureau members, raise Angus cattle on 15,000 acres of sagebrush plains. They have refined their conservation efforts since receiving the Montana Land Reliance Conservation Award in 1993. They have successfully advocated for holistic grazing techniques on federal lands.

 

A federal appeals court has upheld previous rulings against Montana authorities in their effort to collect millions of dollars in taxes and penalties from the co-founder of the Yellowstone Club. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Montana Department of Revenue lacked legal standing to file an involuntary bankruptcy petition against Tim Blixseth as a way to recover the money, noting other creditors have withdrawn from the case. It sent the case back to bankruptcy court to determine if it should be dismissed. Blixseth said he plans to seek damages from the state, including punitive damages for destruction of evidence, which could amount to hundreds of millions of dollars.

 

A proposed zone change by the City of Missoula which will allow Summit Beverage, a local beverage distributing company, to build a new facility on a parcel of land along West Broadway near the airport, will clear the way for Missoula’s Costco store to expand at 3220 N. Reserve Street.

 

MDU Resources Group, Inc. increased its earnings guidance for 2019. The company now projects its earnings per share for 2019 to be in the range of $1.60 to $1.65, an increase from prior guidance of $1.50 to