Spartan Holdings LLC is proposing a commercial and residential development at 2890 U.S. 93 North in Kalispell. Spartan Holdings secured a placeholder planned-unit development for the property some years ago. They are now proposing a preliminary plat for 15 commercial lots. Development of the first phase is expected within the two years. The time-line for the residential portion of the development will depend on economic factors.


Bigfork native Stacy Delorme has opened World Gym Kalispell. This is the first Montana franchise of the international gym chain founded by Joe Gold. World Gym is located at 555 East Swift Creek Way.


R Y Timber plans to indefinitely suspend operations at its Townsend sawmill due to supply problems caused by the litigation of timber sales. Layoffs are expected to begin in April, and 70 employees will be affected. In recent years RY Timber’s mills have been operating at 50% capacity.


Outrigger Energy II will construct, own and operate a new 250 million cubic feet per day cryogenic gas processing plant west of Williston to gather and process production from XTO and other operators. The location for the new plant is still being determined. The potential is so great that Outrigger is already considering the possibility of adding an additional processing train of 200 million cubic feet per day to the new plant it is building. There are also plans for Outrigger to build a gathering system, which will include a 70-mile gas pipeline originating in eastern Williams County. The route is being planned to provide other Williston Basin operators with gathering and cryogenic processing capacity.


Energy Transfer Partners has announced it will join North Dakota’s Intelligent Pipeline Integrity Program, iPipe, a group of oilfield companies seeking to prevent leaks and advance leak detection technology. The group expects significant safety improvements due to the focus on pipeline safety.


Several oil companies are planning on using carbon dioxide from Fallon County Montana to extract more oil from aging wells in Bowman County, North Dakota. The project in North Dakota includes a pipeline that crosses Slope and Bowman counties,


The Montana Department of Agriculture announced that Cassidy Marn has accepted the Bureau Chief position for the Montana Wheat and Barley Committee.  Cassidy has served as the bureau’s Trade and Marketing Manager since 2010.


Beginning this spring, American Airlines will add a second flight between Billings and Dallas, and for summer Alaska Airlines will add another flight to Portland, Oregon. Butte too is anticipating new flights with the completion of their new airport expansion. The airport renewed its contract with SkyWest Airlines for flights to and from Salt Lake City. They are also adding a flight to and from Denver with United Airlines. The city of Butte was able to raise $400,000 for a revenue guarantee for United.


Western Montana had 30 percent lower snow levels than normal, as of December.


C.E.O of the Bank of Bozeman, Clinton Gerst says Bozeman’s business boom is the result of its businesses. While tourism and skiing and Yellowstone Park bring traffic to the area, “Businesses really are the fundamental underpins of the economy,” according to a report in ABC/Fox News. Large corporations and tech companies are seeing Bozeman as a desirable place to locate. More direct flights are also important in increasing Bozeman’s appeal to business, he said. MSU and the hospitals are also important factors.


The Supreme Court will take up the case of Espinoza vs. Montana Department of Revenue on Jan. 22. The case was brought by three Montana mothers defending a state tax-credit program designed to generate private scholarships for Montana students to attend private schools of their choice. The Montana Supreme Court struck down the Tax Credit Scholarship Program, passed in 2015 by the state legislature, out of concern that some students might take their private scholarships to religiously affiliated schools. The court claimed this would violate the Blaine Amendment of the state’s constitution. Becket (a non-profit law firm dedicated to protecting the free expression of all religious traditions, argues that the  Blaine Amendment is an anti-religious law that has long discriminated against religious organizations, treating them like “second-class citizens” in administering widely available pubic benefit programs. The Blain Amendment forbids any direct or indirect aid to schools owned or operated by a “church, sect, or denomination.”


Macy’s in Helena will permanently close after 19 years in business. They employed about 50 people. Although, Macy’s closed nine stores in 2019 and plans to close several others this year, no other Montana stores are slated for closure. Last year Shopko closed in Helena, following the closure of K-Mart in 2018, Penney’s in 2017, and Hastings in 2016.


The Montana Department of Justice has reported that from 2017 to the end of 2018, intimate partner homicide deaths in Montana dropped by almost 50% from the previous two-year period. During the 2015-2016 biennium, there were 43 intimate partner homicides in Montana. In the most recent biennium there were 25 intimate partner homicides in the state. Those 25 deaths were the result of 20 violent interactions. Montana averaged around 11 intimate partner homicides a year from 2000 to 2018.


Helena announced that it will suspended the culling of urban deer due to budget cuts, but hope to continue in the future.


Since its been in business for 98 years, many in Montana are familiar with The Parrot in Helena, a confectionary store serving up all kinds of house –made sweet treats. The business was recently featured in local media as it continues under its fourth owner, Jonny Plichta, a transplant from Los Angeles, who bought the business in 2017.


Katabatic Brewery in Livingston has changed ownership.  Co-owners Brice and LaNette Jones sold the brewery to Shawn Markman.


More than 100 students from the Montana State University College of Nursing will fan out across the state in April to help with the 2020 census. Nursing Counts for Montana, aims to ensure that every person living in Montana is accounted for while at the same time allowing nursing students to learn how census data are used in public health program planning and other state programs that rely on federal funding. n accurate count is important for several reasons. Census results help determine how billions of dollars in federal funding flow into states and communities each year. Each person counted provides the state with $20,000 in tax revenues.


Missoula County’s treasurer has launched a new program allowing owners to title and register their vehicle by email – avoiding a trip to the treasurer’s office. The program will help reduce long waits for citizens.


A group of citizens are advocating to return passenger train service to southern Montana. The route would run from Chicago to Fargo and continue west through Montana cities — Miles City, Billings, Livingston, Bozeman, Helena, Missoula and Paradise. At Spokane passengers could choose between Portland and Seattle.


Blockchain, a digital distributed ledger system, will be tested on water handling services in North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields, according to the Oil Patch Hotline. A group of companies including Chevron Corp., ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil Corp., Equinor, and Royal Dutch Shell has formed OOC Oil & Gas Blockchain Consortium and contracted with Data Gumbo, which is based in Houston. It is being tried as an effort to lower administrative costs, while also reducing payment disputes and chances for fraud.