| President's Corner
We have 14 MSU Extension Agents and Specialists who joined or renewed their MACDEP/NACDEP memberships for 2009! We'll publish a list of the individuals in the next E-Newsletter when we confirm several additional pending membership applications. Many thanks to our membership for their continued efforts to make MSU Extension's newest association a success!
| MACDEP Happenings/Member News
2009 Rural Community Conference
Planning is progressing for the 2009 Rural Community Conference scheduled for May 12-13 in Bozeman at MSU. We are scheduling 24 Break-out Sessions that are participatory and deliberative co-learning opportunities to engage session attendees in spirited conversations. If you are interested in submitting a session proposal, please contact us at: Commdev@montana.edu by Feb. 15. Also, Triangle Communications based in Havre, MT has generously offered one grant per community in their service area to pay for conference registration. For more info, click here.
NACDEP 2009 Award Descriptions and On-line Application
Take advantage of this opportunity for recognition of continued commitment to professional excellence. These awards acknowledge outstanding effort and achievement by individuals and groups in the community development field. Awards will be presented at the NACDEP 2009 Conference in San Diego, California on April 22, 2009. Applications are due on February 16, 2009.
Many of our MACDEP members are involved in the third phase of Horizons. Fifteen communities are in the process of successfully finishing their Study Circles. We are now beginning our LeadershipPlenty trainings with regular review sessions planned for our trainers. We are also offering participants 3 university credits (200-level special topics course). Read more about each of the communities and their progress.
Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Housing and Neighborhood Renewal Grant Application Guidelines
The Montana Department of Commerce CDBG's FFY 2009 Housing Application Guidelines are now available. The deadline for the applications is February 6, 2009.
Distance Education Program Available: Understanding Communities and Their Dynamics
All Extension staff who work in a community context have access to training through the Foundations of Practice program, which enhances the core competencies of Extension professionals about the basics of community development work. This distance education program consists of seven, one and one-half hour sessions. Using Adobe Connect technology, the series is offered twice this spring: Tuesdays, February 10 to March 24, 2009, 1:30 to 3 p.m. CST and Wednesdays, February 11 to March 25, 2009, 1:30 to 3 p.m. CST.
State Population and Poverty Estimates Released
According to newly released state population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, Montana's population increased by 10,816 between July 1, 2007 and July 1, 2008. Nearly 6,300 more people moved into the state than moved out, contributing to the increase. Between 2007 and 2008, Montana's growth rate of 1.1 percent ranked the state as the 14th fastest growing in the nation. Montana added 65,250 residents between April 1, 2000 and July 1, 2008, a 7.2 percent increase, ranking the state 20th in growth between these years. Nationally, Utah jumped to the top as the nation's fastest-growing state, with a population increase of 2.5 percent between July 1, 2007 and July 1, 2008. Nevada, the previous year's growth leader fell to number eight.
This release also includes components of change otherwise known as births and deaths (natural increase) and migration, both internal and international. To access the latest data including a Montana highlight with a regional map showing how Montana compares with our neighboring states (see map above), detailed Excel files with rankings and population density maps, visit CEIC's state estimates web page. Also, the 2007 County Poverty Rates were released in December 2008. The accompanying map is below and shows counties with greater than 14% poverty rates in brown.
Changing Climate, Changing Future - The Montana Climate Action Project
A guide to climate change in Montana and ways we can all act to preserve our state for tomorrow's generations. The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is releasing a new climate change publication that highlights ways Montana consumers can address climate change while reducing energy costs and creating green jobs.
Community Development “In the News” Air Force Drops Plan for Coal-to-Fuels Plant on Montana Base
Air Force officials said they decided against building a coal-to-fuels plant on the Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana due in part to a potential conflict with the base's primary nuclear missile mission. Great Falls Tribune; Jan. 30.
Helena in Good Shape Economically, City Manager Says
Helena hasn’t yet developed a budgetary reliance upon funds collected from new construction, which has slowed over the past year, leaving some other cities in a bind. Helenair.com; Jan. 23.
Montana Lawmakers Get a Preview of Mobile Biomass Generator
University of Montana researchers Brian Kern and Paul Williamson took their semi trailer-sized downdraft gasifier to Helena on Thursday to give lawmakers a look at the mobile biomass power generator that turns wood chips and other organic materials into electricity. Great Falls Tribune; Jan. 23.
New-Home Construction Plummets to Record Low
This from the Associated Press today: December construction is the weakest since record-keeping began in 1959. The previous worst was set in November. Denver Post; Jan. 23.
Another Montana Sawmill Suspends Production
F. H. Stoltze Land & Lumber Company officials said Tuesday that declining demand for lumber forced them to temporarily halt production at the Montana sawmill on Feb. 2 and lay off 45 to 50 workers. Flathead Beacon; Jan. 21.
| Upcoming Events
Billings Business Group To Hear Red Oxx Owner Jim Markel
Friday, Feb. 6, 6PM, Billings, Clocktower Inn.
Start 2009 out right enjoying dinner with fellow business owners and listening to guest speaker, Jim Markel, a Billings entrepreneur who, as owner of Red Oxx Manufacturing, is making the “best bags on the planet.” Quietly working away and growing, marketing over the internet to over 90 countries, this homegrown enterprise is one of Billings’ hidden success stories.
FastTrac Growth Venture Business Training
Monday, Feb. 9, 6PM, Billings, Lincoln Center. Are You Ready To Take Control of Your Business? Join the Billings SBDC & Community Education for FastTrac® Growth Venture™, a comprehensive business training designed by the Kauffman Foundation that will put you in the driver’s seat for growing your business.
2009 Montana Ambassador Annual Conference
February 25-27, Helena, Great Northern Hotel. Highlights include a 25th Anniversary Celebration and Reunion, presentations by 2008 Annual Award Winners, Governor's Social and Awards Dinner, T. Boone Pickens - Keynote Speaker, Legislative Leaders Update and Energy Jobs for Montana Panel.
2009 Tax Credit Finance Course
This March 5-6, join Council of Development Finance Agencies in Washington, DC for The Tax Credit Finance Course as they examine the application of tax credit programs in greater economic development finance efforts. This course will discuss the practical application of tax credit programs including Brownfields, new markets, low-income housing, historic preservation, and state-specific programs.
Montana Indian Business Conference & Showcase
April 20-21, 2009
Hilton Garden Inn, Missoula.
Mark your calendars for the 3rd MIBA-sponsored Montana Indian Business Conference & Showcase, featuring and expanded Indian Business Showcase as well as nationally recognized and local presenters committed to the growth of strong economies through private sector native American business development and entrepreneurship, a “must” for tribal leaders and policy makers, Indian business owners, tribal college staff and students, tribal judiciary, economic and community developers, federal and state agencies, and lenders. Contact: Maria Velandra 406-454-6255 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nominations Requested for Montana’s Tourism Awards - Deadline is March 6, 2009
The Governor’s Tourism Advisory Council (TAC) is accepting nominations for the 2009 Montana Tourism Awards. Nominations for Tourism Person of the Year, Tourism Community of the Year, Tourism Event of the Year and Tourism Partnership of the Year will be accepted. The award winners will be announced at the 35th Annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism and Recreation scheduled for March 30-31, 2009, at the Red Lion Colonial Hotel in Helena, Montana.
New Community-Friendly Grant Opportunities
Many new community-friendly grant opportunities can be found at the MSU Extension Website.
Jenny Jones Announces Continuation of Community Grant Program
Talk show host and philanthropist Jenny Jones has announced that she will donate an additional $1 million to continue her Jenny's Heroes community grant program. Jenny's Heroes provides grants of up to $25,000 each to fund projects that promise long-term community benefits. Through the fifty grant recipients so far, funds have been used to provide items and services such as library books, school computers, firefighting gear, nursing home upgrades, sports equipment, free dental services, wheelchairs, coats for children in domestic violence shelters, and a running track at a women's prison. The program's focus is primarily on smaller communities where fundraising can be difficult. Deadline: Open.
|Firm Predicts Montana, Colorado Will Escape Housing Downturn
Housing Predictor, an online research firm, predicted that Montana, Colorado and North Dakota will escape the turbulent housing markets seen in other states, with modest home appreciation rates forecast in an economy where 36 states are predicted to see double-digit decreases in housing prices. Bozeman Daily Chronicle; Jan. 20.
Montana Copper Mine Going Strong Despite Global Conditions
Montana Resources, which operates a copper and molybdenum mine in Butte, is still going strong and company officials attribute its ongoing success to low production costs. Montana Standard; Jan. 20.
States Prepare To Raise Gas Taxes
Plummeting gas prices, roads in disrepair, and soaring state deficits have caused some state politicians to, gasp, attempt to raise gas taxes - last raised over 15 years ago in some states. New York Times; Jan. 17.
Montana Realty Board: Number of Agents Is Falling Fast
It seems not many people want to be real estate agents anymore, and established agents are getting out of the business like never before. About 40 percent fewer new real estate agents received a license. NewWest.net; Jan. 17.
Home Prices Plummet Nationally, Rockies Fare Better
Housing prices across the country dropped by a record 18% in October over the year-earlier period, according to the widely watched Case-Shiller housing index, a grim indication that the real estate meltdown. NewWest.net; Jan. 17.
Business Facilities Magazine - State of the Year Award: Montana is #2 in the Nation
Interestingly, all of the Montana’s State of the Year statistics revolved around one multifaceted industry: energy. The Many Stars coal-to-liquids facility, an investment worth $7 billion, will stimulate 4,000 to 5,000 new jobs and produce 50,000 barrels of diesel and other fuels per day. This mega-deal helped cement the runner-up nod for Montana. Businessfacilities.com; Jan. 14.
Montana Dairy Celebrates 100th Anniversary, Goes High-Tech
Cows have been milked on the Huls family farm in Montana's Bitterroot Valley every day for more than 100 years, and soon the dairy's $1.2-million methane digester will be churning out a brew of electricity, bio-gas and market-ready fertilizer. Ravalli Republic; Jan. 14.
Slump in Housing Market Shuts Down Montana Loggers, Haulers
Montana sawmills are full up, and with few orders for finished product, the state's logging and trucking industry are being hit especially hard as some sawmills have shut down completely. Missoulian; Jan. 13.
How Montana Stacks Up Among States for Friendliness to Entrepreneurs
Montana ranks 33rd in terms of entrepreneurship viability, which means one-third of the states in the nation are more welcoming to small business survivability than is Montana – that at least is the conclusion of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council’s (SBEC) Small Business Survival Index for 2008. Big Sky Business Journal; Jan. 13.
Conservation Groups Boost Dam Efforts in Colorado, Montana
Across the Rocky Mountain West, conservation groups such as Trout Unlimited and The Nature Conservancy, are funding efforts to rehabilitate dams that provide an environmental return, such as the dam on Montana's Ruby Reservoir and the Elkhead Reservoir on the Yampa River in Colorado. Denver Post; Jan. 11.
Gallatin County Rural Growth Plan Subject of Debate
Gallatin County planners are sifting through a stack of proposed regulations that could, pending the Gallatin County Commission’s approval, limit development in the county’s rural unzoned areas to one home per 160 acres. Bozemandailychronicle.com; Jan. 10.
Virginia City, Montana Strikes Gold as True Western Town
"Many of the Old West mining centers are now ghost towns - but not Virginia City," says True West Executive Editor Bob Boze Bell. "It is a living, breathing example of what people can do when they decide to preserve their heritage, and as they figure out new ways to use older buildings." Bozemandailychronicle.com; Jan. 9.
Things That I Would Do in Every Town
It’s now been five years since I published BoomtownUSA and got the opportunity to travel around this great country of ours sharing my message of great things going on in towns all over the USA. During that time I’ve gotten the chance to tour over 400 towns in 44 states and have seen some really incredible sights. With this being my last year of doing talks, I wanted to share with you those things that I would do in every town, if I had a magic wand to be able to do so. Boomtown Institute; Jan. 9.
Great Falls Development Authority Doles Out Last of Loan Funds
America's economic slump is taking its toll in the heartland, Brett Doney told the Great Falls City Commission on Tuesday night. Greatfallstribune.com; Jan. 7.
Yellowstone-Teton Region’s Prosperity Will Require Cross-Boundary Collaboration
Yellowstone Business Partnership Communities in the Yellowstone-Teton region have much to gain from greater cross-boundary collaboration, according to a business group whose members are located in 25 Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming counties that surround Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. MATR.net; Jan. 6.
Carbon-Offset Cowboys Let Their Grass Grow
Ranchers at Sun Ranch in Montana are being paid by polluters to keep their grass unmowed with help from Beartooth Capital, a firm that brokered the Sun Ranch carbon credits as a pilot project, but a nonprofit organization called the National Carbon Offset Coalition now manages the ranch’s contract with the Chicago Climate Exchange. SciAm.com; Jan. 5.
Plum Creek Abandons Road Deal
Plum Creek Timber Co. is abandoning a controversial deal brokered with Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey, citing strong public opposition. Missoulian.com; Jan. 5.
Down on the Corner
Solutions to our global ills can be found in your local neighborhood, says Jay Walljasper. Great examples can be found in communities from South Bend, Indiana to Mississauga, Ontario. Planetizen.com; Jan. 5.
Transplanted Red Lodge, Montana Couple Turn Brothel Into Boulangerie
Karen Porth said she stopped worrying about drawing enough customers when she asked to join the town's book club and was asked, "What flavor? We have 10 clubs." billingsgazette.net; Jan. 4.
Finding Strength in Numbers to Develop an Art Gallery in Havre, Montana
With help from the Montana Cooperative Development Center - Artitudes Art Gallery was created. The Montana Cooperative Development Center was created by the state Legislature in 1999 to foster the formation of cooperatives to produce and market Montana products. greatfallstribune.com; Jan. 4.
How the City Hurts Your Brain (So Move to a Rural Community!)
While it's long been recognized that city life is exhausting -- that's why Picasso left Paris -- this new research suggests that cities actually dull our thinking, sometimes dramatically so. Boston Globe; Jan. 2.