| President's Corner
A big Thank You to MACDEP members, for joining for the first time or renewing their membership to the Association in 2009. The list of members is provided under the MACDEP News. NACDEP Awards for a number of MACDEP members and others involved in Community Development efforts in Montana were submitted in February and we will keep you posted as we hear results. Also, registration is now open for the 2009 Rural Community Conference; register on-line now!
| MACDEP Happenings/Member News
2009 Rural Community Conference Registration is now Available
Register now on-line for the 2009 Rural Community Conference May 12-13 at MSU-Bozeman. There are over 22 Break-out Sessions featuring local, state, and national leaders including MACDEP members in the areas of Community Food Networks; Community Foundations and Non-Profits; Community Infrastructure and Housing; Economic Development; Education; Energy; Health, Health Care, and Wellness; Native Communities; Senior Services; Transportation; Understanding Poverty; and Youth Development. Additional information on accommodations and logistics is also available at the site. The Draft Agenda will be released shortly.
MACDEP / NACDEP Members for 2009
We now have 16 NACDEP and/or MACDEP members who have renewed or joined for the first time. We greatly appreciate the commitment of these Extension professionals in supporting MSU Extension’s newest Association: Jennifer Anderson Agent, Rosebud-Treasure Counties; Barbara Andreozzi Agent, Deer Lodge County; David Bertelsen Agent, Ibex County; Damon Bunting Agent, Glacier County; Kevin Chamberlain Agent, Mineral County; Dan Clark Director, Local Government Center; Sarah Hamlen Area Economic Development Coordinator; Tom Harrington Agent, Madison-Jefferson Counties; Rae Lynn Hays Agent, Lincoln County; Paul Lachapelle Community Development Specialist; Tara Mastel Agent, Madison-Jefferson Counties; Pat McGlynn Agent, Flathead County; Mandie Reed Agent, Wheatland County; Kathy Revello Agent, Missoula County; Bruce Smith Agent, Dawson County; Wendy Wedum Agent, Cascade County.
2009 National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals (NACDEP) Conference Session Promo posted
NACDEP has a great conference, "Creating Sustainable Communities in a Changing America" line up in San Diego, April 20-22. There are over 100 presentations covering the Five ‘E’s’ of Sustainability: Economy, Environment, Social Equity, Engagement and Evaluation. Check out the wide range of presentations from Extension professionals from over 30 universities across America. The Early Bird registration rates are open through March 13th.
Community Health Status Indicators Report
The goal of Community Health Status Indicators (CHSI), under the US Dept. of Health and Human Services, is to provide an overview of key health indicators for local communities and to encourage dialogue about actions that can be taken to improve a community's health. The CHSI report contains over 200 measures for each of the 3,141 United States counties. In addition to the web pages, community profiles can be displayed on maps or downloaded in a brochure format. The CHSI report provides a tool for community advocates to see, react, and act upon creating a healthy community.
Source: Community Health Status Indicators Report.
Montana 2nd in 2008 State of the Year Award
The call for entries for Business Facilities' second annual State of the Year Award sparked a palpable excitement within economic development agencies across the United States. The Runner Up: Montana. 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.
Montana Non-Profit Association's Nonprofit Economic Resource Center
MNA has created a new page on their website focusing on the economy and nonprofits. Visit the Nonprofit Economic Resource Center (NERC) to view additional information and resources on the federal stimulus bill.
Leadership Montana Now Accepting Applications for Class of 2010
Leadership Montana, a statewide collaboration of higher education, community and business leaders, has begun accepting applications for the Class of 2010. This will be Leadership Montana’s sixth annual class. There are over 200 members from 45 Montana communities who have participated in Leadership Montana. Applications must be received by March 31, 2009.
USDA’s 2007 Census of Agriculture – Part I
In BoomtownUSA, we foresaw a movement of Americans to rural communities and farms primarily because of quality of life issues. The latest USDA Census of Agriculture, done every five years, has confirmed the trend that we saw, with the first real increase in the number of farms in USA in the last 30 years (and probably longer if they had included the data in this census). Americans are moving to smaller lifestyle and retirement farms at a faster pace than at anytime in the history of the country.
Become a Member of the International Economic Development Council
The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to helping economic developers do their job more effectively and raising the profile of the profession. When we succeed, our members create more high-quality jobs, develop more vibrant communities, and generally improve the quality of life in their regions.
Business Startups Critical to Job Creation
A recent Kauffman Foundation-funded U.S. Census Bureau study reports that “startup companies are a major contributor to job creation.” The Business Dynamic Statistics (BDS) include measures of establishment openings and closings, firm startups, job creation and destruction by firm size, age, and industrial sector, and several other statistics on business dynamics.
| Upcoming Events
City Club Missoula - March Forum: "Montana's Energy Outlook: Policy and Practice"
March 9, Holiday Inn, Missoula. If you’re looking for a broad view of where we are and where we’re going with energy in Montana, come to City Club Missoula’s March forum, where a panel of three speakers will talk about “Montana’s Energy Outlook: Policy and Practice.” For more information or to register click here.
Montana Venture Workshop With Bill Joos And Venture Capitalists
March 9th, Holiday Inn Parkside, Missoula. Bill Joos, principal of Go To Market Consulting, based in California's Silicon Valley, will highlight this event. Bill works with early stage start-ups, venture capital firms and their portfolio clients. To register click here.
Is The Government Marketplace For You?
March 10th, MSU-Billings Student Union Building. Federal, state and local governments are the world’s largest purchasers of goods and services. Find out how your small business can do business with these entities by attending this workshop. The cost is $20.00 and includes lunch. Space is limited so early registration is necessary; e-mail email@example.com by Friday, March 6th.
World's First Virtual Journalism Summit
April 6th, Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, Pullman, WA. Washington State University and McCormick Foundation are partnering for a unique Specialized Reporting Institute that will bring together leading technology executives and journalists to examine the recent rise of new media outlets and distribution within 3D virtual world spaces.
Designing the New West: Architecture and Landscape in the Mountain West
April 16 & 17, Gallatin Gateway Inn–Bozeman. This one-of-a-kind event, produced by NewWest.Net in cooperation with the Sonoran Institute, drew a sell-out crowd last year. Featuring presentations, discussions, workshops, socials and in-depth conversations among the region's top architects, developers, planners, policy-makers and many others. For more information or to register click here.
2009 National Extension Tourism (NET) Conference
The Yarrow Resort and Conference Center in Park City, Utah, June 14-17, 2009. There are approximately 70 presentations, panel workshops, and posters that have been proposed for the conference, currently under review by the Planning Committee, and they're hoping to have at least 120 to 150 conference attendees.
Montana's Workforce Training Grant Program
The Department is targeting this workforce training grant program to projects that can demonstrate tangible, measurable results involving employees working in the businesses that are receiving assistance. Potential applicants are encouraged to work with the Department's Regional Development Officer while preparing an application to the program. Click here to view the Application Guidelines.
Wells Fargo Housing Foundation: Homeownership Grant Program
The Wells Fargo Housing Foundation's Homeownership Grant Program supports local nonprofit housing organizations that help create home ownership opportunities for low- to moderate-income families. Grants are provided for the construction or rehab of owner-occupied homes, homebuyer education programs, or subsidies that help struggling families purchase or retain their homes. The next round of online applications will be accepted from March 1 through May 1, 2009.
Community Development “In the News”
Economic Times Boost Bartering in Idaho, Other States
Bartering, the exchange of goods and services for other goods and services, is making a comeback in Idaho and other states. Idaho Statesman (AP); Feb. 26
Mayor Asks City Employees to Give up Schedule Pay Raises
In her annual State of the City address, Bozeman’s Mayor Kaaren Jacobson asked city employees to voluntarily forgo their annual pay increase to help save jobs at the city. The Sun; Feb. 26
Montana Study: Museums Draw more Tourists than Casinos
A study done by the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research at the University of Montana found that museums draw more tourists to Indian Country than casinos do. Billings Gazette; Feb. 26
Study Details Montana Wind Farms' Effect on Wildlife
A study released Wednesday by Montana Nature Conservancy said 17 million acres in the state have high potential for wind-farm development, but that 7.7 million of those acres provide "critical habitat" for 30 species. Great Falls Tribune; Feb. 26
Laid-off Montana Miners Eligible for Federal Aid
The federal Trade Adjustment Assistance program offers additional aid to workers who lose their jobs because of competition from foreign imports, and the U.S. Department of Labor recently ruled that workers at Montana's Stillwater mine were eligible to receive benefits under the federal program. Billings Gazette; Feb. 25
PG&E Bankrolling Solar Plants
The credit crisis has pushed Pacific Gas and Electric Co. into a new business - bankrolling renewable power plants.The utility announced plans Tuesday for a five-year program to build enough solar projects throughout its territory to generate as much as 500 megawatts of electricity, roughly the same output as a mid-size fossil fuel power plant. Using money from a proposed increase in electricity bills, PG&E would own half of those plants and buy power from the rest. SFGATE; Feb. 24
Catching the Wind: Wind Turbine Tools of Lincoln, Montana Leads Way in Cutting-Edge Industry
Cell phone coverage only recently came to this rural mountain community bordering some of Montana's most famous wilderness areas. The nearest airport is 62 miles away, and the anchor employers are a beef jerky plant and the U.S. Forest Service. This is a beautiful spot on the globe, but for all its scenic splendor and off-the-beaten-path charm, Lincoln is an unlikely home for an international multimillion-dollar company on the verge of expansion. Missoulian; Feb. 22
When it Comes to Broadband Access, Rural West is Doing Dandy
The Rural West leads the nation in access to high-speed Internet. Farmers in the West have the better access than the rest of the nation to high-speed Internet, according to data from the 2007 Census of Agriculture. NewWest.net; Feb. 22
Ten Tips for the New New Economy
NewWest.Net's latest local event, "Get Digital: Ten Tips for the New New Economy," took place Tuesday night at Dauphine's, and we had a great discussion featuring Tim Christensen of Vann's, Mike Sparr of Goomzee, Cynthia Rademacher of Maverick Group, and yours truly as the moderator. NewWest.net; Feb. 18
Groups Take Possession of Plum Creek Lands in Montana
The second phase of the Montana Legacy Project, which will ultimately convey 310,000 acres of Plum Creek Timber Co. lands in the state to public ownership, was supposed to be completed by the end of this year, but the deal will be settled months earlier, with The Nature Conservancy and the Trust for Public Lands taking possession of 111,740 acres of timberland around Missoula that will eventually be transferred to the U.S. Forest Service. Missoulian; Feb. 17
Allegiant Plans Montana-California Flights
Allegiant Air plans nonstop flights between two Montana cities and Los Angeles. The airline based in Las Vegas says Billings service will begin on May 20 and will be offered twice a week. Missoula International Airport manager Cris Jensen confirms that airport will be served, as well, starting in May. Jensen says more information will be released at a briefing on Wednesday. Missoulian; Feb. 17
Butte, Montana's IBM Supercomputer Ready for Business
It has been described as a tool to help grow high tech, high paying jobs across Montana, something IBM representative Earl Dodd, who is contracted to help RMSC operate in Butte, said will be a product of a business model that is the first of its kind. Montana's News Station; Feb. 16
Getting the Word Out About Montana Travel
Travel Montana and the six tourism regions and 11 Convention and Visitor Bureaus (CVBs) use a variety of methods to promote vacations in Montana. One way of getting folks to learn about Montana’s attractions and events is by conducting what are called “FAM” tours. Big Sky Business Journal; Feb. 16
Five Myths About Affordable Housing
The downturn in the housing market has led to a lot of misconceptions about housing. This piece identifies five myths about affordable housing. The Tyee; Feb. 15
Economic Stimulus: $626 Million for Montana
How much money will Montana see from the economic stimulus bill approved Friday by Congress, and where will the money go? Here’s a breakdown from the Montana Economic Developers Association. NewWest.net; Feb. 14
Real Estate Trend Leverages Wide Open Spaces for Eco-Savvy Investors
While the allure of playing upscale cowboy remains big in the mountain West, for certain investors true luxury means access to the pristine wide open spaces of preserved land. For this eco-savvy group of "conservation cowboys," conservation easements and strategically placed limited home sites, like those offered by Sun Ranch Group Settlements on ranches near Bozeman and Missoula, Montana, merely sweeten the deal, saving historic ranch land for wildlife, habitat, recreational revelry. PR Newswire; Feb. 12
Ethanol Industry Stalls, Won't Meet Production Mandates
Last summer when oil prices hit $145-a-barrel, ethanol plants were pumping out product, investors were pouring cash into the next generation of ethanol made from wood and crop waste, but now that fuel prices are down and people are driving less, the industry has stalled, with one of the nation's largest ethanol producers shutting down 12 of its 16 plants. New York Times; Feb. 12
Can Sustainable Farms be a Sustainable Lifestyle?
Last year, Mariann Van Den Elzen of Field Day Farms farmed her own chemical-free vegetables from a 1.25-acre plot she leased from a local rancher. It was the first year of her life devoted to farming as a way of life. New West; Feb. 9
Western Governors' Association Maps out Renewable-Energy Zones
The Western Governors' Association worked with the Department of Energy to map out the areas of the West that have the highest potential for wind, solar and geothermal energy projects. Casper Star-Tribune; Feb. 8
The Rural Broadband Challenge: Use It - E-commerce Successes in Rural Montana
Broadband doesn't produce jobs, people do, and they need training in best practices and entrepreneurship and trusted networks of support. Rural broadband access is just half the battle -- maybe less than half, says Frank Odasz. Daily Yonder; Feb. 6
Montana High School Class Restores Cars for Charities
The plan for a Great Falls' high-school auto shop class was to use grant money to buy an old car, restore it and sell the car to raise money to buy more equipment for the Montana school's classroom, but more cars kept arriving, and now the class is restoring cars and donating them to local charities. Great Falls Tribune; Feb. 6
Montana Revives $527M Bill to Settle Crow Tribe's Water Claims
Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming opposed legislation submitted last year by Montana Sen. Jon Tester that would resolve water claims of the Crow Tribe that go back decades, and although Montana's congressional delegation have made changes to the bill submitted this session, Barrasso said he'll continue to protect Wyoming's rights to water in Bighorn Lake and the Bighorn River. Billings Gazette; Feb. 5
Census: Ag Income Up in Montana as is Number of Farms
New data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture from its census taken every five years said farm income in Montana increased $1 billion between 2002 and 2007; the number of acres farmed increased, and roughly 500 farmers said they were producing electricity on their farms. Billings Gazette; Feb. 5
Schweitzer Confident Montana Wind-Turbine Plant Will be Built
During his visit to Butte on Wednesday, Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer said that the wind-turbine manufacturing plant on which construction was to begin last fall will be built as planned, after Fuhrlander, the Germany company that is a partner in the project, completes construction on a plant in Germany. Montana Standard; Feb. 5
Montana Mine Lays off Nearly Half its Work Force
Montana Tunnels Mine in Jefferson City told 82 of its 186 employees to go home on Tuesday, as the Montana mine exhausted resources in its open-pit mine and cannot secure funding to expand; 104 employees will continue to process stockpiled ore. Helena Independent Record; Feb. 4
Mineral County Gets $50,000 for Economic Development
Mineral County has a lot of public land—at least 87% of the county is either state or federally owned—and the County was recently awarded $50,000 to help the residents and public land managers look at economic development opportunities that benefit residents while sustaining these lands. Clark Fork Chronicle; Feb. 3
Federal Stimulus Package Has Funds for Northwest Power Grid
Contained within the federal stimulus package under consideration in Congress, is a provision that would give Bonneville Power Administration, the not-for-profit federal agency that generates about 40 percent of the power consumed in the Northwest, $3.25 billion in additional borrowing authority, which would allow the utility to bring wind farms and other sources of renewable energy online.
Billings Gazette (AP); Feb. 2
Montana's Glacier Bancorp Voted No. 1 in the Nation
Bank Director magazine named Kalispell-based Glacier Bancorp the best bank in the country last week, the same week the Montana-based holding company made headlines when it joined about 20 community banks thus far in turning down federal bailout funds. Kalispell Daily Inter Lake; Feb. 2
Ethanol Loses its Buzz in Montana
Four years ago, Montana was one of 28 states that received a flex-fuel vehicle from General Motors, a one-year program designed to drive interest in E85, a blend of fuel that is 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, but since that time ethanol has slid down the priority list, with no private stations selling E85, and no Montana facility is creating the blend. Billings Gazette; Feb. 2
West's Seasonal Rivers Left High and Dry by Clean Water Act Ruling
The 2006 ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court was intended to clarify the scope of the Clean Water Act, but it left many of the rivers, streams and waterways in the West, particularly in the Southwest, without any oversight. An analysis. High Country News; Feb. 2
Land Link Montana Launches to Help Farmers Find Ground
Land Link Montana, a new program meant to help farmers and ranchers find fertile ground in Western Montana, was officially launched today. As the average age of the Montana farmer or rancher continues to increase, so does the pressure to sell farmland. New West Missoula; Feb. 2
Unemployment Gets Ugly in Rural Regions
Rural America was spared the large layoffs and rising unemployment during the first year of the recession. Most of the jobs lost through November 2008 were located in the nation's cities. News reports from around the country, however, show that rural America is now feeling the full brunt of the recession. New West; Feb. 1
The Top Trends Shaping Place
The Project for Public Spaces has released a summary of the top ten trends shaping the future of America's communities -- from public markets to community-based transportation planning. Planetizen; Jan. 31