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December 2008
President's Corner

We are official! MACDEP membership officially approved the MACDEP By-laws. Our By-laws are posted to the MACDEP and can be accessed by clicking here.

Our membership fees will be due at the end of December and we thank our membership for their continued interest and support. Detailed renewal information will be provided soon.

We look forward to 2009 as MACDEP continues to develop and become more established as MSU Extension’s newest professional association!

-Paul Lachapelle
MACDEP President
MACDEP Happenings/Member News

MACDEP membership fees are due by the end of December. You’ll avoid the NACDEP fee increase if you join before the 31st. More information will be sent to MACDEP members soon by our Treasurer, Sarah Hamlen. The membership rate is $60 if paid by Dec. 31st ($50 for the national association fee and $10 for the state fee). The national association fee increases to $75 after Jan. 1st. Members can join as state-only members for $10.

Several MACDEP members along with several Extension agents and specialists have formed a new Program Development Visioning Team; MACDEP Members Mandie Reed, Sarah Hamlen and Paul Lachapelle along with Extension Agents Tracey Brewer, Andrea Sarchet, and Nutrition Education Coordinator, Coleen Kaiser. Our goal is to begin to design a coordinated Program Development curriculum and training program for new and experienced agents alike. Please if you are interested in participating or learning more.

Many MACDEP members are involved in planning the 2009 Rural Community Conference. Conference dates are set for May 12-13, 2009 at the Strand Union Building at MSU in Bozeman. Please if you have ideas for speakers or would like to get involved in conference planning. Stay tuned for more info at: www.ruralcommunityconference.org.

Registration is now open for the 2009 NACDEP Conference, “Creating Sustainable Communities in a Changing Community” April 20-22, 2009, San Diego, CA. Early-bird rates are now available. More info at: NACDEP.net.

New Reports/Resources

American Community Survey
On December 9th, the U.S. Census Bureau will release the first Three Year Estimates of the American Community Survey (ACS). In this release cities and counties with population of 20,000 or more will get data covering demographic, economic, housing, and social characteristics. For more information visit the Census and Economic Information Center's website here.

MTHousingSearch.com is a Housing Resource For us All
As we all strive to build a better quality of life for Montana residents, the Montana Board of Housing and the Montana Department of Commerce Housing Division wants to make it easier for families and individuals to find and secure housing opportunities within our state.

New Information Access Report: Montana is Behind the Nation
A new study by Common Cause Montana and Dr. Richard Wolff, from the Montana State University, shows that Montana is behind the nation in the availability and functionality of interactive government web-based services.

Figure 1. Number of High-Speed Providers by 5-digit zip code
High Speed Providers in Montana
Source: Montana Common Cause

Montana Kids Count Releases 2008 State Data Book
Montana Kids Count is a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation and is a statewide effort to identify and track the status and well-being of Montana children by collecting and analyzing data about them. To view the entire data book, click here.

Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP)
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)'s new Neighborhood Stabilization Program will provide emergency assistance to state and local governments to acquire and redevelop foreclosed properties that might otherwise become sources of abandonment and blight within their communities. The Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) provides grants to every state and certain local communities to purchase foreclosed or abandoned homes and to rehabilitate, resell, or redevelop these homes in order to stabilize neighborhoods and stem the decline of house values of neighboring homes. More info about the program including related information on the maps below is available from the MT Department of Commerce.

Forclosure Risk Map
Source: Department of Housing and Urban Development 2008

Blight County Scores Map
Source: Montana Department of Revenue 2005

Health Insurance Coverage in Montana The U.S. Census Bureau recently released 2007 statewide health insurance coverage statistics and 2005 health insurance coverage for each Montana county by age group. Health insurance coverage was a campaign issue in the recent presidential campaign. On the surface, the percent of Montanans without health insurance fell from 17.1% in 2006 to 15.6% in 2007. Digging deeper, we see the increase in coverage is attributable to the increased use of Medicaid, the program for low income families and households. Employer health insurance coverage declined over the same period. For more detailed information, see the highlight here.

Percent of Montanans without Health Insurance Coverage
Source: Montana Census & Economic Information Center
Upcoming Events

Fergus County Regional Energy Development
12/3, Lewistown, Montana. The Fergus County Port Authority is organizing another round of energy development discussions with Sen. Jim Peterson (R-Buffalo chairing the meeting. They're calling it a “workshop,” which will be conducted something like a legislative hearing. It is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Central Montana Education Center, second floor meeting room on Wednesday, Dec. 3. The Center is located at 773 Airport Road.

CommunityViz Cost/Benefit Model for Urban Forest Green Infrastructure
Geodata Services, Inc. is offering a free webinar December 4, 2008 at 10:00am (MST) to demonstrate a new CommunityViz decision support tool for analyzing the costs and benefits of green infrastructure and urban forests.

Workshop On Wood Biomass As Energy Source
12/8, Helena. Anyone interested in learning more about producing energy from wood scraps and forest residues is invited to attend a “Wood to Energy” workshop Dec. 8 at the Helena Regional Airport. The day-long program is hosted by the Helena National Forest. It will feature discussions on wood biomass, liquid bio-fuels, solid wood heat and power, and fuel supply and delivery. The workshop is from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. To learn more, contact the Helena National Forest, at 495-3924 or .

Nonprofit Network Workshop - "Financials 101"
Dec. 15 Missoula. Workshops are free for individual and organizational members of the Missoula Nonprofit Network and $10 per person for non-members.  For more info contact:  (406) 541-4668 or

Business Days At The Capital
Helena, January 5 – 6. Hosted by the Montana Chamber of Commerce. For more information click here.

Realizing Montana's Energy Future
Helena, January 9 – 10 on the Carroll College Campus. For more information click here.






Grant/Award Opportunities

Festival & Event Funding
The Special Events Grant Program (SEGP) has undergone some changes that will allow more Montana festivals and events to apply for funding. The SEGP overview and application is available at their website or by contacting . The grant deadline is December 12, 2008.

HOME Program Application Guidelines are Now Available
The application deadline is Friday, February 13, 2009. The program estimates that $3,888,777 will be available for competitive grants.  NOTE: The HOME Program did not receive a sufficient number of applications to fully award its 2008 competitive funds and those unallocated funds are being rolled into the 2009 grant competition. More information is available at the Montana Department of Commerce.

New Community-Friendly Grants
A number of new grants have been added to the Extension Community Resources Program Website.

Community Development "In the News"

Missoula Community Foundation Fund Strikes it Rich
The Missoula Community Foundation has supported more than 50 projects during the past seven years with over $100,000, supporting local institutions like the Missoula Art Museum and Missoula Children’s Theater. Foundation leaders say they aim to help charities and donors get the most bang for their buck. Missoula Independent; Nov. 27

Community-Based Progress in Post-Katrina New Orleans
The grieving period has ended, and now resilient New Orleaneans are taking it upon themselves to rebuild their beloved city. Though it's sure to be a slow process, this could very well be community organization at its best. Planetizen; Nov; 26

Fifteen Montana Communities Chosen for Horizons Development Program
The fifteen communities are Alberton, Choteau, Cut Bank, Darby, Ennis, Eureka, Geyser, Harlem, Hays, Libby, Malta, Sheridan, Superior, Stanford and Twin Bridges. Montana State University News Service; Nov. 25

30 Best Cities to Find a Job Include Billings, Great Falls and Missoula
There are several cities with low unemployment rates and sizeable job growth. Here are 25 cities with the lowest unemployment rates and the job growth they're experiencing. Careerbuilder.com; Nov. 24

Important Court Decision Restores Local Govt. Control on Zoning for Wireless
Robert E. Smith, AICP, explains the impact of recent court decisions on the ability of local governments to control the placement of wireless towers in their communities. Planetizen; Nov. 24

Montana Loses Jobs as Construction and Support Services Decline
Montana's unemployment rate has inched upward to a still-healthy 4.8 percent, according to the most recent figures from the Montana Department of Labor and Industry, as every sector but healthcare and hospitality services contracted. NewWest.net; Nov. 24

Butte Citizens Say: Bring More Jobs to Town
Local government's priority should be jobs. Montana Standard; Nov. 23

Another Employer in Montana City Announces Layoffs
On the heels of the announcement that RY Timber would close down for two weeks and a Montana mine layoff that idled 170 employees in Park County, PrintForLess.com laid off 12 employees at its Livingston facility, the third major employer in the Montana city to announce employment cutbacks in a week. Bozeman Daily Chronicle; Nov. 20

Missoula Downtown Master Plan Nears Completion
`The master plan that's in the works for downtown Missoula will take many years to implement, but if you want to do your part today to push it along, the consultants have a suggestion for you: shop local, and, especially, shop downtown. NewWest.net; Nov. 20

New Federal Floodplain Maps Affect 280 Homes in Montana County
Changes in federal floodplain maps along Tenmile and Silver creeks in Montana's Lewis and Clark County could affect 280 homes in those floodplains, and final maps are expected to be adopted within the next year. Helena Independent Record; Nov. 20

IBM Supercomputer Heads to Butte
"It's an ideal situation for building new economic activity," he said. "This is stuff that needs to be done for the competitiveness of Montana." RMSC estimates the supercomputer will create 137 jobs in Uptown Butte and 250 statewide within the first three years of operations.  Montana Standard; Nov. 19

Montana County Approves 3 Open-Space Measures
The Gallatin County Commissioners approved three conservation easements at their meeting on Tuesday, protecting 5,000 acres in the Montana county from development. Bozeman Daily Chronicle; Nov. 19

Seeing is Believing: Conservation & Trails in Montana - The Last Best Place
Gallatin Valley Land Trust, City of Bozeman officials, and local champions continue to collaborate to create Bozeman's cherished "Main Street to the Mountains" trail system and have, to date, placed over 32,000 acres of land into conservation in Southwest Montana. MATR; Nov. 19

Court Opens Mitchell Slough in Landmark Stream Access Case
For more than 20 years, the Mitchell Slough in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley has become a showcase of the battle between public access and private property rights and Monday the Montana Supreme Court ruled in favor of the former. NewWest.net; Nov. 18

Missoula Wants a Chance to Tap Its Visitors With a Tax
Missoula Mayor John Engen has asked department heads to cut costs, and he has planned with Alec Hansen of the Montana League of Cities and Towns to lobby for a local option sales tax at the upcoming legislative session in Helena. NewWest.net; Nov. 18

Montana, Wyoming Among 9 States Not Facing Budget Shortfalls
States and cities across the nation are feeling the current economic pinch, with most facing budget shortfalls, although Wyoming, Montana and Alaska are not among the 41 states with cash deficits.  Christian Science Monitor; Nov. 14

Cost of living in Bozeman well Above National Average
Bozeman continued to be the most expensive place to live in Montana, a local business network reported Wednesday, with housing the likely culprit. Bozeman Daily Chronicle; Nov. 13

Agreement Addresses Challenge of Delivering High-Quality Emergency Healthcare to Rural Areas
SwiftMD, the revolutionary telemedicine firm, today announced that it has been selected by Ameya Preserve in Bozeman, Montana, to be the sole telemedicine supplier for each of the 300 new homes built in its development. Under the terms of the agreement, the first of its kind in the United States, the company will provide emergency medical services, via the phone, Internet or bi-directional video, to all residents and Ameya Preserve employees and their families. Yahoo Finance; Nov. 12

Global Bicycle Production Bicycle Production Reaches 130 Million Units
Bicycle production reached 130 million units in 2007, a continuation of the upward trend that has characterized production for most of this decade, according to the latest Vital Signs Update. Global output continued to be largely a Chinese affair, with China producing two of every three bikes made worldwide. Worldwatch.org; Nov. 12

Montana Town Council Votes to Ask for Superfund Status
The Superior Town Council's unanimous vote Monday night was the first step for the Montana town to become an Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund site, as Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer must carry the request to the Environmental Protection Agency. Missoulian; Nov. 12

Semitool Lays Off Workers at Montana Plants
Semitool Inc. is the third-largest employer in Montana's Flathead County, and on Monday, the manufacturer of wafer processing equipment for the semiconductor industry announced it was laying off about 100 workers at its plants in Libby and Kalispell. Kalispell Daily Inter Lake; Nov. 11

Western Unemployment Picture
September 2008 Montana, 4.6% Idaho, 5% Colorado, 5.2% October 2008 Idaho, 5.4% Labor statistics show the eighth consecutive rise in unemployment, with six rural counties at over ten percent each. NewWest.net; Nov. 10

Public Comments Flood in on Montana Clark Fork Superfund Plan
Earlier this summer the Montana Natural Resource Damage Program released its proposal for divvying up $167 million in restoration funds for 2 million acres between Butte and Montana contaminated by decades of mining, and the agency has received a torrent of public comment on how those funds should be spent. Missoulian; Nov. 10

Great Falls Development Authority's New Web Site Up and Running
Enhancements to the Web site include improved navigation as well as new features such as facts and data, success stories, investor relations, the business development center, real estate information, news and events notices, and drop-down boxes providing direct access to web pages. Great Falls Tribune; Nov. 9

Qwest Settlement Cuts Telephone Rates by $16M, Expands DSL Service
Qwest, which serves 260,000 telephone customers in Montana, has agreed to settle a five-year-old dispute over its rates and services by cutting rates $16 million a year and expanding high-speed Internet into 27 small towns. Missoulian; Nov. 7

Blackfoot Telecommunications Group Doubles Contributions to Western Montana Food Banks
Blackfoot Telecommunications Group http://www.blackfoot.com today announced their plans to double contributions to Missoula and five Western Montana Food Banks in light of record breaking food shortages in the communities they serve. While demand for food is increasing, area food banks are seeing food supplies and cash donations drastically decreasing. MATR; Nov. 6

Great Falls, Montana Ready to Grow
Montana was recently announced to be one of the top three states with their growing economies and because of that more people and companies will be looking to move to Montana and Great Falls." Steve Malicott, new president and CEO of the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce. Great Falls Tribune; Nov. 2
MSU Extension Community Development
Wilson Hall 1156 P.O. Box 172240
Bozeman, MT 59717-2240

Tel: (406) 994-3620