Many members of MACDEP are involved in planning and presenting at the upcoming Rural Community Conference. Please join us in Bozeman, May 12-13 for this exciting conference. This is a great opportunity to learn more about community development efforts, partner with organizations around the state, and network with other communities. We hope to see you there!
MACDEP Happenings/Member News
Agenda Posted: The 2009 Rural Community Conference
May 12-13 in Bozeman. Agenda, Session Descriptions and Speaker Bios have been posted to the Conference web site: Registration is still open although space is filling fast; Registration is $95 if received by April 15. We have 24 Break-out Sessions in the areas of Community Food Networks; Community Foundations / Non-Profits; Community Infrastructure / Housing; Economic Development; Education; Energy; Health, Health Care, and Wellness; Native Communities; Senior Services; Transportation; Understanding Poverty; and Youth Development. The conference will also include nationally known speakers; Philip Aaberg, composer and musician from Chester; Nancy Matheson, special projects coordinator for the Montana Department of Agriculture; Kevin Walker, president and chief executive officer of Northwest Area Foundation. Aaberg will speak on challenges and assets in rural communities with a special piano performance on the evening of May 12. Tickets for this performance will be available to the general public.
Montana Seasonally-Adjusted Unemployment Rate
As reported recently by the Research & Analysis Bureau of the Montana Department of Labor and Industry's Workforce Services Division, figures increased by 0.6% over the month, reaching 5.6% for January 2009. The national rate also rose, reaching 7.6% for January. Please note: the graph below reflects revised population controls, seasonal factors, and model re-estimation for 2004-2008. Also presented are unemployment rates by county.
2008 County Population Estimates
The U.S. Census Bureau released their estimates on March 19th. The figure below from the MT Census and Economic Information Center (CEIC) shows July 1 population estimates by county as well as information on the six fastest growing counties. Additional information at the CEIC includes rankings and estimates of components of population change (births, deaths, net internal migration and net international migration) for all counties.
Small Towns - BIG IDEAS - Case Studies in Small Town Community Economic Development
The North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center is pleased to release “Small Towns, Big Ideas: Case Studies in Small Town Community Economic Development,” the result of a collaboration between the center and the School of Government of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Income and Per Capita Income for the Nation, States and Regions
The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released preliminary 2008 personal income and per capita income for the nation, states and regions on March 24th. The 2007 personal income statistics were also revised. Montana's per capita income in 2008 is $34,256, a 3.1% increase from 2007. Montanans realized a 4.3% increase in personal income. Also available are the Montana highlight and links to BEA's press release and detailed tables.
Entrepreneurial Activity in Montana and the United States
According to a recent report by the Research & Analysis Bureau of the Montana Department of Labor, entrepreneurial activity can be an important indicator of a region’s economic well-being. The information below provides details on entrepreneurial activity in Montana for 2007 and 2008 and rates in Montana and the United States for 2007.
Montana Ambassadors Conference (with T. Boone Pickens and Gov. Schweitzer) So that the momentum created during the conference can continue, special links have been made available on the Montana Ambassador website.
How to Create a Motivating Work Environment
These days, leaders are looking for way to keep their employees focused and motivated during challenging economic and business conditions. With layoffs, pay freezes, furloughs, and 401K cuts, there’s plenty of bad news going on that a leader can’t control that can drag a team down. So what can a leader do to create a better kind of environment? Here are 10 ideas.
Community Development “In the News”
Serving up Authenticity to Tourists in Montana
Selling the experience of visiting Montana is paramount to growing the state's tourism industry, an Ohio-based author and consultant said Monday. Helena Independent Record; March 31
Tribe Awaits BIA Approval for Montana Oilfield Project
The Bureau of Indian Affairs must approve plans of the newly formed Fort Peck Energy Co. to tap into oil reserves on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in northeast Montana. Great Falls Tribune; March 27
Montana City Considers its Future After Downtown Block Burns
All but one of the buildings destroyed in Monday's fire in downtown Miles City were on the National Register of Historic Places, and 15 businesses in the Montana city were shuttered by the fire, putting 40 to 50 jobs in jeopardy. Billings Gazette; March 25
OwnEnergy Inc. Soliciting Bids to Develop Wind Farm by Geyser, Stanford
Prompted by interest from a New York developer, the state of Montana is soliciting bids to develop what would be Judith Basin County's first commercial wind farm. The RFP is available for viewing and download at the DNRC Website under the Bids/RFPs section. Great Falls Tribune; March 24
Rocky Mountain Laboratory Seeks Public Comments on Master Plan in Hamilton
The goal of the 20-year master plan is not only to promote better scientific research at the National Institutes of Health facility in Hamilton, but to make the 33-acre site appear more like a small-town college campus where cerebral endeavor and a serene setting are in harmony. Ravalli Republic; March 23
There's nothing small about the 1,980-mile-long, $7.2 billion Keystone XL Pipeline TransCanada is building from Alberta to Texas to carry crude oil from the Canadian province to refineries on the Gulf Coast, including the $57.6 million the project will dump into Montana's coffers as it passes through 283 miles of the Big Sky State. Billings Gazette; March 22
Scientific evidence: Global Warming Drying Montana
Montana will have shorter winters, dry and hot summers and larger forest fires as a result of global climate change, a Nobel laureate says. And despite the naysayers who claim that human activity is not a factor in global climate change, burning fossil fuels is clearly contributing to a rise in temperatures across the globe, said Steve Running, a professor of ecology at the University of Montana. Montana Standard: March 21
SBA Selects Sidney as Montana Small Business Community of the Year
The Small Business Administration has selected Sidney as its organization’s winner of the 2009 Montana Small Business Community of the Year. Leslie Messer, Richland Economic Development’s executive director, nominated Sidney for the honor. Sidney will be recognized, along with other recipients, during an awards ceremony in Missoula June 5. Sidney Herald; March 21
Biomass Power Plant Proposals Floated in the Flathead
F.H. Stoltze Land & Lumber Co. has proposed generating up to 12 megawatts of electrical power in a co-generating plant that would replace the 100-year-old boiler at its Half Moon sawmill. Whitefish Pilot; March 20
USFS Plan for Montana Forests to Share Personnel Won't Cut Jobs
The plan for the Lolo and Bitterroot national forests in Montana to share resources won't result in the loss of any jobs, U.S. Forest Service officials said, but rather is a plan to share resources across a shrinking staff. Missoulian; March 20
Another NW Montana Sawmill Restarts Operations
Just days after Plum Creek Timber Co. put 140 employees back to work at its Columbia Falls mill, F.H. Stoltze Land and Lumber Co. announced it would restart production at its mill in the Montana town on Monday, eventually putting all 100 of its employees back to work. Missoulian; March 20
The Global Economic Recession and Montana’s Energy Future
The fallout from global economic recession ripples through Montana. In addition to unsettling lives, the economic downturn has important consequences for Montana’s energy policies. Here are some. free-eco.org; March 20
Looking at Montana Business in 2009
Predictions about Montana’ s economy had to be adjusted by the experts at least three times last year, so volatile and unusual were the events that unfolded in 2008. “By now it’s obvious that the recession is not going to be short and mild,” said economist Paul Polzin, and it’s just as obvious that it isn’t going to miss Montana, as it did twice before. Big Sky Business Journal; March 19.
The Montana Agriculture Development Council Selects Growth Through Agriculture Projects
"Growth Through Agriculture is a key program in the Montana Department of Agriculture's efforts to assist entrepreneurs in adding value to the state's agricultural commodities, thereby enhancing business opportunities in rural communities," said Ron de Yong, director of the Montana Department of Agriculture. MATR; March 19
Montana Kids Learn Business, Finances, Entrepreneurship
The Castle Rock student is among more than 220 Billings middle school students learning about entrepreneurship and other business topics through Junior Achievement. Billings Gazette; March 18
MSU Native American Studies Symposium Features Montana Tribal Histories
April 6th and April 8th, MSU Foundation and Alumni Building, Great Room. Representatives from Montana's tribal colleges will report on the histories of the state's tribes during a Native American Studies symposium. Sponsored by the MSU Department of Native American Studies, the two day event will feature presentations from the tribal college history project research teams. It is free and open to the public.
The symposium precedes the 34th annual MSU American Indian Council Pow Wow to be held April 10 and 11 at MSU's Brick Breeden Fieldhouse. For more information, contact Jennifer Woodcock at MSU's Department of Native American Studies, (406) 994-3881.
April 8th and 9th, Great Falls and Helena. Building an early stage capital infrastructure is more important than ever in trying economic times. Great Falls Development Authority is partnering to bring the Kauffman Foundation/Angel Capital Education Foundation program. Contact to register.
Free Conference "Making Wind Energy Work For You"
April 9th 9:00am – 4:00pm
Registration will begin at 8:30
Greet the Dawn Auditorium, Fort Peck Community College, Poplar. This event is co-sponsored by Fort Peck Community College, Montana State University Extension and Montana's Agro Energy Plan. It is designed to provide agricultural producers, tribal and community leaders and others with unbiased information about wind development in Montana. Those attending the conference will have the opportunity to tour a small scale wind turbine located in Poplar. The conference is free of charge but pre-registration is requested. For more information or to pre-register contact the FPCC staff at (406) 768-3025.
Web Conference: What's All This Talk About Social Capital?
April 9, April 30 and May 21, 10am - 11:30 am central time.
The North Central Regional Center for Rural Development is offering this three-part online series as part of the Foundations of Practice program, Component 3 Areas of Specialization and Emphasis. The purpose of this program is to enable Extension educators to understand the basic idea that social capital is an important asset for both individuals and communities. Discussion will focus on how strong networks can be used to leverage benefits to communities.
Neighborhood Conservation Clubs: Open House
Saturday April 11th, 2:00pm – 3:00pm, 810 South Willson, Bozeman. In your house, out your door, or down your street; the City of Bozeman’s Neighborhood Conservation Club (NCC) program is a process for you and your neighbors to work together and conserve resources. Over the past several months dozens of people throughout Bozeman have shown interest in the NCC program and many are currently forming their clubs. To help inspire interested residents, Ron Gompertz and his wife Michelle Gantt have generously agreed to host a guided tour of their historic Bozeman home. Ron is the owner of Eco Auto, a Bozeman based business specializing in all-electric vehicles for fleet and personal use. Their recently completed renovation includes such features as a photo voltaic electric system, a solar hot water panel, Montana’s first legal gray water system, radiant floor heating, eco-friendly siding, extensive use of sustainable building materials, a drought tolerant garden with native species and drip irrigation system, and an EPA certified wood-burning stove. You can preview the home at www.bozemanhouse.com. If you are interested in joining this exciting event please RSVP with , NCC Coordinator by email, or call (406) 994-0882 and leave a message. To learn more about the Neighborhood Conservation Club project please visit the City of Bozeman’s NCC website.
Licensing Your Innovation: Developing the Knowledge and Skills to Net the Best Deal
Wednesday, April 15th, 9:00am - 4:00pm, Montana Manufacturing Extension Center, MSU. MTIP, Montana's Technology Innovation Partnership, is pleased to offer "Licensing Your Innovation: Developing the Knowledge and Skills to Net the Best Deal," a technology- and innovation- focused workshop presented by experienced licensing professional Marti Elder. Cost is $75 (includes lunch and materials).
Global Trade Certification Program- DATE CHANGE!
The opening session dates have been moved from March 26-27 to April 16-17! The opening reception will take place in Bozeman April 16 at the Montana Ale Works. For more information and registration please contact Nicole Hagerman at 406 -243-5856. Additional details on course topics, speakers, continuing education and CLE credit, registration and past programs is also available.
Workshop: Small Business Recession Assistance
May 12th, Miles City Community College. Has Your Business Been Effected by the Recession? Do you want to increase sales or start a new business? The SouthEastern Montana SBDC will be hosting a small business workshop covering several tools and solutions. This workshop is for all of southeastern Montana so space is limited. Contact the SBDC today to reserve your spot: 406-748-2990 or send email to:
Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund (BSTF) 2009 Guidelines Now Available
The 2009 Application Guidelines and Forms for the Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund (BSTF) Program with the Montana Department of Commerce are now available at this link, or may be requested by contacting the Department.
Funding Update for Select USDA Rural Development Programs
Just a quick update on funding for various Rural Development programs so that you can prepare accordingly. Funding is a little later than normal and application windows may be short because of it. Some programs will have additional funds to support Montana applications in 2009. You may find the program information and application materials on our website.
EDA American Recovery Act Program
EDA is pleased to announce the solicitation of applications under its $150 million American Recovery Act Program. EDA is soliciting applications from eligible applicants in all U.S. States to fund projects that will advance economic growth in communities and regions experiencing chronic high unemployment and low per capita income. EDA’s goal is to create an environment that fosters innovation, promotes entrepreneurship, and attracts increased private capital investment. The deadline for receipt of applications under the Recovery Act Program is June 30, 2010. All other information and requirements for the EDA American Recovery Act Program may be found on EDA’s website.
MT Dept. of Commerce CDBG's New Application Guidelines
Info is on the web for FFY 2010 Public Facilities Grant Applications (due May 22, 2009) and for FFY 2010 Public Facilities Guidelines (due April 17, 2009).
Farmers Market Promotion Program
The USDA Agriculture Marketing Service offers funding up to $100,000 to increase domestic consumption of agricultural commodities by expanding direct producer-to-consumer market opportunities. Examples of direct producer-to-consumer market opportunities include new farmers' markets, roadside stands, community supported agriculture programs, agri-tourism activities, and other direct producer-to- consumer infrastructures. Application deadline is April 27, 2009.
NEW Community-Friendly Grant Opportunities
NEW community-friendly grant opportunities have been added to the MSU Extension Website.
Winners of the First Annual Montana BetterBricks Awards Announced
At the first annual Montana BetterBricks Awards, three outstanding leaders in the green building industry were honored for their efforts by BetterBricks, the commercial initiative of the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, along with NorthWestern Energy and the Montana Electric Cooperative Association (MECA). The winners were announced at the Montana Ambassadors Annual Conference, which was held in February at the Great Northern Hotel in Helena. Northwesternenergy.com; March 17
Montana is Poised to be a Leader in Energy Development
Earlier this year, Gov. Brian Schweitzer and Sen. Jon Tester challenged 300-plus participants gathered for the "Realizing Montana's Energy Future" conference to identify Montana's role in the emerging energy economy. Co-sponsored by the Burton K. Wheeler, NorthWestern Energy and Carroll College, the conference brought together national, regional and local experts in the production and distribution of both traditional and renewable energy as well as consumer advocates. Great Falls Tribune; March 16
Study: Perception of Tourism's Role in Montana is Changing
As Montana’s population grows, new residents may bring with them a more positive attitude about tourism — possibly because they were a tourist here before they moved to Montana. Big Fork Eagle; March 13
Montana Ranked 12th Happiest State
Researchers hope the findings will help employers better understand what they can do to create more productive workers. Eventually, the data could even be used to compare health and happiness by ZIP code. The survey is going to be generated for 25 years, according to current plans. Flathead Beacon; March 12
Through Recovery Act, Montana to Receive Additional AmeriCorps Members
Our goal is to place these 43 additional members along with 60 already planned members in non-profit organizations and public agencies by no later than July 2009. This is all very exciting, it will be the first time in Montana’s history that we have attempted to place over 100 VISTA members at one time. MATR; March 11
Montana Forests Get $1.9M for 4 Water-Enhancement Projects
A nearly eight-mile stretch of Rye Creek Road in Montana's Bitterroot National Forest will be rebuilt this year, one of four projects funded by federal economic stimulus money in Montana forests designed for water enhancement. Ravalli Republic; March 10
Montana City's Plan Calls for Higher-Density Growth Downtown
The Downtown Master Plan for Missoula calls for 60 units per acre on at least a quarter-acre strip on the Montana city's Hip Strip, a plan city officials said will save open space on the fringes of the city. Missoulian; March 10
Rising Costs, Environmental Concerns Halt Coal Projects in Montana
Eastern Montana and Wyoming lie atop the richest deposits of coal in the world, but environmental concerns and the rising costs of building coal-fired power plants has stalled construction of one plant in Montana and 23 others across the nation, although the Department of Energy says coal-fired power is still going strong, with 28 plants currently under construction and an estimated 600 operating in the U.S. now. Billings Gazette; March 9
Glendive Chosen Site for Multi-Million Dollar Facility
Not only will it be good for the town economically, he said, but it also made the most sense for the IM project. Three potential sites from Billings to Glendive were considered. “This needed to be in eastern Montana,” he said. “Billings is east, but it’s not eastern.” MATR; March 5
Developer, Montana Landowners Reach Accord on MATL
Tonbridge Power Inc. announced Tuesday that it had reached a deal with the four Montana landowners for easements to allow the Montana-Alberta Tie Line, a transmission line between Great Falls, Mont. and Lethbridge, Alberta, to cross their lands, but the developer has yet to ink deals with Alberta landowners in the path of the project. Great Falls Tribune; March 4
Montana and United States Falling Behind in High Speed Internet Adoption
Countries like Canada, France and South Korea have better, faster Internet connections. People in Japan can download an entire movie in just two minutes — it can take two hours or more in the United States — but they pay the same as we do in the U.S. for their Internet connection. MATR; March 3
Group Pushing for Livingston Passenger Rail-Car Plant
The proposed Livingston facility would produce railroad passenger coaches, baggage cars, sleepers and diners for Amtrak, commuter railroads and excursion lines in America, said McMillan, a former engineer for Northern Pacific and Burlington Northern railroads and Amtrak. Bozeman Daily Chronicle; March 1