Happy 2009! We have a lot to look forward to including the 2009 Rural Community Conference, the 2009 NACDEP Conference, and continuing our work with Horizons. More info about each in the MACDEP Happenings section. Thanks to all for renewing their MACDEP Memberships.
MACDEP Happenings/Member News
2009 Rural Community Conference
Several MACDEP members are actively involved in planning for our 2009 Rural Community Conference May 12-13 in Bozeman at MSU, including leading several Break-out Sessions. More information about the conference available at: www.ruralcommunityconference.org. If you’re interested in helping to organize the conference, please email us at: .
Membership for MACDEP now Due
MACDEP Treasurer Sarah Hamlen is coordinating our membership dues for both NACDEP (our national association) and MACDEP, the state association. It’s not too late to join both. The national membership fee is $75 and the state fee is $10. If you’re on a budget, you can join just state association.
MACDEP members continue to be involved in the latest Horizons Program; read more about each of the communities and the progress they are making at: http://montana.communityblogs.us/. For more information about the Horizons Program, go to: http://horizonsmt.org/.
2009 NACDEP Conference
Registration for the 2009 conference “Creating Sustainable Communities in a Changing Community” April 20-22, 2009, in San Diego, CA is now open. The Double Early Bird Member rate of $350.00 must be received by January 16, 2009. More info at: http://nacdep.net/confs/2009/Conf2009.htm.
American Community Survey: Three Year Population Estimates
December 9, 2008, the U.S. Census Bureau released three-year estimates for entities with a population of 20,000 or more. With nearly 2 million annual interviews, the ACS survey is smaller than the 18 million housing units that provided long form data for Census 2000. As a result, for smaller populations, the ACS data combines population or housing data to produce reliable multi-year estimates. The data can be found through the U.S. Census Bureau's American FactFinder.
Council of Development Finance Agencies Releases 2008 TIF State-By-State Report
The CDFA 2008 TIF State-By-State Report is a detailed review of the current state statutes and related regulations governing the use of tax increment and similar special district financing tools throughout the country. This information has been collected by CDFA with the help from practitioners in the industry.
Headwaters Economics Creates New Interactive Tool
Research shows there are three distinctly different types of counties in the West, defined by their access to major markets and population centers. This web-based interactive tool will help community leaders make better decisions in several important ways such as learning more about what type of county you live in, comparing your county to a similar county or counties, and creating a detailed county socioeconomic profile.
Release Highlight: Montana's Aging Workforce
On December 1st, the Census and Economic Information Center released information regarding the state of Montana's aging workforce. The figure below highlights the percentage of workers aged 45 to 54 by county of workplace for Montana. The full report published by the U.S. Census Bureau is available by clicking here.
Figure 1. Percentage of Workers Aged 45 to 54 Years Old by County of Workplace in Montana: 2004
Source: Montana Census and Economic Information Center
Report Shows Widening Wage Gap in Montana, Idaho
A report released this week by a consortium of advocacy groups shows a widening gap between how much money families can earn in the Northwest and what they need to pay for basic living expenses.
DRAFT Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund (BSTF) Program Guidelines
The 2009 draft BSTF program guidelines are available for comment on the MT Department of Commerce Website (MDOC). Local governments may apply for assistance in the form of grants and loans for economic development projects that create net new qualifying jobs for Montana residents.
Community Development Director
In close partnership with the City Manager’s office, the Future Sturgis initiative, the Sturgis Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) and the Sturgis Area Chamber of Commerce, the Director of Community Development will facilitate all aspects of economic and community development for the City of Sturgis. More information is available by emailing or you can reach her by phone at (605) 347-4422.
Community Engagement Director - MSU Bozeman
Director Division of Health Sciences at the Center for Native Health Partnerships. The Community Engagement Director is responsible for development and establishment of community-based partnerships by building collaborations between key members of community based groups who have an interest in addressing specific health disparities facing their community and the researchers of the Montana University System who have both the expertise in the particular area of health research and the commitment to work in a community based participatory research (CBPR) approach.
Montana Economic Outlook Seminar: Montana’s Transportation Future: Opportunities Around the Next Curve
The 34th Annual Montana Economic Outlook Seminar is heading to nine Montana cities in January, February and March of 2009. As the country officially enters a recession, Montanans are wondering how the local and state economies will be affected. Economic researchers and experts from the Montana University system will present their forecasts and recent findings.
Nonprofit Network Workshop - "Creating A Fundraising Development Plan For Your Organization"
January 21, 2009; location: TBA. Sessions will discuss events such as, fundraisers and friend-raisers, marketing, planned giving, direct mail, database management, stewardship, special and major gifts and grants and volunteer recruiting and retention. More information is available by emailing .
South Dakota RC&D to Host 2009 Western RC&D Conference
January 25, 2009, Spearfish, SD. Anyone who is interested in developing local community projects will find a wealth of information from speakers and attendees actively involved in a wide variety of projects such as the following: rail-trails formation and maintenance, watershed restoration, park development, economic development, biomass energy, grazing systems, community forestry, housing initiatives, and wind power.
Can We Talk? A Community Conversation
January 30, 2009; Billings. In learning the concept to Gracious Space (hospitable space), participants are invited to join in a community conversation on behalf of positive change. Participants will leave the conversation with a greater understanding and awareness of the complexity of issues our community is dealing with. For more information contact the College of Professional Studies & Lifelong Learning at phone: (406) 896-5890.
Montana Ambassadors Annual Conference February 26th and 27th in Helena. T. Boone Pickens is the keynote speaker. The theme is "Energy Jobs for Montana". Information and registration will be available soon at the Montana Ambassadors website.
New Community-Friendly Grant Opportunities
Several new community-friendly grant opportunities have been added to the MSU Extension Website.
EPA Community Actions for a Renewed Environment(CARE) Program: Request for Grant Proposals
Nearly $3 million in cooperative agreement funding through CARE is available to communities at the local level from EPA, which has issued a request for proposals. Application deadline is March 14, 2009. For a list of frequently asked questions, click here.
Jenny Jones Announces Continuation of Community Grant Program
Jenny’s Heroes provides grants of up to $25,000 each to fund projects that promise long-term community benefits. Funds so far, have been used to provide items and services such as library books, school computers, firefighting gear, nursing home upgrades, free dental services, wheelchairs, and coats for children in domestic violence shelters. The program's focus is primarily on smaller communities where fundraising can be difficult.
Community Development “In the News”
Time is Ripe for Commuter Rail in West Montana Valley
The growing population of Montana's Bitterroot Valley, as well as the graying of that population, and the increased public support of mass transit has created an ideal environment for passenger rail service between Hamilton and Missoula. Ravalli Republic; Dec. 31
Helena, Montana sees Significant Drop in Energy Usage, Emissions
A report compiled by Helena officials and the city’s Climate Change Task Force shows that the Capital City’s government reduced its energy usage between 2001 and 2007 by 22.1 percent and its carbon dioxide emissions by 18.1 percent. Helena Independent Record; Dec. 27
Consumer Confidence Falls, Montana Survey Says
If you’re interested in consumer behavior, here’s something you’ll want to know: Montanans are gloomier about the economy than any time in the last 15 years, a new University of Montana report says. NewWest.net; Dec. 18
The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Says that the Regional Economic Outlook is Optimistic for Montana
“Montana is pretty strong after being battered by a five-year drought,” Madden said. “And recently it is pretty strong on the energy, mining and tourism side of things,” he explained. “With natural resources being strong over the last few years, Montana and the Dakotas are faring pretty well compared to the rest of the district.” Missoulian; Dec. 18
Montana County OKs Open Space Purchases
The Missoula County commissioners approved a conservation easement on 177 acres of land on Evaro Hill that protects a section of an old trail to the Jocko Valley, and released $200,000 of open space funds that will ultimately protect 18,000 acres of former Plum Creek Timber Co. land in Montana's Blackfoot Valley. Missoulian; Dec. 18
University of Montana Recognized for Community Engagement by the Carnegie Foundation
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching announced today that it was awarding its "community engagement" classification to 119 colleges as part of an effort to encourage more higher-education institutions to reach out to the world around them. MATR; Dec. 18
Economist: Montana Insulated From National Recession
Larry Swanson of the Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Missoula said the national recession will have less of an impact on Montana than on other states, and that the recession in the Big Sky State won't be as harsh or as long as that seen nationally. NewWest.net; Dec. 17
Residents ask Montana County for Emergency Zoning Rules
The residents who live near Georgetown Lake in Granite County have asked that Montana county's commission to implement emergency zoning regulations while permanent solutions are studied. Montana Standard; Dec. 17
Recycling Movement Hits Headwind in Small-Town Montana
Whether she's on the way to the airport or dressed to the nines to attend a concert, Pam Hillery hauls plastic and glass bottles every time she treks the 110 miles from Havre to Great Falls — the nearest place to recycle them. Great Falls Tribune; Dec. 14
Rocky Mountain Mines Wait for Word on Rio Tinto Layoffs
International mining company Rio Tinto announced Wednesday that it would eliminate 14,000 jobs, although there hasn't been any indication yet if any of those jobs will be cut at Rio Tinto's five coal mines in the Rocky Mountain, three in Wyoming, and one each in Colorado and Montana. Casper Star-Tribune; Dec. 11
Montana County Commission Vote Takes Zoning off Ballot
In 2010, voters in Ravalli County were to have voted on a ballot measure that could have put zoning in the hands of voters, but the Montana county's commission negated the need for the ballot issue by approving a measure that prohibits zoning without public approval. Ravalli Republic; Dec. 9
Google Brings Street View to Montana
Now, with the introduction of Street View for Montana you can also see 360-degree street level images of cities, towns and regions in our neck of the woods. Manifestbozeman.com; Dec. 9
Internet Group Wants Broadband In Every Pot
A coalition of more than 120 public-interest organizations plans to host a series of town hall meetings to discuss the future of the Internet and public access to broadband. InformationWeek; Dec. 8
Jumping on the Brand Wagon - Helena - “The West’s Learning Center”
Helena’s hotel owners are backing a plan to tax themselves a dollar per room per night, with the money going toward marketing the city. Helena Independent Record; Dec. 7
Telecommuting Programs Make Organizations Lean, Mean, And Green
The most energy-efficient office is the one that's never built. Now, advances in remote access technologies may finally make telecommuters just as secure and productive as those working at HQ. InformationWeek; Dec. 6
Downturn Has Builders in Bankruptcy, or Just Getting Out
Small construction companies are seeking bankruptcy protection in Montana like never before, say Montana bankruptcy lawyers. NewWest.net; Dec. 5
Economic Woes Pounds Construction Industry in Montana
Sales of existing homes and new home starts have plummeted across Montana, idling contractors and construction workers, with the state's fastest-growing areas hit hardest, including Ravalli County, where new home starts are down 37 percent since last year and down 37 percent in Belgrade. Ravalli Republic; Dec. 4
Montana County Approves Multi-Year Loan for Supercomputer Project
The Butte-Silver Bow Commission approved a three-year loan to Rocky Mountain Supercomputing Centers, the nonprofit that will operate a supercomputer in the Montana city, with RMSC getting $130,000 the first year, and $125,000 in each of the two following years. Montana Standard; Dec. 4
Montana Sawmill Celebrates 100th Anniversary
The Stoltze family's Half Moon sawmill in Montana began as State Lumber in December of 1898, and the mill is still operating. Hungry Horse News; Dec. 4
Montana Town Officials, Blackfeet Tribe Members Discuss Discrimination
At a meeting in Browning on Wednesday, Cut Bank officials met with members of the Blackfeet Tribe to discuss past instances of discrimination tribal members have experienced in the Montana town and what can be done to prevent future such events. Great Falls Tribune; Dec. 4
Economy Halts 'Brownfield' Development in Montana
Plans for a mixed-use development on the former Champion Mill site across the river from downtown Missoula are on hold until the economy picks up and the housing market in the Montana city improves. NewWest.net; Dec. 3
Developer Sells 18 Acres Near Montana City for New Wal-Mart
The developer of Hutton Ranch Plaza in Montana confirmed that he had sold 18 acres in the Kalispell shopping center to Wal-Mart, where the giant retailer intends to build a SuperCenter and close its store in nearby Evergreen. Flathead Beacon; Dec. 2
MATR now has a Facebook Group. Now You can Communicate with Other MATR Subscribers
Join today and see who's also reading MATR and interested in networking. MATR; Dec. 2
Cities: Use What You've Got
According to Philip Myrick, communities that will fare the best economically are the ones that think locally and employ placemaking strategies. Project for Public Spaces; Dec. 1
FCC to Vote on Free Wireless Broadband Across U.S.
Assuming the plan is approved at the FCC's Dec. 18 meeting — one of the agency's last before President-elect Obama takes office — free broadband could become reality within a year. USA Today; Dec. 1
Montana City Signs $20 Million Deal for Landfill-Generated Methane Gas
Billings city officials signed an agreement this year with Montana-Dakota Utilities to sell methane generated by the Montana city's landfill for $20 million over the next four decades, but the city's decision to sign away future energy credits to the utility has generated criticism from some quarters. Billings Gazette; Dec. 1
Whitefish Gives Nod to Chickens
The Whitefish City Council approved an ordinance that exempts female chickens from livestock regulations and instead labels them as pets in residential areas. Single and two-family households can now have a maximum of five chickens as long as they are kept in a fenced-in side or backyard. They are not allowed in front yards. Flathead Beacon; Dec. 1