Comments and suggestions continue to come in regarding the 2009 Rural Community Conference. If you are interested to play a role in planning the 2010 conference, or have suggestions for speakers or sessions, please .
MACDEP Happenings/Member News
Rural Community Conference Web Stream Available
The Web stream of nearly every break-out session and keynote address is available at the RCC website. We would appreciate your comments on our Conference Evaluation to help make next year's Conference even better. We are also nearly ready to roll out the 10 Issue-based Blogs (on the topics such as Community Foundations, Housing, and Health and Wellness). Sign up for the Blogs here.
Community Development Society Conference Hotel Room Rates Increase July 3
The CDS Conference will be held in Memphis, TN July 26-29, 2009. Hotel rates increase July 3 so contact the Marriott Memphis Downtown at 1-800-228-9290 for reservations.
Montana Census and Economic Information Center Releases New Gross Domestic Product Data
The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by State shows a 1.8% percent change between 2007 and 2008 for Montana, ranking the state 15th in the nation for the fastest increase in Real GDP. GDP by state is the state counterpart of the Nation's gross domestic product (GDP), the Bureau's featured and most comprehensive measure of U.S. economic activity. GDP by state is derived as the sum of the GDP originating in all the industries in the state. An industry's GDP by state, or its value added, in practice, is calculated as the sum of incomes earned by labor and capital and the costs incurred in the production of goods and services. That is, it includes the wages and salaries that workers earn, the income earned by individual or joint entrepreneurs as well as by corporations, and business taxes such as sales, property, and Federal excise taxes–that count as a business expense.
Survival Rates for Montana's Startups
The Montana Department of Labor and Industry's Research Analysis Bureau has just released new information about survival rates for Montana’s new business startups. The statistics on survival rates by size and industry may suggest targets for specialized technical assistance from government or private programs that work to provide information and help for entrepreneurs in order to improve Montana’s new business survival rates.
Figure 1 displays the breakdown of the start dates for these businesses by quarter. During the time period of 2001 to 2006, the number of new business births per quarter trended upward, which is not surprising due to the economic conditions during this time period. Montana’s economy was growing during the 2001 to 2006 timeframe. During periods of economic expansion when economic optimism is high and demand is strong, there are a greater number of business startups. The survival rate for all Montana new businesses is shown in Figure 3.
New 2008 Data on Age, Race and Gender from the Census and Economic Information Center
Population estimates by Age, Gender, Race, and Hispanic Origin were recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau. These 2008 estimates are available at the state and county level. Also included on the web page are data maps showing the number and percent of the population 65 and over and population under 5.
Practitioner's Guide to Economic Development Finance
The Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA) is pleased to announce the availability of our newest publication. Practitioner's Guide to Economic Development Finance: Building and Utilizing the Development Finance Toolbox features over 60 different finance tools and programs and is the only resource of its kind. The Practitioner's Guide provides the insight and practical information needed to critically understand how economic development is financed and the tools, strategies and techniques used to build strong communities. By utilizing the toolbox approach, economic development practitioners, public officials and private sector leaders can harness the full spectrum of the development finance industry to support business growth, build public financing capacity, increase investment and secure redevelopment and development projects.
Montana Chamber Releases Legislative Scorecard
The Montana Chamber of Commerce recently released its 2009 Voting Review of the 61st Legislative Session. The review is the most comprehensive look at the business and economic issues addressed during the 90-day session. Over 100 bills are included in the scorecard, which received national recognition for its scoring methodology after the 2007 session.
Community Development “In the News”
Montana Base Will Get 170 New Jobs Under Air Force's New Plan
Under the Air Force's restructuring plan released Friday, 170 military jobs would be added to Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana, along with 17 civilian jobs. Great Falls Tribune; June 28
A new system of bike storage debuts in Palo Alto and Redwood City, CA next week. The Bike Arc aims to be more elegant and space-saving than the standard U-shaped rack. Architect’s Newspaper; June 26
Air in Hundreds of Neighborhoods Carries Elevated Risk of Cancer
Residents in 600 American neighborhoods are breathing air with levels of pollution that put them at an elevated risk of developing cancer. Planetizen; June 26
Gasping for Air in America
Next American City's Hamida Kinge review of "State of the Air" report from the American Lung Association has dire news for the majority of Americans. Next American City; June 26
Changes to SBA 504 Loan Program Allow Businesses to Refinance Existing Debt
Small businesses seeking to expand will be able to refinance existing loans used to purchase real estate and other fixed assets as a result of permanent changes to the 504 loan program, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced today. Oregonian; June 25
Montana Forester: Beetle-Killed Trees at Risk of 'Barnburner' Wildfire
The acreage of beetle-killed trees could double this year in Montana, and that may provide vast amounts of fuel for wildfires, a Montana state forester said in Helena Monday. Missoulian; June 23
Energy Panel Curbs NorthWestern Energy's Rate Setting to Montana
Federal officials ruled that NorthWestern Energy will not be allowed to negotiate rates for power it sells to out-of-state markets carried by its Mountain State Transmission Intertie, which will carry power between Montana and Idaho, a decision that won't deter the company from building the 500-kV line. Montana Standard; June 23
Montana Emerging From Years-Long Drought
A healthy snowpack last winter and lots of spring rain has brought Montana's rivers, streams and reservoirs up to near average conditions, which is a sign that Montana and the West are slowly recovering from the five-year drought that started in 2000. Missoulian; June 22
3rd Hellgate Venture Network Event
July 9th, 4:30 PM, Holiday Inn Parkside, Missoula - No speaker. No agenda. Just networking and socializing. Feel free to invite other entrepreneurial folks to attend and join the group.
National Folk Festival
July 10th-12th Butte - Celebrating the West and it's all FREE. The lineup for the second National Folk Festival taking place in "Butte, America" July 10-12 stars about 250 singers, dancers and other artists, along with hoofed performers from all over Montana.
PNEDC Economic Development Leadership Summit
July 12th-15th, Boise, Idaho - E3: The Next 50 years in Economic Development, Energy and Entrepreneurship. Today’s tough economy has helped our region refine its focus and play to our strengths. Through collaboration and coordination, combined with insights from leading expertise, the PNEDC Economic Development Leadership Summit will help you chart a course for a prosperous next 50 years. Join colleagues from the Pacific Northwest region and learn about the interplay of economic development, energy and entrepreneurship as we grow our way through the 21st century!
Montana BioScience Annual Meeting
July 17th, 5:30 PM, GSK Biologicals 553 Old Corvalis Road Hamilton, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm, Reception will be July 16th, 5:30 pm. Register now.
Mobilizing Rural Communities: The Northern Plains Initiative Conference
October 8th-9th, Holiday Inn Grand, Billings - NEW SPEAKER ANNOUNCED. Donna M. Beegle, Ed.D. is a highly experienced National public speaker, discussion leader, trainer, and the author of See Poverty, Be The Difference, a resource book for professionals who work with individuals in poverty. Donna has worked and written articles providing insights and strategies for communicating more effectively across race, class, gender and generational barriers for 17 years. Donna's inspiring story and work have been featured in newspapers around the nation, on local TV and on National programs such as PBS. Her work on poverty is being featured in a Documentary titled: "Invisible Nation". Donna has worked with educators, justice professionals, health care providers, social service agencies, and other organizations all over the nation who want to make a difference for those struggling with poverty.
Community Vitality Grants, Scholarships and Donations from Triangle Communications
The Triangle Communications Community Vitality Grant Program offers monetary support to organizations or groups in its 16 county service area that are positively impacting their communities. Eligible projects include: Civic Improvements; Special Events; Job Creation; Seniors Citizens; Culture; Arts; Health, Safety and Human Organizations and others. The Triangle Community Vitality Grant Application has basic guidelines for eligibility and is a simple form to complete. Applications are reviewed monthly. Please apply at least 30 days in advance. Triangle is also proud to support eligible community and non-profit organizations' projects through sponsorships and donations of funds, products, gift items and some services. Contact Kev at 1-800-332-1201, ext. 864 or her for more information or assistance.
REAP Applications for Grants and Loan Guarantees
The Notice of Solicitation of Applications (NOSA) for the Renewable Energy for America Program (REAP) was published in the Federal Register recently. USDA Rural Development is now accepting REAP applications for grants and loan guarantees for renewable energy and energy efficiency systems, and also is including grant funding for feasibility studies this year for the first time. Agriculture producers and rural small businesses are eligible to apply for this funding. The application deadlines for both the facility funding and the feasibility funding are July 31st.
FY 2009 Rural Community Development Initiative Funds
John D. Guthmiller, USDA-Rural Development Montana Business Cooperative Programs Director, announced that the Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) for the Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) is available. There are $6,256,000 available in competitive grant funds. The purpose of this initiative is to provide a program of technical assistance to Recipients, through a qualified Intermediary, to develop or increase their capacity to undertake projects in the areas of housing, community facilities, and community and economic development in rural areas. Deadline for receipt of applications is September 24, 2009.
Rivers and Trails Assistance Deadline
The National Park Service helps partners plan successful locally-led outdoor recreation and natural resource conservation projects. August 1 is the deadline for the next round of assistance from the Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance (RTCA) Program. Applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss project ideas with RTCA staff before submitting an application.
Recovery Act Grant to Create Jobs, Boost Development in Montana
U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and U.S. Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester recently announced a $2.7 million Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant for the State of Montana to capitalize a Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) that will provide timber and wood businesses with the financing they need to become more competitive.
New Montana Distressed Wood Products Industry Recovery and Stabilization (WPIRS) Website
On this website you can access information about the 3 WPIRS funding sources, State WPIRS, EDA WPIRS, and CDBG WPIRS. You can also access the Application Guidelines for both the State WPIRS program and the EDA WPIRS program. There is also a link to the Community Development Block Grant - Economic Development webpage, where the CDBG WPIRS Application Guidelines will be published soon.
NINE New Community-Friendly Grant Opportunities have been added to the MSU Extension Website
Montana City Requires Applicants to Provide Web Site Passwords
Bozeman has been requiring applicants for jobs with the Montana city to provide log-in information and passwords to any social networking web sites, such as Facebook or MySpace, for years, but the American Civil Liberties Union of Montana thinks the requirement may be over the line. Bozeman Daily Chronicle; June 19
Northcentral Montana Events Center Back on Drafting Board
A diverse group is once again discussing building a center in northcentral Montana to host events ranging from major athletic tournaments to conventions, conferences and concerts. Havre Daily News; June 18
More Energy Leases on Montana's Rocky Mountain Front Retired
Two more developers have given up their right to develop energy leases on 18,770 acres in the 130,000-acre Badger-Two Medicine area of the Rocky Mountain Front in Montana. Great Falls Tribune; June 18
Sidewalks Key Factor Influencing Physical Activity
A new study provides further evidence that incorporating sidewalks into existing neighborhoods is a practical and inexpensive way of encouraging people to exercise. Planetizen; June 18
Business Owners Frustrated with Sanders County Community Development Corp
Brooker said the Lake County Community Development Corp. helped Sanders County start its version, and is helping again since the resignation of Executive Director Steve Simonson and the loss of county funding for the position. Marshall is volunteering his time; chairman Milanna Shear said they hope to be able to hire a permanent executive director again in July. Missoulian; June 17
How are Cities Experiencing the Recession?
A new Brookings Institution study shows that American cities are experiencing the recession at "radically varying levels." Planetizen; June 17
Top Five Concerns About New Bike Lanes In Our Community
Below are the top five of these that I have gathered via local blog posts, with responses that should be appropriate for many other cities undergoing similar discussions with doubtful members of their communities. Planetizen; June 15
Fire Destroys Tire Warehouse in Montana City
A fire in downtown Butte engulfed a historic building early Thursday morning and the $2 million worth of tires inside, while officials are calling the fire "very suspicious" after callers reported two other fires in the area that morning. Montana Standard; June 12
Montana County Gets $100,000 Grant to Study Septics
Ravalli County landed a $100,000 federal grant to study how best to install new septic systems to protect the county's drinking water, which is susceptible to sewage contamination because it lies just under the ground's surface. Ravalli Republic; June 8
Montana Extension Agent Warns Grasshopper Infestation Worst in Decades
Lake County extension agent Jack Stivers said 100 grasshoppers per square yard are showing up at monitoring sites in the Montana county, foretelling a disastrous season for farmers and ranchers. Missoulian; June 5
Plum Creek to Close 1 Montana Sawmill, Cut Production at Another
Plum Creek Timber Co. officials said the national housing slump and lack of demand for wood products leave them no option but to indefinitely close down its Evergreen mill in Kalispell, putting 63 Montanans out of work, and production will be scaled back at its Columbia Falls mill. Missoulian; June 5
Opposition to Montana-Idaho Power Line Grows
At a meeting Thursday night in Butte, the head of the "Move MSTI" association, said that membership in the group that opposes all three proposed routes of a NorthWestern transmission line that will run between Townsend, Mont., to Twin Falls, Idaho, is growing. Montana Standard; June 5
Ravalli County to Look at Passenger Rail Service Between Missoula and Darby
Rick O'Brien, executive director of the Bitterroot Valley Chamber of Commerce, proposed the idea of forming a committee to gain support and possibly startup funding. More than 20 residents from the valley attended the “Tracks in the Bitterroot” presentation. Missoulian; June 5
Why is Montana so Entrepreneurial?
The fact that two of Montana’s entries into the US Small Business Administration’s (SBA) annual competition, were not only regional award winners, but were top national contenders, speaks to the caliber of Montana’s small business owners. But, then, Montana SBA entries have been top national contenders on a consistent basis, far beyond its per capita expectations. Big Sky Business; June 4
Pine-Beetle Destruction Forces USFS to Close Montana Campground
Park Lake campground and day-use site southwest of Helena will be closed the entire year because mountain pine beetles have killed nearly 5,000 trees in and around the Montana campground, creating a hazard. Helena Independent Record; June 4
USFS Gets $228M in Stimulus Funds for Road Work
More than half of the $228 million in federal stimulus funds for road work on U.S. Forest Service lands will go to five Western states, with Idaho getting $44 million; Oregon will get $32 million and Montana $31.5 million. Helena Independent Record; June 3
EPA OKs Cleanup Plan for Montana Town
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has signed off on a $11.8-million cleanup plan for Neihart, a Montana town contaminated by unsafe levels of lead and arsenic left behind by decades of mining. Great Falls Tribune; June 2
Montana Tribe Celebrates Launch of Bus System
Residents of the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Montana have the option of taking the bus to work, doctor's appointments, school and other commitments now that the tribe has a transit system. Billings Gazette; June 2
The Pedaling Revolution
PEDALING REVOLUTION: How Cyclists Are Changing American Cities by Jeff Mapes, a political reporter for The Oregonian and long-time bike commuter in Portland, details how cycling and advocacy are changing America's urban landscape. Planetizen; June 1
State Stimulus Money for Montana Goes to Out-of-State Firms
Tens of millions of federal stimulus dollars intended to put Montanans to work may never make it to the state, as they already have been promised to large, multinational corporations. Meanwhile, local companies - which are fully qualified to do the work - continue to lay off employees. Missoulian; May 31
Refurbished Anaconda, Montana Short-Line Thrills Newbies and Train Aficionados
Last season, more than 5,000 passengers rode the Copper King Express. As the train hummed, riders peered out the windows for animals and called them out. A running elk, a fox and an antelope all made appearances, and Fitzpatrick was lucky enough to spot the antelope. “It's beautiful, because you wouldn't get to see this country in a car,” Fitzpatrick said. Missoulian; May 31