The 2009 Rural Community Conference is taking place May 12-13 in Bozeman and with registration nearly full, we couldn’t be more pleased with the interest and turnout. Many thanks to the many MACDEP members who are attending, presenting and volunteering at the conference. We look forward to seeing you in Bozeman!
MACDEP Happenings/Member News
Registration still open for the 2009 Rural Community Conference May 12-13 in Bozeman
We are nearly at capacity with 200 registrants but have room for a few more individuals. The Agenda, Session Descriptions and Speaker Bios have been posted to the Conference web site. With 24 Break-out Sessions and nationally-known speakers (ex. Philip Aaberg, composer and musician from Chester, MT; Kevin Walker, president and chief executive officer of the Northwest Area Foundation) there is sure to be useful information for all. We also still have limited scholarships available. For more information, email: . Register Today!
Congratulations to the 2009 NACDEP Award Recipients from Montana!
A series of awards were presented to Extension educators from Montana at the 2009 National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals (NACDEP) Conference in San Diego on April 22. There were 15 Extension educators who were the recipients of the NACDEP Excellence in Community Development Programming – Team Regional Award for their work on the Horizons Phase 3 Program; Katelyn Anderson; Damon Bunting; Kevin Chamberlain; Tim Guardipee; Tom Harrington; Rae Lynn Hays; Janna Kincheloe; Mark Major; Mark Manoukian; Tara Mastel; Paul Lachapelle; Bobbie Roos; Andrea Sarchet; Wendy Wedum; and Jane Wolery. In addition, Barb Andreozzi received the Distinguished Service Award for her work as an Extension educator in Montana for more than 20 years of service. Tara Mastel and Paul Lachapelle received the Educational Piece – Team Regional Award for their MTGuide on Focus Groups. Paul Lachapelle was also the recipient of the Educational Technology – Individual National Award for his Board Leadership Training program. Congrats to all of the MACDEP award recipients!
Horizons Community Report Available
A new 24-page color report is now available detailing many of the accomplishments in each of the 20 Horizons communities that participated in Phase 1 and 2 of the program. Download the full report! Also, the Horizons video showcasing Boulder and Whitehall has been posted to YouTube. The 16-minute video can be viewed in two parts. Click here for Part 1 and Part 2.
Community Development Society 41st Annual International Conference
This year’s conference, Celebrating Community: Creating Hope in Uncertain Times will take place July 26-29, 2009 in Memphis, TN. This CDS conference is an excellent complement to NACDEP conferences. Registration is now open and there are sure to be many NACDEP members attending and presenting.
Per Capita Personal Income and Montana Relative to US Average
Figures from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) show per capita personal income grew 2.9 percent nationally in 2008 compared to 4.9 percent growth in 2007. Per capita income is calculated as the total personal income of the residents of a state divided by the population of the state. Total personal income includes wages and salaries, transfer payments, dividends, interest, and rental income. Montana's per capita income grew by 3.1 percent in 2008 as compared to 7.0 percent in 2007. For 2008, Montana's per capita personal income was $34,256 ranking it 38th among the states and improving Montana's ranking from 39th in 2007. Per capita income is used as a broad measure of the extent of improvement in an economy. Rising personal income levels allow individuals to provide for their families, buy homes, and improve their standard of living. Montana's per capita personal income for 2008 was $34,256 compared to $21,130 in 1998. As the following graph demonstrates, Montana has made significant progress in closing the gap with the U.S. average. In 2008, Montana's per capita income was 86.18 percent of the average for the U.S. compared to 78.6 percent in 1998 and a ten-year low of 76.84 in 2000.
State Personal Income 2008 info released from U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis
U.S. personal income growth slowed to 3.9 percent in 2008 from 6.0 percent in 2007 with all states except Alaska sharing in the slowdown, according to preliminary estimates released recently by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. The U.S. growth was the slowest since 2003. Inflation, as measured by the national price index for personal consumption expenditures, rose to 3.3 percent in 2008 up from 2.6 percent in 2007. The range of state growth rates was wide. The high end included oil-producing states such as Alaska, Wyoming, Oklahoma, and Texas that benefited from the rise in oil prices, which peaked in the first half of 2008. Annual employment levels in 2008 in these states exceeded their 2007 levels. At the other end, personal income growth was less than the 3.3 percent national inflation rate in 13 states in 2008. These states include Florida, Arizona, Michigan, and Nevada that had among the largest percentage declines in employment in 2008.
Community Development “In the News”
Linerboard Plant in Montana Extends Layoff to June Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. announced Tuesday that it was extending the 10-day shutdown at its linerboard plant in Frenchtown another 30 days, putting hundreds of its workers in Montana off the job until June 1. Missoulian; April 29
Montana Tribes to Get $17M in Federal Stimulus Funds for Jobs
The seven Indian reservations in Montana will share $17 million in federal stimulus funds to create jobs. Great Falls Tribune; April 28
Sun Ranch in Montana's Madison Valley up for Sale
Roger Lang has listed his Sun Ranch, an 18,500-acre spread in Montana's Madison Valley that gained a lot of attention because of an ambitious conservation program, for sale for $55 million. NewWest.net; April 28
Plum Creek Timber Co. Closes Another Montana Sawmill
Citing a national downturn in the construction market, Plum Creek Timber Co. notified its 87 workers at its Pablo sawmill in Montana that it will close permanently in 60 days, and put 199 other workers at its sawmills in Evergreen and Columbia Falls that those mills may stay open, close temporarily or close permanently as well. Missoulian; April 28
SME Asks Montana to Modify Air Permit to Allow Natural-Gas Power Plant
On Friday, Southern Montana Electric Generation and Transmission asked the Montana Department of Environmental Quality to modify its air-quality permit for a coal-fired power plant near Great Falls to allow a natural-gas power plant to be built. Great Falls Tribune; April 28
Video Network Brings City Expertise to Montana's Rural Health Care Facilities
The REACH Network is a video conferencing system that links 18 health care facilities across Northcentral Montana and the Hi-Line. Great Falls Tribune; April 26
Railroad Anxiety - Burlington Northern Sante Fe is Up to Something
The railroad giant has approached property owners in Whitefish and Somers, offering to buy their land. No one knows why, exactly, not even those who have been asked to sell. And BNSF isn’t talking – leaving entire neighborhoods apprehensive about what their backyards may soon look like. Flathead Beacon; April 24
Hardin, Montana Wants its Empty Jail to be New Gitmo
The development authority in Hardin, a city of 3,400 people bordering the Crow Indian Reservation, built the $27 million, 460-bed jail two years ago and has been looking for tenants ever since. Its construction loans are in default. Boston Globe, April 23
MATR Roundtable - Making Money Online With Jesse Lakes
May 8, 4:30 PM, Missoula, MonTEC Conference Room Are you maximizing the revenue potential of your website? While it's marketing your goods and services, is it also giving you a check or checks each month? Join Jesse Lakes to talk about ways to maximize the money you make from your website and the clients you win.
IEDC Business Retention and Expansion Course and/or the 2009 Montana Bear Roundup
May 12-13, Missoula
This dynamic course on business retention and expansion, sponsored by PPL Montana, is fast approaching. You have the option of attending the entire course or opting for the 2009 Montana BEAR Roundup. You may recall Montana Ambassadors hosted this event last year. All are welcome to attend.
2009 Innovation in Business Conference
May 18-21, 2009, Helena - Red Lion Colonial Inn
The third annual event is for Montana's private sector businesses, and professionals representing workforce development, education, and economic development. The agenda is planned with business partners in mind, providing valuable information to owners or leaders in Montana businesses, as well as workforce professionals.
Bootstrap Montana Seminars
May 19-20, Glasgow and Havre Join this opportunity to learn about “bootstrapping” – building your business with little or no outside investment capital. The seminars will include training on the tenets of bootstrapping. They will also cover entrepreneurial best practices in sales, internet marketing, and finance.
Providing Leadership in a Challenged Economy
June 11-12, Fairmont Springs
The theme of this year’s MEDA Annual Meeting and Conference is to equip Montana’s economic developers with up-to-date information on new recovery programs, new technology, and the tools necessary so they may serve as resourceful leaders in revitalizing Montana’s economy.
2009 Economic Gardening Conference
June 17 - 19, 2009, Fort Sisseton State Park, Lake City, South Dakota
Learn more about Littleton's program of nurturing small businesses rather than offering incentives to attract large businesses.
Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) funds The Montana Department of Commerce has published a Request for Proposals (RFP) for projects that would like to utilize NSP funds.
Prospera Business Network Establishes New $750K Loan Fund Prospera Business Network announced recently that the organization has been awarded funding to establish a new $750,000 loan fund to assist businesses in Gallatin County and Park County. The funding, which comes through the USDA’s Rural Development Intermediary Relending Program and the Montana Board of Investments, is provided to economic development organizations that then make loans to local businesses.
2009 Montana Tourism Infrastructure Investment Program (TIIP) Grant Application materials are now available. The 2009 Travel Montana, Tourism Development TIIP Application Deadline is August 3 and they expect to have a $300,000 Grant Pool. The minimum TIIP Grant is $20,000. With the required hard match of $1 for every $2 the TIIP Grant provides, the smallest project eligible for TIIP grant funding is a $30,000 project. For more info, contact Victor Bjornberg at 406-841-2795, firstname.lastname@example.org
Gardenburger Community Garden Grants
Are you interested in starting up a garden in your community? Available grants range from $1000-$10,000. The deadline for applying is May 15th.
National Forest Foundation: Mid-Capacity Assistance Program
The National Forest Foundation was established by Congress to support the USDA Forest Service in its management of the nation's forests and grasslands. The Foundation's Mid-Capacity Assistance Program promotes the creation of locally based forest partnerships seeking to resolve natural resource issues through a collaborative, dialogue-based process. Grants of $35,000 per year for up to two years are provided and require an annual match of $10,000. Proposals must be received by June 12, 2009.
Baseball Tomorrow Fund
The mission of the Baseball Tomorrow Fund, a joint initiative between Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association, is to promote the growth of baseball in the United States and throughout the world by funding programs that encourage youth participation in the game. Grants may be used to finance a new program, expand or improve an existing program, undertake a new collaborative effort, or obtain facilities or equipment necessary for youth baseball or softball programs. Invited grant applications are due January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1, annually.
All Aboard - Missoulians Organize to Get North Coast Hiawatha Back on Track
Warren McGee, a wily 95-year-old from Livingston who worked as a railroad conductor for 40 years, spoke up in a room of train buffs and offered his idea for how to revive passenger rail service in southern Montana. Missoula Independent; April 23
Montana's Glacier National Park Will get $17.6M in Stimulus Funds
Glacier National Park in Montana will spend $15.6 million of its $17.6-million share of the National Park Service's $750-million slice of federal stimulus money on ongoing restoration work at the Many Glacier Hotel and use the remaining $1.9 million on other facility upgrades and to repair backcountry trails and campgrounds. Great Falls Tribune; April 23
Missoula-Based Sustainable Systems Fails to Pay Farmers
Sustainable Systems, a Missoula renewable-fuels firm, is negotiating a settlement with the governments of Montana and North Dakota for outstanding payments to farmers for oilseeds. The company's Montola oilseed crushing plant in Culbertson sits idle for lack of capital. In addition to biofuels, Sustainable Systems produces culinary safflower oil. Billings Gazette; April 22
Read a Western Perspective on Rey's tenure at USDA
In an interview with University of Montana professor Martin Nie in March, Mark Rey talked about his eight years as undersecretary of Agriculture in the Bush administration. Headwaters News; April 22
Transportation Director: Montana Is Ready To Spend Stimulus Money
The Montana Department of Transportation is receiving $211 million extra dollars from the federal government through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for projects this year, says MDT director Jim Lynch. New West; April 20
Western Planners Predict New Density, Redevelopment Patterns
At a NewWest.net conference on development in Bozeman last week, Missoula and Bozeman planners said new development in cities in the West will focus more on infill and redevelopment rather than the sprawling subdivisions of past decades, and suggested that communities need new, more proactive, building and zoning codes. NewWest; April 20
Montana Company Part of Three-Pronged Approach on Water System
Montana-based Formula Fusing, Nebraska-based Isco Systems, and Alberta-based Spider Plow have teamed up to create a virtually leak-free water delivery system for rural areas. Billings Gazette; April 19
Researcher: Northern Rockies Housing Market Near Bottom, Will Rebound Soon
As the national economy comes out of the recession and sets a course for the future, changes in demographics are going to radically shift demands for housing, not only in the Mountain West, but around the country. New West; April 17
Community Development Block Grant Program Awards $20,000 to Butte-Silver Bow for Rocket Testing Facility
"We have an exciting aerospace industry developing here in Montana," said Governor Brian Schweitzer. "The AeroTec project will open many doors for Butte and create valuable partnerships with industry leaders. This project will help take Montana's aerospace industry to the next level." MATR; April 17
Montana Schools on, Near Reservations get $1.6M in Federal Funds
U.S. Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester announced Thursday that 28 schools on or near Montana's seven Indian reservations will share in $1.6 million of federal stimulus funds allocated to improve or repair school facilities, with Browning Elementary receiving the largest share of $304,110. Great Falls Tribune; April 17
ClearSky Climate Solutions Helps Missoula’s Businesses Become Carbon Neutral
In each case, ClearSky performed an appraisal of the business, measured the approximate amount of greenhouse gases normally produced—aka, the carbon footprint—and then worked to offset that amount to zero. Missoula Independent; April 16
Proposed Mine in Montana 'Poster Child' for Reworking 1872 Law
A silver mine proposed in the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness Area in the Kootenai National Forest in extreme Northwest Montana is being offered as Exhibit A in the battle to rework the 1872 hard rock mining law, but the mining industry says this is not the time to impair companies that provide good-paying jobs in states that need them. New York Times; April 16
Appraisal Sets Value of Montana Coal Reserves at $1.4 Billion
The coal reserves owned jointly by Montana and Great Northern Properties in the southeastern corner of the state were appraised to be worth $1.4 billion, and while the Montana Rural Education Association and private industry are pushing for development of those reserves, environmental groups and others are fiercely resisting such development. Billings Gazette; April 14
Prospering Rural Communities
The general view of rural America is one of dying rural communities, beset by poverty, a lack of opportunity, declining populations. Research led by Andrew Isserman, a professor in the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois, concludes that this consensus is unfounded. Boomtown Institute; April 10
Yellowstone Park Visitor Numbers Down This Winter
The number of visitors to Yellowstone National Park from December 2008 through March 2009 was down 13.2 percent from the same time period a year ago, and Yellowstone officials said lack of snow during the early part of the season and the national economy both played a part in the lower visitor numbers. Billings Gazette; April 3