Many thanks to all the MACDEP members who provided input and attended our Annual Business meeting. Draft minutes containing all of the meeting details will be available soon and posted at the MACDEP website.
MACDEP Happenings/Member News
NACDEP Conference Awards and Scholarships Available
NACDEP is pleased to announce that awards nominations and applications are currently being accepted. Applications, additional requirements and supplemental materials will be accepted through November 18, 2009. Categories for awards and links are available. NACDEP members may also apply for partial fee waiver scholarships. Applications are due on or before November 30, 2009.
Montana Unemployment Rates by County
The Research and Analysis Bureau of the Montana Department of Labor and Industry has recently published unemployment rates for Montana counties as of August 2009. Darker colored counties have unemployment rates of 7.8 to 12.2%.
New Montana Report looks at Look at Unemployment Insurance Claims Data in Montana
A new report by the Montana Department of Labor examines the details of Montana’s unemployment situation, including unemployment by industry, gender, age, and educational attainment.
The Rural Recession
A new report from the US Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service looks at how the economic recession is affecting rural areas. In general, according to the report, things are a lot worse in America's nonmetro areas.
The Myth of Rural America
CQ Weekly, Congressional Quarterly's weekly publication, has recently released an issue highlighting misperceptions of growth in rural America. It includes information on changes in population growth in rural and urban settings, and how the government is responding to disparities in these populations. The figures below show some of the data included. The first figure shows the shift to city dwelling (number of Americans residing in Metro areas soared in the past century), and the last two figures show the change in population living in non-metro farming dependent counties between 1950 and 2000.
Montana Department Of Commerce Technology Entrepreneur Workshop
November 5, 9:00 AM, Montana Tech Sub, Butte. The Montana Department of Commerce, Montana Technology Innovation Partnership (MTIP) program is presenting a workshop for technology entrepreneurs. MTIP was created by the Montana Department of Commerce to promote technology commercialization as a viable economic development strategy for the State of Montana.
New Professional Development Courses on Paying for Growth and Local Sustainability Planning: Paying for Growth: Policies and Strategies
November 12-13. The Planning Academy at Virginia Tech offers highly interactive instruction in our two-day courses for professionals in the planning, design and development fields. At the Planning Academy, you get personal attention from our nationally recognized instructors and the opportunity to network and share experiences with peers from across the country.
Hellgate Venture Network
November 12, 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.
Montana Future Of Agriculture And Rural Healthcare Conference
November 12, 10:30 AM – 3 PM, MSU Procrastinator Theater, Bozeman. The conference will feature experts on the financial crisis, agricultural policy, the ACRE program, livestock and grain and energy markets, all addressing current issues facing Montana agricultural producers and rural communities.
Grant Writing Basics Presented By Gypsy Ray
November 19, 11:30 AM, MonTec Conference Room, Missoula. The Missoula Nonprofit Network is hosting a workshop, Grant Writing Basics, presented by Gypsy Ray the Executive Director of Mountain Home. This workshop will provide tips and techniques to help you with your grant writing efforts. If you have never written a grant or you are just looking to sharpen your skills this might be the workshop you are looking for.
Horizons Grant Writing Workshops
Dave Young of the Montana Horizons Program will be offering free Grant Writing Workshops in two locations; Glendive on Friday, November 20th from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. and Tuesday, December 1st in Helena from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. These workshops are open to all. The venues are TBD; please email Jamie Vowell or call (406) 551-2135 for more information.
Alternative Energy Revolving Loan Program
The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is requesting information to determine potential interest in participating in DEQs Alternative Energy Revolving Loan Program (AERLP). This program distributes funds to individuals and businesses involved in development projects that use alternative energy resources. The existing portfolio of loans process between June 2003 and December 2009 will remain with the current service provider. A new contract will be issued for processing of new loans issued as of January 01, 2009 through June 30, 2011.
Americorps Grants Available
The Governor's Office of Community Service and the Montana Commission on Community Service have announced the availability of $600,000 in grants for the 2010-2011 Americorps programs. Programs eligible for the funds will be community-service oriented and fill a community need. Grants will be awarded based on need and uniqueness.
Economic Development Tool Made Available to Montana Communities
The Governor's Office of Economic Development, Montana Department of Commerce, Montana Department of Labor and the Montana Economic Developers Association (MEDA) have partnered to make the BEAR (Business Expansion and Retention) Program available statewide. The Montana BEAR project provides economic development teams with the tools to help local business owners and operators access resources to improve and/or expand their businesses. The State's purchasing the rights to the BEAR program has made it far more affordable for Montana communities.
The Montana Rural Health Initiative (RHI) Launches Incubator Program
The Montana Rural Health Initiative (RHI) is proud to announce the launch of the RHI Incubator Program. The Incubator is a program to provide assistance to communities interested in starting a health prevention or wellness program. If you are starting such a program in your community and are looking for assistance in getting the program going, you are invited to apply to the Incubator.
Missoulian Recession and Recovery Feature. The Missoulian has put together a number of articles in a special feature on the Recession and Recovery in Montana with several informational stories and resources.
Community Development “In the News”
Stay or Go? The Quandary for Rural Youth
Does staying in a rural community mean young people must sacrifice economic and educational opportunity? A new study looks at an old dilemma. Daily Yonder; Oct. 26
Recession a Mixed Bag for Energy, Extractive Industries
Nine months into 2009, as national headlines begin to glimmer with morsels of encouraging news, Barkey is surprised at how well the energy and mining sectors have fared. Despite recession-spawned anxieties, the state's number of miners remained fairly static, though the economic downturn pinched bonuses and overtime hours. Missoulian; Oct. 23
Government Jobs Largely Spared, but Raises in Short Supply
As tens of thousands of state employees face layoffs nationwide and many more will be idled on unpaid furloughs, Montana's budget picture is downright rosy. There's almost $400 million unspent in the bank. Not one state employee is expected to lose a job to recession-driven budget cuts in the next two years, said David Ewer, the governor's budget director. Missoulian; Oct. 23
Montana's Largest Wind Farm Goes Online
The $500 million Glacier Wind Farm in Montana's Toole and Glacier counties is now fully online, pumping 210 megawatts into the state's power grid. Great Falls Tribune; Oct. 22
Montana Ranchers Say 1,500 Horses Too Many for Spanish Q Ranch
Ranchers near Ennis are questioning the Bureau of Land Management's proposal to put 1,500 wild horses on the 15,000-acre Spanish Q Ranch in Montana's Madison County because they believe the range cannot support that large of a herd, saying 250 horses would be a more sustainable number for the range. Bozeman Daily Chronicle; Oct. 20
Montana Land Board Votes to Raise Rents on State Land Sites
The Montana State Land Board voted Monday to change the way the state sets rental fees for state-land sites, with rates to increase about 43 percent on average. Helena Independent Record; Oct. 20
Montana Mill, Shavings Business Focus on Wood as Energy Source
Eagle Stud is one of eight Montana mills working with NorthWestern Energy on a feasibility study of turning waste wood into power, and the mill's neighbor in Hall, Big Sky Shavings, has just received a $50,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development Program to help buy a biomass-boiler that will use waste wood to heat the business. Missoulian; Oct. 20
Worker Shortage Alternatives
Students drop out of high school because they do not see the benefits of graduating without any hope of going to college, yet with as little as six months of additional training they could earn much higher incomes in jobs less vulnerable to outsourcing. Spokesman Review; Oct. 20
Montana Town Has a Plan to Keep Only Store in Operation
The Lazy JC Drug and Hardware store in Melstone is the Montana town's longest operating business, and residents of the community have been working for three years on a plan to keep the store operating as a cooperative when the store's owner decides to step aside. Billings Gazette; Oct. 19
Montana Approves Air Permit for Natural-Gas Power Plant
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality issued a needed air-quality permit on Friday for Southern Montana Electric Generation & Transmission Cooperative's proposed natural gas plant eight miles east of Great Falls. Great Falls Tribune; Oct. 18
Giving Rural America a Competitive Edge
The $7.2 billion broadband push that's funded by this year's economic stimulus bill aims at two broad objectives: bridging the digital divide and job creation. However, a significant and positive side effect of building out broadband in rural districts -- where only 38 percent of citizens can afford broadband subscriptions, according to the Communications Workers of America -- is that rural America could better compete with the world. Digital Communities; Oct. 16
Montana Receives $13 Million for Unemployment Modernization Act
Labor Commissioner Keith Kelly announced today the Unemployment Insurance Division of the Department of Labor and Industry received $13 million in federal funds to implement the Unemployment Modernization Act. MATR; Oct. 16
PPL Montana Officially Launches Hydroelectric Dam Upgrade
The 100-year-old Rainbow Dam in Montana is getting a facelift, and on Thursday, PPL officials, along with federal, state and local officials gathered on the shores of the Missouri River to kick off the planned, $230-million project to upgrade the hydroelectric plant. Great Falls Tribune; Oct. 16
University of Montana Launches Climate-Change Program
Presentations from the Pew Project on National Security, Energy and Climate on Thursday kicked off the University of Montana's climate change studies minor degree program, although the two keynote speakers, Former Sen. John Warner and retired Adm. John Nathman, were unable to get to Missoula to deliver their speeches because fog closed the airport. Missoulian; Oct. 16
Higher Palladium Prices Help Keep Montana Mine Profitable
After General Motors canceled its contract for palladium from the Stillwater Mine, the Montana mine warned of possible layoffs, but increases in metal prices have nearly made up for the loss of the GM contract. Missoulian; Oct. 15
Northwest Power Council Lines Out 5-year Plan
At a public meeting Tuesday night in Missoula, the Northwest Power and Conservation Council released its proposed five-year plan for Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon that calls for more energy from renewable resources, restraints on coal-fired power and more reliance on natural-gas power. Missoulian; Oct. 14
Montana Sustainable Building Systems Promises Highly Sustainable, Environmental Buildings
A new company in the Flathead says it can help those waiting to build, as it promises extra-efficient and environmentally friendly structures that, once manufactured, can be built in two days. Flathead Beacon; Oct. 13.
Community-Power Projects Gain Momentum
Most analysts dismiss the concept that neighborhoods or small towns could eventually exist off the grid, but those who believe in small-scale power projects see a future where communities produce all the power they need from solar panels and windmills, and Rock Port is already there, with wind turbines already providing 100 percent of the power the Missouri town needs. Washington Post; Oct. 13
Magazine Names Montana City Best Place to Start Business
Fortune Small Business magazine put Billings at the top of 50 small cities for being the best place to launch a new business; a second Montana city, Missoula, ranked 10th. Billings Gazette; Oct. 13
There's No Place Like Home
There is a trend in a 'New Localism'- people aren't moving around like they used to, and it's causing them to reengage with their communities. Newsweek; Oct. 9
How to Make Housing Affordable
Avi Friedman has some ideas of how to make housing more affordable. He says that the focus is too much on the mortgage and subsidies side and not enough on lower building costs. Northwest Hub; Oct. 8
Ranching Community Has a Different Take on Montana Front Plan
The backers of a proposal to protect a swath of Montana's Rocky Mountain Front from future development faced a tough crowd in Augusta Wednesday night, when members of the ranching community questioned the need for a special conservation plan for the area. Great Falls Tribune; Oct. 8
Missoula Gets Updated Zoning Rules
Way back in 2007, a group of Missoula city officials decided it was time to update the city's outmoded zoning regulations. Zoning is never a simple matter and it tends to stir up fears and dogged opposition. New West; Oct. 6
Boomers Get Rural
A new report from the USDA says that baby boomers will be flooding out of metropolitan areas and into the countryside over the next ten years. The Oregonian; Oct. 6