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  • One-third of Montana municipalities to review local governments after primary vote

    Matt Hudson, montanafreepress.org|Updated Jun 13, 2024

    Over the next two years, dozens of cities and counties across Montana will review their local governments as called for by a voter initiative in Tuesday's primary elections. Once a decade, Montana's Constitution offers voters the chance to study and potentially change the structure of local governments. The measure appeared on primary ballots across all counties and incorporated cities or towns in the state. Voters in 12 counties and 42 cities and towns approved local...

  • FWP to proceed with prairie dog conservation contract

    Updated Jun 13, 2024

    Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks has issued a Decision Notice to proceed with a Prairie Dog Conservation Contract in Garfield and Rosebud County, Mont., eight miles north of Ingomar. The contract will conserve, protect, and enhance approximately 2,975 acres of important prairie dog colonies and associated habitat for 10 years, beginning July 2024 and continuing through July 2034. The contract would be implemented by a one-time payment of $148,750 to the affected landowner. This...

  • Farm Bureau summer conference slated for mid-June in Miles City

    Updated May 29, 2024

    submitted by MFBF The Montana Farm Bureau Summer Conference is set for June 10-12 in the historic cow town of Miles City. The summer conference provides an opportunity for the organization’s advisory committees to discuss current agricultural issues and concerns, and surface ideas for policy development. Events take place at the Custer County Events Center and the MCC Ag Advancement Center. “Members from across the state are excited to attend our annual summer committee meetings and foundation fund raiser. It’s been over...

  • EPEDC announces hiring of new food and ag development center specialist

    Updated May 29, 2024

    The new Food and Ag Development Center specialist with an emphasis on specialty crops is Hannah Wichmann. The Eastern Plains Economic Development Corporation is enthusiastic to add Hannah onto the team to help add growth and development to the community. Her role will aim on providing support to specialty crop producers, local agriculture producers, and other value-added businesses in our region as they look to start, grow, and make valuable connections on their business...

  • EPEDC announces hiring of new Community Development Specialist

    Updated May 23, 2024

    Eastern Plains Economic Development Corporation (EPEDC) recently announced the addition of a new Community Development Specialist. Dale Welliever of Wibaux comes to EPEDC from a career in business. Dale has experience from Auto Parts to Life Insurance and everything in between! Dale grew up on a farm/ranch in Wibaux County, and graduated from Wibaux County High School, Miles Community College, and MSU-Northern. He brings with him a wealth of experience and knowledge. He has...

  • FWP seeks public comment on OHV grant proposals

    Updated May 8, 2024

    Trail maintenance, trail signage, weed control. These are among the projects proposed for the 2024 Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) grant program. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is seeking public comment on these proposals. Comments will be accepted through Friday, May 24, at 5 p.m. The OHV program received 12 grant requests and proposes to award $500,000. The program receives funding through OHV/motorbike registrations, gas tax and the Summer Motorized Trail Pass revenues. Montana’s Off-Highway Vehicle Program supports projects s...

  • DEQ streamlines applications for underground storage tanks

    Updated May 8, 2024

    The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has prepared a draft programmatic environmental assessment (EA) for the installation of regulated underground storage tanks (USTs) at new facility locations and is accepting public comment during the next 30 days. The Montana Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) and implementing rules define programmatic review as an analysis of potential environmental impacts resulting from related actions, programs, or policies. This type of review is appropriate for repetitive state actions...

  • Rabies confirmed in Powder River County cow

    Updated May 8, 2024

    On Wednesday April 24, 2024, Montana Department of Livestock (MDOL) received confirmation of a rabid cow in Powder River County. The rabies-infected cow was tested after displaying neurological symptoms. Three people were exposed to the cow while administering treatment. The last documented cases of terrestrial (non-bat) rabies in Powder River County was in June 2022. This animal is the first confirmed case of rabies in Montana in 2024 and serves as an important reminder to keep pets currently vaccinated for rabies. Montana...

  • Updated: Applications for state property tax assistance programs now June 1

    Eric Dietrich, montanafreepress.org|Updated May 1, 2024

    Low-income Montanans seeking help paying their property tax bills now have until June 1 to apply for aid through two state relief programs administered by the Montana Department of Revenue - including the flagship Property Tax Assistance Program intended to keep property tax bills from forcing low-income homeowners out of their homes. This year's application deadline, previously set for April 15, was extended in an effort to give Montanans facing substantial tax hardship more...

  • Grant awarded for development of central trailhead near Terry

    Updated May 1, 2024

    submitted by EPEDC Eastern Plains Economic Development Corporation (EPEDC), along with Prairie County Economic Development Corporation (PCEDC), is pleased to announce the receipt of a $24,580 grant from the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (FWP) for the development of a central Trailhead serving current and future trails in the Terry/Prairie County area. This grant, awarded through the Trail Stewardship Program (TSP), will fund the construction of a group area...

  • Construction resuming on the Southeast Montana Bridge Preservation project

    Updated May 1, 2024

    The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) and Sletten Construction are resuming operations on the Southeast Montana Bridge Preservation project. The Southeast Montana Bridge Preservation project began in the spring of 2023 and consists of rehabilitating 11 bridges in southeastern Montana. Construction on this project will continue bridge by bridge this year as MDT and Sletten Construction finish the partially complete bridges and begin work on the Colstrip Interchange Bridge. Beginning earlier this month, crews will...

  • Veteran survey: Make your voices heard

    Updated May 1, 2024

    submitted by Blake Fuhriman and Mike McManus Veterans Navigation Network Montana’s veterans deserve to live with dignity and independence. The Department of Public Health and Human Services is conducting an important survey to understand and improve the living conditions for Montana veterans. Workers at the Veterans Navigation Network encourage every veteran, caregiver, and family member in Montana to participate. This survey will help the state understand what veterans need to live well in their communities. It looks at heal...

  • BLM adopts rule described as a 'generation-defining' shift for America's largest land manager

    Amanda Eggert, montanafreepress.org|Updated Apr 24, 2024

    On April 18th, the Bureau of Land Management adopted a long-awaited rule that aims to put conservation initiatives "on equal footing" with oil and gas leasing, grazing and other commercial uses of federal land. The rule "combines our ongoing work with a vision for conservation to help us manage lands into the 21st century," BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning said in a video announcing the rule. "It ensures that the BLM can carry out its multiple-use and sustained-yield mission...

  • EPEDC and MCDC to host housing conversation in eastern Montana

    Updated Apr 11, 2024

    Eastern Plains Economic Development Corporation (EPEDC) recently announced a partnership with the Montana Cooperative Development Center (MCDC) to host a series of housing conversations in Eastern Montana. These workshops will provide a platform for discussing the pressing issues of housing in rural communities and exploring innovative solutions. The first workshop will be held in Glendive on April 15th, 1-4 pm, in the courthouse basement. The second workshop will take place...

  • Mid-Rivers announces expanded scholarship awards in 2024

    Updated Apr 4, 2024

    Mid-Rivers Communications recently announced the award of 76 scholarships to students from the Cooperative’s service area, an increase of 40 scholarships over the original 36 planned. Last fall, the Cooperative announced the availability of 30 Higher Education Scholarships of $2,000 each, and 6 Dawson Community College/Miles Community College Scholarships of $2,500 each. However, following a review of the applicants and funds available for scholarships, the Mid-Rivers Board of Trustees voted to expand the awards to include s...

  • Property taxes put governor and local government leaders at odds

    Eric Dietrich, montanafreepress.org|Updated Apr 4, 2024

    The supplemental property tax bills heading to property owners around the state this spring, made necessary by a November Supreme Court decision, represent a monumental headache for both local tax officials and homeowners. They also illustrate how the tax issue has driven a wedge between Gov. Greg Gianforte, a Republican seeking re-election this year, and local government leaders across Montana’s political spectrum. Nearly all of the dollars collected by Montana’s property tax system flow, directly or indirectly, to loc...

  • Supplemental tax bills heading toward property owners

    Eric Dietrich, montanafreepress.org|Updated Mar 28, 2024

    Last year, during a dispute with Gov. Greg Gianforte over the state's "95 mill" school equalization property tax, officials with 49 of Montana's 56 counties chose to reduce their fall tax bills against the wishes of the Montana Department of Revenue. This month, after landing on the losing side of a November Montana Supreme Court ruling, those counties' treasurers are left with the thankless task of sending supplemental property tax bills to hundreds of thousands of property...

  • Candidate filing deadline firms up 2024 election bracket

    Arren Kimbel-Sannit, montanafreepress.org|Updated Mar 14, 2024

    At 5 p.m. Monday, the window closed for candidates to file to run for elected office in Montana this year, officially setting the stage for a hugely consequential election season. Toward the top of the ballot - not counting the presidential contest between presumptive nominees Joe Biden and Donald Trump - voters will have a choice between incumbent U.S. Sen. Jon Tester and a slew of challengers intent on stopping the Democrat from winning a fourth term, chief among them...

  • Commerce awards small business grants to 26 native-owned businesses in Montana

    Updated Mar 7, 2024

    The Montana Department of Commerce recently announced that $320,000 of grant funding has been allocated to support 26 start-up or expanding Native American businesses in Montana. The funding is through Commerce's Indian Equity Fund (IEF) Small Business Grant Program. "For Montana's economy to remain resilient and strong, it is vital that tribal businesses continue to expand and grow in numbers," said Paul Green, Director of the Montana Department of Commerce. "That's why...

  • USDA announces Conservation Reserve Program general signup for 2024

    Updated Mar 7, 2024

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced that agricultural producers and private landowners can begin signing up for the general Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) starting March 4 and running through March 29, 2024. This conservation opportunity gives producers tools to conserve wildlife habitat while achieving other conservation benefits, including sequestering carbon and improving water quality and soil health. “The USDA has a long track record of fostering and supporting the vital relationship b...

  • School leaders attribute budget crises to pandemic funding cliff, state funding frustrations

    Alex Sakariassen, montanafreepress.org|Updated Mar 7, 2024

    A wave of major budget cuts is hitting public schools across the state - a situation officials from four of Montana's largest districts attribute to declining enrollment, inflexibilities in the state's school funding formula, and a funding cliff facing schools as pandemic-era federal relief money runs out. District leaders from the Helena, Great Falls, Bozeman and Missoula public schools, meeting with reporters in Helena Friday, also said increased property values and the...

  • The money allocated to Montana's new charter schools

    Alex Sakariassen, montanafreepress.org|Updated Mar 7, 2024

    Over the past year, we've fielded many reader emails about charter schools in Montana. The curiosity is understandable - one of the two charter school laws passed by the 2023 Legislature is currently tied up in district court, and the other has already generated 19 public charters in nearly a dozen communities. But one recent email posed a question we hadn't yet covered: exactly how much state funding did the Montana Legislature direct toward these new educational...

  • Montana expands Medicaid coverage for housing assistance and transition from prison

    Mara Silvers, montanafreepress.org|Updated Feb 29, 2024

    The federal agency that oversees Montana's Medicaid program has approved requests from Gov. Greg Gianforte's administration to cover more services for Montanans with mental illnesses and substance use disorders, part of a multiyear effort to leverage state and federal funds to fill gaps in Montana's health care system. The state Department of Public Health and Human Services on Monday announced the green light from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid for three distinct...

  • EPEDC and SEMDC partner to boost small business financing opportunities

    Updated Feb 29, 2024

    Eastern Plains Economic Development Corporation (EPEDC) continues to partner with the Southeastern Montana Development Corporation (SEMDC) to provide enhanced financing opportunities for small businesses in our community and the EPEDC 5-county service region. EPEDC's Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Program offers qualifying small businesses access to low fixed interest rates and flexible payment options. Through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with SEMDC, EPEDC can expand its reach and offer even more comprehensive services to...

  • Rosendale drops out of race for U.S. Senate

    Arren Kimbel-Sannit, montanafreepress.org|Updated Feb 15, 2024

    Montana Congressman Matt Rosendale, who just last week announced a highly anticipated run for U.S. Senate, is dropping his campaign after former President Donald Trump — the ultimate kingmaker in modern GOP politics — endorsed his primary opponent Tim Sheehy last Friday, shortly after Rosendale’s announcement. “I have long been a supporter of the President, and remain so. But I have been forced to calculate what my chances of success would be with Trump supporting my opponent,” Rosendale said in a statement relayed by his ca...

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