Montana Ranked 7th Best State for Local Foods

A family farm advocacy group ranks Montana as the seventh-best state in being committed to locally produced foods.

The group called Strolling of the Heifers based its rankings on the number of farmers markets, community supported agriculture operations, farm-to-school program participation, cooperatively owned food hubs and the per capita value of direct-to-the-public food sales by farmers.

This is the fourth consecutive year that Montana has ranked within the top 10 states by the organization.

Read more: http://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/montana/montana-ranked-th-best-state-for-local-foods/article_4d69429f-4d26-5a16-b621-5c9de5f4a4ff.html#ixzz3Xuu0OMji

iVantage Names Barrett Hospital & HealthCare Top 100 Critical Access Hospital

Barrett Hospital & HealthCare in Dillon, Montana was recently named one of the iVantage Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) in the United States.

“Barrett Hospital & HealthCare is proud of the efforts of its physicians and staff who have contributed to our hospital achieving this designation,” said Ken Westman, CEO. “This award is truly a testament to the hard work, compassion, and excellence demonstrated by our whole team every day.” Continue reading

House OKs 80 MPH Highway Speed Limits

Montana representatives have endorsed a proposal to increase interstate highway speed limits from 75 to 80 mph.

Senate Bill 375 by Republican Sen. Scott Sales of Bozeman passed second reading on a 54-46 vote in the House Thursday.

The proposal would increase highway speed limits by 5 mph at certain areas where the Montana Department of Transportation deems the speeds safe. It would also increase maximum speeding fines from $100 to $200.

Montana Highway Patrol Chief Tom Butler says the fine increases would liken Montana’s speeding punishments to seven surrounding states.

>> Read more at Helena IR >>

Hunting Permit Drawing Complete

Hunters waiting to hear if they drew a deer or elk permit can check the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks website now for drawing results.

The first big game resident and nonresident hunting permit and license drawings of the year were complete today at 1 p.m.

Hunters can visit FWP’s website at fwp.mt.gov for drawing results. Click “Drawing Status” or MyFWP to enter your ALS number.

Any remaining nonresident combination licenses will be available via a first-come first-served sale set to begin May 4.

Other important application deadlines for hunters are May 1 to apply for moose, bighorn sheep, bison and mountain goat licenses; and June 1 for antelope, deer B and elk B licenses.

Big Hole Trout Fungus Update

Montana-FWPAn outbreak of a fungal infection known as Saprolignia occurred on the Big Hole River in the fall of 2014. The outbreak was centered on a stretch of the Big Hole from Jerry Creek to Brownes Bridge affecting mainly spawning brown trout. Through their spring population surveys, fisheries biologists have recorded a notable drop in the brown trout population in that area. However, they conclude that the previous record high brown trout population in the river likely contributed to the spread of the fungus in 2014.

Saprolignia is a naturally occurring fungus present in nearly all waters at all times of the year.  The immune system of healthy, non-stressed fish is able to combat the disease and these fish are not affected. Generally Saprolignia infects fish that are already diseased, stressed, or otherwise weakened. The infection appears as large, white, cotton-like blotches on the skin and fins. Continue reading

Beaverhead Golf Course Ladies League Golf to Begin

The Beaverhead Ladies Golf Association League Kick-off dinner will be Tuesday, May 5, 2015 at Beaverhead Golf Course.  Cocktails will be at 6 p.m. and dinner at 6:30 p.m.  Dinner is $15 and league dues are TBD.  RSVP’s are due by April 28.  Please RSVP by calling or texting Lyndee Fogel at 925-1718 or Carly Anderson at 925-1207.

Morning and evening Ladies League will begin playing Tuesday, May 12.  Morning league begins play at 10 a.m. sharp and evening league begins play at 5:45 p.m. sharp.  All ladies are invited to participate.  For more information please call Lyndee or Carly.

John Floridis At Beaverhead Brewing This Thursday

NOTE: John is one of the best performers you will get to see. Don’t miss this one!

The Southwest Montana Arts Council in conjunction with the Beaverhead Brewing Company is pleased to announce the appearance of John Floridis on Thursday, April 16, 2015. Mr. Floridis is a passionate and extremely talented singer/songwriter/guitarist, who will begin his performance at 6:00 p.m. in the lounge of the Beaverhead Brewing Company located at 218 S Montana Street.

Beginning at 5:30, the Dillon Rotary will be offering for sale its popular bratwurst sandwiches, intended to compliment the music and available beverages. Continue reading

Tax Return Data Puts Montana Wages Near Bottom Of Nation

An analysis of 2013 tax return data shows Montana ranked 49th for wages and salaries reported in tax returns.

The report by Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse shows Montanans earning an average of $33,180 annually.

That’s more than $10,000 below the national average and almost $27,000 below Connecticut, the state with the highest average income.

Montana has been the lowest for average wages and salaries for every year since 1991 except 2012 and 2008.

Read more: http://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/montana/tax-return-data-puts-montana-wages-near-bottom-of-nation/article_bf08743f-2d45-5a35-ae2d-04a933492c68.html#ixzz3X9rv0EbP