Anyone who is a gamer or a natural competitor knows what it means to “level up” in a challenging environment. It comes with tougher encounters, harsher competition and — for those who succeed — a richer feeling of accomplishment.
Last month, a College of Business student at Montana State University Billings found all three when he found himself among the top five competitors in a global simulated business competition.
Tanner Lambert, a finance major from Columbus, participated in this semester’s International CapSim Business Simulations Challenge in the Capstone division, the top level. Of the nearly 1,000 participants worldwide, Lambert finished fifth, putting the MSU Billings student among some of the best business colleges in the world and cementing Lambert’s reputation as a star academic performer in the College of Business.
Just this past spring, Lambert won the CapSim Foundation Challenge, the precursor to the Capstone challenge.
“I was the only undergraduate to make the finals,” he said in a recent interview. “It was a great experience.”
Last Updated on Thursday, 27 December 2012 15:20
HELENA – Creating good jobs remains the top priority for Montanans, according to a new survey.
The Power Base (P-base) is an annual scientific survey of 600 Montana voters on a variety of business and political issues with a margin of error of 4.1 percent. The poll is commissioned by the Montana Chamber of Commerce and other business groups to determine what Montanans think about important economic issues facing our state. Here are some of the results:
Without a doubt, creating good-paying jobs is the top priority for Montanans. A full 31 percent listed it as the top issue the Legislature should address this coming session, with lower taxes and a balanced budget a distant second at 16 percent.
For top pocketbook concern, healthcare costs continue to dominate with a plurality of 25 percent, and taxes coming in at 17 percent.
Last Updated on Thursday, 27 December 2012 15:18
HELENA – Montana’s unemployment rate dropped below the 6 percent mark in November, dipping 0.2 percentage points to 5.8 percent. The national rate also decreased by 0.2 percentage points to 7.7 percent.
“We are finishing 2012 with good economic news for workers during the holiday season,” said Labor Commissioner Keith Kelly. “There still is some uncertainty with federal spending levels and the national economic outlook, but Montana’s economy has gained momentum this year and our economic prospects for 2013 are strong. We continue to outperform the nation.”
Montana’s total employment, which includes payroll workers, the self-employed, and agricultural workers, increased by 522 jobs over the month on a seasonally adjusted basis.
Although payroll employment estimates indicated a 1,300 job decline over the month, these preliminary estimates are fairly volatile, and the three-month trend remains positive.
Over-the-month job losses of a thousand each occurred in the government and construction industries, with job gains in most other industries.
Last Updated on Saturday, 29 December 2012 15:19
HELENA – Bozeman resident Scott Wacker and his company, Funky Shark, have been fined $40,000 for illegally selling investment opportunities, according to a news release from Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Monica J. Lindeen.
Wacker also agreed to pay back more than $834,000 to investors to resolve a restraining order Lindeen’s office filed against him in October. The restraining order stopped Wacker from soliciting new investors or spending any of the investment money he had already raised.
Last September, Wacker began recruiting investors for his penny-auction website, FunkyShark.com. By the end of October, Wacker had raised more than $1 million from investors across the world.
The flurry of transactions in Wacker’s personal and business accounts led his bank to file a suspicious activity report, which was referred to Lindeen’s office. After reviewing the report, investigators suspected Funky Shark was a pyramid scheme and requested a restraining order to prevent additional investors from getting involved.
On Oct. 30, Wacker posted a notice on Funky Shark’s website explaining that its investment program “may violate certain securities laws in the United States.”
Last Updated on Saturday, 29 December 2012 15:19
HELENA – Months ago, farmers were the first to see what’s over the so-called fiscal cliff of budget cuts and tax hikes. That’s when the Farm Bill expired, leaving many agriculture programs without funding, including conservation titles, rural development and beginning farmer initiatives.
U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says there will be no new Farm Bill until sometime next year.
Chuck Hassebrook, executive director of the Center for Rural Affairs, says, however, that Congress really needs to address the problems that Farm Bill “limbo” has caused.
“Congress will need to at least pass an extension of the Farm Bill before it goes home, he said, “and even in the extension there are going to be important decisions about the pie gets divided, about how the federal government invests in rural America.”
Hassebrook predicts there will be reductions in spending in the new Farm Bill, but he says he hopes they will be targeted in ways that don’t harm mom-and-pop operations.
Last Updated on Thursday, 27 December 2012 15:13
James Souza, a Billings native, has assumed the position of vice president of medical affairs for St. Luke’s in Boise, Idaho, and the Treasure Valley.
Dr. Souza graduated from Billings Senior High School in 1984. He received a degree in biology at the University of Montana and was a WWAMI scholarship recipient.
He completed medical training in pulmonary and critical care at the University of Washington Medical School in Seattle.
He was named Teacher of the Year by the WWAMI Regional Medical Association and Physician Leader of the Year by the Idaho Medical Group Management Association.
Last Updated on Thursday, 27 December 2012 15:11
The folks behind Got Milk? have been keeping busy. The California Milk Processor Board, which trademarked the famous slogan and accompanying milk-stache, has recently taken to defending its intellectual turf – including an acronym that sounds like milk, which many people first learn about on dirty websites.
OC Weekly reports that a complaint has been filed with the World Intellectual Property Organization, an international body under the United Nations umbrella, against the web domain gotMILF.com.
This is not the first time the owners of Got Milk? have gone after purveyors of GotMILF-related content (MILF being a popular acronym for hot postpartum female). In 2010 the board sued a T-shirt maker over shirts that read “Got MILF?”
While on its MILF hunt, the California Milk Processer Board itself became the subject of several complaints about false advertising, one of which led to the board being busted by the Federal Trade Commission for claiming that dairy products can treat and prevent obesity. (This claim appeared alongside a white bathing suit-clad, milk-mustachioed Sheryl Crow, among others).
There is a lot to be said about dairy products. They contribute immensely to the cuisines of many cultures, and contain a tremendous amount of calcium. Dairy products are not, however, necessary for human health, survival or well-being.
Last Updated on Saturday, 29 December 2012 15:12
By JAMES O. SOUTHWORTH - Special to The Outpost
In 1947, 17 years old, I was callow and unhappy with my life. I felt guilty about my personal life, by my lack of schooling, ashamed of our living conditions in the Beet Shack in Park City with no mother to herd me.
I had a ’33 Ford V8 coupe as I had been working on the railroad for a couple of years. The Ford had, I believe, the first V-8 motor. I didn’t like it too well, as at this time I was mostly ashamed of everything.
I had a good friend named Fred Russell who was about my age. Like me, he was a little unhappy with the life he was leading, and we talked about the brand new atomic energy plant that was hiring people at Hanford, Wash.
We decided to take my Ford and go out there and get us a good job and get rich. It was in January and Montana was colder than hell back then. We packed up what we thought we needed and put it in the rumble seat and took along an extra blanket.
Last Updated on Friday, 14 December 2012 18:28
As the debate in Washington rages over how to avoid the fiscal cliff before the Jan. 1 deadline, some lawmakers are using Social Security and Medicare as bargaining chips.
Among the proposals under consideration by legislative leaders is an effort to reduce the Cost of Living Adjustment or “COLA” that is regularly made to Social Security benefits.
The proposal on the table would change the way the COLA is calculated by moving to a “chained consumer price index” or chained CPI. The proposal is complex, but the result is easy to understand – this change would cut benefits to current and near retirees across the nation by $112 billion over the next 10 years.
How would that COLA change affect Montana retirees and their kids and grandkids? The math is staggering – this one seemingly small change would cut benefits to retired Montanans by almost $390 million over the next decade.
For thousands of older Montanans living on fixed incomes, the chained CPI is not the minor “tweak” that some say it is. Instead, it’s a significant benefit cut that will make it harder for Montana’s elderly to make ends meet.
Last Updated on Friday, 14 December 2012 18:19
Local and state public health officials are reporting an increase in influenza activity and reminding all Montanans that it is not too late to vaccinate.
“Influenza season typically peaks in February and can last as late as May,” says Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services Director Anna Whiting Sorrell. “We are encouraging people who have not yet been vaccinated to get vaccinated now.”
Each year, millions of people are infected with influenza, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized, and thousands die from its complications.
Public health officials stress that every Montanan aged 6 months and older should receive the influenza vaccine each year.
The influenza vaccine is available in two forms: a shot and a nasal spray. The nasal spray is for use in healthy people ages 2 to 49 years who are not pregnant.
Last Updated on Friday, 14 December 2012 18:14