Ernest Health Inc. has postponed the ground breaking for Montana Rehabilitation Hospital, which had been scheduled for July 26.
In a statement, the company said, “In the spirit of community and value for our healthcare partners, we are postponing the ground breaking in order to revisit communication and information for the support of this valuable project. During this time, the company is committed to addressing concerns by some community members of creating competition among current healthcare providers in Billings.”
The statement added, “Our goal for this project has always been to offer complementary services to the existing rehab providers in this community and reflects the tremendous bed need for Billings, the state of Montana as well as northern Wyoming. Ernest Health, Inc. continues to be very excited about this project and is committed to serving the needs of the community.”
The company has proposed a 17,000-square-foot, 20-bed hospital at 3528 Gabel Road, adjacent to its existing Advanced Care Hospital of Montana.
Ernest Health Inc., an Albuquerque, N.M., based healthcare provider, owns and operates post-acute care facilities New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Idaho, Arizona, Utah, Montana, Wyoming and South Carolina.
Last Updated on Friday, 03 August 2012 12:50
A new set of gates at Duck Creek Bridge Fishing Access Site near Laurel on the Yellowstone River will keep the day-use area closed between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
Duck Creek Bridge FAS, a popular boat-launch site in the Billings area, has recently suffered from a rash of nighttime vandalism.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks officials, at the request of local property owners, recently installed the gate to discourage vandals and protect public safety. Complaints have ranged from late- night parties to illegal campfires. Duck Creek Bridge FAC is located in Yellowstone County, which has been under Stage II fire restrictions since June 29.
Recreationists should expect the gates at Duck Creek Bridge FAS to remain locked from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily.
Check the FWP website at fwp.mt.gov for information on additional site restrictions or closures.
Last Updated on Friday, 03 August 2012 12:48
Operation Homefront, the national nonprofit that provides emergency financial and other assistance to military families and Wounded Warriors, has announced its annual Back-to-School Brigade program to collect school supplies for military kids.
Operation Homefront, and its organizations and volunteers across the nation, will begin collecting donated school supplies, along with monetary donations, that they will distribute to the children of service members at the beginning of the school year in the Fall.
This year marks the sixth annual campaign by Operation Homefront to give the children of military families the opportunity to start school with all the supplies they need to be successful. Anyone interested in helping military kids can log on to OperationHomefront.net/backtoschoolbrigade or Facebook.com/OperationHomefront to learn more about how to volunteer or make a donation.
“Military families, especially those in the lower and mid-grade enlisted ranks, can see a real money crunch at back-to-school time,” said Jim Knotts, President and CEO of Operation Homefront. “People in the community who want to say thank you to military families can make a real contribution by being part of the Back-to-School Brigade program.”
At a recent Operation Homefront event honoring military kids, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey said, “It’s incredible to watch the young men and women of our military families grow up. We have a lot to be thankful for, and military children are probably right at the top of the list. Our kids have the unique opportunity to be whatever they want to be.”
Last Updated on Friday, 03 August 2012 12:12
The Oakland Cos. and ZooMontana have come to terms on a five-year sponsorship deal of the Zoo’s North American River Otter exhibit. The sponsorship will aid in the care and upkeep of the animals and their exhibit.
Funding will also allow for new signage and exhibit improvements. Zoo officials hope to add several features to the exhibit, such as a new otter slide and den.
Gary Oakland, the Oakland Cos. chairman and chief executive officer, is a longtime zoo supporter. ZooMontana Executive Director Jeff Ewelt said he was is looking forward to a long-term relationship.
The Oakland Cos. has committed $42,000 over the next five years.
Last Updated on Friday, 03 August 2012 12:11
Last Updated on Sunday, 29 July 2012 19:27
The dreams of another 90 Montana World War II veterans to visit their memorial in Washington, D.C. will take flight in September.
Organizers for Big Sky Honor Flight announced last week that the second group of Montana World War II veterans will make their trip to the nation’s capital on Sept. 23-24 as a tribute to their service to America. Thanks to continuous support from corporate, family and individual donors, Big Sky Honor Flight is able to make its second flight in less than four months. The first flight was June 15-16.
“Our first trip was such a total success, thanks to the donors and volunteers,” said Big Sky Honor Flight Committee Vice President Bill Kennedy. “Because of them, we will continue to bestow this honor on more of our World War II veterans.”
Big Sky Honor Flight’s mission is to recognize World War II veterans for their sacrifices and achievements by flying them to Washington, D.C., — at no cost to them — to see their memorial. Top priority is given to terminally ill veterans. A total of 97 veterans took first trip and nearly 300 have applied to be a part of the program.
The second flight will leave Logan International Airport on Sunday, Sept. 23, at 7:30 a.m. and return on Monday, Sept. 24, at 9 p.m.
Last Updated on Thursday, 26 July 2012 23:58
With the continuing hot and dry conditions, Stage 2 fire restrictions are still in effect on private, state and federal lands in Big Horn, Carbon, Musselshell, Stillwater, Sweet Grass, Treasure and Yellowstone counties.
Also due to fire danger, Shepherd Ah Nei and South Hills recreation areas near Billings are closed to motorized use, and the 17-Mile area is closed to target shooting.
Under Stage 2, all campfires are prohibited. Smoking is allowed only within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials. Stage 2 also prohibits the operation of any internal combustion engine, welding or operating a torch with open flame, and using explosives from 1 p.m. to 1 a.m. A two-hour patrol following cessation of work is required. Additionally, motorized vehicles must stay on designated roads.
Exemptions include fires fueled solely by liquid petroleum or LPG, or other activities for which there is a permit or written authorization. Yellowstone and Stillwater counties have also exempted activities associated with harvesting and other agricultural operations, but encourage farmers and ranchers to keep equipment in good working order to prevent sparks, provide spark arrestors, and carry firefighting tools.
Aan exemption does not absolve an individual or organization from liability or responsibility for any fire started by the exempted activity. Anyone who causes a wildland fire intentionally or through negligence will be held accountable for damage and suppression costs.
Last Updated on Thursday, 26 July 2012 23:56
Saturday and hot, probably not unlike the day of Aug. 14, 1872, when, during the previous night, Lakota and Oglala Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho decided to attack a U.S. Army bivouac a few miles downstream on the Yellowstone River from Billings.
It was the young braves who started it all; the older and wiser men knew they didn’t have enough ammunition to engage a well equipped Army unit.
One young brave sneaked into the sleeping Army camp and attempted to steal a rifle leaning against a tree near its sleeping owner.
Unfortunately, the latter was an old fox on the dangerous frontier and saw the attempt. He shot the warrior, arousing the whole camp; the battle started.
This is the site that some men came from all over the country to see on a recent tour led by Neil Magnum, former superintendent of the Little Bighorn Battlefield.
Last Updated on Thursday, 26 July 2012 22:33
Last Updated on Monday, 23 July 2012 14:38
HELENA – Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer is siding with the oil and gas industry in its fight against federal drilling regulations that some say could devastate Montana’s economy.
The Bureau of Land Management, a bureaucratic subsidiary of the U.S. Department of Interior, is eyeing new regulations for hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, on all federal land nationwide.
Fracking is the process of pushing a chemical mixture thousands of feet below the earth’s surface to break apart geologic formations to release oil and gas. Most of the chemical compound returns to the surface, along with the fossil fuels.
U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said his agency wants national uniform standards for safety’s sake.
“There are some who are saying that it’s not something we ought to do; it should be left up to the states. That’s not good enough for me, because states are at very different levels. Some have zero, some have decent rules,” Salazar said in a June 25 Reuters interview.
Last Updated on Friday, 20 July 2012 10:24