Prospera Business of Excellence Award nominations now open

EBS STAFF

Prospera Business Network is accepting nominations for their 2018 Business of Excellence Awards through Aug. 24. Three finalists from each category will be featured in their own complimentary promotional video shot by ABC FOX that will be shown during the awards ceremony on Nov. 9.

Award categories include Innovator of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year, Montana Women’s Business Center Award of Excellence, Economic Leadership Award, Business of the Year, and 2018 Business Excellence Award.

Award nominations for Gallatin or Park county individuals and businesses may be submitted by representatives from any company or organization to Prospera Business Network. Individuals are encouraged to self-nominate, submit multiple award nominations, or to collaborate with your nominee on the nomination details.

Award finalists in each category will be notified in early to mid-September.

Visit prosperamt.org/events/awards to submit a nomination.

Fire danger creeps higher in Big Sky area

EBS STAFF

As we roll into August in southwest Montana, drying fuel sources and thunderstorms are increasingly posing a risk of fire to the area.

According to Yellowstone National Park wildland fire management officer John Cataldo, Aug. 20—known as Black Saturday to fire crews who fought the parks flames in 1988—is the peak of fire season in the Northern Rockies.

“What it comes down to … is how wet the thunderstorms are,” he said.

Recently, the Custer Gallatin National Forest increased the fire danger in the Gallatin Canyon from moderate to high, as have officials in Yellowstone.

Approximately 20 miles south of Big Sky, nearly 500 acres of the Lee Metcalf Wilderness, Custer Gallatin National Forest and Yellowstone National Park have burned from the Bacon Rind Fire, which was detected July 20 on the south side of Highway 191.

While smoke and occasional flames have been visible from the highway, at EBS press time Aug. 1, the fire did not pose a threat to those travelling on the road. The highway remained open at press time, though the Bacon Rind Trail has been closed.

A community meeting will be held Aug. 6 at 7 p.m. at the Community Protestant Church in West Yellowstone, where fire managers will provide an update on the fire.

In Big Sky, burn permits have been closed in compliance with the high fire danger. Small recreational fires are still allowed.

Call the Big Sky Fire Department at (406) 995-2100 to learn more about area conditions and fire regulations.

Grant program helps nonprofits save energy costs

MONTANA DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

The Energy Efficiency Program offered through the Montana Facility Finance Authority helps eligible nonprofits cover the upfront costs of an energy audit, which in turn identifies opportunities to save on future energy bills.

“This program is ideal for hospitals and other such facilities in rural Montana communities, where every dollar counts toward providing access to important services,” said MFFA Executive Director Adam Gill. “Energy is one area where even small investments can have big impacts.”

MFFA is partnering with the National Center for Appropriate Technology, which provides a professional engineer to perform the audit. Audits include a thorough review of all heating, cooling and lighting systems, as well as a look at the building envelope. The auditor then supplies recommendations with estimated costs and savings, and organizations may choose to whether or not to pursue the recommendations.

Previous audits have found an average savings of $210,000 over a 15-year period.

The maximum grant available is $15,000. The recipient is required to match 10 percent, which goes back into the pool to fund future awards. MFFA estimates it will be able to assist approximately 55 facilities in total with its available funding.

Eligible organizations include nonprofit hospitals, senior living facilities, group homes, prerelease facilities and clinics.

Visit mtfacilityfinance.com or call (406) 444-5435 for more information or to apply.

BSCO seeks input on future programming

EBS STAFF

As Big Sky continues to grow, the Big Sky Community Organization is seeking ways to develop additional recreation options in the area. The nonprofit has experienced an increase in the requests for more recreational leagues, workshops and classes.

In addition to seeing more people out on the trails, BSCO reports a diversification in the types of activities people are interested in. From the development of a curling league in the winter, to sand volleyball and pickle ball courts, programing continues to develop in Big Sky.

To meet this demand, BSCO is seeking community input through an online survey to identify what activities, price points and times are of the highest priority for Big Sky residents.

The five-minute survey gathers demographic information, asks about your current participation in available activities, and gives you the opportunity to select the kinds of programs you’d like to see in Big Sky.

The staff at BSCO hopes to receive as much feedback as possible in order to gain a good representation of Big Sky’s needs.

BSCO is a nonprofit organization that works to develop parks, trails and programing to connect people to recreational opportunities in Big Sky.

Visit surveymonkey.com/r/BSCOsurvey2018 to participate in BSCO’s survey. Visit bscomt.org to learn more about the organization.