Summer 2017
Paw Prints
A quarterly newsletter to keep you informed.
In This Issue

Commere Awards $800,000 for Fort Benton Hospitals2
The Montana Department of Commerce recently awarded Chouteau County and the City of Fort Benton a combined $800,000 in Community Development Block Grant Economic Development (CDBG-ED) funds to make mechanical and facility upgrades at the Missouri River Medical Center (MRMC) in Fort Benton.

Bear Paw assisted in researching funding options, coordinating partnerships, and writing the grant application on behalf of MRMC. Executive Director, Paul Tuss said, "The Missouri River Medical Center is not only critical to the health and well-being of Chouteau County residents, it is vital to the local economy as well.  It's important that we understand that these local infrastructure components are really the building blocks for economic growth and diversification in our region." 

MRMC is a 25-bed critical access hospital and family practice clinic which provides an array of in-patient and outpatient services including emergency room care, laboratory, physical therapy, and optometry. Their facility was built in 1959 and the building's mechanical systems are nearing or exceeding their lifespan. The awarded funds will help replace electrical, emergency generators, lighting, fire alarm system, heating and cooling plants, hot water system, pipe distribution, and temperature controls.

The facility upgrades made through this grant will allow Missouri River Medical to retain 65 jobs and continue to serve the health care needs of Chouteau County residents.
BPDC Helps Young Professional Establish Law Firm s3
Jennifer Forsyth was born and raised in Havre and now has her own professional law practice, Hi-Line Law, PLLC, in her hometown.  Jennifer received her undergraduate degree from the University of Montana and her Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Montana School of Law and was admitted to the Montana Bar in 2009. 
She has been practicing for eight years.

Jennifer worked alongside another lawyer for several years before offering to purchase the practice. Jennifer came to Bear Paw to obtain financing for the purchase of the business and the real property. BPDC was able to assist Jennifer through their USDA Intermediary Relending Program and their EDA Long-term Economic Distress Revolving Loan Fund. "Taking on my own practice was a big step for my career and, with the help of Bear Paw Development, I knew I had the support I needed to start my own business," she said, regarding partnering with BPDC.   

Hi-Line Law is located at 410 Third Avenue in Havre. Jennifer offers services in estate planning, corporate/business law, buy-sells and other real estate transactions, landlord and tenant actions, probates, civil litigation, and collections.  Hi-Line Law provides a much needed service to Havre and the surrounding communities, is locally owned and operated, and retains three jobs for the Havre community. To find out more about Hi-Line Law, visit their website at, give Jennifer a call at 265-1530, and like them on Facebook.
To learn more about financing through the Bear Paw Development Revolving Loan Fund Program, call Tiffany or Sammie at 406-265-9226. 
Over the last quarter, Bear Paw's Food and Agriculture Development Center (FADC) worked diligently with the other three FADCs to expand Montana's local food network by partnering with Foodpreneurs, Food Hubs, and area legislators.
With funding from Montana's Specialty Crop Block Grant program, the FADCs were able to host a number of highly energized food trainings for specialty crop producers and other food entrepreneurs from across the state.  The trainings included: a Better Process Control School, Wholesale Success Training, and the Foodpreneur Workshop. 
In addition to hosting trainings, Bear Paw's FADC was invited to serve as a technical advisor on the steering committee for the newly dubbed 'Golden Triangle Food Hub' feasibility project. The focus of the project, which was grant funded by Farmer Union Industries, is to study whether or not the Golden Triangle can support a food hub which would facilitate aggregation, storage, processing, distribution, and marketing of locally produced food products. The Montana Cooperative Development Center helped procure the services of Crossroads Resource Center to carry out the study.
During the 2017 legislative session, all four FADCs were intimately engaged with legislators and various agriculture groups to ensure the continuance of appropriate funding for the FADC Network.  The FADCs were successful in securing continued funding, but it would not have happened without the monumental effort put forth by Montana Farmers Union through their presence in Helena.  So thank you, Montana Farmers Union and area legislators, for your ongoing support to continue this valuable service for rural Montana. 
To contact the Bear Paw FADC, call 265-9226 or e-mail Taylor Lyon at .
The Environmental Protection Agency recently announced that Bear Paw Development is the recipient of $300,000 in assessment grant funds to enhance the organization's Brownfields Program, which is designed to assess contamination or perceived contamination, remediate the problem and make sure that abandoned or underutilized properties are once again productive parts of the community.

"Since 2008, Bear Paw Development has managed a very robust Brownfields program for northern Montana that has assessed dozens of properties to determine the extent of contamination and has worked with private businesses, local governments and the nonprofit sector to clean them up," said Paul Tuss, Executive Director for Bear Paw Development. "This recent investment by the EPA in our Brownfields Program is evidence that we're making significant progress in utilizing this program as an important economic development tool that will expand the tax base, improve neighborhoods, create jobs and make communities more vibrant and sustainable."

Over the past nine years, Bear Paw Development's Brownfields Program has received $1.2 million in federal grant funds from the EPA to help assess the extent of contamination that may exist on properties that are abandoned, underutilized or hampered with their development due to environmental concerns.
Bear Paw also manages a $1 million revolving loan fund specifically designed to help businesses, local governments and nonprofits mitigate contamination that's been discovered and is a hindrance to future development.

"This recent investment by the EPA confirms that we're on the right track in properly using these federal funds as they were intended - to identify and clean up properties in northern Montana that can be far more productive than they currently are, and a bigger, more active part of our regional economy," said Samantha Chagnon, Brownfields Coordinator for Bear Paw Development.

For more information about Bear Paw's Brownfields Program, contact Samantha Chagnon at 265-9226 or by e-mail at
Participants Excel in Fort Belknap QuickBooks Course Events
The Native American Development Corporation Procurement Technical Assistance Center  and Small Business Development Center at Bear Paw Development partnered to hold an Introduction to QuickBooks course at Aaniiih Nakoda College on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation. The class was designed to help individuals enhance their accounting skills and take full advantage of what the QuickBooks software has to offer. The 14 students in attendance had a hands-on learning experience utilizing the computer lab at the college. The participants were able to walk through the basics of QuickBooks by completing mock sales entries, payments, bill pay, and payroll cycles. Participants also discovered valuable time-saving tricks and powerful report generation tools.
To learn more about upcoming trainings offered by the Small Business Development Center or to schedule one in your area, contact Joe LaPlante at 265-9226 or email him at .