Category: Montana Loans


Nexo heads for the hills just as California unleashes a wave of suits

September 27, 2022

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Nexo
NEXO
announced that it had acquired a minority stake in a Rocky Mountain banking company that is turning into a fintech just a day after California began a ripple effect of state lawsuits against the cryptocurrency lender.

Summit National Bank, which is owned by Hulett Bancorp, holds a federal banking charter with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which Nexo said has reviewed its investment. This OK will allow Nexo to offer products such as checking accounts and crypto loans, according to a company statement

The move could allow Nexo to offer crypto products in a federally regulated environment, even as states question its business practices. The lender did not respond to repeated requests for comment on its strategy and whether its deal with Summit was aimed at resolving its issues with state governments.

Just 24 hours prior, the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation issued a cease and desist order after claiming that Nexo’s interest-bearing crypto accounts were securities.

On the East Coast, New York Attorney General Letitia James has announced legal action against the lender and is seeking to permanently ban Nexo from selling securities in the state.

“Nexo has violated the law and the trust of investors by falsely claiming that it is a licensed and registered platform. Nexo must end its illegal operations and take the necessary steps to protect its investors,” James said in a statement. statement.

The Swiss-based company is now facing individual lawsuits from states, including Vermont, Washington, Mayland, Oklahoma, Caroline from the south and Kentuckyfollowing California and New York moves.

Nexo’s business model of offering generous interest against crypto deposits is reminiscent of the approaches of Voyager Digital and Celsius
CEL
Network, both of which fell into bankruptcy court as falling currency prices upended their business models. Nexo appears to have avoided that fate, but heightened regulatory scrutiny as the so-called crypto winter unfolds is another matter.

Summit is a bank with Pitches in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. Nexo said it is “reinventing itself as a modern digital FinTech bank”.

Payday lender Cash Express reports data breach affecting 100,000 customers

September 23, 2022

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Non-bank lending company Cash Express this month reported to the Montana Attorney General a data breach that allowed an unauthorized party to access sensitive consumer information of more than 100,000 people.

The company, which provides payday loans, check cashing, title loans and other high-cost short-term lending services, said in a letter to those affected that an unauthorized party obtained their personal information, including dates of birth, social security numbers, financial information. and contact information earlier this year. The Cookeville, Tennessee-based company did not provide specific details about how the breach occurred.

Richard Console, a personal injury lawyer, said in a legal blog that the most common harm from data breaches Hackers use people’s personal information to open new credit cards or personal loans. Console told American Banker in an email that it has seen an increase in data breaches since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in 2021.

“The lesson to be learned from any data breach is that companies need to do more to protect the sensitive consumer information entrusted to them,” Console said in the email to Banker. “Certainly creating and maintaining robust data security protocols is an additional cost; however, given the ever-increasing number of data breaches, the expense is justified.”

At least 80 financial services companies reported data breaches in 2022according to the Maine Attorney General’s Office, though Maine only tracks violations that affect at least one resident of the state.

In its letter to those affected, Cash Express said it had engaged a third-party data security firm to conduct an investigation after detecting unusual activity on its corporate network on February 6. The investigation revealed that an unauthorized party accessed part of the computer system between January 29 and February 6. According to the Maine Attorney General’s Office, 106,521 people were affected through the breach.

Cash Express received the results of the investigation on August 4 and reported the activity to the Montana Attorney General and affected individuals on September 15. CEO Garry McNabb said in the letter that Cash Express is offering free credit card monitoring to affected individuals through a one-year membership to Experian’s IdentityWorks.

The consumer lending company was founded in 1995. It operates through offices in the Midwest and the South.

In 2018, the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced that Cash Express would pay a civil penalty of $200,000 and restitution of $32,000 to customers for a series of violations of the Consumer Financial Protection Act involving deceptive consumers.

Inmates walked out of Illinois jail on pandemic loans

September 22, 2022

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PA

JOLIET, Ill. (AP) — More than two dozen people have been charged in Illinois with fraudulently obtaining pandemic relief money, with authorities alleging some of them were behind bars when ‘they used their relief money to post bail and get out of jail.

Joliet Police Chief William Evans said Wednesday that 25 people were part of the alleged fraud scheme to obtain Paycheck Protection Program checks without operating real businesses.

Fifteen of the defendants had been arrested on Wednesday and arrest warrants were pending for 10 others. They all face charges of wire fraud, theft and loan fraud, officials said.

Evans said each fraudulently obtained loan cost between $19,000 and $20,000, with the fraud costing taxpayers more than $500,000.

Investigators found that some of the defendants were being held in Will County Jail in Joliet, a Chicago suburb, when they applied for and received loans under the pandemic program and then used the money to get away of prison in their cases of crime.

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Evans said some of the defendants were in police custody and used jail phones “to complete the fraudulent PPP loan process.”

“Some of the targets got out of their criminal cases within days of receiving their fraudulent PPP loan,” he said at a press conference on Wednesday.

Joliet Police Detective James Kilgore said investigators had obtained bank statements and it “appeared some of these people had in fact used the money to link up with a felony case.”

A message was left with Joliet police on Thursday by The Associated Press requesting additional information about the allegations.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General and the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office also participated in the investigation.

Emergency loans to small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic have been added last year to a list of government programs considered to be at high risk of waste, fraud or mismanagement.

In August, the The US Secret Service said he had recovered $286 million in fraudulently obtained pandemic loans and was returning the money to the Small Business Administration.

“It’s like the pandemic. It’s absolutely everywhere too,” Sean Fitzgerald, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security, said at Wednesday’s press conference in Joliet.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Student loan forgiveness benefiting 120,000 Montanese | State and Region

September 21, 2022

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The U.S. Department of Education estimates that 120,400 Montanese are eligible for some degree of student debt forgiveness under a plan announced by President Joe Biden last month.

A significant number of those who qualify, 78,600, were Pell Grant recipients, meaning they are eligible for the maximum $20,000 in debt forgiveness. Pell grants are awarded only to students with exceptional needs, most with household incomes below $30,000 per year, according to the DOE.

Non-Pell beneficiaries earning less than $125,000 a year could receive debt forgiveness of up to $10,000. Student loans are standard at Montana universities and colleges for full-time freshmen, about 80% of whom have borrowed money over the past decade. About 61% of college graduates in Montana have taken out loans, the average owed is about $27,290 for graduates who attended school as residents of the state.

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“It means more breathing room for millions of families,” James Kvaal, undersecretary of the Department for Education, said in a press call on Tuesday. “It means renters are pursuing their dream of home ownership. It means parents who thought they would pay off their student debt for the rest of their lives. can now save for their own children’s education.

The loan forgiveness was not viewed favorably by elected Montana Republicans. Governor Greg Gianforte joined other Republican governors in calling on Biden to drop the loan cancellation plan, calling the move a benefit to the “elites” in society at the expense of taxpayers.

U.S. Senator Steve Daines called the loan forgiveness “totally unfair, wildly irresponsible and clearly unconstitutional,” also calling the forgiveness a burden on the taxpayers of Montana on the day Biden’s plan was announced.

Kvaal said on Tuesday that the Department of Education expects the loan cancellation plan to be recognized by law as something Education Secretary Miguel Cardona can do to compensate for financial damage. of the pandemic.

“We have considered the question of the Secretary’s legal authority to carry out this action quite extensively. We looked at it from all angles. The Secretary clearly has the power to protect borrowers from financial harm resulting from the pandemic and we are fully confident that he has the power to do so,” Kvaal said.

Tuition and fees at Montana’s flagship universities were $7,500 per year in the 2021-2022 school year, according to the Montana University System. Small colleges cost less than $6,000. The state of Montana has frozen tuition in 14 of the past 15 years at two-year colleges to manage the cost of educating students. Smaller colleges have had tuition freezes in 11 of the past 15 years, while flagship schools in Missoula and Bozeman have had tuition freezes in nine of the past 15 years.

Montana allows transgender people to change their birth certificate

September 19, 2022

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HELEN, Mont. (AP) — After months of defiance, the Montana Department of Health said it would follow a judge’s ruling and temporarily allow transgender people to change gender on their birth certificates.

In an order written Monday morning, the judge said state health officials committed “calculated violations” of his order earlier this year to temporarily stop enforcing a state law that would prevent transgender people to change sex on their birth certificate.

The health department passed a rule that no one could change the sex on their birth certificate unless there was a clerical error. Under the order, transgender residents can obtain a corrected birth certificate by submitting a sworn affidavit to the health department.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s previous story follows below.

HELEN, Mont. (AP) — A Montana judge issued a scathing ruling on Monday saying state health officials committed “calculated violations” of his order to temporarily stop enforcing a law aimed at keeping transgender people out to change sex on their birth certificate unless they have undergone surgery.

District Judge Michael Moses said he would quickly consider contempt motions based on continued violations of his April order, which he clarified in a verbal order at a hearing Thursday. Just hours after that hearing, the Republican-led state said it would defy the order.

At Thursday’s hearing, state attorneys argued that blocking the law does not prevent the health department from enacting new administrative rules.

The state, Moses wrote, engaged “in unnecessary legal gymnastics in an attempt to rationalize their actions and calculated violations of order.” He called the state’s interpretation of his earlier order “grossly ridiculous.”

The state Department of Public Health and Human Services and the attorney general’s office did not immediately respond to an email Monday seeking comment.

“It’s up to the department to comply with the order and if they don’t, the consequences are clear,” said Alex Rate, attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Montana, which represents the two transgender plaintiffs who want to change the gender marker on their birth certificates.

In April, Moses temporarily blocked a law passed by the Republican-controlled 2021 legislature that would require transgender residents to undergo surgery and obtain a court order before they could change their sex on their birth certificate. He said the law, which did not specify what type of surgery would be required, was unconstitutionally vague.

Rather than revert to a 2017 rule that allowed transgender residents to file an affidavit with the health department to correct the gender on their birth certificate, the state instead issued a rule stating that a person’s gender couldn’t be changed at all, unless there was a desk. Mistake.

The health department “has refused to issue birth certificate corrections for weeks in violation of the order,” Moses wrote.

The ACLU of Montana had sought judicial clarification due to state inaction.

Moses’ order on Monday included a copy of the 2017 rules.

“If the defendants need further clarification, they are encouraged to seek it from the court rather than engaging in activities that constitute unlawful breaches of the order,” Moses wrote.

Such an open challenge to a judge’s order is highly unusual from a government agency, said Carl Tobias, a former professor at the University of Montana Law School, now at the University of Richmond. . When officials disagree with a decision, the typical response is to appeal to a higher court, he said.

“Appeal is what you envision – not that you can overrule a judge’s orders. Otherwise people just wouldn’t obey the law,” Tobias said Thursday. “The system can’t work in this way.”‘

The legal dispute comes as conservative lawmakers in many states, including Montana, have sought to restrict transgender rights, including banning transgender girls from participating in girls’ school sports. Another Montana judge ruled last week that a law passed by state lawmakers to bar transgender women from competing on women’s collegiate sports teams was unconstitutional.

___

Associated Press reporter Matthew Brown in Billings, Montana, contributed to this story.

Biden-Harris Administration and EPA Announce Delivery of Historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Act Water Infrastructure Funding to 18 States

September 16, 2022

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WASHINGTON- Today, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provided bipartisan Infrastructure Act funding to the nation’s first 18 states for water infrastructure improvements.

President Biden’s bipartisan Infrastructure Act allocates more than $50 billion to the EPA to repair the nation’s critical water supply infrastructure, helping communities access clean, safe and reliable drinking water, build resilience, collect and treat wastewater to protect public health, clean up pollution and safeguard vital waterways. More than $1.1 billion in bipartisan Infrastructure Act capital grants have been awarded to 18 states through the State Revolving Funds (SRF), with additional capital grants to come. The grants mark the first major distribution of funds for water infrastructure through the bipartisan Infrastructure Act. State allocations were previously announced.

“All communities should have access to clean, reliable and safe water,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Thanks to the leadership of President Biden and the resources of the historic bipartisan Infrastructure Act, we are repairing aging water infrastructure, replacing lead service lines, cleaning up contaminants, and making our communities more resilient to flooding and climate impacts. .”

“President Biden has been clear – we can’t leave any community behind as we rebuild America’s infrastructure with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act,” said White House Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu. “Because of its bipartisan Infrastructure Act, nearly half of the SRF’s incremental funding will now be in the form of grants or forgivable loans, making it easier to access these critical water resources for small, rural and disadvantaged communities. .”

EPA SRFs are part of President Biden Justice40 Initiative, which aims to provide at least 40% of the benefits of certain federal programs to underserved communities. In addition, nearly half of the funding available through SRFs through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act is to be principal forgiveness grants or loans that remove barriers to investing in critical water infrastructure in underserved communities. served across rural America and in urban centers.

The EPA has awarded SRF capital grants to 18 states, including: Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.

The funding announced today represents FY22 rewards for states that submitted and received EPA approval for their funding utilization plans. Capital grants will continue to be awarded, on a rolling, state-by-state basis, as more states receive approval throughout FY22; states will also receive awards over the next four years. Once the grants are awarded, state programs will begin providing the funds in the form of grants and loans to communities in their state.

The bipartisan infrastructure law presents the biggest funding opportunity ever to invest in water infrastructure. To learn more about Bipartisan Infrastructure Act programs and other programs that help communities manage their water resources, see the EPA’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Act page.

Stop Punishing Employers Who Want to Help Employees With Free Gas, Meals, or Child Care

September 15, 2022

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Employers are struggling to fill more than 11 million open jobs. Employees struggle to pay for childcare, gas, and even food. And then there’s the struggle to repay those student loans for many Americans.

I have a solution: Employers could offer benefits – voluntary, not mandatory – such as free or subsidized child care, elder care, public transport, gas, meals, reimbursement of student loans or tuition fees.

Employers will attract new employees to the job market. Employees receive help to overcome challenges related to high gas prices, high inflation and unpaid student loans. A win-win.

SMALL BUSINESSES FACING THE HEADWINDS OF INFLATION ARE FINDING NEW WAYS TO HOLD ON

But there is a huge roadblock called the Fair Labor Standards Act (and most state laws) that currently requires employers to pay additional overtime on the value of these employee benefits.

Yes, it’s true. Most people think of overtime pay as time and a half of an employee’s hourly rate. It’s not. Overtime is calculated as 1.5 times an employee’s “regular rate of pay”. “Standard rate” is defined in the RSA as “all remuneration for employment” unless specifically excluded under section 7(e) of the Act. What this means in real English is 1.5 times all things of value – hourly wages, salary, commissions, bonuses, anything – that an employer gives its employees for their work.

Payments for health, accident and life insurance are excluded from the 1.5 calculation under the law, as are pension benefits. But that’s all; most other employee benefits trigger the overtime requirement. The definition of the regular rate and this list of excluded benefits were added to the FLSA in 1949. It’s time for an update.

Today’s employee wants, needs and demands more than just an hourly wage. Health insurance and vacation pay are important and do not count towards overtime. But this old, outdated list of excluded benefits prevents employers from giving more benefits to employees.

HARD ROCK AND SEMINOLE GAMING INVEST $100M TO INCREASE STARTING SALARY FOR US EMPLOYEES

Few employers offer childcare, student loan repayment or transportation allowances. The threat of litigation and additional overtime obligations are stifling innovation in employee benefits. A Montana employer has lost a lawsuit for failing to pay overtime when it offered its employees public transportation subsidies. A California employer has settled an overtime lawsuit for the sin of student loan repayment.

The federal government recognizes the value of these benefits and provides them to its own employees. The Department of Labor, for example, provides its own employees with child care subsidies or on-site child care, dependent benefits, tuition reimbursement, fitness centers physical training, subsidies for public transit and a “bicycle travel reimbursement grant”.

But, of course, the federal government doesn’t have to pay overtime for these benefits like private employers do. No, the federal government does not use the “regular rate” formula; overtime for federal employees is limited to 1.5 times their hourly rate.

It is time and already more than time to apply the calculation of overtime for federal employees to private sector employees as well. We need to stop punishing employers who want to offer employees free childcare, free meals, free gas, or free training by allowing the plaintiffs’ bar to sue them for such good deeds.

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The Trump Administration made some progress in dismantling the FLSA’s perverse incentives, in one of the few regulations that were not quickly removed by the new Biden-led Labor Department. The Trump regulations clarified that employers did not have to pay additional overtime on unused sick leave payouts, military leave payouts, the value of wellness programs, property discounts and services provided by the employer and certain signing bonuses.

These regulations, however, did not and could not go far enough because the Department of Labor believed it was limited by the wording of the FLSA itself. Subsidies for public transit, free meals and child care continue to require payment of additional overtime. Whether overtime is due on student loan repayments and other educational benefits remains unclear, depending on the facts and circumstances of each program.

Recently, Representatives Elise Stefanik, RN.Y., Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, and Michelle Steel, R-Calif., introduced a bill to pave the way for employers to provide employees with free or subsidized childcare and elderly care.

FILE – Representative Elise Stefanik, Republican of New York and President of the Republican House Conference, speaks during a press conference at the United States Capitol in Washington, DC, U.S., Thursday, May 20, 2021. (Photographer: Samuel Corum/Bloomberg via Getty Images/Getty Images)

It’s a very short piece of legislation, HR 8388, the Empowering Employer Child Care & Elder Act, which would exclude “payments for child care or dependent care reimbursements” from this definition of the “normal rate” in the FLSA.

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Every Democrat and Republican in the House and Senate should sign up and push through this bipartisan bill quickly.

State Governors and lawmakers should do the same under state law. How could any of our elected officials object to voluntary, employer-funded child care?

With respect, however, I must suggest that HR 8388 does not go far enough. Yes, excluding payments for child and elderly care from the calculation of 1.5 overtime hours is an important first step. But let’s also stop punishing employers who want to help their employees with free gas or free meals or who want to pay off their employees’ student loans.

Incredible benefits offered voluntarily by employers to get people back to work. Voluntary, not mandatory, and not paid for by another taxpayer-funded program.

Come on man, let’s get to work!

Tammy McCutchen served as Administrator of Wages and Hours at the Department of Labor under President George W. Bush.

Nearly two dozen GOP governors write letter to Biden, criticize him for taxpayer-funded student loans

September 12, 2022

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EXCLUSIVE: Nearly two dozen Republican governors sent a letter to President Biden on Monday expressing concern about how his student loan plan, which is expected to cost taxpayers $500 billion, will negatively impact low-income families. .

Led by Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, the lettersigned by a total of 22 GOP governors, targeted Biden’s plan which they said “punishes the poor” and shifts the “debt burden from the rich to working Americans.”

“As governors, we support making higher education more affordable and accessible to students in our states, but we fundamentally oppose your plan to force American taxpayers to pay off student loan debt from a elite – a plan that is estimated to cost the tax-paying American more than $2,000 each or $600 billion in total, a price the people of our states cannot afford,” the governors said. .

“Only 16-17% of Americans have federal student loan debt, and yet your plan will require their debts to be redistributed and paid for by the vast majority of taxpayers,” the governors continued. “Shifting the debt burden from the wealthy to working Americans has a regressive impact that hurts low-income families. Borrowers with the most debt, like $50,000 or more, almost exclusively have graduate degrees, which means that hourly workers will pay for master’s and doctoral degrees from highly paid lawyers, doctors and professors.”

BIDEN STUDENT LOAN DOCUMENT WILL COST AROUND $500B, SAYS COMMITTEE FOR A RESPONSIBLE FEDERAL BUDGET

A letter from 22 GOP governors, led by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, was sent to President Biden on Monday, lambasting him for his student loan plan that “punishes the poor.”
(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

“Furthermore, the top 20% of households hold $3 in student debt for every $1 held by the bottom quintile, generating a skewed reality where the wealthy benefit at the expense of labor. Simply put, your plan rewards the wealthy and punishes the poor,” they added.

GOP governors reiterated that Americans’ decision to take out student loans “was their decision” and that those who choose not to take out loans in exchange for college tuition “certainly should not have to pay student loans from others”.

“A high-cost degree isn’t the key to unlocking the American dream — hard work and personal responsibility are,” the governors said. “For many borrowers, they’ve worked hard, made sacrifices, and paid off their debt. For many others, they’ve chosen hard work and a paycheck over more education and a loan.”

Republican governors also warned Biden that his decision to forgive the student loan debt of millions of Americans at taxpayer expense “will encourage more student borrowing, incentivize higher tuition, and drive inflation even higher, which will have a negative impact on all Americans.”

STATES CONFIRM PLAN TO TAX STUDENT LOAN FUNDS

President Biden speaks during a Labor Day event with United Steelworkers of America Local 2227 in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania on September 5, 2022.

President Biden speaks during a Labor Day event with United Steelworkers of America Local 2227 in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania on September 5, 2022.
(Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

“Even economists in your own party oppose your plan to increase demand and increase inflation,” they wrote. “Rather than tackling rising tuition fees for higher education or working to lower interest rates for student loans, your plan kicks things off and compounds today’s problems. today for the students of tomorrow.”

Referencing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s 2021 remarks that said the president “didn’t have that power” to eliminate student loan debt, the governors insisted that Biden didn’t “have the power” to eliminate student loan debt. power to exercise unilateral action to usher in a comprehensive student loan cancellation plan”.

In addition to Reynolds, the letter was signed by Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, Idaho Governor Brad Little, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Missouri Governor Mike Parson, Montana Governor Greg Gianforte, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, Governor of North Dakota Doug Burgum, Governor of Ohio Mike DeWine, Governor of Oklahoma Kevin Stitt, Governor of South Carolina Henry McMaster, Governor of South Dakota Kristi Noem, Governor of Tennessee Bill Lee, Governor of Texas Greg Abbott, Governor of Utah Spencer Cox and Governor of Wyoming Mark Gordon.

A student studies at the Rice University library on August 29, 2022 in Houston, Texas.

A student studies at the Rice University library on August 29, 2022 in Houston, Texas.
(Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

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Last month, Biden announced up to $20,000 in federal student loan forgiveness. Students who attended college using the federal Pell Grants are eligible for $20,000, but those who did not use the program are eligible for a $10,000 rebate. The document only applies to borrowers earning less than $125,000 per year.

Responsible Budget Committee estimate the cost of aid around $500 billion.

Anders Hagstrom of Fox News contributed to this article.

Lawsuit challenges Montana’s COVID vaccine ban on tribal lands | Local News

September 8, 2022

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A Cut Bank economic development agency has filed a lawsuit claiming that a state organization has “no jurisdiction” on tribal lands to enforce a Montana law that prohibits COVID-19 vaccine warrants.

The Glacier County Regional Port Authority is suing the Montana Office of Human Rights and Department of Labor and Industry Commissioner Laurie Esau. The case will go to trial in the US District Court in Great Falls and Chief Judge Brian Morris will oversee it.

HB 702, passed by Republican lawmakers and signed by Gov. Greg Gianforte in May 2021, aims to prevent workplaces and customers from being discriminated against based on their vaccination status.

According to the lawsuit, when HB 702 was passed, the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council had implemented Tribal Ordinance 121, which required mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for people attending in-person meetings.

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The Tribal Ordinance states that its purpose is “to protect and promote the safety of the Tribal Workforce.”

The lawsuit centers on JR Myers, a non-Native man who allegedly attempted to attend an in-person meeting at Browning but was not vaccinated against COVID-19.

The lawsuit says Myers filed a complaint against the Port Authority with the Montana Human Rights Office. The bureau determined that the Port Authority – which provides small business loans, grants and other forms of assistance – engaged in unlawful discrimination when it demanded that in-person meeting attendees present proof of vaccination.

The Port Authority is asking for a judgment to declare the state office incompetent over tribal lands. Tribes are sovereign nations, meaning they have the right to govern their territory and internal affairs.

Plaintiff also seeks to enjoin the defendants from enforcing HB 702 against the Port Authority, award the Port Authority attorneys’ fees, and award the Port Authority such other remedies as the court deems just.

Several lawsuits have challenged HB 702, but this case stands out in that it challenges the Montana Office of Human Rights’ ability to enforce the law. Earlier cases like Netzer v. Montana Law Firm and Montana Medical Association v. Knudsen sought to invalidate the law itself.

Blackfoot Nation and COVID

While tribes in Montana often enforced stricter safety protocols than the state, Native Americans were disproportionately hospitalized and killed by COVID-19.

The Blackfeet Nation sacrificed vital tourist dollars in 2020 when it closed the gates on the east side of Glacier National Park to protect residents of the reservation from the virus. The tribe has also implemented mask mandates, curfews, remote learning and other initiatives to curb the spread. In July, the tribe reported that 67 community members had died of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

COVID-19 was the leading cause of death among Native Americans in Montana in 2020, while it was the third leading cause of death among all Montana residents, according to a Department of Health and Human Services. report.

Between March and October 2020, Native Americans in Montana accounted for 19% of COVID-19 cases and 32% of COVID-19 deaths statewide. Indigenous peoples make up approximately 6.7% of Montana’s population.

From August 31 — more than a year after the vaccines were distributed — Native Americans accounted for 8% of COVID-19 cases and 11% of COVID deaths in Montana.

Native Americans face persistent disparities in health and health care, which according to a recent report by the Indian Health Service, “are the result of centuries of structural discrimination, forced relocation, reduced economic opportunity and chronic underfunding of health care”.

The report also cited barriers to care, historical trauma, discrimination and poverty as other factors contributing to health disparities.

Although Native Americans have access to the Indian Health Service, the agency has long been criticized for its chronic underfunding. The same report indicated that the agency’s previous funding met approximately 48.6% of the health care needs of the population it serves.

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How to Start an LLC in Montana (2022 Guide) – Forbes Advisor

September 5, 2022

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In the early stages of establishing an LLC in Montana, you must first manage some key details. Please read the following sections to know what to do before submitting LLC documents.

Create an ePass account online

One important thing to note about filing in Montana is that its commercial filing system is completely online. This means that you will need to configure a ePass account with the state before we can do anything. Be sure to handle this before attempting to file documents with the state.

Search and Reserve LLC Trade Name

It’s always a good idea to check the availability of your business name. It would be an unfortunate waste of time and resources to apply for an LLC, only to be rejected because the name is already in use. You can easily avoid this by doing a series of research using the Montana Secretary of State website.

Once you are sure your name is safe to use, log in to your ePass account and complete the online name reservation form. Although not required, it is a great way to ensure that your business name will be available once you have completed your LLC preparation and gone on file. The deposit costs $10 and reserves your name for 120 days. .

Get your own web domain

Before starting a Montana LLC, consider creating and launching your own web domain. A professional website is practically essential in the modern business era. Many potential customers are particularly savvy when it comes to researching companies and products. You’ll want to make it as easy as possible for them to find you online and learn more about your business.

Hire a registered agent

A registered agent is a must for any LLC in Montana. This person or business will receive important legal documents on behalf of the business. It is true that you can act as the registered agent of your LLC or appoint a member to this role. To qualify, the prospective agent must be at least 18 years old and have a physical address in Montana.

If no one respects these stipulations, or if you simply decide it’s too much of a problem, hiring a registered agent is another popular solution. Prices vary, but you can expect to spend anywhere from just under $50 to as much as $300 per year.

States with the most and the least student debt | Personal finance

September 3, 2022

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In the late 1980s, a high school graduate who wanted to attend college or university was looking at average tuition costs of $15,160 per year for a private, nonprofit school and $3,190 per year for a public college or university. By 2021, that number had jumped to $37,600 for private non-profit colleges and $9,400 for public schools. Once the cost of books, room and board, and other fees are added in, paying for college with a part-time or summer job becomes more and more a thing of the past.

Today’s students are turning to loans instead, leading to a widespread debt crisis. Americans currently owe $1.58 trillion in student loans, which is changing the shape and trajectory of the US economy. Instead of buying cars or homes, many millennials are focused on finding jobs that will allow them to repay their loans without defaulting.

Some states are taking steps to help by adopting a Charter of rights of the student borrower and offer a variety of scholarship and loan repayment programs to qualified graduates. In New York in 2017, for example, New York announced a scholarship program that would provide free tuition at public colleges residents whose families earn less than $125,000 per year.

Stacker reviewed 2022 data from the New York Federal Reserve to determine where student debt is hitting the nation the hardest. In case of a tie, we looked at the number of borrowers in all tied states.

Read on to see where your state falls on the list.

You might also like: Highest Paying Management Jobs

After Bruen, another judge ends Colorado assault weapons ban

August 31, 2022

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What you need to know today

NEW from THE TRACE: Survivors who shoot shouldn’t pay their own medical bills.In a new comment, Professor Hugh Gusterson of the University of British Columbia shares a proposal to defray often exorbitant costs for survivors of gun violence. According to a 2017 study, only 12% are able to pay these bills in full. Gusterson turns to auto insurance for an answer. “Americans have accepted the price we pay to live with cars,” he writes. “We have devised an elaborate insurance system to ensure that the medical expenses of people injured by automobiles are paid not by the victims but by the community of automobile owners.” This model, he says, could guide how society pays for victims of gun violence. Read the full opinion piece.

Citing Brownanother federal judge prevents a Colorado municipality from enforcing an assault weapons ban. U.S. District Judge Charlotte Sweeney issued a temporary restraining order against the Boulder County law, which includes a ban on large-capacity magazines. Judge Sweeney wrote that the “plaintiffs establish a substantial likelihood of success” in part because of the Brown the decisions new constitutional test for how federal courts should evaluate gun laws. Another US district judge – also a Democratic presidential candidate – has been sidelined a similar decision last month about the City of Superior’s Assault Weapons Ban. We follow the effects of Brown Case here.

Lawmakers seek answers from company offering interest-free loans for weapons and ammunition. In a letter to the CEO of Montana-based Credova Financial, 18 House Democrats asked the company how it ensures people who use its ‘buy now, pay later’ funding for guns don’t quickly resell them . They also asked if the company knew if customers who had financed firearms had used them to commit acts of violence, and how often people failed to repay those loans. The four-year-old company said approximately three-quarters of the businesses where it provides financing are gun or hunting stores.

Newsrooms are suing Uvalde officials for access to public records. Citing the Texas Open Records Act, The Associated Press and others filed a complaint in Uvalde County to compel the sheriff’s department, school district and city to turn over 911 tapes and other records and documents related to the May shooting at Robb Elementary School. This comes several weeks later a similar trial charged the state Department of Public Safety for violating Texas public information law by withholding information about the police response.

We are up for three more awards! The Online News Association named us among the finalists for its 2022 Online Journalism Awards in:

  • General Excellence in Online Journalism, Small Newsroom
  • Excellence in collaboration and partnerships, for our investigation with VICE News: “Return of the Machine Gun
  • Gather Award in Community-Centered Journalism, Overall Excellence, Micro/Small Newsroom, for in the block

The winners will be announced on September 24 at the 2022 ONA conference.

Data point

~100,000 — the number of new police hires proposed in Joe Biden’s 2023 budget request, which the president highlighted Tuesday in a speech from Pennsylvania on crime and policing. [The New York Times]

Barcelona loan French defender Umtiti to Serie A club Lecce | Basketball News

August 25, 2022

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PA

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — World Cup-winning French defender Samuel Umtiti will prepare for this year’s tournament in Italy instead of Barcelona after being loaned to Lecce.

Barcelona said on Thursday that the newly promoted Serie A club had taken Umtiti for a season without a purchase option.

The loan deal is Barcelona’s latest move to try to comply with financial rules during their debt crisis and still be able to register new players.

The Spanish team were unable to sign up French Umtiti teammate Jules Koundé since signing the Sevilla defender last month for a fee of around 50 million euros ($50 million).

Umtiti, 28, joined Barcelona six years ago from Lyon and has a contract until 2026. That deal was completed in January, which including taking a pay cut so Barcelona can register new signing Ferran Torres.

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Barcelona then thanked Umtiti for ‘his willingness and the affection he showed towards the club’.

He started in central defense at the 2018 World Cup and scored in France’s 1-0 win over Belgium in the semi-finals.

France are part of a group with Australia, Denmark and Tunisia at the World Cup which begins on November 20 in Qatar.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Newark water main broke amid plans to assess risk of water main break

August 24, 2022

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A water main break that cut off or reduced flow to kitchen sinks, bathtubs and toilets in 100,000 Newark households earlier this month came as city officials prepared to assess the likelihood of ruptures along 30 miles of major transmission lines, city officials told NJ Advance Media. .

A request for proposals to conduct the citywide assessment is expected to be issued in September, according to the Newark Department of Water & Sewer Utilities. The assessment aims to identify weak points in the system and categorize them for replacement repairs to anticipate precisely the type of failure that occurred on August 9, said Kareem Adeem, the director of the department.

The timing of the break and the plans for the evaluation are coincidental, Adeem said. But he acknowledged the pause underscores the need to identify and prioritize potential weak spots, and design repairs or replacements as soon as possible to take advantage of federal funding that will be available over the next five years. from the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan. Infrastructure Act approved by Congress and signed by President Joe Biden last year.

“We had this already planned,” Adeem said at the Friday break site in Essex County’s Branch Brook Park, just across the border from Newark in Belleville.

Accompanied by the supervising engineer of the water and sewerage department, Zehra Karim, Adeem stood at the edge of a 14-foot-deep pit, where utility workers who had already removed the length cast iron pipe broken were preparing to install a water main. family spa size shut off valve.

A lone worker from the city contractor, Lodi-based Montana Construction, stood at the bottom of the pit, where a large steel trench kept the surrounding earth from collapsing on top of him and the two open mouths of a 42 inch cast iron. transmission line deep below the surface of Branch Brook Park Drive.

The pipe had ruptured 10 days earlier, spewing 25,000 gallons of clean water per minute and washing away soil under the park road. Tuesday morning’s main break opened a sinkhole that swallowed a Toyota shortly after its driver fled, then shut off or reduced water pressure in much of the state’s largest city and in several surrounding towns for the next day and a half.

The loss of pressure triggered a boil water advisory that remained in effect until the following Saturday, while city workers handed out bottled water in the sweltering heat.

The precise reason for the break is still under investigation, department officials said this week, with a metals lab analyzing the broken section of the main. It is one of three large parallel pipelines through the park, carrying drinking water from the town’s Pequannock Water Treatment Plant approximately 40 miles to West Milford. The plant sits in Newark’s 37,000-acre Pequannock Watershed, a verdant preserve that spans parts of Morris, Passaic and Sussex counties and is home to the city’s five reservoirs.

Adeem decided to take advantage of the excavation needed to repair the breach by installing a shut-off valve at the same time, in the same hole in the ground. If a main rupture occurred downstream of the valve, he said, it would allow officials to stem the flow of water gushing out of the system faster than crews were able to during the break in this month, minimizing pressure loss.

The valve cost $60,000, in addition to $40,000 to repair the rupture, the department said.

“We will take the opportunity for the future, if a break should occur we can do things much faster,” said Adeem, who runs a water and sewer utility with 195 employees and a budget of $125 million. “We want to be resilient. We can close a valve, which would stop bringing water here, and let the system pressure build up.

The same forward-thinking approach to maintaining the city’s water supply prompted Adeem and his boss, Mayor Ras Baraka, to assess Newark’s major transmission lines.

Adeem said the city hopes to use some of the $50 billion in federal funding earmarked for water and sewer projects under the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill passed by Congress and signed by President Biden last year. But how much Newark will be able to rely on the infrastructure law was in doubt Monday, when Garden State officials were bitterly disappointed by an analysis of how much each state would receive from an initial allocation from the law.

Specifically, the Natural Resources Defense Council’s analysis related to $15 billion earmarked in the law specifically to replace lead service lines, which connect single homes and businesses to municipal distribution lines.

With approximately 350,000 lead service lines still posing a health risk in New Jersey, the $48 million expenditure announced for the Garden State came to $138 per line, the second highest funding rate. bottom of all states after Ohio, and a fraction of the thousands. it costs to replace each row. I

It is, at least, a segment of Newark’s water infrastructure that the city no longer has to worry about. Following a crisis of high lead levels in its drinking water dating back to at least 2016, the city has become a national model for its rapid replacement of more than 23,000 lead pipes with safe copper pipes, a job completed this winter in just over three years after initial projections, it would take almost a decade.

The city received praise from environmental groups, local and state county governments, and Vice President Kamala Harris during a visit to the city. Both Baraka and Adeem testified before Congress on how Newark handled the task, which included state-of-the-art replacement techniques, as well as state and local legislation allowing the city to perform the work on private property without the consent of the owners.

While hoping the federal government will help Newark with any water main replacement projects identified by the upcoming assessment, Adeem said the city would do the work on its own or with other funding if needed.

For example, the Newark projects, including the $190 million lead line replacement program and a $23 million upgrade to the Pequannock mill that began in April, were funded by loans from Essex County and the New Jersey Infrastructure Bank.

“Newark is used to making big plans,” he said,

Newark’s service line replacement has made Adeem and Baraka household names in infrastructure circles across the country, including the Denver-based company American Water Works Association.

Kurt Vause, former chairman of the association’s Water Utility Council, credited Newark’s mayor and water manager for leading an extensive primary assessment that may end up revealing the need for major replacement projects. or maintenance.

He said assessments done proactively rather than in response to pauses are becoming common in major cities across the country, which also hope federal infrastructure money will help pay for needed projects that may be identified.

“It’s an emerging best practice, and it’s becoming much more common due to the upcoming infrastructure law,” said Vause, former water manager for the city of Anchorage, Alaska, where freezing temperatures present a particular challenge.

As infrastructure spending has become a more common topic of public discussion and the added prospect of federal largesse makes it more palatable to taxpayers and elected officials, Vause said water and sewer upgrades may still be a tough sell in the face of competing demands for public spending. .

“It’s a balancing act to try to figure out the best way to continue to serve your service area in a safe way to protect public health,” Vause said. “We can all imagine situations where there’s a lot of pressure on policy makers to maintain the spending line while you have these emerging conditions that need attention.”

A sinkhole in Branch Brook Park in Belville caused by a water main break earlier in the week was dug Thursday to repair the broken main and install a shut-off valve. Tuesday’s break cut off or reduced water pressure for 100,000 households in Newark.Steve Strunsky | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

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Steve Strunsky can be reached at [email protected]

Judge permanently blocks Biden’s oil and gas lease break in 13 states

August 20, 2022

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A federal judge on Thursday issued a permanent injunction against the Biden administration’s suspension of new oil and gas leases on federal lands.

The injunction applies to the 13 states that sued the Biden administration for the moratorium in March 2021, including Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana , Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.

Terry Doughty, the U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Louisiana, ruled the White House went too far with the ban.

President Joe Biden signed Executive Order 14008 on January 27, 2021, prohibiting all new oil and natural gas leases on federal lands and offshore waters. The order did not cancel existing leases on federal lands and offshore waters. Leases on private land were also not affected.

Thirteen Louisiana-led states have sued the Biden administration, saying the lease ban violates the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), which governs offshore oil and gas leases, and the Mining Leasing Act. (MLA), which governs land leases on land on federal lands.

Doughty issued a temporary injunction in June 2022 in this case. The injunction was overturned Wednesday by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Doughty’s permanent injunction came a day after the circuit court’s decision (pdf).

Tugboats tow the Noble Danny Adkins semi-submersible drilling rig through the Port Aransas Channel in the Gulf of Mexico in Port Aransas, Texas on Dec. 12, 2020. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

In the permanent injunction, Doughty ruled that the executive branch had no power to change the two laws.

“Both statutes require defendant government agencies to sell oil and gas leases. OCSLA has a five-year plan in place that requires qualifying leases to be sold. Defendants’ government agencies do not have the authority to make significant revisions to the OCSLA’s five-year plan without going through congressional-mandated process. The MLA requires the DOI to conduct lease sales, where eligible land is available at least quarterly,” he wrote in the decision (pdf). “By stopping the process, the agencies are effectively changing two laws of Congress. Neither the OCSLA nor the MLA gives the government defendants’ agencies the authority to implement a halt to lease sales.

The Epoch Times has reached out to the Interior Department and the White House for comment.

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen applauded the permanent injunction.

“President Biden’s executive order to stifle energy development not only raised prices and hurt American families, it was downright illegal. This decision is a victory for the rule of law and for workers and rural communities who depend on the energy industry,” he said in a statement. statement.

An ongoing moratorium on leases would have cut employment by 210 jobs, cut personal income by $13 million and cost Montana $4 million in oil and gas taxes in 2021, he said. said citing a December 2020 study conducted by the University of Wyoming.

Biggest offshore oil and gas lease sale revived

Days before the permanent injunction, a lease known as Lease Sale 257, which is also being challenged in the multi-state lawsuit, was revived by Biden through the so-called Tax Reduction Act. inflation.

The Inflation Reduction Act includes provisions that guide spending, tax credits and loans to boost technologies such as solar panels and equipment to reduce pollution at coal and gas-fired power plants .

But the legislation also contains a provision that reinstates the previously halted Lease 257 sale, which was auctioned off for $192 million in March 2019, the largest offshore oil and gas lease in U.S. history, spanning nearly 81 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) indicated its intention to cancel the lease sale in February 2021, citing Executive Order 14008. The lease sale was later revived by the government. However, he was later challenged by environmental activist groups and arrested by Judge Rudolph Contreras of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

Contreras ruled in January that the decision to proceed with the sale of the lease was “arbitrary and capricious”.

The decision effectively blocked the 257 lease sale because the Biden administration did not appeal.

Tom Ozimek contributed to the report.

Of The old times

Blackbraid takes Black Metal out of Norway and gives it a Native American twist and more Latest News Here

August 19, 2022

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When most people think of black metal, they think of pasty white
Scandinavians screaming about things like pagan rites, death,
renaissance, and nature in the middle of the woods. It’s about fighting cultural oppression (when it’s not rooted in outright bigotry).

You know who else was oppressed and forced to forget their origins
while their ancestral lands were taken over by intruders on the
duration of several hundred years? Native Americans. That’s why the black solo
the metal band Blackbraid and their particular brand of black metal stand out.
Everything is so real.

Hailing from the ‘Wilderness of the Adirondacks’, Blackbraid is an independent artist who is set to release his debut album, Blackbraid I. Today he released his third single ‘Sacandaga’ and accompanying music video .

Honestly, it hits all the marks of your mainstream black metal single and video. Here is the list :

  • Standing/singing in the woods, you look menacing? Check.
  • White wolf running through the snowy forest? Check.
  • Stunning images of the natural beauty of his homeland? Check.

Outside of the American Northeast, this single and video could easily fit near the freezing fjords of Norway and are just as majestic.

Definitely worth checking out. It’s incredibly interesting to see such important genres of metal finding new life in different cultures and populations. Remember, children. Metal is for everyone. Not just pasty white dudes.

You can see the music video for “Sacandaga,” along with the other two singles “The River of Time Flows Through Me” and “Barefoot Ghost Dance on Blood Soaked Soil” below.

black braid, Black Braid I:

  1. The river of time flows through me
  2. As the creek gently flows
  3. Sacandaga
  4. Barefoot ghost dance on blood soaked ground
  5. Warm wind whispering softly through the hemlock at dusk
  6. Open the jaws of eternity

Blackbraid takes Black Metal out of Norway and gives it a Native American twist and the latest news

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Here’s One Reason America’s Racial Wealth Gap Persists Across Generations

August 13, 2022

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Angela Chevaux and her husband make a good living in York, Pennsylvania. She’s an insurance claims supervisor and he’s in construction. Yet a recent inheritance from her stepfather changed her life. He left them a retirement account, a life insurance policy, an annuity – and her husband and brother inherited an old farmhouse in a secluded spot with a pond.

“We were able to buy the property – the other half – from his brother for a decent price,” says Chevaux.

She thinks they paid about half of what the appraised value would have been.

/ Via Angèle Horses

/

Via Angele Horses

A recent inheritance enabled the Chevaux family of York, Pennsylvania to pay off a mortgage and a student loan. This type of generational wealth transfer is much more common for white families than for others.

They renovate the farm to live in and sell their own house, saying goodbye to 11 years of extra payments.

“We will no longer have a mortgage [ages] 50 and 59!” she laughs.

His stepfather also left Chevaux’s 24-year-old son a money market account.

“He had given our son college money before he passed,” she says. “So that allowed him to pay off the rest of his college debt.”

Her son is a financial adviser and has invested the rest of his inheritance, intending to use it to buy a house.

The family’s financial fortunes show one way America racial wealth gap has persisted – and even expanded – over the generations. White adults are more than twice as likely as Black and Latino households to get significant financial support from parents or other elders. That’s according to a new poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.

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Dorothy Brown, Professor of Tax Law at Georgetown University, wants more white families to talk about these intergenerational benefits.

“Because you have black Americans doing everything they’ve been told is right and not moving forward,” she says. “And they’re scratching their heads like, ‘How come I’m not doing better than me? How come I don’t do better than the guy in the cabin next to me? ”

The new poll finds that 38% of white adults say they have received at least $10,000 in gifts or loans from a parent or older relative. Only 14% of black adults receive gifts or similar loans. The share is 16% for Latinos and 19% for Native Americans.

Brown says this divide reflects generations of segregation and racism, especially in housing policies. Racially restrictive covenants prohibited whites from selling or renting their homes to African Americans or other minority groups. And Federal Housing Administration policies supported such restrictions.

“So if your grandparent has a house that was insured by the FHAit was because they were white,” she said. “You don’t think about it, but it was.”

The racial wealth gap is also evident in many other survey questions.

“When people talk about the American dream, it’s here,” says Robert Blendon, a Harvard professor emeritus of health policy who worked on the poll.

A lot of black, Latino and Native American adults say they want to move to better housing and expect their kids to go to college, but they don’t have the money to pay for those things.

“These minority communities are going to … have to borrow everything in a very risky environment for that,” Blendon says, “and they have nothing to at least help defray some of the cost.”

What’s at stake, he says, is the ability to make the choices that can help families and future generations move forward.

For black Americans, wealth is more likely to increase

For African Americans, in particular, tax expert Brown says the generational transfer of wealth is actually more likely to go the other way – with children helping parents who suffered under Jim Crow.

Theodore Bailey and his wife, Audrey, live in Marana, Arizona.  He is one of many college-educated Black Americans who provide significant financial support for their families, which research finds contributes to the persistent racial wealth gap as it decreases funding for inheritances.

/ Via Theodore Bailey

/

Via Theodore Bailey

Theodore Bailey and his wife, Audrey, live in Marana, Arizona. He is one of many college-educated Black Americans who provide significant financial support for their families, which research finds contributes to the persistent racial wealth gap as it decreases funding for inheritances.

This is the story of Theodore Bailey, who is 76 and remembers a difficult childhood in segregated Nashville.

“My father died when I was 3 years old,” he says. “My mother was a single mother with four sons.”

Her father died while serving as an army cook during World War II, leading to a major rift for Bailey. As a war orphan, he was able to attend college thanks to the GI Bill, which launched a successful career as an engineer and missile designer. Early on, Bailey sent money to help her mother get by.

“I knew she was struggling, you know. And at the time, I didn’t have much to lose, but I was sending her everything I could,” he says.

Now retired to Arizona, Bailey says he has always helped his family. This includes supporting a brother who lost his job, sending his grandchildren to college, and being there for others along the way.

“Oh,” he laughs, “there are always cousins ​​and nephews and things that want to borrow money, and often they don’t pay it back.”

Research shows caregivers like this are serious depletes the wealth of black American college graduates. Bailey says he now has to cash out more of his IRA than he would like in this bad market, to meet his own expenses.

He does not know how much he will have left to pass on to his children and grandchildren.

“I invested in them, putting them through college and so on,” he says. “I hope they can take care of themselves.”

Copyright 2022 NPR. To learn more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Student borrowers worried as COVID-19 moratorium deadline approaches

August 12, 2022

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LENEXA, Kan. – In less than three weeks, the federal student loan repayment break will expire. The Biden administration had extended the deadline for the fourth time to August 31 in hopes of helping families while dealing with the hardships of the pandemic.

Kelly Hansen has been paying off her student loans for 34 years. She is pursuing higher education to fulfill her vocation.

“My mom was a single mom and a teacher,” Hansen said. “She wanted me to get a good education, so I went to Montana State University and graduated in 1991.”

Hansen pursued a career in the culinary arts as an adult and recently graduated from seminary to become a hospital chaplain. Although she thinks all of her education was worth the financial investment, her debt has piled up over the years.

“Just myself, without my spouse, I have about $90,000 in student loan debt right now,” she said. “Thirty-four years to pay, intermittently.”

The student loan moratorium during COVID-19 has been a sigh of relief for Hansen. She and her husband wanted to use that time and move forward on the payments, but life had other plans.

“You know, we thought we could build up that 6 month reserve that you’re supposed to have, and we’re still taking care of that, not to mention other debts,” Hansen said.

Student loan counselor Jason Anderson says these types of loans are difficult because you can’t declare bankruptcy or use other mechanisms in society to get rid of debt. A borrower’s best bet is finding the right repayment plan.

“If you’re struggling to repay your federal student loans, there are other plans,” Anderson said. Certain professions may qualify for loan forgiveness, so we’re specifically talking about teachers, doctors in some states, and government officials in particular.

Anderson believes that with the political climate in the country heading into the election, the Biden administration will once again extend the moratorium. It is unclear whether the administration will cancel the debt or how much it will cancel.

Working two jobs and living paycheck to paycheck with her husband in Lenexa, Hansen says the approaching deadline can feel overwhelming.

“But you just have to laugh it off and know it’s going to work out,” Hansen said.

2022 Homeowner’s Net Worth Increases in All US States Except NJ

August 9, 2022

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NEW JERSEY — New data from real estate information analyzer ATTOM Data Solutions has revealed that, from the first quarter of 2022 through the second, the percentage of mortgaged residential properties considered “equity-rich” increased in the United States, exception of a State.

According to the ATTOM US Home Equity & Underwater report released on Thursday, the only outlier is New Jersey, which saw its ratio drop from 38.6% to 37.9%.

ATTOM defines “equity-rich” as properties with estimated loan balances no greater than 50% of their market value.

In the United States, on average, the percentage of mortgaged homes deemed “equity-rich” in the second quarter of 2022 fell from 44.9% in the first quarter of 2022 to 34.4% in the second quarter of 2021, ATTOM reported.

“After 124 consecutive months of rising home prices, it’s no surprise that the percentage of equity-rich homes is the highest we’ve ever seen and the percentage of seriously underwater loans is the lowest. “said Rick Sharga, executive vice president of business intelligence at ATTOM. “As home price appreciation appears to be slowing due to rising mortgage interest rates, it seems likely that homeowners will continue to rely on the record amount of equity they have available for the rest of 2022.”

The latest increase affected nearly half of all mortgage payers and marked the ninth straight quarterly increase in homes’ share of the equity-rich designation, the curator added. In fact, the report found that at least half of all mortgage payers in 18 states were considered “stock-rich” in the second quarter of 2022, up from just three states a year earlier.

2.9% of mortgages (1 in 34) were also considered “seriously underwater” in the second quarter of 2022, which represents a combined estimated balance of loans secured by the property of at least 25% more than the estimated market value of the property, by ATTOM. That’s down from 3.2% of all US homes with a mortgage in the previous quarter and 4.1%, or 24 properties, a year ago.

New Jersey, however, was one of three states where the percentage of seriously underwater homes increased from the first quarter to the second quarter of this year, from 2.9 percent to 3 percent. In fact, more than 25% of mortgaged properties in the Philadelphia area have been reported as severely underwater, ATTOM said. The other states listed were Montana (from 3 to 3.9%) and New York (from 2.7 to 2.8%).

In contrast, ATTOM says it is seeing a current wave of migration from high-cost areas of the United States to the South and Southeast as equity-rich mortgages increase in the region. The South and Midwest also saw most of the largest declines in severely underwater properties in states like Mississippi (share of severely underwater mortgaged homes down 17 to 8.1%) and Missouri ( down from 6.6 to 5.2%).

The ATTOM US Home Equity & Underwater report analyzed properties based on several measures of equity – or loan to value (LTV) – at the state, metro, county and zip code level, as well as the percentage of total properties with a mortgage that each equity category represents. To see the full methodology and report, Click here.

The program provides funding for internet access in rural areas

August 5, 2022

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GREAT FALLS — Internet access is something many of us take for granted. Because it is so critical but absent in parts of rural America, the United States Department of Agriculture has about 50 programs to help meet the need, including the Reconnect program.

“The internet is the electricity of the 21st century. We just have to have it,” said Kathleen Williams, USDA’s rural development director in Montana.

“A program that aims to help bridge the digital divide here in Montana and nationally by providing loans and grants to build, improve, or acquire facilities and equipment needed to provide high-speed Internet access in areas rural areas,” said Williams, describing the Reconnect Program.

Williams said in this fourth round of funding announced Aug. 4, more than $1 billion is available for projects nationwide.

“There’s up to $150 million in loans, then $300 million in a loan-for-grant combination option, then $700 million in grants,” Williams explained. “These funds come from the Rural Development of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act.”

How beneficial can this funding be?

“(In) round three there was an area in south Bitterroot that is actually going to be serviced now. There is an area straddling the Montana and North Dakota border that is going to be serviced, as well as the Fort Peck Indian Reservation and adjacent areas,” Williams said.

State and local governments, businesses, tribes and cooperatives can begin applying September 6 for fourth-round funding.

A the workshop is available to help you with the application process or you can contact Peter Hawkes by phone at 208-339-1104 or by email at [email protected]

Williams said processing the award and distributing funds for any approved applications will likely take at least six months.


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Montana not in recession, economist says at Tuesday’s forum | New

August 2, 2022

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Montana is not in a recession and is still enjoying strong job growth and wage gains above inflation, but things are slowing down significantly, said Patrick Barkey, chief economist at the Bureau of Business and Economics. Research.

Giving a mid-year economic update to Billings on Tuesday, Barkey noted that several things worked in Montana’s favor. The office is part of the University of Montana. Farm prices are up significantly from a year ago, rising revenues have resulted in an unprecedented $1.8 billion revenue surplus for the state government and pandemic-hit businesses are nearly fully reopened.

The challenge is persistent inflation that outlasts the state’s economic gains.

“We’re driving along the road, like we all are, and if you look in the rearview mirror, things just look dandy,” Barkey said. “When we look to the future, there are concerns. We are at a point where the economy is changing.

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Strong job growth, which was previously expected to extend through 2023, is now expected to decline significantly over the next three years. Consumer spending, positive in the short term, has moderated and is expected to decline further as the US Federal Reserve, attempting to cool the economy, continues to raise the interest rate at which banks lend to each other. The influence of these increases in lending rates is reflected upwards in the costs of mortgages, business loans and credit cards.

Barkey said his feeling is that the Federal Reserve’s lending rate increases to date have kept inflation down. Before previous recessions, lending rate increases were in step with the pace of inflation, but this time lending rates have been close to zero for years and only increased to 2.4 % after being unadjusted during the first quarters of inflation, which exceeded The Federal Reserve is trying to slow it down by making borrowing more expensive and therefore spending more substantial.

Simply put, there is plenty of room for the Federal Reserve to raise bank lending rates, which will not be popular.






Patrick Barkey of the University of Montana speaks about Montana’s economic recovery during the 2022 Mid-Year Economic Update hosted by the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the DoubleTree in Billings on Tuesday morning.


AMY LYNN NELSON Billings Gazette


“We’re about to see an extraordinary year for Federal Reserve policy, because people won’t be happy, financial markets won’t be happy. If the Federal Reserve is really doomed to tame this increasingly entrenched inflation, which robs us all of our purchasing power, day after day, it won’t like it. There will be strong pressure to reverse due to weaker growth, which will shock a lot of people because we haven’t seen that lately. We’ve had tremendous growth, but I think we’re going to do better, Montana. Migration helps. I think housing markets are going to be stressed as a normal part of our supply chain.

As regulators try to cool spending on everything from wages to home purchases, other issues in the economy need to work themselves out. Last week, Ukraine exported wheat for the first time is an example of a supply problem improving in a way that should make grain more available and push prices down. Oil prices fall as expectations of increased demand decline to reflect recessionary spending patterns.

Barkey said wage growth has already slowed from the pace that led to a 35% year-over-year increase in income tax collections in 2020 and 2021. Another factor in the slowdown in income gains is the decline in federal stimulus payments seen in 2020 and 2021.

Nevada gets $401 million for rural internet

July 30, 2022

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LAS VEGAS — The federal government is pledging $401 million in grants and loans to expand the reach and improve internet speeds for rural residents, tribes and businesses in remote areas in 11 states, from Alaska to Arkansas.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told reporters on Wednesday, ahead of Thursday’s announcement, that farmers, shop owners, schoolchildren and people wanting telehealth medical exams will benefit from the ReConnect and Telecommunications programs. Infrastructure Loan and Loan Guarantee.
“Connectivity is critical to economic success in rural America,” Vilsack said in a statement tallying the number of people who could be helped at around 31,000 in states also including Nevada, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico and North Dakota. and Texas.
The statement said the Department of Agriculture plans more spending on high-speed internet in the coming weeks as part of a $65 billion Biden administration plan to expand high-speed internet. affordable to all communities in the United States.
U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nevada, joined Vilsack and White House infrastructure coordinator Mitch Landrieu in highlighting the effect grants and loans are expected to have in Lovelock, which is home to fewer than 2,000 people, and the Lovelock Indian Colony.
“There’s a need for this connectivity on so many levels,” Cortez Masto said, “that it brings telehealth, telemedicine, e-learning, workforce development. A connection is so important to so many Nevadans.
Internet service provider Uprise LLC will receive more than $27 million to connect nearly 4,900 people, 130 businesses, 22 farms and seven public schools in Lovelock and surrounding Pershing County, officials said.
Cortez Masto, a Democrat seeking re-election in November, said federal funds would provide eligible Nevada residents with $30 a month off their internet bill and up to $100 for a computer.
Elsewhere, Midvale Telephone Co. will receive $10.6 million to bring high-speed fiber-optic internet to people, businesses and farms in four central Idaho counties – Elmore, Blaine, Custer and Boise – and of five southeastern Arizona counties: Gila, Graham, Pinal, Cochise, and Pima.
Arkansas Telephone Co. will receive $12 million to connect nearly 1,000 people, 10 businesses and 145 farms to high-speed Internet in Searcy and Van Buren counties with low-cost starter packages with voice and voice/ data.
Alaska Power & Telephone, Unicom Inc. and Cordova Telephone Cooperative together are expected to receive nearly $55.4 million to connect nearly 3,300 people, 118 businesses and seven schools in remote areas with a fiber optic network.
In New Mexico, Continental Divide Electric Cooperative and ENMP Telephone Cooperative are set to receive combined grants of $18 million to install affordable fiber networks, and Penasco Valley Telephone Cooperative will receive a loan of nearly $29 million to connect ” socially vulnerable communities” in Chaves, Eddy, Lincoln and Otero Counties.
Vilsack said the programs will especially help residents of what he called “persistently poor counties,” where he says most have broadband access but about one in three don’t have the networks to broadband required for telemedicine and distance learning.
He said the aim was “to do what is necessary to ensure that every rural resident, regardless of postcode, has access to reliable and affordable high-speed internet”.

Diverse Ranch Quick Sale Large 92,447-acre ranch sold near Rawlins, Wyoming

July 28, 2022

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North Platte River Ranch Map

The North Platte River Ranch is an attractive investment opportunity for a large scale, low overhead ranch with an excellent lease and tenant in place.

Mason Morse Ranch Company has sold a giant checkerboard block of land located in the Haystack Mountain Range along the North Platte River near Rawlins, Wyoming in Carbon County. The ranch was put up for sale on January 17, 2022 for $11,750,000. The ranch will be in good hands, purchased by a conservation-minded buyer who will continue farming operations on the ranch. James Rinehart and John Stratman, brokers and principal owners of Mason Morse Ranch were the listing agents. Dave Johnson with Hall and Hall represented the Buyer. The ranch closed on July 20, 2022.

North Platte River Ranch’s an extensive land base covered five miles of frontage on the North Platte River, including 700 acres of river bottom, of which about 300 acres were under irrigation producing a yield of 500 to 600 tons of alfalfa per year. The ranch is a well established cow and calf operation with additional opportunities to hunt big game species, deer, elk and antelope. The North Platte River is a source of irrigation and blue ribbon fishing.

In total, the contiguous ranch consists of approximately 25,000 deeded acres as well as 40,960 acres of BLM land, 2,960 acres of public school lease and 23,527 acres of private lease. Improvements included a veterinary calving barn, feedlot, working corrals, two houses, and several support buildings for ongoing livestock operations.

Rawlins, Wyoming is an arid and cool climate. Annual rainfall at the airport is nine inches. This increases at higher ranch elevations. The hottest month of the year is July with an average daily high temperature of 84°. The coldest month is January with a maximum average of 31° and a minimum of 13°. The humidity is quite low. Average annual snowfall is 52 inches. The elevation ranges from 6,400 feet at river level to 7,700 feet at the highest point on the property.

Created in 1868 by the Dakota legislature, the county’s name is derived from the vast coal deposits found in the area. Originally covering the full width of Wyoming Territory, Carbon County was reduced in size by the creation of Johnson County in 1875 and Natrona County in 1888. Historically, it was crossed by the Overland Trail , the Oregon Trail, the Mormon Trail, and both the original Union Pacific Railroad and Lincoln Highway routes. Interstate 80 is now the preferred trail for most travelers through the county, although several minor scenic routes and side roads provide pleasant alternatives.

The Checkerboard Lands are remnants of the early American West when the federal government gave railroad companies alternating sections of land. In 1803, the Louisiana Purchase doubled the size of the expanding United States, and much of what is now Wyoming became an official part of the country. Over the next 100 years, explorers, surveyors, mountaineers, pioneers, Pony Express riders, and farmers traversed the state in search of opportunity.

The Transcontinental Railroad, completed in 1869, left an indelible mark on southern Wyoming. It was funded in part by land grants to the railroad under the Union Pacific Act of 1862. Congress granted all other sections (one square mile) of land within 20 miles of the railroad. iron to Union Pacific, which tried to sell it to raise capital. for the company. The land could then be sold at a profit at a later date. This was impractical in the vast semi-arid rangelands of the West. Many sections in remote areas remained unsold and in government possession, leaving a permanent checkerboard pattern of alternating public and private land.

The North Platte River Ranch is an attractive investment opportunity for a large scale, low overhead ranch with an excellent lease and tenant in place. A combination of ranching and recreation opportunities along the waterfront North Platte River presented an excellent financial opportunity for an investor,” said James Rinehart, listing agent, Mason Morse Ranch Company.

APPROXIMATE AREA:

Deed: 25,000 ± acres

BLM: 40,960 ± acres

Private lease: 23,527 ± acres

State lease: 2,960 ± acres

Total: 92,447 ± acres

NORTH PLATTE RIVER RANCH LEASES AND PERMITS

The BLM permit authorizes approximately AUM 4,320 of grazing on BLM land and an additional AUM 5,000 on deeded land, private leases and state lands. The private lease, which covers approximately 23,527 acres, is from Aggie Grazing. Due to checkerboard ownership, permit holder BLM manages grazing on the Aggie Grazing lease. These lands were former UP Railroad lands. This lease is renewed annually but has been owned by the North Platte River Ranch for many years. The Wyoming State Land Lease comprises 2,960 acres and is intermittent across the property similar to a checkerboard. An additional 700 acres are fenced with the property and currently no lease is being paid for those acres.

OPERATIONS

The ranch is well known as a cow-calf operation, with an arid climate and natural protection allowing for open calving. Pairs are brought to the northern part of the ranch in early April and remain at the ranch until November. The cows overwinter in the southern part of the North Platte River Ranch. Supplementary feed requirements vary with winter conditions and hay is generally distributed from late December to late April. These requirements are generally 1 to 2 tons per head. Currently, the ranch is in the final year of a five-year lease with a strong tenant, producing a favorable return for the owner.

WILDLIFE AND RECREATION

Many big game species can be found on North Platte River Ranch and include antelope, deer, and elk. Antelopes are generally located throughout the ranch, but are concentrated in the central and western portions of the ranch due to terrain, vegetation, and climate. The rugged terrain of the Haystack Mountains and high ridges create excellent habitat for mule deer. Elk roam throughout the property, with a small resident herd. Transient populations can be found on North Platte River Ranch during fall and winter. The North Platte River runs through the property for five miles, providing aquatic opportunities such as fishing, wading, and rafting. Three and a half miles of river frontage provides a secluded atmosphere with no public roads or public access to the shore and only occasioned by some float traffic. Many species of fish can be found in the North Platte River and include brown trout, rainbow, cutthroat trout and walleye.

WATER RIGHTS

Livestock water is provided by electric and solar wells, numerous springs, 30 earthen reservoirs and the North Platte River. Water for the head office and feedlot is supplied by the Sinclair refinery at a very reasonable cost and is of high quality. Currently, livestock water meets the needs of the ranch while it is in operation.

MINERAL AND WIND RIGHTS

Oil, gas and coal mining rights are believed to be reserved by prior ownership. The region’s wind potential has attracted the attention of wind developers. Although having been approached for development rights by a number of companies, the property remains free of any leases or options. Wind rights will pass to buyer at closing.

About the Mason Morse Ranch Company

One of the leading providers of farmland, ranch and recreation brokerage services in the American West. Professional services include real estate brokerage, auctions and market analysis. With roots dating back to 1961 in the Roaring Fork Valley near Aspen, Colorado, The Ranch Company specializes in helping clients buy and sell high-value farms, ranches and recreational land and large area. Together, the agents of Mason & Morse Ranch Company offer their clients over 133 years of experience in the sale and acquisition of real estate land. http://www.ranchland.com 877-207-9700

About Listing Agent James Rinehart

An avid hunter eager to settle in Wyoming, James Rinehart obtained his real estate license in 1991. After more than 27 successful years in the ranch real estate brokerage business, an opportunity presented itself to merge resources with Mason & Morse Ranch Company. The changing dynamics of land brokerage and James’ commitment to providing his experience and effective marketing services to clients were key decision factors in selecting Mason & Morse Ranch Company as a partner. James’ satisfaction as a farm and ranch broker stems from his contribution to improving wildlife habitat and the great outdoors through the sale of quality hunting and fishing properties using conservation practices. Over the years, the opportunities to be involved in conservation ranch brokerage have increased. James has been involved in approximately 75,000 acres of conservation easement-related transactions for buyers and sellers, either through the sale of facilitated ranches, the establishment of post-sale easements, or the permanent securing of land.

James Rinehart

Email: [email protected]

The Web: http://www.ranchland.com/jamesrinehart

Phone: 1-307-459-0035

About Listing Agent John Stratman

Since 1959, John Stratman has lived and worked on ranches in Colorado, Montana and Arizona and owned and operated a ranch in eastern Colorado raising seed stock Red Angus and registered Quarter Horses. Professionally, John spent 18 years in the agricultural investment department of MetLife, where he held various positions from field representative to regional manager. In addition to providing agricultural real estate loans, investment activities included the purchase, management and marketing of large agricultural properties in several western states. During his corporate career, John lived in various western states where he learned about farming and property. Working as a professional real estate broker since 2001, John has bought and sold farms and ranches in many western states and maintains an extensive list of contacts with real estate professionals and landowners across the landscape. vast and varied of the west.

John Stratman

Email: [email protected]

The Web: http://www.ranchland.com/johnstratman

Phone: 1-303-536-7571

Carroll and Gonzaga Team Up for Accelerated Law Degree | Education

July 25, 2022

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MEGAN MICHELOTTI

Law school is tough, but it has become more accessible for Carroll College students who want to pursue a Juris Doctor.

A new initiative between the two private Catholic institutions Carroll College and Gonzaga University was announced Monday at a press conference held in Carroll under blue Montana skies. Carroll partners with the Gonzaga School of Law in Spokane, Washington to offer a 3+3 dual degree program as an accelerated path for students to earn their law degree.

“Carroll College and Gonzaga University attract a similarly ambitious and high-achieving student,” said Carroll College President John Cech. “Through this special partnership, we are creating a pathway for these motivated students to earn a highly valued law degree in less time and at a lower cost. We look forward to doing what we can to ease the financial burden facing students as they prepare to enter and add value to our regional workforce.

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Cech emphasized that the goal of the program is to create pathways and opportunities for Montana residents.

The idea first surfaced in the fall of 2021, when Gov. Greg Gianforte called Cech on a Monday night. The governor told Cech that government cannot function without lawyers and that Carroll has a unique opportunity as it is the only four-year college in the state capital.

The next day, Cech contacted Gonzaga president Thayne McCulloh. From there, the two institutions worked together to develop the 3+3 dual degree program which has now borne fruit.

“I just planted the seed and (Cech and McCulloh) ran with it,” Gianforte said.

Students can attend Carroll for three years and, at the end of their freshman year and upon successful application, enroll in Gonzaga Law School. Credits earned in their first year of law school will be transferred to complete undergraduate requirements, allowing students to complete their bachelor’s degree while studying law.

“I think (the 3+3 program with Gonzaga) is an exceptional opportunity. Many students went to law school from our (political science) department,” said Jeremy Johnson, director of political science at Carroll. “Over the past 10 years, everyone who has applied to our department at Carroll has entered law school, and Gonzaga is a popular regional law school.”






Carroll College President John Cech speaks at a Monday press conference announcing a partnership with the Gonzaga School of Law in Spokane, Wash., to offer a 3+3 dual degree program as a fast-track for college students. students graduate in law.


THOM BRIDGE, Independent Disc


The 3+3 program will allow Carroll students to complete both a bachelor’s degree and a JD in six years instead of the traditional seven-year cycle. This will save time and tuition costs while reducing student loans and increasing earning potential by joining the workforce sooner.

“We are very pleased to partner with Carroll College to provide students with an accelerated opportunity to earn both a Carroll undergraduate degree and a Gonzaga University law degree,” said McCulloh. “Gonzaga is proud of his many connections to Montana alumni, students and friends. We are grateful to our colleagues at Carroll College for this partnership and look forward to welcoming our first Carroll College cohort to campus in the fall of 2023.”

Carroll and Gonzaga are working to expand other aspects of this partnership, including the growth of Carroll’s pre-law program, the internship partnership and other collaborative efforts to be announced next year.

This is not Carroll’s first 3+3 dual degree program. In August 2019, Carroll announced its partnership with the University of Montana’s Alexander Blewett III School of Law, which was the first public-private partnership for the two institutions.

“I didn’t know (3+3 dual degree law programs) was a thing because my class at Carroll was first eligible. I found it on Carroll’s website my freshman year,’ said Rylie Weeks, a 2022 Carroll English graduate and a member of the Talking Saints (Carroll’s speech and debate team) who will be attending the dual-rights program. 3 + 3 degree from UM in the fall. “It was definitely more work because you have to complete your major and major requirements, but if you know you want to go to law school, then I would.”

The 3+3 Dual Degree program with Gonzaga will be available to newly admitted and qualified current Carroll students beginning in Fall 2022.

“Everyone wins when we provide students with the tools they need to succeed and thrive, which is why increasing educational opportunities is one of our primary goals,” Gianforte said. “Together with Dr. Cech, we are increasing access to legal internships in state government, giving students in the new Carroll College-Gonzaga University accelerated law degree program the opportunity to learn, train and start their career in Montana.”

Gianforte ended the press conference on a high note.

“Together, we’re looking for out-of-the-box solutions to help Montana residents thrive and reach their full potential. I am filled with optimism about what we can accomplish with this partnership,” said Gianforte. “Montana’s best days are ahead of us.”

Inland Bank’s Relationship-Driven Financial Advisor Lending Program Supports Transition and Growth

July 24, 2022

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Launched in 2018, the Inland Bank Financial Advisor Loan Program was created to help independent financial advisors grow their business and clientele through the acquisition of another financial advisor’s portfolio of business, through partner takeovers or debt refinancing.

The program serves financial advisors across the country, offering conventional loans at a significantly lower rate than the SBA 7(a) loan program along with flexible structures and favorable pricing and terms.

Program features and terms include no cash equity required from the buyer, competitive fixed interest rates and up to 10 years of amortization.

When the program started – and still today – there was a growing demand for financial advisor loans as the number of retired financial advisors increased. By listening to financial advisory clients and providing personalized solutions, Inland Bank has built a foundation of ongoing, long-term support to assist with funding as a financial advisor’s practice grows.

As many financial advisors decide to retire later in life, many choose to sell parts of their business in separate transactions. This allows the retiring advisor to remain active in a lesser capacity, while capitalizing on a segment of the business they have built.

These portfolios are often established after years of personal relationships. Therefore, selling the business to a new advisor is more than just a transaction. It creates a relationship between the advisors as well as with Inland Bank as the lender.

As a community bank, it is an added advantage to offer customers in this niche industry personalized service and support to help with the transition and growth of their business.

Since its inception, the Inland Bank Financial Advisor Loan Program has funded nearly $20 million in loans to financial advisors located in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri , Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin.

For more information about the Financial Advisor Loan Program, contact Tiffany Tyson at [email protected] or (630) 908-6623.

Same Goal for SBA Regional Leaders: Helping Small Businesses

July 20, 2022

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Castle Phil, business time

Aikta Marcoulier

Aikta Marcoulier worked for over 10 years running a center in Colorado Springs providing a range of small business services.

According to Marcoulier, it was a job that prepared her well for her latest efforts to help small businesses, but on a much larger scale.

President Joe Biden appointed Marcoulier in April as Region VIII administrator of the US Small Business Administration. She oversees federal agency programs and services in Colorado as well as Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.

His new role is to support the Biden administration and help district SBA offices in his area achieve their goals. She also expects the job to involve extensive online meetings and extensive travel to connect with staff and business owners in a six-state region that spans more than 580,000 square miles, the most rural of all the SBA regions in the country.

At the same time, Marcoulier said one thing hasn’t changed, and that’s his goal to help small businesses succeed.

To that end, she said she’s excited about the resources the SBA offers, including financing assistance, government contracts, and disaster recovery.

She said she was particularly excited about an initiative to increase the share of federal contracts going to small businesses and strengthen domestic manufacturing and supply chains. Given the $1.2 trillion in funding included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, there are many additional opportunities for small businesses, she added.

Prior to her appointment, Marcoulier worked for more than 10 years as executive director of the Small Business Development Center in Colorado Springs.

A network of 14 full-time SBDCs and more than 50 part-time satellite offices are located throughout Colorado, including the Grand Valley.

The centers offer a range of services, including free and low-cost advice and instruction on all aspects of starting and growing a business.

In her more than 10 years as director, the Pikes Peak SBDC has twice received the SBA Region VIII Award for Excellence and Innovation. The 2014 award recognized efforts to help businesses recover from wildfires and floods.

Marcoulier received the Colorado State Star Award, the highest honor given to SBDC employees in the state.

In addition to his other duties, Marcoulier created and managed a cybersecurity program providing training and guidance to small businesses in Colorado.

Prior to joining the SBDC, Marcoulier worked as Director of Partnerships Marketing for Professional Bull Riders and before that as a Project Manager with the Native American Sport Council.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and psychology from the University of Iowa. She then earned a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix.

Marcoulier said she was thrilled to accept the appointment as SBA regional administrator as she continued her work helping small businesses. She works out of Denver, but oversees agency operations in a six-state region.

The SBA offers a variety of programs and services, including those involving loans, government contracts, and disaster relief. The SBA’s Colorado District Office supported a total of nearly $1.4 billion in loans in fiscal year 2021, or $34 million in Mesa County.

Small businesses in Colorado are recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions, Marcoulier said. But challenges persist, she said, including labor shortages and supply chain issues. Inflation and the threat of a recession could alter spending in a way that would affect small businesses.

Marcoulier said the SBA’s efforts to increase the proportion of federal contracts going to small businesses could help, especially given the funding that will be spent under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. She encouraged small business owners to work with the SBA and procurement technical assistance centers to learn more about selling goods and services to federal, state and local governments.

Marcoulier said she loves her job at the Pikes Peak SBDC, but now looks forward to continuing that work on a larger scale as the SBA’s regional administrator.

For more information about the programs and services offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration, visit the website at www.sba.gov.

Gianforte appoints affordable housing task force | 406 Politics

July 15, 2022

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Gov. Greg Gianforte on Thursday appointed a committee to tackle Montana’s housing crisis, asking the group to recommend steps the state can take to address affordability and availability.

Gianforte on Thursday signed an executive order creating the new Housing Advisory Council. The 26-member task force will meet for the first time next week with a directive to make recommendations to the state legislature and state agencies to “increase the supply of affordable and accessible housing for the workforce”.

“Owning a home is part of the American dream, but for more than a decade it has become increasingly difficult for Montana residents to afford to own or rent a home,” Gianforte said in a statement, calling the current regulations “heavy”. ”

The executive order also cites a labor shortage in construction, zoning, a lack of entry-level homes, and a lack of property developers and land for development. Population growth outstripped new housing starts, and increased demand and supply chain delays pushed construction costs up more than 18%, the order said.

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“Montana is facing an affordable and accessible housing crisis that poses significant challenges to hard-working Montanese, employers, communities, and the economic health of the state,” the order reads.

The order directs the task force to release a report to the Legislative Assembly by October 15 on potential legal changes and a report to the governor by December 15 on actions that state agencies or local governments can take. Without limiting the scope, the order again identifies regulations and zoning as considerations in reporting.

The task force announcement comes a day after Democratic lawmakers proposed spending $500 million of the state budget surplus on housing, specifically to fund low- or no-interest loan programs. to finance multi-family housing.

The executive order does not specifically mention public funding as a potential solution, but neither does it eliminate it.

Montana Department of Environmental Quality Director Chris Dorrington will chair the task force. Other members include other state and local officials, business interests, and housing experts.

In May, Helena Area Habitat for Humanity ran a full-page ad in the Independent Record imploring the governor and other state and local officials to take specific action to address the housing crisis.

Executive Director Jacob Kuntz is among the board appointees. He expressed some encouragement at the task force news on Thursday.

“A lot of action is needed on housing right now,” he said. “…Our big thing here is that when you think about housing, it’s not just for the poorest of people, but it’s part of the job to help run Montana, part of the economy. of State.”

Kuntz described a housing talk trap as falling into solution silos. Often, Republicans focus on regulatory issues while Democrats focus on finance by pushing for public funding. He hopes the task force will be able to bridge some of these divides and focus on solutions such as infrastructure and incentivizing for-profit and non-profit construction.

“Everything has to be on the table to do that,” Kuntz said. “The solution is to build more houses. There is no other solution.”

The council will meet next Wednesday in Helena.

Other members of the working group include:

  • Senator Ellie Boldman, D, Missoula
  • Senator Greg Hertz, R, Polson
  • Representative Danny Tenenbaum, D, Missoula
  • Rep. Sue Vinton, R, Billings
  • Patrick Barkey, Ph.D., director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Montana
  • Terry Brockie, CEO of Island Mountain Development Group
  • Ross Butcher, Fergus County Commissioner
  • Kendall Cotton, President and CEO of the Frontier Institute
  • Nathan Dugan, President and Co-Founder of Shelter WF
  • Mark Egge, Affordable Housing Advocate, Data Scientist and Former Bozeman Planning Board Member
  • Laurie Esau, Commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industry
  • Jaclyn Giop, president of the Montana Water Well Drillers Association
  • Eugène Graf, owner of EG Construction
  • Emily Hamilton, Ph.D., Principal Investigator and Director of the Urbanity Project at Mercatus Center
  • Adam Hertz, secretary of the Montana Board of Housing
  • Amanda Kaster, Director of the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation
  • Bob Kelly, Mayor of Great Falls
  • Bill Leininger, president of the Montana Association of Realtors
  • Todd O’Hair, president and CEO of the Montana Chamber of Commerce
  • Scott Osterman, Commerce Department Director
  • Nicole Rolf, senior director of government affairs at the Montana Farm Bureau Federation
  • Mike Smith, Glacier Bank Market President
  • Valerie Stacey, Lewis and Clark County Environmental Health Specialist
  • Montana Housing Coalition Steering Committee Member Don Sterhan; President and CEO of Mountain Plains Equity Group





Tom Kuglin is Deputy State Bureau Editor of Lee Newspapers. Its coverage focuses on the outdoors, recreation and natural resources.

Sri Lanka’s president flees the country

July 12, 2022

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COLOMBO, Sri Lanka – Sri Lanka’s president fled the country early Wednesday, days after protesters stormed his home and office as well as the official residence of his prime minister amid an economic crisis in three months which caused severe shortages of food and fuel.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, his wife and two bodyguards left on a Sri Lankan Air Force plane bound for the city of Malé, the capital of the Maldives, according to an official. Immigration who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the situation.

Rajapaksa had agreed to step down under pressure. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said he will leave once a new government is in place.

Lawmakers agreed to elect a new president next week but struggled on Tuesday to decide on the composition of a new government to pull the bankrupt country out of economic and political meltdown.

The promised resignations did not end the crisis and the protesters vowed to occupy official buildings until the main leaders left. For days, people have been flocking to the presidential palace almost as if it were a tourist attraction – swim in the pool, marvel at the paintings, and lounge on the beds piled high with pillows. At one point they also burned down the Prime Minister’s private house.

While lawmakers agreed late Monday to elect a new president from their ranks on July 20, they have yet to decide who will take over as prime minister and fill the cabinet.

The new president will serve the rest of Rajapaksa’s term, which ends in 2024 – and could potentially appoint a new prime minister, who would then need to be approved by parliament.

The prime minister is to serve as president until a replacement is chosen – an arrangement that is sure to further anger protesters who want Wickremesinghe out immediately.

Corruption and mismanagement have left the island nation saddled with debt and unable to pay for imports of basic necessities. The shortages have sown despair among the country’s 22 million people. Sri Lankans are skipping meals and queuing for hours trying to buy scarce fuel.

Until the latest crisis deepened, the Sri Lankan economy had grown and grown a comfortable middle class.

The political stalemate fueled the economic crisis as the absence of an alternative unity government threatened to delay the hoped-for bailout from the International Monetary Fund. The government must submit a debt sustainability plan to the IMF in August before reaching an agreement.

In the meantime, the country is counting on help from neighboring India and China.

Asked if China was in talks with Sri Lanka about possible loans, a Chinese foreign ministry official gave no indication if such talks were taking place.

“China will continue to offer assistance as our capabilities enable Sri Lanka’s social development and economic recovery,” spokesman Wang Wenbin said.

On Tuesday, religious leaders in Sri Lanka urged protesters to leave government buildings. Protesters have vowed to wait until Rajapaksa and Wickremesinghe are removed from their posts.

After the storming of government buildings, “it was clear that there was a consensus in the country that the direction of government needed to change,” said Jehan Perera, executive director of the National Peace Council of Sri Lanka, a think tank.

Months of protests have all but dismantled the Rajapaksa political dynasty, which has ruled Sri Lanka for most of the past two decades.

Protesters accuse the president and his inner circle of siphoning off money from government coffers for years and the Rajapaksa administration of hastening the country’s collapse by mismanaging the economy. The family denied allegations of corruption, but Rajapaksa acknowledged that some of his policies contributed to the collapse.

The president had not been seen or heard from since Saturday, although his office released statements indicating he was continuing to hold office.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To learn more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Oportun Financial (NASDAQ:OPRT) Price target reduced to $14.00

July 11, 2022

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Opportun Financial (NASDAQ:OPRT – Get a rating) saw its target price lowered by equity researchers at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods from $21.00 to $14.00 in a report on Monday, Fly reports. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods’ price target suggests a potential upside of 70.94% from the company’s previous close.

A number of other equity analysts have also recently commented on the OPRT. BTIG Research reissued a “buy” rating and posted a $27.00 price target on Oportun Financial shares in a research note on Thursday, April 14. Loop Capital began covering Oportun Financial in a research report on Monday, March 14. They set a “buy” rating and a price target of $24.00 on the stock. Finally, Barclays cut its price target on Oportun Financial from $27.00 to $15.00 and set an “overweight” rating on the stock in a research report on Monday. Five equity research analysts rated the stock with a buy rating. Based on data from MarketBeat.com, Oportun Financial currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $22.17.

Shares of NASDAQ OPRT were down $0.62 during Monday trading hours, hitting $8.19. The stock recorded a trading volume of 1,537 shares, compared to an average volume of 182,228 shares. The company has a market capitalization of $268.75 million, a price-earnings ratio of 2.90 and a beta of 1.50. The company’s fifty-day moving average price is $10.45 and its two-hundred-day moving average price is $14.15. Oportun Financial has a 52-week low of $8.11 and a 52-week high of $27.95.

(A d)

A big dollar battle could soon unfold between Tesla and this stock.

Opportun Financial (NASDAQ:OPRT – Get a rating) last announced its quarterly results on Monday, May 9. The company reported earnings per share (EPS) of $1.42 for the quarter, beating consensus analyst estimates of $0.37 from $1.05. The company posted revenue of $214.70 million in the quarter, versus analyst estimates of $198.40 million. Oportun Financial had a return on equity of 18.01% and a net margin of 12.76%. Oportun Financial’s quarterly revenue increased 58.7% year over year. In the same quarter a year earlier, the company had earned earnings per share of $0.27. As a group, equity research analysts expect Oportun Financial to post EPS of 1.96 for the current year.

In other news, Director Aida Alvarez sold 18,181 shares in a trade dated Thursday, June 2. The shares were sold at an average price of $11.46, for a total transaction of $208,354.26. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 18,874 shares of the company, valued at approximately $216,296.04. The transaction was disclosed in an SEC filing, available at this hyperlink. 5.50% of the shares are currently held by company insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of OPRT. Baker Tilly Wealth Management LLC increased its position in shares of Oportun Financial by 7.4% during the 4th quarter. Baker Tilly Wealth Management LLC now owns 10,404 shares of the company worth $211,000 after purchasing an additional 718 shares in the last quarter. M&T Bank Corp raised its position in shares of Oportun Financial by 4.0% in the 1st quarter. M&T Bank Corp now owns 23,246 shares of the company worth $334,000 after buying 894 more shares in the last quarter. PDT Partners LLC increased its position in shares of Oportun Financial by 7.3% during the 1st quarter. PDT Partners LLC now owns 19,794 shares of the company worth $284,000 after purchasing an additional 1,346 shares in the last quarter. Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management Co. Ltd. increased its position in shares of Oportun Financial by 46.3% during the 4th quarter. Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management Co. Ltd. now owns 4,578 shares of the company worth $94,000 after purchasing an additional 1,448 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Quantbot Technologies LP increased its position in shares of Oportun Financial by 113.3% during the 1st quarter. Quantbot Technologies LP now owns 3,200 shares of the company worth $45,000 after purchasing an additional 1,700 shares in the last quarter. 70.58% of the shares are currently held by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Opportun Financial (Get a rating)

Oportun Financial Corporation provides financial services. It offers personal loans, car loans and credit cards. The company serves its customers online and by telephone, as well as through point of sale. It operates in 24 states in the United States, including Arkansas, Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, New Hampshire, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota and Virginia.

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Analyst Recommendations for Oportun Financial (NASDAQ: OPRT)

This instant alert was powered by MarketBeat’s narrative science technology and financial data to provide readers with the fastest and most accurate reports. This story was reviewed by MarketBeat’s editorial team prior to publication. Please send questions or comments about this story to [email protected]

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FEMA Flood Recovery Centers Open in Carbon, Park and Stillwater Counties | Local News

July 8, 2022

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Locations to request assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency will open in several Montana counties in the coming days for areas affected by the June floods. FEMA will open both disaster recovery centers and mobile recording centers in Carbon, Park and Stillwater counties. All locations can help homeowners, renters and business owners who were affected by the severe flooding in June to request or understand assistance.

A disaster recovery center, jointly operated by FEMA and Montana Disaster and Emergency Services, will open in Carbon County. Representatives from FEMA, the Small Business Administration and other agencies will be at the center to explain disaster assistance programs and help eligible survivors apply for help.

The center will be open at 8 a.m. Saturday at Roosevelt Junior High School located at 413 S Oakes Ave in Red Lodge. Once open, the DRC will operate from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week.

Additional disaster recovery centers will open next week in Stillwater County and Park County. In Stillwater County, DRC will be at Absarokee Elementary School at 327 South Woodward Ave. and will be open starting Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., 7 days a week. In Park County, the DRC will be at Park High School at 102 View Vista Drive in Livingston. The center opens Wednesday and will operate from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week.

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Several mobile registration centers will also open in the affected areas. These locations will have Survivor Assistance Teams on site to assist with requests, inquiries, updates and referrals. They will be located at Fromberg Methodist Church at 14 North Montana Ave July 8-12 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The other registration center will be at Gardiner High School at 510 W. Stone Street Monday through Saturday. This center will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

It is not necessary to go to a center to ask for help. If possible, before going to a center, survivors should seek help from FEMA online by visiting DisasterAssistance.gov and clicking “Apply Online” or calling 800-621-3362. Multilingual operators are available. Toll-free numbers are open daily from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mountain Time. If a person uses a relay service, such as a video relay service, captioned telephone, or the like, FEMA may use that service’s number for accessibility.

A FEMA app for smartphones or mobile devices is also available. For an accessible video on how to apply for FEMA assistance, applicants should go to youtube.com/watch?v=WZGpWI2RCNw.

FEMA financial assistance may include money for temporary housing, basic home repairs, or other disaster-related needs such as childcare, transportation, and medical, funeral, or dental expenses. .

Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration are also available to homeowners, renters, businesses, and most private nonprofit organizations to help with unpaid residential and commercial losses. covered by insurance. After registering with FEMA, survivors and businesses can apply online at the SBA website. https://disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/ela; or get information about SBA disaster loan applications by calling 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the hearing impaired) or online at www.sba.gov/disaster.

Critical Comparison: Mission Valley Bancorp (OTCMKTS: MVLY) and Eagle Bancorp Montana (NASDAQ: EBMT)

July 8, 2022

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Mission Valley Bancorp (OTCMKTS: MVLYGet a rating) and Eagle Bancorp Montana (NASDAQ: EBMTGet a rating) are both small cap finance companies, but which stock is better? We’ll compare the two companies based on their dividend strength, institutional ownership, analyst recommendations, profitability, valuation, earnings and risk.

Benefits and evaluation

This table compares the revenue, earnings per share and valuation of Mission Valley Bancorp and Eagle Bancorp Montana.

Gross revenue Price/sales ratio Net revenue Earnings per share Price/earnings ratio
Mission Valley Bancorp N / A N / A $2.30 million N / A N / A
Eagle Bancorp Montana $97.52 million 1.35 $14.42 million $1.70 11.56

Eagle Bancorp Montana has higher revenues and profits than Mission Valley Bancorp.

Dividends

Mission Valley Bancorp pays an annual dividend of $0.15 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.1%. Eagle Bancorp Montana pays an annual dividend of $0.50 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.5%. Eagle Bancorp Montana pays 29.4% of its earnings as a dividend. Eagle Bancorp Montana has increased its dividend for 11 consecutive years. Eagle Bancorp Montana is clearly the better dividend-paying stock, given its higher yield and longer track record of dividend growth.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

7.2% of Mission Valley Bancorp shares are held by institutional investors. By comparison, 46.9% of Eagle Bancorp Montana’s shares are held by institutional investors. 7.4% of the shares of Eagle Bancorp Montana are held by insiders of the company. Strong institutional ownership indicates that large fund managers, hedge funds, and endowments believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Risk and Volatility

Mission Valley Bancorp has a beta of 0.55, indicating that its stock price is 45% less volatile than the S&P 500. In comparison, Eagle Bancorp Montana has a beta of 0.64, indicating that its stock price is its stock is 36% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Profitability

This table compares the net margins, return on equity and return on assets of Mission Valley Bancorp and Eagle Bancorp Montana.

Net margins Return on equity return on assets
Mission Valley Bancorp N / A N / A N / A
Eagle Bancorp Montana 12.04% 7.52% 0.80%

Analyst Notes

This is a breakdown of the current ratings of Mission Valley Bancorp and Eagle Bancorp Montana, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sales Ratings Hold odds Buy reviews Strong buy odds Rating
Mission Valley Bancorp 0 0 0 0 N / A
Eagle Bancorp Montana 0 1 0 0 2.00

Eagle Bancorp Montana has a consensus price target of $22.00, suggesting a potential upside of 11.96%. Given Eagle Bancorp Montana’s likely higher upside, analysts clearly believe that Eagle Bancorp Montana is more favorable than Mission Valley Bancorp.

Summary

Eagle Bancorp Montana beats Mission Valley Bancorp on 12 out of 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Mission Valley Bancorp (Get a rating)

Mission Valley Bancorp operates as a bank holding company for Mission Valley Bank which provides various personal and corporate banking services. The Company’s deposit products include interest-bearing and non-interest-bearing demand deposits and term deposits; and money market, savings and checking accounts, and certificates of deposit. Its loan portfolio includes personal loans; accounts receivable, apartment, car and truck financing; and commercial real estate, equipment, small business administration and term loans, as well as credit and debit cards, lines of credit and letters of credit. The Company also provides credit card, account reconciliation, cashier’s check, collection, mail deposit, electronic tax payment, overnight deposit, online banking, remote deposit, payroll, safe, tone banking, zero balance accounting and insurance. It operates through two branches located in Sun Valley and Santa Clarita, California. The company was founded in 2001 and is based in Sun Valley, California.

About Eagle Bancorp Montana (Get a rating)

Bancorp Montana Eagle LogoEagle Bancorp Montana, Inc. operates as a bank holding company for Opportunity Bank of Montana, which provides various retail banking products and services to small businesses and individuals in Montana. It accepts various deposit products, such as individual checking, savings, money market and retirement accounts, as well as certificates of deposit accounts. The Company also offers 1 to 4 family residential mortgages, such as residential mortgages and building residential properties; commercial real estate loans, including multi-family dwellings, non-residential property, commercial construction and development, and loans for agricultural land; and second mortgage/equity loans. In addition, it offers consumer loans, such as loans secured by collateral other than real estate, such as automobiles, recreational vehicles and boats; personal loans and lines of credit; commercial business loans consisting of secured and unsecured business loans and lines of credit; building loans; agricultural loans; and mortgage lending services. The company operates 23 full-service branches, 1 community banking office and 25 ATMs. Eagle Bancorp Montana, Inc. was founded in 1922 and is headquartered in Helena, Montana.



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Charges of Two Former Spokane Residents Announced by COVID-19 Relief Fraud Strike Force | Local

July 6, 2022

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SPOKANE — Two new indictments have been announced after investigations by the COVID-19 Relief Fraud Strike Force, launched by the U.S. Attorney’s Office earlier this year. The indictments were recently made public.

On May 3, a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Natasha Opsal, 40, a former Spokane resident now residing in Great Falls, Montana, with nine counts of fraud in connection with multiple COVID-19 relief loans . The indictment accuses Opsal of fraudulently requesting more than $600,000 through the Paycheck Protection Program and economic disaster loan programs for shell companies, from which it received more than $600,000. $50,000. The indictment was unsealed this week after Opsal was arrested and charged.

On the same day, May 3, a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Yuriy P. Anishchenko, 34, a former Spokane resident last known to reside in Kent, Washington, with three counts of accusation of fraud in relation to two economic damages. Disaster loans sought and obtained by Anishchenko. The indictment accuses Anishchenko of fraudulently obtaining more than $300,000 for ineligible and ineligible businesses. The fraud charges in both cases carry maximum sentences of up to 20 years in federal prison.

On March 27, 2020, the President signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act. The CARES Act provided a number of programs through which eligible small businesses could apply for and obtain relief funding intended to mitigate the economic impacts of the pandemic for small businesses and local businesses. One such program, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), provided small businesses with government-backed loans that could be forgiven as long as the proceeds were used for payroll and other qualifying expenses. Another program, the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, provided low-interest loans that could be deferred until the end of the pandemic to provide “bridge” financing to small businesses to maintain their activities during shutdowns and other economic circumstances caused by the pandemic. . The PPP and EIDL programs have provided billions of dollars in aid, the vast majority of which has not been repaid, including hundreds of millions of dollars disbursed in eastern Washington.

“COVID-19 relief programs quickly ran out of money due to the number of people and businesses applying for funding, meaning some deserving small businesses were unable to secure funding to sustain their operations. operating during the COVID-19 pandemic,” U.S. Attorney Waldref said. “We created the COVID-19 Fraud Strike Force because it is critical to the strength and safety of our community in Eastern Washington that we all work together to combat fraud related to the pandemic. The Strike Force is a way to ensure that limited resources are provided to deserving local businesses that provide vital services to our communities. I greatly appreciate the hard work and esprit de corps of so many talented agents and agencies who contribute to our collective efforts.

In February 2022, U.S. Attorney Waldref and the U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO) began working with federal law enforcement agencies to create and launch a COVID-19 Fraud Strike Force that would leverage partnerships between different agencies to aggressively investigate and prosecute fraud against COVID-19. relief programs in eastern Washington. The strike force is made up of representatives from USAO agencies, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the Small Business Administration (SBA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Inspector General of US Treasury Department for Tax Administration (TIGTA), US Secret Service, US Homeland Security Investigations, US Department of Veterans Affairs OIG, General Services Administration OIG, Internal Revenue Service, Department of Energy OIG, and others. Cases investigated and prosecuted by the Strike Force have resulted in numerous indictments, criminal prosecutions and civil penalties, including these two most recent indictments.

“I commend the stellar investigative work on these cases done by Strike Force and in particular by the US Secret Service, SBA, FBI and TIGTA,” US Attorney Waldref said. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to vigorously prosecute those who misuse and misuse COVID-19 relief funds.”

Assistant United States Attorney Dominique Park is suing USA against Anishchenko, while Special Assistant United States Attorney Frieda Zimmerman and Assistant United States Attorney Tyler HL Tornabene are suing USA against Opsal. Both cases were investigated by the COVID-19 Relief Fraud Strike Force.

New York State’s Most Overrated Place

July 3, 2022

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The calendar finally says it’s summer, which means it’s arguably the best time of year for New York State, although fall is also exceptional for this region, especially from late September to most of October.

Many first-time visitors to New York are almost surprised by the amount of countryside and farmland there is here. They hear “New York” and automatically think of a big city vibe.

Yes, we have big cities, but most of this state is actually like most other states, with beautiful land and water views; The Great Lakes, Finger Lakes, etc.

However, most people who come to New York State usually visit for one reason, and that is to visit New York.

New York is the largest city in the United States. It is absolutely huge and focused on tourists and Hollywood as many movies and TV shows are filmed and/or filmed there.

New York has a glamorous reputation and while it’s a fantastic place to visit (everyone should go at least once), it’s not exactly the most fruitful place to live.

Not because of the sports teams, the food and the culture, but because of the daily tasks that have to be done with logistical nightmares.

New York City is huge, which means it has a very large population. Traffic jams are horrible. It takes a ton of time to get from one part of town to another if you are driving. Many who work in New York commute from Long Island, Pennsylvania or New Jersey, just to avoid living there.

Walking is popular, but again foot traffic is extremely congested. It’s especially not fun in the winter months.

As with most major cities, odor can be an issue, especially in the heat of summer. It can also be expensive and of course the cost of living is astronomically higher than in other parts of the state.

New York has its famous reputation for a reason, but like other big cities, it’s not all sunshine.

The 10 Worst Small Towns in New York [RANKED]

Capital Region City Surpasses Roadsnacks 2022 rankings of the worst small towns in the Empire State. Like any list created by people who don’t live in New York, these rankings in no way reflect what we think of these cities and you should take these rankings with a grain of salt. That said, these rankings were formulated based on census data such as median income, home values, unemployment rates, crime rates, education, and population density. and more in the state’s 466 smallest cities

Is Albany considered upstate New York?

Here’s the latest on what New York has to say about the debate.

WATCH: States with the most new small businesses per capita

Community leaders hope to raise $10 million for workforce housing in Bozeman

July 1, 2022

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The housing crisis in Bozeman is a problem that community leaders have been trying to solve for years. Now, with the creation of a new community fund, they hope it will provide solutions to a crisis that has challenged area residents.

“I don’t want to live in a community that’s a… where it’s just a resort community for the super-rich. It’s not what Bozeman is, it’s not our roots, it’s not where we want to be,” Bozeman Deputy Mayor Terry Cunningham said.

Cunningham says it’s hard to see house prices continue to soar.

“It’s frustrating for the city because we have so few tools to get the workforce housing projects off the ground,” Cunningham said.

With this new fund goal of $10 million, leaders are beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel.

“Housing prices got away from us a bit, rent affordability a bit, so we started talking a bit more about an investment fund that would help solve some of the problems that we are having,” said the President. and CEO of First Security Bank, Jim Ness.

For Ness, housing affordability is an issue his employees struggle with. This is one of the reasons why the bank is committed to contributing the first million dollars to the fund.

“As I talk to my employees and hear some of their situations, I hear things like having 3 roommates, 4 roommates, 6 roommates, maybe sharing a room with someone. I think the quality life is a challenge,” says Ness.

This is what inspired Ness to approach Deputy Mayor Cunningham with the idea of ​​collaborating and creating a discovery aimed at tackling housing affordability in the Gallatin Valley.

The fund aims to help workforce housing projects get started and provide funds to fill the funding gap. Part of the fund will also help to obtain home loans. Leaders hope this investment in the community will inspire more people to put down roots in the Gallatin Valley.

“Private businesses, bankers and other community partners are stepping up and contributing to this fund, sends a great message to the community that we’re in this together,” Cunningham said.

They say a healthy workforce is the foundation of a city like Bozeman.

“If we don’t have an active workforce and I believe workforce housing is a barrier to that right now and I want to help and address that,” Ness said.

Even with all the construction, Ness says a piece of the puzzle is missing.

“There’s a lot of construction going on in Bozeman right now and there’s a lot of apartments going on, which is great, and there’s a need for that too, but the area I see for that need is for this category of affordability,” he said.

Ness and Cunningham are optimistic about mobilizing community support to tackle a community-wide issue.

“It’s definitely not the silver bullet that’s going to do it, but I think it’s part of the solution,” Ness said.

PrimeLending® Announces Michael Heeb (NMLS: 470225) as New Area Manager in the Pacific Northwest Region

June 29, 2022

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BOISE, Idaho–(BUSINESS WIRE)–National residential lender PrimeLending, a PlainsCapital company, announces the promotion of Michael Heeb to regional manager in the Pacific Northwest, overseeing Alaska, Idaho and Montana.

Michael brings 20 years of experience in the mortgage industry to his new role after 7 years as a Branch Manager at the Eagle, ID branch and its 7 satellite branches, including Bozeman, MT.

Currently Area Manager in the Pacific Northwest region of PrimeLending, Michael will work with community residents on purchasing and refinancing needed mortgages in the Alaska, Idaho and Montana regions. .

Michael worked hard to earn this leadership opportunity. He has demonstrated his ability to lead even when it is difficult. Michael has played an impressive role in our growth in Idaho and Montana. He is a true servant leader who leads with conviction. These skills are exactly what we need to advance our business in key western markets,said Al Velasco, director of PrimeLending’s EVP West division.

About PrimeLending

PrimeLending, a PlainsCapital company (PrimeLending), is a national real estate lender combining personal advice and local expertise with fast service, more choice and the flexibility to meet the unique needs of homeowners. We relentlessly strive to empower our clients to boldly pursue their homeownership goals, whether they are looking to buy, refinance or remodel a home. The PrimeLending team works alongside our clients in all 50 states, helping them make smart home financing decisions and a rewarding experience along the way. Keeping this promise for over 30 years, we’re proud to consistently achieve a 97% customer satisfaction rate*. PrimeLending is a wholly owned subsidiary of PlainsCapital Bank, which in turn is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hilltop Holdings Inc. (NYSE: HTH). More information at PrimeLending.com. Equal Housing Lender.

*Survey administered and managed by an independent third party after loan closing. The 97% satisfaction rating refers to the average rating that our clients gave to our loan officers for the period from 01/01/21 to 31/12/21.

All loans subject to credit approval. Rates and fees subject to change. Mortgage financing provided by PrimeLending, a PlainsCapital company. Equal Housing Lender.

©2022 PrimeLending, a PlainsCapital company. (NMLS: 13649).

That’s what the average Montana household pays in bills every month | State

June 24, 2022

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The cost of living in the United States is much lower than the cost of living in several other developed countries, including the Nordic countries as well as New Zealand and Australia. Yet living expenses in the United States are higher than in most countries in the world.

According a recent study by Doxoa bill payment platform, US households spend an average of $2,003 per month on the most common bills, or about 37% of what a typical household earns in a month.

The average monthly cost of those bills — which include rent, car loans, utilities, car insurance, cable, Internet, cell phone and health insurance — is lower than average in Montana. The typical Montana household spends an average of $1,751 per month on bills, the 15th lowest among the 50 states.

States with higher-than-average monthly bills also tend to have higher-than-average incomes, while cheaper states tend to have lower incomes — and Montana is no exception. The typical household in the state earns $56,539 a year, compared to the national median household income of $64,994, according to five-year estimates from the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

Rank State Avg. monthly household bills ($) Median household income ($) Avg. bill total as a percentage of revenue (%)
1 Hawaii 2,911 83 173 42.0
2 California 2,649 78,672 40.4
3 New Jersey 2,610 85,245 36.7
4 Massachusetts 2,511 84,385 35.7
5 Maryland 2,456 87,063 33.9
6 Connecticut 2,380 79,855 35.8
seven New York 2,361 71 117 39.8
8 Alaska 2,334 77,790 36.0
9 Washington 2,277 77,006 35.5
ten New Hampshire 2,256 77,923 34.7
11 Colorado 2,251 75,231 35.9
12 Virginia 2,229 76,398 35.0
13 Rhode Island 2,172 70,305 37.1
14 Oregon 2,070 65,667 37.8
15 Delaware 2,057 69 110 35.7
16 Illinois 2,029 68,428 35.6
17 Wyoming 2,022 65,304 37.2
18 Florida 1,993 57,703 41.4
19 Minnesota 1,967 73,382 32.2
20 Texas 1,956 63,826 36.8
21 Nevada 1,945 62,043 37.6
22 North Dakota 1,937 65,315 35.6
23 Arizona 1,936 61,529 37.8
24 Maine 1,922 59,489 38.8
25 Wisconsin 1,915 63,293 36.3
26 Utah 1,910 74 197 30.9
27 Vermont 1,883 63,477 35.6
28 Georgia 1,875 61,224 36.8
29 Louisiana 1,871 50,800 44.2
30 Pennsylvania 1,851 63,627 34.9
31 North Carolina 1,829 56,642 38.7
32 Iowa 1,784 61,836 34.6
33 Caroline from the south 1,783 54,864 39.0
34 Idaho 1,777 58,915 36.2
35 Michigan 1,754 59,234 35.5
36 Montana 1,751 56,539 37.2
37 Tennessee 1,734 54,833 37.9
38 Kansas 1,720 61,091 33.8
39 Ohio 1,717 58 116 35.5
40 Missouri 1,706 57,290 35.7
41 Nebraska 1,696 63,015 32.3
42 Alabama 1,688 52,035 38.9
43 New Mexico 1,663 51,243 38.9
44 South Dakota 1,654 59,896 33.1
45 Oklahoma 1,634 53,840 36.4
46 Kentucky 1,627 52,238 37.4
47 Indiana 1,607 58,235 33.1
48 Mississippi 1,559 46,511 40.2
49 Arkansas 1,552 49,475 37.6
50 West Virginia 1,452 48,037 36.3

How Marriage Rates Have Changed in Montana | State and Region

June 22, 2022

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Marriage rates in the United States have been declining for several decades. giggster look at Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention Montana marriage rate data, you can read the national story here.

Cultural critics and many sociologists have lamented the decline in marriage rates, citing concern over the deterioration of the traditional family structure and what it might mean for raising children. A more holistic look suggests many factors for variations in marriage rates– from women earning more equity in the workplace and on their paychecks to the normal fluctuations occurring around major historical events, such as tight rates during the Great Depression and a doubling of marriage rates in the United States. United at the end of World War II.

Southern states maintain higher marriage rates on average than Northeastern states; while Montana is the only state that has seen an increase in marriage rates since 1990. Keep reading to find out why this might be the case and find out other key insights into how marriage rates have changed over the past few years. decades.

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There are no obvious common denominators between the states with the highest and lowest marriage rates. States with the lowest marriage rates, such as California, have cities where the cost of living tends to be high, which may be a factor in lower marriage rates. Financial insecurity and lack of savings are often quoted as reasons why couples are reluctant to marry. Yet Louisiana also has a low marriage rate, despite being in a region that is more affordable and generally known for its more traditional views on marriage and family than cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Montana’s high marriage rate likely has little in common with Nevada’s, given that Nevada is likely due in part to its reputation as the capital of speedy marriages. Couples can enter a chapel and get married in a 10-minute ceremony, or even via a passage tunnel. Of course, this can also be the reason why Nevada also leads the nation in divorces.


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– Marriage rate 2020: 10.4 per 1,000

— #2 highest among all states

– Evolution of the marriage rate since 1990: 1.8

There are no obvious common denominators between the states with the highest and lowest marriage rates. States with the lowest marriage rates, such as California, have cities where the cost of living tends to be high, which may be a factor in lower marriage rates. Financial insecurity and lack of savings are often quoted as reasons why couples are reluctant to marry. Yet Louisiana also has a low marriage rate, despite being in a region that is more affordable and generally known for its more traditional views on marriage and family than cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Montana’s high marriage rate likely has little in common with Nevada’s, given that Nevada is likely due in part to its reputation as the capital of speedy marriages. Couples can enter a chapel and get married in a 10-minute ceremony, or even via a passage tunnel. Of course, this can also be the reason why Nevada also leads the nation in divorces.

States with the highest marriage rates (per 1,000)

States with Lowest Marriage Rates (per 1,000)

There’s no single reason why marriage rates in the United States are at their lowest level since 1867, but history does contain a clue as to why it might be. Historically, periods of economic crisis, such as the Great Depression of the 1930s, announced a drop in marriage rates. The millennial cohort that might normally marry is now of working age in the midst of a major recession.

In addition to historic levels of student debt and stagnating wages, many young people in their 20s and 30s today may simply not feel like they can afford to. settle down for now. A third of survey respondents in a December 2019 YouGov study commissioned by LendKey Technologies said they had or would consider waiting to get married until they had paid off their student loans.

States where marriage rates fell the most from 1990 to 2020 (per 1,000)

#2. South Carolina: -10.2

Announcement of Native American Journalism Fellows

June 20, 2022

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Seven students have been selected by the Native American Journalists Association (NAJA) to participate in the Native American Journalism Fellowship (NAJF). Each of these students is currently enrolled in colleges and universities across the country.

This class of 2022 scholars will be able to participate in a virtual program while receiving three hours of college credit at their respective universities. There are five mentors that students will work closely with throughout the duration of this scholarship. Each of these five mentors represents four different branches of journalism: broadcast, radio, print and digital media.

Students will have the opportunity to pitch stories to news outlets and will also have the opportunity to participate in the National Indigenous Media Conference where they can meet and network with other Indigenous journalists.

The NAJF Class of 2022

Lyric Aquino (Tewa) – New York University

Grace Benally (Navajo) – Arizona State University

Valentin Contreras (Pala Band of Mission Indians and IIPAY Nation of Santa Ysabel)

California State University

Carrie Lynn Johnson (Chickasaw and Pawnee) – Austin College

McKayla Lee (Navajo) – University of Montana

Lindsay McCoy (Sault Ste Marie Tribe of Chippewa) – Michigan State University

Priscilla Wolf (Cree) – University of Regina

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About the Author

Neely Bardwell
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Neely Bardwell (descendant of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indian), who started as an intern at Native News Online in the summer of 2021, is a freelance writer. Bardwell is a student at Michigan State University where she majored in politics and minored in Native American studies.


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50 years of faltering progress in the United States – Hartford Courant

June 18, 2022

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A timeline of key events before, during, and after the passage in 1972 of the landmark U.S. law known as Title IX:

1836: Georgia Women’s College is the first women’s college to open in the United States

1917: Jeannette Rankin of Montana becomes the first woman elected to Congress.

1920: american women win the right to vote.

1936: A federal appeals court actually says doctors can prescribe birth control to women.

1947: The first report of the Truman Commission calls for more equitable access to higher education, including an end to racial and religious discrimination.

1953: Toni Stone becomes the first woman to regularly play professional baseball (Negro Leagues).

1954: US Supreme Court says ‘separate educational institutions are inherently unequal’ in landmark Brown v. Board of Education of the Topeka decision.

1960: Wilma Rudolph becomes the first American woman to win three Olympic gold medals. The black sprinter star becomes a prominent civil rights activist.

1963: The Commission on the Status of Women, led by Eleanor Roosevelt, finds widespread discrimination against women in the United States and urges federal courts that “the principle of equality be firmly established in constitutional doctrine” . Congress passes Equal Pay Act.

1964: The Civil Rights Act includes sex as one of the things employers cannot discriminate against. It also establishes the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Hawaii’s Patsy Mink becomes first woman of color elected to U.S. House; she then co-authored Title IX, the Early Childhood Education Act and the Equal Women in Education Act.

1965: The Elementary and Secondary Education Act provides federal funding to K-12 schools with low-income student populations. President Lyndon Johnson also signs the Higher Education Act of 1965 which gives students access to loans, scholarships and other programs.

1966: The National Women’s Organization is established, calling for women to have “full participation in mainstream American society…in a truly equal partnership with men.”

1967: Aretha Franklin covers Otis Redding’s 1965 hit, “Respect, ” and it quickly becomes a feminist anthem.

1969: New York Democrat Shirley Chisholm becomes the first black woman in Congress. She later becomes the first woman to seek the presidential nomination.

1971: The Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) is founded to govern collegiate women’s athletics and administer national championships.

1972: Congress passes Title IX, which is enacted by President Richard Nixon. Title IX states: “No person in the United States shall, because of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied benefits, or be discriminated against in connection with any program or activity of education with federal financial assistance.” Congress also passes the Equal Rights Amendment, but it never gets the 38 state approval needed to become law.

1973: The Supreme Court renders its opinion Roe v. Wade establishing the right to abortion. Billie Jean King defeats Bobby Riggs in straight sets in “The Battle of the Sexes” tennis exhibition match.

1974: The Women’s Education Equity Act provides grants and contracts to help with “gender-neutral programs,” as well as to help institutions meet Title IX requirements.

1975: President Gerald Ford signs Title IX Athletics Regulationswhich gives athletics departments up to three years to implement, after noting that “it was the intention of Congress, for whatever reason for interpretation, to include athletics.”

1976: The NCAA challenges the legality of Title IX regarding athletics in a lawsuit that is dismissed two years later.

1977: Three female Yale students, two graduates and one male faculty member become the first to sue for sexual harassment under Title IX (Alexander v. Yale). He would fail on appeal.

1979: Ann Meyers becomes the first woman to sign an NBA contract (Indiana Pacers, $500,000). She had been the first woman to receive a basketball scholarship from UCLA.

1979: US officials have implemented the important three-pronged test for Title IX compliance in athletics.

1980: Oversight of Title IX is performed by the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.

nineteen eighty one : Sandra Day O’Connor becomes the first woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court.

1982: Louisiana Tech defeats Cheyney State for the first NCAA women’s basketball title. Two months later, the AIAW folded, placing top women’s collegiate sports entirely under the umbrella of the NCAA. Cheryl Miller scores 105 points in a high school game for launch one of the greatest careers in basketball history.

1984: Democrat Geraldine Ferraro becomes the first woman to earn a vice-presidential nomination from a major political party. The United States wins its first Olympic gold medal in women’s basketball.

1987: Pat Summitt wins first of eight national women’s basketball titles at Tennessee.

1988: Congress overturns President Ronald Reagan’s veto of the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987, mandating the application of Title IX to any school receiving federal funds.

1994: The Athletics Equity Disclosure Act is passed. Under Title IX, schools with federal financial aid and athletics programs must provide annual gender equity information, including roster sizes and certain budgets.

1995: Connecticut wins first of 11 national titles under coach Geno Auriemma.

1996: The female athletes win a lawsuit and force Brown to restore funding for women’s gymnastics and volleyball after saying the school violated Title IX by turning both teams into donor-funded entities. The NBA clears the way for the Women’s National Basketball Association to begin play the following year.

1999: Brandi Chastain penalty gives USA victory over China in the World Cup final, reinvigorating women’s sport in the United States

2001: Ashley Martin becomes the first woman to play and score in a Division I football game as a placekicker for Jacksonville State.

2008: Danica Patrick wins the Japan 300 to become the first female winner at the highest level of American open-wheel racing.

2014 : Becky Hamon becomes the first full-time assistant coach in NBA history.

2015 : United States’ 5-2 victory against Japan in the final of the Women’s World Cup became the most-watched football game in American television history.

2016: Citing Title IX, the Obama administration says transgender students in public schools should be allowed to use the bathroom or locker room that matches their gender identity, the advice has been cancelled by the Trump administration. hillary clinton becomes the first woman to win a major party nomination for president.

2017: Serena Williams wins her 23rd Grand Slam titlesecond all time.

2020: New Amendments to Title IX take effect, mainly with regard to sexual harassment.

2021: Report tears NCAA apart for failing to live up to commitment to gender equality prioritizing its lucrative Division I men’s basketball tournament “above all else,” including the women’s championships.

2022: Dawn Staley of South Carolina becomes the first black Division I basketball coach, male or female, to win more than one national championship. The United States women’s national soccer team reaches a stage agreement to be paid equally to the men’s national team.

NJ senator calls for discrimination based on height and weight to be banned

June 13, 2022

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Currently, Michigan is the only state in the nation that prohibits discrimination based on height or weight under its civil rights law, and there is no such federal law.

New Jersey State Sen. Andrew Zwicker of D-Monmouth Junction would like to see the Garden State become the second in the United States to ban such biases in hiring, housing and educational practices.

“It’s a serious issue, and we don’t condone racial discrimination, gender discrimination, or age discrimination,” Zwicker said.

His bill (S2741), which was introduced June 2 and referred to the Senate Labor Committee, would categorize rejection based on height and weight under the state’s “anti-discrimination law.”

It’s something Zwicker said some other states or individual cities have come up with, but he was “shocked” to learn was not on New Jersey’s books.

He said studies have shown “widespread” discrimination specifically around weight, usually much more in women than in men, and he thinks it’s both harmful and hurtful.

“A study I saw said that between 20% and 40% of overweight people reported some sort of discriminatory behavior towards them,” Zwicker said. “Society put in these ideal sizes, these ideal weights, and those are just things that have been created, and not everyone fits that ideal. And so, people are treated differently.”

According to the wording of Zwicker’s proposal, Michigan law prohibits discrimination in “employment, education, housing, public housing, and public office,” among other grounds, and the senator hopes to cover the same ground. with the New Jersey bill.

Exceptions are provided for cases “in which an individual’s height or weight is a bona fide occupational qualification”, the bill says.

In short, Zwicker’s legislation would empower someone who believes they have suffered such discrimination to sue.

He cited an Atlantic City case years ago, in which a judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by female casino workers who were weighed weekly and threatened with dismissal because there was no basis in New Jersey law to support their claims.

This bill, he said, would close that loophole.

“It’s more than common sense, it’s just the right thing to do, that’s why I wrote it and why I stand for it now,” Zwicker said.

Zwicker intends the legislation to take effect immediately if and when it is passed and signed by the governor.

Patrick Lavery is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]

Click here to contact an editor about a comment or correction for this story.

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Helena Man jailed for defrauding COVID-19 relief fund

June 11, 2022

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Trevor Gene Lanius-McLeod, 48, of East Helena, was sentenced in Great Falls Federal District Court this week to nearly three years in prison and must pay more than $1 million in restitution for defrauding the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program.

KGVO News reached out to Amanda Prestegard, IRS Criminal Investigative Special Agent in the Denver Field Office.

“He personally took out four Paycheck Protection Program loans through the Valley Bank of Helena,” Prestegard began. “In the applications, he made material and false statements to obtain $1,043,000 in fraudulent funds from these four loans. On top of that, he used a company called Renovated Montana Properties, which was an entity he controlled, to apply for another loan that amounted to nearly $350,000.

Prestegard said Lanius-McLeod deliberately falsified the information he used in the applications.

“So in all of these loans, the applications contained misrepresentations,” she said. “It was based on the fact that he had declared that he paid payroll taxes, that he had 25 employees and that he paid an average monthly salary charge of $139,000. And all of that was wrong. So basically he just filed a bunch of bogus claims, got money he thought was for his businesses, and then used it for his personal gain.

Prestegard said Lanius-McLeod also had a partner in crimes.

“In this case, he was sentenced to three years in prison and his accomplice Casey Jones-Wilson was sentenced to a year and a day in prison,” she said. “We’re seeing some pretty significant jail time which obviously correlates to the amount of money that’s been stolen from the programs. In this case, he will owe over a million dollars in restitution on top of the three years that he will serve in prison, and his co-conspirator will have to repay more than $100,000.

She said the Cares Act had attracted many fraudulent loan applications that the IRS was investigating.

“What it looks like now is a small percentage, but it’s still a huge success for the program,” she said. “We looked at a lot of these cases. We investigated over 660 cases nationwide of people trying to defraud these Cares Act programs, and it resulted in approximately $1.8 billion in fraudulent money being received.

The proceeds were spent on various personal expenses, including the mortgage on Lanius-McLeod’s own home.

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Helena man convicted of using over $1 million in COVID-19 relief loans for personal gain | ABC Fox Montana Helen

June 9, 2022

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UPDATE, JUNE 9 AT 10:16 AM:

The Department of Justice reports that Trevor Gee Lanius-McLeod was sentenced after he admitted to using the more than $1 million Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans he received for personal gain. .

Lanius-McLeod allegedly misrepresented the PPP loan application and otherwise did not qualify.

The government claimed that Lanius-McLeod agreed to use the funds for business-related expenses and that the proceeds were in fact spent on various personal expenses, including the mortgage on his personal residence.

“Today’s sentence is a direct reflection of the seriousness of Mr. Lanius-McLeod’s crimes,” said Andy Tsui, special agent in charge of the IRS local office of criminal investigations in Denver. “Not only is Lanius-McLeod guilty of crimes against the federal government, but he also victimized individuals and businesses that the Paycheck Protection Program was meant to protect. These actions will not be tolerated, and the judge’s decision sends a clear message to those who attempt to defraud CARES Act programs that these crimes will not go unpunished.

Trevor Gee Lanius-McLeod was sentenced to 30 months in prison, followed by three years of probation.

He was also ordered to pay restitution of $1,000,043.00, of which $125,000 will be paid jointly with co-defendant Kasey Wilson who was sentenced in March 2022.


Previous cover, January 5:

HELEN, Mont. – A Helena man pleaded guilty after making false statements to receive Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans which he used for his personal gain.

Trevor Gene Lanius-McLeod pleaded guilty to bank fraud and engaging in monetary transactions in property from specified illegal activities.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) said in a statement that in court documents the government claimed that in April 2021 Lanius-McLeod applied for PPP loans through the Valley Bank of Helena and lied about the applications and the documents that accompanied them.

Lanius-McLeod allegedly received $1,043,000 in fraudulent funds on the four loans.

Additionally, Lanius-McLeod applied for and obtained a $340,000 PPP loan on behalf of Renovated Montana Properties LLP, an entity he controlled.

Lanius-McLeod falsely said the company paid payroll taxes and had 25 employees, the DOJ reports.

Payroll taxes were never paid by the company and it had no employees other than Lanius-McLeod, however, it occasionally employed independent contractors.

In a promissory note, Lanius-McLeod agreed to use the loan for payroll costs and other business-related expenses, and none of the loans were used for those purposes, the statement said.

Instead, the loan was used for personal expenses, including paying the mortgage on Lanius-McLeod’s personal residence.

The DOJ says that but for several misrepresentations, Lanius-McLeod would not have qualified for this loan.

A plea agreement was filed in the case where the parties agreed that if the court accepts the plea agreement at sentencing, the government will seek the dismissal of nine other counts.

Lanius-McLeod faces a maximum of 30 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release for the crime of bank fraud.

‘Bargain Block’ shows 2 guys rebuilding Detroit 1 house at a time

June 8, 2022

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Over the years we have seen a lot of desperation and desperation when the subject of the city of Detroit is mentioned. Then came Keith Bynum and Evan Thomas. You couldn’t find two people less likely to take on this project of buying run-down homes in run-down Detroit neighborhoods, fixing them up almost like new, then reselling them for an affordable price, but also for a profit .

Thomas is a physicist with a doctorate, and a carpenter and builder; Bynum holds an MBA and is a designer. At fourteen, he created his first company. Four years ago, the two lived in Colorado, but why not move to Motown? Now their HGTV series, “Bargain Block” is back for another season, but more importantly, they’re making a difference, making homeownership possible for some people who might not be able to afford it. a house, and since they made twenty-two so far, maybe bring quarters back.

If you look west, there’s a ton of gentrification going on in Chicago, but Detroit isn’t up to it yet. But with Bynum and Thomas, maybe it gives a boost.

(Mission in fact via YouTube)

From a television production perspective, most of these shows follow a script and a formula, and you can’t forget their real estate partner, Shea Hicks-Whitfield, who is a cheerleader in town. In the end, just like the Lions, maybe this sleeping giant rises like a phoenix.

HGTV says Wednesday, June 8 will bring new episodes and premiere at 8 p.m. ET is a throwback to their first season. And if the show is new to you, this is a good place to start.

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Aida Alvarez sells 18,181 shares of Opportun Financial Co. (NASDAQ:OPRT)

June 3, 2022

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Timely Financial Co. (NASDAQ: OPRTGet a rating) Director Aida Alvarez sold 18,181 shares of Oportun Financial in a trade dated Thursday, June 2. The stock was sold at an average price of $11.46, for a total value of $208,354.26. Following the completion of the sale, the administrator now directly owns 18,874 shares of the company, valued at $216,296.04. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, available at this hyperlink.

Shares of NASDAQ OPRT traded at $0.08 during Friday trading hours, hitting $11.47. 233,482 shares of the company were traded, against an average volume of 149,083. The company’s 50-day moving average price is $12.41 and its 200-day moving average price is $16.49. Oportun Financial Co. has a 12-month low of $10.28 and a 12-month high of $27.95. The stock has a market capitalization of $376.38 million, a price-earnings ratio of 4.04 and a beta of 1.37.

Opportunity Financial (NASDAQ: OPRTGet a rating) last released its quarterly earnings data on Monday, May 9. The company reported EPS of $1.58 for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.60 by $0.98. Oportun Financial had a net margin of 12.76% and a return on equity of 18.01%. The company posted revenue of $214.70 million in the quarter, versus analyst estimates of $198.40 million. In the same period a year earlier, the company earned earnings per share of $0.27. Oportun Financial’s quarterly revenues increased by 58.7% compared to the same quarter last year. Sell-side analysts expect Oportun Financial Co. to post EPS of 1.96 for the current fiscal year.

Large investors have recently changed their stock holdings. Versant Capital Management Inc purchased a new stake in Oportun Financial in Q1 worth approximately $38,000. Dorsey Wright & Associates bought a new stake in shares of Oportun Financial in the fourth quarter worth approximately $43,000. Quantbot Technologies LP increased its stake in shares of Oportun Financial by 113.3% during the 1st quarter. Quantbot Technologies LP now owns 3,200 shares of the company worth $45,000 after acquiring an additional 1,700 shares in the last quarter. Citigroup Inc. increased its stake in Oportun Financial to 92.2% in the third quarter. Citigroup Inc. now owns 2,291 shares of the company valued at $57,000 after acquiring an additional 1,099 shares during the period. Finally, Concourse Financial Group Securities Inc. bought a new position in Oportun Financial in Q4 worth $60,000. Institutional investors hold 70.58% of the company’s shares.

The OPRT has been the subject of several reports by research analysts. Loop Capital began covering Oportun Financial in a report on Monday, March 14. They set a “buy” rating and a price target of $24.00 for the company. BTIG Research restated a “buy” rating and posted a price target of $27.00 on shares of Oportun Financial in a research report on Thursday, April 14. To finish, Zacks Investment Research moved shares of Oportun Financial from a “hold” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $13.00 price target on the stock in a Wednesday, May 18 research note. Five investment analysts gave the stock a buy rating and one gave the company a high buy rating. Based on data from MarketBeat, Oportun Financial has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $24.00.

Oportun Financial Company Profile (Get a rating)

Oportun Financial Corporation provides financial services. It offers personal loans, car loans and credit cards. The company serves its customers online and by telephone, as well as through point of sale. It operates in 24 states in the United States, including Arkansas, Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, New Hampshire, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota and Virginia.

See also

Insider buying and selling by quarter for Oportun Financial (NASDAQ:OPRT)



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Inland Bank and Trust Closes $1.6 Million Loans

June 2, 2022

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OAK BROOK – Inland Bank and Trust said it has entered into two commercial loans totaling $1.6 million to a financial advisory firm with offices in Maryland and Montana.

A financial advisor within the company applied for the initial loan to acquire part of the company’s customer database. This gave the firm’s owners the option of later making an external acquisition, funded by the second loan, to expand their business to a third firm, Inland said.

The transactions were completed under Inland Bank’s financial advisor loan program.

Since its inception, the program has funded nearly $20 million in loans to financial advisors located in Illinois, Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina and Ohio. , Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin, the company said.

Tiffany Tyson, vice president of commercial loans at Inland Bank, originated both loans.

Hunterdon regional football player hit on NJ Route 202

May 31, 2022

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FLEMINGTON — A 15-year-old boy riding an electric skateboard was struck by a vehicle on Route 202 early Monday morning.

The Hunterdon County Attorney’s Office said the teenager was shot at around 2:20 a.m. at the intersection with Reaville Road, according to Hunterdon County Attorney’s Office Captain Paul Approvato. The driver, Raymond Lozinak, 61, of Bayonne, remained at the scene of the accident, Approvato said.

The teenager was taken to Morristown Hospital by medical helicopter for treatment of his injuries. No charges have been filed in the case, according to Approvato.

Approvato did not reveal the circumstances of the accident, but said the teenager was using an electric skateboard.

Jerry Walter (R)

Jerry Walther (R) (Therese Apostolis via GoFundMe)

“An awesome kid who touched so many lives”

A GoFundMe page created to help the victim’s family with medical bills and lost wages identified the teenager as Jerry Walther. He is a member of the Hunterdon Regional Red Devils football team, according to the GoFundMe page set up by Theresa Apostolis.

“Jerry ‘JerBear’ is an awesome kid who touched so many lives,” Apostolis wrote. “Please pray that Jerry continues to fight in this extremely difficult battle.”

An investigation into the crash is ongoing, Approvato said. He asked anyone with information about the crash to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-321-1000.

Emily Grill contributed to this report

Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]

Click here to contact an editor about a comment or correction for this story.

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New Bedford announces $3.3 million for local businesses

May 28, 2022

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New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell today announced $3.3 million in funding that will support local businesses and entrepreneurs, as part of the city’s commitment to use a portion of funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to help businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The funding will be split under two separate initiatives,” according to a press release. “NBForward!, which will provide funding to businesses negatively impacted by the pandemic, and NB100!, which will focus on helping start-up entrepreneurs impacted because of their industry or location.”

The funds will be administered by the New Bedford Economic Development Council.

“Entrepreneurs drive opportunity and growth in our economy. Positioning them for success will accelerate New Bedford’s exit from the pandemic,” Mayor Jon Mitchell said. “The New Bedford Economic Development Council has a proven track record of supporting small businesses, and these two new programs will leverage their experience and expertise.

“Connectivity is key to helping small businesses succeed throughout the business lifecycle,” said Anthony Sapienza, president of the New Bedford Economic Development Council. “From start to finish, the two NB100s! and NBForward! are designed to provide not only New Bedford businesses with much-needed financial support to emerge from the pandemic, but also the technical know-how needed to remain viable and vibrant for years to come. »

“No matter where someone is in their entrepreneurial journey – whether they’re a beginner or an established company – at New Bedford, we have a pathway available to them,” he said. declared.

NBForward! will offer at least 100 grants of up to $20,000, as well as assistance with things like business planning, resource tips and best practices, the statement said. Funds can be used for things like construction, renovation, rental or mortgage payments, utility payments, payroll, or insurance, among other options.

NB100! is designed to “promote entrepreneurship, build local wealth and strengthen community ties by helping 100 new businesses get started”, in collaboration with organizations such as EforAll, Groundwork, Co-Creative Center, New Bedford Ocean Cluster, UMass Dartmouth , Bristol Community College and Junior Achievement. Eligible small businesses that complete this technical support program could receive grants of $10,000 from the NBEDC.

It is now the seventh move for distributing the first half of $64.7 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds that New Bedford City Council voted to accept in March. More recently, Mayor Mitchell announced that $1.2 million would be given to New Bedford artists and organizations that support the arts.

Other announcements benefited from a program to upgrade business facades, housing, daycares, small businesses and $5 million to help renovate the Zeiteron Performing Arts Center.

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Democratic spokesperson talks about farms, abortions and student loans

May 26, 2022

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On Tuesday’s KGVO Talk Back show, Montana Democratic Party Chairwoman Robyn Driscoll answered tough questions from the audience on a variety of topics.

The first question was about the Democratic Party’s position on abortion, after the recent controversy over the leak of the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade and allegations that the party supports abortion until birth.

“Our party platform supports every woman’s right to make her own health care decisions and that includes abortion,” Driscoll said. “I have to say that I totally disagree with you that the Democratic Party thinks abortion should be done until birth or let a baby die after birth.”

Driscoll was convinced that no matter what the U.S. Supreme Court decides, Montana will always allow a woman to choose an abortion.

“Our state constitution protects that right,” she said. “Montana’s constitutional right to privacy will always protect our right to abortion, and even if there is a special session after this ruling is made, the bill(s) that pass would immediately come before the court and Hopefully, an injunction would be placed on this bill until the court makes a decision. Our party is strongly pro-choice. It’s in our platform.

One listener addressed the issue of student loan forgiveness and how it would be funded. Driscoll said the vast majority of student loans are taken out by people who really need them.

“There are students with life situations where they can’t work three jobs or two jobs or even one job while they’re in college because they may already have a job at home raising their children,” she said. “There are far too many situations in life to say that a person should be able to receive a loan or that they should be able to work and repay their loans. There are far too many real situations.

Another listener compared student loans to government support for farmers.

“Our farmers feed the United States and quite often the world, and so when they have a bad year, the whole United States suffers, not just them,” she said. “I’d rather not see corporations take over our farms and ranches and to do that they certainly need help.”

KGVO also hosts Montana Republican Party Chairman Don Kaltschmidt once a month.

24 Missoula businesses that have closed in the past two years

A large number of Missoula businesses have closed over the past two years for various reasons. Retirement, COVID-19, change of ownership…here’s a list of 24 businesses we’ve lost.

28 Missoula Businesses That Opened, Changed Owners, or Changed Locations

Yes, there were quite a few Missoula businesses that closed in the last two years. But what about the Missoula businesses that have opened?

10 businesses that should open a location in Missoula

We asked, and you answered, and then we thought a bit too. Here are 10 businesses we think should open a location in Missoula, Montana.

Financial literacy courses could become a requirement in Montana schools next year | News

May 20, 2022

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When Butte resident Mike Paffhausen graduated from Carroll College in 2009, he received a thin, purple school book that he says changed his life. It was called “Life After Graduation: Your Guide to Success”.

Paffhausen then made a to-do list on a few blank pages at the back of the book, filled with items the book recommended. The list spanned a page, plus a few, and included items such as “buy life insurance”, “create a budget” and “make a will”.

Today, he still has the book and has crossed off every item on the list within the first two years of reading it.

The book and the lessons learned from it were pivotal in Paffhausen’s life, he said, and after that he became determined to have other young adults benefit from those lessons.

“Finances are like sex, religion and politics,” Paffhausen said. “We don’t talk about it at the table anymore; it’s inappropriate and taboo, and it shouldn’t be. And that’s really inappropriate in those families where they’re not good at money. So we perpetuate poverty.

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Paffhausen’s many efforts to improve financial literacy in the community include working with Carroll, local high schools, through his church, and even fundraising to continue buying books for future seniors.

In the summer of last year, he told the board of directors of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors of Montana, of which he is a member, his goal of getting guaranteed personal finance courses for every high school student in Montana. Paffhausen and other proponents refer to it as guaranteed rather than mandatory — like all high schools, students are guaranteed a financial literacy course.

Paffhausen has connected with Next Gen Personal Finance, a nonprofit that he says has worked with him and the NAIFA MT board for almost the entire year to make their goal a reality. Paffhausen was introduced to Carly Urban, an economist with a Ph.D. in economics and associate professor at Montana State University in Bozeman, via Next Gen.

In October 2021, Paffhausen spoke at the Montana Association of Business Professionals of America’s Fall Leadership Conference as part of NAIFA MT. Paffhausen said he spoke at a roundtable with teachers about the organization of guaranteed financial literacy classes in high schools in Montana, and they were all “resoundingly supportive,” which he said. urged him and the NAIFA MT Board to continue.

He became president of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors Montana in January.

On Tuesday, Urban, who is a senior researcher in the field, presented her findings on guaranteed personal finance classes in schools at the 2022 NAIFA MT State Convention at the Fairmont Hot Springs Conference Center near Anaconda, where NAIFA MT members who were not on the board were present.

About Literacy Classes

The idea behind financial literacy in schools is that high school graduates have to make many very important financial decisions when they graduate and should educate themselves about money before they start doing so.

The case for financial literacy, Urban said during his presentation, is in his favorite thing: data. According to his research, only 27% of 23-28 year olds can correctly answer three basic questions about interest, inflation and diversification.

“And when I say basic questions, I mean, ‘You have $100 today, the interest rate is 2%, how much money will you have next year? Will you have more than $100, exactly $100 or you don’t really know? Said Urban.

She said her research also revealed that 54% of student borrowers did not calculate their future monthly payments before choosing a loan and, one statistic she found very telling: 38% of 18-34 year olds said they had used alternative financial solutions. services, such as payday loans, over the past five years.

Urban called these alternative financial services a “debt trap for young people”.

“If you want to make sure you can never start a small business as a young adult, or in your life, start the payday cycle,” she said.

When his research looked at states that guaranteed financial literacy courses as a condition of graduation, it showed that the first class had no change in credit scores by age 23 and had a decrease 1.4% of unpaid bills over 90 days. The second cohort achieved a 16 point improvement in credit score and a 3.4% decrease in delinquency over 90 days, and the third cohort experienced a 32 point increase in credit score and a decrease in 5.8% of delinquency over 90 days according to age. 23. Urban called the results of the third cohort of high school students “enormous.”

His research also shows that people want financial literacy courses in schools, with 88% of respondents to a 2022 survey saying high school students should be required to take a semester or year-long course on financial literacy. personal finances.

Student loan repayment rates for first-generation and low-income students and the shift from high-cost to low-cost borrowing methods have also increased with guaranteed financial literacy courses, and payday loans have declined. Students who had guaranteed financial literacy courses in high school were also 21% less likely to have a credit card balance. Moreover, his research found that students from low-income families were helped the most by this requirement.

However, Urban said, there is no evidence that guaranteed financial literacy courses increase the likelihood of opening a retirement account, non-retirement savings account or owning a home.

She said it’s because at 16, 17, and 18, most students think about what’s going on right now, like car loans and student loans, and they’re not ready to think yet. retired or owning a home.

The guaranteed personal finance courses also do not change graduation rates, college attendance rates, college completion rates, income, or work location.

According to Urban’s presentation, eight states across the country are guaranteeing financial literacy classes to every high school student, and five more are in the early stages of implementation.

The reason these courses should be required instead of optional, Urban said, is because research shows that making it optional makes no difference to students’ future credit scores, borrowing habits, and more. or delinquency rates.

Paffhausen said that in addition to the other sought-after benefits of guaranteed financial literacy classes, another good thing is that it’s a non-partisan cause that everyone he’s spoken to supports.

State of courses in Montana

Eight schools in Montana currently require financial literacy to be taught, including Absarokee High School, Anaconda Sr. High School, Box Elder High School, Hamilton High School, Polson High School, St. Ignatius High School, Sweet Grass County High School, and Victor High school, according to Urban’s presentation.

About three weeks ago, Paffhausen said, the efforts he and the NAIFA MT board put in paid off. Paffhausen and Urban were able to meet Elsie Arntzen, Superintendent of Public Instruction of Montana, and found her a home for their cause.

According to documents from the Montana Office of Public Instruction, updated Montana Administrative Rules Chapters 55, 57, and 58, which include guaranteed financial literacy classes for high school students, would go into effect in January 2023. they were adopted.

Currently, four units of English Language Arts, three units of Mathematics, three units of Science, three units of Social Studies, two units of Career and Technical Education, two units of Arts, one health, two units of world languages ​​and two units of electives.

Proposed rule changes include adding a required half-credit of civics or government education in all three social studies units and adding a required half-credit of economics and financial education in all three social studies units or both vocational and technical study units. education, according to OPI documents.

Urban’s research shows that social studies is actually the best course for implementing financial literacy, not math, as some people might think.

There will be challenges, said Paffhausen, and these will mostly be “strategic and tactical issues” of course implementation, such as training existing teachers to teach personal finance and finding space for new content in the secondary program.

According to research on required personal finance courses in Peru, course teachers also benefit. The instructors involved in the Peru study saw their savings increase after teaching the class because they, too, learned about personal finance in a more fun and digestible way than personal finance is sometimes explained to adults.

The cost to schools can also be free, Urban said, with Next Gen Personal Finance offering free, high-quality teacher training and certification, as well as a free curriculum.

Arntzen also said she will make personal finance units available as part of the 60 units teachers must complete every five years to maintain an active teaching license.

Paffhausen said NAIFA MT is the right organization to champion this cause. “Which organization is best suited to bring this conversation to the fore? ” he said. “Everyone in this room has had clients in front of us who we wish we had had a better start and had a simple, fundamental education about how money works.”

And while NAIFA MT is an advocacy organization, Paffhausen said promoting guaranteed personal finance courses does not directly benefit them.

“Society doesn’t know who NAIFA Montana is and never will,” he said. “We have no discernible earnings advantage in this area.”

As for his own children, he said, they will learn financial literacy anyway. But he said he believed in this cause for all the other kids who might not, and ultimately because it’s a good thing to do.

Politeness a winning strategy on Idaho primary day

May 18, 2022

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I remember hearing the story of a man who moved to Idaho and took a job in school administration. During his first weeks in town, he was amazed when he walked the streets and strangers greeted him. They made eye contact, said hello, and often asked how her day was going. It was a culture shock. He had come from an urban environment where people rarely looked each other in the eye and as if to remind you that they were aware of your presence. Like a defense mechanism.

Fact cool idaho also applies to politics? Perhaps we have new evidence.

A smile opens doors

Raul Labrador was right. He said Monday he had seen three polls and one had him winning a primary for state attorney general by 14 points. It was perfect. He also refrained from calling his opponents. He represents a wing of the party that I wouldn’t call the establishment. Yet in other statewide races, his team has failed on every level. Was it because they weren’t positive?

Over the past two years, I have heard many non-establishment candidates call Governor Brad Little a tyrant or Little chicken. First, it sounds childish coming from a candidate. Brad Little can be a lot of things his opponents don’t like, but his public persona is very jovial. His campaign ads were all positive and he was generally smiling.

Positive campaigns and positive thinking

I received about 14 tons of political mailings before Primary day (a slight exaggeration) and every time I saw a mailing from the Labrador campaign, he always beamed with a smile.

As of this writing, Glenneda Zuiderveld has a narrow lead over Jim Patrick for the State Senate in District 24. She told me last week that the two get along very well at candidate forums. . Both are people who smile easily. She had a TV ad where she stood on the steps of the Capitol and calmly explained her faith and conservative roots. She did not speak ill of the holder. There may be lessons here for future candidates.

I jokingly told Labrador on Monday that name-calling should be left to the talk show hosts. He’s laughing.

WATCH: States with the most new small businesses per capita

LOOK INSIDE: Derek Jeter is selling his beautiful Hudson Valley lakeside chateau for a discount

Spadea’s Small Business Monday – Your Local Favorites

May 16, 2022

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Every Monday we celebrate New Jersey’s small businesses.

Small businesses are the backbone of our economy with nearly a million people working accounting for half of the workers in the Garden State.

For years, New Jersey has ranked bottom for the business climate with last year, earn a good last place.

There is no doubt that we need a major upheaval in Trenton to bring about serious and lasting change. Lower taxes, reverse the governor’s current trend of placing the burden of replenishing the unemployment insurance fund on local businesses. This resulted in a billion dollar corporate tax hike instead of using the federal stimulus dollars that other states were using to replenish the fund.

The government of New Jersey is definitely working against people and family businesses. The bag ban has made shopping inconvenient and imposes excessive burdens on elderly and disabled shoppers. And, as I wrote before, it all came without any solid scientific or logical reason for its implementation.

In addition to outrageous and unnecessary taxes and regulations, there is the constant drumbeat of fear based on nonsensical discussion of “COVID transmission” rates. Much of this is based on the constant testing of “asymptomatic” (i.e. healthy) people who really have no public health implications. Yet the fear campaign continues to make the public climate even more difficult for businesses that rely on foot traffic.

That said, I will continue to do my part by dedicating Monday’s shows to promoting small businesses and helping out as best I can before we are able to change the climate and make this state a safe haven for small businesses. companies. Stay tuned.

Here is a list of businesses that have come to our attention through the free New Jersey 101.5 app!

Princeton Inquiry Health in Lawrenceville, New Jersey

Noblo umbrella packaging from Eatontown, NJ

Tuzio’s Italian cuisine in Long Branch, New Jersey

Fire station restaurant and pub in Rahway, New Jersey

The above post reflects the thoughts and observations of Bill Spadea, host of New Jersey talk show 101.5. All opinions expressed are those of Bill. Bill Spadea is on the air weekdays from 6-10 a.m., speaking from Jersey, taking your calls at 1-800-283-1015.

WATCH: States with the most new small businesses per capita

NJ Beach Tag Guide for Summer 2022

We are coming another summer to the Jersey Shore! Before you lose yourself in the excitement of sunny days on the sand, we calculate how much seasonal/weekly/daily beach beacons will cost you, and pre-season deals you can still take advantage of!

The Downside of Solar Farms on the South Coast

May 10, 2022

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To twist Joni Mitchell’s hit song “Big Yellow Taxi” I’ll say “They paved heaven and set up a solar farm” because people are paying close attention to whether some of the solar farms are creating problems that harm the environment.

In Wareham, townspeople are worried about the felling of all the trees to accommodate nearly 20 solar farms on 300 acres of land and at least nine more, totaling another 500 acres planned. Even those who value clean energy worry that cutting down forests and altering natural habitats to make room for solar panels is going too far, according to a piece in the boston globe magazine by Emma Foehringer Merchant.

At the Acushnet town hall this week, the same reservations surfaced when residents voted to impose a 180-day moratorium on the issuance of any new solar farm permits until officials could review the current regulations.

“There are 20 permits right now, but the neighbors have a lot of questions about any possibility of hazardous materials in 20 to 25 years, and to be honest, I don’t think we need all these solar farms,” said said Town. Meeting with Elector Norman Fredette.

“Solar electricity is no cheaper than natural gas or oil to power factories and manufacturing,” the licensed contractor said.

The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources estimates that about 2,500 acres of trees have been felled to install solar panels over the past 10 years.

“I’m old school on this. If solar power was so important, there would be a lot more people jumping on the bandwagon,” Fredette said. “Furthermore, the felling of trees and forests negatively affects our environment and our local vegetation and wildlife, and have you seen the interference with rainfall and drainage they cause?”

It is not a question of being for or against the production of solar energy. It’s about doing the right thing. I don’t think it’s “old school” to take a break as a community, like Wareham and Acushnet, and look very closely at all the issues here.

I also don’t think it’s old school to find out if solar farms harm the environment, so it’s not worth it, in many cases, but not all.

WATCH: States with the most new small businesses per capita

North Shore Roast Beef Places Worth Visiting

Côte-Nord roast beef is a special sandwich in its own right. From thinly sliced ​​rare beef to a toasted bun, it might sound easily repeatable, but not very much a roast beef sandwich is a North Shore roast beef sandwich. The best way to order one is a “three course” with James River barbecue sauce, American cheese and mayonnaise. Here are some of the spots that our listeners think do it best.

First Interstate BancSystem (FIBK) – Weekly Investment Analyst Rating Changes

May 9, 2022

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First interstate banking system (NASDAQ: FIBK) recently received a number of price target changes and ratings updates:

  • 03/05/2022 – First Interstate BancSystem has been updated by analysts at StockNews.com from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating.
  • 05/03/2022 – First Interstate BancSystem has been upgraded by Janney Montgomery Scott analysts from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating. They now have a price target of $42.00 on the stock.
  • 02/05/2022 – First Interstate BancSystem has been upgraded by analysts at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods from a “market performance” rating to an “outperformance” rating. They now have a price target of $45.00 on the stock.
  • 04/25/2022 – First Interstate BancSystem Downgraded by Analysts at StockNews.com from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating.
  • 08/04/2022 – First Interstate BancSystem has been updated by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating. They now have a price target of $39.00 on the stock. According to Zacks, “First Interstate BancSystem, Inc. is a financial and banking holding company. Through its wholly owned subsidiary, First Interstate Bank, it offers a range of banking products and services to individuals, businesses, municipalities and other entities in all of its markets. The Company’s banking products and services include demand, term, checking and savings deposits. The Company’s loan portfolio consists of a mix of real estate, consumer, commercial, agricultural and other loans, including fixed and variable rate loans. Its real estate loans include commercial real estate, construction, residential, agricultural and other loans. It also provides a range of trust, employee benefits, investment management, insurance, agency and custodial services to individuals, businesses and non-profit organizations. First Interstate BancSystem, Inc. is headquartered in Billings, Montana. “
  • 07/04/2022 – First Interstate BancSystem has been updated by analysts at StockNews.com from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating.
  • 03/30/2022 – First Interstate BancSystem downgraded by analysts at StockNews.com from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating.
  • 03/22/2022 – First Interstate BancSystem has been updated by analysts at StockNews.com from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating.

Shares of NASDAQ: FIBK opened at $34.73 on Monday. First Interstate BancSystem, Inc. has a 1-year low of $32.40 and a 1-year high of $47.87. The stock has a market capitalization of $2.16 billion, a price-earnings ratio of 18.09 and a beta of 1.04. The company has a quick ratio of 0.66, a current ratio of 0.67 and a debt ratio of 0.10. The company’s 50-day simple moving average is $36.52.

First interstate banking system (NASDAQ: FIBKGet a rating) last announced its results on Thursday, April 28. The financial services provider reported ($0.36) earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing analyst consensus estimates of ($0.31) by ($0.05). First Interstate BancSystem posted a net margin of 29.28% and a return on equity of 8.40%. During the same period a year earlier, the company posted EPS of $0.83. As a group, analysts expect First Interstate BancSystem, Inc. to post earnings per share of 2.61 for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, May 20. Investors of record on Monday, May 9 will receive a dividend of $0.41. This represents an annualized dividend of $1.64 and a yield of 4.72%. The ex-dividend date is Friday, May 6. First Interstate BancSystem’s dividend payout ratio is currently 85.42%.

Separately, insider Philip G. Gaglia sold 1,921 shares in a trade on Wednesday, February 23. The stock was sold at an average price of $38.94, for a total value of $74,803.74. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, accessible via this link. Also, insider Philip G. Gaglia sold 1,863 shares in a trade on Thursday, March 10. The shares were sold at an average price of $38.70, for a total value of $72,098.10. Disclosure of this sale can be found here. In the past three months, insiders have sold 21,634 shares of the company valued at $841,767. 6.40% of the shares are held by company insiders.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently changed their stakes in the company. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. increased its stake in shares of First Interstate BancSystem by 11.1% in the 4th quarter. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. now owns 83,533 shares of the financial services provider worth $3,397,000 after acquiring an additional 8,374 shares in the last quarter. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA acquired a new stake in shares of First Interstate BancSystem in Q3 valued at $46,266,000. Trexquant Investment LP acquired a new stake in shares of First Interstate BancSystem in Q3 valued at $276,000. Heartland Advisors Inc. increased its stake in shares of First Interstate BancSystem by 83.7% in the 4th quarter. Heartland Advisors Inc. now owns 292,187 shares of the financial services provider worth $11,883,000 after acquiring an additional 133,089 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Credit Suisse AG increased its position in shares of First Interstate BancSystem by 12.1% during the third quarter. Credit Suisse AG now owns 37,879 shares of the financial services provider worth $1,526,000 after buying an additional 4,096 shares in the last quarter. 69.42% of the shares are held by institutional investors and hedge funds.

First Interstate BancSystem, Inc operates as a bank holding company for First Interstate Bank which provides a range of banking products and services in the United States. It offers various traditional deposit products, including checks, savings deposits and term deposits; and repurchase agreements primarily for commercial and municipal depositors.

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A medical mystery has arrived in North Dakota

May 6, 2022

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It’s a mystery in North Dakota that even the Associated Press has picked up on.

So here are some questions for you, how does an individual get hepatitis? What exactly is hepatitis? I just want to make sure to quote the health experts – according to line-sante.com “Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. Alcohol use, several health conditions, and certain medications can all cause this disease. However, viral infections are the most common cause of hepatitis” Now I know that part , because I worked in a restaurant years ago, THE most common rule for employees was to ALWAYS wash their hands. So there are many ways to catch hepatitis.

So why is this case in Grand Forks, North Dakota involving a young child with hepatitis so mysterious?

They call it “hepatitis of unknown origin” – simply put, all the usual causes of hepatitis have been ruled out, so of course the mystery falls on how this child (recovering at home) got it. has contacted. usnews reported “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has investigated cases of sudden liver disease in children that has led health authorities around the world to search for clues. The disease is called hepatitis of unknown origin”

My final question is, are there any symptoms someone might experience that relate to hepatitis?

I’m guessing there’s a stomach problem or nausea? Maybe some aches? “Symptoms may include cold symptoms, fever, sore throat, pneumonia, diarrhea, or pink eye,” usnews.com added. Let’s hope the mystery doesn’t spread to other cases.


WATCH: States with the most new small businesses per capita

Many NJ stores still distribute paper bags, but that’s okay!

May 5, 2022

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Now that New Jersey’s toughest bag ban has been launched at supermarkets and big box stores are not allowed to give shoppers any type of plastic or paper bag, but that’s not the case for many other retail establishments.

The new law says all types of regular plastic bags are banned, but Eileen Kean, director of the New Jersey chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, said some small stores weren’t sure what was allowed.

A paper bag is fine

The law allows paper bags in any retail establishment under 2,500 square feet. This excludes supermarkets and big box stores, but not small retailers.

“Many small boutiques have their own stylish paper bags with handles that become popular when you become a customer and you like the little bag because you use it once you get home,” Kean said.

Kean said it could get a bit confusing.

“There is a learning curve involved and business owners, NFIB members are trying to embrace the new world they live in,” she said.

Catalin205/Billion Photos/Townsquare Media photo illustration

Catalin205/Billion Photos/Townsquare Media photo illustration

Cities can’t make their own bag laws

She stressed that it’s important to understand that municipalities must follow state bag law and cannot impose their own regulations.

“It’s really good news for Main Street because what had happened was municipalities were coming up with their own restrictions and it was definitely confusing,” she said.

Kean noted that while plastic bags are banned, there is an exemption for dry cleaners.

“Dry cleaners can still use plastic bags that they use to protect clean clothes when delivered to a customer.”

Violators are fined $1,000.

“I think the business community is okay with it, not necessarily happy with the extremes of this ban, but they have no choice but to comply with the new law,” Kean said.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]

Click here to contact an editor about a comment or correction for this story.

WATCH: States with the most new small businesses per capita

Inside Betty White’s Gorgeous Carmel-by-the-Sea Home

Take a peek inside the late Betty White’s beautiful, peaceful home in Carmel-by-the-Sea.

Netflix’s Most Popular TV Shows

These are the most popular TV shows ever to air on Netflix, based on hours watched during their first 28 days on air.

Hoeven and Daines bill tackles chronic wasting disease

May 2, 2022

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On April 28, U.S. Senators John Hoeven (R-ND) and Steve Daines (R-MT) unveiled bipartisan legislation to provide $70 million a year to equally support research and management of the debilitating disease. (CWD), which the federal government says is a fatal neurological disease occurring in North American members of the deer family, including white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, and moose.

Since its discovery in 1967, CWD has spread geographically and its prevalence has increased locally, according to the US Geological Survey.

“CWD is a growing threat to wildlife and livestock, impacting sportsmen, ranchers and the local ecology of regions across the United States,” Senator Hoeven said. “Our legislation would enable state and tribal governments to better manage and prevent outbreaks of this deadly disease, while advancing new methods to detect CWD and limit its spread.”

Senator Hoeven proposed the Chronic Wasting Disease Research and Management Act of 2022, S. 4111, with eight original cosponsors, including Senator Daines and U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) to authorize the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to administer funds allocated through cooperative agreements with state and tribal wildlife agencies and departments of agriculture, according to a summary of the bill provided by the senator’s staff. Hoven.

“By threatening Montana’s wildlife and ecosystems, chronic wasting disease also threatens the legacy of our sportsmen and our outdoor way of life,” said Sen. Daines. “My bipartisan bill will support Montana’s ongoing efforts to research, manage and contain the spread of chronic wasting disease among wildlife populations.”

If enacted, S. 4111 also includes authorization for the USDA and state and tribal agencies to develop educational materials to inform the public about chronic wasting disease and would direct the USDA to review its certification program. herds within 18 months, among several other provisions, according to the summary. .

The measure is supported by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, National Wildlife Federation, Boone & Crockett, National Deer Association, North American Deer Farmers Association , the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Mule Deer Foundation.

Colstrip case shows results of botched law | Editorial

May 1, 2022

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A group of high school students visited the Russell Smith federal courthouse last week and likely came away better educated than many state lawmakers.

Although they were unable to participate in the Portland General Electric Co. et.al. against NorthWestern Corp. et al. cases, their presence indicates that they were studying the basics of American civics. Judging by Federal Magistrate Kathleen DeSoto’s questions from the bench last Tuesday, some separation of powers lessons need corrective coverage at the state Capitol.

The case involved two bills by Sen. Steve Fitzpatrick, R-Great Falls, that passed last year. SB 265 would rewrite a 40-year-old contract so NorthWestern could have home court advantage in arbitration disputes with its co-owners of two aging coal-fired power plants at Colstrip. These co-owners wondered what right the Legislature had to rewrite an agreement that NorthWestern signed with eyes wide open when coal was king in Montana.

Now that the voters and taxpayers of these Washington and Oregon co-owners have legally decided to end investments in future coal burning, they have exercised their right to terminate the agreement through arbitration, as specified in the contract.

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This would effectively close the plant, unless NorthWestern and current operator Talen Energy find other investors. This is not likely, as Talen is already seeking loans to fund its bankruptcy proceedings. Nationally, about half of the coal-fired electric fleet has retired. In 2022 alone, operators will shut down about 15 gigawatts of coal-fired power due to age and growing incompetitiveness with the production of natural gas or renewable energy.

SB 265 moved the arbitration site from Spokane to Helena, changed Washington law to Montana law, and changed a sole arbitrator with demonstrated expertise to a three-person panel with no specified background.

The lead attorney for the Northwest Side argued that legislatures make such decisions about where and what the rules are all the time. DeSoto pointed out that the new rule was very different from what everyone had initially agreed. If that was OK, she asked, could the Legislative Assembly simply pass a law prohibiting the closure of Colstrip? Why not force a private company to ignore its own contract, its own local laws and its own self-interest with the stroke of a governor’s pen?

We would all like to avoid business gone bad. In this time of catastrophic climate change, there are many agreements committing us to burning fossil fuels that we need to find ways to break. But when we taxpayers, ratepayers and voters, in fact have an agreement that allows for such an improvement – ​​signed by all owners in good faith – then the rule of law should not be subject to a rule change.

Which made the SB 266 debate even more incredible. This bill gave the Attorney General of Montana the power to impose daily fines of $100,000 on any co-owner of Colstrip who refused to pay its operating expenses without the consent of all owners. This was not in the original deal, which only required a majority decision from the owners (those currently suing NorthWestern).

DeSoto called the SB 266 “incredibly broad status”. Its wording appeared to make even the defense against payment “an unfair or deceptive practice in the conduct of business” subject to fines of $100,000. Several attorneys in the audience dropped their jaws when North West’s lead attorney replied that it was the court’s prerogative to clarify the law. For example, a judge might declare that “conduct” does not include “recommendation”. DeSoto called it “rewriting the statute”.

In other circles, it is also called “judicial activism” or “lawmaking from the bench”. Some in these circles have demanded big changes in the way judges are selected and the courts conduct their internal affairs to better reflect the will of the legislative or administrative branches of government. In the course of civic education, it is the chapter on the separation of powers.

Too bad the high school students couldn’t watch all of this in real time last week. They wouldn’t have found a seat – all the pews were full. But the only elected official in the room was the mayor of Colstrip, who was there as a ‘friend of the court’ arguing for letting NorthWestern break a deal it was not a party to, to force private companies to bail a near-bankrupt industry for its local benefit. DeSoto said that sounded like “the definition of economic protectionism.”

Those who insist on the rule of law and judicial independence should consult the transcript for some guidance on the consequences of botched legislation.

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Meet Bill Spadea in New Jersey — May 2022

April 29, 2022

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As you know, following the successful launch of my group common sense clubI decided to hit the road and meet as many New Jersey families, workers, business owners, and first responders as possible.

(Photo: Marla Snyder Rudich via Facebook)

(Photo: Marla Snyder Rudich via Facebook)

Fresh off of an energetic and jam-packed inaugural event”A seat at the table“, which we co-hosted with several New Jersey bands and the National”Conservative Political Action Conference“, we are looking at a full schedule of public events in May.

Hope to see you on the trail as we fight to restore freedom and prosperity to the Garden State!

Speech on Westfield NJ PBA / Golf Outing

Echo Country Club in Westfield, NJ

Monday, May 2; 6 p.m.

For more information, email [email protected]


First Responder Appreciation Event

Chesapeake Tavern in Long Valley, NJ

Monday, May 2; 7 p.m.

For more information, email [email protected]


Meet and Greet Morris County with Curator Tom Mastrangelo

Park Savoy Estate in Florham Park, NJ

Wednesday May 4; 6 p.m.

For more information, email [email protected]


Speech by Montclair and Meet & Greet

Greek Tavern in Montclair, NJ

Thursday, May 5; 7 p.m.

For more information, email [email protected]


Bergen County Speech and Meeting

Bergen GOP Headquarters in Hackensack, NJ

Monday, May 9; 7 p.m.

For more information, email [email protected]


Morristown Parental Rights Town Hall

Morristown, New Jersey

Saturday May 14; 11 a.m.

Email [email protected] for address and details.


Forum on parental rights and Meet & Greet

Flemington, New Jersey

Saturday May 14; 1 p.m.

Email [email protected]


Rally and speech on parental rights

Cypress Tavern in Kinnelon, NJ

Tuesday May 17; 6:30 p.m.

Email [email protected]


Somerset Couty 200 club speech

The Palace in Somerset, NJ

Wednesday May 18; 12 p.m.

For more information, click HERE.


Franklin Township Speech and Meeting

Monday, May 23; 7 p.m.

Email [email protected] for location and details


Atlantic City Speech and Meet

Tuesday, May 24; 7 p.m.

Email [email protected] for location and details

The above post reflects the thoughts and observations of Bill Spadea, host of New Jersey talk show 101.5. All opinions expressed are those of Bill. Bill Spadea is on the air weekdays from 6-10 a.m., speaking from Jersey, taking your calls at 1-800-283-1015.

WATCH: States with the most new small businesses per capita

NJ Beach Tag Guide for Summer 2022

We are coming another summer to the Jersey Shore! Before you lose yourself in the excitement of sunny days on the sand, we calculate how much seasonal/weekly/daily beach beacons will cost you, and pre-season deals you can still take advantage of!

Stocks fall on Wall Street, extending market losses | national news

April 25, 2022

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NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks fell broadly in morning trading on Wall Street on Monday, as worries about rising inflation and interest rate hikes weighed on investors and prolonged market losses.

The S&P 500 fell 1.2% at 10:19 a.m. EST, and more than 90% of stocks in the index lost ground. The drop follows a weak end last weekend that sent the benchmark index sinking for a third straight week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 371 points, or 1.1%, to 33,440 and the Nasdaq fell 0.6%.

US stocks are trailing global markets lower, particularly in China, on concerns that strict containment measures it could crimp the world’s second largest economy and potentially harm global economic growth. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 3.7%. The Shanghai Composite fell 5.1%.

China’s capital, Beijing, began mass testing of more than 3 million people on Monday and restricted residents of part of the city to their compounds, raising concerns about a broader lockdown similar to Shanghai. This city has been closed for more than two weeks and this has already prompted the International Monetary Fund to revise downwards its growth forecasts for the Chinese economy.

Prices for ultra-safe US government bonds rose as traders feared the risk. The 10-year Treasury yield, which affects rates on mortgages and other consumer loans, fell significantly to 2.78% from 2.90% on Friday evening.

Energy companies were among the biggest losers as US crude oil prices fell 5.6%. Exxon Mobil fell 5.2%.

Banks and technology stocks also fell sharply. Bank of America fell 3.2% and Apple 1.6%.

Twitter rose 3.4% and was one of the few bright spots in the market. The social media company and Tesla CEO Elon Musk is reportedly negotiating a takeover offer.

Rising inflation remains a major concern for investors. Investors continue to focus on actions taken by central banks to mitigate the impact on businesses and consumers. The Federal Reserve Chairman indicated that the central bank may raise short-term interest rates to double the usual amount at upcoming meetings, starting next week. The Fed has already raised its overnight rate once, the first such hike since 2018.

Investors have a heavy week of corporate earnings ahead. Reactions to the latest round of corporate report cards were mixed, and several disappointing earnings reports last week rattled what was the market’s main pillar of support.

Beverage giant Coca-Cola was virtually unchanged on Monday after reporting strong financial results. Parent company Google, Alphabet and General Motors will release their results on Tuesday, along with Microsoft and Visa. Boeing, Ford and Facebook parent Meta are on deck to report results on Wednesday.

Thursday is a particularly busy day and will include reports from industrial giant Caterpillar, McDonald’s, Amazon and Apple, among others.

Wall Street will also receive key economic data this week. The Conference Board will release its consumer confidence measure for April on Tuesday. The Commerce Department will release its first-quarter gross domestic product report on Thursday.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

USDA invests nearly $800 million in climate-smart infrastructure for Earth Day

April 22, 2022

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In honor of Earth Day 2022, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing nearly $800 million in climate-smart infrastructure (PDF, 587 KB) in 40 states, Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands. These investments will strengthen the health and livelihoods of people in rural America. They include the financing of 165 projects aimed at increasing access to drinking water and/or clean energy for people living in disadvantaged communities.

The announcement is part of the Biden-Harris administration Build a Better America Rural Infrastructure Tour, in which Biden administration officials travel to dozens of rural communities to talk about the impact of investments in the bipartisan infrastructure law, as well as President Biden’s broader commitment to ensuring that federal resources reach every community in rural America. This announcement also advances the President’s Justice40 initiative, which commits to providing at least 40% of the benefits of federal climate and clean energy investments to underprivileged communities.

Secretary Thomas J. Vilsack. USDA photo by Tom Witham

“People in rural America are experiencing the impacts of climate change in many ways. This includes more severe droughts, more frequent wildfires, and more destructive and potentially deadly storms,” Vilsack said. “When we invest in rural community infrastructure, we invest in our planet, and we also invest in peace of mind for families when children drink clean, safe tap water in their homes. The USDA is proud to celebrate the Day Earth and the many ways we are fighting climate change and investing in local solutions to bring clean water and renewable energy to people in rural areas around the world.

USDA Rural Development is taking several steps to mitigate the impacts of climate change in rural communities.

Advancing Equity in Rural Communities

USDA Rural Development is prioritize projects that advance the Biden-Harris administration’s top priorities of investing in rural communities to ensure people have equitable access to critical resources and address the climate crisis. Investments in these communities will impact generations to come.

For example, 165 projects announced today will help advance equity in rural communities, especially those that have been socially vulnerable, distressed and underserved for far too long.

Clean energy infrastructure and energy efficiency improvements

The USDA is investing $787 million in renewable energy infrastructure in 36 states to help agricultural producers, rural small business owners and residents reduce energy costs and make energy efficiency improvements. The Department makes investments under the Electric Loan Program and the Rural Energy Program for America (REAP).

Through REAP, the Department is helping 157 rural businesses and agricultural producers gain access to clean energy, while reducing their carbon footprint to make their business operations more profitable.

For example, in South Carolina, Limelight Solar I LLC will use a $2.1 million REAP loan to purchase and install a 2.5 megawatt solar system. The system is expected to produce 3.9 million kilowatt hours per year, enough electricity to power 362 homes in the city of Spartanburg.

Electric program funding includes nearly $67 million for smart grid technologies that improve system operations and monitor grid security.

For example, in Pennsylvania, REA Energy Cooperative Inc. will use a $16 million power program loan to connect 635 customers and build and upgrade 186 miles of power lines. This loan includes $6.5 million in smart grid technologies, including 35 miles of aerial fiber.

Infrastructure improvements for communities affected by extreme weather conditions

USDA is investing $12 million to help rural communities affected by severe weather. The funds will benefit people living in 17 states, the Northern Mariana Islands and Puerto Rico. The Department makes investments under the Community Facility Disaster Grants program and the Disaster Loan and Grant Program for Water and Waste Disposal.

The funds will help communities build back better by mitigating health risks and improving access to safe and reliable drinking water and sanitary waste disposal services. The funds will also purchase emergency response equipment to help communities be better prepared and more resilient to disasters.

For example, in Puerto Rico, Acueducto Rural Comunidades Especiales Bayamocito Inc. will use a $30,000 disaster water and waste disposal grant to purchase a new 20 kilowatt generator with an automatic transfer switch. This grant will help ensure residents of Aguas Buenas, a community hit by Hurricane Maria in 2017, have access to safe and reliable drinking water in the event of a future natural disaster.

The City of Graceville, Minnesota will use an $11,000 Community Disaster Facility Grant to purchase and install an emergency storm siren. The siren will alert residents of the community to a risk of severe weather.

The USDA is announcing awards today under multiple programs in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi and Montana. , North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia , Wyoming, Northern Mariana Islands and Puerto Rico.

Background: Building a Better America Rural Infrastructure Tour

Under the leadership of the Biden-Harris administration, the USDA and its federal partners in the Infrastructure Implementation Working Group work with rural communities to deliver on their promise to support rural America.

The Building a Better America Rural Infrastructure Tour is a multi-faceted outreach effort involving cabinet and sub-cabinet representatives from federal agencies as they travel and learn from key rural communities. These tours will highlight new federal funding and investments already underway through the bipartisan Infrastructure Act, a once-in-a-generation investment that will support rural communities and their infrastructure needs.

The USDA touches the lives of all Americans every day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris administration, the USDA is transforming the US food system with greater emphasis on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe food, healthy and nutritious in all communities, creating new markets and income streams for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in clean energy infrastructure and capacity in the rural America, and committing to equity across the department by removing systemic barriers and creating a workforce that is more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.

Under the Biden-Harris administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunity, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This aid supports the improvement of infrastructure; Business development; lodging; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed Internet access in rural, tribal and very poor areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.

Climate-smart infrastructure

Eagle Bancorp Montana (EBMT) – Financial Analyst Ratings Weekly Updates

April 22, 2022

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Eagle Bancorp Montana (NASDAQ: EBMT) recently received a number of rating updates from brokerages and research firms:

  • 04/19/2022 – Eagle Bancorp Montana is now covered by analysts at StockNews.com. They have placed a “holding” rating on the stock.
  • 04/12/2022 – Eagle Bancorp Montana has been updated by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating. They now have a price target of $24.00 on the stock. According to Zacks, “Eagle Bancorp operates as a holding company for the American Federal Savings Bank which provides retail banking services in south central Montana. The company offers a variety of deposit and loan products and services. The Bank is a federally chartered savings bank, engaged in typical banking activities: acquiring deposits in local markets and investing in loans and securities.Eagle Bancorp also offers real estate loans for construction; consumer loans including auto loans, RV loans, boat loans, personal loans and lines of credit, and custodial account loans; and business loans. Headquartered in Helena, Montana, the company’s mission is to effectively increasing value for its customers, shareholders, employees and communities.”
  • 04/11/2022 – Eagle Bancorp Montana is now covered by analysts at StockNews.com. They have placed a “holding” rating on the stock.
  • 03/04/2022 – Eagle Bancorp Montana is now covered by analysts at StockNews.com. They have placed a “holding” rating on the stock.
  • 03/31/2022 – Eagle Bancorp Montana has been upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating. According to Zacks, “Eagle Bancorp operates as a holding company for the American Federal Savings Bank which provides retail banking services in south central Montana. The company offers a variety of deposit and loan products and services. The Bank is a federally chartered savings bank, engaged in typical banking activities: acquiring deposits in local markets and investing in loans and securities.Eagle Bancorp also offers real estate loans for construction; consumer loans including auto loans, RV loans, boat loans, personal loans and lines of credit, and custodial account loans; and business loans. Headquartered in Helena, Montana, the company’s mission is to effectively increasing value for its customers, shareholders, employees and communities.”
  • 03/26/2022 – Eagle Bancorp Montana is now covered by analysts at StockNews.com. They have placed a “holding” rating on the stock.
  • 03/18/2022 – Eagle Bancorp Montana is now covered by analysts at StockNews.com. They have placed a “holding” rating on the stock.
  • 3/10/2022 – Eagle Bancorp Montana is now covered by analysts at StockNews.com. They have placed a “holding” rating on the stock.
  • 03/02/2022 – Eagle Bancorp Montana is now covered by analysts at StockNews.com. They have placed a “holding” rating on the stock.
  • 02/22/2022 – Eagle Bancorp Montana is now covered by analysts at StockNews.com. They have placed a “holding” rating on the stock.

Shares of Eagle Bancorp Montana Stock opened at $21.96 on Friday. The company has a market capitalization of $147.02 million, a PE ratio of 10.17 and a beta of 0.66. Eagle Bancorp Montana, Inc. has a 12-month low of $21.50 and a 12-month high of $25.56. The company has a quick ratio of 0.79, a current ratio of 0.82 and a debt ratio of 0.22. The company’s fifty-day simple moving average is $22.16 and its two-hundred-day simple moving average is $22.52.

Eagle Bancorp Montana (NASDAQ: EBMTGet a rating) last announced its quarterly results on Tuesday, January 25. The bank reported earnings per share (EPS) of $0.26 for the quarter, missing analyst consensus estimates of $0.56 per ($0.30). The company had revenue of $21.76 million in the quarter, versus a consensus estimate of $24.00 million. Eagle Bancorp Montana had a return on equity of 9.28% and a net margin of 14.79%. As a group, sell-side analysts expect Eagle Bancorp Montana, Inc. to post earnings per share of 2.57 for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, March 4. Shareholders of record on Friday, February 11 received a dividend of $0.125 per share. This represents a dividend of $0.50 on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.28%. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, February 10. Eagle Bancorp Montana’s payout ratio is 23.15%.

In related news, the director Kenneth M. Walsh sold 10,000 shares of Eagle Bancorp Montana in a trade dated Tuesday, February 1. The shares were sold at an average price of $22.40, for a total transaction of $224,000.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available via the SEC website. Insiders of the company own 7.40% of the shares of the company.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently changed their positions in the stock. BlackRock Inc. increased its holdings of Eagle Bancorp Montana shares 1.6% in the fourth quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 62,194 shares of the bank worth $1,429,000 after buying an additional 1,009 shares last quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN increased its stake in Eagle Bancorp Montana by 35.6% during the fourth quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 5,996 shares of the bank valued at $138,000 after buying 1,575 additional shares last quarter. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company increased its stake in Eagle Bancorp Montana by 1.4% during the fourth quarter. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company now owns 378,780 shares of the bank valued at $8,704,000 after purchasing an additional 5,281 shares last quarter. Stifel Financial Corp increased its stake in Eagle Bancorp Montana by 11.3% during the fourth quarter. Stifel Financial Corp now owns 75,000 shares of the bank valued at $1,724,000 after buying an additional 7,639 shares last quarter. Finally, Advisor Group Holdings Inc. increased its stake in Eagle Bancorp Montana by 274.2% during the fourth quarter. Advisor Group Holdings Inc. now owns 5,639 shares of the bank valued at $129,000 after buying an additional 4,132 shares last quarter. Institutional investors hold 41.33% of the company’s shares.

Eagle Bancorp Montana, Inc operates as a bank holding company for Opportunity Bank of Montana, which provides various retail banking products and services to small businesses and individuals in Montana. It accepts various deposit products, such as individual checking, savings, money market and retirement accounts, as well as certificates of deposit accounts.

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NJ cops won’t be banned from smoking weed

April 20, 2022

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New Jersey police officers are unlikely to be banned from using recreational cannabis as legal sales begin this week in the Garden State.

New Jersey State Senate President Nick Scutari (D-Union) said regulating people’s behavior while free was a “very dangerous slippery slope” and that it was “not unwilling to come down”. Scutari made his comments at an event held at Rowan University.

This effectively kills any attempt to prevent law enforcement from enjoying cannabis recreationally when off duty.

Governor Phil Murphy said he was “open-minded” talk about such a ban. Murphy said if there were “reasonable steps” to ban cannabis use by police and all first responders, he would “absolutely” consider it.

MP Beth Sawyer (R-Gloucester) has previously proposed such a ban, saying law enforcement must be held to a higher standard.

Our men and women in law enforcement have a responsibility to make life-changing decisions every day, for themselves, their partners, for the public,” Sawyer said, “I want to be sure they are at their best when they do. ”

Democratic Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen) has also proposed a “zero tolerance” policy for the use of marijuana for law enforcement.

Without Scutari’s support, however, no ban would ever make it to Murphy’s office to be enacted.

Before Murphy made his comments, Attorney General Matthew Platkin had already sent a memo to police departments across the state.

The memo stated that departments “cannot take any adverse action against an officer because he or she does or does not use cannabis while off duty.” This includes whether officers test positive for weed use on drug screens.

However, this does not mean that they can come to work under the influence of any substance.

Murphy made that clear when he spoke at an event on Monday, saying anyone who shows up for work while impaired “will be treated aggressively.”

Eric Scott is the senior policy director and anchor of New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]

Click here to contact an editor about a comment or correction for this story.

WATCH: States with the most new small businesses per capita

New Jersey Nets 2002-2003: The last time the NBA Finals went through NJ

In 2012, the Nets made their debut in Brooklyn, but before that, New Jersey had been the home of the Nets since 1977.

The franchise was born in 1967, under the name of New Jersey Americans. They played their games at Teaneck as part of the American Basketball Association. A year later they moved to Long Island, becoming the New York Nets.

It was there that the team won two ABA championships in 1973-74 and 1975-76. The following year, the Nets, along with three other basketball franchises, were absorbed into the NBA in a merger agreement, abolishing the ABA.

When the Nets first moved to New Jersey, they played their home games at Rutgers Athletic Center in Piscataway. Then, in 1981, they moved into the house many of us remember most, the Brendan Byrne Arena in the Meadowlands in East Rutherford (later named Continental Airlines Arena, then Izod center).

After years of losing, the Nets reached back-to-back NBA Finals in 2001-02 and 2002-03. In 2002-03, the last time they sniffed the championship, the team lost to the San Antonio Spurs.

It would be the last time the Nets would sniff out the title, but their efforts added them to New Jersey lore forever.

New Jersey’s New Legislative Districts for the 2020s

The boundaries of the 40 legislative districts for the Senate and Assembly elections from 2023 to 2029, and possibly 2031, were approved in a bipartisan Allocation Commission vote on February 18, 2022. The map continues to favor the Democrats, although Republicans say it gives them a chance of winning a majority.

Opportun Financial (NASDAQ:OPRT) Stock Rating Reaffirmed by BTIG Research

April 16, 2022

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Opportunity Financial (NASDAQ: OPRTGet a rating)‘s stock had its “buy” rating restated by research analysts BTIG Research in a report on Thursday, TipRanks reports. They currently have a target price of $27.00 on the stock. BTIG Research’s target price indicates a potential upside of 100.00% from the company’s current price.

Several other equity research analysts have also recently weighed in on the stock. Loop Capital launched a hedge on the shares of Oportun Financial in a research report on Monday, March 14. They set a “buy” rating and a price target of $24.00 for the company. JPMorgan Chase & Co. upgraded shares of Oportun Financial from a ‘neutral’ rating to an ‘overweight’ rating and cut its price target for the company from $27.00 to $23.00 in a report research on Wednesday, January 19. Barclays cut its price target on Oportun Financial shares from $28.00 to $27.00 and set an “overweight” rating for the company in a research report on Monday January 10. To finish, Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Oportun Financial from a “buy” rating to a “sell” rating in a Wednesday, March 2, report. One financial analyst gave the stock a sell rating and five gave the stock a buy rating. According to data from MarketBeat.com, Oportun Financial has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $25.50.

Shares of NASDAQ OPRT opened at $13.50 on Thursday. Oportun Financial has a fifty-two week low of $12.65 and a fifty-two week high of $27.95. The company has a 50-day simple moving average of $14.90 and a two-hundred-day simple moving average of $19.60. The company has a market cap of $432.27 million, a price-earnings ratio of 8.71, and a beta of 1.28.

Opportunity Financial (NASDAQ: OPRTGet a rating) last announced its quarterly results on Thursday, February 24. The company reported earnings per share of $0.82 for the quarter, beating Thomson Reuters consensus estimate of $0.72 by $0.10. The company posted revenue of $194.10 million in the quarter, versus a consensus estimate of $184.52 million. Oportun Financial had a net margin of 7.56% and a return on equity of 12.00%. The company’s quarterly revenue increased by 37.9% compared to the same quarter last year. In the same quarter last year, the company earned $0.42 per share. As a group, research analysts expect Oportun Financial to post 1.54 earnings per share for the current year.

Separately, director Louis Miramontes sold 5,357 shares of Oportun Financial in a trade on Monday, March 14. The shares were sold at an average price of $13.76, for a total transaction of $73,712.32. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, accessible via this link. Insiders of the company hold 12.60% of the shares of the company.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently increased or reduced their stake in the stock. Kayne Anderson Rudnick Investment Management LLC increased its stake in shares of Oportun Financial by 0.5% during the third quarter. Kayne Anderson Rudnick Investment Management LLC now owns 3,343,835 shares of the company valued at $83,696,000 after purchasing an additional 17,173 shares last quarter. BlackRock Inc. increased its stake in Oportun Financial by 1.6% in the third quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 2,736,185 shares of the company valued at $68,486,000 after acquiring 42,644 additional shares in the last quarter. Wellington Management Group LLP increased its stake in Oportun Financial by 37.9% in the third quarter. Wellington Management Group LLP now owns 2,225,454 shares of the company valued at $55,703,000 after acquiring an additional 611,601 shares in the last quarter. Ashford Capital Management Inc. increased its stake in Oportun Financial by 16.8% in the fourth quarter. Ashford Capital Management Inc. now owns 1,693,764 shares of the company valued at $34,299,000 after acquiring an additional 243,874 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Ribbit Capital GP III Ltd. acquired a new stake in Oportun Financial in Q4 worth $11,283,000. Institutional investors hold 74.52% of the company’s shares.

Oportun Financial Company Profile (Get a rating)

Oportun Financial Corporation provides financial services. It offers personal loans, car loans and credit cards. The company serves its customers online and by telephone, as well as through point of sale. It operates in 24 states in the United States, including Arkansas, Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, New Hampshire, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota and Virginia.

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At the Weasku Inn, stay in the same room that was Clark Gable’s rural getaway

April 15, 2022

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Not much has changed at almost 100 years Weasku Inn since the place was a favorite fishing retreat for Hollywood frontman Clark Gable.

Guests at the 1924-built log cabin and Grants Pass resort can play cards by the stone fireplace or borrow a fishing pole and try their luck along the banks of the Rogue River.

According to a history book published by the lodge, the inn was founded by Sarah and Albert Smith. Sarah was a rare college-educated woman who served as president of a bank in South Dakota in 1917. After her first husband died, she opened a boarding house in Montana, where she fell in love with the one of his boarders. She and Albert E. Smith married in 1922.

The Smiths, seeking to escape Montana’s harsh winters, found a business opportunity near Grants Pass, a southern Oregon town that boasts the motto “It’s the Climate.”

The couple purchased 10 acres along the Rogue River in 1923 with plans to set up accommodation for the fishing crowd. Albert built six rental cabins by hand and they opened the main lodge the following year.

Sarah’s daughter, Faith, allegedly coined the name We-Ask-U-Inn. Over the years the hyphens have been dropped from the name, but an old wooden sign above the entrance hall still bears the original spelling.

“It’s a pun,” said Erik Johnson, the inn’s current owner. “When people walk in and see this sign behind reception, you see this look, like, ‘Oh, now I get it.'”

The Smiths sold the inn in 1927 and the Gibson family ran it for three decades. This was during the Inn’s heyday, when it was a popular rural getaway along US Route 99 for the rich and famous. The Weasku Inn was located just below a dam, making it an ideal fishing spot for salmon and rainbow trout.

Notable guests included Walt Disney, Bing Crosby, President Herbert Hoover and author Zane Gray. Clark Gable, whose framed photos can be found throughout the lodge today, was a frequent visitor and fisherman.

After his wife, Carole Lombard, was killed in a plane crash in 1942, Gable allegedly locked himself in his usual room, No. 4, and did not come out for three weeks.

In the late 1960s, US Route 99 was replaced by Interstate 5, which diverted travelers from the Weasku Inn and across the Rogue River. Business slowed somewhat and the inn went through a series of owners until it closed in the 1980s.

Carl Johnson, a hotelier with boutique properties in California and Oregon, bought the site in 1993, restored the lodge to its 1930s style, and reopened it in 1996. The property’s original cabins had been demolished, but Johnson built a new cabin. suites with exposed beams and stone fireplaces. A refurbished 1950s A-frame cabin remains available for hire today.

Five years ago, Erik Johnson bought the inn from his father, but he runs it with the same vintage charm. Guests can expect fire pit parties with free supplies. The staff bakes fresh, warm cookies every evening.

The dam that made Weasku Inn such a popular stop for anglers was removed in 2009 to help improve salmon migration routes. The Inn still lends fishing rods to guests, and many travelers come to enjoy other fishing spots along the Rogue River.

“Depending on the time of year, we’ve still had successful guests right outside the hotel,” Johnson said.

At night, the Weasku Inn can be spotted by the glow of its vintage neon sign depicting a leaping trout.

The inn doesn’t have a full restaurant, but the kitchen serves a free hot breakfast and evening hors d’oeuvres that could make up a full meal. Local Southern Oregon beers and wines are available for purchase.

The lodge’s great room features a poker table, five-foot river stone fireplace, and period memorabilia along its log-lined walls. Today, the inn’s main clientele isn’t anglers or celebrities seeking respite, but travelers wanting a taste of old roadside America.

If you are going to: The Weasku Inn is located at 5560 Rogue River Hwy. in Grants Pass. For more information on cabins, lodge rooms or event rentals, visit weasku.com.

— Samantha Swindler, [email protected], @editorswindler

Progress Made Under Biden – Flathead Beacon

April 13, 2022

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In response to Republican talking points about partisanship and the Biden administration’s lack of accomplishments, I wrote earlier about progress on jobs and kids…but that’s just one part of the table. Another achievement was the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Under numerous administrations, Republican and Democrat, Congress has been unable to pass a critical infrastructure bill, leaving us with lead in our water systems, dangerous bridges and an internet system that lags far behind that of many other countries. In fact, our infrastructure system earned a C-score from the American Society of Civil Engineers earlier this year.

Finally, thanks to a growing sense of compromise and a President who has worked very hard on this issue, we are on the road to recovery. What does this mean for Montana?

For Montana residents, that means about $2.82 billion for roads and bridges; $144 million in community airports; $15 million to study Amtrak rail expansion; funds to finance safer drinking water in rural areas, including up to $100 million for the Milk River project; $2.5 billion for carbon capture demonstration projects; $937 million for a large-scale carbon capture pilot project; $2.7 billion in loans to create carbon transport infrastructure; $2.5 billion to complete all authorized settlements of Indian water rights; $31 million for community colleges in Montana; $34 million for tribal colleges.

In addition to doing the necessary work, it is money that flows into our economy. It means jobs and prosperity for the people of Montana. It means an investment in our future.

Gail Trenfield
Saint Ignatius

Sri Lankans occupy the entrance to the President’s office for the 2nd day | United States government and politics

April 10, 2022

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By KRISHAN FRANCIS – Associated Press

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lankan protesters occupied the entrance to the president’s office for a second day on Sunday, demanding the resignation of Gotabaya Rajapaksa following the debt-ridden country’s worst economic crisis in memory.

Hundreds of protesters weathered heavy rain with raincoats and umbrellas and chanted anti-government slogans. Some have called for the entire parliament to be dissolved to make way for a younger leadership.

“We will stay, we won’t leave until we chase them away,” Sanjeewa Pushpakumara, a 32-year-old ex-soldier, said of Rajapaksa, his influential family and all lawmakers.

Pushpakumara said he fought in the later stages of Sri Lanka’s civil war with ethnic Tamil rebels, which government soldiers defeated in 2009 after 2 1/2 decades. Rajapaksa, who was a powerful defense bureaucrat, and his older brother Mahinda, who was then president and is currently prime minister, were credited with the victory.

“We will send them home, collect people’s money and send them to jail,” Pushpakumara said. “These people are destroying the country we saved and it’s sad to see the army and the police protecting them.”

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Supporters distributed food, water and raincoats to protesters.

The Indian Ocean island nation is on the brink of bankruptcy, struggling with $25 billion in external debt – nearly $7 billion of which is due this year alone – and dwindling foreign exchange reserves. Talks with the International Monetary Fund are expected later this month, and the government has turned to China and India for emergency loans to buy food and fuel.

For months, Sri Lankans have lined up to buy fuel, cooking gas, food and medicine, most of which comes from abroad and is paid for in hard currency. The fuel shortage caused rolling power cuts lasting several hours a day.

Much of the anger expressed by weeks of mounting protests has been directed at the Rajapaksa family, which has been in power for most of the past two decades.

Critics accuse the Rajapaksa brothers of borrowing heavily to finance unprofitable projects, such as a port facility built with Chinese loans.

SD Prageeth Madush, a 36-year-old businessman, spent the night at the protest site.

“When the people ask you to leave, you should go democratically,” Madush said. “Everyone can see that the people don’t like him (the president) anymore, but he doesn’t like letting go of power.”

” I will stay. We have to face difficulties if we want to provide a better future for our children,” he said.

The crisis and the protests triggered the Cabinet’s resignation last Sunday. Four ministers have been sworn in as guardians, but most key portfolios are vacant.

Rajapaksa proposed the creation of a unity government but the main opposition party rejected the idea. Parliament failed to reach a consensus on how to handle the crisis after nearly 40 ruling coalition lawmakers said they would no longer vote under the coalition’s instructions, significantly weakening the government.

With the opposition parties divided, they too were unable to show their majority and take control of parliament.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Editorial Roundup: Selected Views Across the Country | Editorial

April 9, 2022

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Compiled by the Roanoke Times

face war crime charges

The images and verified testimonies of the atrocities committed in Ukraine should mark the point of no return in relations with a Russia led by Vladimir Putin. As long as the bloody-handed dictator controls this nation, the United States must keep its back to Moscow.

President Joe Biden is right. Putin is a war criminal who must be prosecuted for the crimes committed against the Ukrainian people.

Over the weekend, Russian troops withdrew from the outskirts of kyiv, leaving behind streets littered with the bodies of civilians.

Many appeared to have been shot while walking or cycling in Bucha, the town believed to have suffered the most casualties. Some of the dead were found with their hands tied behind their backs, shot execution style.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited the area and reported finding “bodies in barrels, basements, strangled, tortured.”

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Other accounts say that girls and women were raped and killed, their bodies burned. At least 410 civilians were murdered, with independent journalists covering the war confirming many killings.

Intentionally killing unarmed civilians is a violation of international law. Biden calls for Putin to be charged with war crimes at the International Criminal Court. The indictment is also expected to extend to his sycophant sidekick Alexander Lukashenko, the Belarusian president who contributes troops and equipment to Russia’s war effort.

Officers and soldiers who commit atrocities must be fully aware that they too will be held accountable for their actions.

Russia carried out a merciless air attack on Ukrainian cities, resulting in the deaths of thousands of civilians. It also prevented the evacuation of the bomb-ravaged port of Mariupol and prevented international aid from reaching the trapped citizens.

Putin may have thought he could overthrow Ukraine, like he did in Georgia and Crimea, and go back to sitting at the table of civilized nations as if nothing had happened.

This cannot be allowed. Russia and Belarus should be avoided altogether until Putin and Lukashenko are no longer in charge.

The United States and its European allies should also think longer term about a return to what must essentially be a Cold War relationship with Russia. It means learning to live without the oil, grain and other resources that Russia exports. The free world has become far too dependent on Russia and other oppressive regimes. The United States must never be in a position where its economic interests deter it from opposing brutality.

Congress should get up to speed on the weedEighteen states across the physical and political map, including California, Arizona, Virginia, Michigan, Montana, Illinois, Oregon, Nevada, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York, now allow the recreational use of cannabis, choosing to regulate and collect taxes from adult use of the substance rather than continuing to treat it as a problem to be contained by the cops, courts, jails and jails . Thirty-seven states have made medical marijuana legal.

Yet the federal government still lists the weed as a Schedule I narcotic “with no currently accepted medical use and high potential for abuse,” ranking it among America’s most dangerous substances. Anyone not under the influence can see that there is something very, very wrong with this photo.

Fortunately, on April 1, the United States House did something about the biggest current disconnect in American politics, passing a bill to remove marijuana from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s naughty list. ; let some pot convictions be expunged; and urge review of sentences for weed-related crimes — while making small businesses that sell weed eligible for federal loans and services.

Due to the federal ban, many financial institutions will not touch cannabis customers with a 10 foot pole. Marijuana also cannot travel efficiently across state lines like almost any other product.

Although it enjoys some Republican support, the MORE Act is considered a dead letter in the Senate. Democrats and Republicans in Congress, battling a 20% approval rating, shouldn’t be afraid to do what 68% of Americans, including 50% of Republicans and 71% of independents, say they want. Legalize it.

—New York Daily News Change of the board of directors of Montpellier made in bad faith For most of its two decades overseeing the sprawling Virginia estate of James Madison, America’s fourth president, the Montpelier Foundation had none or only one African-American board member, whose authorized strength is 25 members. This was amazing because Montpelier, in addition to being Madison property, was also home to some 300 slaves over more than a century who lived, worked in servitude, and died there.

It was therefore a major step forward, albeit too late, when the foundation announced that it would share power equally and achieve parity on its board of directors, with the descendants of slaves. These descendants were represented by a committee, recognized by the foundation, which included dozens of eminent African Americans in the academic, business, financial and other fields. Finally, Montpelier, a 2,650-acre historic site and museum northeast of Charlottesville that welcomes tens of thousands of visitors each year, would have leadership reflecting its heritage.

That deal was shredded by the foundation’s white-dominated board of trustees. In an act of exceptional bad faith, the council last month amended its statutes so that it – and not the committee which it had recognized as the legitimate actor representing the descendants of slaves – decides which descendants are acceptable partners. To put it plainly, it is primarily white people who will determine which black people can join the Montpellier ruling clique, and which cannot.

When the Descendants Committee last month submitted a slate of 40 African-American candidates, 10 of whom could take board seats in order to achieve parity with white members, the board refused to even consider the names.

Madison is a pivotal figure in United States history. He played a key role in drafting the Constitution, including the notorious compromise that allowed slavery and granted African Americans less than fully human status by determining that three-fifths of the enslaved population would count in determining the representation in the House of Representatives. It is sad that his domain is once again an example of racial obtuseness.

Use Your Tax Refund to Reduce Debt and Improve Your Finances | national news

April 7, 2022

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So you expect a tax refund this year. With inflation driving up the price of gas, food, and just about everything else, that extra money can’t come soon enough. The hardest part is deciding how to spend it. Should you invest the money? Book a trip?

If you really want to do yourself a favor, use your refund to pay off your debts. Here’s why.

YOU SAVE ON INTEREST

“The cost of debt is very high,” says AnnaMarie Mock, certified financial planner at Highland Financial Advisors in Wayne, New Jersey. “Especially if you’re looking at regular consumer debt, like credit cards, (the interest rate) could be north of 16 percent.”

Issuers charge higher rates, often well over 20%, depending on the type of card or the user’s credit score.

Let’s say you’re trying to pay off $6,000 in credit card debt on a card with a 19% interest rate by paying $200 a month. You will pay $2,204 in total interest when the credit card is paid off. Here’s how using a tax refund could reduce that cost: If you receive a refund of $1,500 and apply the full amount to the balance and then continue to make the same monthly payment, the total interest you pay would drop to $1,107. You would also wipe out the debt a year earlier.

With the Fed funds interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve in March, as well as further hikes expected later this year, debt is becoming even more expensive. Most credit card rates are variable and issuers will likely increase them in response to Fed actions. Pay off some or all of your balance now to avoid overspending on interest.

What if you have multiple debts? Accelerating payments to the account with the highest interest rate first, then moving to the next highest (a strategy known as debt avalanche), is usually the quickest and least expensive way. dear to become debt free. You can use a debt repayment calculator to estimate the impact of different rates and payment strategies on how much you owe.

YOU CAN BUILD YOUR CREDIT SCORE

Your credit utilization, or the percentage of your credit limits that you use, is an important factor in your credit score. Using a tax refund to reduce your balance helps reduce your credit use, which can benefit your score.

“The higher our credit score, the lower the price of living in general,” says Tina Herndon, head of financial education and training at Libra, a nonprofit education and counseling organization. financiers based in Concord, California.

Paying off debt can get you ahead in the long run, she says, opening the door to more affordable loans. “If you can pay 2.9% interest on a $25,000 car instead of 21% interest, it’ll save you hundreds of dollars a month,” Herndon says.

A drastic change in credit won’t happen overnight, and there are other factors that shape your score. But paying off the high-rate debt is an important step in the right direction. And having less debt relative to your income can improve your chances of getting new credit.

IT CAN MOTIVATE YOU

Debt can be “a hurdle that people have to mentally overcome before they can potentially move on to the next phase, to start saving for goals,” Mock says.

Make a list of your financial goals. Maybe you want to buy a house or send your child to college. Eliminating debt can bring you closer to reaching these milestones.

Maybe your goal is simply to be debt free. Even if your repayment isn’t enough to wipe out your debt all at once, seeing your balance drop can create the momentum you need to keep reducing it.

YOU DON’T HAVE TO SACRIFICE PLEASURE

Using your refund to pay off debt doesn’t mean there’s no room for fun shopping. In fact, by reducing debt, you will have more funds available to do what you want. Once you’ve paid your bills, you can take the amount you were spending on payments and put it towards something that brings you joy. Increase your entertainment budget or create a vacation fund, for example.

But if you don’t want to wait, go ahead and treat yourself now. Herndon suggests allocating a certain percentage or dollar amount to a “fun category.” If you receive a $2,000 refund, you can set aside 10%, or $200, for a spa visit or new headphones.

“It’s about moderation and making sure you think about the trade-offs of not investing everything in debt,” Mock says.

———————————————————————————

This article was provided to The Associated Press by personal finance website NerdWallet. Lauren Schwahn is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @lauren—schwahn.

RELATED LINKS:

NerdWallet: How to get out of debt https://bit.ly/nerdwallet-how-to-get-out-of-debt

White House to extend student loan pause through August | News

April 5, 2022

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration plans to freeze federal student loan payments through August 31, extending a moratorium that has allowed millions of Americans to defer payments during the coronavirus pandemic, according to an official. administration familiar with White House decision-making.

Student loan repayments were due to resume on May 1 after being halted since the start of the pandemic. But following calls from Democrats in Congress, the White House plans to give borrowers additional time to prepare for payments.

The action applies to more than 43 million Americans who owe a combined $1.6 trillion in student debt held by the federal government, according to the latest data from the Department of Education. This includes more than 7 million borrowers who have defaulted on their student loans, which means they are at least 270 days late.

Borrowers will not be asked to make payments until August 31 and interest rates are expected to remain at 0% during this time.

The extension was first reported on Tuesday by Bloomberg.

Democrats on the House and Senate education panels recently urged President Joe Biden to extend the moratorium through the end of the year, citing continued economic dislocation.

Senator Patty Murray said more time is needed to help Americans prepare for repayment and to rethink the government’s current system for paying off student debt.

“It’s ruining lives and holding people back,” she said in a statement last month. “Borrowers are grappling with rising costs, struggling to get back on their feet after public health and economic crises, and struggling with a broken student loan system – and all of this is particularly felt by borrowers of color.”

Murray called on the Biden administration to lift all borrowers from default to provide a “fresh start” after the pandemic.

The decision comes amid growing concern that large numbers of Americans would quickly fall behind if payments restart in May.

In March, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis warned that the resumption of loan repayments could place a heavy burden on borrowers who have encountered financial difficulties during the pandemic. He said the impact would be hardest on black families, who are more likely to rely on student loans to pay for their college education.

“Severe delinquency rates for student debt could return from historic lows to previous highs in which 10% or more of debt was in default,” the bank said.

The Trump administration initially gave Americans the option to suspend loan repayments in March 2020, and Congress made it automatic soon after. The hiatus has been extended twice by the Trump administration and twice more under Biden.

Whether Biden will pursue widespread debt forgiveness to reduce the nation’s student debt remains to be seen. Some Democrats in Congress have pressed Biden to use executive action to cancel $50,000 for all student loans, saying it would jump-start the economy and help black Americans who on average face levels of higher student debt.

Last year, Biden asked the Education and Justice Departments to review the legality of widespread debt cancellation, but no decision was announced. Biden has previously said he supports rescinding up to $10,000, but he argued it should be done through congressional action.

———

Binkley reported from Boston.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

House votes to decriminalize marijuana, but Senate’s fate darkens

April 1, 2022

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Marijuana would be decriminalized at the federal level under legislation approved by the House on Friday, as Democrats pushed for allowing states to set their own pot policies.

The bill is unlikely to become law since it is expected to die in the Senate. This would mirror what happened when a similar measure passed by the House removing marijuana from the list of federally controlled substances went nowhere in the Senate two years ago.

Still, Friday’s vote gave lawmakers a chance to air their views on a decriminalization push that appears to have broad support from voters across the country.

The 2020 election showed how widely accepted marijuana has become, with moves to legalize recreational pot-breaking leading to victory in progressive New Jersey, moderate Arizona and conservative Montana and North Dakota. South.

The House approved the bill Friday with a largely partisan vote of 220 to 204. All but two of the voting Democrats backed the measure, while only three Republicans did.

The measure would require federal courts to overturn previous marijuana convictions and hold reconviction hearings for those serving their sentences. It also authorizes a 5% sales tax on marijuana and marijuana products that would be used for grant programs focused on job training, drug treatment and loans to help disadvantaged small businesses grow. start in the marijuana industry.

Democrats said the country’s federal marijuana ban had particularly devastating consequences for minority communities. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., cited statistics showing that black Americans were four times more likely than white Americans to be arrested for possession of marijuana, even if they used it at similar rates.

“These criminal records can haunt people of color and have an indefinite impact on the trajectory of their lives,” Hoyer said. “I regret that there are members of our Congress who apparently think this is not worthy of attention.”

“Make no mistake, yes, this is a racial justice bill,” said Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif.

Republicans who opposed the measure said marijuana is a gateway drug that would lead to greater use of opioids and other dangerous substances. They also said that the pot sold today is much more potent than what was sold decades ago, resulting in greater impairment for those who use it. They said decriminalization is not the priority lawmakers should focus on now, with the war in Ukraine and inflation driving up the cost of gas, food and other essentials.

“Yet the priority of this Congress now is to expand access to addictive and behavior-altering recreational drugs at a time when our country is also experiencing an increase in addiction, depression, and suicide,” said said Rep. Bob Good, R-Va.

Thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia allow the medical use of cannabis products, while 18 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

“If states are the laboratories of democracy, it is high time the federal government recognizes that legalization has been a resounding success and that the conflict with federal law has become untenable,” said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, DN. .Y., Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

In the Senate, Democrats, including Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, asked their colleagues in early February for their views on a marijuana decriminalization bill they would introduce later this year.

“This is a matter of individual liberty and fundamental fairness that clearly transcends party lines,” the Democrats said in their letter to colleagues.

5 things to know about the Texas drought: wildfires, relief and more

March 31, 2022

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Most of the state of Texas is experiencing some level of drought, according to the US Drought Watch. Data from the U.S. Drought Monitor shows that 95.7% of the state is “abnormally dry,” which may cause planting to be postponed and an increased risk of grass fires.

Here are five things to know about the Texas drought.

Two-fifths of the state is in ‘extreme drought’

According to the US Drought Monitor, just over 40% of Texas is experiencing “extreme drought” or worse. This level of drought can lead to sand and dust storms, lower crop yields and an increased need for additional feed, nutrients, protein and water for livestock.

Additionally, 6.2% of the state is in “exceptional drought,” which includes conditions comparatively worse than extreme drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Unusual drought conditions can lead to widespread crop losses, significant financial losses in various industries and “extreme sensitivity” to fire danger, according to the US Drought Monitor.

Drought affects millions of Texans


About 18,057,500 Texans are affected by drought conditions, according to the US Drought Monitor. It is more than three in five Texans who are affected by the drought out of the approximately 29.1 million Texans, according to US census The data.

There are 169 of the 254 counties in Texas with a disaster designation by the US Department of Agriculture, according to the US Drought Monitor. Disaster designations allow counties to access various relief efforts, including emergency loans and assistance programs, according to the USDA.

Droughts affect people across the United States

Texas isn’t the only state facing drought conditions. Just over 58% of the nation is at least abnormally dry, according to the US Drought Watchwith 14.3% experiencing extreme drought and 1.6% experiencing exceptional drought.

Other states with high levels of drought include California, Oregon, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico and Oklahoma, according to the drought map.

Droughts cause wildfires in Texas

There are 53 active fires in Texas burning on approximately 237,227 acres in the state, according to the Texas Wildfire Response Team. The largest fire, involving 60,000 acres, is in southern Texas at Borrega.

Droughts can be a contributing factor to wildfires, according to the National Integrated Drought Information System.

Ways to prevent forest fires

As drought conditions continue, and with them the risk of wildfires, there are ways Texans can reduce the risk of new fires. According to Texas Division of Emergency ManagementTexans should avoid driving in tall grass, keep a fire extinguisher nearby, and follow the advice of local officials.

As of March 30, there were high to critical fire weather conditions in the Panhandle, Southern Plains, Border Region, South Texas, Central Texas and Coastal Texas.

Trump’s lawsuit against Clinton is part of a long-running legal strategy | national news

March 28, 2022

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NEW YORK (AP) — When a Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic rejected his plans for a new skyscraper in Manhattan, Donald Trump responded with a lawsuit. When tenants of a building he was trying to clean up filed a lawsuit to stop their evictions, Trump hit back by file a complaint against the law firm representing tenants. And when an author said the former president was worth far less than he claimed, Trump again filed a lawsuit.

So when Trump filed a sprawling lawsuit last week accusing his 2016 rival Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party of conspiring to sink his winning presidential campaign by alleging ties to Russia – renewing one of his oldest perceived slights – it was no surprise.

Trump has spent decades turning political and personal grievances into lawsuits. Throughout his business and political career, he has used the courts as a forum to voice his complaints and as a tool to intimidate opponents, smear their reputations and attempt to attract media attention.

“It’s part of his pattern of using the law to punish his enemies, as a weapon, as something it was never intended to be,” said James D. Zirin, a former federal prosecutor at Manhattan and author of the book “Plaintiff in Chief,” which details Trump’s legal history. “For him, litigation was a way of life.”

Trump’s latest trial returns to a familiar grievance: that Democrats in 2016 concocted fictitious claims that his campaign colluded with Russia and that the FBI consequently conducted a “baseless” investigation.

The 108-page lawsuit, as much a political screed as a legal document, names as defendants familiar targets of his wrath from both the political realm — Clinton and his aides — and the law enforcement community. It also draws on the work of Special Counsel John Durham, citing as defendants the three people – a cybersecurity attorney, a former FBI attorney and a Russian analyst – who have been charged in the criminal investigation.

Trump, in the suit, portrays himself as the victim of a massive racketeering conspiracy that the FBI officials conducting the investigation knew was “based on a false and contrived premise.”

It is well established by a Justice Department Inspector General’s investigation that the FBI made mistakes and missteps in the Russia investigation that Trump may seek to seize if his trial progresses. But Russia meddled in the 2016 elections.

US intelligence agencies concluded in January 2017 that Russia had launched a massive influence campaign aimed at helping Trump defeat Clinton. And the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee, after three years of investigation, confirmed these conclusions, saying intelligence officials had specific information that Russia favored Trump and that Russian President Vladimir Putin had “endorsed and directed aspects” of the Kremlin’s influence campaign. He also found clear ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia, concluding that Trump’s campaign chairman had regular contact with a Russian intelligence officer and that other Trump associates were eager to tap into Kremlin aid.

Representatives for Trump did not respond to requests for comment. But Trump lawyer Alina Habba defended her approach on Newsmax, telling the network that more lawsuits would be coming “soon.”

“We have another lawsuit pending shortly,” she said. “And anyone who tries to make up malicious stories about him while he was president, before his presidency or now will be prosecuted.”

Trump, meanwhile, was already using the dossier to annoy his crowds at a rally in Georgia on Saturday night.

“To combat the relentless hoaxes and lies of this corrupt establishment, I filed a historic lawsuit this week to hold them accountable for the Russia, Russia Russia hoax,” Trump said to cheers. Her mention of Clinton drew particularly loud applause and a rhyme of “Lock her up!” singing which was a defining feature of his 2016 campaign.

Besides serving as a useful political cudgel, Trump’s effort, which comes as he mulls another run for the White House, could lend the imprimatur of credibility to campaign grievances, Stephen Gillers said. , professor of legal ethics at New York University.

“For the oblivious public, having grievances repackaged as legal claims adds credence to the strength of those grievances,” Gillers said. “Anyone who pays attention to what is happening in court will be able to see through these claims as claims of political victimization in another form. But the public as a whole is not paying attention to the validity of the claims.

Last year, Trump took similar action, made a complaint against three of the nation’s biggest tech companies, saying he and other conservatives were wrongly censored after his accounts were suspended.

It’s a tactic Trump has used time and time again.

In real estate, casinos and other industries where the former president made his fortune and lost it, Trump’s use of lawsuits as a business weapon was legendary. He has sued or threatened to sue contractors, business partners, tax authorities and the media.

“Trump loved to sue, especially parties that couldn’t afford a legal defense,” said Barbara Res, a former longtime Trump Organization executive turned critic. She said a legal tactic he often turned to was suing for a “pre-emptive strike” to weaken rivals and make it look like he was the injured party before they acted.

Indeed, when Trump defaulted on a giant Deutsche Bank loan for his Chicago hotel and apartment tower during the 2008 financial crisis, he didn’t wait to be sued. Instead, he filed a lawsuit accusing the lender of “predatory lending practices” that damaged his reputation and helped spark the global depression.

Instead of paying the bank, he argued, the bank should pay him.

It was a new argument and one that finally succeeded. Deutsche Bank ended up forgoing part of his loan, then gave him hundreds of millions of dollars in new loans in the coming years.

A 2016 USA Today survey found that Trump had been involved in at least 3,500 court cases over three decades – more than five other major US real estate owners combined. In more than half of the cases, Trump was the one who filed the complaint.

The litigation continued while Trump was in the White House. In a desperate and futile attempt to stay in power, Trump and his allies filed dozens of baseless lawsuits challenge the results of the 2020 election. Judges have repeatedly said plaintiffs have failed to prove fraud or misconduct.

“He is exceptionally litigious, much of which is not set up to win but rather to frustrate the opposing side by causing financial hardship,” said former Trump opponent Michael Cohen, who went to jail for silently paying money to a porn star who alleged an affair with Trump, as well as lying to Congress about a Trump skyscraper project in Moscow.

The combinations have proven beneficial in other ways. Asset spent more than a year and a half fight off efforts by then-Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. to obtain copies of his tax returns, taking the case all the way to the Supreme Court.

Although Trump was ultimately unsuccessful, his stalling tactics dragged the case out so long that Vance, who was about to seek an indictment, was replaced by a successor. who would allegedly almost closed the case.

——

Tucker reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Michael Sisak contributed to this report.

🌱 The bells ring at Notre-Dame des Anges + Tiny Village For 100

March 26, 2022

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Standing, Los Angeles; today is Epilepsy Awareness Day (also known as Purple Day)! Here’s everything you need to know to get off to a good start this Saturday.

Pope Francis consecrated the peoples of Russia and Ukraine to the Heart of Mary. Also mayor cut a ribbon for a small village. Finally, the LAPD look at your expensive jewelry.


First, today’s weather forecast:

Cloud and sun intervals. High: 78 Low: 54.


Here are the top five stories in Los Angeles today:

  • Donation drop-off day at the Miraleste Library (9 a.m.)
  • FREE Household Hazardous & Electronics Drive-through waste collection Event at the front car park of the Wende Museum (9 a.m.)
  • PC pit stop: Cars & Coffee at Runway Playa Vista (9 a.m.)
  • Vegan Street Fair at 11223 Chandler Blvd. (11am to 19h)
  • Cirque du Soleil at the Microsoft Theater (12 p.m.)

From my notebook:

  • A Brentwood-Montana/S. Vicente neighbor wants to know how to get rid of a sofa, either by donation or by trash. (The next door)
  • Our N Hollywood E Lankershim-Vinelnd neighbor wonders if anyone made their own driveway “plans”? They’re trying to get a permit for one, but the city needs plans to review it. A contractor will do this for between $1600 and $1800. (The next door)
  • Did you know you can volunteer for LAPD North Hollywood Division? Volunteers perform a large number of tasks. Some work with detectives, some do radar operations to slow down motorists, and more! (The next door)

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Sylvia Cochran

About Me: Sylvia Cochran has been working in sunny Southern California and writing freelance full-time since 2005. Loves dogs, cats, books, plays Best Fiends (don’t judge), embraces social justice and try to live Micah 6:8.

Zest AI Announces Strategic Partnership with Credit Union Leagues of Minnesota, Montana and Wisconsin

March 24, 2022

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League members will have access to risk models tailored to their markets

Credit Unions Using Zest Software Increase Instant Decision-Making Rates Fivefold

ST. PAUL, Minnesota. and LOS ANGELES, March 24, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Zest AI today announced a partnership with the Minnesota Credit Union Network, from montana Credit Unions and the Wisconsin Credit Union League to bring Zest’s artificial intelligence-powered lending software to their more than 5 million members.

Models built using Zest, chosen as CUNA Strategic Services’ exclusive alliance provider in 2021, use thousands of data points and better math than traditional national models to safely approve more members overlooked by legacy notation. Credit unions using Zest software see five times faster instant decision rates and 25%-30% higher approvals with no added risk. Loan approvals are also more inclusive by relying on in-depth information from credit reports and loan histories in the markets served by League members.

“The opportunity to bring AI-powered loans to credit unions in these three states will have a significant impact,” says Jose Valentine, Vice President of Corporate Development at Zest AI. “Through these partnerships, the lives of millions of people will be enriched by expanding access to affordable credit.”

“Zest has earned the trust of many institutions like ours, delivering significant value in the form of faster, more consistent, and more inclusive decisions that will help our members achieve their goals,” says John Ferstl, chief operating officer of the Minnesota Credit Union Network. “We are delighted to offer this opportunity to from minnesota Credit unions.”

“We are continually working to ensure our Wisconsin League members have access to top-quality products and services that expand access and opportunity,” said Brett Thompson, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Credit Union League. “This partnership with Zest AI achieves exactly that.”

Tracie KenyonPresident and CEO, from montana Credit Unions, added – “Expanding the pool of resources available to our members has great benefits here in Montanaand this partnership with Zest is an important addition to our services.”

About Zest AI

Zest AI software helps lenders make better decisions and better loans, which increases revenue, reduces risk and automates compliance. Since 2009, it has made fair and transparent credit available to everyone and is today the leader in more inclusive underwriting software. The company is headquartered in Los Angeles, California. Learn more about www.zest.ai and join us on Twitter at @Zest_AI or Zest AI Knowledge Blog.

About the Minnesota Credit Union Network

The Minnesota Credit Union Network is the statewide business association working to ensure the success, growth and vitality of Minnesota credit unions. With nearly $35 billion in assets, Minnesota Credit Unions are trusted local financial cooperatives that serve 2 million members in nearly 400 branches across the state.

On from montana credit unions

Situated at Helen, Montana, from montana Credit unions exist to promote and enhance a thriving credit union community. Its various entities support this mission. Montana currently has 46 credit unions, with 124 branches in communities across the state. These credit unions currently serve more than 412,639 Montanese – who are members and owners.

About the Wisconsin Credit Union League

Founded in 1934, the Wisconsin Credit Union League is the dues-supported trade association for from Wisconsin credit unions–not-for-profit financial institutions owned cooperatively by their more than 3.5 million members. The League is dedicated to serving from Wisconsin credit unions and promoting the credit union difference through advocacy, education and public service.

About CUNA Strategic Services

CUNA Strategic Services develops strategic alliance relationships to provide credit unions with innovative solutions that will drive membership growth and operational excellence at an attractive price. The company is majority owned by the Credit Union National Association and the state leagues. For more information, visit www.cunastrategicservices.com.

Contact: [email protected]

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Summary of the Helena housing market in 2021

March 23, 2022

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HELENA — The past two years have not been kind to those looking for a home in Helena. The imbalance between supply and demand only gets worse as the median house price increases. A recent report from valuation firm Moore helps break down exactly what’s going on.

“It’s a supply and demand issue. Obviously, if you’re looking to sell a house, now is a really good time to do it. Buying a house can be tough right now” , says Shaun Moore, real estate appraiser and owner of Moore. Valuation firm.

Over the past two years, the national housing market has seen soaring prices and a huge increase in demand. COVID-19 has enabled many people to work from home, prompting many to leave their lives in cities behind and move to more remote locations with a bit more leeway. In addition, low interest rates have made it easier to obtain loans. This in turn has led to a much more competitive market in traditionally sleepier, cheaper towns like Helena, pushing the median price of housing here by more than 26% in 2021.

While Helena’s prices have risen dramatically, other towns in Montana have been hit even harder. For example, the median price of single-family homes in Missoula jumped about 45% between late 2019 and late 2021 according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

“I just want people to know that, don’t get discouraged because you know, we have a lot of clients at Big Sky Brokers who have been looking for a year or two, and things always balance out,” Maria says. Demaray, real estate broker at Big Sky Brokers.

But the unprecedented rise in prices over the past year has many wondering where things are headed in 2022. And while no one can predict the future, rising interest rates may limit the purchasing power of individuals.

Shaun Moore of Moore Appraisal Firm says many factors can affect the housing market, including interest rates and the global climate. He says he doesn’t really give predictions, but based on his experience, he says things could slow down in 2022.

“I don’t really make predictions, but my professional opinion on what I think could happen this year is that we’re going to continue to see an increase in the median sale price of homes. But I believe that increase will slow down. I don’t think we’ll see another 26% through 2022,” Moore says.

No one is quite sure how home prices and availability will change over the coming year. And with interest rates moving, we’ll have to wait and see how the market reacts.

Astley and Loans Arrow are Co-County MVPs – Lake County Record-Bee

March 17, 2022

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Heaven’Lee Loans Arrow of Upper Lake, a junior, is the most valuable co-player on the 2022 All-County Basketball Team. (Photo courtesy of Trett Bishop)

LAKE COUNTY – Paige Astley did for Middletown what Heaven’Lee Loans Arrow did for Upper Lake as both teams won undefeated league championships in the 2021-22 women’s basketball season.

While senior Astley helped guide the Mustangs to a 13-0 North Central League I record, junior Loans Arrow had her fingerprints all over Upper Lake’s 9-0 mark in the NCL II ranking. Thanks to their contributions during the season, Astley and Loans Arrow were named the most valuable co-players of the 2022 All-County Team, selected by the Lake County Record-Bee.

“She’s always been the backbone of our team,” said Middletown head coach Andy Brown, who announced last month he would not return next season. “Having him in my last team is a good mark.”

According to Upper Lake head coach Mike Smith of Loans Arrow, “Heaven has matured so much as a basketball player over the past two years. She spent a lot of time developing her game.”

Asley

The Mustangs scheduled during the preseason, a decision that helped them greatly in their NCL I title run. Middletown went 19-6 overall, including a 62-44 win over Upper Lake in the 49th Stokes Annual Invitational last December in Kelseyville where Astley led the way with 18 points. Loans Arrow had a team-best 13 points for the Cougars.

“Other players on the team have been looking for her to lead the way,” Brown said of Astley, co-MVP of the All-NCL I team this season. “She accepted responsibility. She knew she could do it and she did. She did it every day. »

Astley’s leadership didn’t just show up on game days, but also in training.

“She came out every day ready to improve on the pitch. Other players were asking me how they could get more playing time and I was like, ‘Go against Paige (in training) and show tell me what you can do.'”

Brown added: “Going through a season is a process, but she has made every minute worth it.”

Arrow Loans

Loans Arrow was a freshman rookie on the 2019-20 Upper Lake team that won the NCL II Championship and reached the NorCal 5 Division Playoffs, finishing 22-6 overall. She would earn a share of the league’s MVP award that season, just as she did this year. Of course, like other Lake County players, Loans Arrow lost its entire sophomore year (2020-21) to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unlike many other players, she used that free time to hone her skills and came back stronger than ever as Upper Lake went 20-3 overall this season. Unfortunately for the Cougars, a weak preseason schedule resulted in them only drawing a No. 7 seed for the Divisional Playoffs (compared to No. 4 in 2019-20). After beating Clear Lake in the first round, they met the mighty Branson in the quarterfinals and lost 57-32. Branson, the No. 2 seed, won the Division 5 title.

Upgrading his team’s pre-season schedule is high on Smith’s list for next season when Loans Arrow and many of his teammates return for their final year and hopefully another extended run in the playoffs, similar to 2019-20.

Middletown junior guard Jaidyn Brown is a first-team All-County team selection. (Photo courtesy of Trett Bishop)

first team

Middletown junior Jaidyn Brown, a defensive dynamo for the Mustangs, and rookie Mia Hoogendoorn, who opened the season as a reserve but worked their way into the starting lineup before the end of the year, were named to the All-County First Team. They are joined by Upper Lake senior guard Zoey Petrie, who shared All-NCL II Most Valuable Player honors with Loans Arrow this season, and Upper Lake junior center Taylar Minnis, who provided the Cougars strong presence at the post.

Rounding out the First-Team All-County roster is the county’s top shooter, senior guard Sydney Howe of the Clear Lake Cardinals, the third-place team in NCL I.

second team

The second-team All-County includes a pair of Clear Lake juniors, guard Sierra Bruch and center Montana Wells, junior guard Upper Lake and defensive star Maddy Young, who split his winter sports season between basketball and wrestling, versatile Middletown junior guard Skylar Williams, and Lower Lake senior guard and team leader Margarita Cordova.

Clear Lake’s Sierra Bruch passes the ball to a teammate. (Photo courtesy of Trett Bishop)

Coach of the year

Brown’s final season with Middletown couldn’t have gone better. After leading its team through a difficult preseason, the Mustangs topped the NCL I standings and did what few other county teams have accomplished in recent years, winning a postseason game in the ultra-tough Division 4 playoffs.

“I had a great time coaching these girls,” Brown said.

Middletown’s Andy Brown is Coach of the Year. (Photo by Brian Sumpter)

Meet the Candidates: Forsyth Ward II Alderman | Free News

March 15, 2022

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Residents of Forsyth II ward will be asked to vote for a representative on the council of aldermen in the municipal election on April 5.

Incumbent Cheryl Altis is running to retain her alderman seat for another two years against challenger Dustin Krob. As part of our ongoing efforts to educate voters, the Branson Tri-Lakes News offered both candidates the opportunity to answer questions ahead of the election.

The questions were submitted to the respective candidates via email. The answers, in their entirety, are presented in the order in which the candidates appear on the ballot paper.

context

Incumbent Cheryl Altis currently sits on the Forsyth Board of Aldermen Ward II. She and her husband, David, have lived in the Three Lakes area since 1983. They have two daughters who attended and graduated from the Forsyth School District.

Altis and her husband are local property developers and builders. Projects they have developed and built include:

Taneycomo Terrace in Forsyth

Four subdivisions in the Kissee Mills area, including Cedar Shore Ranch Estates

Shepherd of the Hills Estates, a 36-unit apartment complex in Forsyth

Altis said she and her husband adore Forsyth.

Challenger Dustin Krob, originally from Montana, is a lead controller with the US Army Corps of Engineers. It operates the Bull Shoals, Norfork, Greers Ferry, Table Rock, Beaver, Dardanelle and Ozark dams.

After high school, Krobs spent four years in the military. He returned to Montana and met his wife and two children. They have a daughter together, who loves baseball.

Krob served an apprenticeship at a coal-fired power plant in Montana, before working as an operator with the Corp in Washington at Lower Granite Lock and Dam. Krobs moved to Forsyth when an opportunity presented itself for his current position. He said that since moving, he and his family have fallen in love with the area.

Why are you running?

Altis: “We love Forsyth! The variety of developments and constructions we have done in the region has given me the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in many different areas, such as helping to create covenants and restrictions, and managing enforcement, just like the ordinances of a city. Understanding of street construction and maintenance, knowledge of functions and maintenance of water systems, septic tanks and (and) treatment plants. Cities face such things all the time. Of course, a watchful eye on financial management. Having served on the Council of Aldermen, (I) have the experience and understanding of the importance of making careful, informed and responsible decisions on behalf of all Forsyth residents. »

Krob: “I’m running to make Forsyth a better place. I saw the complaints on Facebook, I spoke with people and I saw with my own eyes problems with the City. The way people are treated at meetings, the way people are treated when they ask the City a question, the inability of the current incumbents to allow residents to lead a life of happiness in the City. The incumbents serve themselves and their own interests, and have long ceased to serve the people. Just watch the videos posted on YouTube, Taney County Beacon, and Missouri Casenet.

What do you think is the biggest problem facing the city?

Altis: “The economy these days is certainly a concern for everyone, (for) the town of Forsyth in many areas, as well as individuals. The increase in the cost of fuel, electricity, supplies, the cost of necessary maintenance and maintenance of equipment and vehicles. The unknown future of the war in Ukraine adds to the uncertainty. This is not the time to make hasty and reckless decisions, but the time to continually take precautions. A time to follow a steady course forward. There are street improvements that could possibly be considered and planned. Highway 160, additional turning lanes can help ease congestion. Some streets could be improved and widened. (We could) improve and build storm drainage systems in some areas. Additional parks in safe areas could be nice for residents.

Krob: “The inability of the current alderman to be transparent with the inhabitants. How many times does the state auditor have to give this town a bad grade before answering questions about what he’s screwing up. The current aldermen are doing nothing to make Forsyth a better place. They don’t answer any questions, there is NO transparency. It’s taken years for people to complain about something as simple as city codes and ordinances to finally make them available to the public, online. It was always the excuse, ‘Well come in and we’ll print them for you and charge you 10 cents per page’, to ‘We can’t put them online because it’s too expensive.’ Really? (Is a simple PDF too expensive? Do they know what year it is?

“They have canceled approximately 50,000 water bills with no explanation as to why or what steps they are going to take to ensure this does not happen again. They just raise resident rates and say it’s a normal thing to do a raise every 2 years, but they’ve done 3 raises in 16 months. (Another) city in the area has increased the water rate in 10 years (and) this city is not canceling water bills either. I was told they wouldn’t have a job if they canceled 50,000 water bills.

“They used to have a volunteer park board for city parks, the current incumbents (Altis and Larry Moehl) disbanded that board with no explanation to the public, and no explanation to the park board members themselves. themselves.

“There are a lot of people in town who have amazing ideas that are doable and will bring good things to the town, but the current aldermen are basically telling people to sit down, shut up and get in line. If you look at the meetings on YouTube, they could have all been done by email, because the public doesn’t even get to speak unless they’re actually on the agenda. The burgomaster and the aldermen do not even address the small group of people, 3 or 4 of them, who attend the meeting to see if they have any questions. Just ‘BOOM’ done, move on, ok we’re all done. Fifteen to 20 minutes, pat us on the back, we did well.

In your opinion, what action plan should the city adopt to solve the problem mentioned in question 3?

Altis: “The current council of aldermen and mayor have taken precautions and are working diligently with staff and city employees to reduce expenses and increase revenue. By being careful, the city was able to give annual increases to employees, had minimal increases in water and sewer rates to help cover annual costs without placing a heavy burden on residents at the same time and undertook projects when possible. The budget is in line and the financial situation of the town of Forsyth is very good.

Krob: “My action plan is very simple. Allow the public to become more involved. Don’t exclude them. Listen to what the audience needs. Host an open meeting and bring good things to our city. Working together will bring great things. If there is a problem affecting the people of the city, it is the job of elected officials (civil servants) to listen to the concerns and work to resolve it, without closing their eyes or ears because they do not not affect nor your business. Bring transparency and respect back to the board. Be a leader that people feel good about having to represent them and feel that the person on the board supports them. The biggest action plan for me is to do the right thing. What is good is always good and what is bad is always bad. »

Is there anything else you would like voters to know about you?

Altis: “Since joining the College of Aldermen, I have seen many positive changes take place. Some of them are: several new businesses, new houses built, building inspectors and code improvements, updated fire department and equipment, an additional (fire) station built, the improved ISO rating, police department updated with modern equipment and protection, city equipment updated and improved, better able to handle snow removal, convenient payment systems for residents paying their bills of water, sidewalks built in key places walking paths built, various areas annexed to the city, loans refinanced more than once with big savings, water and sewage systems improved, city streets were repaved, (opened a) new park and (made) improvements to Shadow Rock Park. New bridge over Bull Shoals Lake (and) roundabout made traffic easier. The city and county are currently working together to help keep the old bridge over Swan Creek in the park area open and maintained. The city’s current financial situation is the best I have ever seen.

“As a member of the Forsyth Board of Aldermen. I take responsibility seriously. I think for myself. If you live in the Forsyth II Ward, I humbly request your consideration and vote.

Krob: “There’s no politics involved when we listen to the people and work together to make this city a better place. Work with local businesses to meet their needs and help them succeed. Not a single town alderman or mayor attended the Forsyth Chamber town gala this year, which is very sad. To be a voice for people who have been excluded for years. My job requires me to follow strict standard operating procedures, and since the orders were posted online, it’s clear the city isn’t following them. I am an easy person to talk to and will listen to your concerns, and we can work towards a mutually beneficial solution. Be a good person, the current incumbents should be ashamed of the disrespect they show to the citizens of this community. It’s all on YouTube.

Premier League disqualifies Abramovich from managing Chelsea | national news

March 12, 2022

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In an unprecedented ruling against a club owner, the Premier League on Saturday ordered Roman Abramovich to stop managing Chelsea and sell after being sanctioned by the British government for Russia’s war on Ukraine and its close ties with President Vladimir Putin.

The league board’s decision to disqualify Abramovich from being a director hastens the end of the Russian oligarch’s 19 years in charge of the reigning world and European champions, but the club that turned into a trophy winner eternal thanks to his investment is allowed to play.

League regulations would typically require Abramovich to relinquish control within 28 days, but the UK government now has a say in the sale process under the terms of the license which allows the team to continue operating despite the freezing of the owner’s assets.

The government hailed the Premier League’s decision against Abramovich, characterizing the disqualification as part of holding accountable “those who enabled Putin’s regime”.

“We are open to a sale of the club and would consider applying for a license to allow that to happen,” the government said.

The government is now overseeing the takeover process which the Raine Group, an investment bank, has been working on since Abramovich announced last week before he was sanctioned that the club was for sale.

A consortium weighing up a bid includes Todd Boehly, co-owner of MLB’s Los Angeles Dodgers, Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss and Jonathan Goldstein, a London-based property investor and CEO of Cain International.

Abramovich originally hoped to divert proceeds to a new foundation for victims of the war in Ukraine, which he has yet to condemn Putin for launching. But the government will only sanction a sale that does not benefit Abramovich as the government tightens the screws on influential people it sees as empowering for the Putin regime.

The government eased one of the license conditions restricting Chelsea’s finances on Saturday, raising the matchday spending cap to raise Stamford Bridge from 500,000 pounds to 900,000 pounds ($1.2million) before Sunday’s Premier League game against Newcastle.

Chelsea had Barclaycard’s corporate credit cards frozen following the sanctions.

After disqualifying Abramovich, the Premier League confirmed that “the board’s decision does not affect the club’s ability to train and play matches”.

Some Chelsea fans continued to support Abramovich through the first two weeks of the war, even chanting his name during a game last weekend which the league hoped to use to show solidarity with Ukraine and the victims of the war. Russian invasion.

Abramovich’s disqualification by the Premier League ends the reign of the competition’s first billionaire foreign owner, whose fortunes have made Chelsea one of the biggest spenders in Europe and one of the most successful in the game. His investment ended Chelsea’s 50-year domestic title drought when the league was won in 2005 and the trophy was won four more times.

The team have collected 21 trophies since 2004 through player spending which has seen Abramovich inject more than 1.5 billion pounds ($2 billion) into Chelsea through loans he has said he will not seek no refund.

Sanctions were imposed on Abramovich after the government called him a “pro-Kremlin oligarch” linked to “destabilizing… undermining and threatening” Ukraine where the war is in its third week. Abramovich has not commented since his sanction.

———

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Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Stress persists 2 years into pandemic economy

March 11, 2022

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Two years ago on Friday, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Millions of Americans suddenly found themselves out of work as people stopped going out to eat, shop, travel and more. At the time, former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers noted on Bloomberg TV, “In a sense, economic time has been stopped, but financial time has not been stopped.”

In March 2020, we spoke to Seth Shulman and April Oliver about what this economic disruption meant to them. Shulman, a musician from Chicago, was unemployed. The school he was teaching at closed and live shows were all cancelled. Oliver, who lives in Bozeman, Montana, had just received a job offer from an environmental consulting firm which she called “everything I had ever dreamed of”, but the offer was delayed indefinitely. because the lab has closed. Shulman and Oliver tried to cut their expenses as much as possible, but payments like rent, credit card bills and other debts still came due each month.

Now Shulman, 27, and Oliver, 29, are back at work in their old jobs, after about three months out of work in 2020. For Shulman, that means “playing and teaching pretty much nonstop,” but he noted that money is still very tight for him. Oliver works as an environmental consultant and bought his first house last year.

“At the start of the pandemic, I felt more uncertain and unstable,” Oliver said. “Now I feel more stable, but I’m more desperate, if that makes sense.”

We caught up with Shulman and Oliver to talk about their economic strains two years into the pandemic, despite jobs picking up.

sick time

Shulman and Oliver fell ill in January during the omicron push.

“Luckily it was pretty much asymptomatic,” Shulman said. “But as an entrepreneur, if I can’t work, there’s no money.”

Oliver fell ill after two of her colleagues tested positive for COVID-19, but she herself never tested positive for the virus. She used all of her sick time in January. Two months later, she is still sick and unable to work at all.

“I’ll probably spend most of my vacation or take that time without pay, depending on how quickly I can recover,” she said.

Student loans

Student loans are another major stressor. Shulman has about $40,000 in student debt and hasn’t repaid her loans during the pandemic due to the pause on federal student loan repayments, which expire in May.

“I live paycheck to paycheck. I live by every dollar,” he said. “Can I start paying them now?” Yeah, but that would mean I literally didn’t save any money.

Oliver graduated without student debt, but her partner, who she lives with, has about $70,000 in student loans. Like Shulman, he stopped paying them during the pandemic. Once payments resume, she said, money will be “really tight” for them.

“We bought this house hoping to have and raise our children there,” Oliver said. “How am I going to save for college? I still live paycheck to paycheck. I don’t save a lot of money anymore.

Inflation

Inflation was 7.9% year-over-year in February, hitting another 40-year high. Shulman has long worried about price increases and saw the rent for his last apartment go up $600 a month after he and his girlfriend moved out. He is also concerned about his grocery bills.

“We always get things that are on sale, or basically giant rice and bean things as cheaply as possible,” Shulman said. “When you start to see the price of these things or the price of potatoes go up, when [those] things are supposed to be so cheap, it kind of takes you. Because you literally live off of it.

PACE funding program hearing set for March 22

March 9, 2022

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Cascade County Commissioners voted unanimously to approve a resolution of intent to establish a countywide PACE program, designed to incentivize local businesses to make energy-efficient upgrades, at their meeting Tuesday morning.

County Commissioner Joe Briggs explained during the working session that organizations can get loans for energy efficiency projects and extensions that include energy efficiency. He said the debt is paid through the Montana Facilities Finance Authority and the county will collect it through property taxes.

“If a sole proprietorship wants to finance energy upgrades, they can get the business loan, they can work through the Montana facilities organization, which handles all the accounting and all that, and then it continues on its taxes like a twice-a-year collection just like normal taxes,” Briggs said, comparing it to how the county currently runs a Rural Special Improvement District (RSID), but on a business-by-business level.

The district boundary of the Cascade County Commercial Property Assessed Capital Enhancement (“Cascade County PACE”) program would be all geographical area within the jurisdiction of Cascade County.

“It’s just about conservation, and it’s about enabling commercial properties to get the help they need, get the income they need, and not have an unpaid bill on their property. , just something that is placed on their property is a lien to be paid for,” County Commissioner Ryan said, adding that they have to ask for it and business owners will pay for it. “They agree ‘Hey, I’m going to put this on my tax bill, this will be part of my upcoming assessments on my property.'”

This project was made possible after the legislature passed the Commercial Property-Assessed Capital Enhancements Act (“PACE”) which became effective in January.

Through the resolution of intent, the county held a public hearing for its next meeting on March 22 at 9:30 a.m. in the Commission rooms at 105, 325 2nd Avenue North in Great Falls and on Zoom.

Ryan said those working in agriculture may see this as an opportunity to upgrade their equipment and weatherize barns.

Briggs said businesses considering moving to the county and are in talks with the Great Falls Development Authority have already asked about the program.

“There’s already interest from companies that aren’t even on the ground yet,” Briggs said during the working session. “I think it will be popular with our local businesses as well.”

Seth Lutter, associate director of the Montana Facilities Finance Authority and statewide administrator of the Commercial Property Assessed Capital Enhancement (C-PACE) program, said Tuesday that Missoula County and Park County are already two districts approved in the program and that four other counties are in different parts of the process now as well.

“We’re very excited about what this means for economic developers in every county in Montana,” Lutter said. Briggs emphasized that this program would have no tax impact on the county.

“It’s another one of those products that the state has created to allow us economic development and there’s no downside for counties to get involved,” Briggs said.

Commissioners at the meeting also approved the Cascade County Sheriff’s Office accepting grant funds from the Montana State Homeland Security Program. The $215,000 in repayable funds will be used to fund the new position of Crime Prevention Logistics Manager for two years at CCSO.

Captain Scott VanDyken explained that it would be a civilian position with funding covering $60,000 in salaries, $30,000 in benefits, $10,000 in training and travel, and $7,500 per year and equipment and supplies, for a cell phone, laptop and other tools.

He said the position is aimed at improving the security system in local jurisdictions, ensuring there is more coordination between city and county law enforcement and emergency response. Examples he gave of the work this individual would do included teaching active shooter response in schools and risk mitigation, such as in scenarios as if the trucker convoy or the Angels of Hell came to town.

Eagle Bancorp Montana, Inc. (NASDAQ:EBMT) Short Interest Up 32.7% in February

March 7, 2022

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Eagle Bancorp Montana, Inc. (NASDAQ: EBMT – Get a rating) was the target of a surge in short interest in February. As of February 15, there was short interest totaling 6,900 shares, an increase of 32.7% from the total of 5,200 shares as of January 31. Approximately 0.1% of the company’s shares are sold short. Based on an average daily volume of 14,800 shares, the short interest ratio is currently 0.5 days.

Several analysts have recently commented on EBMT shares. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Eagle Bancorp Montana from a “sell” to a “hold” rating in a report released on Tuesday, January 25. StockNews.com began covering Eagle Bancorp Montana in a report on Wednesday, March 2. They issued a “hold” rating for the company.

In other Eagle Bancorp Montana News, Director Kenneth M. Walsh sold 10,000 shares of Eagle Bancorp Montana in a trade on Tuesday, February 1. The stock was sold at an average price of $22.40, for a total value of $224,000.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, available at this hyperlink. 7.70% of the shares are currently held by insiders of the company.

(A d)

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A number of hedge funds have recently changed their holdings of EBMT. Renaissance Technologies LLC increased its position in Eagle Bancorp Montana by 3.3% during the second quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 175,379 shares of the bank valued at $4,034,000 after purchasing an additional 5,540 shares during the period. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. increased its stake in shares of Eagle Bancorp Montana by 89.2% during the second quarter. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. now owns 19,624 shares of the bank valued at $451,000 after buying 9,251 additional shares in the last quarter. Royal Bank of Canada increased its stake in shares of Eagle Bancorp Montana by 197.1% during the second quarter. Royal Bank of Canada now owns 2,148 shares of the bank valued at $49,000 after buying an additional 1,425 shares in the last quarter. Millennium Management LLC purchased a new position in shares of Eagle Bancorp Montana during the second quarter valued at approximately $927,000. Finally, John G Ullman & Associates Inc. purchased a new position in shares of Eagle Bancorp Montana during the third quarter valued at approximately $1,227,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds hold 41.33% of the company’s shares.

Eagle Bancorp Montana shares opened at $22.10 on Monday. The stock’s 50-day simple moving average is $22.85 and its 200-day simple moving average is $22.52. Eagle Bancorp Montana has a 52-week low of $21.62 and a 52-week high of $26.13. The company has a market capitalization of $150.17 million, a price-earnings ratio of 10.23 and a beta of 0.66. The company has a quick ratio of 0.80, a current ratio of 0.84 and a debt ratio of 0.22.

Eagle Bancorp Montana (NASDAQ:EBMT – Get a rating) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, January 25. The bank reported EPS of $0.26 for the quarter, missing Thomson Reuters consensus estimate of $0.58 per ($0.32). Eagle Bancorp Montana had a net margin of 14.79% and a return on equity of 9.30%. On average, stock analysts expect Eagle Bancorp Montana to post earnings per share of 2.53 for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, March 4. Shareholders of record on Friday, February 11 received a dividend of $0.125 per share. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, February 10. This represents a dividend of $0.50 on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.26%. Eagle Bancorp Montana’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 23.15%.

Company Profile Eagle Bancorp Montana (Get a rating)

Eagle Bancorp Montana, Inc is a bank holding company that provides loan and depository services. It focuses on residential mortgages, commercial real estate mortgages, commercial business loans, agricultural loans, and second mortgage and home equity products. The company was founded on October 28, 1997 and is based in Helena, MT.

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2021 ended strong for farmers

March 4, 2022

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Faster price growth has been a double-edged sword for farmers and ranchers in the Ninth District. While they paid more for inputs like fuel and equipment, they were also able to sell products at higher prices. Those higher producer prices appeared to have offset rising input costs, at least through the end of last year, according to the latest survey of farm bankers from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.

Farm income rose significantly in the fourth quarter of 2021, according to lenders responding to the Minneapolis Fed’s fourth quarter (January) farm credit conditions survey. Rising revenues have also led to higher loan repayment rates, while demand for loans, renewals and extensions have declined. Farmland values ​​rose rapidly from a year earlier, and cash rents also jumped. While lenders were concerned about soaring input prices, the outlook for early 2022 remained positive, with survey respondents expecting further growth in farm income and spending.

Farm income, household expenditures and capital investment

“Most of the clients had good positive net worth gains and good working capital increases,” a South Dakota banker commented. “This is mainly due to higher grain and livestock prices as well as stimulus funds.”

Most of their colleagues in the region agreed, as nearly 9 in 10 lenders responding to the survey said farm incomes increased in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared to the same period a year earlier. Only 4% said their income had decreased (see graph). Two-thirds of lenders said farm household spending rose in the fourth quarter, with most recalls reporting it was flat, while 70% said farm producer capital spending rose.

Loan repayments and renewals

Consistent with improving financial conditions, loan repayment rates have increased, while renewal activity has declined. Nearly two-thirds of lenders responding to the survey reported a higher loan repayment rate than a year earlier, while a further 36% said repayment rates were stable. A third of respondents said loan renewal or extension activity was lower, while 58% noted renewals were flat.

Applying for Loans, Required Collateral and Interest Rates

With rising incomes, loan demand fell from a year earlier for 42% of bankers, while 28% reported an increase in loan demand. According to respondents, fixed interest rates on operating, machinery and real estate loans have increased slightly on average from their third quarter levels. Floating rates fell for operating loans, remained stable for machinery and rose for real estate. Almost all lenders reported no change in collateral requirements on loans, although 2% said requirements had increased.

Cash rents and property values

“Land sales have been strong this fall due to strong crop yields, rising commodity prices and strong investor interest in buying farmland,” wrote one South Dakota lender. After a year of growth, cropland values ​​jumped in the last three months of 2021, and cash rents also increased. The value of rainfed cropland has increased by an average of 27% in the district compared to the previous year, while cash rents for such land have increased by more than 14% compared to 2020.

The value of irrigated agricultural land increased by 20% on average, while the value of livestock land increased by 19%. Land value increases have been significant in all states in the district, but one lender in Montana noted that migration was playing a role there. “Montana is inundated with money from out of state and it is hurting local farmers and ranchers by increasing land prices, lease prices and often ending lease opportunities.”

Outlook

Despite continued revenue growth, lenders worried about the effects of inflation in the future. In response to a special survey question that asked lenders what their biggest concern was for agricultural producers in 2022, 64% highlighted the cost and/or availability of inputs. The second most common concern – commodity price volatility – was selected by 13% of lenders, while 9% worried about weather or climate events (including drought).

Even so, the outlook heading into the new year was generally optimistic. Two-thirds of farm bankers expected farm income to rise in the first quarter of 2022, while a quarter expected flat income. The outlook for capital investment and household spending was also positive, with more than half of respondents expecting an increase in each. Expectations call for an increase in demand for outstanding loans in the next quarter. Loan repayment prospects were also better overall, while renewals and extensions were expected to remain flat overall.

Rising interest rates may have been one reason that more lenders expected growth in loan volumes despite greater cash on hand. As one Minnesota banker noted, “significant pressure from agricultural producers to accept fixed rates for as long as possible. They worry about inflation and the potential for interest rates to rise.


State Fact Sheet
Agricultural Credit Conditions Survey
Fourth quarter 2021
Note: Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is not part of the survey.
MN MT n/a South Dakota WI Ninth district
Percentage of respondents reporting a drop in levels over the past three months compared to the same time last year:
Loan repayment rate
Net farm income 50 9 4
Farm household expenditure 50 9 4
Farm capital expenditures 11 50 9 6 9
Loan request 32 46 59 25 42
Percentage of respondents who reported increased levels in the last three months compared to the same period last year:
Loan renewals or extensions 6 50 9 6 25 ten
References to other lenders 50 2
Guarantee amount required 50 2
Loan request 32 50 18 24 50 28
State Fact Sheet – Perspectives
Agricultural Credit Conditions Survey
Fourth quarter 2021
Note: Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is not part of the survey.
MN MT n/a South Dakota WI Ninth district
Percentage of respondents who expect levels to drop over the next three months:
Loan repayment rate 11 12 8
Net farm income 5 50 9 9
Farm household expenditure 50 9 4
Farm capital expenditures 11 50 9 6 9
Loan request 32 36 18 25
Percentage of respondents who expect levels to increase over the next three months:
Loan renewals or extensions 11 100 9 12 25 15
References to other lenders 50 6 4
Guarantee amount required 50 12 6
Loan request 42 100 27 47 50 43
Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Agricultural Interest Rates, Quarterly Survey of Agricultural Credit Conditions
Operating Machinery Immovable
Fixed Var. Fixed Var. Fixed Var.
Q1-20 April 5.3 5.1 5.2 5.1 4.9 4.8
Q2-20 July 5.1 4.9 5.0 4.8 4.8 4.6
Q3-20 October 5.0 4.8 4.8 4.8 4.6 4.5
T4-20 January 4.9 4.8 4.8 4.7 4.4 4.3
Q1-21 April 4.7 4.5 4.6 4.4 4.4 4.2
Q2-21 July 4.7 4.5 4.5 4.4 4.3 4.1
Q3-21 October 4.6 4.5 4.4 4.3 4.2 4.1
T4-21 January 4.7 4.4 4.5 4.3 4.3 4.1

New York State man leads police on wild chase and hits two cop cars

March 3, 2022

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Police are looking for a suspect they believe stole a vehicle early Tuesday. The ensuing chase resulted in the suspect hitting two police vehicles, as authorities attempted to recover the stolen car. Law enforcement says the suspect is still at large, but the motorist who left his vehicle running unattended is facing a ticket. People, don’t leave your keys in the ignition and lock your car doors!

A Syracuse police spokesperson said the chase went ahead Tuesday morning when the suspect. got in and left in the car. Syracuse.com says officers on the westbound Interstate 690 on-ramp attempted to pursue the stolen car, only to be swept aside by the suspect as he escaped. from there, the suspect then entered I-690 west, according to reports. The vehicle was later found 66 miles away in Wayne County, police said.

No arrests have been made so far.

This guy got away, but this other one didn’t get far…

What started as a wedding party turned into a wild night, which involved a bar fight, a stolen vehicle and a suspect passed out while driving said stolen vehicle. Police say a 31-year-old Pennsylvania man now faces a number of charges after the series of wild altercations took place early Sunday morning.

WKTV says the man was at the party with friends when a very courteous bartender from the Back Door Bar in Old Forge, NY offered to drive the wedding guests back to the cottage they were staying in. This apparently did not sit well with the suspect, who got into a fight with a friend at the bar, police say. When the bartender attempted to break up the fight, our suspect made a mad dash toward a bar patron’s vehicle that had been left running in the parking lot.

Authorities say the suspect didn’t get too far as he was later found unconscious behind the wheel of the same vehicle on State Route 28. Police say when they caught up to him, the sleeping suspect passed out woke up and had started to fight with them. being placed under arrest. He was eventually taken into custody with a blood alcohol level of 0.22%, more than two and a half times the legal limit.

Old Forge is a hamlet in the town of Webb, Herkimer County.

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Stocks fall, oil tops $100 a barrel as Ukraine war rages | national news

March 1, 2022

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NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks tumbled as soaring oil prices sparked more concern about the impact of Russia’s escalating war with Ukraine on the global economy. Nervous investors again poured money into ultra-safe US government bonds.

The S&P 500 index fell 1.5%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.8% and the Nasdaq composite 1.6%. The declines add to market losses after a two-month skid to start the year.

The largest movements came from the oil, agricultural commodities and government bond markets. Oil has been a major concern as Russia is the second largest exporter of crude oil after Saudi Arabia. The latest price hike is increasing pressure on persistently high inflation that threatens households around the world.

Benchmark U.S. crude jumped 8% to $103.41 a barrel. It was the biggest one-day jump since May 2020 and the highest price since 2014. Brent, the international standard, jumped 7.1% to $104.97.

The Ukrainian crisis provoked an extraordinary meeting of the board of directors of the International Energy Agency, which brought together the 31 member countries agreeing to release 60 million barrels of oil of their strategic reserves in an attempt to lower prices.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine also put increased pressure on agricultural commodity prices, which were already being pushed higher by rising inflation. Wheat and corn prices have risen more than 5% per bushel and are already up more than 20% since the start of the year. Ukraine is a key exporter of both crops.

“A whole confluence of factors impact the markets,” said Bill Northey, chief investment officer at US Bank Wealth Management. “We’re seeing that play out not only in the (stock) markets right now, which have certainly been more volatile in the last two weeks since the invasion of Ukraine, but we’re also seeing it now in the rate complex. as well as the complex of raw materials.

Investors continued to invest in bonds, pushing yields lower. The 10-year Treasury yield fell sharply, slipping to 1.73% from 1.83% late Monday. It is now back to what it was in January. In February, the 10-year yield, which is used to set interest rates on mortgages and many other types of loans, had risen above 2% for the first time in more than two years.

The sharp decline in bond yields weighed on banks. JPMorgan Chase fell 3.8% and Bank of America 3.9%.

More than 70% of S&P 500 stocks closed lower, with technology, industrials and communications companies among the biggest drags on the benchmark. Only the energy sector recorded a gain. Occidental Petroleum jumped 7%.

The S&P 500 fell 67.68 points to 4,306.26. The Dow, which had lost 763 points, finished down 597.65 points at 33,294.95. The Nasdaq slipped 218.94 points to 13,532.46.

Stocks of small companies fared less well than the market as a whole. The Russell 2000 Index slid 39.58 points, or 1.9%, to 2,008.51.

The conflict in Ukraine rattled global markets and added to concerns about economic growth amid rising inflation and central bank plans to raise interest rates. The United States and its allies have significant pressure on the Russian financial system as this nation continues its push into Ukraine and its key cities.

The value of the Russian ruble fell to a record low on Monday after Western countries moved to block some Russian banks from a key global payment system. Russia’s central bank raised its benchmark rate from 9.5% to 20% in a desperate attempt to prop up the currency’s slide and stave off a run on the banks. The Russian stock exchange remained closed on Tuesday.

Various companies have announced plans to downsize or withdraw from business in Russia, or suspend operations in Ukraine due to the conflict. Apple said on Tuesday it had stopped selling its iPhone and other popular products in the country. BP and Shell said they were withdrawing their investments in Russia’s oil industry.

Investors are waiting to see if developments in Ukraine and the action on the markets affects the decisions of central banks on interest rates. The Federal Reserve is expected to start raising rates this month in an attempt to bring inflation under control. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is due to testify before Congress on Wednesday and Thursday and could offer clues on the way forward for rates.

“Investors will certainly be looking for clues as to whether the Fed Chairman is emphasizing their inflation-fighting responsibilities and then balancing that with the potential impact this military conflict could have” on inflation , Northey said.

Meanwhile, a report on Friday will also show whether US job market strength continued in February, giving the Fed more room to raise rates.

Several stocks made big moves on earnings. Target jumped 9.8% to the S&P 500’s biggest gain after reporting strong fourth-quarter financial results and announcing it would invest up to $5 billion this year in brick-and-mortar stores, renovations and other initiatives. Workday rose 4.9% after reporting encouraging results.

———

Veiga reported from Los Angeles.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

This is the hardest college to get into in Montana | State

February 25, 2022

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A college education is the biggest investment many Americans will make in their lifetime. When factoring in student loan interest and potential income loss while in school, the total cost of a bachelor’s degree can exceed $400,000.

With so much money at stake, choosing the right school is important. What makes a school suitable for a given student can depend on a number of factors, including financial aid programs, course offerings, and location, among others. For many, the right school is simply the most selective school they can get into.

A college degree opens up new job opportunities, increases earning potential, and reduces the likelihood of unemployment. But often the name of the institution printed on the degree can be as important as the degree itself. Highly selective colleges and universities are often well regarded around the world and can help open doors to more job opportunities.

Based on an index of admission rates and SAT scores, Carroll College ranks as the hardest school to get into in Montana. In the 2020-2021 school year, 73.0% of 1,449 applicants were admitted. Additionally, the median combined math and critical reading SAT scores among students admitted in fall 2019 were 1180 out of a possible 1600.

Undergraduate enrollment at Carroll College was 1,100 in fall 2020. There are reportedly 11 students for every faculty member at the school, and the average earnings of working students 10 years after enrollment amount to $49,200.

All data used in this story comes from the National Center for Education Statistics of the US Department of Education. We only considered colleges and universities primarily granting bachelor’s degrees with at least 1,000 applicants for the 2020-2021 academic year.

State school Admission rate (%) Median SAT score (out of 1600) Faculty members per student
Alabama University of Alabama 77.1 1364 19
Alaska University of Alaska 67.0 1155 11
Arizona University of Arizona 85.1 1235 15
Arkansas Harding University 55.1 1165 14
California California Institute of Technology 6.7 1545 3
Colorado Colorado School of Mines 55.0 1310 17
Connecticut Yale University 6.5 1515 4
Delaware University of Delaware 66.0 1255 15
Florida University of Florida 31.1 1390 17
Georgia Emory University 19.2 1445 9
Hawaii Brigham Young University 75.0 1170 16
Idaho University of Idaho 74.4 1125 16
Illinois University of Chicago 7.3 1535 5
Indiana Notre Dame University 19.0 1475 9
Iowa Grinnell College 19.2 1450 8
Kansas Sterling College 36.9 985 ten
Kentucky Beree College 33.0 1194 9
Louisiana tulane university 11.1 1440 8
Maine Colby College 10.3 1450 ten
Maryland Johns Hopkins University 11.1 1510 6
Massachusetts Massachusetts Institute of Technology 7.3 1540 3
Michigan University of Michigan 26.1 1435 11
Minnesota Carleton College 21.2 1450 8
Mississippi Mississippi College 28.8 1145 15
Missouri University of Washington 16.0 1520 7
Montana Carroll College 73.0 1180 11
Nebraska Creighton University 64.0 1260 12
Nevada University of Nevada 81.0 1140 18
New Hampshire Dartmouth College 9.2 1500 7
New Jersey princeton university 5.6 1515 4
New Mexico Eastern New Mexico University 50.6 1005 17
new York Colombia University 6.7 1505 6
North Carolina duke university 7.7 1525 6
North Dakota University of Mary 71.7 1164 11
Ohio Case Western Reserve University 30.3 1425 11
Oklahoma University of Tulsa 69.2 1225 ten
Oregon reed college 42.3 1423 9
Pennsylvania University of Pennsylvania 9.0 1505 6
Rhode Island brown university 7.7 1505 6
Caroline from the south Wofford College 53.0 1270 12
South Dakota Augustana University 71.4 1225 12
Tennessee Vanderbilt University 11.6 1510 8
Texas rice university 10.9 1520 6
Utah Brigham Young University 69.3 1315 21
Vermont Middlebury College 22.0 1445 8
Virginia University of Virginia 22.6 1430 15
Washington Whitman College 54.1 1345 8
West Virginia West Virginia University Institute of Technology 55.1 1030 13
Wisconsin University of Wisconsin 57.2 1390 16
Wyoming University of Wyoming 94.2 1170 14

Petition campaign aims to limit APR payday loans | national news

February 24, 2022

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(The Center Square) – The group Michiganders for Fair Lending argues that payday loans are predatory.

The coalition has started a petition to limit interest on payday loans to an annual percentage rate (APR) of 36%.

“Payday lenders are targeting Michigan’s most vulnerable communities by offering quick cash that traps people in an endless cycle of debt with outrageously high interest rates,” said Michiganders spokesperson Josh Hovey. for Fair Lending, in a press release. “State lawmakers have been urged for years to end predatory lending practices. People harmed by these loans cannot afford to wait any longer. That’s why we’re putting the issue directly to voters in November. »

People who use payday loans do so voluntarily. Many cash-strapped people do not qualify for a traditional bank loan. Although payday loans have high interest rates that eat up a large percentage of a low income, it is still better than borrowing from a real loan shark or an organized crime that operates outside the law and could break the bones of delinquent borrowers instead of bank accounts.

Payday lenders offer “unsecured” debt, which means the borrower does not provide collateral such as a car or house which is confiscated if the borrower does not repay the loan. However, payday lenders charge much higher interest and other fees.

For example, The Pew Charitable Trust sheet said:

  • The average payday loan borrower is in debt for five months of the year, spending an average of $520 in fees to borrow $375 repeatedly.
  • The average fee at a storefront lending business is $55 per two weeks.
  • Payday loans are usually due in two weeks and are tied to the borrower’s payment cycle. Payday lenders have direct access to a borrower’s checking account on payday, either electronically or with a post-dated check, which means the payday lender can draw on the borrower’s income before the other lenders or bills are paid.
  • A borrower must have a checking account and income to obtain a payday loan. Average borrowers earn around $30,000 a year and 58% struggle to meet their monthly expenses.

About 70% of payday borrowers in Michigan re-borrow on the same day, they repay a previous loan. Research from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) shows that the average payday loan borrower ends up taking out 10 loans in a year.

Jessica AcMoody, director of policy at the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan, said it was a common goal.

“Stopping predatory lending is an issue in Michigan that resonates across parties, geographies, age and income levels,” AcMoody said in a statement. “Even in today’s divisive climate, this is an issue the vast majority of people can agree on.”

Michigan would join 18 states plus the District of Columbia that have capped payday loan rates at 36% APR or less. Voters in Nebraska, Colorado, South Dakota and Montana all capped the payday loan rate per ballot measure with more than 70% approval.

The 36% APR cap is similar to the National Military Loans Act which caps the same interest rate for active duty members and dependents.

“We need to give all Michiganders the same predatory loan protection that our active duty military families receive. No one should be allowed to charge crippling interest rates that hurt quality of life and limit economic opportunity for Michigan families,” AcMoody said.

The campaign coalition includes:

  • ACLU-Michigan
  • Black Impact Collab
  • Civil Justice Center
  • responsible credit center
  • Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM)
  • habitat for humanity
  • Caisse Populaire du Lac Trust
  • Michigan League for Public Policy
  • Grand Rapids NAACP
  • GREEN project
  • United Way of Michigan

Michiganders for Fair Lending will begin collecting 340,047 valid petition signatures needed to place the ballot proposal on the November ballot. Petitions must be submitted by 5 p.m. on June 1.

US ALLIANCE CORP – 10-K – MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS.

February 22, 2022

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The following discussion should be read in conjunction with our condensed
consolidated financial statements and notes thereto included in this Form 10-K.
In connection with, and because we desire to take advantage of, the "safe
harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, we
caution readers regarding certain forward looking statements in the following
discussion and elsewhere in this report and in any other statement made by, or
on our behalf, whether or not in future filings with the Securities and Exchange
Commission. Forward looking statements are statements not based on historical
information and which relate to future operations, strategies, financial results
or other developments. Forward looking statements are necessarily based upon
estimates and assumptions that are inherently subject to significant business,
economic and competitive uncertainties and contingencies, including those
relating to the Covid-19 pandemic, many of which are beyond our control and many
of which, with respect to future business decisions, are subject to change.
These uncertainties and contingencies can affect actual results and could cause
actual results to differ materially from those expressed in any forward looking
statements made by, or on our behalf. We disclaim any obligation to update
forward looking statements.



Overview



USAC was formed as a Kansas corporation on April 24, 2009 for the purpose of
raising capital to form a new Kansas-based life insurance company. We presently
conduct our business through our five wholly-owned subsidiaries: USALSC, a life
insurance corporation; DCLIC, a life insurance corporation; USALSC-Montana, a
life insurance corporation; USAMC, an insurance marketing corporation; and
USAIC, an investment management corporation



On January 2, 2012, USALSC was issued a Certificate of Authority to conduct life
insurance business in the State of Kansas. We began third party administrative
services in 2015.



On August 1, 2017, the Company merged with Northern Plains Capital Corporation
with the Company being the ultimate surviving entity. As a result of this
merger, the Company acquired Dakota Capital Life Insurance Company which became
a wholly owned subsidiary of USALSC.



On December 14, 2018, the Company acquired Great Western Life Insurance Company.
Great Western Life Insurance Company was renamed US Alliance Life and Security
Company - Montana and is a subsidiary of USALSC.



The Company assumes business under three reinsurance treaties. On January 1,
2013, the Company entered into an agreement to assume 20% of a certain block of
health insurance policies from Unified Life Insurance Company. On September 30,
2017, the Company entered into the 2017 ALSC Agreement to assume 100% of a
certain block of life insurance policies from ALSC. On April 15, 2020, with an
effective date of January 1, 2020, the Company entered into the 2020 ALSC
Agreement to assume a quota share percentage of a block of annuity policies. As
of December 31, 2021, the Company had assumed $51.5 million in annuity deposits
under the 2020 ALSC Agreement. Effective December 31, 2020 USALSC entered into
an agreement with ALSC, which provided for ALSC to recapture all reserves
previously ceded to USALSC with respect to a portion of the 2017 ALSC Agreement.
USALSC and ASLC agreed that the commuted business shall be discharged by
USALSC's transfer of invested assets and cash in the amount of $9,181,100. As
part of the transaction the Company released $10,972,785 in reserve liabilities
and $1,146,156 of deferred acquisition costs, resulting in a commutation gain of
$543,794, which is recorded in other income for the year ended December 31,
2020.



Significant Accounting Policies and Estimates


Our accounting and reporting policies are in accordance with GAAP. Preparation
of the consolidated financial statements requires us to make estimates and
judgments that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenues and
expenses. The following is an explanation of our accounting policies and the
estimates considered most significant by management. These accounting policies
inherently require significant judgment and assumptions and actual operating
results could differ significantly from management's estimates determined using
these policies. We believe the following accounting policies, judgments and
estimates are the most critical to the understanding of our results of
operations and financial position. A detailed discussion of significant
accounting policies is provided in this report in the Notes to Consolidated
Financial Statements included with this annual report.



                                       14

————————————————– ——————————

  Table of Contents



Valuation of Investments



The Company's principal investments are in fixed maturity, mortgages, and equity
securities. Fixed maturity, classified as available for sale, are carried at
their fair value in the consolidated balance sheets, with unrealized gains or
losses recorded in comprehensive income (loss). Our fixed income investment
manager utilizes external independent third-party pricing services to determine
the fair values of investment securities available for sale.  Equity securities,
classified as available for sale, are carried at their fair value in the
consolidated balance sheets, with unrealized gains or losses recorded in
net income (loss).



We have a policy and process in place to identify securities that could
potentially have an impairment that is other-than-temporary. The assessment of
whether impairments have occurred is based on a case-by-case evaluation of
underlying reasons for the decline in fair value. We consider severity of
impairment, duration of impairment, forecasted recovery period, industry
outlook, financial condition of the issuer, issuer credit ratings and whether we
intend to sell a security, or it is more likely than not that we would be
required to sell a security, prior to the recovery of the amortized cost. NEAM
and 1505 Capital, our investment managers, provide support to the Company in
making these determinations.



The recognition of other-than-temporary impairment losses on debt securities is
dependent on the facts and circumstances related to the specific security. If we
intend to sell a security or it is more likely than not that we would be
required to sell a security prior to recovery of the amortized cost, the
difference between amortized cost and fair value is recognized in the income
statement as an other-than-temporary impairment. Our membership in the Federal
Home Loan Bank ("FHLB") provides additional liquidity which further reduces the
likelihood that we would be required to sell a security prior to recovery. As it
relates to debt securities, if we do not expect to recover the amortized basis,
do not plan to sell the security and if it is not more likely than not that we
would be required to sell a security before the recovery of its amortized cost,
the other-than-temporary impairment would be recognized. We would recognize the
credit loss portion through earnings in the income statement and the noncredit
loss portion in accumulated other comprehensive loss.



Deferred acquisition costs


Incremental direct costs, net of amounts ceded to reinsurers, that result
directly from and are essential to a product sale and would not have been
incurred by us had the sale not occurred, are capitalized, to the extent
recoverable, and amortized over the life of the premiums produced.
Recoverability of deferred acquisition costs is evaluated periodically by
comparing the current estimate of the present value of expected pretax future
profits to the unamortized asset balance. If this current estimate is less than
the existing balance, the difference is charged to expense.



Value of Business Acquired



Value of business acquired ("VOBA") represents the estimated value assigned to
purchased companies or insurance in- force of the assumed policy obligations at
the date of acquisition of a block of policies. At least annually, a review is
performed of the models and the assumptions used to develop expected future
profits, based upon management's current view of future events. VOBA is reviewed
on an ongoing basis to determine that the unamortized portion does not exceed
the expected recoverable amounts. Management's view primarily reflects our
experience but can also reflect emerging trends within the industry. Short-term
deviations in experience affect the amortization of VOBA in the period, but do
not necessarily indicate that a change to the long-term assumptions of future
experience is warranted. If it is determined that it is appropriate to change
the assumptions related to future experience, then an unlocking adjustment is
recognized for the block of business being evaluated. Certain assumptions, such
as interest spreads and surrender rates, may be interrelated. As such, unlocking
adjustments often reflect revisions to multiple assumptions. The VOBA balance is
immediately impacted by any assumption changes, with the change reflected
through the statements of comprehensive income as an unlocking adjustment in the
amount of VOBA amortized. These adjustments can be positive or negative with
adjustments reducing amortization limited to amounts previously deferred plus
interest accrued through the date of the adjustment.



Additionally, we may consider refining the estimates due to improved
capabilities resulting from administrative or actuarial system upgrades. We
consider such improvements to determine whether and to what extent they are
associated with prior periods or simply improvements in the projection of future
gross profits expected from improved functionality. To the extent that they
represent such improvements, these elements are applied to
financial statement line items in a manner similar to the release of adjustments.


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VOBA is also reviewed on an ongoing basis to determine that the unamortized
portion does not exceed the expected recoverable amounts. If it is determined
from emerging experience that the premium margins or gross profits are less than
the unamortized value of business acquired, then the asset will be adjusted
downward with the adjustment recorded as an expense in the current period.



Goodwill



Goodwill represents the excess of the amounts paid to acquire subsidiaries and
other businesses over the fair value of their net assets at the date of
acquisition. Goodwill is tested for impairment at least annually in the fourth
quarter or more frequently if events or circumstances change that would indicate
that a triggering event has occurred.



We assess the recoverability of indefinite-lived intangible assets at least
annually or whenever events or circumstances suggest that the carrying value of
an identifiable indefinite-lived intangible asset may exceed the sum of the
future discounted cash flows expected to result from its use and eventual
disposition. If the asset is considered to be impaired, the amount of any
impairment is measured as the difference between the carrying value and the fair
value of the impaired asset.



Reinsurance



In the normal course of business, we seek to limit aggregate and single exposure
to losses on risk by purchasing reinsurance. The amounts reported in the
consolidated balance sheets as reinsurance recoverable include amounts billed to
reinsurers on losses paid as well as estimates of amounts expected to be
recovered from reinsurers on insurance liabilities that have not yet been paid.
Reinsurance recoverable on unpaid losses are estimated based upon assumptions
consistent with those used in establishing the liabilities related to the
underlying reinsured contracts. Insurance liabilities are reported gross of
reinsurance recoverable. Management believes the recoverables are appropriately
established. We diversify our credit risks related to reinsurance ceded.
Reinsurance premiums are generally reflected in income in a manner consistent
with the recognition of premiums on the reinsured contracts. Reinsurance does
not extinguish our primary liability under the policies written. We regularly
evaluate the financial condition of our reinsurers including their activities
with respect to claim settlement practices and commutations, and establish
allowances for uncollectible reinsurance recoverable as appropriate.



Future Policy Benefits



We establish liabilities for amounts payable under insurance policies, including
traditional life insurance and annuities. Generally, amounts are payable over an
extended period of time. Liabilities for future policy benefits of traditional
life insurance have been computed by using a net level premium method based upon
estimates at the time of issue for investment yields, mortality and withdrawals.
These estimates include provisions for experience less favorable than initially
expected. Mortality assumptions are based on industry experience expressed as a
percentage of standard mortality tables. Such liabilities are reviewed quarterly
by an independent consulting actuary.



Income Taxes



Deferred tax assets are recorded based on the differences between the financial
statement and tax basis of assets and liabilities at the enacted tax rates. The
principal assets and liabilities giving rise to such differences are
investments, insurance reserves, and deferred acquisition costs. A deferred tax
asset valuation allowance is established when there is uncertainty that such
assets would be realized. We have no uncertain tax positions we believe are
more-likely-than-not that the benefit will not to be realized.



Recognition of Revenues


Income from traditional life insurance products consists of direct and assumed income
premiums declared as acquired when they are due.


Amounts received as payment for annuities are recognized as deposits to
policyholder account balances and included in future insurance policy benefits.
Revenues from these contracts are comprised of investment earnings of the
deposits, which are recognized over the period of the contracts, and included in
revenue. Deposits are shown as a financing activity in the Consolidated
Statements of Cash Flows.



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Embedded Derivatives



The Company has entered into coinsurance funds withheld arrangement with ALSC
which contains an embedded derivative. Under ASC 815, the Company assesses
whether the embedded derivative is clearly and closely related to the host
contract. The Company bifurcates embedded derivatives from the host instrument
for measurement purposes when the embedded derivative possesses economic
characteristics that are not clearly and closely related to the economic
characteristics of the host contract and a separate instrument with the same
terms would qualify as a derivative instrument. Embedded derivatives, which are
reported with the host instrument on the consolidated balance sheets in funds
withheld under coinsurance agreement, are reported at fair value with changes in
fair value recognized in the consolidated statements of comprehensive income
(loss) in net investment gains (losses).



Funds withheld under co-insurance agreement


Funds withheld under coinsurance agreement represent amounts contractually
withheld by a ceding company in accordance with the 2020 ALSC Agreement. For
agreements written on a coinsurance funds withheld basis, assets that support
the net statutory reserves or as defined by the treaty, are withheld and legally
owned by the ceding company.  Interest is recorded in net investment income, net
of related expenses, in the consolidated statements of income (loss).  Funds
withheld under coinsurance agreement are presented net of the embedded
derivative, discussed above. Under the terms of the 2020 ALSC Agreement the
Company may assume custody of the assets in the funds withheld account once the
Company attains its "Qualified Institutional Buyer" designation (as that term is
defined in Rule 144A under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, which is
anticipated to be achieved in the second quarter of 2022.  The Company will
record the funds withheld assets at fair value on the date of transfer, which
will eliminate the embedded derivative component associated with the 2020 ALSC
Agreement.


Mortgage loans on real estate


Mortgage loans on real estate, including mortgage loan participations, are
carried at unpaid principal balances, net of any unamortized premium or discount
and valuation allowances.  Interest income is accrued on the principal amount of
the mortgage loans based on its contractual interest rate.  Amortization of
premiums and discounts is recorded using the effective yield method. The Company
accrues interest on loans until probable the Company will not receive interest
or the loan is 90 days past due.  Interest income, amortization of premiums,
accretion of discounts and prepayment fees are reported in investment income,
net of related expenses in the consolidated statements of comprehensive income
(loss).


A mortgage loan is considered impaired when, according to the
information and events, it is likely that the Company will not be able to
collect all amounts due under the contractual terms of the mortgage
OK.


Valuation allowances on mortgage loans are established based upon inherent
losses expected by management to be realized in connection with future
dispositions or settlement of mortgage loans, including foreclosures. The
Company establishes valuation allowances for estimated impairments on an
individual loan basis as of the balance sheet date. Such valuation allowances
are based on the excess carrying value of the loan over the present value of
expected future cash flows discounted at the loan's original effective interest
rate, the value of the loan's collateral if the loan is in the process of
foreclosure or is otherwise collateral-dependent, or the loan's market value if
the loan is being sold. These evaluations are revised as conditions change and
new information becomes available. In addition to historical experience,
management considers qualitative factors that include the impact of changing
macro-economic conditions, which may not be currently reflected in the loan
portfolio performance, and the quality of the loan portfolio.



Any interest accrued or received on the net carrying amount of the impaired loan
will be included in investment income or applied to the principal of the loan,
depending on the assessment of the collectibility of the loan. Mortgage loans
deemed to be uncollectible or that have been foreclosed are charged off against
the valuation allowances and subsequent recoveries, if any, are credited to the
valuation allowances. Changes in valuation allowances are reported in net
investment gains (losses) on the consolidated statements of income (loss).



The Company evaluates whether a mortgage loan modification represents a troubled
debt restructuring. In a troubled debt restructuring, the Company grants
concessions related to the borrower's financial difficulties. Generally, the
types of concessions include: reduction of the contractual interest rate,
extension of the maturity date at an interest rate lower than current market
interest rates and/or a reduction of accrued interest. The Company considers the
amount, timing and extent of the concession granted in determining any
impairment or changes in the specific valuation allowance recorded in connection
with the troubled debt restructuring. Through the continuous monitoring process,
the Company may have recorded a specific valuation allowance prior to when the
mortgage loan is modified in a troubled debt restructuring. Accordingly, the
carrying value (after specific valuation allowance) before and after
modification through a troubled debt restructuring may not change significantly,
or may increase if the expected recovery is higher than the pre-modification
recovery assessment.



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Mergers and Acquisitions



On May 23, 2017 the Company entered into a definitive merger agreement with
Northern Plains Capital Corporation. The merger transaction closed onAugust 1,
2017. NPCC shareholders received .5841 shares of US Alliance Corporation stock
for each share of NPCC stock owned. USAC issued 1,644,458 shares of common stock
to holders of NPCC shares.



On October 11, 2018 the Company entered into a stock purchase agreement with
Great Western Insurance Company to acquire Great Western Life Insurance Company.
The transaction closed on December 14, 2018. USALSC paid $500,000 to acquire all
of the outstanding shares of GWLIC.



Effective December 31, 2020, DCLIC acquired a block of life insurance policies
according to the terms of an assumption agreement with ALSC. The Company
acquired fixed maturity securities and cash of $9,181,100, assumed liabilities
of $10,972,785 and recorded VOBA of $2,163,541.



New Accounting Standards


A detailed analysis of the new accounting standards is provided in the Notes
Consolidated financial statements from p. F-7 of this annual report.

Discussion of consolidated operating results


Total Income. Insurance revenues are primarily generated from premium revenues
and investment income. Insurance revenues for the years ended December 31, 2021
and 2020 are summarized in the table below.



                          Years Ended December 31,
                            2021             2020
Income:

Premium income $11,792,063 $10,117,110
Net investment income 5,336,048 3,552,261
Net investment gains 142,280 1,967,014
Other income

                 318,854          635,520
Total income            $ 17,589,245     $ 16,271,905




Our 2021 total income increased to $17,589,245, an increase of $1,317,340 or 8%
from the 2020 total income of $16,271,905. The increase is driven by increases
in our premium income and net investment income.  The Company was required to
implement a new accounting standard in 2019 which results in unrealized gains
and losses on equity securities being included in total income. This standard
continues to result in increased volatility in total income.



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The following chart summarizes our four-year trend in total revenue:

                           [[Image Removed: g01.jpg]]



Premium income: Premium income for 2021 was $11,792,063 compared to $10,117,110
in 2020, an increase of $1,674,953 or 17%. The increase was driven by an
increase in direct single and recurring premiums. Even though it is a reduction
in revenue, ceded premium increases reflect the growth of our group policy
premiums as we focused on small companies to assist them with their employee
benefits.


Direct, assumed and ceded premiums for years ended December 31, 2021 and
2020 are summarized in the following table.


            Years Ended December 31,
              2021             2020

Direct    $  8,566,404     $  6,358,043
Assumed      4,301,496        4,682,634
Ceded       (1,075,837 )       (923,567 )
Total     $ 11,792,063     $ 10,117,110



The Company is constantly looking for new products and distribution opportunities.
continue to increase bounty production on a direct and assumed basis.


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Investment income, net of expenses: The components of net investment income for
the years have ended December 31, 2021 and 2020 are as follows:

                              Years Ended December 31,
                                2021             2020

Fixed maturities            $   1,121,170     $ 1,178,055
Mortgages                         378,035         129,621
Equity securities                 617,198         669,147
Funds withheld                  3,421,796       1,680,220
Cash and cash equivalents           1,794          12,501
                                5,539,993       3,669,544
Less investment expenses         (203,945 )      (117,283 )
                            $   5,336,048     $ 3,552,261



Net investment income for 2021 was $5,336,048compared to $3,552,261 in 2020,
an augmentation of $1,783,787 or 50%. This increase in investment income is
primarily due to increased invested assets due to our premium
income, annuity deposits and ALSC 2020 agreement.


Net investment gains (losses): Net investment gains for 2021 were $142,280,
compared to gains of $1,967,014 for 2020, a decrease of $1,824,734. The decrease
in net investment gains is attributable to strong 2020 investment gains. Net
investment gains for 2021 were comprised of $87,712 of unrealized losses in our
equity portfolio and funds withheld asset and realized gains of $229,992. Net
investment gains for 2020 were comprised of $952,667 of unrealized gains in our
equity portfolio and funds withheld asset and realized gains of $1,014,347.
Realized gains and losses related to the sale of securities for the years ended
December 31, 2021 and 2020 are summarized as follows:



                   Years Ended December 31,
                     2021             2020
Gross gains      $    248,891      $ 1,388,209
Gross losses          (18,899 )       (373,862 )
Realized gains   $    229,992      $ 1,014,347




Other income: Other income for the year ended December 31, 2021 was $318,854
compared to $635,520 in 2020, a decrease of $316,666. The decrease in other
income is the result of a gain in 2020 related to the partial recapture of our
2017 ALSC Agreement partially offset by rent collected from a building acquired
in late 2020.



Expenses. Expenses for the year ended December 31, 2021 and 2020 are summarized
in the table below.



                                               Years Ended December 31,
                                                 2021             2020
Expenses:
Death claims                                 $  2,314,682     $  1,943,563
Policyholder benefits                           6,238,032        5,248,470
Increase in policyholder reserves               4,063,488        3,359,609
Commissions, net of deferrals                     772,053          781,400

Amortization of deferred acquisition costs 1,210,345 970,386
Amortization of value of business acquired 92,420

           20,302
Salaries & benefits                             1,350,851        1,219,534
Other operating expenses                        1,893,561        2,429,466
Total expense                                $ 17,935,432     $ 15,972,730




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The following table and graph summarize our four-year spending trend:

        Increase in           Other                                             % of Operating
       Policyholder       Policy-related       Operating         Total            Expense to
Year     Reserves            Expenses          Expenses         Expenses        Total Expense
2018       2,766,169            6,028,730       3,120,524       11,915,423              26%
2019       2,599,575            6,737,672       2,460,989       11,798,236              21%
2020       3,359,609            8,964,121       3,649,000       15,972,730              23%
2021       4,063,488           10,627,532       3,244,412       17,935,432              18%




                         [[Image Removed: chart2.jpg]]



Increases in policyholder reserves represents funds that we maintain and invest
for the future benefit of our policyholders. Other policy-related expenses
represent the other expenses associated with fulfilling our obligations to our
policyholders and producers. Operating expenses represent the costs to operate
the company.



Death claims: Death benefits were $2,314,682 in the year ended December 31, 2021
compared to $1,943,563 for 2020, an increase of $371,119 or 19%. This increase
is attributable to our growing block of in-force pre-need life insurance
policies. We expect these claims to grow as we continue to increase the size of
our in-force business.  The COVID-19 pandemic has increased mortality rates for
the entire United States population.



Policyholder benefits: Policyholder benefits were $6,238,032 in the year ended
December 31, 2021 compared to $5,248,470 in 2020, an increase of $989,562 or
19%. The primary driver of this increase is the growth of interest credited on
our direct and assumed annuities.



Increase in policyholder reserves: Policyholder reserves increased to
$4,063,488 in the year ended December 31, 2021compared to $3,359,609 in 2020,
an augmentation of $703,879 or 21%. The growth in reserves is the result of
increase in pension premiums.

Commissions, net of deferrals: The Company pays commissions to the transferor
company on a block of policies assumed as well as commissions to agents on
business written directly. Commissions, net of deferrals, were $772,053 in the
year ended December 31, 2021compared to $781,400 in 2020, a decrease of
$9,347. This decrease is due to a changing composition of premiums.


Amortization of deferred acquisition costs: The amortization of deferred
acquisition costs ("DAC") was $1,210,345 in the year ended December 31, 2021,
compared to $970,386 in 2020, an increase of $239,859 or 25%. The increase is
driven by the amortization of costs deferred in conjunction with the 2020 ALSC
Agreement. The increase in single pay pre-need policies, where commissions are
deferred and immediately amortized, also contributed to this increase.



Amortization of value of business acquired: The amortization of value of
business acquired ("VOBA") was $92,420 in the year ended December 31, 2021
compared to $20,302 in 2020. In 2021, we began to amortize VOBA associated with
DCLIC's acquisition of policies from ALSC. VOBA is being amortized straight-line
over 30 years.



Salaries and benefits: Salaries and benefits were $1,350,851 for the year ended
December 31, 2021, compared to $1,219,534 in 2020, an increase of $131,317 or
11%. The increase was driven by increased employee compensation costs and
additional team members.



Other expenses: Other operating expenses were $1,893,561 in the year ended
December 31, 2021, compared to $2,429,466 in 2020, a decrease of $535,905 or
22%. Operating costs were driven lower due primarily to the non-recurrence of
two large 2020 expenditures (our pre-paid software asset being recognized as an
expense of $250,000 and expenses associated with implementing a new disability
reinsurance program totaling $50,000) as well as reduced operating costs in
2021.



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Federal income tax benefit: In the year ended December 31, 2021, the Company
recognized a deferred income tax benefit of $680,542. In the year ended December
31, 2020, the Company recognized a deferred income tax benefit of $140,274.

These benefits are the result of reductions in the valuation of deferred tax assets
allocation.

Net Income Our net income was $334,355 in the year ended December 31, 2021
compared to the net result of $439,449 in 2020, a decrease of $105,094. Our net
earnings per share was $0.04 compared to net earnings per share of $0.06 in 2020,
basic and dilute.

The following graph illustrates the four-year trend of our net earnings per share:

                           [[Image Removed: b03.jpg]]


Discussion of the consolidated balance sheet


Assets. Assets have increased to $121,484,834 as of December 31, 2021, an
increase of $6,097,738 or 5% from December 31, 2020 assets of $115m574,997. This
is primarily the result of growth in our funds withheld asset and cash and cash
equivalents.



Available for sale fixed maturity securities: As of December 31, 2021, we had
available for sale fixed maturity assets of $37,942,657, an increase of $265,079
or 1% from the December 31, 2020 balance of $37,677,578. The increase is driven
by purchases of additional fixed maturity securities partially offset by a
decrease in the market value of these securities. If we hold our fixed maturity
securities to maturity any change in market value is temporary.



Equity securities, at fair value: As of December 31, 2021, we had equity assets
of $9,157,193, a decrease of $64,381 or 1% from the December 31, 2020 balance of
$9,221,574. This decrease is the result of normal investment activity.



Mortgage loans on real estate: As of December 31, 2021, we had mortgage loans on
real estate of $3,653,142 an increase of $487,006 or 15% from the December 31,
2020 balance of $3,166,136. The increase is the result of acquiring additional
mortgage loan participations.



Funds withheld under coinsurance agreement, at fair value: As of December 31,
2021, we had funds withheld assets of $49,018,974, an increase of $2,188,898 or
5% from the December 31, 2020 balance of $46,830,076. The growth represents
investment returns in the funds withheld account.



Policy loans: As of December 31, 2021our advances on the police have been $173,341a
increase of $9,616 or 6% of the December 31, 2020 balance of $163,725. the
the increase is the result of normal policy loan activity.

Real estate, net of depreciation: At December 31, 2021we had real estate
assets of $1,403,137 related to the purchase of our home office building, a
decrease of $12,606 from December 31, 2020 balance of $1,415,743. the
the decrease is the result of depreciation.

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Cash and cash equivalents: At December 31, 2021we had cash and cash
active equivalents of $7,955,348an augmentation of $3,634,589 or 84% of the
December 31, 2020 balance of $4,320,759. This increase is the result of cash
being prepared for deployment in invested assets.

Investment income due and accrued: As of December 31, 2021our investment
income due and accrued has been $698,504 compared to $423,036 from The 31st of December,
2020
an augmentation of $275,468 or 65%. This increase is attributable to
investment activity.


Reinsurance related assets: As of December 31, 2021, our reinsurance related
assets were $3,438 compared to $165,082 as of December 31, 2020, a decrease of
$161,644. This decrease is the result of changes in the net settlement due
to/from ALSC under our 2020 ALSC Agreement.



Deferred acquisition costs, net: At December 31, 2021our deferred
acquisition costs were $6,354,875 compared to $7,105,890 from The 31st of December,
2020
a decrease of $751,015 or 11%. The decrease corresponds to the damping of the DAC
related to our ALSC 2020 agreement.


Value of business acquired, net: As of December 31, 2021 our value of business
acquired asset was $2,610,813 compared to $2,703,233 as of December 31, 2020, a
decrease of $92,420 or 3%. The decrease is the result of amortization of VOBA.



Property, equipment and software, net: As of December 31, 2021 our property,
equipment and software assets were $92,785, an increase of $54,967 from the
December 31, 2020 balance of $37,818. This increase is the result of renovation
of our home office.


Good will: Starting the December 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020our goodwill was
$277,542. Good will was created as a result of our merger with NPCC. We have
determined that there was no impairment of our goodwill balance.


Deferred tax asset, net of valuation allowance:  The Company had a net deferred
tax asset of $1,560,767 as of December 31, 2021. The Company had a net deferred
tax asset of $243,257 as of December 31, 2020 and the resulting change in
deferred tax asset was recorded as a deferred tax benefit and as a reduction in
other comprehensive income.


Other assets: Au December 31, 2021our other assets were $582,318a
decrease of $1,053,329 or 65% of the December 31, 2020 balance of $1,635,647.
This decrease is explained by a balance receivable due to DCLIC paid in 2021.

Passives. Our total liability was $103,903,078 from December 31, 2021a
increase of $6,920,773 or 7% of our December 31, 2020 passive of
$96,982,305. This increase is attributable to the growth of our mathematical reserves.


Policy liabilities: Our total policy liabilities as of December 31, 2021 were
$101,026,942 compared to $93,459,080 as of December 31, 2020, an increase of
$7,567,862 or 8%. This increase is the result of the growth of our in-force
business.



Accounts payable and accrued expenses: As of December 31, 2021, our accounts
payable and accrued expenses were $689,065 compared to $1,507,756 as of December
31, 2020, a decrease of $818,691 or 54%. The decrease is driven by the
settlement in the first quarter of a payable to ALSC related to the partial
termination of our 2017 ALSC Agreement offset by income tax payable.



Federal Home Loan Bank advance: As of December 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020,
the Company has outstanding advances of $2,000,000 with the Federal Home Loan
Bank of Topeka.  The advances were taken to create liquidity and investment
opportunities.



Shareholders' Equity. Our shareholders' equity was $17,581,756 as of December
31, 2021, a decrease of $823,035 from our December 31, 2020 shareholders' equity
of $18,404,791. The reduction in shareholders' equity was driven by a decrease
in other comprehensive income offset by our net income. Other comprehensive
income consists of the unrealized gains and losses on our fixed maturity
portfolio. The decrease in other comprehensive income is the result of higher
interest rates which decreases the market value of our fixed maturity
securities.



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Investments

Our investment philosophy is reflected by the allocation of our investments. We
emphasize investment grade debt securities with smaller holdings in equity
securities, mortgages and other investments as well as a significant funds
withheld investment as a result of the 2020 ALSC Agreement. The following table
shows the carrying value of our investments by investment category and cash and
cash equivalents, and the percentage of each to total invested assets as of
December 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020.



                                              December 31, 2021                  December 31, 2020
                                            Fair            Percent            Fair            Percent
                                            Value           of Total           Value           of Total
Fixed maturities:
US Treasury securities                  $     447,765              0.4 %  
$     702,916              0.7 %
Corporate bonds                            21,321,279             19.6 %      22,947,811             22.4 %
Municipal bonds                             6,963,358              6.4 %       6,796,654              6.6 %
Redeemable preferred stocks                 3,621,526              3.3 %       2,990,215              2.9 %
Mortgage backed and asset backed
securities                                  5,588,729              5.1 %       4,239,982              4.1 %
Total fixed maturities                     37,942,657             34.8 %      37,677,578             36.7 %
Mortgage loans                              3,653,142              3.3 %       3,166,136              3.1 %
Equities:
Common stock                                7,319,584              6.7 %       6,808,944              6.6 %
Preferred stock                             1,837,609              1.7 %       2,412,630              2.4 %
Total equities                              9,157,193              8.4 %       9,221,574              9.0 %
Funds withheld                             49,018,974             44.9 %      46,830,076             45.6 %
Real estate, net of depreciation            1,403,137              1.3 %       1,415,743              1.4 %
Cash and cash equivalents                   7,955,348              7.3 %       4,320,759              4.2 %
Total                                   $ 109,130,451            100.0 %   $ 102,631,866            100.0 %




The total value of our investments and cash and cash equivalents increased to
$109,130,451 as of December 31, 2021 from $102,631,866 at December 31, 2020, an
increase of $6,498,585 or 6%. Increases in investments are primarily
attributable to growth in our cash and cash equivalents and in our funds
withheld asset.



The following table shows the distribution of the credit ratings of our
portfolio of fixed maturity securities by carrying value as of December 31, 2021
and 2020.



                                    December 31, 2021              December 31, 2020
                                    Fair          Percent          Fair          Percent
                                   Value         of Total         Value         of Total

AAA and U.S. Government         $    914,862           2.4 %   $  1,160,359           3.1 %
AA                                 9,999,588          26.4 %      8,219,481          21.8 %
A                                  8,140,616          21.5 %      8,587,743          22.8 %
BBB                               15,719,874          41.3 %     16,060,510          42.6 %
BB                                 2,986,117           7.9 %      3,462,685           9.2 %
Not Rated - Private Placement        181,600           0.5 %        186,800           0.5 %
Total                           $ 37,942,657         100.0 %   $ 37,677,578         100.0 %




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The amortized cost and fair value of debt securities as of December 31, 2021 and
2020, by contractual maturity, are shown below. Equity securities do not have
stated maturity dates and therefore are not included in the following maturity
summary. Actual maturities may differ from contractual maturities because
borrowers may have the right to call or prepay obligations with or without call
or prepayment penalties.



                                             As of December 31, 2021               As of December 31, 2020
                                         Amortized Cost       Fair Value       Amortized Cost       Fair Value
Amounts maturing in:
One year or less                        $              -     $          -     $        373,590     $    379,823
After one year through five years              1,987,421        2,087,132            1,540,931        1,641,749
After five years through ten years             2,540,089        2,865,020            2,887,066        3,379,930
More than 10 years                            21,479,533       23,780,250           21,892,891       25,045,879
Redeemable preferred stocks                    3,612,625        3,621,526            2,900,330        2,990,215
Mortgage backed and asset backed
securities                                     5,636,371        5,588,729            4,189,710        4,239,982
Total amortized cost and fair value     $     35,256,039     $ 37,942,657     $     33,784,518     $ 37,677,578



Market risk of financial instruments


We hold a diversified portfolio of investments that primarily includes cash,
bonds, equity securities, mortgage loans, and funds withheld under the 2020 ALSC
Agreement. Each of these investments is subject to market risks that can affect
their return and their fair value. A significant percentage of the investments
are fixed maturity securities including debt issuances of corporations, US
Treasury securities, or securities issued by government agencies. The primary
market risks affecting the investment portfolio are interest rate risk, credit
risk, and equity risk. The Company's investment portfolio, including the
creditworthiness and valuation of investment assets, as well as availability of
new investments may be adversely affected as a result of market developments
related to the COVID-19 pandemic and uncertainty regarding its ultimate severity
and duration.



Interest Rate Risk



Interest rate risk arises from the price sensitivity of investments to changes
in interest rates. Interest represents the greatest portion of an investment's
return for most fixed maturity securities in stable interest rate environments.
The changes in the fair value of such investments are inversely related to
changes in market interest rates. As interest rates fall, the interest and
dividend streams of existing fixed-rate investments become more valuable and
fair values rise. As interest rates rise, the opposite effect occurs.



We work to mitigate our exposure to adverse interest rate movements through
laddering the maturities of the fixed maturity investments and through
maintaining cash and other short term investments to assure sufficient liquidity
to meet our obligations and to address reinvestment risk considerations. Due to
the composition of our book of insurance business, we believe it is unlikely
that we would encounter large surrender activity due to an interest rate
increase that would force the disposal of fixed maturities at a loss.



Additionally, USALSC is a member of the FHLB of Topeka, which provides access to
liquidity and further reduces the likelihood of disposing of fixed maturities at
a loss.



Credit Risk



We are exposed to credit risk through counterparties and within the investment
portfolio. Credit risk relates to the uncertainty associated with an obligor's
ability to make timely payments of principal and interest in accordance with the
contractual terms of an instrument or contract. We manage our credit risk
through established investment policies and guidelines which address the quality
of creditors and counterparties, concentration limits, diversification practices
and acceptable risk levels. These policies and guidelines are regularly reviewed
and approved by senior management and USAC's Board of Directors.



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Cash and capital resources


The impact of COVID-19 on the Company is evolving, and its future effects are
not yet quantified. The Company continues to monitor the effects and risks
of COVID-19 to assess its impact on the Company's business, sales, financial
condition, results of operations, liquidity and capital position.



Premium income, deposits to policyholder account balances, investment income,
and capital raising are the primary sources of funds while withdrawals of
policyholder account balances, investment purchases, policy benefits in the form
of claims, and operating expenses are the primary uses of funds. To ensure we
will be able to pay future commitments, the funds received as premium payments
and deposits are invested in primarily fixed income securities. Funds are
invested with the intent that the income from investments, plus proceeds from
maturities, will in the future meet our ongoing cash flow needs. The approach of
matching asset and liability durations and yields requires an appropriate mix of
investments. Our investments consist primarily of marketable debt securities
that could be readily converted to cash for liquidity needs. Cash flow
projections and cash flow tests under various market interest scenarios are also
performed annually to assist in evaluating liquidity needs and adequacy. As a
member of the Federal Home Loan Bank, USALSC has immediate access to additional
cash liquidity, if needed.



Net cash provided by operating activities was $3,411,873 for the year ended
December 31, 2021. The primary sources of cash from operating activities were
premiums received from policyholders as well as investment income. The primary
uses of cash for operating activities were for payments of commissions to agents
and settlement of policy liabilities. Net cash used in investing activities was
$1,713,117. The primary use of cash was the purchase of fixed maturity and
equity investments. Cash provided by financing activities was $1,935,833. The
primary sources of cash were receipts on deposit-type contracts.



The following table and graph illustrate our four-year cash flow trend from
insurance activities:

                        [[Image Removed: image001.jpg]]



Cash flow from insurance activities is a non-GAAP financial measure. Cash flow
from insurance activities combines cash flow from operations with the net cash
received from deposit type contracts to show the impact of our insurance
operations on our cash flows. Cash flow from deposit type contracts is primarily
made up of funds received into our annuity products. The following table
reconciles cash flow from operations to cash flow from insurance activities:



        Cash Flow       Net Cash Flow         Cash Flow
          From          From Deposit        from Insurance
Year   Operations      Type Contracts         Activities
2018     2,249,068           2,598,564     $      4,847,632
2019     2,270,041           2,176,602     $      4,446,643
2020     2,099,401           4,592,576     $      6,691,977
2021     3,411,873           2,050,078     $      5,461,951




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Contents


At December 31, 2021, we had cash and cash equivalents totaling $7,955,348. We
believe that our existing cash and cash equivalents are sufficient to fund the
anticipated operating expenses and capital expenditures for the foreseeable
future. We have based this estimate upon assumptions that may prove to be wrong
and we could use our capital resources sooner than we currently expect. The
growth of USALSC and DCLIC, our insurance subsidiaries, is uncertain and may
require additional capital as they continue to grow.



Impact of Inflation



Insurance premiums are established before the amount of losses, or the extent to
which inflation may affect such losses and expenses, are known. We attempt, in
establishing premiums, to anticipate the potential impact of inflation. If, for
competitive reasons, premiums cannot be increased to anticipate inflation, this
cost would be absorbed by us. Inflation also affects the rate of investment
return on the investment portfolio with a corresponding effect on investment
income.


Off-balance sheet arrangements


We have no off-balance sheet arrangements that have or are reasonably likely to
have a current or future effect on our financial condition, changes in financial
condition, revenues or expenses, results of operations, liquidity, capital
expenditures or capital resources that is material to investors.



SECTION 7A. QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE INFORMATION ON MARKET RISK

As a “small reporting company”, the Company is not required to provide
disclosure under this section.

New Report: 30% of Montana Borrowers Qualify for Changes to Civil Service Loan Forgiveness | ABC Fox Missoula

February 20, 2022

Montana Loans

Comments Off on New Report: 30% of Montana Borrowers Qualify for Changes to Civil Service Loan Forgiveness | ABC Fox Missoula


MISSOULA, Mont. – Last week, the US Department of Education announced that more than 9 million student borrowers will receive some kind of debt relief, but only for those who qualify to access the program from the public service.

This means that those who weren’t registered before, who weren’t eligible in the past, and who work for a nonprofit can now reapply for credit or defer payments if needed.

This comes after borrowers have not had their payments counted in the past, the program will now re-examine previously declined applications, review payment options and apply credit to your loans

According to a new report per Student Loan Hero, these changes are expected to impact 30% of federal borrowers in Montana and while the program isn’t new, it’s never been perfect.

“What happened recently and there was a big problem with that, it was very difficult to qualify, so it’s something that will forgive your loan in 10 years, federal student loans as long as you work for a non-profit, or for government as well as teachers would be included, police officers, quite a large group,” Student Loan Hero said.

These changes are not permanent, students have until October of this year to register or see if they are eligible for student debt relief.

If you are unsure whether or not you qualify now, we encourage you to contact your lending company directly to find out more.

Stocks fall again, giving Wall Street another losing week | national news

February 18, 2022

Montana Loans

Comments Off on Stocks fall again, giving Wall Street another losing week | national news


Stocks capped a week of volatile trading on Wall Street with a large selloff on Friday that left the major indexes with their second consecutive weekly loss.

The selling lost some momentum in the afternoon, but intensified again in the final hour of trading. The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average each fell 0.7%. The Nasdaq composite bore the brunt of the selloff, however, losing 1.2%.

Treasury yields fell as investors shifted money to the safety of US bonds. The 10-year Treasury yield, which affects rates on mortgages and other consumer loans, fell to 1.93% from 1.97%.

Markets have been choppy all week as investors watch latest developments in Ukrainewhere Russia has amassed troops on the border. The tensions are another concern for investors as they try to determine how the economy will respond to rising inflation and impending interest rate hikes.

“Investors are facing geopolitical risks, Fed tightening and valuation spikes,” said Peter Essele, head of portfolio management for Commonwealth Financial Network. “Any time you get that kind of trifecta scenario, you’re going to see volatility.”

And then there’s the uncertainty about what might happen in Ukraine over this holiday weekend, with US markets set to close on President’s Day on Monday.

“You’re heading into a long weekend with no resolution on Russia or Ukraine, so you’ve got people just going a little sideways,” said Tom Hainlin, national investment strategist at US Bank Wealth Management. .

The S&P 500 fell 31.39 points to 4,348.87. The benchmark index is now 9.3% below its all-time high set on January 3.

The Dow fell 232.85 points to 34,079.18 and the Nasdaq fell 168.65 points to 13,548.07. Shares of smaller companies also fell, sending the Russell 2000 Index down 18.76 points, or 0.9%, to 2,009.33.

Tensions over Russia and Ukraine escalated throughout the week, throwing a snowball as markets focused more on inflation, central bank monetary policy and economic growth. The United States has issued some of its clearest and most detailed warnings yet of how a Russian invasion of Ukraine might unfold, and its Western allies have been on high alert for any attempt by the Kremlin to create a false pretext for a new war in Europe.

Russia is a major energy producer and military conflict could disrupt energy supplies and make energy prices extremely volatile.

Inflation remains a top concern for Wall Street as companies continue to grapple with supply chain issues and higher costs, prompting warnings that operations will suffer for part or all of 2022 General Electric fell 5.9% after warning that inflation pressure and supply chain issues hurt several of its businesses, including healthcare, renewable energy and aviation. He expects the problems to persist for at least the first half of the year.

Video streaming company Roku fell 22.3% after giving investors a weak revenue forecast and warning of ongoing supply chain issues.

Weakness in several large tech stocks, which carry more weight on indexes due to their size, helped drag the market down overall. Intel fell 5.3%.

Retailers and travel-related businesses also lost ground. Amazon lost 1.3% and Royal Caribbean fell 1.7%

Companies considered less risky investments, such as utilities, held up better than the rest of the market.

Investors remain focused on the Federal Reserve and its plan to raise interest rates in order to combat rising inflation. The final minutes of a meeting of Fed policymakers confirmed that the central bank intends to act decisively to fight inflation with higher interest rates. Wall Street is trying to look ahead to determine how more aggressive Fed monetary policy will impact markets, especially after years of more supportive ultra-low interest rate policies.

New York Federal Reserve Chairman John Williams said on Friday that the central bank should start raising interest rates next month to help contain too-high inflation. But he added that rate hikes may not need to start as strong as some have suggested.

“I personally don’t see any compelling case for taking a big step early,” Williams said following an event at New Jersey City University to discuss the economy and interest rates.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Loan relief given to students misled by DeVry for-profit | national news

February 16, 2022

Montana Loans

Comments Off on Loan relief given to students misled by DeVry for-profit | national news


The Biden administration announced on Wednesday it would forgive more than $70 million in student debt for borrowers who say they were defrauded by for-profit DeVry University — the first time the Department of Education has approved such applications for an institution still in operation.

At least 1,800 former DeVry students will get their loans after the department found the school lied about its graduates’ success in order to entice new students to enroll. The agency said it plans to force the school to cover the cost of the $71.7 million loan repayment. The action was part of a larger $415 million tranche of loan relief for former students of for-profit colleges.

“Students rely on the sincerity of their colleges,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a statement. “Unfortunately, today’s findings show too many cases where students have been misled by loans from institutions or programs that have failed to deliver on their promises.”

DeVry spokeswoman Donna Shaults said the allegations predate the school’s current board and leadership. The company was sold in 2018, while the Biden administration’s allegations include a period ending in 2015.

“Nevertheless, we believe the Department of Education is misrepresenting DeVry’s calculation and disclosure of graduate results in certain advertisements, and we disagree with the conclusions they have reached,” Shaults said in a statement. communicated.

Along with the DeVry action, the Department of Education also decided to cancel $344 million in loans for former students of ITT Tech, Westwood College, Corinthian Colleges and other former for-profit colleges. .

It marks another step in the administration’s work to clear a backlog of claims in the Borrower Defense Program, which forgives debt for students who are defrauded by their colleges.

The program has been used to write off the $2 billion in debt of more than 107,000 borrowers, but so far has only provided relief to students after their colleges have closed, leaving taxpayers to cover loan repayments. But in the coming weeks, the Department of Education said it would take steps to hold DeVry financially accountable.

“While helping students is essential, we also want to deter wrongdoing and protect taxpayers,” James Kvaal, undersecretary for the Department of Education, said on a media call.

According to the agency, DeVry made false claims about the success of his graduates from 2008 to 2015.

The school claimed that 90% of its graduates found employment in their field of study within six months of graduation. It became the focus of a national advertising campaign with the slogan “We Major in Careers”.

But the Ministry of Education says the actual placement rate was 58%. More than half of the jobs included in the school’s figure were held by students before they graduated or even enrolled, the agency said. He also alleged that senior DeVry officials knew about the problems with the cipher but continued to use it for years.

Similar Federal Trade Commission allegations led to a $100 million settlement with DeVry in 2016.

The Department of Education has identified about 1,800 borrowers who will be eligible for loan releases because they relied on DeVry’s inflated demand in their decision to enroll. The number is expected to increase as the agency continues to review applications.

The department’s action will also erase student debt for 1,600 borrowers who attended Westwood College, which had 15 campuses before it closed in 2015. The agency found that Westwood also misled students about their likelihood of getting a jobs and good salaries after graduation.

Another 130 former ITT Technical Institute students will receive $3 million in forgiven loans in the latest round of approvals. In the decade before it closed in 2016, the company falsely told students that its nursing program had or would soon gain accreditation, according to the department. But the school has repeatedly failed to gain accreditation, which plays a key role in helping graduates find jobs.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.