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Montana’s Unemployment Rate at 4.5%

HELENA – Montana’s unemployment rate again dropped slightly in October, down 0.1 percentage points to 4.5%.  The unemployment rate has decreased by 0.8 percentage points since January.  The U.S. unemployment rate also decreased by 0.1 percentage points to 5.8%.

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Locals optimistic about business climate in central Montana

The number of building permits issued by the city this year indicates businesses and homeowners are optimistic about the community. City Manager Kevin Myhre told KXLO News:   

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City looking at fee increase for Civic Center

The Lewistown Civic Center is a popular place for all ages and the City Commission is looking at increasing usage fees.   City Manager Kevin Myhre has more on the possible increase.

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Montana News - AP

GAY MARRIAGE-LICENSES

Clerks object to issuing same-sex marriage license

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Some employees in the Yellowstone County clerk's office object to processing same-sex wedding licenses and won't be asked to do so, at least for now.

Yellowstone County Clerk Kristie Lee Boelter says one deputy clerk has religious objections while three other deputies object on moral grounds. Boelter says the county's human relations director made the decision to exempt those employees from issuing same-sex marriage licenses after consulting with the county attorney's office.

Boelter says the decision was based in part on the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which makes it illegal for employers to discriminate based on factors that include religion.

Boelter says she isn't happy with the decision. She says the office's 20 deputy clerks have taken an oath to uphold the law.

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BLM closes Missouri Breaks recreation areas for winter

(LEWISTOWN, Mont.) - The Bureau of Land Management will close the James Kipp and Coal Banks Landing Recreation Areas for the winter season from Dec. 1, 2014 through approximately March 31, 2015 or until river ice conditions abate to allow safe boating on the Missouri River. 

The closures are for public safety and budgetary constraints.

Public safety is a concern at Kipp, because the road down into the recreation area becomes icy and vehicles frequently have difficulty getting back up the hill to the highway. Historically, this has generated a significant number of calls from stranded members of the public.

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Hobson School choir to sing at Carnagie Hall in NYC

Hobson School has something big to sing about.  Their choir will be going to Carnegie Hall in New York City in late March to participate in a concert with other kids from through-out the world.

Parent, Vera Benson, and students Brook Benson and Carolyn Deleo talked about their plans on KXLO-Live.

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Montana League of Cities and Towns hires new Executive Director

The Montana League of Cities and Towns is pleased to announce the hiring of its new Executive Director, Tim Burton.  Burton is leaving his position as Governor Bullock’s Chief of Staff to return to his passion of local government.

Burton has a long and successful career in both Montana state and local government with over 30 years executive experience including Chief of Staff for the MT Attorney General, City Manager of the City of Helena and Chief Administrative Officer for Lewis & Clark County.  He also has over 24 years of legislative advocacy and lobbying experience.  

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Bullock on Marriage Equality Ruling: “We are closer to fulfilling our promise of freedom, dignity, and equality for all Montanans”

HELENA - Governor Steve Bullock today released the following statement on the court ruling bringing marriage equality to Montana. 

“Today’s decision ensures we are closer to fulfilling our promise of freedom, dignity, and equality for all Montanans. It is a day to celebrate our progress, while recognizing the qualities that bind us as Montanans: a desire to make a good life for ourselves and our families, while providing greater opportunities to the next generation.

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Great Falls Airport gets ready for holiday travel

The Great Falls International Airport is preparing for a lot of passengers who travel from central Montana to the airport, and whose final destination is central Montana during the holidays.  Airport Director John Faulkner is proud of the facility that recently underwent a lot of remodeling and changes. 

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Lewistown prepares for annual Christmas Stroll

The start of the holiday season begins with a lot of shopping for the Thanksgiving meal, followed by a busy Main street observance the following day - Lewistown’s Christmas Stroll.  Chamber of Commerce Director Connie Fry has a list of events for the occasion:  

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3rd Annual Bright Country Lights holiday light show prepares for the season

The 3rd Annual Bright Country Nights drive-through holiday light show will entertain central Montana for three night’s this year.  The display at the central Montana Fairgrounds will have at least 40 displays and there’s still room for more.  Jennifer Saunders, Publicity Chairman, said there’s no charge to set up a display and there’s room for a few more.  

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DAR Good Citizen Awards for 2014 announced

In 1934 the DAR Good Citizen Pilgrimage was created.  The purpose of the program is to recognize and reward high school seniors who exemplify the quality of a good citizen.  

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ELKS club of Lewistown raises funds for charitable causes

The Elks Club in Lewistown is in the process of raising funds for various youth and charitable causes.  Barb Thomas and J.R Rutherford explain how a party this time of year helps to support a variety of activities throughout central Montana.

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Central Montana residents help organize Operation Christmas Child

Central Montana residents are invited to participate in Operation Christmas Child by providing a shoebox full of gifts.  Lee Lantzer has instructions to help with gifts that go around the world.

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Headstart holding Car Seat Clinic Friday

Headstart will be holding a Car Seat Clinic this Friday. Jessica Pierce and Marcie Rohrer are hoping for a good turnout with information adults will find helpful.

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City acts on plans to annex areas bordering Lewistown

Annexation plans for certain areas that bordering Lewistown were discussed and acted on during Monday night’s City Commission meeting.  The process to finalize that goal still has a few more steps.  City Manager Kevin Myhre says those plans include letters of intent for those who will be affected.

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Low grades for Montana infrastructure

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - A group of professional engineers say in a report slated for release Tuesday that Montana schools, wastewater treatment facilities and other infrastructure have slid into disrepair and are in need of investment.

The "report card" on the state's infrastructure comes from the state chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

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State launches new program to address underage drinking in Montana

The Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) is launching a new program this month that aims to reduce the sale of alcohol to minors in Montana. 

The Alcohol Reward and Reminder Program is an evidenced-based program developed to educate and/or reward local businesses for their efforts to keep alcohol out of the hands of minors. It’s part of a five-year grant recently awarded to DPHHS called the Partnership for Success Grant, which addresses the prevention of underage drinking among 12 to 20-year-olds.

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Secretary of State Linda McCulloch launches new online business toolkit

Helena, Montana- On Tuesday, November 18th Secretary of State Linda McCulloch launched a new online tool aimed at helping the business community. 

The Business Toolkit offers eight different types of tools that walk business owners through all filing procedures pertaining to the Secretary of State’s office, while reducing filing times and increasing efficiency.

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Judith Basin water high in nitrates, MSU specialists studying the area

The central Montana Judith Basin has become an area of study concerning the affects of soil nitrogen. Three Montana State University specialists visited about the study on KXLO-Live. According to Clain Jones, Adam  Sigler, and Stephanie Ewing: 

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