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Volume 47, Number 4, Winter  2009

Woody Biomass

Can Forests Fuel Our Future?


Todd A. Morgan

With the closure of Smurfit-Stone Container in Frenchtown and the dismal economic conditions in Montana's forest products industry, developing a biomass energy industry is becoming increasingly important for the state's forests and forest-dependent communities and industry.

Smurfit-Stone Mill Closure Will Have Lasting Impacts on Montana's Economy


Patrick M. Barkey, Todd A. Morgan, and Paul E. Polzin

The closure of Smurfit-Stone will have significant impacts on the Missoula and statewide economies. The BBER estimates that the Frenchtown facility's shutting down will put additional stress on local and state governments dealing with tax declines, lead to significant additional job losses in various industries, and will produce measurable impacts on Missoula's population as mill employees and others are forced to leave the area in search of jobs.

Montanan's Health May be Compromised by Declining Number of Primary Care Physicians


Gregg Davis, Tom Roberts, and Lawrence L. White Jr.

In 2006, the American College of Physicians warned that primary care, the backbone of the nation's health care system, was on the verge of collapse. Primary care providers are vitally important to Montana and without access to them the health of the state's population could be compromised. Gregg Davis, Tom Roberts, and Lawrence L. White Jr. argue that a future in Montana without primary care providers is not an option.

Too Much Junk Food and TV?

"Obesity Epidemic" on Upward Trajectory


Thale Dillon

Though Montana finds itself on the periphery of the 'obesity epidemic', there is no denying that the trend is on an upward trajectory even here. In fact, national trends indicate that today's child population is on track to leading shorter, less healthy lives than their parents for the first time in recent history. However, children in our state are more active and less obese than the U.S. norm, and they spend less time in front of a TV and/or computer screen.

Today's Children, Tomorrow's Business Leaders

Early Childhood Investment Important for Current and Future Workforce


Julie Ehlers

Over one-third of Montana children ages 0-5 have parents who have had to make last-minute changes in their child care arrangements and/or have had their work-life adversely affected by child care problems. Parents of young children make up a large sector of Montana's workforce, making child care and early education important economic and societal issues - not just insulated issues of the home. Early childhood programs and systems affect both the current and future workforce; involving business and community members is critical.