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Friday Five: August 30, 2019

Check out these five stories from across Montana that highlight entrepreneurs and other great events going on in Montana!

Dusan Smetana; Guest Photographer - Upland bird hunter and dog in eastern Montana

1. Alaska Airlines to Launch Daily Nonstop Service from Missoula to LAX

On Wednesday, Alaska Airlines announced plans to extend its service across the Pacific Northwest with eight new flights out of Missoula.

One of the new flights will be a daily nonstop flight from Missoula to Los Angeles. The fight is set to begin on March 19. According to the Missoula Current, LAX represents the fourth largest market for Missoula travels, but it has lacked nonstop, year-round service until now.

“Alaska Airlines now provides service to three destinations year-round, including Seattle, Portland and now Los Angeles,” said Jeff Roth, chair of the airport authority in the Missoula Current story. “We’re thankful for the airline’s commitment to our community and appreciate the investment they have made to serve the transportation needs of our region.”

To read more about this story, click here.

2. Montana Wineries Have Grape Expectations

When you think of wineries, do you think of Montana? If you think of the Napa Valley, one Montana grape grower is hoping to change your mind.

According to a story from KTVH, two-thirds of Montana’s 17 wineries use fruit from other states. Larry Robertson, who runs a small vineyard in his Polson home, says viticulture could be vital to Montana’s tourism and economy. Hybrid grapes, such as the Marquette variety, can handle the Treasure State’s frigid winters.

“I realized several years ago, and I started talking about it, that we’re gonna raise the highest quality cold-hardy grapes in the world,” Robertson told MTN News.

Click here to read the full story and watch a video story.

3. Glacier Opens Astronomical Observatory at St. Mary

This week, Glacier National Park opened up a new astronomical observatory at St. Mary. According to the Flathead Beacon, the facility will house one of the largest telescopes in the state and the National Park Service. The telescope is 20 inches and will allow visitors to see distant planets, galaxies and nebulae.

To learn more about the telescope, click here.

4. Taking Flight: Two Bozeman Companies Take To The Skies

As part of his Navy SEAL training, Tim Sheehy came to Montana for mountain training before he went to Afghanistan. Sheehy, a Minnesota native, found many similarities between his home state and Montana. So when he wanted to start his company, Bozeman fit the bill.

“I love the area and I’m a big skier so I like being near skiing,” he said. “Bozeman was specifically chosen mainly because of the fertile business community and because of MSU; laser optics and photonics industry that have arisen from those two factors convinced me that sooner or later that environment would be critical to our growth.”

Now almost five years later, Sheehy and his two companies have grown beyond the borders of Montana.

Click here to read the rest of the story!

5. Frosty Ice Cream Truck Replica Returns to Restore the 60s, Literally and Figuratively

A Great Falls staple has returned to town, but this time in a 1969 Dodge Step Van. A family of three entrepreneurs, the Browns, are the owners of the new Frosty of Montana ice cream truck. According to the Great Falls Tribune, this is the family’s first business venture.

“It’s been really fun seeing the kids so excited and running towards the truck and excited to pick out what they want and how smiley they are,” Michelle Brown said in the Great Falls Tribune article.

You can follow Frosty on Facebook (@frostyofmontana) for updates and posts of what neighborhoods the truck will be in. Click here to learn more about this family venture in Great Falls.

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