​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​              A daily digest of Montana news

Nov. 12, 2019


Law officers check out the wrecked car of Missoula County Commissioner Juanita Vero, which was totaled Sunday evening when a pickup spun out of control on Highway 200 east of Missoula smashed into her car. Neither Vero nor the driver of the pickup were hurt. Officials reported many crashes on Montana roads Sunday and Monday due to icy conditions, but no fatalities. (Missoulian)


​​​​​​​GOV. Steve Bullock got some valuable air time recently for his presidential campaign. Only trouble is, the exposure was on CNN, which has lost a large portion of its audience in recent years.

CNN's town hall featuring Bullock and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio lured just 402,000 viewers -- the lowest number of the year for all the network's town hall events.

Viewership was down 25 percent overall, and 38 percent for the coveted 25-54 age bracket, compared to the average Sunday numbers for CNN from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

MONTANA has jumped into the top 10 of's annual ranking of best retirement states. More specifically, the Big Sky state finished No. 9 -- ahead of states such as retirement havens Arizona and Nevada.

Montana gots its best mark -- No. 2 -- in the culture category, and a ranking of No. 16 in affordability. Its worst ranking -- no surprise here -- was No. 45 for weather. The state also received a 20 in the well category and a 31 for crime.

The top five states in this year's rankings were Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, South Dakota and Florida. The bottom five were Maryland, New York, Alaska, Illinois, and Washington.

DESPITE making several campaign trips to Iowa, Gov. Steve Bullock didn't win any support in the latest Iowa Poll of who leads in that state among the Democratic presidential contenders.

The poll shows Joe BIden with the lead, with Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg in a close race for second. 

Bullock, who got into the Democratic presidential race late because of Montana's legislative session, didn't garner a single vote. In another part of the poll, 9 percent of those polled said they were actively considering Bullock. But there were 16 other candidates ahead of the Montana Democrat in that category.

Bullock's lack of support so far for his presidential ambitions is threatening his chances of getting on the stage for the first debate. Bullock and Montana Democrats said the rules that may keep him out of the debate are unfair.

MONTANANS enjoy seeing the state at the top of many national rankings, but there's one that doesn't justify much pride: Deaths from drunk driving.

“Montana is actually tied for first place in the entire nation for DUI fatalities,” says Kelley Parker-Wathne, Gallatin County DUI Task Force coordinator. “The alarm bells that go off is just a sad statistic.”

Montana also has a reputation for some of the nation's weakest DUI laws, and the recent legislative session tried to stiffen them. But time ran out on efforts to strengthen the DUI laws at the session's end.

THE COUNTRY is a whopping $22 trillion in debt, so some wags have suggested a reasonable solution: Sell Montana to Canada. 

It isn't a total solution, as they expect Canada to pay just $1 trillion for the Treasure State. But it's a start.

The idea came from Ian Hammond, a petitioner at, who's hoping to get 7,500 signatures for his idea.

“We have too much debt and Montana is useless,” Hammond wrote, with tongue planted in cheek, in support of his plan. “Just tell them it has beavers or something.”

Even some Montanans endorsed the idea. “I'm Montanan and hoping to join Canada without the moving costs,” CJ Williams wrote in support. “Let's do this. Please adopt us.”

"I'm a Montanan and really hope that becoming Canadian makes me a nicer person," said Steve Hammond.

UPDATE: Some Montana legislators have decided to weigh in on the "lets-sell-Montana-to-Canada" petition with a "let's don't" resolution of their own. 

Rep. Forrest Mandeville, R-Columbus, proposed the resolution so lawmakers could have a little fun amidst all the serious issues they wrestle with. 

​Rep. Jessica Karjala, D-Billings, objected, with tongue in cheek, saying: " "What about those of us who would like more maple syrup, better tea and free healthcare?"

"It's still an option to move to Canada," Mandeville replied, according to a report in the Great Falls Tribune.

IN WHAT Montana city can you feel the most safe and secure? It's Kalispell, according to a new study by the National Council for Home Safety and Security.

Next on the list is Bozeman, followed by Helena, Great Falls, and Missoula.

The study was completed primarily to highlight the cities that have had the least amount of violent and non-violent crimes per population, while also bringing awareness to the cities that are more likely to have crime on a per-capita basis, the council said.

The council based its ratings on FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting statistics and combining those with its internal population research. The study indicated that Montana has some of the highest rates of property crime on a per-capita basis. The violent crime rate also is significantly above the national average.



Snow storm leads to crashes across Montana, but no fatalities

Gubernatorial candidates Fox, Olszewski to debate in Helena

Canadian front brings 'incredibly cold' temperatures to Montana

Early season snowstorm boosts snowpack high above average

Plans to pair Hardin power plant and bitcoin mine appear to falter

Report: State has 11 high-hazard dams in poor condition

Garrison's Debra Crow named state's history teacher of the year

Medicaid work requirements won't take effect in January

NorthWestern wants almost $24M in rate hikes for unexpected costs

Billings boy, 15, charged with accidental shooting death of girl

ATV driver dies after trying to make U-turn in front of logging truck

Tester says impeachment issue being used as excuse to slow Senate

Legislators to study annual sessions

Millions at stake as court hears arguments in dinosaur case

State settles with women's prison inmate in religious rights case

Former Blackfeet chair admits role in defrauding Head Start of $174K

Jury convicts former sheriff of misconduct, but passes on felony charges

Missoula police investigate explosion at bank ATM

Montana researcher explains what motivates poachers

Former East Glacier teacher gets 2 years for sex assault of student

Tester co-sponsors bill to boost funding on northern border

Miles City school district to pay $9M to victims of athletic trainer

MSU bucks national trends in enrollment, spending

PSC approves $6.5 million rate hike for NorthWestern customers

Lewis & Clark Co votes for nonpartisan elections; Gallatin Co rejects

State, feds agree to ramp up 'Good Neighbor' timber projects

Petitions call for management changes for popular Madison River

Helena's Shodair Hospital had numerous escapes before July 15 death

Decoy cop car totaled at Somers after truck smashes into it

State agrees to remove ex-offenders from convict website

3 buildings go up in flames in West Yellowstone


Billings' Red Lion Hotel suddenly closes doors

65% of Butte's folk festival visitors from outside Montana

Judge orders former Helena car dealer to pay $2.5 million

Colorado outdoor gear firm opening Bozeman store

Hutterite colonies big contributors to Montana's economy

State takes another step in cleanup of former smelter site at E. Helena

California shoe company moves operations to Missoula



Big Sky title on line as Weber heads to Montana for showdown

Pridgett scores 30 to lead Griz past upset-minded MSU-Northern

MSU wallops Rocky 93-60

UM coach Hauck says team 'probably a year ahead' of where expected

QB Sneed subs in to lead Griz to 42-17 win over Idaho

MSU smothers Northern Colorado 45-14 in road win

Louie-McGee balances football, fatherhood in record career

Helena's Great Divide Sky Area opens Saturday

Second-half run pushes Stanford to 73-62 win over Montana



Grizzlies are a lot smarter and more adaptable than we think

For some, there's an extra step required for return of ballots this year

Stapleton's race is already over, he just doesn't know it yet

State's reaction to vaping is nothing more than smoke and mirrors

Agency's gall in honoring inspector who harassed MT meat processors

American Prairie Reserve: Does it really add up?

Gianforte playing hardball in GOP gubernatorial primary


Iconic Izaak Walton Inn keeps improving, expanding

Charlie Sheen directs Tim Montana's latest music video

The seeds of Scientology were planted in Kalispell and Helena

Projects cast light on Montana's Hutterites

Writer takes a look back at 1996 Alberton derailment, chlorine spill

Montana man enjoys rare hobby: Collecting hovercraft

Preserving Will James Collection, and legacy, as complicated as he was

The science behind the beauty of Montana's fall colors


'The Daily Show' host Trevor Noah coming to Bozeman April 25

Cher plans Billings concert April 26

Kenny Chesney to play at MSU's Bobcat Stadium on July 5

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