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Former US Senator Conrad Burns died Thursday at the age of 81 in Billings. He served in the Senate from 1989 until 2007. (MTN)
THE THEME song of Montana City must be artist Pharrell's "Happy." Because the little burg a few miles south of the state's capital city is the nation's third happiest city, according the online web site Zippia.
“We certainly didn’t see it coming, not because we don’t think it’s right; but simply because, who has Montana City on their places to visit list?" say the folks at Zippia. "Well, we certainly do now. It’s one of the least impoverished, most employed, and houses some of the most married residents (in their own houses, of course) in the entire country. It’s like the warm blanket fresh out of the dryer of places.”
As you can see from what Zippia had to say about Montana City, three of the criteria used to measure a city's "happiest" included the amount of poverty, jobless rates,and marriage levels, because getting and staying married generally has happiness benefits. Other measures: Length of commutes to work, home ownership, and costs of living.
If you live in Montana City, and are unhappy and want a change, you might try moving to Frontenac, Mo. That was No. 1 on Zippia's list.
Eugene's, which also won last year's contest, beat out 59 competitors over three rounds of voting conducted over three weeks. About 30,000 votes were cast online.
Pretty impressive, considering Glasgow is about as far as you can get from Montana's population centers. Eugene's pizzas must be pretty darn good, and its customers pretty darn loyal. It might be worth a drive. But if you find that a bit far to go, Eugene's will overnight deliver its pizzas half-cooked.
Eugene's competition in the final four were Nalivka's of Havre, Howard's Pizza of Great Falls, and MacKenzie River Pizza Company.
“The people of Montana have spoken: the best pizza in Montana can be found on the Hi-Line,” said a Montana Mint spokesman. “Eugene’s recipe for success seems to be great pizza and a VERY loyal fan base. Their fans came up huge on social media, which ended up being the difference. Eugene’s is turning into the Duke University of Montana pizza.”
LIKE OTHER Americans, Montanans will flock to church on Easter. But there probably will be fewer of them filling the pews in Montana than there are in other parts of the country. Montanans just tend to be less religious than do Americans in other regions.
According to the Association of Religion Data Archives, Montana ranked 40th in terms of church membership in 2010. Many of the other states with low church membership were, like Montana, in the Rocky Mountain region or the West.
Still, there were a few exceptions to that trend, The state with the nation's highest rate of church membership is Utah, while North Dakota is second.
WOULD YOU mind shelling out extra money every time you put gas in the tank if the revenue was used to improve the roads you drive on? Montanans apparently are, if a survey by the state's Chamber of Commerce is an accurate gauge.
A poll done for the Chamber in February of 800 Montana voters found that, by a 52 to 41 percent margin, Montanans are willing to pay a higher gas tax to fund work on roads and bridges.
The margin of support for a gas tax hike jumped to 56-28 when those polled were told the tax was last raised in 1993, that lower-priced fuel has reduced gas tax revenue, and that highway construction costs have risen by 68 percent.
So how much should the tax be raised? Almost half -- 47 percent -- said by 5 cents a gallon, while 30 percent were willing to see a 10 cent hike. Fourteen percent would pay more than 10 cents a gallon.
HOW WOULD you rate Helena as a state capital compared to the other 49? The folks at WalletHub.com, a financial blog, rank Helena the country’s 9th best capital.
WalletHub’s rankings are based on four key measures: affordability, economy, education standards, and quality of life. It used 35 metrics in those categories to come up with rankings for each city. You can go here to see all the rankings.
Finishing ahead of Helena were Austin, Tex., Lincoln, Neb., Bismarck, N.D., Madison, Wis., Raleigh, N.C., Boise, Id, Montpelier, Vt., and Pierre, S.D.
Last on the list are Hartford, Conn., Carson City, Nev., and Montgomery, Ala.
A daily digest of Montana news
April 30, 2016