​​​​​​​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 Bankrate.com'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 Change.org, 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.


A trumpeter swan cygnet airs out its wings recently near its sibling and parents on a pond at the Lee Metcalf Wildlife Refuge in the Bitterroot Valley. (Ravalli Republic)

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

Oct. 20, 2019



Vaping industry spends a lot influencing state policy

Democrats in governor's primary: Rivals but buddies

Tester asks EPA to help deal with hazardous toxins flowing from Canada

New $100M events center epitomizes Missoula's rapid growth

Prescribed burns across state targets weeds, fuel buildup

Final cleanup deal reached among Butte Superfund parties

Marshals arrest inmate who escaped from Jefferson County jail

Judge temporarily blocks governor's ban on flavored vaping products

Man accused of shooting 2 men after Bozeman bar fight

Lee Metcalf Refuge's swan cygnet are taking flight

Former Anaconda athlete sentenced for rape

Trial alleging FBI botched investigation of 2005 killing to go forward

Vape shop owners ask judge for injunction on state ban

Man convicted of killing Tester's nephew gets life sentence

Man faces 30 years in prison for role in accident that killed 2

Butte counselor faces 15 charges related to Medicaid fraud

US House votes to name Missoula post office after Jeannette Rankin

Billings homeowners say leakage from canal ruining their homes

Agreement reached for final cleanup plan for Butte cleanup site

Bullock leads several bigger Democratic names in latest Iowa poll

State climate solutions council to issue final plan in June

PSC candidate: Deregulation, high cost paid for dams were bad ideas

2 grizzly cubs killed by train near Trego

Judge: Man who crashed into Bozeman federal building mentally unfit

State says Montana teen has died from vaping illness

Double homicide suspect accused of torturing juvenile in Great Falls

Talcum powder spill closes part of I-90 near St. Regis

Valier official says school video called racist was 'misinterpreted'

UM faculty union files grievance against school

Former gun safety instructor gets 3.5 years for death of hunting partner

Sheriff changing communication strategy after Helena false bomb scare

Trains carrying liquid propane derail at Helena

Lt. Gov. Cooney wants governor candidates to pledge to limit donations

Bomb scare at Helena school turns out to be false alarm

Helena school evacuated after explosive device found on play area


Judge blocks Trump attempt to ease rules on mining, drilling

Federal judge deals setback to proposed Cabinet Mountains mine

Missoula on-line dating app aims to raise $2M from investors

Regulators seek expedited study of reliability of power grid

Deposit of potential fracking sand could be boon for Bakken oil

Bozeman airport adding direct flights to Seattle

Large hemp processing plant comes to Libby



No. 15 Sacramento State wallops No. 5 Montana, 49-22

Missoula resident sues UM, Griz player over injuries from fight

Former Cat Alex Singleton promoted to Eagles' active roster

UM's Pridgett says all-league honor gives him more incentive

MSU's Frey also picked for all-league team

1 Lady Griz, 2 Lady Cats named to preseason all-league team

Kalispell's Brock Osweiler retires from NFL

Transfer Amin Adamu brings lots of athleticism to Bobcats



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

Those benefiting from LWCF now acting like entitled greedheads

Why didn't Stapleton show up at clerks' meeting to discuss elections?

Was Montana Sen. Thomas Walsh murdered in 1933?

Tester was wrong to talk of need to 'punch' Trump


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

New movie 'Mickey and the Bear' takes look at small-town Montana

After 25 years, the mystery of Nelson McNair's death still lingers


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

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