Leonard Higgins of Oregon, far left, sits in a Choteau County courtroom where he went on trial Tuesday on charges of criminal trespress and shutting down a gas pipeline near Big Sandy. Higgins is defending his actions by saying they were necessary to stop climate change. (Great Falls Tribune)


The top story on the front page of Wednesday's Helena Independent Record took a look at donations GOP Congressman Greg Gianforte has given to conservation organizations that are allegedly trying to dismantle federal campaign finance rules. 

The same story also ran in Montana's other Lee Newspapers, and was attributed to the Center for Public Integrity, a group most Montanans probably have never heard of. The center, which describes itself as a nonprofit news organization, is based out of Washington, D.C., and has called itself "strictly nonpartisan."

But the New York Times and Los Angeles Times have both described it as "liberal," while Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, a self-described progressive media watchdog, also has labeled the center as progressive. According to Wikipedia, the center's funding comes from various liberal foundations, including George Soros' Open Society Foundations.

So don't the Lee editors owe their readers an explanation for their decision to turn over such prime news space to a group widely viewed as left-of-center? Especially at a time when polls show that readers, especially those on the right, say they don't trust the media to be fair? This recent Gallup poll, for example, showed only 27 percent of Americans said they had a lot of trust in newspapers.

MONTANANS love their huckleberries. But what would they think about the tasty fruit on their burgers? Now we've got a chance to find out.

​James Monroe, the Eureka chef who won the nation-wide best burger competition in 2009 with a Cajun-inspired creation on the "Live! with Regis and Kelly" TV show, is back with a new artisan burger that's topped off with a splotch of huckleberry ice cream.

Sounds yummy. Or not. Guess we'll have to try one to find out.

Anyway, because of his burger victory, Monroe's been invited to serve his prize-winning Bubba burgers, as well as the new huckleberry burgers, at a reception that follows the lighting of the Capitol Christmas Tree in Washington, D.C., in early December. The 70-foot-tall spruce is being harvested in the Kootenai Forest, not many miles away from the Front Porch Grill that Monroe and his wife, Andi, run in Eureka

THE POLICE blotter reports in Montana newspapers offer some of the most amusing -- and perhaps insightful -- commentaries on human nature.

Take this recent item in the Flathead Beacon: "A Canadian called the sheriff’s office and asked, 'What the heck is going on down there?' It’s unclear if anyone had an answer to that question."​​


BUTTE native Rob O'Neil, the Navy SEAL who killed Osama bin Laden, recently enjoyed dinner at the White House with his new bride, Jessica.

After the dinner, O'Neil lauded Trump as a "great host." As a conservative and a commentator on Fox News, O'Neil was a backer of Trump. But he's also spoken positively of former President Barack Obama.

O'Neil, 41, was married this past summer to Jessica Halprin, 27. Among the guests were his friend, Kid Rock, the Michigan rock 'n roller and potential Senate candidate. 

O'Neil met Halprin, who works in public relations, in 2015 while on a speaking tour. "I had to ask who he was," Halprin said of her now husband. As time went on, Halprin learned there was a lot more to O'Neil than the military operation he was most famous for, according to the Daily Mail.

AFTER he finished his term as governor and led President George W. Bush's 2004 re-election campaign, former Gov. Marc Racicot dropped out of sight for years. Even close friends were left wondering what had happened to the once-popular politician.

But now Racicot, who lives on Swan Lake, is stepping back into the public eye with a speech at Flathead Lake Community College Monday evening on "The Meaning of Leadership." His primary focus will be on the late Senate Majority Leader and Ambassador Mike Mansfield of Montana.

Racicot told the Flathead Beacon he was stepping back into the limelight because he was impressed by the growth of FVCC and because he always admired Mansfield, with whom he had a chance to spend quite a bit of time. 

"He was courageous," Racicot said of Mansfield. "Because of the way he led with such humility and a quiet thoughtful touch with those he served with, he was able to accomplish extraordinary things. But he never would take credit for it. That was probably one of the secrets to his success."

Racicot, who also chaired the Republican National Committee in 2002 and 2003, also decried the current political climate, which he described as a "an all-or-nothing mentality frequently and maybe always." Yet he said he remains hopeful as Americans are resilient and are people of good faith.


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

Nov. 22, 2017



Court hears testimony about damage to pipeline by climate activist

Bozeman man charged with stabbing his father to death

State work-comp fund sues to stop $30M transfer OK'd by lawmakers

Opponents of Yellowstone-area mine want Gianforte to join their cause

Columnist blocked by journalism school dean coming to UM after all

Whitefish Energy stops work in Puerto Rico, saying its owed over $83M

State trust lands generate $86.2 million in revenue

Transgender sex offender sentenced to Deer Lodge prison for girl's rape

Pain doctor found guilty in overdose deaths of 2 patients

Commissioner: Missoula mayor didn't properly report campaign funds

Be cautious about donating through store checkout charities

Jury convicts Great Falls man of killing his wife

Climate activist goes on trial for shutting down pipeline near Big Sandy

Kalispell man stabbed a dozen times at party

Interior: No wrongdoing involving Zinke's wife and travel

OPI: Tara's Law doesn't require sex abuse curriculum

Regents OK new president for UM, new dorm for MSU

2 brothers charged after 10 years of alleged poaching in central MT

Woman recovers from 'internal decapitation' injury while snowmobiling

Wind gusts of up to 80 mph expected along Front early Monday

2 Great Falls men charged with using baseball bats in fracas

Officials struggle to pull together fragmented University System

Regents approve OK new MSU engineering building after Asbjornson

A century ago, another Senate hopeful wooed teen girls

State Rep. Rosendale of Billings resigns as he's moving to Great Falls

Documents say Gianforte misled investigators after assault of reporter

Hardin coal-fired generating plant could close in early 2018

State will stop plowing at some of its parks on Dec. 1


United Airlines to offer direct flights from Kalispell to LA next summer

Idaho company buying St. Regis stud mill

Flathead firm continues to innovate, grow in battery industry

State to switch from lottery to bidding in liquor licensing system

Activists, Washington officials want to speed up closure of Colstrip

Flathead seasonings firm adds spice to Montana meals

Big Sky named second best ski resort in US


MSU's Troy Anderson named top fresman in Big Sky

Griz rally but can't catch UC-Santa Barbara

Cats knock off Binghamton in Cancun tourney,74-64

UM fires Bob Stitt as coach of football team after 3 years

Griz hold off Oral Roberts rally to win 69-64

Transfer James Akoh steps up his game at UM

Fairfield's Barta leads Gonzaga to 70-55 win over Lady Griz

Louisiana Tech defeats Bobcats, 71-58



After session, budget cuts will start to have real-world impacts

Lawmakers get the job done -- maybe

State officials must get behind effort to repeal law fueling opioid crisis

Supreme Court once again shows its bias by tossing Marsy's Law

GOP Senate candidate out of line with attack on judge, FWP

Gov. Judy Martz -- a Montana original

Paying a high price for social media, cell phones

More thought should be put into national park fee reforms

UM Journalism School shouldn't turn away conservative speaker


Latinos make their impact on Montana history

PBS takes a look at MT's patron saint of art: Charlie Russell

At 90, Kalispell retiree makes artistic debut

After 56 years, Lewistown's Big Spring Creek gets its meanders back

This Montana vet is a rare breed -- he served in 3 wars

Malta rancher Wallace Coburn parlayed cowboy skills into movie career

The late Dorothy Johnson set great example as a writer, person



Rebecca Farm to host Flathead skijoring competition Dec. 30-31

Rod Stewart doing his 1st Montana concert in Billings April 14

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