A daily digest of Montana news

Oct. 1, 2014






Great Falls






Miles City




Billings Gazette

Bozeman Chronicle

Montana Standard

Flathead Beacon

Havre Daily News

Daily Interlake

Livingston Enterprise

Great Falls

Helena IR

Miles City Star



Bozeman Magpie

The Flint Report

Last Best News

The Lowdown
Great Falls Tribune (blog)

Make  It Missoula

Mountain  West News



Belgrade News

Bigfork Eagle

(Big Sky) Lone
 Peak Lookout

Billings Outpost


Cascade Courier

(Chester) Liberty
 County Times

Choteau Acantha

(Columbia Falls)
Hungry Horse News

(Columbus) Stillwater
 County News


Cut Bank
Pioneer Press

Dillon Tribune

(Eureka) Tobacco
 Valley News

Glasgow Courier


 Ravalli Republic

(Hardin) Big Horn
 County News

(Huson) Clark
 Fork Chronicle

Laurel Outlook


 Western News

Missoula Independent

Char-Koostra News

 (Polson) Lake
 County Leader

 (Red Lodge)
Carbon County News

Seeley Swan Pathfinder

Shelby Promoter

Sidney Herald-Leader

(Sidney) The Roundup

 Bitterroot Star

(Thompson Falls)
Sanders Co. Ledger

Townsend Star


West Yellowstone

Whitefish Pilot

Government News for MT


THE MOST popular brand names in Montana? Dodge, Amazon, and Prilosec, according to research based on Google searches done by Montanans.

Really? Sounds odd, doesn't it?

You'd think that NorthWestern Energy might have been one of the top three, as it has been in the news a lot lately due to its purchase of PPL's dams. Or maybe a company like Budweiser, since Montanans not only like their beer, but they grow much of the barley used to produce it.

WHEN IT comes to taxes, which state is the fairest of them all? Montana is, according to a survey done by WalletHut, a personal-finance site. Really?

Even a lot of Montanans will be surprised by that finding, thinking they pay an awful lot in taxes. But they actually tend to pay less than taxpayers in other states. Why?

Because Montana is one of only five states with no general sales tax. And to make up for that lack of revenue, the state takes a bigger chunk of change from energy producers and big property holders.

Interestingly, both liberals and conservatives who were surveyed ranked Montana as the fairest state in terms of taxation. Now, how often do you see folks on either side of the political spectrum agree on something, especially an important issue like taxes?

Makes you wonder why Montana's tax system isn't more of a model for other states.

IF YOU, as a Montanan, spend much time fretting over natural disasters, you are wasting your time. Why's that? Because you are living in what is one of the safest -- if not the safest -- states in the country, according to Time magazine.

Time recently analyzed all the natural disasters that regularly strike the country, and charted out the number of deaths caused by those disasters on a county-by-county basis. The magazine included earthquakes, hurricanes, wind chills, avalanches, drought, floods, deluges, high tides, tornado, and wildfires.

It found, lo and behold, that the safest county in the country was Montana's Sweet Grass County, with Wheatland County No. 3  No. 2 was Washington County in Idaho. 

The most dangerous counties were in New Jersey, which had been struck by Hurricane Sandy, and California.

ACTOR Jon Voight, who has starred in dozens of films and TV shows, including Coming Home, for which he won an Oscar, was in the Glasgow area recently researching a new movie role.

Voight spent a couple days with the Etchart, Cornwall and Page ranch families to help prepare him for a film he's doing about a patriot American rancher, says Montana radio broadcaster Aaron Flint. 

He also had some time to polish his bartending skills, where he thrilled customers by serving drinking at the Montana Bar Friday evening.

JIM MESSINA, a University of Montana graduate and President Obama's campaign manager, got hitched last weekend in Paradise Valley to Dr. Tara Cromley.

Guests came from more than 20 states and six countries, and including China Ambassador Max Baucus, one of Messina's former bosses. Many other former Obama staffers were on hand, as was former Google CEO Eric Schmidt.

MONTANANS are proud to see the state show up on a lot of national "top five" lists. But here's one that no Montana politician would want to show up on: Washington Post's list of the most disastrous campaigns of 2014.

Winning the honors, of course, at No. 5 is Montana Sen. John Walsh.

The Post noted that Walsh started the year on an up note when he was appointed to the US Senate, giving him more visibility as he geared up his Senate campaign. His fundraising picked up. But then the New York Times dropped a bombshell: News that Walsh had plagiarized a large part of the paper he submitted for his master's degree. Walsh dropped out of the race, and was replaced by fellow Democrat Amanda Curtis of Butte.

"He may be off the ballot," The Post said of Walsh, "but that achievement did land him on another list: the five most spectacular political flameouts of 2014 -- so far."

SEN. JON Tester and his wife Sharla got stuck in the nation's capital during the debt-ceiling crisis in the summer 2011. There was a lot of down time -- the sort of idle period when Tester would normally scoot back to Montana to schmooze with voters and work on his farm. But the Democratic senator didn't dare leave town because of the prospect of last-minute votes aimed at averting the debt crisis.

So what did Tester and his wife do to fill the time? We'll let Dave Parker, Montana State political science professor, tell the story.

THE INDUSTRIAL Workers of the World, also known as the Wobblies, were a colorful part of Montana's history a century ago. Union recruiters focused on miners and lumberjacks, making Montana a key target. But the radical views of IWW organizers often turned off Montanans.

"The most extreme of America's pre-World War I labor groups, the IWW rejected political action, arbitration, and binding contracts," says historian Pamela Toler. "Instead they put their faith in the strike and nothing but the strike. Inspired by European syndicalism, the IWW wanted to organize all workers into 'One Big Union," with the ultimate goal of a revolutionary general strike that would overthrow capitalism and create a workers' society."

The Wobblies were so extreme -- and low in numbers -- that they ended up playing into the hands of corporate powers. Some Montanans speculated that the Wobblies were really corporate plants, brought in to forment resentment against all unions, including more moderate ones. It didn't take long for the IWW to fade from view.

Yet, surprisingly, there are still a few Wobblies around. One is none other than Kevin Curtis of Butte, the husband of the Democratic candidate for the US Senate, Amanda Curtis.

There is even a monthly IWW newspaper, the "Industrial Worker" -- a journal for which Amanda Curtis has written articles, including a piece about restoration of the Butte grave of IWW martyr Frank Little.

Could Curtis's ties to the IWW become a campaign issue? Probably not. The first, and only, poll on the race between Curtis and Congressman Steve Daines shows the GOP candidate with 20 point lead, and his strategy so far seems to be to ignore his opponent rather than mention her name and give her any publicity.

Despite her lack of name recognition, Curtis has attracted a number of positive national media articles, including ones by the New York TimesPolitico, and ABC News.

UPDATE: When an NPR reporter recently asked Curtis about her connection to the IWW and noted that the organization's preamble sounded like "contemporary communism," she didn't deny that it had a somewhat communist message or that she had an affinity for it. She also said she was on the side of working people, providing voters a "clear distinction" with the "millionaire Congressman" Steve Daines.

Students at the University of Montana walk through the Oval this week. Advocates say that tuitions at the state's four-year colleges have doubled over the past 14 years, leaving students saddled with too much debt. (Missoulian)

Tuition for Montana college students doubles in last 14 years

Judge lifts gag order on man who criticized judicial commission

Butte pre-release walkaway escapes on street sweeper

Former Glendive Chamber head admits stealing from agency

World's oldest clown passes away at age 98 in Billings

Lawmakers fear Xerox can't fulfill Medicaid-payments contract

Evangelist attacked with pepper spray on MSU campus

Ex-Yellowstone Co museum head charged with stealing $31K

Food-service firm Sodexo gives Carroll College $2.5 million

Zinke, Lewis spar over role of government, troop deployments

Credit card hackers hit Albertsons stores in Montana

Missoula hospital 1 of only 4 in USA equipped to handle Ebola

MSU researchers helped develop new Ebola treatment

Flathead woman sentenced to hospital for shooting boyfriend

Officials ID man who died when struck by train near Troy

Classes in Dillon canceled after anonymous death threat

Medical marijuana industry on the rebound in southwestern MT

Target shooter caused fire that displaced mountain lion cubs

Some Lodge Grass residents still can't drink city water

Labor groups, Democrats attack Daines' jobs record

Thousands walk in support of mental-illness programs

House hopeful Ryan Zinke touts his leadership background

Several Montana cities broke heat records last Wednesday

Soaked supporters rally for public lands at Capitol

BNSF bulks up to cope with onslaught of demand for services

Daines tells how he's worked to create jobs; is he successful?

Commissioner rejects citizen's complaint against AG Fox

Another megaload moving through through MT, bound for GTF

Billings teacher re-sentenced to 10 years for raping student

Zinke changes tack, will take part in Billings debate

Driver of semi with rotting chickens arrested in Idaho

Spoiled chicken disposed of at Missoula landfill

500 Lodge Grass residents without water for 11 days

Bakken oil patch jails filled to capacity, sheriff says

Doesn't suit tastes: Judge stops another Swan Valley timber sale

Lewistown gay couple, Catholic officials still in a standoff

Former clerk sues Montana Supreme Court justices

Judge orders UM to release records in case against Griz QB

Trailer full of rotting chicken to be hauled to landfill Friday

Songwriter finds spoiling chicken too tasty a topic to pass up

Genetically modified wheat found in Montana

Driver who posted dead wolf photo says collision was accident

Proposed Butte-area gold mine clears another hurdle

Forest Service tries to clarify proposed filming rule for wilderness

PSC gives final approval to NorthWestern's purchase of dams

Whitefish man denies attacking girlfriend with axe, beating her

2 California men busted in Billings motel room with 6 lbs of meth

Vandals cause significant damage to Florence school gym

Vaughn woman charged with stealing college money to buy meth


Oil, rail industries seek 7 years to fix tank cars

Oil industry offers new standards for crude shipped by rail

High court to hear arguments on law limiting jury awards

Red Ants Pants: She found her niche selling pants that fit women

Venture capitalist urges Flathead residents to be 'dentmakers'

Missoula bar being named after famous MT early-day pioneer


UM's Van does it by air & land, while MSU's Daly finds his footing

Griz ranked 7th, Cats 13/15th in latest FCS polls

MSU kicker named Big Sky player of week

As a pro, Josh Huestis now using 'redshirt' year in Oklahoma

UM gets back on track by mauling Northern Colorado, 38-13

Bobcats use big plays to knock off North Dakota, 29-18

Former pro Lex Hilliard helps guide his old team at Flathead High


Montanans have to start planning for their future with coal

On photo rule, Forest Service needs to be more transparent

Catholic officials should show compassion for gay couple

The cost of grizzlies on the Stillwater Forest

Advocates who follow hunters with cameras are hurting cause

Don't take away voters' right to register on election day


Over 5 decades ago, Montana lost Gov. Nutter in plane crash

Stepping back in time in Babb

For 37 years, FWP filmmaker happy to make movies in MT wilds

Family ties remain strong to historic Glacier Park lookout

Whitney Williams happy helping celebrities help others


Dierks Bentley on stage in Missoula Oct. 11

Phillip Phillips to perform at UM Oct. 23

Comedian Bob Newhart to visit Great Falls Nov. 13

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