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A daily digest of Montana news
June 30, 2015
MONTANA has moved up from 33rd to 28th in CNBC's much-watched ranking of the best states in which to do business.
The state got its best ratings in the categories of infrastructure (tied for 12th), quality of life (tied for 13th), and economy (tied for 16th). Its worst mark -- No. 48 -- was in the workforce category.
"Big Sky Country offers pristine quality of life and a strong infrastructure," said CNBC. "But its workforce is among the least productive."
The study measured the 50 states on more than 60 metrics in 10 categories of competitiveness including low business costs, technology and innovation, and education. You can visit this page to see all the measures and how they were weighted.
Minnesota finished first in the rankings, with Texas, Utah and Colorado closed behind. North Dakota was No. 6. Hawaii, interestingly, was last.
HAVE you heard about the national controversy erupting over the white Washington state woman who's been claiming she's black? Rachel Dolezal also happens to be the president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP and she teaches African American studies at Eastern Washington University.
And, oh yeah, Dolezal originally is from Montana's Lincoln County. In fact, the whole controversy blew up when her parents, Ruthanne and Larry (he's a former Lincoln County commissioner) blew the whistle on her subterfuge. They say they are Rachel's biological parents, though they did adopt four African-American children.
"She has not explained to us why she has disguised herself and been deceptive about her ethnicity, so we can't explain to you," Ruthanne told ABC News.
One of Rachel's adopted brothers, Ezra, also has accused her of giving African Americans a "slap in the face" by claiming to be black.
For her part, Rachel has responded to questions by saying: "We're all from the African continent."
UPDATE: Rachel Dolezal has called off her Monday meeting with NAACP chapter members, upsetting some who want to see the issue resolved. Meanwhile, she's staying mum about what she'll do next.
UPDATE II: Rachel Dolezal announces she's stepping down as NAACP chapter president. Is her job at EWU in jeopardy?
HANSJORG WYSS, a Swiss billionaire who has pumped millions of dollars into Montana environmental projects, has a long record of sexually abusing women, a conservative news outlet says.
A report by the Daily Caller says a number of former female employees have complained of sexual abuse by Wyss. One of them is Jacqueline Long, a Colorado woman who reached a $1.5 million settlement with Wyss. She said Wyss abused her for years while she worked for his charitable foundation, where she focused on at-risk youth and sex trafficking.
"He was not interested in these programs," she told the Daily Caller. "He was only doing it in reward for my having sex with him. It was a tool for leverage."
The Daily Caller focuses primarily on Wyss's gifts to liberal groups such as Hillary Clinton's "No Ceilings" womens' empowerment project.
But Wyss has paid special attention to Montana projects. He has been one of the main sources of funding behind the American Reserve project, which aims to set aside a large chunk of land in eastern Montana for bison. He's put up millions of dollars to help the Nature Conservancy buy land from Plum Creek in western Montana. Conservatives also complain that Wyss is also a primary source of the dark-money contributions to Montana's environmental activist groups.
EVER wished you could ride a camel, but figured there was no chance because you'd never travel to a place like Africa? Well, now Jason Mayfield has brought his camels to you.
Mayfield, who owns a Texas-based firm called Camel Discovery, has moved some of his operations to the Paradise Valley this summer, where he's offering rides on eight camels. Camel Discovery is located 10 miles south of Livingston along Highway 89 South.