Crime scene tape surrounds a home in Lodge Grass in August of 2017 where three people were shot and killed and two more were injured. Federal prosecutors say they don't plan to file charges because of conflicting evidence, so the Crow Tribe says it will pursue charges in the case. (Billings Gazette)


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

June 24, 2018



HAVE trouble spelling a word? Most folks do.

In South Dakota, a lot of people struggle with "chaos," and in Idaho they aren't sure about "businesses." So they ask Google "how to spell" those words, and Google, in turn, has produced a map of the most common "how to spell" words of each state.

In Montana, that word is "tomorrow."

" 'Or is it "tomarrow," or "tomorow," or "twomorrow"? (It's not, lol)' " quips Kristen Inbody in the Great Great Falls Tribune.

​FUNNY how baby names rise and fall in popularity over the years. Some stay in vogue for years, while others completely disappear, and others rise to take their place, as a recent list of the most popular Montana baby names indicates.

In 2017, Montana parents most often picked the traditional names of James and William for their baby boys, followed by Liam, Oliver and Wyatt.

The top five names for girls: Olivia, Emma, Harper, Ava and Charlotte.

If you want to see how tastes in baby names have changed in Montana over the years, go here.

A GREAT horned owl is keeping a close eye on proceedings in the courtroom of District Judge Mike Menahan from its nest just a few feet away from the Lewis and Clark courthouse.

And Menahan, an avid bird watcher, and a court clerk have been closely watching the owl, which they dubbed Ollie. They've set up a watching station in the courtroom, complete with binoculars and a camcorder that can record Ollie's activities.

Ollie took over a crow's nest, and Menahan believes she's a young mother. If so, that wouldn't necessarily be a good thing. "There's not a lot of food around here," he noted.

Moreover, the nest is near busy Broadway Avenue, which would be dangerous territory for any young owls that flutter out of the nest toward the street.

Sometimes even a judge can't keep the streets safe for younger ones.

AS AN INCUMBENT, Sen. Jon Tester will enjoy a number of advantages as he runs for re-election: Name recognition, the ability to raise campaign funds, the backing of Democratic allied groups, no significant primary challenge, and so on.

Tester has won statewide elections twice before, but he will now have to run in a state that President Donald Trump won by 20 points. That helps explain why Tester just came out with a campaign ad that touts how he sponsored or co-sponsored 13 bills that passed, and then were signed by Trump.

Despite some advantages, Tester will be no shoo-in. A recent national poll showed that Tester is the most vulnerable Democratic senator seeking another term. The survey done by SurveyMonkey for Axios showed Tester would lose by a 55-42 margin to a Republican opponent if the election were held now.

Of course, a lot could change between now and November. The Republicans haven't even picked their nominee yet from among the four men who have filed for the job.

IT IS not unusual to hear a fellow Montanan say we live in the middle of nowhere. And now there's some proof for that claim.

Especially if you live in Glasgow. Here's why: A team of researchers at Oxford University -- working with the Washington Post -- analyzed all the places on the map in the contiguous United States to determine the points that were the most distant from populated places, or most anything else. Or to put it more simply, they wanted to know, what was the middle of nowhere?

Their evidence pointed to Glasgow.

"Of all towns with more than 1,000 residents, Glasgow, home to 3,363 people in the rolling prairie of northeastern Montana, is farthest — about 4.5 hours in any direction — from any metropolitan area of more than 75,000 people," said the Post..​​

WHERE DO you go when you're a celebrity and you want to lay low after going through a bitter divorce? Well, the solitary mountains of Montana might be a good choice.

That's just what Ashton Kutcher did after his official split from Demi Moore, taking a weeklong "spiritual" visit to Big Sky. Kutcher, the former star of 'That 70's Show' and 'Punk'd,' claims he lived on just water and tea for the week. “I started to hallucinate on day two, which was fantastic … It was pretty wonderful,” he told his old friend and fellow actor Dax Shepard in a podcast interview.

Kutcher also had a pen and notepad, so he wrote down all his regrets about past relationships, and then wrote the women letters expressing how he had been wrong. He's now married to actress Mila Kunis, and they have two children.

While news accounts of Kutcher's trip to Montana imply he spent his week roughing it in the wilderness, Buzz bets his "spiritual" visit took place at one of the million-dollar homes at Big Sky's Yellowstone Club. Kutcher worked as a model before beginning a long, successful career as an actor. He's also becoming well-known as a venture capitalist.



Crow Tribe will pursue charges in triple slaying after feds balk

Musselshell Co commissioners say they didn't file a false police report

Hackers target state government, industry

Feds won't file charges in Crow Reservation triple slaying

Horse bucks off Butte woman who tries to steal it during crime spree

Glacier's Going-to-the-Sun Road opens Saturday

Trump Jr. urges MT Republicans to oust Tester

Critics: Why does MT take Bakken's radioactive waste but N.D. won't?

Musselshell River floodwaters close roads, swamp pastures

After 4-day closure, Highway 200 and Rogers Pass reopened

Dogs sniff out 12 unmarked graves near Helena Valley cemetery

Daines joining group of senators traveling to Russia

Body of missing man ID'd by Helena officials

Guard choppers evacuate 137 trapped by Dearborn River floodwaters

Startled driver rolls car to avoid kangaroo in northern Montana

Gov OKs Glendive-area conservation easement, ignoring Land Board

Jury: Billings officers justified in shooting man barricaded in store

High-rising Sun River spurs people, cattle, wildlife, snakes to flee

Montana protesters decry separation of immigrant families

Gianforte tells Congress its time to act on wilderness study areas

Bear attack victim says she's recovering, plans to return to research

Former Stevensville school resource officer charged with sex crime

Backers of tobacco tax and mining initiatives to submit signatures 

Gianforte introduces bill to stop mining near Yellowstone Park


State changes way it does business with MT hospitals

Cleanup starts on Butte's toxic Parrot smelter tailings

Montana officials criticize court ruling allowing internet sales tax

Home construction leaps in Montana regions with high wildfire risk

State auditor targets 2 prescription drug benefits firms

Farm groups express concerns about impact of Trump tariffs

Chamber of Commerce won't endorse in US Senate contest

Montana joins other states in defending state mining laws

Flathead high-tech battery firm reopens after getting new funding


Judge bans owner of Griz online forum from posting about woman

MT bull rider Jess Lockwood wins Match of Champions and $75,000

Montana wallops North Dakota 55-7 in annual Badlands Bowl

Lakers legend Michael Cooper teaches Pablo camp

6-7 Seattle Pacific transfer commits to Grizzlies

Why boaters love the Smith River so much

Bozeman teen runs nation's fastest 3,200 for high schoolers



MT environmental campaigns mostly paid for by outside dark money

Montana's a nice place to visit, but it has its drawbacks

Be skeptical of the political ads you see

For me, plagiarism wasn't an issue with coach Selvig's speech

Drugs are killing a culture, destroying reservation families

Zinke not doing cause of hunting any good by endorsing bad practices

After more than 4 decades, it is time to release wilderness study areas

School boards cannot restrict public comment


Mushroom-hunting mania spreads across western Montana

Columbia Falls priest one of the inspirations for the movie 'Tag'

In 'Cloudbursts,' Tom McGuane gathers short stories from long career

Copper King Marcus Daly and his Manhattan mansion

Music venues are popping up all over MT. Are there too many now?

Blackfeet writer passes on lessons learned from her father

In Costner's 'Yellowstone,' the wolves scatter when the cowboys arrive

Billings woman explores her romantic life, or lack of it, in YouTube series



A round-up of this year's Montana concerts

Imagine Dragons set for MSU stadium show July 26

Dwight Yoakam to headline Red Ants Pants Festival in late July

Chris Stapleton to play in Billings Aug. 2, Missoula on Aug. 3

Magic City Blues Fest to includes ZZ Top and Phillip Phillips

Jeff Foxworthy joins State Fair lineup Aug. 3 in Great Falls

Lineup set for Decemberists' Travelers' Rest Festival Aug. 4-5

Rockin' the Rivers festival runs Aug. 10-12

Kelly Clarkson performing at Billings' MontanaFair Aug. 12

Pearl Jam plans concert at Missoula's UM stadium Aug. 13

Big Sky music festival to feature Grace Potter, Bruce Hornsby

Country music star Suzy Bogguss headlines Lewistown fest Aug. 18

Alice Cooper to play KettleHouse Amphitheater Aug. 18

Another round of guitar greats slated for Bigfork's Crown festival

Jason Isbell appearing at Bonner Sept. 8

Montana International Film Festival slated Sept. 13-17 in Billings

Avett Brothers to headline Sept. 16 Missoula concert

Rod Stewart moves his Billings concert to Oct. 24

Bob Seger reschedules Billings concert for January

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