Runoff in the Missouri River Basin above Sioux City, Iowa, this year has entered the record books as the third highest ever recorded. (Billings Gazette)


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

July 19, 2019



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.



This year's runoff from Missouri River Basin third highest on record

Report: 245 million opioid pills came into Montana over six years

Man who shot exchange student to death in Missoula seeks new trial

Campaign 2020: Where is the money coming from?

Corvallis Superintendent Tim Johnson joins US House race

Billings massage parlor owner admits federal crime, forfeits building

Firefighter killed battling 2017 Lolo Peak Fire memorialized

Man avoids prison sentence after case of mistaken identity

Daines says crowd's 'send her back' chant at Trump rally was too much

Officials scale back search for man missing in Glacier Park

Montana home to country's most expensive luxury resort

Bullock will take part in next Democratic presidential debate

Gov's office says wrong official targeted in GOP's ethics complaint

Montana candidates draw on ActBlue, Pacs for financial support

Corps of Engineers opens Fort Peck gates to relieve rising water levels

Feds to drill well to bring water to 5,000 central Montana households

USGS researches why huckleberries grow where they do

Former East Glacier teacher admits sexually assaulting 2 students

Custer man accused of shooting friend, stopping him from driving drunk

Lightning strikes Yellowstone Park fire lookout, burns it down

Advocates seek help of Billings landlords in battle vs sex trafficking

Man drowns trying to save his dog in Bitterroot River

Grizzly bear migrates into Bitterroot Mountains

Kalispell man to head Montana's Libertarian Party

Daines' challengers rap his tweet defending Trump

Combat vet sentenced to 20 years for raping Billings girl

GTF man accused of breaking into home, sleeping naked on couch

Teen running for Helena mental health hospital killed on nearby I-15

Miss Montana plane to help commemorate Mann Gulch tragedy

Bullock agrees to pay campaign-related security costs

Congressional delegation weighs in on controversial Trump tweets

Gallatin Co search & rescue member dies in Park Co climbing mishap

Daines takes lead in candidate fundraising

Former Cascade Co undersheriff pleads no contest to gun theft


Famed Wheat Montana farm gets new owners

MT seeks to overturn Washington railroad safety restrictions on oil

90 cars to be repossessed from Helena dealership

Rural airports want to keep Cape Air as federal contractor

Proposed central MT energy-storage facility lands financial partner

Montana Code School struggles as enrollment plunges

Missoula home prices soar to new median record high of $305K

Folk festival big economic shot for some Butte businesses



MSU men working to adjust to new 3-point line

Havre's Kyndall Keller says she'll be a Lady Griz

MSU coordinator Matt Miller big task: Solving QB riddle

Montana's Ryan Leaf hired by ESPN as football analyst

Bobcats, Grizzlies in Big Sky top 5 of preseason polls

UM's Olson picked as preseason Big Sky defensive MVP

Former Griz Jamar Akoh signs with French hoops team



Bullock wrong to veto bill backing free speech on our campuses

Montana must find a way to tax tourists

Go ahead and fly the rainbow flag at the state Capitol

Capitol's rainbow flag was another sign of social enforced censorship

Secretary of State Stapleton not qualified for any office

Effort to draw new legislative map could have big implications


Big Sky Music Festival debuts in Flathead with a bang

Retired farmer crosses MT in vintage tractor to support vets

Bigfork woman was Apollo 11 launch controller

Book portrays Bozeman's Nelson Story as miner, rancher, builder, tyrant

Legend of MT's Nick Lassa: Football pro, bear wrestler, Indian dancer

New book explores state's horse-racing history

Bozeman couple builds climbing center in Nepal

Montana's 'Slaughter on the Otter' left more than 2K sheep dead in 1900

Summer offers small-town music festivals

10 must-see music festivals


An overall guide to Montana's concert scene this year

Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson plan July 25 show in Billings

Grammy winner Norah Jones to play in Bozeman, Bonner in late July

Clint Black, LOCASH coming to Helena fair in late July

Red Ants Pants Festival includes several Grammy Award winners

Mumford & Sons, Jackson Browne coming to Missoula in August

Steve Miller, Marty Stuart plan Missoula concert Aug. 17

'Weird Al' Yankovic plans Billings performance Aug. 25

Legendary rocker Robert Plant coming to Bonner in September

Bob Seger and his band to play in Bozeman Sept. 17

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