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Singers, officials visit Yellowstone to celebrate Park Service's birthday

Interior secretary warns of impacts of climate change on parks

Mistake on marijuana initiative could delay change in state law

State adds 2 presidential candidates to November ballot

MSU gets a record $104 million in donations last year

Motl: Missouri River Stewards failed to put attribution on signs

Gianforte demands Bullock sell state airplane

Boyne Resorts to spend $150M on improvements at Big Sky Resort

Judge awards family $4.6M in wrongful death suit against bar

Man accused of Belfry triple murders won't face death penalty

Sponsor of anti-marijuana ballot measure abandons efforts

Missoula City Council shows support for refugees with resolution

Yellowstone River fish kill prompts lots of questions from local residents

State's image for unspoiled nature takes hit with Yellowstone fish kill

Tiny invader, deadly to fish, shuts down Yellowstone River

Great Falls man stabbed with samurai sword

Adele accepts invitation to MT wedding of Great Falls' man

Newspaper carrier admits stealing thousands of dollars worth of mail

Cooler weather helps firefighters contain Missoula-area blaze

State publishing names of owners of unclaimed property

Logger loses equipment in fire as employee alerts homeowners

Colstrip residents asked to limit water use to help generating plants

Montana left with just 8 sawmills after Columbia Falls closures

Bullock investigates parasite damage to Yellowstone River fisheries

Bozeman waitress charged with allegedly hitting co-worker with bat

Cascade Co man accused of sexually assaulting women, kids and horse

Judge wants Badger-Two Medicine cultural studies kept under wraps

Fire near Thompson Falls doubles in size; homeowners evacuated

Small fire near Missoula forces some homeowners to evacuate

Wildfire takes off near Lakeside

Yellowstone fire continues to grow; 250 people get status update

Forester: Thinning projects helped keep fire from doing more damage


BUSINESS / ECONOMY


Hilton Garden Inn to pay $4M in lost wages, penalties

Whitefish resort tax revenue surges as city adds new accomodations

Weyerhaeuser ends production at Columbia Falls mills

Butte-Silver Bow to take over vacant NorthWestern building

AT&T adding 100 customer service workers in Missoula

Bakken salvage yard swamped with discarded RVs

Critics question state's award of $7M contract to Wisconsin firm

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SPORTS / OUTDOORS

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With camp completed, Cats began to prepare for Sept. 1 game w/ Idaho

From humble start, Wa-Griz stadium now big advantage for home team

Defense dominates in second Grizzly scrimmage

Bruggman will start at QB for Cats, but who be No. 2?

Offense methodical, defense stout Cats' final scrimmage

North Dakota ponders leaving Big Sky Conference

Griz kickers, punters gain traction in fall camp

Nicklaus making return visit to Anaconda's Old Works course Sept. 28


OPINION


Outside magazine was close to nailing Billings, but not quite there

Gianforte's refugee mailer unwelcome

Drivers: Be on the alert when you're around school buses

What's to be done when a performer, or audience, goes off the rails?

State won't be scuttling any parks, just giving them new monikers

A journalist gets burned when he's on the receiving end of the news

Time for legislators to crack down on puppy mills

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FEATURES


Singer/songwriter Kostas: Withdrawn, perhaps, but not retired

Glasgow photographer captures amazing images of Montana storms

'Halt and Catch Fire' star got start in MT's Shakespeare in the Parks

Missoula scientist wrote survival guide that helped Allies win WWII

'Blood on the Marias' recounts 1870 massacre of Blackfeet village

Lakeside studio providing design services to charities around the world

Even in early days, Glacier Park was popular destination for vacationers


CALENDAR​​

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Former Eagles member to headline GTF's Harvest Howl Sept. 9

Def Leppard, REO Speedwagon, Tesla in Billings Sept. 14

 

Send tips to editor@montanabuzz.com

Some 6,000 people enjoyed Evening at the Arch Thursday in Gardiner, which celebrated the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. Among those entertaining the crowd were Emmylou Harris and John Prine. (Bozeman Chronicle)

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FEELING FREE? Maybe you should, if you put any stock in a new study by the Cato Institute, which ranks Montana the 17th freest state in the country.

The libertarian think tank, which supports less government intervention both in the economy and in personal matters like abortion and drug use, ranks Montana as the 7th freest state in terms of fiscal policy (that's taxes, spending and the like.)

Montana ranks 21st nationally for personal freedom -- here Cato considers laws on such issues as drugs and gun control -- while it gets it lowest score in regulatory freedom: 30. 

Among the issues the study takes into account in doing its rankings are smoking bans, right-to-work laws, sin taxes as well as rules on everything from happy hours and direct auto sales to land use and occupational licensing.

New Hampshire and Alaska finished atop the rankings, while California and New York came in last.


MONTANA was one of the big movers in CNBC's annual ratings of Top States for Business. The Big Sky State rose six spots to No. 22 in the ratings announced on Tuesday.

Montana got its lowest market, 45, in the workforce category, and its highest mark, an 8, for the cost of business that firms face. The workforce score is based on such factors as education level of workers, numbers of available workers, and the state's ability to retain workers.

Montana managed to improve its place in the CNBC ratings while other states such as North Dakota that are heavily dependent on the energy industry saw their ratings drop significantly.

Utah finished first in the ratings while Texas was second. Rhode Island was last.


​JIM MESSINA, who graduated from the University of Montana's journalism school, won plenty of plaudits for overseeing President Obama's 2012 re-election campaign.

But now his reputation will suffer a setback with Great Britain's shocking 52-48 vote to leave the European Union.

Why's that? Because Messina was the Remain campaign's key strategist. He also played a role in arranging the visit of President Obama, his former boss, to visit Great Britain in April to oppose the "Brexit" plan. Some analysts now think Obama's visit may have backfired.

Most pundits and polls had predicted Messina's Remain campaign would prevail.

Matthew Elliott, the head of the Leave campaign, said his side knew it would be over-matched in many ways, and it didn't have the resources to bring in strategists from outside the country. "It was formidable (Remain campaign), but we felt with the right team, and the right strategy, we could do it," Elliott said.


A NEW national survey has some surprising results: Montana Sen. Steve Daines is one of the most popular senators in the country, while Sen. Jon Tester is among the least popular.

The analysis by Morning Consult was based on interviews of 62,000 Americans, but results for each senator were calculated based on responses from their constituents.  

Tester, a second-term Democrat, ranked No. 8 as the least popular senator, with a disapproval rating of 40 percent and an approval rating of 48 percent.

Daines, who was first elected to the Senate in 2014, ranked No. 17 on the list of the most popular senators. Daines had an approval rating of 59 percent; a disapproval rating of just 23.

The senator picked as most popular overall? Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Least popular? Senate leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.


WHEN it comes to fiscal condition, Montana measures up pretty well. A new study by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University ranks Montana No. 10 in the country based on debt and other fiscal obligations. That was the same ranking the state had the prior year.

The study's authors said it was important for state officials to understand debt issues because growing long-term obligations for pension and health-care benefits are straining state finances so much.

The states in the best shape to deal with their debt are Alaska, Nebraska, Wyoming and North and South Dakota. Those in the worst condition, say the study's authors, are Kentucky, Illinois, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.


WHO'DA thunk it?

Billings is the winner of Outside Magazine's "America's Best Town of 2016." 

Billings was a surprise winner, coming out on top after starting as the lowest seed among the 16 teams that started the competition. It beat No. 1 seed Jackson Hole, Wyo, in the final round.

Outside Magazine, which picked the winner with weekly online voting, said on its website: “We looked for places with great access to trails and public lands, thriving restaurants and neighborhoods, and, of course, a good beer scene — all while excluding the winners and runners-up from the past three years to make room for hidden gems, underdogs, and towns on the rise.”​​


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


Aug. 26, 2016