A daily digest of Montana news

Oct. 31, 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


IF IT seems like Montanans are very engaged in politics, they are. At least when compared to residents of most other states, according to a survey done by the personal financial social network web site, WalletHub.

The survey ranked Montanans No. 9 in the nation for political engagement. Residents of Colorado and Massachusetts finished at the top of the rankings. West Virginia was at the bottom.

(Isn't this one ranking where you're a bit glad that Montana isn't No. 1? Wouldn't you find it a bit annoying to realize that everyone around you was living and breathing politics -- if that's what this survey shows?)

Anyway, the six metrics used to determine levels of political engagement included levels of voter registration and turnout, political spending, and civic education engagement.

CAN YOU imagine former Gov. Brian Schweitzer as a Playboy centerfold? Well, neither can Buzz. And that's something you won't have to see. But you can get the next best thing: A Playboy interview with Schweitzer in the newest issue of the magazine.

Playboy noted that Schweitzer was one of the nation's more polarizing, albeit popular, governors, and his tendency to make off-the-cuff remarks sometimes lands him in hot water. Such as his recent comments about former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor setting off his "gaydar."

Playboy interviewer Jeff Greenfield told Schweitzer that Bill Clinton didn't inhale, Barack Obama did, and George Bush was somewhere between them. Where were you? Greenfield asked Schweitzer.

"I'm right there with the three of them," the former Montana governor replied with a laugh.

Schweitzer told Playboy that the image he projects -- wearing bolo ties and jeans and bringing his dog Jag to the office -- isn't an act he dreamed up to help him politically. "You know, I don't have an image creator around me," he says. I am who I am."

But for most of the interview, Greenfield pressed Schweitzer on what he thought about issues such as foreign policy and government spending, how he rated the performance of President Obama (not too highly), and where he saw himself fitting into the presidential race in 2016.

Schweitzer made it clear it is a horse race he's thought a lot about entering. "You know, I'm just a guy who knows a thing or two about horses," he concluded.

IN A column written for the Last Best News web site, former Billings Gazette newsman David Crisp expressed surprise that the Gazette endorsed Democrat John Lewis in the US House race. "I just about dropped my teeth....," he said.

The Bozeman Chronicle also recently endorsed Lewis, who is trailing Republican Ryan Zinke in the polls.

While some may be surprised that Lewis got the endorsement of the Gazette and the Chronicle, Buzz would be surprised if Zinke got the endorsement of any of the major Montana dailies this year. Why's that, you ask?

A few years back, Buzz went back and counted all the endorsements in Montana's dailies for statewide races over the course of a decade. Sorry, can't remember the exact count, but the dailies endorsed Democrats by more than a two-to-one margin over that period. So all the papers, except for the Kalispell Interlake, generally prefer Democrats.

But there are two caveats to this trend. In every election cycle, papers like to endorse at least one Republican -- usually the most moderate one running -- to show readers they try to be fair and balanced. Second, they don't like to waste endorsements on candidates who seemingly have no chance of winning.

This year, there are only two statewide partisan contests: Senate and House.

In starting at the top of the ballot, the Senate race, the Gazette and Chronicle both endorsed Republican Steve Daines. Bottom line, Buzz believes it was due to the second rule mentioned above: Don't waste your endorsement on candidates with no chance of winning. Polls show latecomer Amanda Curtis far behind Daines.

So what are the Gazette and Chronicle to do to restore their karma? Go with Lewis in the House race, of course.

UPDATE: Since this piece first appeared, the Helena Independent Record made its endorsements in these races. No surprise, at least to Buzz: Daines and Lewis got the paper's blessing.

(Interesting side note: The Great Falls Tribune says it won't be endorsing candidates this year -- the first time Buzz ever remembers that happening.) 


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.

Dustin Bergsing, 21, died in early 2012 when he was on the catwalk over these oil tanks at a Marathon Oil Corp. well site in western North Dakota. Bergsing is of four Montanans who have died in recent years while working around oil tanks, and an online journal called EnergyWire says it may be due to hydrocarbon poisoning.

GOP group leaked Walsh plagiarism story to New York Times

Lots of last-minute election mailers prompts complaints

Polson man indicted as part of nationwide kiddie porn ring

15 Malmstrom airmen being discharged after cheating scandal

VanDyke has focused on appellate law in DC, Texas & Montana

Kalispell woman denies threatening man with bow and arrow

Almost a third of all absentee ballots turned in

9th Circuit won't block campaign finance laws before election

Whitefish woman gets deferred sentence for husband's death

New charges unsealed against former Chippewa Cree leader

Deferred sentence for Missoula man who pepper sprayed woman

GOP asks: Why are state officials ignoring pro-Wheat flier?

Justice Wheat: I don't favor trial lawyers, I just follow the law

Key cases in which Wheat has played a role

Supreme Court asks state to respond in Barry Beach case

Kalispell dad raises ruckus with ad over school snack policy

State of Montana lab 1 of 24 approved for Ebola testing

Former psych aide charged with abusing client at Boulder center

Hamilton teen makes plea on charge of school shooting threat

Missoula Co must pay $565K to family of woman who died in jail

Oil-tank fumes may have killed 4 Montanans in Bakken fields

Hunter says he wished he used spray instead of gun on grizzly

State drops plan to keep names of hunters, trappers confidential

The rapid rise and fall of Sen. John Walsh

Man pleads guilty to role in burglary of Missoula garage

Studies maintain Meth Project not as effective as advertised

Zinke says he learned lesson from audit of his travel expenses

Feds say fewer grizzlies are dying in Yellowstone region

As election season heats up, Baucus sits on campaign cash

Montana's fish, game agency looks for ways to diversify funding

Winter storm bound for Montana this weekend

State's mail service has suffered since cutbacks, says GAO

Woman charged with setting $1M apartment fire back in Billings

Montana's gas prices drop to average of $3.22 a gallon

Money Magazine: Bozeman one of best places to retire

Zinke's Navy records show praise, but lapses over travel records


Ag official asks BNSF to reopen Great Falls to Helena line

Arch revamps plans for Otter Creek coal mine

Developers buying long-vacant Missoula Mercantile

Feds say expansion of Signal Peak mine doesn't need EIS

New 5-story Billings building would cater to business clients


Cats face one of year's toughest tests with road trip to Cal Poly

Grzzlies hope to bounce back against high-octane Sac State

Former Griz Coyle likely to start for Seahawks vs. Raiders

Griz fall in latest FCS poll, while Cats climb

Former MSU football coach and player Cliff Hysell dies

Lady Cats look solid with lots of returning players

Young MSU mens' hoops team has long ways to go


Bullock's $37 million preschool plan is a good investment

Montana voters should go with the liberal long shot: Curtis

Lewis is best choice for the US House

Let's end voter-registration on election day

Kavulla: Why I opposed NorthWestern's dam purchase

With his experience, Daines is best choice for MT in US Senate


Montanan's mustache garners gold in world championships

The Auditor, Butte's dog with dreads, become a legend

HGTV series set in Bozeman, Bigfork to feature MT livestyle

Artist gets new lease on life after man who tried to kill him died

What do you think? Website lists best books written about MT

MT scores another 1st: Leads nation in mountain monograms


Comedian Bob Newhart to visit Great Falls Nov. 13

Country star Clint Black to headline Headwaters Jam in June

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