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

Oct. 4, 2015



'Sovereigns' try to wrest control of Glasgow-area retirement community

Snow forces closure of Beartooth Pass, probably for rest of season

State suspends medical director of Butte chemical-dependency center

City officials want lawmakers to let them criminalize public intoxication

Fall enrollment rises at MSU, but dips at UM

Neil Young thrills fans - and shows he's still got chops - at Missoula show

Lincoln-area miners file countersuit against Forest Service

Kalispell-area woman, 85, attacked by bear inside her home dies

PSC asks feds to review transfer of Kerr Dam to Flathead tribes

Bozeman hospital sues CEO search firm after felony fiasco

Wildlife officials euthanize black bears near where woman was attacked

Galen youth detention facility to close in January

Inmate who escaped Billings pre-release center arrested in Portland

Feds to seek tougher rules for pipeline regulation

Kalispell police seek suspects in road rage shooting incident

Prosecutors to seek nearly 20 years in sexual exploitation, porn case

Alert issued after bear spotted near MSU fieldhouse

Parole denied for man who killed 2 fellow MSU students in 1990

MT senators can't persuade GOP to renew conservation fund

Grizzly bites Glacier Park hiker until he's able to deploy bear spray

Jack Hanna, guests recall evacuation from guest ranch as fire erupted

Provision aimed at blocking sage-grouse plans left out of defense bill

Trial gets underway for man charged with killing Cascade Co deputy

Montana experiences record number of domestic violence deaths: 16

State medical board suspends license of Ravalli County physician

Officials: Fatal Lodge Grass accident caused by missing stop sign

Alert driver pulls panicked boy from burning Butte pickup

Researchers: Mining wastes from Canada threaten Lake Koocanusa

Fairview man denies he killed former girlfriend and hid her body

State plans new mental-health facility at Galen

Colleagues remember Jean Turnage as effective leader, statesman

Billings man charged with sexual assault on girls in foster care

Yellowstone Park's 2nd largest geyser erupts for nearly an hour


Revenue Department uses lottery to award 9 liquor licenses

Historic Wilma Theater opens Friday in Missoula after renovations

Missoula's Neptune Aviation wins Forest Service air-tanker contract

27 work-related fatalities reported last year in Montana

State official: MT's lack of incentives hurts effort to attract data centers

5 MT hospitals will lose Medicare funds due to readmission rates



ESPN writer Kevin Van Valkenburg reflects on years growing up in MT

Chalich, defense lead Grizzlies to 27-13 win over UC Davis

MSU rally falls short as Northern Arizona wins 49-41

Griz hoopsters picked to finish 1st by media, 2nd by coaches

Billings' Daine Muller to walk-on at Oregon State

Lady Griz picked as favorites to take home the Big Sky hoops trophy


Billings man who wanted to enslave women should never walk free again

State has lots of wildlife, but can do better job of offering quality habitat

'Crack some heads' of those opposed to conservation plan

Feds' sage-grouse action is cover for plan that will do economic harm

Sage grouse decision makes sense as a compromise

Long-running fight over Tongue River Railroad has taken a toll

When it comes to voter registrants, Montanans are purging themselves



Many are stumped by the behavior of this wasp

Bozeman woman helped Allies break German military codes in WWII

Glacier Park makes Trail of Cedars more accessible

Izaak Walton Inn at Essex dodged a bullet as wildfires raged nearby

Trego's 'lady long rider' covers almost 22K miles by horseback

'In the middle of nowhere' -- Drummond -- life-size metal animals roam

Glorious Indian relay races feature fast horses, amazing athletes


Neil Young schedules Missoula concert Oct. 1

Rock superstar Elton John returns to Billings Oct. 7

Little Big Town coming to Missoula town Nov. 12


Send tips to editor@montanabuzz.com


Anti-government activists are trying to take control of St. Marie, a retirement community that was originally constructed to house employees at the former Glasgow Air Force Base. They have used liens to assume ownership of 371 homes at St. Marie, which has close to 1,000 homes, with less than a third occupied. (Billings Gazette)


​​GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump brags about his billions. Greg Gianforte doesn’t. In fact, the  Montana GOP gubernatorial candidate who made a pretty penny when he sold his RightNow Technologies to Oracle for $1.5 billion in 2011, says that, contrary to claims, he isn’t a billionaire.

That hasn’t stopped Montana Democrats from continuing to taunt Gianforte, calling him a “New Jersey billionaire.” (He’s originally from back east.) Nor has it kept some journalists from getting into the act. A Helena Independent Record columnist mocked Gianforte for denying that he was a billionaire when he filed exploratory papers to run for governor. “… I have no idea why the extremely well-to-do Gianforte is distancing himself from the very thing for which he has been celebrated in the past,” wrote IR news editor Leah Gilman.

Which raises the question: Is Gianforte actually a billionaire? Why hasn’t any journalist tackled that question? The answer: One did a year ago.

Mike Dennison, who was with the Lee State Bureau at the time, investigated and found that Gianforte and his wife, Susan, collected between $300 million and $400 million from the sale of the company they founded. The couple also appears to have benefited to a lesser degree from the sale of stock options, though by how much isn’t clear. Also unclear is how much taxes reduced their gains.

Gianforte’s critics seem to make the mistake of assuming that he and his wife pocketed most of the profits from the sale of RightNow. But Dennison noted that the couple only owned 20 to 25 percent of its stock. They did very well – thank you – but the sale of RightNow didn’t make them billionaires. ​

UPDATE: Buzz missed it earlier, but the conservative Media Trackers web site did a piece Sept. 2 on Gilman's column, calling it an "attack" on Gianforte in the "supposedly unbiased daily newspaper in Montana's state capital." On Sept. 10, Media Trackers followed up with a report that the Independent Record had changed Gilman's job title from news editor to copy editor/columnist. 

Media Trackers' Ron Catlett said that, in the wake of criticism of a "politically biased" piece by a news editor, IR editor Greg Lemon said via Twitter that Gilman was the paper's copy editor/columnist and not the news editor. Catlett said he asked Lemon why the paper's web site still listed Gilman as news editor and Lemon responded by Twitter: "This has been changed."

IT'S NOT a scientific survey, but an online poll suggests University of Montana Grizzly fans are more likely to root for the MSU Bobcats than Cat fans will cheer for the Griz.

The poll was launched in the run-up to the Griz game vs. North Dakota State, with the sponsors wondering if MSU fans would be rooting for UM. According to this break-down of the results, it wasn't too likely. But Griz fans are a lot more likely to back the Cats when the two teams aren't squaring off against each other.

Of the 62 Griz fans who participated in the survey, 84 percent said they root for the Cats. But only 39 percent of the 83 Cat fans who responded said they ever support the Griz.

MONTANANS aren't very naughty. At least they aren't if you measure them using the Ashley Madison scale of naughtiness.

​Ashley Madison is the go-to web site for infidelity. It's motto: "Life is short. Have an affair."

Ashley Madison made headlines recently when hackers made public information on millions of the site's users. Including where they live.

Turns out not many -- relatively speaking -- are from Montana. Or so the numbers suggest. Montana ranks 42nd in amount of money spent on Ashley Madison on a per capita basis, according to a Business Insider survey. The lowest rated state is West Virginia. 

The top three: Alabama, Colorado, and the District of Columbia. Strange mix, huh?​

​UPDATE: The Billings Gazette is reporting that almost 50,000 accounts on Ashley Madison come from Montana zip codes. Yet few of those accounts seem to come from folks who are willing to pay up for the site's services. Only 897 Montanans were paying members between 2008 and this year.

It is unclear what all those accounts mean. Could 50,000 Montanans have gone on Ashley Madison and set up accounts? Seems unlikely. That's about 5 percent of the state's population.

There is evidence that a lot of the site's accounts are fake. Are any in Montana. Who knows? 

IF MONTANANS aren't spending time on Ashley Madison, it doesn't appear for lack of cash. A different survey -- this one of incomes in some of the nation's small cities -- shows many Montanans are doing just fine financially, thank you.

Bozeman comes in at No. 19 on the Bloomberg Index of Wealth in micropolitan communities (cities with populations between 10,000 and 50,000). Bozeman has a median household income of $52,833.

Helena came in No. 39 on the list, and Kalispell No. 43. Topping the list is Summit Park, Utah at $83,336.