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

July 16, 2018


State legislators who wanted to call a special session to try to thwart two proposed ballot measures on mining restrictions and a higher tobacco tax appear to have fallen short of the votes needed. 



LOOKING for some of the country's best burgers? You don't have to leave Montana, according to TripAdvisor, because Billings' Burger Dive serves them.

The travel website recently released a list of the ten best burger joints in the country, and the Burger Dive came in No. 10.

Owner Brad Halsten says he was really surprised by the ranking, even though he's won other awards, including top burger at the World Burger Championship two years ago. All the success is pretty amazing considering that the restaurant is Halsten's first and he's only been in business seven years.

YOU wouldn't think 5-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady would be awestruck too often, but he was when he spotted a bear in Montana recently.

The New England Patriots quarterback posted a video on Instagram last week of himself outdoors grinning widely and whispering: "It's a bear!" He then panned his camera to a nearby bear sauntering off into the woods.

Brady didn't specify exactly where he saw the bear, but most likely he took the shot at his place at the Yellowstone Club at Big Sky, which he frequently visits in the off-season

WHILE newspapers have struggled financially and laid off many journalists in recent years, some analysts have hoped that more nimble, independent online news sites would fill the void.

That was the goal for Ed Kemmick, a seasoned Billings Gazette reporter and sure-footed writer when he launched Last Best News four and a half years ago. During that time, Kemmick continued to make his mark with hard-hitting accountability journalism that shined a light on those misusing power.  And when he wasn’t doing that, he was often poking fun at himself and others.

Unfortunately, Kemmick eventually found the rigors of running the site, where he was writing breaking news, features, and commentaries, as well as doing the grunt work of accounting, ad sales, web-site development, budgeting and so on, pretty confining.  “It occurred to me that in all my life there had been only a few relatively short periods when I lived as a full-time human being, free and untethered,” he said Sunday in announcing the site will suspend operations July 1.“Once the idea of reclaiming that kind of freedom took hold of me, it was hard to think of anything else.”

Kemmick hopes someone will step forward and revive his site or start a new one like it. If that doesn't happen, the good news for his many fans is that he expects to continue writing as a freelancer.

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.


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.



Legislators reject plan for special session on ballot measures

Wildfire potential rises as temperatures climb, humidity drops

Financial analyst, doctor dispute fraud claims against Kalispell hospital

Yaak trail debate pits backpackers vs. wildlife advocates

11th annual Montana Folk Festival brings the world to Bute

Dan Burrell: A new kind of mining king for Butte

Tech pros says blockchain, not bitcoin, goal of developers

Video goes viral about message demanding MT man remove US flag

Tester raises $3M, spends heavily to counter Trump attacks

Tester, Williams head out on campaign trail to rally fellow Democrats

Bison bowls over Yellowstone construction worker

Regents praise 2 university presidents, commissioner

Bail set at $5M for man charged with shooting at deputy near Bozeman

Missing rafter found dead in Yellowstone River

American Prairie Reserve aims to create US's largest nature preserve

Officers arrest suspect during 2nd day of Bozeman Pass manhunt

VP Mike Pence to visit Billings July 24 to support Rosendale

Gianforte raises $822K in latest period; Williams rakes in $581K

Rosendale shuffles funds to keep excess donations

Billings child-protection staffers face 'crisis-level workloads' 

Kalispell hospital expected to settle civil suit that alleges kickbacks

Feds to study health risks of Anaconda contaminants

Mexican couple sues Border agents who detained them in Havre

Heart-wrending photo of baby in baby garners world-wide attention


$1 billion water project aims to generate 400 megawatts of power

Flathead firm makes briquettes out of woody waste headed to landfill

Could Montana be poised to sell more wind power to other states?

Report claims immigrants contribute $220M to Missoula's economy

Lincoln County residents frustrated with state's efforts to thwart mines

Judge delays decision on mine exploration project north of Yellowstone

Yellowstone Park lodges jack up room rates

Developers of residential project near Big Sky table plans


UM's Gresch Jensen going to Fullerton College

Murray apologizes to Bobcat teammates, fans for academic woes

With departure of Murray, MSU's QB competition now wide open

MSU quarterback Chris Murray will miss season to focus on academics

UM's Sophia Stiles well along the comeback trail

Bobcat commit Blake Schmidt has deep Montana ties

Floaters ready to hit MT rivers, but they're chilly and filled with residue



Supreme Court should review removal of Green Party from ballot

Fake, partisan 'watchdogs' abuse law to gin up fake scandals

State badly needs more child protection workers

Trump trade war could damage Montana's ag interests

Crisis deepens in state's foster care system and needs fixing

Don't spend time on a wasteful special session

Few last words from Last Best News


Helena doctor has been documenting MT ghost towns for 4 decades

Bitterroot garden is finalist for international award

Timid Missoula tailor finds inspiration in boxing

Copper King's art collection comes to Missoula for long run

Montana Folk Festival, which opens Friday in Butte, previewed

121st running of Arlee powwow lures hundreds of visitors

Acclaimed photographer focuses his lens on Glacier's mountain goats

Former journalist turned cop helps Missoula residents combat crime



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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