Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke is sworn in Tuesday before his confirmation hearing as Interior Secretary. (Los Angeles Times)

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


Jan 18, 2017




THE HEADLINE on the Dec. 21 letter to the editor of the Helena IR said: "Trump's pick for EPA a puppet for polluters." The writer, Caitlin McWilliams, said in her last sentence: "Our country deserves a champion for public health, not a puppet for polluters."

The same day the Missoulian ran a letter that had this headline "EPA nominee a puppet for polluters." And it was worded almost the same, including the same last sentence. So did McWilliams send her letter to the Missoulian? No, authors of the Missoulian letter were Todd and Andrea Onken.

So how did that happen? Did the Onkens copy McWilliams' letter, or vice versa? 

No, what most likely happened is that McWilliams and the Onkens are members of an environmental group that asked members to submit the letter to their local papers. The letter has shown up in at least one other paper across the country.

RAPPER Snoop Dogg, who played a recent show in Billings, cruised through the Magic City before his concert, marveling at the mounds of snow dumped by the heaviest snowfall the city had seen in three decades.

Snoop Dogg posted a video of his winter wonderland excursion, for which he provided an amusing soundtrack by singing "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." Use this Last Best News link to see the video.

MISSOULA writer Stephanie Land didn't get a lot of love in the comments section of the Washington Post for her column about how Donald Trump's election stole her desire to find a partner.

In the article, Land, a single mom with two children, details how she's been on plenty of dates, including ones in August with two men who seemed particularly promising. She dated one for a few weeks before he decided he wasn't ready for anything serious.

Then, when Land began to get serious with the other man, Trump was elected and she "felt sick to my stomach. I wanted to gather my children in bed with me and cling to them like we would if thunder and lightning were raging outside, with winds high enough that they (sic) power might go out."

Land decided to part ways with her new beau because, in this uncertain new age of Trump, she just couldn't spare the energy needed for a new relationship. "There is no room for dating in this place of grief," Land said. "Dating means hope. I’ve lost that hope in seeing the words “President-elect Trump.”

In the comments section, Post readers seemed to have little sympathy for Land's plight. "Is this for real, or did the Onion somehow hack the Post's news pages?" one reader asked. "Is this an example of this 'fake news' we've all been hearing about ???" said another.​​

GOOGLE paid tribute recently to one of Montana's favorite sons and best-known writers, the late James Welch.

On Nov. 18, the day that would have been Welch's 76th birthday, Google's search page "doodle" was a piece of art by Sophie Diao that celebrated his life and work as a writer of such novels as "Fools Crow" and "Winter in the Blood." Born in Browning in 1940, he was the son of a Blackfeet father and a Blackfeet/Gros Ventre mother, and his Native American heritage and time spent growing up on Montana's Hi-Line deeply influenced his work.

“Through his novels, documentary film, and poems, Welch gave voice to the struggles and humanity of the Native American experience in the United States,” Google said.

“As a whole, Welch’s works emphasized the humanity of native peoples and their deep attachment to their homelands. He was considered an early part of what was later dubbed the Native American Renaissance, during which native writers celebrated tribal culture and revealed its complex problems in works readily accessible to the larger American public.”

Welch died, too soon, in 2003 of a heart after a bout with lung cancer. He was 62.

Zinke opposes federal land sales; sees climate change as no hoax

Montanans generally like what they hear from Zinke

Kalispell man gets 110 years for stabbing death judge calls 'horrific'

Lion, 3 kittens put down after eating 2 dogs near Missoula bus stop

Proposed minimum wage hike rejected in committee

Closure of Colstrip power plants could happen earlier than 2022

Bill would tighten up rules on storm-damage contractors

Lawmaker wants to create new coal-tax trust fund

MT joins other states in suing to block Obama coal-mining rule

Montana cities experience one of coldest, snowiest winters on record

Former GOP chairman Ken Miller to run for US House seat

Zinke releases statement ahead of today's confirmation hearing

Proposed minimum wage hike measure gets mixed reviews

Butte lawmaker introduces bill to protect Colstrip plants, aid workers

Team fighting invasive mussels says it needs $5 million a year

State finds almost $1M in waste, fraud and abuse in Medicaid budget

Groups gather in Whitefish to show solidarity against canceled march

Lawmaker wants PSC to regulate hospital prices

Poodle reunited with owners a week after crash near Miles City

Tester unveils employment plan

200 rally at Capitol to oppose repeal of Affordable Care Act

Some Blue Cross customers can no longer get drug coverage at CVS

GTF lawmaker wants to overturn bans on cellphone use by drivers

Eritrean refugee family adjusts to winter in Missoula

Son of Max Baucus mulls entering US House contest

Montana Supreme Court to resolve dispute over Motl's term

Officers recover 68 firearms in drug raids in western Montana

Senate panel endorses bill to change state's definition of rape

Historical Society on the hunt once more for funds for new building

Zinke the least well-off member of Trump's Cabinet, report shows

Rallies planned Sunday to protest repeal of Obamacare

Former deputy gets 63 months in prison for bringing meth into Montana

Police say Browning man abused 12-year-old girl


Judge rules that old Missoula Mercantile building can be torn down

New medical facility opens in Billings

US Supreme Court to decide MT case on where rail lawsuits are filed

$125 million infill project planned near downtown Missoula

NorthWestern Energy seeks ways to boost power production by 150MW

Kalispell Kreamery brings dairy products directly to customers

Whitefish Mountain plans to relocate lift


Life's good for Josh Huestis, on and off the court

Baker quarterback who had cancer scare commits to Texas Tech

Grizzlies crush Northern Colorado, 89-68

North Dakota edges Bobcats, 90-85

Lady Bobcats win in overtime at North Dakota, 74-71

Lady Griz fall to league-leading Northern Colorado, 65-46

Hall on pace to hit 1,000 points faster than anyone in MSU history

Elk taken by MT bowhunter last year largest ever recorded in state



Cutting Child and Family Services budget would be big mistake

All Montanans must do more to help abused, neglected children

Government has interest in saving lives by enacting seat-belt law

Lawmakers shouldn't narrow meaning of state's open meetings law

State must get email storage situation fixed quickly

When there are too few judges, justice is denied

Flathead Beacon writer finds her 'inner cowboy' to defend gay rights

State officials should find ways to keep tuition affordable



Taking the plunge with Polar Bear Rick

New Historical Society exhibit tells story of fishing in Montana

Mystery, romance winning combination for best-selling Malta writer

Shepherd woman appears on Norwegian adventure race reality show

Billings' Moss Mansion to be backdrop for quirky comedy filmed in Feb.

Great Falls man featured on new reality survival show

Family of early-day artist Edgar Paxson donates his diaries to state



Rocker Elton John to perform March shows in Bozeman, Missoula

Rock group Journey to play at MSU March 21

Dierks Bentley to perform in Billings April 22

Faith Hill, Tim McGraw to play at MSU May 19

Def Leppard, Poison and Tesla to perform at MSU on May 31

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