A daily digest of Montana news

Dec. 18, 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
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(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


IS MONTANA a well-run state? According to a new study, it's a lot higher than average.

A group called 24/7 Wall St., which surveys the financial, social and economic outcomes of every state annually, says that Montana ranks 11th among the 50 states in terms of how its residents are faring. 

With an average annual household income of $47,000, Montanans score below the national average of $52,250. But on the plus side, they enjoy low crime rates, rising home values, and an economy that's growing faster-than-average.

The study noted that a number of the states that did best in the study enjoy an abundance of natural resources. North Dakota got the top ranking, while Illinois finished last.

ONE OF the world's best-known actresses, Scarlett Johansson, wanted a lot of privacy for her wedding, so what better spot to do it than Montana?

Indeed, word is only now leaking out that she tied the knot with French journalist Romain Dauriac two months ago in Mineral County. The nuptials took place at the ultra-ritzy Ranch at Rock Creek, where rooms run a thousand dollars and more.

The couple welcomed a new baby girl just a few weeks before their marriage. Johansson and her beau got their marriage license at the Granite County Courthouse in Philipsburg, where the clerks found her pleasant and personable. They've been fielding calls about the incident from around the world since word leaked out about the news. 

Johansson is familiar with Montana, being one of the stars of the 1998 film "The Horse Whisperer," which was largely filmed in Big Sky country. Wranglers working on the film reported that, in the beginning, young Johansson was "pretty scared" of the horses, but by the end was riding like an expert.

SEN. JON Tester’s appointment to head up the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is a feather in his cap, and should help Montana by boosting his influence in the Senate.

But the assignment, a two-year gig, also poses some dangers. One of his key tasks will be raising – and doling out – big bucks, which primarily come from wealthy donors.

Tester’s been outspoken about the influence of money, particularly “dark money,” the type that comes from undisclosed donors. He’s sponsoring a constitutional amendment to get the big money out of politics, as well as legislation to require more transparency by “dark-money” groups.

Because of Tester’s work with the campaign committee, his critics may accuse him of hypocrisy – a possibility that seems to make even some backers nervous. It could also draw attention to his 2012 campaign, in which dark money played a key role in helping him get elected, as explained by this in-depth Pro Publica report.

BUZZ was watching Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill being interviewed on "Face the Nation" Sunday when she was asked if her party's recent appointment of "fiery populist" Sen. Elizabeth Warren into the Senate leadership wouldn't signal a turn to the left when voters wanted more centrism.

McCaskill, one of the few senators to oppose Harry Reid's election as Democratic leader,  responded that the party wasn't turning its back on more moderate leaders. She noted that Reid named Montana Sen. Jon Tester to head up the party's Senate campaign efforts the same day he named Warren to a leadership post.

She described Tester as a "flat-top farmer from Montana who is about as salt of the earth as you can get, and who is a moderate through and through and so his voice is going to be in that room along with Elizabeth Warren's."

Indeed, Tester's views on issues such as gun control and the Keystone pipeline may cause hard-core liberals some angst. But they also recognize that he knows how to win elections on turf that's traditionally tough ground for liberals.

Meanwhile, Huffington Post reported that Tester got the job because the other finalist, Sen. Chris Coons of Connecticut, bowed out due to family considerations. 


FEDERAL prosecutors have opened a money-laundering investigation into the US financial activities of a member of Russian President Vladimir Putin's inner circle. The probe is looking at billionaire Gennady Timchenko's dealings with the Swiss-based Gunvor trading house, in which Putin also is believed to have investments.

You wouldn't think that could have anything to do with Montana, but you'd be wrong. Why? Because of reports that Gunvor became an investor in Montana's Signal Peak Mine in 2011.

Critics argue the mine is buying federal coal at below-market prices and selling it at a hefty profit overseas. And now, they say, it appears some of that profit may be going to into Vladimir Putin's pockets.

Federal regulators recently declared that there wouldn't any significant environmental impact from the expansion of the mine onto nearby federal lands, thus eliminating the need for a time-consuming environmental impact statement.

Helena resident Joe Myers, decked out as Santa, drives around Helena on his Honda motorcycle Friday, just as he has done the last four years on weekends in order to spread holiday cheer. (Helena Independent Record)

Defendant gets 80 years in Sidney teacher's murder

Defense rests for Missoula man accused of shooting student

Libby residents fret over future as EPA prepares to leave

Trial changing Germans' opinions of MT: Not that gun crazy

Santa comes to Helena on a motorcyle, not a sleigh

Defendant in Sherry Arnold murder case faces sentencing

Changes in management of Yellowstone bison being mulled

Some Montana schools slammed by whooping cough

The high cost of daycare confronts Montana families

Eastern MT struggles w/ infrastructure needs as oil booms

Survey: Montanans getting more optimistic about economy

Snow expected to return to much of Montana Sunday

Remembering Carol Judge, first lady and nurse

900 awarded degrees in MSU's fall graduation ceremony

Senate OKs land bill creating new wilderness in Montana

Congressional delegation resists expansion of bomber site

Mattel provides 300 new toys to Butte's Head Start kids

Powell County commissioners shocked by $60K water bill

Supreme Court will hear Barry Beach appeal in February

State tries to determine if any oil left from Yellowstone spill

Witness questions work of Missoula police in murder case

GTF native Reggie Watts is bandleader on late-night show

Prosecution rests in trial of Missoula man accused of murder

In 12 years, 18 grizzlies died in human encounters in MT

Scientists: Oldest horned dinosaur was found in Montana

Economist: State revenues will slip due to drop in oil prices

Bakken oil producer cutting spending on drilling rigs in half

Motl: Planned Parenthood violated law with campaign attacks

State leaders believe new Flathead compact resolves issues

State argues meetings over forest lands weren't closed

In jailhouse call, Missoula gunman lauded himself for shooting

State reaches agreement w/ Flathead tribe on water compact

Rachel returns home - after almost dying in fiery plane crash

Graduate students at MSU negotiate union contract

Trial: Missoula neighbor tells of conservation in teen's death

Under federal budget bill, MT counties could lose up to $20M


Energy firm plans diesel, natural gas plants in Baker, Fairview

Blue Cross paying $1 million to settle complaints

Missoula detergent-additive maker expanding to East Coast

Workers sue Bozeman ammo company over lead exposure

National insurance company buys Kalispell flood insurer

Ambre Energy sells Decker Mine, other NW coal projects


Bozeman moguls star taking time away from the sport

Wisconsin-Milwaukee wallops Montana, 73-58

Bobcats fall to Wyoming on the road, 70-61

Lady Griz paste Portland, 69-55

Bigfork's Morley wins 3rd at national cross-country meet

Grizzly AD denies Bob Still hired as new head coach

Lady Cat Hommes named Big Sky player of week


House leaders should drop foolish dress code

Drop the dress-code silliness and get on to important things

Public-land plan isn't ideal, but it is a compromise worth doing

Judge Baugh, a 'wonderful man,' has good record overall

Libby's asbestos crisis still lingers

Compromise plan on new wilderness long overdue


She runs with the bison on a Montana glamp/ranch

Mysteries of Great Falls Masonic temple unveiled

Elite winter warriors helped liberate a nation 70 years ago

Book explains how Montana became a US territory

Rarely seen Russell drawings go on display at state museum

Many of state's ski resorts offer new features this season

MT Outdoor Hall of Fame inducts first class of inductees


Country star Kip Moore returning to Missoula Jan. 27

Country star Clint Black to headline Headwaters Jam in June

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