A daily digest of Montana news

Sept. 19, 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 YOU, as a Montanan, spend much time fretting over natural disasters, you are wasting your time. Why's that? Because you are living in what is one of the safest -- if not the safest -- states in the country, according to Time magazine.

Time recently analyzed all the natural disasters that regularly strike the country, and charted out the number of deaths caused by those disasters on a county-by-county basis. The magazine included earthquakes, hurricanes, wind chills, avalanches, drought, floods, deluges, high tides, tornado, and wildfires.

It found, lo and behold, that the safest county in the country was Montana's Sweet Grass County, with Wheatland County No. 3  No. 2 was Washington County in Idaho. 

The most dangerous counties were in New Jersey, which had been struck by Hurricane Sandy, and California.

ACTOR Jon Voight, who has starred in dozens of films and TV shows, including Coming Home, for which he won an Oscar, was in the Glasgow area recently researching a new movie role.

Voight spent a couple days with the Etchart, Cornwall and Page ranch families to help prepare him for a film he's doing about a patriot American rancher, says Montana radio broadcaster Aaron Flint. 

He also had some time to polish his bartending skills, where he thrilled customers by serving drinking at the Montana Bar Friday evening.

JIM MESSINA, a University of Montana graduate and President Obama's campaign manager, got hitched last weekend in Paradise Valley to Dr. Tara Cromley.

Guests came from more than 20 states and six countries, and including China Ambassador Max Baucus, one of Messina's former bosses. Many other former Obama staffers were on hand, as was former Google CEO Eric Schmidt.

MONTANANS are proud to see the state show up on a lot of national "top five" lists. But here's one that no Montana politician would want to show up on: Washington Post's list of the most disastrous campaigns of 2014.

Winning the honors, of course, at No. 5 is Montana Sen. John Walsh.

The Post noted that Walsh started the year on an up note when he was appointed to the US Senate, giving him more visibility as he geared up his Senate campaign. His fundraising picked up. But then the New York Times dropped a bombshell: News that Walsh had plagiarized a large part of the paper he submitted for his master's degree. Walsh dropped out of the race, and was replaced by fellow Democrat Amanda Curtis of Butte.

"He may be off the ballot," The Post said of Walsh, "but that achievement did land him on another list: the five most spectacular political flameouts of 2014 -- so far."

SEN. JON Tester and his wife Sharla got stuck in the nation's capital during the debt-ceiling crisis in the summer 2011. There was a lot of down time -- the sort of idle period when Tester would normally scoot back to Montana to schmooze with voters and work on his farm. But the Democratic senator didn't dare leave town because of the prospect of last-minute votes aimed at averting the debt crisis.

So what did Tester and his wife do to fill the time? We'll let Dave Parker, Montana State political science professor, tell the story.

THE INDUSTRIAL Workers of the World, also known as the Wobblies, were a colorful part of Montana's history a century ago. Union recruiters focused on miners and lumberjacks, making Montana a key target. But the radical views of IWW organizers often turned off Montanans.

"The most extreme of America's pre-World War I labor groups, the IWW rejected political action, arbitration, and binding contracts," says historian Pamela Toler. "Instead they put their faith in the strike and nothing but the strike. Inspired by European syndicalism, the IWW wanted to organize all workers into 'One Big Union," with the ultimate goal of a revolutionary general strike that would overthrow capitalism and create a workers' society."

The Wobblies were so extreme -- and low in numbers -- that they ended up playing into the hands of corporate powers. Some Montanans speculated that the Wobblies were really corporate plants, brought in to forment resentment against all unions, including more moderate ones. It didn't take long for the IWW to fade from view.

Yet, surprisingly, there are still a few Wobblies around. One is none other than Kevin Curtis of Butte, the husband of the Democratic candidate for the US Senate, Amanda Curtis.

There is even a monthly IWW newspaper, the "Industrial Worker" -- a journal for which Amanda Curtis has written articles, including a piece about restoration of the Butte grave of IWW martyr Frank Little.

Could Curtis's ties to the IWW become a campaign issue? Probably not. The first, and only, poll on the race between Curtis and Congressman Steve Daines shows the GOP candidate with 20 point lead, and his strategy so far seems to be to ignore his opponent rather than mention her name and give her any publicity.

Despite her lack of name recognition, Curtis has attracted a number of positive national media articles, including ones by the New York TimesPolitico, and ABC News.

UPDATE: When an NPR reporter recently asked Curtis about her connection to the IWW and noted that the organization's preamble sounded like "contemporary communism," she didn't deny that it had a somewhat communist message or that she had an affinity for it. She also said she was on the side of working people, providing voters a "clear distinction" with the "millionaire Congressman" Steve Daines.

Former Miss Montana Sheridan Tihista of Sidney says she was bullied out of Gamma Phi Beta at Morehead State University in Minnesota. She claims girls are bullied out of the sorority every semester, and she was the target last semester. (Cosmopolitan)

Activists to film hunters as state's wolf season begins

Man dies attempting to BASE jump in Glacier Park

Miss Montana 2013 complains she was bullied out of sorority

Unwanted red-eared slider turtles to be sent packing to Texas

74 teams compete in weekend's dragon boat festival

Republican Daines seeks to woo skeptical Indian Country voters

One place in rural MT that votes Democratic: Indian Country

Study: Montana leads the nation in ticket-splitting

Body of missing Stevensville man located

Politically, Montana is a mix of both 'red' and 'blue'

Flathead, Ravalli counties remain MT's most red large counties

Record-breaking freeze wallops Montana crops

US News ranks UM 194th among nation's colleges

Advocates seek more protection for Lewistown-area backcountry

UM's gifted education program gets $1.5 million donation

Helena boy critically injured when vehicle falls off jack

Daines, Curtis agree to debate in Billings Oct. 20

700 turn out for event honoring economic benefits of coal

Montana records one of its quietest wildfire season in years

BLM forced to stop timber sale near Ovando to study lynx

Advocates protest loss of access to public lands

State officials suggest expanding MT's mental-health services

2 Montana bison sent to live at National Zoo in Washington, DC

Butte hopes yet another festival is a big hit

2 former BLM officials charged with defrauding agency

Home of former Ravalli Co treasurer sold at foreclosure sale

Controversial Roosevelt Co sheriff resigns after loss in primary

74 dragon boats expected at this weekend's Flathead races

Blackfeet woman gets 10 years for severe child abuse

Browning man denies knocking out, dragging, girlfriend

Mild wildfire season results in low drain on firefighting budget

Missoula man sentenced to 10 years for soliciting photos of girls

VanDyke most prolific fundraiser among Supreme Court hopefuls

Murder trial in foreign exchange student case to stay in Missoula

Winter storm warnings in effect for parts of Montana til afternoon

Glacier Park roads due to winter conditions

Feds don't designate land for lynx in MT, other states

More than 70 dragon boats expected at weekend Flathead races

$406M upgrade at Laurel refinery to boost production, efficiency

Chronicle review of Zinke military record comes up clean

School near Billings can't use well due to contamination

Vandals deface Yellowstone Kelly gravesite near Billings

Missoula goes over budget in trying to acquire Mountain Water

Lawmakers nix notion of state taking over federal lands

Man who planned to kidnap Letterman's son being released 

VA officials outline reforms aimed at improving services for vets

Federal agency tells coal railroad to divulge documents

Yellowstone County hit with 1st MT case of Entero virus

MSU-Northern defends year-long pay for chancellor who quit


Texas firm finds oil, gas in shallow well in Lewis & Clark County

Bonner wood-chip plant creates over 100 jobs, backers say

Environmental groups sue over oil shipments in older rail cars

August rains damaged much of Montana's grain crops

Senators chide freight railroads over lengthy delays

Billings Clinic, partner buying Missoula hospital for $67.4M


Belt High football player in intensive care after suffering injury

Raucous crowd helps propel MSU to win over Central Arkansas

Young Griz offensive line comes of age in South Dakota win

Grizzlies grind out a win over South Dakota, 28-20

Bobcats hold on to defeat Central Arkansas, 43-33

Golf pro Lon Hinkle still happy to be living, playing at Bigfork


Don't take away voters' right to register on election day

Candidates should be giving voters more debates

PSC should have required better price for NorthWestern dams

Republicans shouldn't be suing to close primaries

Top political candidates must get used to losing their privacy


Billings architects build city's first off-the-grid house

Researchers catalog state's heritage fruit orchards

Jack Gladstone marks 3 decades of Glacier Park shows

Explorers find deepest cave in continental US in Bob Marshall

Helena poet/photographer captures thoughts on $2 typewriter

Senator's family bids farewell to cabin in Glacier Park


Dierks Bentley on stage in Missoula Oct. 11

Phillip Phillips to perform at UM Oct. 23

Comedian Bob Newhart to visit Great Falls Nov. 13

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