A daily digest of Montana news

Sept. 2, 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


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.

BELIEVE it or not, you get a bigger bang for your buck in Montana. At least, a Tax Foundation report indicates that consumers in Montana get more for their money than consumers in most other states.

According to the study, in Montana $100 will buy what would cost $106.16 in another state that is closer to the national average. Buzz isn't an economist, but this appears to mean that Montanans get a 6 percent break on goods and services.

Parts of the country where $100 is worth the least are the District of Columbia, Hawaii, New York, New Jersey, and California. Places where money goes the farthest: Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, Alabama, and South Dakota.

The report notes that there is often a correlation between regions with high incomes and high prices.

SO WHO is the richest person in Montana? You won't be surprised to learn it is Dennis Washington, the Missoula magnate who owns Montana Rail Link and Butte's big operating copper mine, among other things.

Washington's status has been confirmed by thereal-estate broker web site Movoto.com.

Washington is worth $6.1 billion, according to Movoto. Unlike many on Movoto's list, he didn't inherit his wealth, but built it with his own smarts and hard work. With the help of a $30,000 loan and a bulldozer, he started a Missoula-area contracting firm that became the state's largest construction firm. 

He now owns a large group of privately held firms that fall under the umbrella of the Washington Companies, as well as a group of Canada-based companies known as the Seaspan Marine Corp. In more recent years, he's been known for building elaborate yachts and for his philanthropy, which includes much of the work on UM's Washington-Grizzly Stadium, named after him.

The country's richest person, by the way, lives nearby in Washington state. It is Bill Gates, worth a cool $80 billion. 

A work crews put a new roof on a building recently in Helena. A new report shows Montana ranks in the top five states in the nation in terms of employment growth and is above-average for economic growth. (Helena IR)

Montana enjoys one of nation's best rates of economic growth

Fur flies over plan to relocate bobcat farm to central Montana

Calculating cost of state takeover of federal lands is difficult

Some lawmakers want to expand clemency power of governor

Lincoln Co inmate kills himself in jail

Firefighters rescue mountain lion cubs found under burning log

Is transfer of federal lands to state viable option or theater?

Legislator says federal land management is dysfunctional 

Lawmaker: Transfer of lands to state probably not realistic

Daines uses RightNow success story as staple of his campaign

Missoula murder suspects nabbed in Louisiana

Heavy rains cause severe flood damage on Hi-Line

In little time, Daines becomes MT's most important Republican

MSN-Northern names an interim chancellor

Hardin facility finally starts taking minimum-security inmates

Yellowstone Park worker took her own life, officials say

UM honors incoming student who died in car crash

Zinke says bin Laden email was misunderstood

5 key things to know about the upcoming elections

UM student missing for week died in car crash near Idaho lake

MSU-Northern chancellor steps down, citing discord at school

Billings man charged with raping man in alley

Former House speaker hired as AG's deputy chief of staff

Man accused of killing Cascade Co deputy faces more charges

Why the effort to get a dark-money ban on the ballot failed

Officials say Bakken boom's ill effects being felt on reservations

Woman denies role in murder of Missoula transient

Judge to consider tossing statements in Sidney murder case

Flathead sawmill lays off workers, citing lack of logs due to suits

Roosevelt Co sheriff found asleep on sidewalk, apparently drunk

Crews looking for lost UM student focus on Wisdom area

Clancy man denies vehicular homicide charge for I-15 fatal crash

Missing Lame Deer girl, 14, found safe

Feds to spend $3M fighting violence against women in Bakken

Flathead family writes book about son's odd death in Singapore

Yellowstone Park concession worker found dead

Author, state seek court ruling on UM rape case files

Residents sue Bozeman over non-discrimination ordinance

Suspect in murder of 3 in Lodge Grass likely to be committed

Whitefish woman admits stabbing her husband during argument

Bear crashes home of elderly couple near Ashland

Judge dismisses conspiracy claims of Senate leader Wittich

Senate candidate Curtis admits she needs to study up on issues

Air Force Thunderbirds appear at Flathead show this weekend

Missoula parking lot attack likely to leave man blind in eye

Christian spreads the Word -- and controversy -- with big signs


Montana native's Coolest campaign sets Kickstarter record

Australian firm buys a third of copper-mining company

Cloud Peak coal officials say they want 'factual discussion'

New Flathead hops rancher ready to meet needs of MT brewers

Chamber says Supreme Court getting more business-friendly

New website seeks to hook up MT grads with high-tech firms

Contractor Sherpa to link contractors and people with projects


Wyoming ekes out a win over Montana, 17-10

Bobcats fall to Arkansas State, 37-10

Former Grizzly Marc Mariani cut by Tennessee

Fort Benton loses bid to form co-op team with GTF Central

Stevensville's Jesse Sims commits to Oregon State

Bobcats lose services of 6-10 center for academic reasons


Montanans should support new wilderness

She's still haunted by 1970 story of brother's death in car mishap

Let's see more old-fashioned debates in state-wide races

By backing out of Billings debate, Zinke showed lack of courage

Daines crossed line with photo he used in mailer

With Curtis, Dems ditch pragmatism, go for gun-control activist


UM boasts MT's biggest collection of fine arts, but can't display it

MT advocates celebrate 50th anniversary of Wilderness Act

Darby makes transition from timber to tourism town

Learning more about the life of Glacier Park's mountain goats

Castle Mountains provide striking views, great adventures

Livingston author foresees grim future for planet

World's perfect log cabin? Nestled in the Crazy Mountains


Air Force's Thunderbirds plan air show Aug. 30-31 in Flathead

Phillip Phillips to perform at UM Oct. 23

Comedian Bob Newhart to visit Great Falls Nov. 13

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