A daily digest of Montana news

Oct. 1, 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


THE MOST popular brand names in Montana? Dodge, Amazon, and Prilosec, according to research based on Google searches done by Montanans.

Really? Sounds odd, doesn't it?

You'd think that NorthWestern Energy might have been one of the top three, as it has been in the news a lot lately due to its purchase of PPL's dams. Or maybe a company like Budweiser, since Montanans not only like their beer, but they grow much of the barley used to produce it.

WHEN IT comes to taxes, which state is the fairest of them all? Montana is, according to a survey done by WalletHut, a personal-finance site. Really?

Even a lot of Montanans will be surprised by that finding, thinking they pay an awful lot in taxes. But they actually tend to pay less than taxpayers in other states. Why?

Because Montana is one of only five states with no general sales tax. And to make up for that lack of revenue, the state takes a bigger chunk of change from energy producers and big property holders.

Interestingly, both liberals and conservatives who were surveyed ranked Montana as the fairest state in terms of taxation. Now, how often do you see folks on either side of the political spectrum agree on something, especially an important issue like taxes?

Makes you wonder why Montana's tax system isn't more of a model for other states.

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 Billings Senior High School teacher Stacey Rambold was sentenced to 10 years in prison Friday for the rape of one of his students in 2007. The student later committed suicide. (Billings Gazette)

Billings teacher re-sentenced to 10 years for raping student

Zinke changes tack, will take part in Billings debate

Driver of semi with rotting chickens arrested in Idaho

Spoiled chicken disposed of at Missoula landfill

500 Lodge Grass residents without water for 11 days

Bakken oil patch jails filled to capacity, sheriff says

Doesn't suit tastes: Judge stops another Swan Valley timber sale

Lewistown gay couple, Catholic officials still in a standoff

Former clerk sues Montana Supreme Court justices

Judge orders UM to release records in case against Griz QB

Trailer full of rotting chicken to be hauled to landfill Friday

Songwriter finds spoiling chicken too tasty a topic to pass up

Genetically modified wheat found in Montana

Driver who posted dead wolf photo says collision was accident

Proposed Butte-area gold mine clears another hurdle

Forest Service tries to clarify proposed filming rule for wilderness

PSC gives final approval to NorthWestern's purchase of dams

Whitefish man denies attacking girlfriend with axe, beating her

2 California men busted in Billings motel room with 6 lbs of meth

Vandals cause significant damage to Florence school gym

Vaughn woman charged with stealing college money to buy meth

Man dies in fall from downtown Missoula building

Former coach arrested on sex charges in Ovando

Judge sets limits on jury pool in Missoula murder case

Texas man who shot Glacier Park bear faces charge

As weekend arrives, it's sayonara to summer

35,000 pounds of rotting chicken meat abandoned near Missoula

Forest Service moves to bolster restrictions on filming in forests

Accused Sidney killer declared fit for trial

Couple accused of killing man near Dillon plead not guilty

Glacier Park sees record number of tourists this season

Prison officials investigate death of Three Forks inmate

Hamilton inmate unsuccessfully attempts jailbreak through ducts

Corvallis man rescued from fire, but 2nd man dies

9th Circuit Court declines to block Flathead logging projects

Missoula mayor say he still wants to buy water system

State finds record number of homeless students

Lolo man accidentally kills himself while cleaning revolver

Supreme Court candidates square off in debate

PSC candidate slaps opponent for industry backing

Billings prosecutor to seek 10 years for teacher who raped pupil

2 more Rocky Boy officials hit with federal charges

D.C. judge reinstates federal protections for Wyoming wolves

GOP leader has plan to expand Medicaid coverage

Chico Hot Springs scrambles to keep drinking water clean

State releases Ryan Leaf to Texas officials

Missoula man, 73, charged with attempting to take over ranch

Curtis raises $437,000 for Senate race

Feds fund navigators to help Montanans sign up for insurance


High court to hear arguments on law limiting jury awards

Red Ants Pants: She found her niche selling pants that fit women

Venture capitalist urges Flathead residents to be 'dentmakers'

Missoula bar being named after famous MT early-day pioneer

Missoula officials to continue efforts to buy water company

Canadian firm agrees to buy Missoula water company


Griz look to get back on winning track against Northern Colorado

Former pro Lex Hilliard helps guide his old team at Flathead High

Former Griz star Brian Qvale invited to Hornets camp

Josh Huestis returning to Great Falls to run camp this Saturday

Griz fall, while Bobcats move a spot in football polls

Whitefish Mountain ski resort adds $1.3M ski lift to north side

Cats to try to get back on the winning track against North Dakota


Catholic officials should show compassion for gay couple

The cost of grizzlies on the Stillwater Forest

Advocates who follow hunters with cameras are hurting cause

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


For 37 years, FWP filmmaker happy to make movies in MT wilds

Family ties remain strong to historic Glacier Park lookout

Whitney Williams happy helping celebrities help others

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


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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