A daily digest of Montana news



Dec. 21, 2014

                 WEATHER

Billings

Bozeman

Butte

Kalispell

Great Falls

Glasgow

Glendive

Havre

Helena

Lewistown

Miles City

Missoula

 

DAILY NEWSPAPERS

Billings Gazette

Bozeman Chronicle

(Butte)
Montana Standard

Flathead Beacon

Havre Daily News

(Kalispell)
Daily Interlake

Livingston Enterprise

Great Falls
 Tribune


Helena IR

Miles City Star

Missoulian

OTHER SOURCES

Bozeman Magpie

The Flint Report

Last Best News

The Lowdown
Great Falls Tribune (blog)

Make  It Missoula

Mountain  West News

mtbusiness.com



WEEKLIES

Belgrade News

Bigfork Eagle

(Big Sky) Lone
 Peak Lookout


Billings Outpost

(Browning)
Glacier-Reporter


Cascade Courier

(Chester) Liberty
 County Times


Choteau Acantha

(Columbia Falls)
Hungry Horse News


(Columbus) Stillwater
 County News


(Conrad)
Independent-Observer


Cut Bank
Pioneer Press


Dillon Tribune

(Eureka) Tobacco
 Valley News

Glasgow Courier

Glendive
 Ranger-Review


(Hamilton)
 Ravalli Republic


(Hardin) Big Horn
 County News


(Huson) Clark
 Fork Chronicle


Laurel Outlook

Lewistown
News-Argus


(Libby)
 Western News


Missoula Independent

(Pablo)
Char-Koostra News

 (Polson) Lake
 County Leader

 (Red Lodge)
Carbon County News


Seeley Swan Pathfinder

Shelby Promoter

Sidney Herald-Leader

(Sidney) The Roundup

(Stevensville)
 Bitterroot Star


(Thompson Falls)
Sanders Co. Ledger

Townsend Star

Valierian

West Yellowstone
News


Whitefish Pilot

Government News for MT

THE BUZZ


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.





EverPower, which owns the Big Sky Wind Farm in Illinois (pictured here), broke ground this week on a major wind farm in Carbon County that's expected to produce 240 megawatts of power. 




Ground broken for 120-turbine wind farm in Carbon County

Obama OKs bill creating Front wilderness, protecting Flathead

Judge drops vehicular homicide charge against Belgrade man

Billings rallies behind teen who had gay slur painted on door

3 Montana hospitals penalized with loss of Medicare funds

Lawyer seeks release of ex-billionaire Blixseth from jail

Columbia Falls Aluminum Co rejects idea of Superfund site

Survey: Montana has low obesity rate, but high binge drinking

Feds change how coal from federal leases is valued

Obama belittles benefits of Keystone pipeline

North Dakota may lose billions in taxes if low oil prices stay

Parents of exchange student tell of grief; Kaarma apologizes

Judge sending Yellowstone Club founder Blixseth to jail

Rob O'Neill took out bin Laden, but not a gang of Crips

Gianforte donates $500K for scholarships at 2-year colleges

Study: Growing use of de-icers boosts chloride in MT water

Livestock Department cuts 5 jobs, furloughs others

Split PSC rejects NorthWestern plan to buy wind power

Advocates want to reintroduce grizzlies in Selway-Bitterroot

Abused kids, including Butte infant, die as system fails them

Missoula man found guilty of killing foreign exchange student

Self-defense argument flops as Missoula man convicted

Student's parents happy with jury's verdict

Missoula Dem: Verdict underscores need for gun restrictions

Missoula shooting trial similar to other cases around US

Chippewa Cree must pay up front for water pipeline work

House leaders adopt less-restrictive dress code

Defendant gets prison for stabbing, killing Fort Benton man

Musician Usher talks with Columbus students about coding

Scientists from MSU, China co-author paper on origin of birds

Healthcare foundation to give grants to health departments

Feds look to MT probe of corruption on reservations as model

Oil firm drops drilling plans in Bridger Mountains

How a billionaire cut access to public lands near Deer Lodge

While sage-grouse protections blocked, work continues

Bullock, critic of corporate $in politics, takes fund-raising job

GOP lawmaker will carry governor's infrastructure bill


BUSINESS

Butte businessmen express concerns about summer festivals

Safeway sells Missoula stores to local businessmen

Former employees reach settlement with Vann's

Charter expanding its Billings operations

State's minimum wage jumps to $8.05 in January

Charter says it is working to fix problems for email customers

New ND rules require crude be less volatile before transport


SPORTS

UM thumps Utah Valley, advances to tourney's title game

Bobcat star Shawn Johnson didn't have easy path to football

UM introduces Bob Stitt as new head football coach

WA prepster puts acting career on hold to play for Cats

South Dakota nips Bobcats, 55-53

Lady Griz outlast Seattle in OT, 70-64

UM's Wagenmann, Hermanson named to All-American team


OPINION

The attention-grabbing headline no one took credit for

Nothing's ever easy in Flathead water compact negotiations 

Legislators opposing Medicaid expansion get health insurance

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


FEATURES

New James Patterson novel set in Bakken oil fields

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


CALENDAR

Country star Kip Moore returning to Missoula Jan. 27

Country star Clint Black to headline Headwaters Jam in June

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