A daily digest of Montana news

Sept. 23, 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.

The remains of 1st Lt. William Bernier, an Augusta native who was shot down over New Guinea in World War II, were buried Friday at the Augusta cemetery 70 years after his death. His remains weren't positively identified until earlier this year. (Helena IR)

'Genuine American hero' laid to rest at Augusta cemetery

Anti-wolf activist claims he intentionally ran over 2 wolves

Hotel guests donated over $1M to Yellowstone Park since 2000

Priest denies gay couple Communion due to marriage

Gov argues state can cut carbon emissions while keeping jobs

Author of 'Three Cups of Tea' to make comeback - reluctantly

Justice Mike Wheat denies being Democratic partisan as judge

Classes resumed at Hardin schools after chemical scare

Bullock to lead 8-day trade mission to China

Bonner man acquitted of sex charge tells of toll taken on his life

Regents approve $1.4 billion budget for University System

State decides to hold off on creation of wolf stamp

Butte police seek info after former officer charged with stalking

Defense attorneys allege misconduct by Kalispell prosecutors

We're in for a frigid winter -- or maybe a mild one

Missoula officials ID man accused of 12 sex crimes in city, at UM

Great Falls chiropractor arrested

Roundup man charged with trying to get girl to kill herself
Governor's proposed preschool program to cost $37 million

First Zinke TV ad contrasts himself, opponent

Lewis says he wants to raise pay levels for women

Remains of WWII airman being returned to Augusta

Wounded Billings man arrested on suspicion of parole violation

Montana's median income rises, but so does poverty rate

VA psychologist reprimanded for veteran's evaluation

Former Big Sky coach denies raping players

Man who threatened UM students is charged

Rescued mountain lion kittens find new home in Ohio zoo

Donor saves Missoula mobile home owners from auction block

Meagher statue in front of state Capitol Building vandalized

Searchers still looking for Bozeman hunter missing for a week

Environmental groups want oil trains to slow down

Man charged with drowning his wife in Big Horn County in 1999

Study: Montana has nation's fairest tax system

Man faces 34 felony charges over alleged Facebook threats

Ravalli Co attorney defends charges against pregnant defendant

Tribal officials detain state game warden for almost 6 hours

6 justices seek to uphold ban on partisan judicial endorsements

Tester legislation would rename Billings VA Clinic

Woman sues Jefferson County, claiming she was raped

Billings mother, daughter sentenced for hammer attack

Montana delegation wants to avoid government shutdown

Activists to film hunters as state's wolf season begins


Missoula officials to continue efforts to buy water company

Canadian firm agrees to buy Missoula water company

Options for expansion of West Coast coal ports dwindling

Refinery developer joins German firm for Bakken projects

Sears to close store at Great Falls mall

Montana's tourism industry continues to rebound, officials say


Griz tackle North Dakota State in clash of FCS titans

Bobcats host high-powered No. 2 Eastern Washington

Illinois combo guard commits to MSU

UM's Wagenmann named Big Sky defensive player of week

Grizzlies 4th, Bobcats 14th in Sports Network poll

Belt High football player in intensive care after suffering injury


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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