The top story on the front page of Wednesday's Helena Independent Record took a look at donations GOP Congressman Greg Gianforte has given to conservation organizations that are allegedly trying to dismantle federal campaign finance rules. 

The same story also ran in Montana's other Lee Newspapers, and was attributed to the Center for Public Integrity, a group most Montanans probably have never heard of. The center, which describes itself as a nonprofit news organization, is based out of Washington, D.C., and has called itself "strictly nonpartisan."

But the New York Times and Los Angeles Times have both described it as "liberal," while Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, a self-described progressive media watchdog, also has labeled the center as progressive. According to Wikipedia, the center's funding comes from various liberal foundations, including George Soros' Open Society Foundations.

So don't the Lee editors owe their readers an explanation for their decision to turn over such prime news space to a group widely viewed as left-of-center? Especially at a time when polls show that readers, especially those on the right, say they don't trust the media to be fair? This recent Gallup poll, for example, showed only 27 percent of Americans said they had a lot of trust in newspapers.

MONTANANS love their huckleberries. But what would they think about the tasty fruit on their burgers? Now we've got a chance to find out.

​James Monroe, the Eureka chef who won the nation-wide best burger competition in 2009 with a Cajun-inspired creation on the "Live! with Regis and Kelly" TV show, is back with a new artisan burger that's topped off with a splotch of huckleberry ice cream.

Sounds yummy. Or not. Guess we'll have to try one to find out.

Anyway, because of his burger victory, Monroe's been invited to serve his prize-winning Bubba burgers, as well as the new huckleberry burgers, at a reception that follows the lighting of the Capitol Christmas Tree in Washington, D.C., in early December. The 70-foot-tall spruce is being harvested in the Kootenai Forest, not many miles away from the Front Porch Grill that Monroe and his wife, Andi, run in Eureka

THE POLICE blotter reports in Montana newspapers offer some of the most amusing -- and perhaps insightful -- commentaries on human nature.

Take this recent item in the Flathead Beacon: "A Canadian called the sheriff’s office and asked, 'What the heck is going on down there?' It’s unclear if anyone had an answer to that question."​​


BUTTE native Rob O'Neil, the Navy SEAL who killed Osama bin Laden, recently enjoyed dinner at the White House with his new bride, Jessica.

After the dinner, O'Neil lauded Trump as a "great host." As a conservative and a commentator on Fox News, O'Neil was a backer of Trump. But he's also spoken positively of former President Barack Obama.

O'Neil, 41, was married this past summer to Jessica Halprin, 27. Among the guests were his friend, Kid Rock, the Michigan rock 'n roller and potential Senate candidate. 

O'Neil met Halprin, who works in public relations, in 2015 while on a speaking tour. "I had to ask who he was," Halprin said of her now husband. As time went on, Halprin learned there was a lot more to O'Neil than the military operation he was most famous for, according to the Daily Mail.

AFTER he finished his term as governor and led President George W. Bush's 2004 re-election campaign, former Gov. Marc Racicot dropped out of sight for years. Even close friends were left wondering what had happened to the once-popular politician.

But now Racicot, who lives on Swan Lake, is stepping back into the public eye with a speech at Flathead Lake Community College Monday evening on "The Meaning of Leadership." His primary focus will be on the late Senate Majority Leader and Ambassador Mike Mansfield of Montana.

Racicot told the Flathead Beacon he was stepping back into the limelight because he was impressed by the growth of FVCC and because he always admired Mansfield, with whom he had a chance to spend quite a bit of time. 

"He was courageous," Racicot said of Mansfield. "Because of the way he led with such humility and a quiet thoughtful touch with those he served with, he was able to accomplish extraordinary things. But he never would take credit for it. That was probably one of the secrets to his success."

Racicot, who also chaired the Republican National Committee in 2002 and 2003, also decried the current political climate, which he described as a "an all-or-nothing mentality frequently and maybe always." Yet he said he remains hopeful as Americans are resilient and are people of good faith.

Rep. Kelly Flynn (R-Townsend) hugs a colleague as the special legislative session comes to a close early Thursday. Both sides indicated they weren't completely happy with the results but were satisfied they averted deep budget cuts. (Helena IR)


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​A daily digest of Montana news

Nov. 22, 2017



Governor plans to veto bill that would furlough state workers

How lawmakers fixed the state's budget mess

House Appropriations chair says there was no pre-arranged deal

World-renowned photos to be auctioned in Billings to help youth

Tester to donate $25K from Franken to domestic violence group

MSU Faculty Senate throws big roadblock before Koch-funded center

Both sides claim victory coming out of special session

Democrats running for Congress try to distinguish themselves at forum

Interior watchdog group: Zinke failed to keep complete travel records

State names Corrections official to head women's prison in Billings

Legislative session ends without resorting to tax hikes

Session adjourns, with both sides happy they averted deep cuts

Heavy snows expected in some parts of Rockies

State releases proposed rules for medical marijuana industry

Senate OKs bill to block rule allowing birth certificate rule change

GOP lawmakers scramble to find funds to balance state budget

Frenchtown music teacher denies sexually assaulting student

Billings police suspect homicide after body found on west end

Democratic and GOP leaders say budget deal close in special session

GOP wants to make temporary cuts permanent, furlough workers

Governor's surprise: He's already making cuts to budget

MT patients may get fewer medicines, fluids via IVs due to shortages

Lake Co prosecutor drops charge of murder against Pablo man

MSU fraternity suspended after student treated for alcohol poisoning

First of governor's tax hike proposals heard as special session opens

GOP lawmakers hope to 'corral' governor with Shelby prison deal

6 facts about the special legislative session

Businesses oppose increase in taxes on lodging and rental cars

Mineral County sheriff resigns in midst of jail crisis

Committee meetings for special session on budget start Monday

Central Montana elk hunt raises ethical, legal questions for hunters

OPI hasn't yet developed curriculum for child sex abuse education

Big Sky on big screen: The future of film in Montana

Feds: Blackfeet Range Rider program not ending

Shelby private prison could be flash point in special session

Republicans see little support for higher taxes as session approaches

Plan to remove Northwestern MT grizzlies from threatened list debated

Legislative panel blocks state Medicaid budget cuts

Judge stops recall of Pondera County sheriff

Family worries slain Pablo man won't get justice

OPI chief opposes funding cuts, wants to even out payments

Daines pulls endorsement of Moore in Alabama Senate contest

Capitol Christmas tree starting its journey east from Northwestern MT


Activists, Washington officials want to speed up closure of Colstrip

Flathead seasonings firm adds spice to Montana meals

Big Sky named second best ski resort in US

Puerto Rico utility ignored lawyers' advice in deal with Whitefish Energy

Foul play not suspected in fire that burned Libby mill

Proposed tax cuts could impact real estate industry

Kalispell man produces silver coins that honor Flathead landmarks

Yellowstone saw all-season pass sales spike after last fee hike



No. 25 Kentucky pulls away from Lady Griz in 2nd half

Schye says his Griz have score to settle with Cats

Griz hang with Penn State until final minutes, lose 70-57

Jesse Sims radiates toughness on defensive line for Grizzlies

Security being increased for Cat-Griz game

Concussions changing lives of Montana athletes

Griz men upset ACC's Pitt 83-78 on the road in OT



GOP Senate candidate out of line with attack on judge, FWP

Gov. Judy Martz -- a Montana original

Paying a high price for social media, cell phones

More thought should be put into national park fee reforms

UM Journalism School shouldn't turn away conservative speaker

Problems with VA dental services have persisted for far too long

Bullock should call legislators into special session


PBS takes a look at MT's patron saint of art: Charlie Russell

At 90, Kalispell retiree makes artistic debut

After 56 years, Lewistown's Big Spring Creek gets its meanders back

This Montana vet is a rare breed -- he served in 3 wars

Malta rancher Wallace Coburn parlayed cowboy skills into movie career

The late Dorothy Johnson set great example as a writer, person

Swift foxes, long thought extinct locally, make a comeback

Great Falls man looks back on his WWII service, time in POW camp



Rebecca Farm to host Flathead skijoring competition Dec. 30-31

Rod Stewart doing his 1st Montana concert in Billings April 14

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