A daily digest of Montana news
Oct. 6, 2015
Chase Dellwo, 25, of Belgrade, recovers from a grizzly attack he suffered Saturday west of Choteau. He surprised the male grizzly while he was bow hunting in dense brush for elk, and says he deterred the bear by shoving his arm down its throat. (Great Falls Tribune)
GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump brags about his billions. Greg Gianforte doesn’t. In fact, the Montana GOP gubernatorial candidate who made a pretty penny when he sold his RightNow Technologies to Oracle for $1.5 billion in 2011, says that, contrary to claims, he isn’t a billionaire.
That hasn’t stopped Montana Democrats from continuing to taunt Gianforte, calling him a “New Jersey billionaire.” (He’s originally from back east.) Nor has it kept some journalists from getting into the act. A Helena Independent Record columnist mocked Gianforte for denying that he was a billionaire when he filed exploratory papers to run for governor. “… I have no idea why the extremely well-to-do Gianforte is distancing himself from the very thing for which he has been celebrated in the past,” wrote IR news editor Leah Gilman.
Which raises the question: Is Gianforte actually a billionaire? Why hasn’t any journalist tackled that question? The answer: One did a year ago.
Mike Dennison, who was with the Lee State Bureau at the time, investigated and found that Gianforte and his wife, Susan, collected between $300 million and $400 million from the sale of the company they founded. The couple also appears to have benefited to a lesser degree from the sale of stock options, though by how much isn’t clear. Also unclear is how much taxes reduced their gains.
Gianforte’s critics seem to make the mistake of assuming that he and his wife pocketed most of the profits from the sale of RightNow. But Dennison noted that the couple only owned 20 to 25 percent of its stock. They did very well – thank you – but the sale of RightNow didn’t make them billionaires.
UPDATE: Buzz missed it earlier, but the conservative Media Trackers web site did a piece Sept. 2 on Gilman's column, calling it an "attack" on Gianforte in the "supposedly unbiased daily newspaper in Montana's state capital." On Sept. 10, Media Trackers followed up with a report that the Independent Record had changed Gilman's job title from news editor to copy editor/columnist.
Media Trackers' Ron Catlett said that, in the wake of criticism of a "politically biased" piece by a news editor, IR editor Greg Lemon said via Twitter that Gilman was the paper's copy editor/columnist and not the news editor. Catlett said he asked Lemon why the paper's web site still listed Gilman as news editor and Lemon responded by Twitter: "This has been changed."
IT'S NOT a scientific survey, but an online poll suggests University of Montana Grizzly fans are more likely to root for the MSU Bobcats than Cat fans will cheer for the Griz.
The poll was launched in the run-up to the Griz game vs. North Dakota State, with the sponsors wondering if MSU fans would be rooting for UM. According to this break-down of the results, it wasn't too likely. But Griz fans are a lot more likely to back the Cats when the two teams aren't squaring off against each other.
Of the 62 Griz fans who participated in the survey, 84 percent said they root for the Cats. But only 39 percent of the 83 Cat fans who responded said they ever support the Griz.
MONTANANS aren't very naughty. At least they aren't if you measure them using the Ashley Madison scale of naughtiness.
Ashley Madison is the go-to web site for infidelity. It's motto: "Life is short. Have an affair."
Ashley Madison made headlines recently when hackers made public information on millions of the site's users. Including where they live.
Turns out not many -- relatively speaking -- are from Montana. Or so the numbers suggest. Montana ranks 42nd in amount of money spent on Ashley Madison on a per capita basis, according to a Business Insider survey. The lowest rated state is West Virginia.
The top three: Alabama, Colorado, and the District of Columbia. Strange mix, huh?
UPDATE: The Billings Gazette is reporting that almost 50,000 accounts on Ashley Madison come from Montana zip codes. Yet few of those accounts seem to come from folks who are willing to pay up for the site's services. Only 897 Montanans were paying members between 2008 and this year.
It is unclear what all those accounts mean. Could 50,000 Montanans have gone on Ashley Madison and set up accounts? Seems unlikely. That's about 5 percent of the state's population.
There is evidence that a lot of the site's accounts are fake. Are any in Montana. Who knows?
IF MONTANANS aren't spending time on Ashley Madison, it doesn't appear for lack of cash. A different survey -- this one of incomes in some of the nation's small cities -- shows many Montanans are doing just fine financially, thank you.
Bozeman comes in at No. 19 on the Bloomberg Index of Wealth in micropolitan communities (cities with populations between 10,000 and 50,000). Bozeman has a median household income of $52,833.
Helena came in No. 39 on the list, and Kalispell No. 43. Topping the list is Summit Park, Utah at $83,336.
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