Washington state officials have estimated it would cost up to $200 million to close and clean up the Colstrip 1 and 2 power plants. Washington legislators are reviewing legislation that would require utilities that own the plants to phase them out. (Billings Gazette)
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A daily digest of Montana news
Feb. 10, 2016
IN A recent story that noted how critics had raised questions about whether University of Montana administrators had showed favoritism by hiring so many Mormons to high-profile positions, the Missoulian made the eye-opening assertion that the Mormon church planned to buy Utah State University.
The Missoulian's story began by quoting critics who claimed that, since Perry Brown, a Mormon Church leader, was hired as UM's provost in 2010, several other top UM slots had gone to Mormons or fellow Utah State University graduates.
In providing background, the original version of the story noted that Mormons are 2 percent of the nation's population and up to 5 percent in Montana. The paper added: "In Utah, 60 percent of the population is Mormon, and the LDS church announced in 2013 it planned to buy Utah State University."
It is unclear where the Missoulian got its information, but it may have come from this internet April Fool's Day joke.
The Missoulian has since scrubbed the line about the LDS church buying USU from its story, but the correction probably won't satisfy many. The updated version of its story simply says there was an error in the original version: "Utah State University is a public institution."
In a comment at the end of the story, Kevin McRae, chief human resource officer for the Montana University System, said he'd asked Missoulian editors to explain the source for their report that the LDS church was buying USU, and evidence to back the Missoulian's "proposition that faculty or staff or professional or administrative employees in the Montana University System might be employed on the basis of religion."
Likewise, UM President Royce Engstrom accused the Missoulian of "irresponsible journalism" in a letter to the editor. He added that he was asking his attorney to see if there was any legal action UM could take against the paper, but added "I doubt that there is..."
THERE are millionaires among us. Many of them, it seems.
More specifically, Montana has 20,899 households with over $1 million in investable assets, according to New York marketing research firm Phoenix Research International.
That number is 2,005 households higher than the previous year -- putting Montana at 33rd in the national rankings, and six spots higher than it was in 2014.
That was the largest leap of any state. It also puts almost 5 percent of Montana's households in the "millionaire" category.
So what accounts for Montana's growth in wealth? Representatives of the firm cite the state's favorable tax climate for entrepreneurs. They also point to our growing workforce, low unemployment rates and rising wages.
INSTEAD of packing up and moving to Los Angeles, the St. Louis Rams ought to re-locate to Billings, Montana. That's the tongue-in-cheek suggestion of a Newsweek writer who claims his idea has a lot going for it.
"What if the Rams had moved to a state named after a four-time Super Bowl–winning quarterback?" said Newsweek writer John Walters. "What if the team now fleeing St. Louis, the origin point of the Lewis and Clark expedition, had relocated to the town where Captain William Clark once etched his name (on a slab at Pompeys Pillar)? Who wouldn’t root for the Billings Bighorns?"
Walters said fans could tailgate on the Yellowstone River, wearing T-shirts that say, "Talk is sheep." Younger fans would call themselves Little Bighorns.
Walters, who has been through Montana, told the Billings Gazette he wrote the column "to have a little fun, but honestly I think it’s a smart idea. If only I had a billion dollars, I’d do it myself.”
CRITICS are calling 'The Revenant' one of the most beautiful films ever made. It also was reportedly one of the most grueling to make.
In one of the most gripping scenes, frontiersman Hugh Glass, played by Leonardo DeCaprio, dives into a raging river to escape a band of Indians who want to kill him. Already badly mauled in a grizzly bear attack, Glass is bludgeoned even more by the rocks as he's swept down a series of rapids.
The filming of the scene, which was done last summer at Kootenai Falls near Troy, is described in this New York Times interview with director Alejandro González Iñárritu. "It was very dangerous," he said, indicating that DeCaprio was in some of the shots while a stunt double took his place in others.
Although one is struck by the harsh winter scenes throughout the movie, observant moviegoers will notice that, for the short part portion of the movie when Glass is swept down the waterfalls, there are green mountainsides in the background. That's because the film crew needed a river warm enough for their actors, the director indicated.