BOZEMAN'S computer museum has nabbed quite an honor: A spot on USA Today's reader poll as one of the Top 10 free museums in the country.

"I'm just overjoyed we made the top 10," George Keremejiev, who co-founded the museum with his wife, Barbara, told the Bozeman Chronicle. "It validates out 25 years here."

The museum, located near MSU's Bobcat Stadium, covers 5,000 years of human communication. Its collection includes an original Apple 1 computer donated by  company co-founder Steve Wozniak.

TEXAS BILLIONAIRES Farris and Dan Wilks have attracted plenty of attention for buying more than 300,000 acres of Montana land in recent years, and sometimes getting into controversies over how they manage that land.

The brothers, worth an estimated $3 billion between them, spend about four months out of year in Montana and are building homes near their N Bar Ranch at Grass Range.

Now the Wilks brothers are buying up big chunks of land next door in Idaho. They've just bought 172,000 acres of land in Valley, Adams and Boise counties. No price was disclosed.

MONTANA'S natural resource industries have struggled in recent months, but the state has excelled in one economic category: Business startups.

It has the highest rate of startups among the 25 smallest states in the nation, according to a survey by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. It is the fourth time in a row Montana has finished at the top of the pack.

The Bullock Administration points to the rating as proof that it is on the right course in its efforts to promote business, while GOP gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte says studies that show how low Montana wages are compared to those in other states is a better gauge of how the state is struggling economically.

FEELING FREE? Maybe you should, if you put any stock in a new study by the Cato Institute, which ranks Montana the 17th freest state in the country.

The libertarian think tank, which supports less government intervention both in the economy and in personal matters like abortion and drug use, ranks Montana as the 7th freest state in terms of fiscal policy (that's taxes, spending and the like.)

Montana ranks 21st nationally for personal freedom -- here Cato considers laws on such issues as drugs and gun control -- while it gets it lowest score in regulatory freedom: 30. 

Among the issues the study takes into account in doing its rankings are smoking bans, right-to-work laws, sin taxes as well as rules on everything from happy hours and direct auto sales to land use and occupational licensing.

New Hampshire and Alaska finished atop the rankings, while California and New York came in last.

MONTANA was one of the big movers in CNBC's annual ratings of Top States for Business. The Big Sky State rose six spots to No. 22 in the ratings announced on Tuesday.

Montana got its lowest market, 45, in the workforce category, and its highest mark, an 8, for the cost of business that firms face. The workforce score is based on such factors as education level of workers, numbers of available workers, and the state's ability to retain workers.

Montana managed to improve its place in the CNBC ratings while other states such as North Dakota that are heavily dependent on the energy industry saw their ratings drop significantly.

Utah finished first in the ratings while Texas was second. Rhode Island was last.

​JIM MESSINA, who graduated from the University of Montana's journalism school, won plenty of plaudits for overseeing President Obama's 2012 re-election campaign.

But now his reputation will suffer a setback with Great Britain's shocking 52-48 vote to leave the European Union.

Why's that? Because Messina was the Remain campaign's key strategist. He also played a role in arranging the visit of President Obama, his former boss, to visit Great Britain in April to oppose the "Brexit" plan. Some analysts now think Obama's visit may have backfired.

Most pundits and polls had predicted Messina's Remain campaign would prevail.

Matthew Elliott, the head of the Leave campaign, said his side knew it would be over-matched in many ways, and it didn't have the resources to bring in strategists from outside the country. "It was formidable (Remain campaign), but we felt with the right team, and the right strategy, we could do it," Elliott said.

MSU has enrolled a record-breaking 16,400 students, a number the school had aimed to hit three years from now. (Bozeman Chronicle)

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


Sept. 25, 2016




MSU breaks all-time record by enrolling 16,400 students

UM's FTE enrollment drops another 6.7 percent this fall

Insurer New West Health Services to shut doors in 2017

Gianforte questions just how 'fiscally prudent' Bullock has been

Forbes puts MSU on its list of 'America's Top Colleges'

MSU-Billings wants to build $15 million science building

Report: Yellowstone River closure may have cost Park Co over $500K

Gianforte says Commerce Dept director should quit over new contract

Robbie Knievel gets 2-year suspended sentence for DUI crash

Judge orders new bridge on Flathead Lake be taken down

Bozeman man's body found stuffed in crate in the Bronx

UM students rally in support of Black Lives Matter, Indian issues

Entire Yellowstone River now open to the public for recreation

Hold on a second; Libertarian replacement for Fellows not settled

GOP says Bullock's rosy picture of MT economy is too optimistic

Officials investigate claims of sexual harassment at national parks

ExxonMobil to pay $12M for damage caused by Yellowstone oil spill

Man charged with holding Billings woman against her will for 11 days

I-182 sponsors file complaint about opponent's finance reports

State postpones its plans to install dock at Flathead's Wild Horse Island

Proctor man picked to replace Fellows as Libertarian House candidate

Prison officials fret about growing costs of treating hepatitis-C patients

Libertarian candidate for Congress Mike Fellows dies in car crash

Once more, Fellows touted limited government shortly before his death

State lowers passing grade for its bar exam

Butte newspaper sues to stop secrecy of Superfund negotiations

Butte man gets life in prison for killing his father with baseball bat

Great Falls ponders more severe penalties for distracted drivers

Billings boy badly hurt when hit by truck while walking to school

Motl: Lawmaker didn't properly report some campaign contributions

Gianforte, Bullock battle over economic proposals

Nothing to brag about: MT among highest in wildlife vs. car collisions


China opens its doors once more to Montana beef

Board lets oil firms keep trade secrets, won't force fracking info release

While Yellowstone fish kill hurt Park County, it helped its neighbors

Billings pipe supply firm pays $350K fine for claiming Indian preference

Missoula city attorney seeks dismissal of suit over Merc's demolition

Small Polson firm sues Halliburton in patent fight

Firm resubmits application for mine near Smith River



Bobcats will have their hands full trying to stop North Dakota's Santiago

Griz take on nation's leading rusher, Cal Poly's Protheroe, and more

Griz DE Caleb Kidder playing like the All-American he's expected to be

For time being, Cats are committed to playing 2 quarterbacks

Montana archer's bull elk may be world record

Idle Griz climb a notch in FCS poll to No. 6​


Libertarian Mike Fellows: A great fellow

Helena newspaper to require online comments to use real names

MT's low-wage ranking doesn't tell entire story of state's economy

Billings Gazette: Due to constant insults we're turning off comments

Newspapers pretend there's more to fear from GOP than from refugees

Award of tourism promotion contract to Wisconsin firm smells cheesy



Helena graduate's debut novel made Booker Prize's long list

Family's retreat surrounded by forest, wildlife, sounds of silence

Kalispell native named one of nation's top young scientific innovators

5 Montana eateries that have been around a century or more

Yellowstone Park: The good, the bad, the ugly

MSU celebrates Ivan Doig collection, which is available online

Country star Charley Pride, who got start in MT, honored in museum



 First Montana Cider Week kicks off Sunday in Bitterroot Valley

Send tips to editor@montanabuzz.com