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

Mar. 18, 2018


AS AN INCUMBENT, Sen. Jon Tester will enjoy a number of advantages as he runs for re-election: Name recognition, the ability to raise campaign funds, the backing of Democratic allied groups, no significant primary challenge, and so on.

Tester has won statewide elections twice before, but he will now have to run in a state that President Donald Trump won by 20 points. That helps explain why Tester just came out with a campaign ad that touts how he sponsored or co-sponsored 13 bills that passed, and then were signed by Trump.

Despite some advantages, Tester will be no shoo-in. A recent national poll showed that Tester is the most vulnerable Democratic senator seeking another term. The survey done by SurveyMonkey for Axios showed Tester would lose by a 55-42 margin to a Republican opponent if the election were held now.

Of course, a lot could change between now and November. The Republicans haven't even picked their nominee yet from among the four men who have filed for the job.

IT IS not unusual to hear a fellow Montanan say we live in the middle of nowhere. And now there's some proof for that claim.

Especially if you live in Glasgow. Here's why: A team of researchers at Oxford University -- working with the Washington Post -- analyzed all the places on the map in the contiguous United States to determine the points that were the most distant from populated places, or most anything else. Or to put it more simply, they wanted to know, what was the middle of nowhere?

Their evidence pointed to Glasgow.

"Of all towns with more than 1,000 residents, Glasgow, home to 3,363 people in the rolling prairie of northeastern Montana, is farthest — about 4.5 hours in any direction — from any metropolitan area of more than 75,000 people," said the Post..​​

WHERE DO you go when you're a celebrity and you want to lay low after going through a bitter divorce? Well, the solitary mountains of Montana might be a good choice.

That's just what Ashton Kutcher did after his official split from Demi Moore, taking a weeklong "spiritual" visit to Big Sky. Kutcher, the former star of 'That 70's Show' and 'Punk'd,' claims he lived on just water and tea for the week. “I started to hallucinate on day two, which was fantastic … It was pretty wonderful,” he told his old friend and fellow actor Dax Shepard in a podcast interview.

Kutcher also had a pen and notepad, so he wrote down all his regrets about past relationships, and then wrote the women letters expressing how he had been wrong. He's now married to actress Mila Kunis, and they have two children.

While news accounts of Kutcher's trip to Montana imply he spent his week roughing it in the wilderness, Buzz bets his "spiritual" visit took place at one of the million-dollar homes at Big Sky's Yellowstone Club. Kutcher worked as a model before beginning a long, successful career as an actor. He's also becoming well-known as a venture capitalist.

JIM MESSINA, the University of Montana graduate and 2012 manager of Barack Obama's presidential re-election campaign, raised eyebrows the other day when he appeared on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" and knocked the relevance of public polls so early in an election campaign.

"I think all public pollsters should be shot," he declared.

Messina, who graduated from UM's journalism school in 1993, has been honored by the university on several occasions. He was named a distinguished alumni in 2013, and also was the university's commencement speaker that same year. 

After graduation, he worked for US Sen. Max Baucus before he became a top official in the Obama Administration, and then ran Obama's re-election campaign manager. He was hailed by the media as the "Fixer" for his work on the Obama campaigns and political promotions.

But in more recent years his political success has been more decidedly mixed. After leaving the Obama Administration, he set up a political consulting firm that has put much of its focus on campaigns in Europe, where he suffered a series of defeats that included the Brexit vote and the Italian reform plan.

THIS IS quite a coup for Montana Tech: The top spot in the rankings of the 50 Best Value Engineering Schools 2018.

The survey said Montana Tech graduates earn an average of over $80,000 a year, while paying tuition of only about 11,000 a year. Montana Tech scored a perfect 100 in the survey and beat out many better known schools.

"Montana Tech’s mining school has over a century of experience preparing professionals to build, fortify, and extract mines from the mining capital of the nation, which makes for a curriculum that is uniquely useful to the local economy," the site said. "It’s no wonder Montana Tech graduates have a 98% placement rate in the mining industry..."



Jeremy Winborg's "High-caliber" sold for $45,000 at the Russell Auction Saturday in Great Falls. The painting had been expected to sell for only $9,200. The city's Western Art Week wraps up Sunday. (Great Falls Tribune)



Officials: Shots fired at Missoula high school by resource officer

Missoula high school student arrested after shots fired, police chase

Charges dropped against man accused of shooting girlfriend 18 times

Advocates strategize ways to deal with state cuts in social services

Green Party officials denounce their Ravalli Co legislative candidate

Lawmakers pan group's voting scorecard

Deer Lodge businessman sentenced for rape, other charges

Legislators to review state's confidential settlements with workers

State reviews sex harassment policy for lawmakers, lobbyists

Legislators approve new email system

Zinke rapped for incorrect use of Japanese greeting w/ Congresswoman

Lawmaker: 'We really have an affordable housing crisis statewide'

D.C. judge hears Badger-Two Medicine case

A surprise on the Western Governor's list of invasive species: Feral cats

Environmentalists claim pollutants being dumped in Yellowstone River

Kalispell man sentenced for harassing women online

Students across Montana leave class to demand action on guns

Winter's not done yet? Half a foot of snow expected in northcentral MT


Minnesota firm plans wind farm in central Montana

State sees record year in bed-tax collections in 2017 despite fire smoke

Lewistown sporting goods store closing after 71 years

Fact check: A look at Tester's support for banking bill

Whitefish's 'architect of alchemy' pours her passion into spirits

AG Fox doesn't want states to lose power to oversee student loans

MT farmers focus more on pulse crops, but worry about all the snow

Missoula mapping company to expand Bozeman operations


Montana Western women make semifinals with win over Menlo

Montana Western men fall to Graceland in quarterfinals

Montana teams move into Elite Eight at NAIA national tourney

Lady Cats excited about potential for next year with transfers

Bobby Hauck and son Robby together again on the football field

Montana-Western upsets Campbellsville in 2nd round

Griz can't maintain fast start against Michigan, fall 61-47

Providence stuns defending national champs; Carroll beats Wm Penn

Carroll College ride Imhoff's 30 pts to win over Lindsey Wilson

Montana-Western powers to 105-96 win over SAGU



Wilderness study proposals should seek middle ground

Journalists act as the public's eyes and ears

Colstrip has problems, but also assets that can be put to good use

The resume of the new president isn't one of UM's serious problems

Number of steps needed to subdue gun violence

Judge's ruling won't stop robocalls, lawmakers need to jump in

Black sheriff David Clarke tells Gazette editors to 'take the hood off'​


Great Falls grandparents take in lost lamb

Ravalli County Museum now offers spelunking exhibit

MT native launches wildlife series on Smithsonian, Travel channels

Google Earth photo of Missoula's Slant Streets goes viral

Frozen Freezout Lake may block annual geese migration

125 years ago, 'Empire Builder' James J. Hill completed his railroad

A look at the history of Montana's hot springs

A look at Montana music concerts slated for this year



Western Art Week celebrated this week in Great Falls

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

Steely Dan, Doobie Brothers to play in Missoula June 9

Imagine Dragons set for MSU stadium show July 26

Chris Stapleton to play in Billings Aug. 2, Missoula on Aug. 3

Magic City Blues Fest to includes ZZ Top and Phillip Phillips

Lineup set for Decemberists' Travelers' Rest Festival Aug. 4-5

Pearl Jam plans concert at Missoula's UM stadium Aug. 13

Alice Cooper to play KettleHouse Amphitheater Aug. 18

Avett Brothers to headline Sept. 16 Missoula concert

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