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

Mar. 29, 2017



College students protest legislative cuts in university budgets

Great Falls library patron returns book he stole 35 years ago, plus $200

Senate panel endorses proposal to raise tax on tobacco products

Trump dumps Clean Power Plan, moratorium on coal leases

Trump's repeal of plan gets mixed Montana reaction

Committee adds back to budget money for health, education programs

Billings Clinic fires nurse caught stealing narcotics intended for patients

Senators yank $500K designed to help Boulder cope with facility closing

Anti-abortion lawmaker wants to let voters define when life begins

Helena legislator wants interim study of living wage issue

After drinking 12 sodas a day, man quits, gets diabetes under control

Ex-student sues MSU, saying he was booted for anti-transgender views

Glacier Park crews start roads on plowing on east side

Bill would let tribal members continue their traditional bison hunts

Attorneys say man accused of burning woman alive has mental defect

House panel rejects GOP-sponsored, $33M infrastructure bill

Due to staff shortages, state prison cuts back on inmate visits

Accusations over tax troubles fly in US House race

Senate backs public vote to make hunting, fishing a constitutional right

House panel rejects bill calling for vote on transgender bathroom law

Proposed tax hike on tobacco, e-cigarettes draws large crowd

What would it cost for MT to comply with Real ID law? Over $2M a year

Sidney man killed in shooting on Las Vegas bus

Out of 60 reported rapes in '16 in Yellowstone Co, no one was charged

Laurel man arrested after firing shots at law officers

Landowner to shut down Bitterroot access if state, city don't act

Man convicted of 2003 double murder dies in prison

Study: Livestock grazing may benefit sage grouse

EPA finds contaminants, including cyanide, at Columbia Falls site

Troy native struggles after scandal over her racial identity

2 Billings 8th graders face felony charges for threatening school


To keep farm afloat, Scobey family sells cooking kits with grains

Montana software firm gives hand to outfitters and guides

Bill aims to lure films to 'underserved' areas of Montana

B/E Aerospace closing Great Falls plant in June, affecting 65 workers

Dillon bread maker hopes to harvest power of big data to go big

Bill to convert state's work-comp fund goes down to defeat

More Montanans turning to Airbnb

Senate acts to increase cap on resort taxes by 1 percent


A year after retiring from NFL, Dwan Edwards enjoying retirement

Freshman point guard Worthy leaves MSU

MSU assistant Ioane takes post at Washington

Dennis Erickson looks back at his first coaching job: Billings Central

After losing father, MSU's Fish turns attention to off-season

UM's DeCuire drops out of running for Cal coaching job



Legislators, give counties the option of using mail ballots

State can't keep putting off construction of new museum

Selling off some of state's historical artifacts a poor idea

Vegetarian, rancher chew things over at the Capitol

Don't need more bureaucracy to solve problems at state parks, FWP

The flawed incentives in government health-care programs

Any new health-care program needs to protect Libby asbestos victims


Once more, Pete Fromm visits the wilderness to babysit fish eggs

Montanan collected every Ford ever made

2013 landslide creates new lake in eastern Montana park

Billings writer looks at Montana saddleries from territorial times on

Autio art collection a window into state's modernism movement

Homestead of man wanted for killing 2 men gets historic recognition

Deadliest place in Montana for snowmobilers? Cooke City

Top 5 TV commercials made in Montana

MSU researcher unearths iguana-like lizard that roamed earth long ago



A rundown on Montana's beer festivals in 2017​​

Dierks Bentley to perform in Billings April 22

Lil Wayne performing at UM April 24

Faith Hill, Tim McGraw to play at MSU May 19

Def Leppard, Poison and Tesla to perform at MSU on May 31

Paul Simon performing in Billings and Missoula June 20 and 21

Lyle Lovett and band to play new Bonner venue on July 13

Brett Eldredge, Old Dominion performing at State Fair in Great Falls

Decemberists to headline indie music fest in Missoula Aug. 12-13

Florida Georgia Line, Nelly coming to Missoula, Bozeman in September

Send tips to editor@montanabuzz.com

ASMSU vice president Geneva Zoltek organized a protest among MSU students Tuesday against planned legislative cutbacks in University System budgets. (Bozeman Chronicle)



FIFTEEN YEARS ago, Helena banned smoking in its workplaces, restaurants, bars and casinos. In the ban's first six months, the city's rate of heart attacks plunged by almost 60 percent. Then, when a judge lifted the ban, the rate of heart attacks climbed back to where it had been.

Three anti-smoking advocates -- Helena physicians Richard Sargent and Robert Shepard as well as UC-San Francisco researcher Stanton Glantz -- produced a study that declared the 60 percent drop in heart attacks showed that a smoking ban "not only makes life more pleasant; it immediately starts saving lives."

The study was widely reported by the media -- usually with lack of any skepticism -- and hailed by health officials and others. Soon, governments everywhere, even overseas, were enacting smoking bans, often citing the Helena study as a prime reason.

But the funny thing is, as Jacob Grier reports in a fascinating article in Slate magazine, all those smoking bans created the opportunity for much broader -- and more accurate studies -- of the impact of secondhand smoke on heart health. And they've basically found there are little if any.

"And now that the evidence has had time to accumulate, it’s ... become clear that the extravagant promises made by anti-smoking groups—that implementing bans would bring about extraordinary improvements in cardiac health—never materialized," Grier says. ''Newer, better studies with much larger sample sizes have found little to no correlation between smoking bans and short-term incidence of heart attacks, and certainly nothing remotely close to the 60 percent reduction that was claimed in Helena. The updated science debunks the alarmist fantasies that were used to sell smoking bans to the public, allowing for a more sober analysis suggesting that current restrictions on smoking are extreme from a risk-reduction standpoint."

Grier says recent studies also suggest that there's no clear link between passive smoking and lung cancer. He acknowledges secondhand smoke can be a real annoyance, but that shouldn't spur society to make laws that are based on bad science.

HELENA CAPITAL High School graduate Wesley Edens is a whole lot wealthier with the sale of the Fortress Investment Group to Japan-based SoftBank. His stake in the bank is reportedly worth $511 million.

The New York Times reports that the deal will allow Edens to focus on his  strength -- working as a fund manager -- without having to deal with the headaches of running a publicly traded company.

Edens, who co-chairs Fortress and who purchased the Milwaukee Bucks with Marc Lasry three years ago, graduated from Capital High in 1979.

A few years ago, Cassandra Liska, who oversees a scholarship program that Edens set up at Capital High School, described him as is "a self-made man who came from a ranch and built an empire."

SO DID Tom Brady take his family to Disney World, as Super Bowl MVPs usually do? Nope. Brady's celebrating his fifth Super Bowl victory with a ski vacation at Big Sky.

Sports Illustrated's Peter King tipped off the world to Brady's whereabouts with a recent interview in which the quarterback dissected the big game. King didn't actually spell out exactly where he interviewed Brady -- the piece carried the ambiguous dateline "SOMEWHERE IN MONTANA" -- but previous stories have noted that Brady owns a home at the Yellowstone Club at Big Sky. And King talked about flying into Bozeman for the interview.

King starts his piece this way: "This was the most amazing thing about the two hours I spent with 39-year-old Tom Brady on Sunday afternoon in a cabin (well, it’s called a cabin, but the getaway area for the Brady clan is pretty darned well-appointed) in the shadow of one of the most beautiful mountains in the world:

“I have zero pain,” Brady said, almost one week to the hour after he took the field for Super Bowl 51. “I feel great. I feel 100 percent.”

In part 2 of King's interview, Brady explains how he keeps in such great shape at age 39. He also explains that he tries not to "give my power away" by getting upset with the criticism that comes his way. Montana helps maintain his balance by giving him a place when he can just be himself.

THE MOST dangerous job in Montana? Maybe it is pizza delivery driver.

Consider the Kalispell pizza person who recently ran off the road and got stuck in a snowbank. In order to get help, the driver walked to a nearby home. Big mistake. 

The driver reported he was bitten by three dogs at the residence. The Flathead County sheriff's office is investigating.​​