An architectural drawing of a proposed 60,000-square-foot. 6,000-person events center, as viewed from the Orange State Bridge in Missoula. Behind it is a proposed 10-story hotel/condo building. (Paradigm Architecture / Missoulian)

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

Oct. 20, 2019


​​​​​​​GOV. Steve Bullock got some valuable air time recently for his presidential campaign. Only trouble is, the exposure was on CNN, which has lost a large portion of its audience in recent years.

CNN's town hall featuring Bullock and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio lured just 402,000 viewers -- the lowest number of the year for all the network's town hall events.

Viewership was down 25 percent overall, and 38 percent for the coveted 25-54 age bracket, compared to the average Sunday numbers for CNN from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

MONTANA has jumped into the top 10 of Bankrate.com's annual ranking of best retirement states. More specifically, the Big Sky state finished No. 9 -- ahead of states such as retirement havens Arizona and Nevada.

Montana gots its best mark -- No. 2 -- in the culture category, and a ranking of No. 16 in affordability. Its worst ranking -- no surprise here -- was No. 45 for weather. The state also received a 20 in the well category and a 31 for crime.

The top five states in this year's rankings were Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, South Dakota and Florida. The bottom five were Maryland, New York, Alaska, Illinois, and Washington.

DESPITE making several campaign trips to Iowa, Gov. Steve Bullock didn't win any support in the latest Iowa Poll of who leads in that state among the Democratic presidential contenders.

The poll shows Joe BIden with the lead, with Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg in a close race for second. 

Bullock, who got into the Democratic presidential race late because of Montana's legislative session, didn't garner a single vote. In another part of the poll, 9 percent of those polled said they were actively considering Bullock. But there were 16 other candidates ahead of the Montana Democrat in that category.

Bullock's lack of support so far for his presidential ambitions is threatening his chances of getting on the stage for the first debate. Bullock and Montana Democrats said the rules that may keep him out of the debate are unfair.

MONTANANS enjoy seeing the state at the top of many national rankings, but there's one that doesn't justify much pride: Deaths from drunk driving.

“Montana is actually tied for first place in the entire nation for DUI fatalities,” says Kelley Parker-Wathne, Gallatin County DUI Task Force coordinator. “The alarm bells that go off is just a sad statistic.”

Montana also has a reputation for some of the nation's weakest DUI laws, and the recent legislative session tried to stiffen them. But time ran out on efforts to strengthen the DUI laws at the session's end.

THE COUNTRY is a whopping $22 trillion in debt, so some wags have suggested a reasonable solution: Sell Montana to Canada. 

It isn't a total solution, as they expect Canada to pay just $1 trillion for the Treasure State. But it's a start.

The idea came from Ian Hammond, a petitioner at Change.org, who's hoping to get 7,500 signatures for his idea.

“We have too much debt and Montana is useless,” Hammond wrote, with tongue planted in cheek, in support of his plan. “Just tell them it has beavers or something.”

Even some Montanans endorsed the idea. “I'm Montanan and hoping to join Canada without the moving costs,” CJ Williams wrote in support. “Let's do this. Please adopt us.”

"I'm a Montanan and really hope that becoming Canadian makes me a nicer person," said Steve Hammond.

UPDATE: Some Montana legislators have decided to weigh in on the "lets-sell-Montana-to-Canada" petition with a "let's don't" resolution of their own. 

Rep. Forrest Mandeville, R-Columbus, proposed the resolution so lawmakers could have a little fun amidst all the serious issues they wrestle with. 

​Rep. Jessica Karjala, D-Billings, objected, with tongue in cheek, saying: " "What about those of us who would like more maple syrup, better tea and free healthcare?"

"It's still an option to move to Canada," Mandeville replied, according to a report in the Great Falls Tribune.

IN WHAT Montana city can you feel the most safe and secure? It's Kalispell, according to a new study by the National Council for Home Safety and Security.

Next on the list is Bozeman, followed by Helena, Great Falls, and Missoula.

The study was completed primarily to highlight the cities that have had the least amount of violent and non-violent crimes per population, while also bringing awareness to the cities that are more likely to have crime on a per-capita basis, the council said.

The council based its ratings on FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting statistics and combining those with its internal population research. The study indicated that Montana has some of the highest rates of property crime on a per-capita basis. The violent crime rate also is significantly above the national average.



Bottle found at Helena school didn't contain explosives

Helena school evacuated after explosive device found on play area

Missoula couple plans $100M downtown civic events development

4 Montana communities celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day

Tribes demand removal of Columbia River dams

Man rescued from Yellowstone River pronounced dead

Candle light vigil held to honor Laurel woman who was murdered

Bison advocates sue to get more information on bison management

6 grizzlies killed in northwest Montana in single week

Audit shows Stapleton misused pickup that state leased for him

After jump in fatalities, Carbon Co seeks revamp of redesigned highway

Alpine areas of Glacier's Sun Road closed for season

Uncertainty in Montana's coal country

PSC chair passes off copied letter on energy reliability as his own

Inmate who escaped from Boulder jail is still at large

Billings police car hit in rush to get pregnant woman to hospital

Family of Ranch for Kids student files lawsuit

Vape shop owners to sue over ban, fearing it will close their doors

Prosecutors say Laurel woman was found strangled, nude in woods

State to consider additional sites for new historical museum

Columbia Falls vet convicted of defrauding VA

Video: Flathead Lake angler nets a bobcat

PSC attorney: Commissioners showed bias on solar, but not too much

Rancher frees elk snared in fence wire

Montana Historical Society wants to display Unabomber cabin

Gov candidate proposes free tuition plan for MT's 2-year colleges

Lolo Forest proposes timber harvest, controlled burns

Belgrade's Kostas tapped for induction to Songwriters Hall of Fame

Man who killed his neighbor in land dispute wants his probation to end

Judge rules seizure of $4M worth of drugs from MT men was illegal

Grizzly euthanized after it attacked livestock

Mussel-fouled boat found at Ravalli, but had slipped past 2 inspections

Montana man awarded bronze star for Vietnam military service

Drivers slide off slick Montana roads all across the state

Browning woman gets prison time for fatal hit-and-run in 2018

Ex-tribal official gets prison time for stealing $40K from youth program

Controversial Crazy Mountains trail opens Friday

2 tribal leaders quit task force to protest Keystone pipeline


Missoula on-line dating app aims to raise $2M from investors

Regulators seek expedited study of reliability of power grid

Deposit of potential fracking sand could be boon for Bakken oil

Bozeman airport adding direct flights to Seattle

Large hemp processing plant comes to Libby

Growing hemp still risky for Montana farmers

Flathead couple enjoys their backyard 'power plant'



Now at No. 5, UM faces surging No. 15 Sacramento State

After tough loss, MSU will use its bye week for self-examination

The story behind the rise of Montana's No. 37 jersey

Will Dissly likely out for remainder of season, Seahawks say

Bozeman's Will Dissly suffers Achilles injury in Seahawks game

Sacramento State upsets No. 6 Montana State, 34-21

Former Griz lineman Will Poehls announces retirement from NFL

Ed Kalafat, Anaconda native and 1st round Lakers pick, dies



Agency's gall in honoring inspector who harassed MT meat processors

American Prairie Reserve: Does it really add up?

Gianforte playing hardball in GOP gubernatorial primary

Those benefiting from LWCF now acting like entitled greedheads

Why didn't Stapleton show up at clerks' meeting to discuss elections?

Was Montana Sen. Thomas Walsh murdered in 1933?

Tester was wrong to talk of need to 'punch' Trump


Writer takes a look back at 1996 Alberton derailment, chlorine spill

Montana man enjoys rare hobby: Collecting hovercraft

Preserving Will James Collection, and legacy, as complicated as he was

The science behind the beauty of Montana's fall colors

New movie 'Mickey and the Bear' takes look at small-town Montana

After 25 years, the mystery of Nelson McNair's death still lingers

Whitefish snowboarder Dillon Candelaria was larger than life

Filmmakers hope to make Livingston 'Hollywood North'


Kenny Chesney to play at MSU's Bobcat Stadium on July 5

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