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

Aug. 23, 2019



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.

A woman died Sunday when a car flew out of control and crashed into spectators at a demolition derby in Deer Lodge. At least eight people were hospitalized in the incident at the Powell County Fairgrounds. (ABC Fox Montana)



Deer Lodge demolition derby crash kills woman, injures 7 others

Man who was missing for 5 days in wilderness tells how he survived

59-year-old man shot and killed at Rexford

Glacier Park closes trails, campgrounds due to grizzly activity

Whitefish music festival organizer happy with event; plans another one

6 die in 4 crashes in 4 days in northeastern Montana

Report: Montana has over 1 million acres of inaccessible state lands

2 die after truck hauling radioactive material hits train near Culbertson

UM art historian says Montana ought to have a new state flag

Former Anaconda high school player pleads guilty to rape

Judge: Fergus County road gated for 12 years is private

Billings-area officials try to cope w/ cat hoarders as shelters overflow

Bozeman woman gets 9 months in prison, must pay $186K in restitution

Crown of the Continent's borders expanded

Hailstorm killed, maimed up to 13K birds at wildlife area west of Billings

Missing Utah man found in wilderness area west of Hamilton

Feds reach deal with landowner over access to Crazy Mountains

Bullock continues campaign despite low poll numbers

Missoula woman recovers after being hit by lightning on camping trip

Recent rains put damper on Montana's wildfires

National Democrats think Dems have chance to take MT House seat

Missoula man admits role in fatal hit-and-run that killed UM graduate

Fundraiser set up to help family of girl killed in Glacier Park

Supreme Court orders new trial in fatal hit-and-run case at Sunburst

How one MT college student is making school more affordable

Yellowstone Co residents pick up pieces in wake of devastating storms


Work starts on $18M hazardous waste processing plant near Butte

US officials OK MT health reinsurance program

Colstrip residents fret over wait for ash pond cleanup, costs involved

Rosebud Co officials delay decision on tax breaks for big wind farm

Supreme Court to decide key renewable-energy cases

New 4-star luxury hotel opens at Big Sky

Judge blocks Trump from taking energy panel's advice



Providence coach put on leave after being linked to prostitution probe

Bobcat scrimmage puts a lot of weapons on display

Morgan, Bode Miller move to Big Sky to focus on family after tragedy

Grizzly secondary has a chance to be special

Redshirt freshman picked as MSU's starting quarterback

Golf legend Nick Faldo plans clinics at Eureka on Aug 31, Sept 7

Bozeman candy store owner wins US bodybuilding title

Cats' Andersen back where he wanted to play all along, at linebacker



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

All that clamoring for LWCF funding? It's big greens chasing big green

Was Montana Sen. Thomas Walsh murdered in 1933?

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

State must ensure there's no meddling in our elections

Daines is more a syncophant than a senator

Bullock wrong to veto bill backing free speech on our campuses

Montana must find a way to tax tourists


White pelicans make long journey each year to get to Montana

New book on George Bird Grinnell is epic, entertaining, important

Ed Harris scouts MT for places to film movie based on MT author's book

MT nurse co-founded Vietnam Women's Memorial after Vietnam service

Survivors of tragic 1949 Mann Gulch fire were haunted rest of their lives

Reporter Mike Dennison reviews key events of past 3 decades in book

Summer offers small-town music festivals

10 must-see music festivals


An overall guide to Montana's concert scene this year

'Weird Al' Yankovic plans Billings performance Aug. 25

Legendary rocker Robert Plant coming to Bonner in September

Bob Seger and his band to play in Bozeman Sept. 17

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