The Howe Ridge Fire ravages the forest and a number of historic structures on the north shore of Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park Sunday evening. The fire was triggered by lightning. (Glacier National Park)

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

Aug. 20, 2018


LOOKING for some of the country's best burgers? You don't have to leave Montana, according to TripAdvisor, because Billings' Burger Dive serves them.

The travel website recently released a list of the ten best burger joints in the country, and the Burger Dive came in No. 10.

Owner Brad Halsten says he was really surprised by the ranking, even though he's won other awards, including top burger at the World Burger Championship two years ago. All the success is pretty amazing considering that the restaurant is Halsten's first and he's only been in business seven years.

YOU wouldn't think 5-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady would be awestruck too often, but he was when he spotted a bear in Montana recently.

The New England Patriots quarterback posted a video on Instagram last week of himself outdoors grinning widely and whispering: "It's a bear!" He then panned his camera to a nearby bear sauntering off into the woods.

Brady didn't specify exactly where he saw the bear, but most likely he took the shot at his place at the Yellowstone Club at Big Sky, which he frequently visits in the off-season

WHILE newspapers have struggled financially and laid off many journalists in recent years, some analysts have hoped that more nimble, independent online news sites would fill the void.

That was the goal for Ed Kemmick, a seasoned Billings Gazette reporter and sure-footed writer when he launched Last Best News four and a half years ago. During that time, Kemmick continued to make his mark with hard-hitting accountability journalism that shined a light on those misusing power.  And when he wasn’t doing that, he was often poking fun at himself and others.

Unfortunately, Kemmick eventually found the rigors of running the site, where he was writing breaking news, features, and commentaries, as well as doing the grunt work of accounting, ad sales, web-site development, budgeting and so on, pretty confining.  “It occurred to me that in all my life there had been only a few relatively short periods when I lived as a full-time human being, free and untethered,” he said Sunday in announcing the site will suspend operations July 1.“Once the idea of reclaiming that kind of freedom took hold of me, it was hard to think of anything else.”

Kemmick hopes someone will step forward and revive his site or start a new one like it. If that doesn't happen, the good news for his many fans is that he expects to continue writing as a freelancer.

HAVE trouble spelling a word? Most folks do.

In South Dakota, a lot of people struggle with "chaos," and in Idaho they aren't sure about "businesses." So they ask Google "how to spell" those words, and Google, in turn, has produced a map of the most common "how to spell" words of each state.

In Montana, that word is "tomorrow."

" 'Or is it "tomarrow," or "tomorow," or "twomorrow"? (It's not, lol)' " quips Kristen Inbody in the Great Great Falls Tribune.


A GREAT horned owl is keeping a close eye on proceedings in the courtroom of District Judge Mike Menahan from its nest just a few feet away from the Lewis and Clark courthouse.

And Menahan, an avid bird watcher, and a court clerk have been closely watching the owl, which they dubbed Ollie. They've set up a watching station in the courtroom, complete with binoculars and a camcorder that can record Ollie's activities.

Ollie took over a crow's nest, and Menahan believes she's a young mother. If so, that wouldn't necessarily be a good thing. "There's not a lot of food around here," he noted.

Moreover, the nest is near busy Broadway Avenue, which would be dangerous territory for any young owls that flutter out of the nest toward the street.

Sometimes even a judge can't keep the streets safe for younger ones.



Glacier Park wildfire burns historic cabins

Bacon Rind Fire inches close to major highway near Yellowstone

Zinke calls for more active forest management to reduce wildfires

Task forces seek tougher state DUI laws

GTF auto theft suspect allegedly removes clothes, claims rape

Divers to help in recovery of 2 missing after Bighorn Lake boat crash

Pearl Jam rocks estimated 25,000 fans in UM stadium

Orphaned grizzly cubs headed for Canadian zoo

Attorney for state says changes to tax initiative aren't necessary

Lawmakers, green groups seek renewal of conservation fund

Setting boundaries: MSU revisits issue of faculty-student romances

Wildfire closes portion of Glacier Park's Sun Road

Lightning sparks a number of fires across Montana

Madison County fires forces evacuations

Lincoln County fire leaps to 5,200 acres

Lightning-triggered blaze burns house, barn near Loma

Pearl Jam's Ament, Sen. Tester talk of music, politics before big concert

Havre man dies in ATV accident

Nez Perce gather for anniversary of the Battle of the Big Hole

Cooler temps, less haze forecast for Sunday and Monday

At least 8 new fires erupt in Kootenai National Forest

Documents tell more about firing of warden, but don't tell full story

Jeff Ament says Pearl Jam's Missoula shows are a family reunion

Group raises funds for crisis nursery in Great Falls

Much of Montana hit by temperatures that climb into triple digits

Western Montana swelters under record heat,smoke

Bob Marshall fire grows to 1,000 acres

Riders recall fear of Missoula carnival ride on which girl was hurt

Trial stars for woman accused of killing man near Yaak

Body of drowning victim recovered from Tongue River

Libby man struck and killed by car near Kootenai Falls

Ulm man discovers mountain lion hiding under his Suburban

Billings officer shatters door to free woman, kids from burning house

Extreme heat expected over Montana in coming days

Bullock visits Three Forks picket line, objects to firm's lockout

5 empty rail cars derail at Great Falls

State adopts grizzly bear population goal

Former MT Tech assistant sentenced in theft scheme; faces deportation


2 health insurers raising their rates in state

BLM proposes sale of oil and gas leases in southwestern Montana

Former Bozeman ammo firm officers plead guilty to federal charges

Bullock says Trump tariffs are not forward looking

Flathead man convicted of 21 counts of wire fraud, money laundering

Missoula OKs use of baseball stadium for concerts

Environmentalists complain energy panel dominated by industry


UM's Gage Smith walks away from football after 4th concussion

2 quarterbacks share 1st team reps in Bobcat scrimmage

Grizzly defensive line 'farthest along' among UM defenders

MSU Bobcat captains excel at leadership

Grizzlies kick off preseason practices

Manhattan Christian's Bellach commits to Bobcats for 2019

Grizzlies ranked No. 24 in preseason football poll

Jets linebacker Donahue gets suspended sentence for MT DUI



9th Circuit 'win' in Kootenai timber case was no clear victory for greens

State needs to change the way it handles its budget

Judge's ruling on PSC order a victory for ratepayers

Does anyone proofread the newspaper any more?

Priests shouldn't have cheered for Trump's troubling comments

Supreme Court should review removal of Green Party from ballot

Fake, partisan 'watchdogs' abuse law to gin up fake scandals


The Anaconda stack: 'A dirty, no good hellhole'

'All hell broke loose' when Helena's 1988 Elkhorn Fire hit

A look back at 100 years of history of the Anaconda stack

Flathead Lake: Clean, blue and mussel-free

MT rider tells of her experiences covering over 30K miles on horseback

Beekeepers keep improving their practices to keep colonies healthy

Helena-area Holter Dam, which just turned 100, still going strong



A round-up of this year's Montana concerts​​​

Big Sky music festival to feature Grace Potter, Bruce Hornsby

Country music star Suzy Bogguss headlines Lewistown fest Aug. 18

Alice Cooper to play KettleHouse Amphitheater Aug. 18

Another round of guitar greats slated for Bigfork's Crown festival

Jason Isbell appearing at Bonner Sept. 8

Montana International Film Festival slated Sept. 13-17 in Billings

Avett Brothers to headline Sept. 16 Missoula concert

Rod Stewart moves his Billings concert to Oct. 24

Bob Seger reschedules Billings concert for January

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