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

June 24, 2017



Insurer will try to determine cause of collapse of Lakeside deck

9 still hospitalized after collapse of Lakeside deck

In Hardin, one jail is overcrowded, while the other sits empty

Missoula man, 73, in coma after encounter with cops; probe underway

MT man warns ex-girlfriend he won't stop harassing her til both are dead

Hellgate Canyon osprey nestlings starve to death over weekend

Renovation of Helena Armory to cost $16 million, be done by 2018

Cascade Co sheriff asks public to keep open mind on assault charge

Montana Dems hire new communications chief

Former UM President Engstrom will earn $119K as chemistry professor

Glacier Park officials close Avalanche Creek Trail due to 6 grizzlies

Forest ranger probed for role in dispute over in Crazy Mountain access

Officials now say more than 50 injured in deck collapse at lake lodge

Gianforte asks judge not to require mug shot, fingerprints

GTF woman denies killing woman helping with home maintenance

Daines frustrated with secrecy surrounding Senate health-care bill

At least 32 injured when deck collapses at Flathead Lake camp

Thousands gather in Billings for gay pride events

'A Team' star says his greatest role has been as a father

Private fisheries have problem finding trout to stock their ponds

Bonner residents annoyed by giant humming noise from Bitcoin center

Glendive woman competes for Miss Montana despite loss of hair

Yellowstone Park takes steps to thwart invasive mussels

Gianforte calls for civility in politics after his assault on reporter

Bozeman medical marijuana dispensary owner sentenced to prison

Bail denied for man accused of threatening Bozeman judge

Cascade County sheriff charged with domestic assault

Secretary of State finds case of alleged vote fraud in Missoula County

Gophers break into Montana State Prison

Earthquakes rumble through region west of Yellowstone Park

Remains of MT soldier missing for 66 years returned from Korea

Daines wants to change Constitution to protect flag from desecration

Kayak guide drowns as he tries to save client in Yellowstone Lake


Cleanup starts at Troy mine 2 years after shutdown

State will keep its health insurers, but rates are unknown

Anaconda hospital building $1 milion hospice house

Feds decide to keep fee that inflates cost of wind energy

Whitefish wrestles with ways to provide affordable housing

Whitefish resort offers new attractions as it opens for summer season

Kalispell mobile-home residents buy their own park

Colstrip faces major changes in the 2030s

Beekeepers protect their hives with fences, and guns


Osweiler 'in the mix' as Cleveland's QB, he's not a salary-dump player

Kentucky among Lady Griz opponents next season

Former Miles City pitcher picked by San Francisco Giants

Missoula's Sentinel High under investigation for gender bias

Mystery solved: Why UM coach Bob Stitt wears a green hat

Former CMR star Andrew Grinde recharged after taking year off

Former MSU football player pleads not guilty to several drug charges



Montanans must do more to save the lives of their kids

Guardian reporter isn't pure as the driven snow

Gianforte body-slam episode is over, or is it?

Fagg's resignation raises question: Should we be appointing judges?

Montana's original hothead in Congress (Hint: it wasn't Gianforte)

How can Montana Dems make a comeback? Some does and don'ts

Did Gianforte hurt re-election chances w/ $50K donation to press group?

We can still learn from Butte's mining history


A look inside Montana's most expensive home, on Flathead Lake

Norwegian is fan of 'Thunderbolt & Lightfoot.' And MT locations. Big time

Churches find unique ways to recruit next generation of pastors

Red Lodge Songwriters Festival expands in 2nd year

Trego ranch boasts unique blend of businesses

Helena writer explores the world, and wonder, of birds

Once a tough town, today Bannack is remote, quiet, well-preserved

Filmmaker plans to use Butte as backdrop for full-length movie



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

Paul Simon performing in Billings and Missoula June 20 and 21

Portlandia comedian Fred Armisen to appear in Billings July 5

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

Red Ants Pants lineup to include Lucinda Williams, Bellamy Brothers

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

Comedian Paula Poundstone appears in Bozeman Aug. 11

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



HOPE TO be the lucky motorist who snags a personalized Montana license plate with President Donald Trump's mystery word: "covfefe?"

Sorry, but you won't be able to get it. Nor will any other Montana motorist, according to Phil Drake of the Great Falls Tribune.

Drake says the Montana Motor Vehicle Division has decided that the word isn't appropriate for a state license plate. Go to the link above for an explanation why. After Trump tweeted "covfefe" -- he apparently meant to say press coverage -- motorists in at least 21 states attempted to see if they could get it on their license plates. 

SURPRIZE....err... suprise ... err ... Many Montanans aren't sure how to spell surprise.

​Google Trends has produced a study of the words that Americans have the most trouble spelling in each state. It can do this by looking at searches folks do in each state that start with "how to spell..."

And in Montana, believe it or not, that word is surprise. In the United States as a whole, "beautiful" is the word misspelled most often. If you want to see a map showing the top words people have trouble spelling in each state, you can go here.


​GREG GIANFORTE's body slam of a reporter inspired a lot of outrage. It's also inspired a new dance track called, of course "Gianforte (Bodyslam)."

The track was put together by Nick Ferrington, a full-time DJ and producer living on the East Coast who grew up in Montana. Ferrington, also known as DJ Nick Minaj, says the track is a "mix between a parody and just kind of taking notice of what happened in Montana..."

If you want to hear "Gianforte (Bodyslam)" you can find it here. Or you can also look for Ferrington's four-city tour of Montana in July.

ON ALL the national weekend talk shows, pundits were rightly condemning newly elected Montana Congressman Greg Gianforte for his body slam on Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs. What they couldn't believe was that Gianforte attacked Jacobs simply because the reporter asked him about the GOP health-care bill in the wake of a new CBO estimate of its impact.

It does seem crazy that such a thing would set off Gianforte. But what if Gianforte wasn't upset with that question, but with a previous Jacobs' article on his investments? Back in April, Jacobs wrote a story claiming that Gianforte had "financial ties to a number of Russian companies that have been sanctioned" by the United States. The article said Gianforte had invested a little under $250,000 in two ETF funds that bought Russian stocks, some of which had been sanctioned by the U.S. government.

The story didn't get a lot of play in Montana, but Gianforte's campaign opponent, Rob Quist, jumped on it --who knows, his campaign might have been the source of it -- and demanded that the Republican dump his "secret Russia" stocks. 

While the Guardian headline and lede rang alarm bells, the story itself did quote a former State Department official who dealt with sanctions policy, Richard Nephew, who said that while “there is definitely a question here ... my initial reaction is that this is not something to freak out about." The article also noted the ETFs were just a small portion of Gianforte's total assets, which could be as high as $315 million.

So, was Gianforte set off by Jacobs' health-care question, or was he still smarting from the Russian investment story, when he went crazy on Jacobs? He hasn't explained himself, probably because he wants to leave well enough alone. Meanwhile, he's still got a lot of work to do to repair the damage he's caused.

SHORTLY after getting word that the U.S. House race had been called in his favor, Republican Greg Gianforte took the stage in Bozeman to join his allies in a celebration -- and to apologize for his attack on a journalist the evening before.

Gianforte admitted he made a "mistake" by body slamming Guardian Ben Jacobs, who had entered his campaign headquarters to ask about the GOP health-care bill. "I took an action I can’t take back and I am not proud of what happened,” he said. He then turned to the cameras and apologized directly to Jacobs.

Jacobs had demanded an apology, but when it came he was having none of it. He told CNN that Gianforte's apology was in "some ways far worse than the assault."

Meanwhile, politicians weren't the only ones behaving badly. Bozeman Chronicle reporter Whitney Bermes made a good case that New York Times reporter Jonathan Martin lifted her photo of Gianforte's citation for assault without giving her credit. As the controversy unfolded on Twitter, most folks were coming down on the side of the 'small-town' reporter.

In another smackdown over the Gianforte smackdown, Butte native Rob O'Neill -- also known as the guy who shot Osama bin Laden -- sympathized with Gianforte on a Fox News show.  He noted he had his own problems with reporters hounding him and his family after news came out of his role in bin Laden's death. “We have a saying up there [in Montana]: ‘You mess around, you mess around, you might not be around,'” said O'Neill.

Keith Olbermann, who got famous on MSNBC for verbally lashing President George Bush a few years back, didn't care for O'Neill's remarks. On Twitter, he called the retired SEAL an "idiot," "snowflake," and "Clownboy."

O'Neill replied that, if Olbermann could afford bus tickets to Montana, he'd provide him free "body slam lessons."

Doesn't appear that Olbermann, who now does a podcast, is ready to take up O'Neill on his offer.


Insurers will try to determine why a deck collapsed this past weekend at the Glacier Presbyterian Camp on the west shore of Flathead Lake, injuring more than 50 people. (Lake County Leader)