News Buffet: Flathead Crime, Chief Justice in Missoula, Zep’s Back

By Beacon Staff

Greetings, Happy Friday and welcome to the inaugural edition of the Beacon News Buffet, a new daily addition to the Web site. The big brains here at the Beacon intend for the Buffet to be a quick, one-stop feature where I can guide you to our top stories here in the Flathead, link to some of the bigger stories around the state in other newspapers, and maybe hit one or two national stories. Reporter Myers Reece, on the sports beat, will also be hollering across the newsroom as I write this to clue me into any big Flathead Valley high school athletic events happening tonight.

We call it the Buffet because we want this to be a place where readers can browse, nibble on one story, sample something else, and hopefully by the end, feel sluggish and in need of antacid. OK, maybe I carried that metaphor a little too far. Anyway, before I get on with it, I also want to point out that with this feature, we welcome reader comments and ideas to make it better, either through comments at the bottom of the page, or feel free to shoot me an e-mail. Help us make this into the most useful part of the Flathead Beacon that it can be.

Topping news in the region today are two crime stories. An Evergreen man was charged yesterday with shooting his girlfriend to death and then shooting himself in the face. Also, a Kalispell woman pleaded not guilty yesterday to charges of leaving her young daughters home alone and in squalor. Also, only at the Beacon, check out Columbia Falls contributor Mark Riffey who nabbed some really cool fly-over pics of all the remote fires still burning in the Bob Marshall wilderness. Myers Reece is blogging today on the torrent of feedback he’s gotten since he wrote about the legends of the Flathead Lake Monster — many readers who were previously embarrassed to tell stories of their sightings are now coming forward.

The two Kalispell football teams are away. Whitefish football plays Hamilton at 7 p.m.

Chief Justice John Roberts spoke at the UM law school yesterday, in what is believed to be his first public remarks since suffering a stroke, and compared the work of attorneys to wildfire fighters as depicted in a Norman Maclean book, “Young Men and Fire.” Chuck Johnson, senior dean of Montana political journalism, reported this morning three of the top Democratic staffers in the state are leaving, including Executive Director Jim Farrell who will be working for presidential candidate Bill Richardson, and Communications Director Jessica Rhoades and Field Director Chris Laslovich. The Bozeman Chronicle reports that scalpers are driving up prices to Elton John’s upcoming shows in Montana to astronomical prices. $1,200 for a pair of bleacher seats!?! Someone tell these guys this ain’t London or Atlanta.

The top story is President Bush’s remarks last night on troop levels in the war in Iraq. The Washington Post has a fascinating story on the grassroots public effort to search for Steve Fossett, the aviator who crashed in the mountains of Nevada. People are scrutinizing Google earth images to help with the search. And if the news of high ticket prices for Elton John is getting you down, here’s the best news on the classic rock front I’ve heard in a long time. Led Zeppelin is reuniting – though it doesn’t look as though they’re heading much farther west than England.