News Buffet: Baucus Ready to Rumble on BP and Cline Mine, Kalispell Bypass, Rudy’s Late

By Beacon Staff

Good morning and happy Independence Day to our Chilean readers. Today is booming with news at the local, state and national level. The back-and-forth between Montana’s senators, governor, and Canadian officials over proposed mining and drilling projects in the Canadian Flathead heats up. It’s a story likely to be ongoing for years, but Montana’s leaders are clearly coming out of the gates with a hard, fast offensive while Canadian and British Columbian officials are trying to defuse emotion and frame things with more of a longterm view.

Other news includes original reporting by our newest writer, Keriann Lynch, on the meeting yesterday between Kalispell city, Flathead County and state Department of Transportation officials on the funding and future of the proposed Kalispell bypass for U.S. 93. Keriann, uncomfortable about writing in the first-person, is reluctantly working on her first Beacon blog today as well. On our sports page, Lido Vizzutti has photos and stats on the winners of Sunday’s Two Bear Marathon in Whitefish. Congrats to Brandon French of Kalispell, who came in third – the top finisher in the Flathead. Bigfork contributor Katrin Frye reports on a visit from parenting coach Mac Bledsoe, with some unorthodox advice.

Across the state, parole was denied the man convicted of shooting to death two MSU students in 1990 – he won’t get another chance until 2015. Noelle Straub, reporter for Lee Newspapers’ Washington D.C. bureau, has two solid stories today – one indicating Sen. Max Baucus’s, D-Mont., criticism of Iraq’s leadership seems to be stiffening after his visit there last week, and another on Baucus and Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., holding their cards close to the vest when it comes to approval of Pres. Bush’s new nominee for attorney general. The Great Falls Tribune reports on the Little Shell Chippewa Tribe Wednesday making another push in its long effort for federal recognition.

If you’re feeling ambitious this morning, the New York Times analyzes Democratic Presidential front runner Hillary Clinton’s new health care proposal. And the southwest Florida Herald Tribune has an interesting time line on the things people talk about when waiting for a presidential candidate running late – in this case Republican runner Rudy Giuliani a solid two hours behind schedule.

It’s pirate, ninja, robot day at Flathead High today for Spirit Week. So if you see a robot chasing a pirate around the neighborhood, rest assured your coffee hasn’t been drugged.

And finally, on my brief drive into work this morning, I heard a song I haven’t heard in a long time, “Mama I’m Coming Home” by Ozzy Osbourne. I think my co-workers have really enjoyed how I’ve been singing it all morning. Lo and behold, old Oz is playing in Billings Nov. 9. But if Ozzy’s a little heavy for you, James Taylor is coming to Missoula Oct. 27 – that’s likely to be a more sedate scene, but still a good one. Enjoy the day and look for the new Flathead Beacon on newstands tomorrow.