News Buffet: Fallen Soldier’s Funeral, Bear Break-In, Batman’s Motorcycle

By Beacon Staff

Good morning and Happy Friday. I’m sure everyone is looking forward to celebrating Elephant Appreciation Day and Hobbit Day this weekend. If you see either, be sure to express your appreciation, then maybe lay down and rest for a few minutes.

Topping regional news, the legal wrangling in the ongoing asbestos case by the U.S. government against W.R. Grace & Co. in Libby continues, with a federal appeals court overturning a number of rulings by U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy of Missoula. Down in the Swan Valley, state wildlife officials are using DNA to track a bear who has been particularly wily at breaking into cabins in Condon. On the Beacon today, Whitefish contributor Becky Lomax reports on the art of “cupping” a good coffee bean – a practice as precise as sampling fine wine. Editor Kellyn Brown muses on why Bozeman businessman and potential Republican candidate for governor Steve Daines backed off of challenging Gov. Brian Schweitzer. Media Director Lido Vizzutti blogs about the arrival of Fall.

Statewide, the AP reports on the funeral of Staff Sgt. Yance T. Gray of Ismay, who died in Iraq Sept. 10, and was among the soldiers who wrote a controversial essay in the New York Times. Check out NewWest.net photographer Anne Medley’s killer multimedia slide show on the life of a smokejumper between leaps. Noelle Straub of the Lee Newspapers Washington bureau reports on the face off between Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont. and President Bush over the expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports that MSU is contemplating developing a partnership in the Persian Gulf, offering degrees at the United Arab Emirates Academy in Abu Dhabi. The Billings Gazette reports on the {encode=”http://www.billingsgazette.net/articles/2007/09/21/news/local/25-cashmore.txt” title=”connection of a man there to the infamous O.J. Simpson Vegas robbery case”}.

Homecoming Week culminates today at Flathead High with a parade and a game against Bozeman tonight. Good luck.

And, since yesterday was superhero day at Flathead High and I’m a bit of a comic book geek, I leave you with a story about the new Batman movie, set for release next summer. Reuters reports on the very chilly reception Hong Kong city officials are giving the film crew, along with a pic of the sweet new Batcycle. Enjoy the weekend.