News Buffet: Flathead Fire Risk, Keenan in Washington D.C., Bonds Ball Gets a *

By Beacon Staff

Good morning and Happy National Women’s Health and Fitness Day.

The new Beacons are on the stands. Topping our issue this week is a feature about an extraordinary new urban loft housing development in downtown Kalispell. The apartments are a little slice of the big city in the Flathead – and I mean that in the best possible way. Myers Reece reports that a new study finds the Flathead has the highest amount of fire-susceptible property in the wildland urban interface. And Keriann Lynch blogs on a disturbing new trend of stereotyping all males as predators unless proven innocent. And check out sports for our “By The Numbers” stats breakdown.

Topping state news, Bigfork Republican Bob Keenan is in Washington D.C. to meet with senior U.S. Senate leaders and mull over a challenge to U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont. The media (including the Beacon), have been rife with speculation as to whether Keenan will run for governor or U.S. Senate in an election season when few in the GOP appear willing to take on the two strong Democrat incumbents. In other political news, software mogul Tom Siebel held a $500-a-head fundraiser last week to launch Attorney General Mike McGrath’s campaign for chief justice of the Montana Supreme Court. Noelle Straub of Lee Newspapers in Washington reports on a contentious hearing of the Surface Transportation Board yesterday where coal and grain shippers hammered the commission as a rubber stamp for the railway industry, particularly BNSF Railway Co. Chuck Johnson of Lee also reports on the odd withdrawal of 18 of the applications for the recently-awarded restaurant beer and wine, or cabaret, licenses. Because the families who applied for the licenses couldn’t be reached, though, the story raises more questions than it answers – there’s sure to be more to come on this issue. NewWest.net has a really interesting piece that analyzes the reporting on athlete arrests by the college newspapers at UM and MSU. The Montana Kaimin, of UM, has been highly critical of state media for its portrayal of the crimes – worth a read.

Though I’m not a sports maniac, I’m fascinated with the fate of the homerun record-breaking ball hit by Barry Bonds. It’s going to be branded with an asterisk (due to widepsread allegations of Bonds’s steroid use) and donated to the baseball hall of fame in Cooperstown, NY. Something tells me Bonds is not going to be real psyched about that. Happy Hump Day.

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