News Buffet: Flathead Crime Stats, Farm Bill Balloons, Flaming iPods

By Beacon Staff

Good morning and happy World Smile Day. Granted it’s Friday, but if I see someone with a big grin on their face, particularly after the Yankees trouncing yesterday, I’ll be tempted to wipe that smile right off. Maybe I better just get straight to the news.

On the Beacon this morning, weather experts are predicting a wet, cool winter in Montana, making for a – hopefully – primo ski season. Keriann Lynch analyzes regional crime statistics released by the FBI. Flathead law enforcement officials say the rape and assault numbers are not as alarming as they appear at first glance. A Polson man convicted of kidnapping a Whitefish woman in Bigfork in 2006 was sentenced. The AP also reports on the fatal crash in which a Trego man died after his Corvette collided with a truck north of Olney Wednesday. And Myers Reece continues to write about some of the lesser known sports teams in the valley with a story about a volleyball team of home schooled kids. Readers are making some, er, interesting comments on that story.

Topping state news, the AP chronicles the political squabbling in the U.S. Senate over the Farm Bill, which grows ever larger – currently weighing in at about $280 billion over the next five years. Montana Democrats appear to be in no hurry to replace executive director Jim Farrell, who recently left to assist with the presidential campaign of Bill Richardson. The Missoulian reports on a panel grappling with the “new reality” of bigger, hotter, more dangerous wildfires in Montana, and how to prepare for and profit from them. That paper’s also got a neat story on the Salish-Kootenai College’s 30th anniversary celebration.

Well, the weekend beckons, and as cold and rainy as it is in the Flathead, it’s snowing up high. Check out the Kalispell Ski Swap this weekend at the Northwest Montana fairgrounds – I’ll be there bargain hunting and haggling with the best of them. And we wouldn’t be a legitimate news source if we didn’t throw a weird scare into you about popular household electronics – like this exploding iPod. Enjoy the weekend.

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