News Buffet: Flathead Future, Fourth Legislature?, No Love in NYC

By Beacon Staff

Good morning and I wish you a happy and healthy International Top Spinning Day. I haven’t spun a top in years, but today just might be the day. There’s a monkey in the Beacon office today too. Don’t ask.

It’s a booming news day and this week’s Beacons are on the stands. The top news story in the Flathead details the tragic death of a state highway patrol officer in a crash yesterday on U.S. 2. Our lead story is an analysis by Keriann Lynch of what the future holds for Kalispell and the greater Flathead, incorporating growth projections by city planners, economists, and community health and business leaders. Supplementing that story is an interview with a University of Missouri economist who has been studying growth and land use in Northwest Montana for years, and the various scenarios he has projected. Sen. Max Baucus’s faith summit wrapped up in Kalispell yesterday, and I was able to sit in on the morning keynote address by the U.S. Senate chaplain. A Kalispell teacher was honored yesterday as the Montana teacher of the year. Whitefish contributor Becky Lomax updates the latest in the mailing war over the critical areas ordinance – one of the most controversial documents since Declaration of Independence. We’ve also updated the latest sports statistics posted by Flathead athletes; check it out at By The Numbers.

Whew. In state news, the stories keep coming. Lawmakers are mulling over the need for ANOTHER special session to remedy a possible loophole in the wording of the tax rebate bill. That would mark the fourth legislative session of the year if it happens. Those Helena reporters earn their paychecks. Feds greenlighted a rail line into southeastern Montana, opening up the region to intense coal mining. The Billings Gazette reports that a biodiesel production facility is going to set up shop in Havre and plans to produce 10 million gallons of fuel per year. The Missoulian chronicles confusion and frustration over what to do with a one-room school house in Polson. And daring and debonair Bozeman Daily Chronicle reporter Walt Williams reports that Gallatin County is the most expensive place in Montana to live, according to a new study detailing the cost of living.

Everyone’s dissecting the performance of the Republican presidential candidates in yesterday’s debate. The New York Times has a neat story about Seattle leading the way in its recycling technology. And if you’ve ever wondered if you can cut it in the New York City dating scene, this story confirms for me that I wouldn’t stand a chance. At least folks are being honest about what they want out of a relationship. Happy hump day!

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