News Buffet: Bigfork School Report Dispute, Baucus Challenger?, Japanese Camouflage

By Beacon Staff

Good morning and happy United Nations Day.

It’s a blue, brilliant fall day in the Flathead, the Beacons are on the stands, and there’s plenty of news. The Flathead’s top story follows the disagreement over the tragic death of Bigfork teen Jeffrey Bowman. Bowman’s parents strongly disagree with a report issued by Bigfork High school which asserts that coaches acted appropriately during the practice in which Bowman collapsed. Bowman’s parents accused the school of having a biased report constructed by a “handpicked” attorney. This is a developing story – stick with the Beacon for the latest. Candidates for Kalispell’s two contested city council seats weigh in on what they view as the city’s top issues. To get you ready for Halloween, I spent the previous week scaring myself silly reporting on local legends and ghost stories in the valley – don’t read this story after dark. Whitefish contributor Becky Lomax previews the first big musical performance planned for the Whitefish Middle School performing arts center.

In state news, there’s a significant amount of federal legislation under consideration with strong potential to impact Montana. In Washington, critics of the current farm bill want to slash many of the existing subsidies, but U.S. Sen. Max Baucus said he supports the current bill and plans to offer amendments to keep Farm Service Agency offices in Montana from closing. Legislation that would impose royalties on mining companies appears to have strong support in Congress as well. President Bush is poised to veto a massive spending bill as Senate Democrats prepare for a budgetary brawl. The AP reports Billings Republican Kirk Bushman is edging closer to challenging U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., in 2008. In Great Falls, aspiring developers of a coal-fired power plant are going to re-apply after Cascade County commissioners amended a zoning ordinance allowing them to do so. Another utility has agreed to pay Montana rent for its use of a stream bed to run a hydroelectric dam – thus avoiding a trial on the issue. Yellowstone Park officials are asking a telecommunications company to reconsider plans to build a cell tower in Gardiner, just outside the gates of the park. The Bozeman Chronicle has a neat feature on two good friends making up the small, but passionate, ping-pong community at MSU.

And finally, though I’m a little late coming across this, the New York Times had a story over the weekend about the new efforts by some Japanese citizens to camouflage themselves from criminals by dressing up like inanimate objects – the pictures are a must see. Enjoy this spectacular day.