News Buffet: Firefighting Chopper Dispute, Coach Hauck Safe, Fuel Forgetfulness

By Beacon Staff

Good morning and happy birthday to French impressionist Claude Monet and Beacon fan Kendra Powell.

It’s a crisp, sunny morning in the Flathead and the new Beacons are hitting news stands. Our lead story this week details tension, distrust and arguments over helicopter safety within the DNRC while fighting the wildfires of 2006 and 2007 – based on confidential documents obtained by the Beacon. Our staff also compiled the most relevant excerpts from the obtained documents related to chopper safety. Editor Kellyn Brown calls DNRC officials to task in his column about the helicopter incidents. Myers Reece also covers the athletic exploits of the FVCC Loggers team. In Bigfork, officials are poised to pay an engineering firm to begin to try to decipher and untangle the village’s arcane storm water system. And in Mozambique, the owners of Whitefish’s Glacier Cyclery, Ron and Jan Brunk, are receiving 140 bicycles given by Flathead residents to Africans in need of transportation.

In the fallout from the recent arrest of three Griz football players, UM officials said yesterday Coach Bobby Hauck’s job remains secure, though President George Dennison called for a more aggressive student mentoring program. Ah yes, if it had been explained to those three athletes by mentors that they shouldn’t pistol whip people and steal narcotics, I’m sure they wouldn’t be in this situation. Ronan state Rep. Rick Jore of the Constitution Party is working on an initiative to amend the state constitution in such a way that abortion would essentially be outlawed. Heavy winds pounded numerous regions of Montana yesterday, causing severe damage in Anaconda, as well as the central and southwest part of the state.

Gas prices are going through the roof and it’s a bummer. But try to keep it together at the pump – at least better than this guy. Have a good one.