News Buffet: Snow God Prayers, Estate Tax Reform, Madison Valley Werewolf?

By Beacon Staff

Good morning and happy National Bundt Day!

On the Beacon this morning, we have an extended interview with Bigfork Rep. Bill Jones discussing his political philosophy, upon announcing that he would not be running for re-election in 2009. Kerriann Lynch reports on the lucrative business of house sitting for the valley’s large number of second homes. Becky Lomax writes about the rumors, rituals, superstitions and parties circulating through Whitefish to appease Ullr – the Norse god of snow who needs to start unleashing the white stuff. The 22-year-old woman involved in the traffic accident that killed a Kalispell state trooper has pleaded no contest to one count of careless driving, and prosecutors aren’t expected to request jail time. A crash early Wednesday south of Libby resulted in two deaths.

A Kalispell man is preparing a constitutional initiative to limit property tax increases in Montana to 1.5 percent a year. Check out his guest column in the Beacon here. Great Falls city officials are contesting U.S. Census figures that show a population decline in the Electric City. Instead, city officials say Great Falls’s population has increased slightly. The congressional delegations of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho are asking the National Park Service to continue allowing snowmobiles in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., said the estate tax needs to be repealed, but since the Senate lacks the votes to do so, serious reform is necessary.

In one of the odder stories to hit Montana newspapers in a while, dashing reporter Walt Williams of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports on the recovery of a missing taxidermy mount of a creepy wolf-like creature shot 121 years ago in the Madison Valley. It’s a very strange looking animal, and no one seems able to say with any accuracy what, exactly, the animal is. Enjoy the day, eat some Bundt cake and get ready for Friday.

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