News Buffet: Possible Libby Murder-Suicide, Plethora of Polls, Big Apple Bedbugs

By Beacon Staff

Good morning and Happy New Year’s Eve!

It’s a cold, snowy morning here in the Flathead, but the news hasn’t taken off for the holidays. Deputies have spent the weekend investigating a possible murder-suicide just south of Libby. Two bodies were found on Friday. The Flathead County library in downtown Kalispell continues its search for a new facility – a search with fewer options after the rejection of the old Tidyman’s store as a possible new location. Keriann Lynch profiles the new yarn store in a beautifully renovated building in downtown Kalispell. And guest columnist Jeff Larsen objects to what he calls the county’s “flawed” proposal for streamside setbacks.

In state news, it’s all about polls, polls and more polls. A flurry of census data and an interesting and extensive new offering of data by Lee Newspapers puts forth all kinds of new info about Montana. Topping the list, data shows incumbents Gov. Brian Schweitzer, Sen. Max Baucus and Rep. Denny Rehberg all have strong approval ratings heading into the 2008 elections. Challengers have their work cut out for them. A poll also indicates a majority of Montanans oppose the war in Iraq, but are nearly evenly split when it comes to imposing a timetable for withdrawal. The state’s population is inching closer and closer to 1 million residents. Montana also leads the nation in per-capita spending at bars. Insert bad joke about “sobering statistics” here. Scholars also say U.S. Congress deserves more credit for accomplishments this year than it is receiving. And in Butte, an Iraq War veteran received his second Purple Heart.

And finally, I just got back from a week in New York. I’m happy to be back in the Flathead, but I have been feeling a little itchy… not sure why. Have a safe and sane New Years celebration, tonight. Don’t kiss anyone you’re going to regret.