News Buffet: Montanans in NYC, Dems Like Hillary, A Broken Anti-Smoking Resolution

By Beacon Staff

Good morning and happy “Mew Year for Cats” Day. Pour some champagne for cats tonight and maybe give them a little extra catnip.

There’s not a ton of news coming off of the holidays, but we’ve got you covered. Our lead story for this week is a feature by freelance writer, photographer, and UM grad Brian McDermott (aka “The Big Derm”), who caught up with Flathead natives living in New York City. It’s a guide to the Big Apple offered by Montanans – along with their favorite restaurants, hangouts and haunts. Check out the multimedia slide show for the story as well. Lido Vizzutti pulled on his waders and got into Flathead Lake to snap a pic of the psychos in Woods Bay participating in the Polar Bear Plunge. And if you’re feeling a little bloated post-holidays, Becky Lomax calculates how many calories you can burn while playing in the snow, with everything from cross-country skiing to snowshoeing.

In statewide news, two ballot initiatives set to go before voters in November cleared some big hurdles in Helena. One measure would compel the Legislature to outlaw abortion, while the other would set limits on tax increases. Signatures may now be gathered for each. The Billings Gazette has an alarming story by McClatchy newspapers which says care for war veterans in Montana lags behind nearly every other state in the U.S. A new poll shows Hillary Clinton leads among Montana Democrats for the presidency, while no clear Republican frontrunner has emerged. Another poll shows Montanans slightly favoring Republicans over Democrats in elections to the state House of Representatives.

And finally, I hope, two days into 2008, you’ve managed to stick to any New Years resolutions you may have made. But if you break it, at least it’s not as public as this Portugese government official, the head of an anti-smoking agency, caught lighting up a stogie in a casino one day into a new ban on public smoking. Have a great day.