News Buffet: Ferndale Murder Arrests, Wolf Lawsuit, Flying Nudists

By Beacon Staff

Good morning and happy birthday to American Revolutionary Thomas Paine.

The Flathead freeze continues. Topping local news, Lake County authorities announced yesterday they have made two arrests related to the Dec. 31 murder of a Ferndale man. The owner of a Kalispell motel is charged with reckless endangerment after a New Years Eve incident where a guest spent hours outside after getting a foot caught in an abandoned septic tank and lost several limbs to frostbite. After a problematic weekend in which Whitefish Mountain Resort’s main chair was stalled all day Sunday, things were back up and running for Monday’s foot-and-half of powder. And the Police Blotter describes a concerned valley resident very suspicious of the ice on their roof.

In state news, after President Bush’s final State of the Union address last night, the Great Falls Tribune reports Montanans are largely worried about the economy. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., introduced his own economic stimulus plan yesterday, a broader package than the White House and House leaders are proposing. A Texas company is trying to develop a wind farm in central Montana twice as large as the state’s current largest project. Environmental groups filed a lawsuit yesterday to stop the federal government from turning more authority over to the states to kill protected gray wolves in the northern Rockies. State Sen. Roy Brown, R-Billings, who is running for governor, and House Minority Caucus Leader Dan Villa, D-Anaconda, spoke out yesterday against today’s consideration by a legislative council to restrict media from accessing the state House and Senate floors. The hearing takes place today.

And finally, once again, the weird news comes out of Germany, where an airline is offering trips where nudists can strip down on the plane. I don’t have a problem with the option – I just don’t want to be the one who gets on the plane after that flight. Blech.