News Buffet: New Buses, Training Afghan Police and Dodgeball Domination

By Beacon Staff

Good morning, and happy President’s Day.

On the Beacon this morning, representatives of the gay community have demanded an apology from U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg over a prank he played on another congressman. Kalispell Regional Medical Center is hosting an exercise next week to address how to deal with possible pandemics. Editor Kellyn Brown speculates on how Montana could influence the outcome of the Democratic nominating process down the stretch. And starting tomorrow, eight commuter buses will be up and running with routes between Kalispell, Whitefish and Columbia Falls.

In state news, Montana received a federal grant to help seven western counties move from a declining timber economy to new industry. The Billings Gazette reports on how record wheat prices are causing problems for producers. On Thursday, Montana Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester will arrive in Kalispell for a town hall meeting to discuss the proposed industrialization of Canadian wilds bordering Glacier National Park’s northern edge. And over the weekend, the Missoulian’s Michael Jamison had a great story on Whitefish Police Chief Bill Dial, who recently returned from spending the past year training the Afghan police force.

And finally, despite our good looks which belie an aptitude for athletic vigor, it turns out the Beacon staff isn’t all that good at dodgeball. Dan Testa’s blog talks about the failures of the “Beacon Blitz,” and why it’s weird to try to throw a ball as hard as you can at someone the same age as your mother. Hopefully we’ll get it together as the season wraps up.

Here’s hoping most of you are still enjoying a long weekend and taking the holiday off.