Monday Buffet: Libby Drive-In Demise, Gubernatorial Campaign Cash, Foldable Car

By Beacon Staff

Good morning and happy National Napping Day.

It’s a brilliant, sunny morning in the Flathead. In Whitefish, ballots were mailed out last week for the $21.5 million high school bond. It remains to be seen if Whitefish will fare better than Bigfork on bonds. Libby’s drive-in theater will not be rebuilt. Since blowing down in a storm last summer, its owners say costs are simply too high to put up another one. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., once again pressured EPA officials to declare Libby a public health emergency after insulation likely containing asbestos poured out of a hole in the wall of an elementary school. And Editor Kellyn Brown muses on how the controversy over coal-bed methane drilling by BP in the Canadian Flathead looks different, depending on which side of the border you stand.

If there are no primary opponents in either party, both Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer and his Republican challenger, Sen. Roy Brown, will have to forfeit large chunks of their campaign funds they have raised so far. Campaign advertising for Baucus begins today, and should be widespread, despite the relative dearth of viable challengers to the senior senator. In a story broken first by the Kaimin, the University of Montana’s student newspaper, Elton John will receive $75,000 from UM toward his AIDS-related research foundation, as part of his deal to return in April for another concert. A Great Falls woman is facing several charges after she punched a police officer – below the belt – at a city commission meeting there. And Lee Reporter Mike Dennison continues to criticize state lawmakers over their inaction on school funding and decision not to hold a special session to deal with it.

And finally, two MIT scientists have invented a car that can interlock with other cars like it, similar to shopping carts, as a way to tackle urban gridlock. Pretty amazing idea. Have a great week – and good luck catching up on sleep.