Tuesday Buffet: Farmers’ Health Care Burden, Bail Out Anger, Battery Fart Charge

By Beacon Staff

Good morning and happy birthday to the late, great Jim Henson.

It’s Wednesday and the new Beacon are on the stands. Our top story this week looks at how health insurance costs for Montana farmers and ranchers dwarfs that of any other state in the U.S. Plum Creek Timber Co. announced it is suspending operations at its finger-joint stud manufacturing facility in Kalispell for the rest of the year, leaving 24 employees out of work. The Flathead’s three city governments and the county have worked out tight budgets for this year, and the Beacon rounds up the pertinent numbers. Beacon business columnist Mark Riffey writes about the need for small business owners to constantly ask themselves, “What’s next?”

In state news, Republican gubernatorial candidate Roy Brown is calling for Gov. Brian Schweitzer to reimburse the state for travel expenses related to his July trip to Philadelphia where he told a group of trial lawyers he tampered with the 2006 U.S. Senate election. Wyoming U.S. Sen. John Barrasso says the federal government double-crossed his state when it opted to reverse its decision to remove gray wolves from the endangered species list. The phones of Montana’s federal delegation have been ringing off the hook as Montanans say they are furious with the government’s $700-billion bailout plan for the nation’s financial sector. The Two Rivers Detention Center in Hardin may finally have lined up a contract to house some prisoners. And two longtime members of the state Board of Livestock resigned their positions, saying the board no longer represented Montana’s livestock industry.

And check out this West Virginia case, where a man was charged with battery after passing gas in a police officer’s face. Have a great day.