Tuesday Buffet: C-44, Libby Judge, Snake Ruins Fashion Show

By Beacon Staff

Good morning. There must be something about Oct. 21 that makes people feel creative: On this date in 1879, Thomas Edison invented the incandescent light bulb; the first transatlantic message by radiotelephone was sent from Arlington, VA, to the Eiffel Tower, in 1915; and ten years later, in 1925, the photoelectric cell was first demonstrated by the Westinghouse Co.

On the Beacon this morning, supporters of Constitutional Amendment No. 44 are nervous about the effect shaky national financial markets will have on voters, as they ask the public to decide whether to allow up to 25 percent of certain state trust fund assets to be invested in the stock market. The relentless search for oil has led explorers to the boreal forest of northeastern Alberta, among the jack pines and black spruce trees an hour’s drive from the boom town of Fort McMurray, where oil companies have found sticky black “synbit,” a 50-50 blend of bitumen (a viscous, tarlike petroleum) and synthetic oil. The state Judicial Standards Commission has recommended that a Libby judge accused of offering female defendants leniency in return for sexual favors be removed from office. A 35-year-old man charged with strangling his neighbor during an argument over damage to a fence pleaded guilty Monday to negligent homicide.

In other news around the state, Montana voters will decide Nov. 4 whether to continue the once-a-decade, 6-mill statewide property tax levy to help finance the state’s University System. Republican gubernatorial candidate Roy Brown raised more campaign money over the past six weeks than Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer, but Schweitzer holds a huge overall lead for the campaign, reports filed Monday showed. And a key member of Pearl Jam and Montana resident, 45-year-old Jeff Ament, has accomplished more than many musicians ever hope to. Now he’s added a solo album to his repertoire.

Finally, a woman voted best-dressed at an Australian fashion contest was unable to collect her prize after she was bitten by a deadly snake. Happy Tuesday, everyone.

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