Wednesday: Avoiding Helena Gridlock, Baucus Health Care, Obama Bald Dog

By Beacon Staff

Good morning and happy birthday to the sculptor of “The Thinker,” Auguste Rodin.

On the Beacon this morning, Republicans are looking to break a 50-50 split in the state House by calling for a recount in the tight House District 8 results, where Democrat Cheryl Steenson eked out a victory over Craig Witte by 20 votes. Yesterday was Veterans Day and Lido Vizzutti shot a gorgeous slide show of the ceremony in Bigfork. Our main story this week looks at the makeup of the 2009 Legislature and the desire by Flathead lawmakers to avoid the gridlock of the 2007 session. The Bonneville Power Administration awarded the Flathead County Sheriff’s office $3,000 for its work arresting four thieves who stole copper from 11 power stations. A Kalispell native was awarded Cosmopolitan magazine’s hottest bachelor in Colorado award. (I’m pretty ticked off about being passed over.) Business columnist Mark Riffey writes about the lessons small business owners can learn from the Obama campaign.

U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., is also calling for massive health care in 2009, but the Montana senator’s plan differs in fundamental ways from that of President-elect Obama. The Bitterroot National Forest has given initial approval to a plan to build a large ski resort on Lolo Peak. Collapsing platinum and palladium prices have caused money losses and rumored layoffs at the Stillwater Mining Co. The Humane Society of the United States is calling for a ban on lead ammunition out of concern for the lead levels in the blood of people who eat venison killed by such bullets. And after filing for bankruptcy, representatives of the Yellowstone Club will ask a federal judge for approval of a $4.5-million loan to open for the winter season.

And finally, Peru has offered a “bald dog of the Incas” to the Obama family, who are getting a puppy when they move into the White House. After seeing a picture of the correct response might be “Thanks, but not thanks.” Have a great day.