Thursday: Hall Reflects, Ferndale Guity Plea, Pumpkin Helmets

By Beacon Staff

Good morning: on this date in 1835 was the only time the national debt was zero.

On the Beacon this morning, outgoing Flathead County Commissioner Gary Hall reflects on the last six years. The holidays provided a much-needed bounce for local retailers, but sales were still off from previous years. Ronald Petersen pleaded guilty yesterday to breaking into a house and shooting 24-year-old Clyde Wilson on Dec. 31, 2007, while he slept in his Ferndale house. Incoming Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has agreed to visit Montana if he is confirmed. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court ruled yesterday that the Flathead National Forest failed to follow the grizzly bear standards when it approved the Moose Post-Fire Project in 2002.

Committees are beginning to hear bills in the state Legislature, with the first one on employee theft. Some Missoula developers are still moving quickly on their projects, and taking advantage of reduced costs and eager builders. A state district judge has denied a request from the attorney general’s office to stay a court-order affirming the right to physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients. Six members of Congress, led by U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., have nominated Bozeman humanitarian and “Three Cups of Tea” author Greg Mortensen for the Nobel Peace Prize. And recent rain and wet snow has increased the likelihood of avalanches across the state.

Finally, check out this story about NIgerians reluctantly complying with a motorcycle helmet law by wearing pumpkins on their heads. And have a great day.