Weekend: First Descents, Horse Slaughter, Vampire Skull

By Beacon Staff

Good morning and happy birthday Neil Sedaka.

On the Beacon today, a kayaking camp helps cancer patients and survivors learn to run rapids. A Billings Republican has introduced a carefully crafted bill for an local option sales tax. The Glacier Wolfpack lost to Bozeman 80-58 in the first round of the State Class AA Boys Basketball Tournament on Thursday morning. Kalispell announced its three finalists for the city manager position. The F.H. Stoltze Land and Lumber Company hoped to use some stimulus money to convert part of their facilities to generate alternative energy from wood byproducts. Flathead County’s unemployment rate rose to 11.3 percent in January, up from 8.7 percent in December.

Legislative leaders continue to buck against Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s deadline for accepting federal stimulus dollars. The state Board of Regents wants an extra $10 million in stimulus dollars but won’t offer any guarantees that it will freeze tuition. Emotions ran high at a hearing for a bill to allow and encourage a horse slaughter facility in Montana. A defense attorney for the W.R. Grace Co. introduced documents in the trial yesterday showing the federal government knew of the asbestos contamination decades ago and did nothing. The investigation of the Bozeman explosion are complete but authorities have yet to release the findings, pending a review by a judge. A plan to mitigate tax increases from property reappraisal was introduced at the Legislature, and didn’t get an overwhelmingly positive welcome. If Montana doesn’t move quickly on the $220 million in stimulus funding for highway improvement projects, it could lose the money.

And a vampire’s skull was unearthed in Venice — creepy. Have a great weekend.