Wednesday: School Enrollment, Affordable Housing, Rocky Wins

By Beacon Staff

Good morning and happy birthday to two people with some amazing pipes: Elton John (62) and Aretha Franklin (67).

It’s Wednesday, so you all know what that means: half-way to the weekend! And, of course, the new Beacon is out on stands with an added bonus – it’s the Beacon Business Monthly issue. Our lead story this week details how enrollment is down significantly at several Flathead Valley schools, meaning funding will decline with it and schools will likely be forced to cut staff and programs next year. In the Business Monthly, Flathead and Gallatin counties are the most expensive places to own a home in Montana, according to a recent report released by the University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research. And officials with Semitool Inc., have notified all 520 of the company’s Montana employees of possible layoffs, beginning as early as May 8.

In other news, the men’s basketball team from Rocky Mountain College, a liberal arts school of 800 from Billings, Mont., won their first NAIA championship. The city of Miles City begins the slow process of recovering from a fire, believed to have started in a vacant building, that devoured three-quarters of a city block. An undercover operation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is targeting people who are illegally buying, selling and receiving eagle feathers. And the change of flight plan may prove the key to what went wrong in a recent plane crash in Butte.

Finally, an Australian toddler makes waves with her first exhibition while sceptics doubt the authenticity of the art. Happy Wednesday, everyone.

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