Tuesday: Tester Forest Bill, Libby Jobs, Logging Lawsuit

By Beacon Staff

Good morning; on the Beacon today, Jon Tester’s Forest Jobs and Recreation Act may be the most significant piece of legislation he has created in his, still relatively short, career in the U.S. Senate, though critics are already questioning many provisions of the bill. The Flathead’s annual cherry harvest is an extraordinarily complex yet efficient undertaking aimed at getting the fruit to market at the peak of ripeness. The Flathead County Library Board of Trustees is now looking to the public and three architectural firms to help pinpoint a location for the new main library in Kalispell. An Arizona-based company that makes parts for bridges is planning to open a new construction facility in Libby — creating more than 200 jobs in a county with a 12.9 percent unemployment rate. The 77-year-old Lancer, Wyo., man killed in a single-vehicle rollover north of Columbia Falls over the weekend was identified as Voney Tuttle.

Environmental groups have filed a lawsuit seeking to block logging on more than 1,600 acres of national forest in an area of southwestern Montana burned in a 2007 fire. Sen. Max Baucus, leading a bipartisan coalition of senators, seems on track to forge a health care overhaul bill which would exclude a requirement many congressional Democrats seek for businesses to offer coverage to their workers, nor would there be a provision for a government insurance option, despite President Barack Obama’s support for such a plan. Federal wage laws have slowed down Montana’s spending of $27-million in federal stimulus funds to weatherize homes, though state officials say the work is proceeding apace.

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