Tuesday: Stokes Bankruptcy, Coal Reserves, Baucus Amendments

By Beacon Staff

Good morning; on the Beacon today, a federal bankruptcy judge ruled Monday that Kalispell radio station owner John Stokes must convert to Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings, a decision that will allow for the liquidation of most of his assets in order to pay his debts. District judges in Flathead County have removed themselves from presiding over any possible court dealings involving state Sen. Greg Barkus and his boating accident. A team of scientists from the United Nations have met with Glacier National Park leaders to discuss the potential impacts of coal mining and natural gas development at the World Heritage Site. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says efforts to remove contaminated sediment from the Whitefish River will begin this week.

Chuck Kerr with Houston-based Great Northern Properties told top Montana elected officials on Monday his company is willing to put its Otter Creek coal tracts up for lease first — as long as the state quickly follows suit. Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus moved Monday to address concerns from fellow Democrats and one key Republican about his health care bill, tweaking the legislation to make newly required insurance more affordable. A federal judge in Montana restored protections Monday for an estimated 600 grizzly bears in and around Yellowstone National Park, citing in part a decline in their food supply caused by climate change. Dow the Bitterroot, ground crews are digging lines in an attempt to contain the 4,535-acre Kootenai Creek Fire. And the calculator that estimates future property taxes on the state Revenue Department’s Web site is working for many taxpayers, but not for everyone.

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