By Beacon Staff

We’re high on natural gas prices and low on property tax reappraisals in our weekly index of what’s up, down and in between …


DANIEL PETTIT – This Columbia Falls hunter took the first wolf from the Bob Marshall.

MAX BAUCUS – The long and laborious amendment process on his health care bill is underway, with little Republican participation, but it’s likely this will be the vehicle for reform.

PAUL JORGENSEN – Flathead High’s cross-country head coach has produced 24 state championships in his 37 years on the job, an astounding record of achievement.

NATURAL GAS RATES – NorthWestern Energy says gas rates should drop by 15 percent this winter, with electricity prices holding steady – hopefully making for reasonable heating bills.


DENNIS McDONALD – The Democrat seeking Denny Rehberg’s congressional seat in 2010 is aggressively attacking the Republican for drinking on the night of the Aug. 27 boat crash near Bigfork and getting on the boat when the driver, state Sen. Greg Barkus, had been drinking. But with Barkus’ blood alcohol level still unknown, will McDonald’s criticisms come off as mere political posturing, or do voters agree with him?


JOHN STOKES – Following a bankruptcy court ruling allowing for liquidation of his assets, authorities shut down KGEZ, to the dismay of his listeners and delight of his detractors.

PROPERTY REAPPRAISAL – Some Flathead residents are seeing hefty property tax increases, and the GOP suspects the state is overcharging business property taxes, all of which is making for some finger-pointing in Helena and calls for a special session.

HEALTH PREMIUMS – Some state employees will see their health premiums increase in 2010 by as much as 21 percent, along with jacked-up co-payments and deductibles, squeezing workers while their salaries remain frozen.

WHITE SUPREMACISTS – Fliers hung and graffiti spray-painted around Bozeman indicate the resurgence of the hate group, the Creativity Movement in the Gallatin area.

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