By Beacon Staff

We’re high on Joel Sampson and low on Highway 35 truck traffic in our weekly index of what’s up, down and in between…

JOEL SAMPSON – This Finley Point man pulled the driver from the flaming truck wreck near his home on Montana Highway 35 last week, possibly saving his life.
TRIBAL CASINOS – Since the statewide smoking ban took effect Oct. 1, some tribal casinos, which have opted to remain smoking establishments, have seen business grow.
STEVE BULLOCK – From pushing an investigation into American Police Force to arguing for state control over unclaimed World War II-era bonds to threatening to sue FedEx over labor laws, Montana’s attorney general is taking on a higher profile.
DENNY REHBERG – A year out from the next election, Montana’s lone congressman has far outpaced any of his challengers in fundraising, though he had money left in his coffers from an easy 2008 win.

POLSON RESORT TAX VOTE – Many cities in Montana are watching to see whether Polson voters will impose a local option, or “resort” tax like Whitefish’s on Nov. 3. At a recent meeting, many business owners were skeptical, while supporters point to the benefits enjoyed by those cities that have the tax.

CFAC – Unable to agree on a long-term power contract with Bonneville Power Administration, Columbia Falls Aluminum Co. will halt production by November.
SWINE FLU – President Obama declares a national emergency, a 6-year-old Yellowstone County boy dies from complications and the MSU football team loses with eight players stricken by H1N1.
HWY 35 TRUCK TRAFFIC – After another tractor-trailer crashed and caught fire while driving along the east shore of Flathead Lake, debate is renewed over whether further road restrictions are necessary, with a meeting in Somers scheduled for Nov. 12.
NORTHWESTERN ENERGY – A Bozeman rug storeowner becomes the fourth business to sue the energy utility over the deadly March explosion, caused by a natural gas leak.

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