Thursday: Hope for Holidays, Meth Bust, State Ethics Law Skirted

By Beacon Staff

Good morning; on the Beacon today, the United Way has once again published its “Hope for the Holidays” guide of how to best donate to local nonprofits in need. The Whitefish City Council must figure out how to zone for a medical marijuana dispensary looking to open downtown – and it’s an issue more complicated than it might appear at first glance. Local law enforcement served a search warrant at a Kalispell home Tuesday and confiscated 11 grams of methamphetamine; toxic materials used to produce meth; and other drug-related paraphernalia, according to Flathead County Sheriff Mike Meehan. The Montana Supreme Court has overturned more than $380,000 in damages awarded a Libby couple in a lawsuit against the developer of an exclusive golf community near their property. And Wild Bill Schneider requests that Warren Buffett free up a section of the BNSF line along the Missouri River between Helena and Great Falls.

Very few of the growing number of lawmakers taking state jobs appear to be complying with a largely forgotten ethics law requiring proof that such arrangements don’t lead to double-dipping, a survey by The Associated Press has found. U.S. Sen. Jon Tester’s plan to both create more wilderness and mandate more logging is going to get a Senate hearing Dec. 17. Montana’s congressional delegation had mixed reactions Wednesday to President Barack Obama’s plan to send 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan and begin withdrawing forces in July 2011. Seeley-Swan High School was locked down briefly on Wednesday after authorities told school officials a 17-year-old boy might be on his way to school with a gun. Seventy-four bison from Yellowstone National Park would go to billionaire Ted Turner’s private ranch under a plan given preliminary approval Wednesday by the head of Montana’s wildlife agency. U.S. Jon Tester on Wednesday proposed amending the Senate’s major health-reform measure to increase certain rural health care programs — and indicated his support for the overall bill. Farm groups, for years shut out of shipping rate discussions with Burlington Northern Santa Fe, have successfully persuaded the railroad to cut a proposed increase along the Montana Hi-Line. A commission Wednesday sent Gov. Brian Schweitzer the names of three lawyers it recommended for appointment to the Montana Supreme Court seat being vacated by Justice John Warner on Dec. 31: Carlo Canty of Helena, John Warren of Dillon and Mike Wheat of Bozeman.