Monday: Local Stimulus, Little Quakes, Dinosaur Theft

By Beacon Staff

Good morning; on the Beacon today, Whitefish City Manager Chuck Stearns is proposing a “local construction stimulus program” that would eliminate impact fees for four months on construction projects within the city’s tax increment district, an area comprising downtown and portions of the outlying neighborhoods. We take a closer look at the recent earthquake near Seeley Lake, which occurred along a fault known as the South Fork Flathead Fault, which runs from southwest of Augusta toward the Hungry Horse reservoir. Dick Nelson and his wife Carol decided to protect their Olney land’s character by putting 300 acres in a conservation easement. Three people are dead after an early morning house fire in Columbia Falls Friday. Lido visits Herron Park. And Kitchen Guy Jim Gray writes about how important service is to the restaurant dining experience.

A rare and nearly complete dinosaur skeleton stolen from private property in Montana and stored in an evidence locker for more than two years has been turned over to researchers. Montana’s ban on corporate political contributions is still in place following a U.S. Supreme Court decision on the issue — but perhaps not for long, the state attorney said. Montana business and labor leaders worry that there may not be enough skilled workers to staff big manufacturing plants and build large industrial projects when the economy recovers. Previewing key elements of his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama is announcing on Monday a series of initiatives aimed at calming some of the economic fears of struggling middle class families. Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock is encouraging Montanans to learn about debt settlement companies before turning to one for help. A Billings area legislator’s verbal attack on a hometown enemy is now at the center of an appeal before the Montana Supreme Court testing the constitutional immunity that Montana grants to shield legislators from legal actions over what they say in debates and speeches. Mike Dennison writes that Democrats have no one to blame but themselves for the health care mess. Ravalli County is considering re-instituting its “poor fund” to help residents who face eviction stay in their homes.