By Beacon Staff

Jeff Harris had a good week after a third-party investigation cleared his office of wrongdoing. Meanwhile, the federal deficit will peak at a heart-stopping $1.6 trillion this fiscal year.

BARACK OBAMA – He came out swinging last week, with a tough State of the Union address and a feisty debate with the House GOP, indicating reports of his young presidency’s demise by eager critics are highly premature.
JEFF HARRIS – A third-party investigation found no wrongdoing by the director of the Flathead County Planning and Zoning office, a strong vindication and swift rebuke to groups that called for the inquiry.
SHAY SMITHWICK-HANN – This Glacier High School quarterback has signed a letter of intent to play for the Griz, keeping his talent in Montana.
FORD – The motor company looks like it’s getting back on its feet, reporting its first profit in four years in 2009.

U.S. ECONOMY – Good news out of last week showed personal incomes increased in December, along with consumer spending. The economy grew at the fastest pace in the fourth quarter since 2003. Yet unemployment is still stubbornly high and it’s obvious times are tough everywhere. Maybe Wall Street’s hiring…

FEDERAL DEFICIT – The national deficit will peak at a heart-stopping $1.6 trillion this fiscal year, and then begin to recede. No one thinks this can continue but it’s hard to know what “sustainable” even means in terms of federal spending anymore.
RICH OREGONIANS – Voters approved tax hikes on the wealthy and businesses last week in an effort to divert a budget crisis, a telling event in a state that has been traditionally reluctant to take such measures.
MULE DEER – The state’s mulie numbers are declining, and wildlife officials are likely to enact strict hunting regulations.
TOYOTA – The auto manufacturer is suspending production and recalling millions of vehicles after discovering a problem with the accelerator pedal in some models.

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