Monday: C-Falls Triumphant, Old Man Walking, Yellowstone Bears

By Beacon Staff

Good morning; on the Beacon today, Columbia Falls dominated the basketball Northwestern A divisional tournament, with the boys routing Polson and the girls managing to just hold Polson off. To raise money for the Whitefish Middle School Performing Arts Center, Rich Atkinson walked nearly four miles a day for 151 consecutive days beginning on Sept. 29 and ending on Feb. 26, which was his 70th birthday. He dubbed the campaign, and himself, “Old Man Walking.” Though state tax collections continue to come in below forecasts, at a legislative meeting in Helena budget analysts forecast state tax collections would improve in fiscal year 2011. The city of Whitefish has been awarded $3.5 million to refurbish two blocks of U.S. Highway 93 downtown between Baker and Spokane avenues. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has captured about 40 bighorn sheep from Wildhorse Island in Flathead Lake for transplant to other areas in the state.

The White House called for a “simple up-or-down” vote on health care legislation Sunday as Speaker Nancy Pelosi appealed to House Democrats to get behind President Barack Obama’s chief domestic priority even it if threatens their political careers. One of the largest earthquakes ever recorded tore apart houses, bridges and highways in central Chile on Saturday and sent a tsunami racing halfway around the world. Personal spending jumped by a larger amount than expected in January but Americans’ incomes barely budged as millions of Social Security recipients did not get their usual cost of living boost. Beetle-killed pine trees, snow-free watersheds and a shuttered pulp mill are just some of the topics Leslie Weldon, head of the U.S. Forest Service’s Northern Region, discussed in an interview with the Missoulian. Glacier National Park officials are adjusting to the new rules regarding firearms by answering a lot of questions. Bears are beginning to emerge from hibernation in Yellowstone National Park. Chuck Johnson muses on the high number of ballot measures submitted every election year. Democrats made impressive gains in the West in the past election, but the unpopularity of President Barack Obama’s agenda should help Republicans make big gains in coming elections, a Republican strategist told party faithful at two dinners in southwest Montana this week. And Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s budget director, David Ewer, is giving a piano concert in Helena of music he composed.

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