Thursday: Uphill Battle, Budget Cuts, Health Insurer Profits

By Beacon Staff

Good morning; on the Beacon today, many members of the Flathead outdoor community are incensed by new restrictions on uphill traffic at Whitefish Mountain Resort. And Dave Skinner joins the ranks of those skeptical that the logging mandated under Sen. Jon Tester’s Wilderness and logging bill will ever happen.

A move by Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s administration to freeze a bunch of money spent on local projects came under fire Wednesday as lawmakers started looking at a budget situation that has prompted the governor to consider widespread cuts. Rank-and-file Democrats in Congress remain wary of health care legislation in spite of President Barack Obama’s closing argument for overhauling the system, well aware that success is far from assured and political perils abound. TransCanada executives said Wednesday they will consider letting Montana and North Dakota crude oil onto a proposed pipeline to the Gulf of Mexico, after hearing demand for such a project from U.S. oil producers. Reversing an earlier decision, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Council has elected not to participate in a commemoration this year of the 100th anniversary of the Flathead Indian Reservation being opened to homesteaders. Lee’s Mike Dennison runs down which major Montana health insurers posted gains or losses last year, and the results are surprising. The Bitterroot group Celebrating Conservatism lined Hamilton’s streets, brandishing guns, as a demonstration of their right to bear arms. More than a hundred Tea Party ralliers demonstrated in front of the state capitol building yesterday calling for deeper cuts to the state budget. The deadline for Congress to approve funding for a $3.4 billion Indian trust settlement has been pushed back again. And a Livingston man who drives a Toyota is suing the company for damages and alleges that his car may no longer be safe.

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