Thursday: Fair Board Sued, Johnson DUI, ACLU v. MSU

By Beacon Staff

Good morning; on the Beacon today, former Flathead County Fair Manager Jay Scott has filed a lawsuit against the county and the fair board in response to the board’s February decision not to renew his contract. This year, Russ Crowder and American Dream Montana are embarking on one of its biggest challenges by attempting to get a referendum to repeal the Flathead County Growth Policy on the November ballot. Brad Johnson, a former Montana secretary of state and a Republican candidate for a seat on the Public Service Commission, says he was cited for drunken driving last week. A 29-year-old Polson man has been sentenced to 10 years with the Department of Corrections after pleading guilty to shaking his infant daughter in February. An environmental group that advocates on behalf of government employees worries anti-government rhetoric fueled a surge in attacks and threats last year against law enforcement rangers in national parks. The state attorney general’s office has dropped a complaint that argued phone book advertising by paralegal Jerry O’Neil of Columbia Falls deceived people about his practice. And Dave Skinner wonders why we pretend Supreme Court elections are nonpartisan when they’re not. Listening sessions are planned in Montana next week for the Obama administration to gather input on an effort to conserve land and encourage more Americans to enjoy the outdoors.

Medical marijuana advocates and opponents worked Wednesday to reach an agreement on fixing a law that has come under heavy scrutiny — even as a new initiative was in the works to repeal the measure altogether. The ACLU of Montana is asking the state Board of Regents to investigate whether the invocation and benediction given during the Montana State University-Northern graduation ceremony unconstitutionally promoted the Christian faith. Some citizen advocates and a Highway Patrol trooper called Wednesday for stiffer penalties for bars and stores that illegally sell alcoholic beverages to minors or intoxicated patrons, but an attorney for the Montana Tavern Association said existing regulations are an effective deterrent. Four Ravalli County men accused of a vigilante style beating of a man they believed had stolen medical marijuana from a Stevensville business pleaded not guilty to charges Wednesday. A controversial high-speed Internet network proposal from Bresnan Communications is no longer in the running, but telecom providers across the state are still waiting and watching to see who may receive multimillion-dollar federal grants to expand high-speed Internet services in Montana.

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