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Monday: Church Slough, Beacon Wins!, Kacie West Wins!

By Beacon Staff

Good morning; on the Beacon today, a 62-year-old Missouri woman, Elizabeth Gray McNamara of Kansas City, drowned after she fell from a bridge and was carried away by a fast-flowing creek in Glacier National Park. A landowner has filed a lawsuit against Flathead County and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks after the county installed a boat ramp and other improvements to a public access point on Church Slough earlier this year. Governors from throughout the Western United States will converge in Whitefish next week for the Western Governors’ Association annual meeting, where natural resource and conservation issues will top the agenda. Voters rejected the West Valley School’s effort to pass a $3.5-million bond to fund a school expansion last Tuesday. For the second year in a row, the Flathead Beacon won top honors among the state’s large weekly and small daily newspapers in the Montana Newspaper Association’s Better Newspaper Contest. And Kitchen Guy Jim Gray demonstrates how to grill a Pizza Margharetta.

We’ve got video of a tornado that ripped the roof off a sports arena in Billings Sunday evening and also tore apart a casino, bar and laundromat in the city’s downtown area. Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele on Saturday urged members of the Montana GOP to put aside their differences and “go on offense” to take control of the state Legislature and return U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg to a sixth term. A northern Idaho attorney who represented the Aryan Nations and other racist groups has been arrested on a murder-for-hire charge. Chuck Johnson runs down who could be running for higher office in 2012. State District Judge Nels Swandal, who’s running for an open seat on the Montana Supreme Court, sent some clear signals Saturday to Republicans that he is the more conservative candidate in the race, saying he didn’t have or want the endorsement of a prominent labor or conservation group. Kacie West, a 21-year-old from Kalispell, was crowned Miss Montana 2010 on Saturday night in Glendive. From bashing big government to dissing Democrats, Tea Party enthusiasts and Republican Party candidates seemed all on the same page Saturday, at a Tea Party “town hall” forum at the state GOP convention.

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