Thursday: 1910 Big Burn, Jobless Claims, F for Schools

By Beacon Staff

Good morning; on the Beacon today, we look back at the massive 1910 wildfires that year burned 3 million acres in northeastern Washington, northern Idaho and western Montana. Collectively, they formed the largest wildfire recorded in U.S. history. Glacier National Park officials say two teenage hikers had to be airlifted to hospitals after being struck by falling rocks on a popular trail. The state Department of Environmental Quality is requiring 43 homes in the Lakeshore Heights Homeowners Association outside of Kalispell to install reverse osmosis water systems because of concerns over radioactivity in the drinking water. And Dave Skinner looks at the gun rights record of some of the new members of the Supreme Court, with a skeptical eye.

Nearly 170 firefighters are battling a 500-acre wildfire burning in the backcountry near the center of Yellowstone National Park. Seasonal factors boosted new requests for unemployment benefits last week as the job market remains weak amid a slow economic recovery. A 57-year-old man was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison without parole for purposely striking a pedestrian with his van in downtown Missoula, killing him. A 59-year-old Washington man found dead in Grant Creek on Sunday was murdered, according to a medical examiner’s report completed Wednesday, while the cause of another unrelated death has been termed “suspicious” but remains under investigation. A national study of Montana’s state curriculum standards for kindergarten through grade 12 released Wednesday gave the state an F grade for both its English and math curriculum standards. Helena Superintendent Bruce Messinger said the curriculum committee that developed the proposed health enhancement curriculum is not starting over, but rather plans to make revisions to some language in the document. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia will be in Bozeman next Wednesday to lecture on “Constitutional Interpretation” at the Museum of the Rockies, Montana State University announced Wednesday.