Weekend: Balloons, Bison Attack, Biden to Yellowstone

By Beacon Staff

Good morning; on the Beacon today, as the sole balloon pilot navigating the Flathead Valley, Paul Fifield, owner and operator of Kalispell-based Fantasy Flights, has offered passengers one-of-a-kind views of the area’s spectacular terrain since 1996. Whitefish’s inaugural barbecue competition, scheduled for this weekend, was born from both local and southern, namely Texan, influences. Two teenage hikers are recovering after they were struck by falling rocks in Glacier National Park earlier this week. And Warren Miller remembers a great friend.

Senate Democrats on Thursday gave up plans to attempt to pass an energy bill that caps greenhouse gases blamed for global warming, abandoning a priority of President Barack Obama. The temporary cap on BP’s ruptured oil well will stay closed even if ships evacuate the Gulf of Mexico during a tropical storm, the federal government’s spill chief said Thursday. PPL Montana said Thursday it plans to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court a Montana order that it must pay the state for the use of the riverbeds where hydroelectric dams sit. The Montana Republican Party is using the threat of “graphic, explicit” sex education for Montana grade-schoolers to drum up support for its legislative candidates this fall. Yellowstone National Park officials are examining a video shot by the victim of a bison attack Monday after it was brought to their attention that the video shows something hitting the bull before its assault. The U.S. Senate has rejected a $3.4 billion government settlement with American Indians that had been added to a much larger war-funding bill. A civil rights advocacy group filed a lawsuit Thursday on behalf of seven gay couples demanding the state provide them the same rights married couples have in making decisions affecting their family’s health care, finances, inheritance and other matters. After nearly two decades of contentious negotiations on water rights on Montana’s Blackfeet Indian Reservation, government and tribal officials voiced support for a proposed water-rights bill at a U.S. Senate hearing Thursday. And Vice President Joe Biden will visit Yellowstone this weekend.

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