Monday: Stimulus Impact, Whitefish River Cleanup, Hungry Grasshoppers

By Beacon Staff

Good morning; on the Beacon today, we run down some of the tangible impacts of the federal stimulus on Flathead County. A Kalispell woman who hopes to bring the YMCA to the Flathead is hosting public meeting in August to gauge public support for the project, which she believes would be beneficial to the valley. The Montana Highway Patrol says a 58-year-old man from Tennessee was killed when his motorcycle was struck by an SUV near Glacier National Park. The Montana Highway Patrol says a 24-year-old man from Columbia Falls and a 22-year-old woman from Kalispell were killed in a one-vehicle crash on Montana 35 east of Kalispell. The Kalispell City Council voted 6-3 at its July 19 meeting to approve a federal planning grant to study future options for improvements at the city airport. Officials in northwestern Montana say the Whitefish River will be blocked and the flow piped downstream so crews can vacuum toxic sludge off the riverbed. This year’s Bibler home and garden tours kick off with a special wine and hors d’oeuvres reception on July 26 that will include an exclusive tour by ornamental metal artist Jeffrey Funk. And Kitchen Guy Jim Gray advises on preparing the best summer bruschetta.

Efforts to help endangered wild Kootenai River white sturgeon reproduce by spilling water over Montana’s Libby Dam in June to entice the fish to spawn in Idaho haven’t been as successful as hoped due to low water conditions, a federal official said. The release of some 91,000 secret U.S. military documents on the Afghanistan war is just the beginning, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange promised Monday, adding that he still has thousands more Afghan files to post online. Fighter jets buzzed the skies and submarines cruised underwater Sunday as a flotilla of U.S. and South Korean warships led by a nuclear-powered U.S. supercarrier began exercises that have enraged North Korea. Money troubles have stalled indefinitely a proposal to capture carbon dioxide emissions from a Canadian coal plant and store the gas underground in Montana – a largely unproven concept considered key for addressing climate change. The first high-profile fire of the season erupted Sunday on the Bitterroot National Forest east of Corvallis, forcing a helicopter evacuation of recreationists and a fire lookout from the Burnt Fork Lake area. Vice President Joe Biden is visiting Yellowstone and Grand Canyon national parks over the next two days to check on stimulus-funded projects under way there. Across 17 Western states, the USDA this year forecasted the worst grasshopper infestation in 25 years, with crop and range damage in the hundreds of millions of dollars. When it comes to wind power in Montana, there’s plenty of talk of the coming boom — but as Montana talks, nearby states have sprinted ahead in actual development of wind projects.

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