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Wednesday: Hay Harvest, Two Taxis, Health Bill Paperwork

By Beacon Staff

Good morning; on the Beacon today, after the summer’s first cutting, hay growers across the state are reporting high yields of both alfalfa and grass hay. Two more entrepreneurs are venturing into the notoriously tough business of running a taxi service in the Flathead. Lifetime Polson resident and local businesswoman Tali Duford’s plan to find a way to traverse a steep grass hill from Riverside Park to serve as a downtown gateway recently came to fruition with the construction of the Armed Forces Memorial Staircase. New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that teen methamphetamine use in Montana is below the national average for the first time since 1991.

BP claimed a key victory Wednesday in the effort to plug its blown-out well as a government report said much of the spilled oil is gone — though what’s left is still at least quadruple the amount that poured from the Exxon Valdez. Three grizzly cubs that were removed from the wild after their mother mauled three campers appear to be warming up to their new home in a Montana zoo. Citing the need to ensure value for its taxpayers’ money, Canada plans to close its side of a Saskatchewan-Montana border crossing that sees just five travelers per day — even as the U.S. side is undergoing an $8.5 million stimulus-funded upgrade. Montana officials say they have extinguished eight slow burning, underground coal seam fires — including one in Musselshell County that burned for a quarter-century. Lee’s Jennifer McKee reports a nice profile on GOP Executive Director Bowen Greenwood finding health and happiness. An obscure tax-collection provision of the federal health reform law is rankling Montana business owners, whose representatives say it will create an avalanche of needless paperwork. An interim legislative committee Tuesday heard about some ways that might improve Montana’s complex property-tax system, including having residential and some other property appraised annually instead of the current six-year cycle.

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