Thursday: PSC District 5, Deputy DUI Charge, States’ Rights Gun Suit

By Beacon Staff

Good morning; on the Beacon today, the election for Public Service Commission District 5 is already shaping up as one of the hardest-fought battles this year, as incumbent Democrat Ken Toole is questioning his opponent, Republican Bill Gallagher’s interest in a small Helena water utility. Locals have built an aquaponics system west of Kalispell, a mini ecosystem that grows both fish and vegetables, using the fish waste as fertilizer for the plants. A longtime Flathead County sheriff’s deputy, Cpl. Bruce Parish, has been cited for drunken driving after a report that a transient was struck near a Kalispell bar. An investigation into a house fire in northwestern Montana took a grisly turn when authorities discovered the elderly couple living there were involved in a murder-suicide that police say was meant to be a mercy killing. Wildlife officials say a 2 1/2-year-old male grizzly bear has been relocated after it frequented homes and got into garbage in northwestern Montana’s West Kootenai area. And Dave Skinner questions the wisdom of so-called “smart grid” technology.

Scientists from universities in Montana, Colorado and Idaho announced Wednesday the start of a 5-year, $3.85 million research project into how a changing climate will influence wildfires. A group of states seeking freedom from federal gun laws were dealt a blow Wednesday when a federal magistrate recommended dismissal of a lawsuit launched by gun rights advocates who argue Congress has overstepped its bounds with gun control. The number of illegal immigrants living in the U.S. has dropped for the first time in two decades — decreasing by 8 percent since 2007, a new study finds. Surging farm profits could reboot Montana’s economy, Gov. Brian Schweitzer said Wednesday, attempting to discredit dark forecasts for the state budget. Months of controversy in Troy city government came to a head recently with a nine-day standoff between the mayor and the City Council, during which time city bills were left unpaid. Check out the pic of two goats in Billings stranded on the ledge of a train bridge over Old Divide Road that were rescued on Wednesday. A Los Angeles-based sex education expert and author told hundreds of Helena residents Wednesday that a proposed health-enhancement curriculum is neither comprehensive nor science-based and is dangerous to the youth in the community.