Wednesday: Stupack’s Logging, Gun Expulsion, Anti-Abortion Bills

By Beacon Staff

Good morning; on the Beacon today, when when the housing market and economy plummeted, logger James Stupack started, in his own words, “having fun.” Heavy snows combined with the rut to give hunters a successful whitetail deer harvest in Northwest Montana during the final week of elk and deer season. A 16-year-old Columbia Falls High School student faces expulsion after inadvertently bringing an unloaded hunting rifle to school. Bigfork Schools held a pertussis vaccination clinic after two students and a teacher have been diagnosed with whooping cough. A 48-year-old Rollins man accused of joking with employees at a Lakeside bank that he had a gun and was going to rob them has been charged with felony criminal endangerment.

The youngest Montana Highway Patrol officer ever killed in the line of duty fought to the end as a warrior in a shootout on a rural road, the patrol’s chaplain told the officer’s grieving family and thousands who attended the funeral Tuesday. A state attorney had tried to contact the judge in a Canadian death-row inmate’s criminal case at least three times before a different judge ordered a stay over Montana’s execution methods, according to court documents. His political credibility on the line, President Barack Obama testily defended his willingness to choose compromise over combat with Republicans on Tuesday, lecturing fellow Democrats not to be “sanctimonious” purists. With Republicans controlling both chambers in the 2011 Legislature, some GOP lawmakers are proposing a broad collection of bills to restrict or possibly ban legalized abortion in Montana. Montana lawmakers soon will consider bills to ban the death penalty and to allow or forbid physician-assisted suicide when a terminally ill patient requests it. The Department of Labor and Industry says most Montana employers will see an increase in unemployment insurance rates for the second straight year. State utility regulators Tuesday approved sweeping rate changes for NorthWestern Energy’s electric and gas customers, including new “tiered” electric rates for homeowners and other mechanisms meant to encourage conservation. A California company that revived horse racing at tracks in Missoula and Great Falls has gone out of business.

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