Tuesday: Vet Center Opens, Marine Injured, Record Glacier Visitors

By Beacon Staff

Good morning; on the Beacon today, the Kalispell Vet Center, which provides readjustment counseling to veterans of combat, is now open. A Columbia Falls High School student who inadvertently brought an unloaded rifle to school in the trunk of her car will not be expelled. Even though November’s visitor count was down 14 percent compared to the same time last year, the 13,000 visitors last month to Glacier National Park were enough to push this year’s total visitation past the 1983 record year. Two 20-year-old Flathead County men have been sentenced to five years in the custody of the Department of Corrections for their roles in holding a man at gunpoint while trying to get money from him after a drug deal went bad. A 21-year-old Marine from Ronan was critically injured by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan.

A federal judge declared the Obama administration’s health care law unconstitutional Monday, siding with Virginia’s attorney general in a dispute that both sides agree will ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. Wolverines should be added to the list of endangered and threatened species, but other species considered in greater danger will prevent the small, ferocious mammal from protection for now, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Monday. Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter said talks over lifting federal protections from Northern Rockies gray wolves stalled last Monday on several points, in particular a mandate for Idaho to maintain 500 to 700 of the predators. State Sen. Dave Wanzenried of Missoula says he is running for governor in 2012, when current Gov. Brian Schweitzer will be leaving office. With a record-breaking wheat harvest and strong prices, Montana may have its third $1 billion wheat harvest in four years. Montana’s two U.S. senators, Democrats Max Baucus and Jon Tester, voted Monday to advance a tax package negotiated between President Barack Obama and Republicans, to extend current federal tax rates for all citizens, including the wealthy. A Helena research group released a report on Monday identifying ways for the Legislature to increase state revenues by millions of dollars instead of relying mostly on spending cuts to balance the state’s budget.