Tuesday: Top Recruiter, Skier Dies, PSC Rocky Start

By Beacon Staff

Good morning; on the Beacon today, 16-year-old Niclas Waeschle died after spending several days in the hospital in critical condition. He was discovered unresponsive in a tree well at Whitefish Mountain Resort on Dec. 29. Sergeant First Class Tavia Syme, of the Army National Guard’s Kalispell recruiting office, was honored as the top recruiter in the country. Glacier National Park’s centennial year was also its busiest as the park saw more than 2.2 million visitors and held more than 130 centennial events.

The Montana Legislature opened Monday the way it is likely to finish: with Republican lawmakers sparring with a strong-willed governor’s office over budget priorities. The Montana Public Service Commission’s first meeting stalled Monday over the new Republican majority’s attempt to pick one of their own as a chairman — leaving the panel without a leader and the GOP with a very public internal fight on its hands. U.S. Sen. Max Baucus said Monday he plans to marry his girlfriend and former state director over the summer. Sen. Jon Tester plans to reintroduce his Forest Jobs and Recreation Act this year with no changes, but hopes to bring more Montanans to its support. A Republican senator on Monday accused Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s budget director of cooking up inflated tax collection projections that don’t reflect economic reality in Montana. Wildlife officials say a multiyear investigation into the illegal killing of elk in northcentral Montana’s Phillips County has led to the convictions of 11 hunters from several states. A cable television company has returned nearly $24,000 to the campaign of a district judge after the company failed to air the judge’s advertisements in the weeks leading to November’s Montana Supreme Court election.

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