Good morning; on the Beacon today, Kalispell has become Montana’s wrestling capital, with strong programs at Flathead and Glacier High. After nearly two days of bitter, profanity-laced infighting between Republicans, Bill Gallagher reluctantly became the new chairman of the Montana Public Service Commission last week. Authorities have identified the elderly married couple whose bodies were found after a house fire in Kalispell was extinguished: 74-year-old John Nelson and his 72-year-old wife Jacqueline “Jackie” Nelson. And Mick Holien observes the debacle of the NCAA suspending Ohio State University football players for the first five games next year for indiscretions, yet allowing them to play for the Buckeyes in the Sugar Bowl.
Utilities and supporters of a high-voltage power line in north-central Montana asked the Legislature Wednesday to make sure eminent domain can be used to build such projects when private landowners won’t let them. Republicans running the Montana Legislature who have launched bills aimed at undermining a federal health care law they believe is unconstitutional may themselves be running up against the state Constitution by trying to order the attorney general to take action. Under pressure from some members of Congress, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is easing up on regulating global warming pollution from facilities that burn biomass for energy. A Thompson Falls lawmaker wants Montanans to have the option of hunting with a hand-thrown spear. A cast member of the reality show “Jersey Shore” is wearing a pendant by a Missoula jewelry maker. The new commander of the Air Force Global Strike Command says bases in Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota could each lose 10 intercontinental ballistic missiles as a result of the new arms control treaty with Russia. The stock index run by D.A. Davidson & Co. of Great Falls that tracks 99 regional companies outperformed three of the top national stock indexes last year. Since its inception in 2003, Iowa’s Help Us Stop Hunger program has allowed hunters to feed 7.1 million quarter-pound servings of venison to hungry residents. It’s the type of program state Sen. Jeff Essmann, R-Billings, would like to see copied in Montana. Montana farms and ranches had a $3 billion year in 2010, thanks to good weather and strong prices, officials said Wednesday. With all Democrats voting no, the House passed the bill to pay for the costs of the 2011 legislative session. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., will join Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., as speakers at the Lewis and Clark Lincoln/Reagan dinner in Helena on Feb. 5. Authorities have confirmed that gray wolves preyed on livestock in central Montana’s Fergus County for what is believed to be the first time.
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