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Opinion

Like I Was Saying

With Tax Law, State Micromanages Cities

City budgets across the state are in such dire straits that those in the unenviable position of managing municipal money have joked amongst themselves about which one will go bankrupt first. While not funny “ha! ha!” it is, perhaps, a way to lighten the mood when staring down untenable numbers. Right now, it appears Billings […]

By Kellyn Brown
Like I Was Saying

Conservation in Moderation

When a Beacon reporter called planners in other Montana counties to get their perspective on conservation easements and a November initiative to preserve land in the Flathead, some were taken aback. They were likely surprised it was approved for the ballot at all, assuming that preserving land is not a priority here and that the […]

By Kellyn Brown
Opinion

T. Boone Pickens – An Oilman Turns to Wind Power

It’s no secret the United States is in the midst of an energy crisis. We import almost 70 percent of our oil, costing us $700 billion per year. We use 25 percent of the world’s oil, with only 4 percent of the population. Oil is getting harder to find and more expensive to extract. We […]

By Adam Pimley
Closing Range

Ruling Takes Wolf Delisting Back to Square Zero

Last month, at a Bozeman meeting about changing the legal status of wolves to a species in need of management, only 11 citizens showed and only four said anything. Why did so few bother? The answer came two days later, July 18. Federal judge Donald W. Molloy granted environmentalists a preliminary injunction effectively blocking removal […]

By Dave Skinner
Like I Was Saying

Banking on Apathy

The problem with Kalispell’s proposed parks district is the fact that it’s not really a proposal. The only way the public can stop it is if 50 percent of the property owners in the city protest its creation. The council would have done better not soliciting our input at all. Turnout in anything other than […]

By Kellyn Brown
Opinion

Partisan Politics Getting in the Way of Common Sense

As Sharla and I buckle down for another harvest near Big Sandy, we’re feeling what all Montanans are feeling at home – the pinch of out-of-control energy prices. It’s an issue that I deal with every day as a U.S. Senator and as a family farmer. Our energy problems are the result of poor presidential […]

By Sen. Jon Tester
Closing Range

Blowing Smoke: The Fire Blame Game

Here comes fire season, along with plenty of toxic political smoke. In the last couple of weeks, the Idaho Statesman and Los Angeles Times have produced serial articles about the “wildfire problem,” and of course “solutions,” plus various advocates have started churning out their “fire is good and natural” press releases and op-eds. Overall, the […]

By Dave Skinner
Like I Was Saying

Whitefish Sign Law Encouraging Blandness

The hammer that is the Whitefish sign ordinance is, once again, swinging wildly. This time, no real lives are in danger – just a rosy mural on the side of a local café – a sharp contrast to a previous kerfuffle involving the dubious law. Then, North Valley Hospital officials had to convince the city […]

By Kellyn Brown
Opinion

Environmentalists Ignore Problem in Own Backyard

It’s high season for roiling, billowing and drifting dust on the North Fork Road. A low altitude flight at mid-day reveals a ribbon of dust wafting over the divinely colored waters of the North Fork River. The beauty masks the bull trout habitat being destroyed by the accumulation of barely measurable sediments. Looking east toward […]

By Robert Grimaldi
Like I Was Saying

Race Issues in ‘Fly-Over’ Country

The thorny issue of race recently surfaced on a national and local level. From a controversial national magazine cover to local assault accusations, it turns out there is little consensus on how to confront a topic that makes the media and its audience squirm. For this newspaper, the grappling began after we posted on our […]

By Kellyn Brown
Opinion

Why Cap and Trade Could Backfire

Environmentalists claim that capping greenhouse-gas emissions and creating a market for emissions trading – a policy prescription called “cap-and-trade” – would reduce carbon dioxide output and with it the risk of global warming. But it could achieve the opposite. Here’s how: By turning carbon emissions into commodities that can be bought and sold, cap-and-trade policies […]

By Justin Danhof
Closing Range

What is ‘Rational Management?’

The Supreme Court finally bit the bullet, ruling on the good old Second Amendment for the first time since the Dirty Thirties. Wow! “The people” have an individual right to keep and bear arms?!? One needn’t be enlisted in either the National Guard or Militia of Montana?!? Shazam! Handsprings and cartwheels! While some pundits feel […]

By Dave Skinner
Like I Was Saying

This Bud’s From Who?

Amid a creaky economy Congress has found a convenient scapegoat: foreign companies landing American contracts and scheming to take over our iconic brands. First, the Air Force awarded a deal to build refueling tankers to Airbus, a European company, instead of U.S.-based Boeing. And now foreigners are going after our beer. The prospect of Belgium’s […]

By Kellyn Brown
Opinion

All Voters Deserve to Hear From the Governor

I believe in democracy, and I believe that every vote counts and every citizen matters. That’s why, in late June, I challenged Governor Schweitzer to 18 debates around Montana – to give the large majority of voters the chance to hear directly from myself and Governor Schweitzer about where each of us stands on the […]

By Roy Brown
Opinion

How Old Would You be if You Didn’t Know When You Were Born?

Years ago, when I was romancing my wife Laurie, I convinced her that “I was a 14-year-old kid trapped in a senior citizen’s body.” That was then and this is now. I have just completed writing a book that is full of advice about how to live the second half of your life. This, incidentally, […]

By Warren Miller

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