Senate debate reveals contrasts between candidatesPublished On: Oct 20 2014 07:52:22 PM MDT
Updated On: Oct 20 2014 09:00:02 PM MDT
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Amanda Curtis sought to cast Republican Rep. Steve Daines as a conservative ideologue out of step with Montana voters during their first face-to-face meeting.
But Daines largely didn't rise to his opponent's frequent jabs during Monday night's debate in Billings.
The former technology executive instead stuck close to his message of more jobs and less government. He repeatedly invoked President Barack Obama and the Affordable Care Act as an example of bureaucratic excesses.
Curtis countered with promises to protect Medicare and oppose corporate influences in Washington, D.C. -- populist themes aimed at denting Daines' front-runner status.
Both said they do not support troops on the ground to fight ISIS in the Middle East. Both made statements supporting gun rights.
On jobs creation, Curtis said, "I have rolled out a jobs plan that emphasizes small businesses as the backbone of the economy in our state and emphasizes agriculture, which is hampered at every part of the process by corporate ag. I will work with both sides of the aisle to come up with solutions that work for all sectors of the economy, not just the biggest corporations and the wealthiest individuals."
Daines responded, "You help them by giving ensuring they have a job. That's why the National Education Association supports the timber bill that we are moving forward in the House right now. That's why county commissioners across Montana support the timber bill -- because we get good, high-paying jobs in our natural resource industries here in Montana. Timber, oil, natural gas, coal, hydro and all of it frankly, but we need to make sure we continue to support and expand our coal production here in Montana."
Libertarian candidate Roger Roots was not invited to the event.
The last debate scheduled ahead of the Nov. 4 election is on Tuesday in Sidney.
Name of individual who died Somers house fire releasedPublished On: Oct 19 2014 04:26:40 PM MDT
Updated On: Oct 20 2014 10:18:32 AM MDT
The Flathead County Sheriff / Coroner’s office released the name of the individual who died in a structure fire in Somers on Sunday afternoon.
Danny Ray McCarroll, 66 years of age, died at the scene of a structure fire at his residence. He was the only one home at the time of the fire.
Somers Fire Chief Dave Hayes tells us that they received a call at around 3:30 on Saturday afternoon of a house fire on Seven Row Road in Somers, just off of Highway 93. When first responders arrived on scene they saw heavy smoke and fire coming from the house. Hayes tells us the fire was mostly contained to the living room, but the man living there was not able to make it out by himself.
A neighbor saw the flames, grabbed a respirator and ran inside of the house. He was able to carry the man outside but at that point it was too late.
"Got to the neighbor and could barely see him but made out at least an appendage and grabbed it and pulled him out of the home, which point we started working on trying to find vitals, there was nothing that we could find at that point," said neighbor Darren Hall.
According to the Somers Fire Department Facebook page, a dog was also rescued from inside the home. A fire fighter administered CPR and it was rushed to the vet.
School budget cuts leave kids without textbooksPublished On: Oct 20 2014 06:23:29 PM MDT
Updated On: Oct 20 2014 06:59:41 PM MDT
Budget concerns mean some local students are going without textbooks. Now, some parents are concerned that basic school material isn't available for their children.
Brian O'Leary has two children at Cold Springs Elementary.
"My daughter, who's in fifth grade, was having some issues with math and I wanted to help her out with it, and I said 'Bring your textbook home,' and she said, 'We don't have textbooks,'" explained O’Leary.
O’Leary said he did a little investigating, and found out this is a district-wide issue.
"The district's spending priorities are confused. You've had members of this cabinet receive substantial salary increases in recent years, but now we say there's no money for textbooks. So I think we need to start focusing on students and not paying bureaucrats," said O’Leary.
We talked to Missoula County School officials to figure out why the new textbooks were cut.
It is a funding issue. The math budget submitted for curriculum materials district-wide added up to $500,000, but the school only had $200,000 to work with for all curriculum needs across the board.
So this year, the district went without buying new math textbooks for students in third through fifth grades. Turns out it is a situation that school district faces each year, prioritizing which grades get new textbooks, and this year the critical need was for middle school students.
District officials say even though the textbook is missing, teachers have more material than they did with the textbook.
"We might be moving away from hard-copy textbooks, but we're making sure teachers have all the material they need and the ability to not only project those during the classroom time at school but also provide specific resources that they want to target to send home with students," explained Missoula County School District Communication Director Hatton Littman.
Teachers were provided with manuals and a flash drive of the book's materials. Students are also able to access the book online, but the district realizes not every child has internet access, so teachers can print all material out for students to take home to work and study from.
Still, O'Leary doesn't agree with these changes.
"It seems to me that we should start with the basic elements of classroom instruction -- textbooks, things of that nature, so teachers can do the best that they can so students can do the best that they can and we can keep the parents involved," said O’Leary.
O’Leary says he's going to address these issues in a meeting with Superintendent Alex Apostle directly, in hopes that things will change.
City council member concerned about safety at skate parkPublished On: Oct 20 2014 06:22:18 PM MDT
Updated On: Oct 20 2014 06:35:16 PM MDT
The St. Ignatius City Council plans to take up one council member's concerns about safety at a community skate park. The park's not far from downtown, it was built after local kids died in alcohol-related accidents, as an option to keep kids busy.
St. Ignatius City Council Member Roger Lemon thinks the park is dangerous. He's worried about teens picking on each other.
Skate park project coordinator Kristie Nerby says she's never heard about that problem.
Jordan Armijo has gone to the skate park frequently over the past five years.
"I come here basically every day and I don't see any of that happening," said Armijo.
The park opened in 2007, and this is the first time Nerby is hearing of any problems. Nerby said the park, which is on city land, is an outlet for kids -- a place for them to hang out.
"Growing up in a small town, if you don't play basketball, you don't play football, what do you do? There's this whole group of kids that don't fit in the mold, so do we discard them? Or do we try to help lift them up?" said Nerby.
Lemon said the park poses safety concerns and needs supervision.
"It just needs some supervision, I think if the city is going to be responsible for it then we should stand up and take control of it and make it so everybody can use it who wishes to, and make it safe for them," said Lemon.
Lemon claims bullying is a problem at the park and he says that's a liability for the city. Lemon suggests putting up a fence. He also said supervisors would help patrol the park.
Lemon said he's looking for answers and solutions. Nerby acknowledges the garbage problem at the park, but says that's a citywide problem. She's satisfied with park.
The next city council meeting is on November 4.
Washington state man dies in Montana crashPublished On: Oct 20 2014 07:54:59 AM MDT
Updated On: Oct 20 2014 01:04:29 PM MDT
Authorities have identified a 36-year-old man who died in a one-vehicle crash in southwestern Montana over the weekend.
The Montana Highway Patrol says Jason Titmus of Big Sky was westbound on Montana Highway 64 near Big Sky at about 11:20 p.m. Sunday when his sport utility vehicle drifted off the right side of the road.
The patrol says Titmus overcorrected, the SUV crossed the center line, slid into a ditch and rolled down a steep embankment.
Titmus was ejected and died at the scene. Officials say he is from Kettle Falls, Washington, but had been living and working in Big Sky.
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