Archives for October 2016

Gianforte Draws a Line at Colstrip

Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte tweeted in September: “I’ve been to Colstrip 5 times this year. I stand with Colstrip United.”
There’s also a tweet with Gianforte and the founders of Colstrip United and the town’s mayor. About 80 percent of residents rely on jobs at either at the plant or the mine.
Gianforte has hammered incumbent Gov. Steve Bullock via social media, saying he’s been absent and is drawing a line for voters from Bullock to president Barack Obama and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, both unpopular in coal country.
Half of the Colstrip plant is slated to shut down by 2022 after a lawsuit over emissions from its older two units. The remaining operation will face challenges from out-of-state owners in Washington and Oregon, low priced natural gas, as well as proposed federal rules demanding Montana reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by more than 40 percent.

Ryan Predicts More Scandal If Clinton Is Elected

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan was in Billings this weekend campaigning for Congressman Ryan Zinke, and predicting four years of scandal if Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is elected president.
Ryan reminded voters of the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, during which he was repeatedly investigated at congressional request.
Ryan cited Friday’s announcement by FBI Director James Comey of the discovery of Clinton emails on a computer belonging to disgraced former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, the former husband of Clinton aide Huma Abedin. Comey said the FBI found Clinton emails while pursuing an unrelated case where Weiner’s computer was seized, and was reviewing whether they were classified.
Democrats have denounced Comey’s letter as inappropriate, given its release days before the presidential election and Comey has indicated that it’s unknown if there’s anything substantial in the emails.
After the rally Sunday, Zinke said Comey was right to notify Congress.

Posted to kctr.vncnews.com
Oct. 31, 2016 9:54 AM CST
by rhancock

Speaker Ryan Says Endless Scandal If Clinton Is Elected

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan was in Billings this weekedn campaigning for Congressman Ryan Zinke and predicting four years of scandal if Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is elected president.
Ryan reminded voters of the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, during which he was repeatedly investigated at congressional request.
Ryan cited Friday’s announcement by FBI Director James Comey of the discovery of Clinton emails on a computer belonging to disgraced former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, the former husband of Clinton aide Huma Abedin. Comey said the FBI found Clinton emails while pursuing an unrelated case where Weiner’s computer was seized, and was reviewing whether they were classified.
Democrats have denounced Comey’s letter as inappropriate, given its release days before the presidential election and Comey has indicated that it’s unknown if there’s anything substantial in the emails.
After the rally Sunday, Zinke said Comey was right to notify Congress.

Strong Early Return On Absentee Ballots

Absentee balloting can be a good indicator of voter turnout, and more than half of the 63,000 absentee ballots mailed in Yellowstone County already have been tallied and returned.
Bret Rutherford, the county’s election administrator, told county commissioners that as of Tuesday, 33,000 of the ballots, or about 55 percent, had been returned for processing. That’s about 5,000 ballots ahead of this time in the 2012 general election. About 1,000 Yellowstone County ballots were undeliverable.
Rutherford is expecting strong voter turnout on Election Day.
There will be traffic control at MetraPark to help with congestion, and a sheriff’s deputy will be on site for security measures. The election office will be open for ballot drop off, and absentee voters can walk in their ballot to the office or drop them off at the polls on Election Day. Voters mailing ballots should send them by Thursday, Nov. 3.

Dakota Pipeline Protesters Evicted

Hundreds of armed state and local police and National Guard pushed past burning barricades to slowly envelop the camp of protesters of the Dakota Access pipeline Thursday.
Law enforcement dramatically escalated the months-long dispute, dressed in riot gear, firing bean bags and pepper spray in a six hour seige, evicting the protesters from private land owned by Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners– builders of the pipeline that skirts Standing Rock Reservation– which protesters say could endanger water supplies and disturb cultural sites. North Dakota officials say no cultural sites are affected.
At least 117 environmental and Native American rights protesters were arrested, with no serious injuries reported.
Among those arrested was an unidentified woman who pulled out a .38-caliber pistol and fired three times at officers, narrowly missing a sheriff’s deputy. Officers did not return fire.
No word on whether any Montanans who joined the protest were among those arrested.

Haynes Foundations Gives $1 Million Endowment to MSUB

Thanks to a generous gift from the Haynes Foundation, Montana State University Billings will be adding more than $1 million to its scholarship endowments.
MSUB Foundation President Bill Kennedy announced the gift on Wednesday. The Haynes Foundation endowment of over$1,165,000 will add to MSUB’s scholarship bank in perpetuity.
The Haynes Foundation has awarded scholarships to MSUB students in the past. Kennedy said that 965 students have been beneficiaries since 1983. But this endowment will keep the scholarships at the Billings university.
The Haynes Foundation is named for Jack and Isabel Haynes, who owned and operated The Haynes Picture Shop in Yellowstone National Park. The family photographs were a well-known tradition to park visitors.
The charitable foundation was formed in 1958.
The gift will add to the MSUB Foundation’s nearly $22 million in endowments.
The Haynes scholarships will go to students who were previously at Montana high schools.

Young Parents Facing Child Abuse Charges

The parents of a 5-month-old baby, taken to the hospital emergency room last year with a broken leg and fractured ribs, are facing charges of child abuse.
22-year-old Andrew Lewis McClure and 23-year-old Brianna Lynn McClure are each charged with two counts of child abuse and separate counts of child abuse by accountability if it’s discovered one of the two was the direct cause of their baby’s devastating injuries.
The McClures appeared from jail Wednesday in Yellowstone County Justice Court. Each is being held in place of a $25,000 bond.
They brought the child to Billings Clinic in July 2015.
A radiologist at the clinic said the baby had a broken femur, also healing rib fractures.
Both parentsw deny any allegation of abuse, but Andrew McClure told police he might have broken the child’s leg when he was trying to get the baby out of his crib.

MSUB Poll Shows Bullock, Zinke Leading

Democrat Steve Bullock and Republican Ryan Zinke are polling strong in a survey released Tuesday by Montana State University Billings.
The poll was conducted by students of Montana residents, asked about state and national races, as well as a number of issues.
Incumbent Democratic Gov. Bullock was favored by 44 percent over Republican Greg Gianforte at 32 percent. Nearly half of those polled identified as Republican.
MSUB Assistant Professor Nisha Bellinger and her students said women tended to support Bullock while men leaned toward Gianforte. The data was also broken down by demographic factors.
Bellinger said Gianforte is drawing support primarily from respondents over 61 years of age.
Republican Congressman Ryan Zinke received 50 percent support in the poll, compared to 31 percent for Democrat Denise Juneau.
In state House and Senate races, Republicans were favored by interviewees who were 48 percent Republican, 28 percent Democrat and 16 percent Independent.

Billings GOP Legislative Candidate Charged With Racism

Billings Republican legislative candidate Robert Saunders is facing additional accusations of racism and bigotry.
Reacting to an African-American peer’s allegation that in 2005 Saunders said he would have owned her 100 years ago, alumni of Patrick Henry College posted the Republican candidate’s offensive remarks about the 2014 race riots in Ferguson, Missouri, sparked by the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager. Saunders posted on Facebook: (quote)“I am thankful that justice prevailed in this situation and was not swayed by the tide of racism against whites…(and) “Elimination of those people in self-defense would probably have cut Missouri’s welfare handouts and long-term crime rate considerably.”(end quote)
Saunders’ statements were posted by Patrick Henry College alum Carman Green, one of several former classmates recounting similar allegations.
Another accused Saunders of saying that President Obama should be “sent back to the fields to pick cotton.”
Saunders took ownership of the comments Tuesday.

Gianforte Has Put More Than $5 Million Into His Campaign

According to spending reports, Republican Greg Gianforte has now put more than $5.1 million of his own money into his campaign against Gov. Steve Bullock, while the Democratic Governors Association put another $1.5 million into one of the closest governor’s races in the nation.
The candidates and political action committees turned in campaign finance reports Monday from Sept. 27 and Oct. 19. The governor’s race is on track to be the most expensive in state history, with each side accusing the other of trying to buy the election.
A recent Mason-Dixon poll commissioned by Lee Newspapers of Montana gives Bullock a 2-point edge, which is well within the 3.2 percent margin of error.
Gianforte cut his campaign two $1 million checks in the past month, going above and beyond his previous pledge to match campaign contributions dollar for dollar. Donors contributed only $238,000 over the reporting period.