Blog Cabin

Few details still in fatal Glacier bike crash

Glacier National Park still hasn't released complete details in the crash that killed a motorcycle rider last Saturday afternoon on the Going-to-the-Sun highway.

The rider was killed along the busy stretch of road a few miles east of Lake McDonald.

KPAX-TV has been tracking the story.


11 people hurt in early morning Billings crash

Just two cars were involved, but no less than 11-people were sent to the hospital after a Jeep ran a stop sign and caused a head-on crash near Billings.

The wreck happened early Sunday morning and a helicopter was used to get the most critically injured to the hospital.

More on the story from KTVQ in Billings.


Borders confirms Kalispell store will close in September

Borders was unable to complete a refinancing plan as part of its bankruptcy court proceedings this past week, forcing it to tell a judge it will have to close its remaining 399-stores.

That includes the store on Hwy 93 north in Kalispell, which was one of the major tenants of major retail expansion in that area the past few years.

All indications last week were that the Kalispell store would likely be gone in a matter of weeks. And now a Borders spokeswoman tells the Flathead Beacon the store will in fact close in September, with 25-people losing their jobs.

Here's more from the Flathead Beacon article.


Missoula doing better on accessibility, but still work to do

(MISSOULA)- A new report from the University of Montana says more than 40% of Missoula businesses are readily accessible to people in wheelchairs or with other mobility challenges. But at least a quarter of the businesses surveyed are still “impossible or difficult to access.”

Those are just some of the findings of the new report that’s just been published by UM’s Rural Institute researchers.

The study analyzed nine different factors to gauge access, from city and private parking location and signage, to doorways and how easy it was to access most of a businesses’ interior. Over 300 businesses were checked.

The study gives Missoula businesses an overall grade of “B” for accessibility. However, some locations like Southgate Mall were given an “A” grade, as were some of the larger retail stores that have been constructed in recent years.

In fact, the study’s authors suggest accessibility in Missoula has actually improved because of the recent growth and development in recent years, with new stores and businesses built to current accessibility standards.

However, work remains to be done.

The report says many businesses are still difficult to enter. Sidewalks and parking spaces maintained by the city didn’t score as well as ones controlled by private businesses. The study noted much of the city parking is on the street, making it difficult for people to exit wheelchair-equipped vans.

“Missoula businesses should be congratulated for their efforts to make themselves accessible to people with disabilities,” said Tom Seekins of the Rural Institute. “Missoula could improve its grade most easily by providing or increasing the number of signed and designated parking spaces near businesses. A potentially more difficult step would involve improving the safety of downtown routes to businesses where individuals may be exposed to dangers such as needing to go out into the street while on route to a business.”

The study, which can be read here, was completed on the 21st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.


Rehberg and others say Congress has wilderness authority, not Salazar

(WA, D.C.)- Montana Congressman Denny Rehberg is joining other members of the Congressional Western Caucus in telling Interior Secretary Ken Salazar that Congress has “sole authority” to create new wilderness areas.

The new letter sent this week comes in response to continued requests from Salazar asking Congress to help “identify BLM-managed public lands where there is a strong support in the local community and among elected officials for permanent protection.”

Rehberg has been upset with Salazar ever since a memo was leaked last winter suggesting millions of acres in Montana should be considered for protection as new national monuments.

Rehberg and the other members of the Western Caucus are reminding Salazar that the 1964 Wilderness Act gives Congress sole authority to declare new wilderness.

“In Western states like Montana, our land plays a huge role in our economy,” said Rehberg.  “Secretary Salazar was just in Montana, so he saw first-hand that we need the federal government to become a willing partner in job creation.  Whether it’s resource development for energy and timber or public access for fishing, hunting and hiking, there’s no one who knows how to manage Montana’s lands better than the people who live, work and play here.  It’s time to put partisanship aside and find a way to cooperate in order to move our state forward.”

The issue of authority to create new wilderness has been an on-going debate in Washington since the days of Teddy Roosevelt, and was revived when President Clinton moved to set aside lands in national monuments before he left office.