Archivists dust off, catalog vintage Montana political ads
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Montana Historical Society has a trove of vintage political commercials in its basement shelves, most of former U.S. Sen. Lee Metcalf.
The old reels, some preserved as VHS tapes, are part of a collection of more than 400 old movies given to the historical society three decades ago, along with 800 boxes of other documents from the Metcalf estate.
The grainy black-and-white images provide a window into Montana’s political history and stand in stark contrast to today’s highly polished television spots.
Metcalf’s ads were devoid of the sophistication and partisan acidity of political ads in more recent years, including a barrage that have already been airing during the current election cycle.
Archivists are taking inventory of the collection and hope to make the reels available to researchers.
National Bison Range transfer moving ahead
PABLO, Mont. (AP) — The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes are working to return the National Bison Range to tribal management.
About 150 people attended a meeting last week to get briefed on the proposal.
The bison range is currently managed as a National Wildlife Refuge by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It covers nearly 19,000 acres in the center of the Flathead Indian Reservation.
The refuge was established in 1908, when bison were in threat of extinction. The reservation land was removed from tribal control without the tribe’s consent.
Supporters say the animals are no longer in danger of extinction, while opponents say more research on the potential impact is needed.
3 people killed in fiery Flathead County crash
KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — Three people are dead following a fiery crash in Flathead County.
Sheriff Chuck Curry says one person was thrown from the vehicle. Curry says the car caught fire and the other two occupants died.
No details were available on how the crash occurred. The accident occurred about 2:30 a.m. on Saturday.
The names of the victims have not been released.
Montana proposes new science standards for K-12 education
MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — Montana officials are considering new science standards to help guide K-12 educators.
The Missoulian reports that the Board of Public Education proposed a set of standards on Thursday that would more closely define what students across the state need to learn and when. Individual schools would still determine the exact curriculum and materials used.
The proposed standards are grouped by elementary grade-level standards, then middle school and high school. Current standards address only what students should know by the end of fourth and eighth grades, and by high school graduation.
About two-thirds of respondents to an Office of Public Instruction economic impact survey said they wouldn’t have to change their district’s curriculum to meet the new standards.
The new standards are open for public input and slated for approval in the fall.
Blue Cross, Benefis partner for discount health insurance
GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana and Benefis Health Systems have partnered to offer reduced cost health care for large group health insurance plans.
The Great Falls Tribune reports that the newly filed network Blue Options will enable members of Blue Cross’s large employer-sponsored health plans who purchase the product to pay less by going to Benefis Health System for medical care.
The Blue Options network will be available for self-funded plans beginning Jan. 1, 2017. A similar product for fully insured groups has been filed and is anticipated to also launch next year.
Blue Cross of Montana Chief Medical Officer Dr. Monica Berner says the Blue Options network is available in Cascade County, where Benefis is based, and will soon launch in Missoula and Billings.
Shoshone-Bannock Tribe opposed Idaho’s legal reach
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Leaders with the Shoshone-Bannock Tribe say they no longer want Idaho to extend its legal reach onto their reservation land.
Nearly a half century ago, U.S. Congress passed a law known as “Public Law 280,” which allowed Idaho to have jurisdiction over the Shoshone-Bannocks in seven areas previously held by the federal government — these included road management, juvenile justice and mental health services.
However, tribal members say the law has failed, citing that the state has never provided those resources directly on the reservation. Members also argue that the law prohibits the tribe from pursuing federal funding to build up their own resources because the state is supposed to be in charge of overseeing them.
Leaders are now calling for an abandonment of the policy and some state lawmakers are interested. The state’s auditing agency is currently studying the effects of a retrocession.