This Week’s Missoula News Highlights – Week of April 22

By TOM DIDDEL

Senator Max Baucus. Photo Courtesy of Center for American Progress Action Fund.Longtime Montanan Senator Baucus AnnouncesRetirement

Montana’s longest serving US Senator, democrat Max Baucus, will not seek a seventh term. Baucus announced the decision on Tuesday this week stunning some longtime supporters. Baucus, who holds a Juris Doctorate from Stanford Law School, began his political career in 1973 when he was elected to the Montana House of Representatives. The senator than moved to the national stage when he was first elected to the US House a year later after which he eventually moved to his current position in the US Senate. Baucus’s recent vote against further gun regulations upset many of his fellow democrats  (read more) other links: power shift, control of senate, gun debate, 2nd amendment

Missoula Hang Gliders and Paragliders struggle to keep Landing and Launch Sites Accessible

Summer evenings in Missoula are incredible. The sun lingers in the late afternoon giving way to a host of outdoor activities. Looking up toward Mount Sentinel Missoulians can often witness a daring few who take to the Montana skies with nothing but a giant kite or parachute keeping them aloft. However, landing sites for hang gliders and paragliders have begun to disappear, something that has prompted the University of Montana Hang Gliding and Paragliding club to raise money in hopes of securing the sites they use now for future landings. (read more) other links: NBCMontana

Special Olympics Started on Wednesday in Missoula

For 36 years Missoula has brought joy and pride to the area’s disabled through competition. The city’s yearly Special Olympic Spring Games started at Missoula County High School Stadium on Wednesday with the smiles and cheers that always accompany it. The three day event includes running, walking, track and field events, and bowling drawing nearly 300 athletes from around western Montana. (read more)

Norovirus Outbreak

The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services reports that 500 people in Montana have been stricken with the Norovirus, or what is commonly known as the stomach flu. While the virus is not particularly deadly, the outbreaks have been reported in assisted living and nursing homes sickening residents who are prone to complications such as infections due to the virus. Most individuals recover within 24 hours, but those who are older or in a weakened state may take longer to fight off the bug. (read more) other links: symptoms and treatment, CDC reference, state virus statistics

Missoula Man Sentenced in Hillview Way DUI Crash

Justin Barber was sentenced Thursday morning for killing two of his friends in a 2012 DUI crash. Barber was given 40 years with all but five suspended and will remain on probation for 40 years. The wreck took the lives of 20 year old Jason McDonald and 18 year old Joshua Gruebele both friends of Barber. Barber pled guilty in the case and was likely given a more lenient sentence because of support from the victims’ families who wanted to see him given a second chance. (read more) other links: pleads guilty

Each week, Tom Diddel recaps the week’s most talked-about stories in Missoula. Visit the Make it Missoula News & Opinion section for more talk of the town.

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Tom Diddel has lived in Missoula on and off for nearly thirty-eight years. He enjoys skiing, hiking, and many other outdoor activities. He holds a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Montana and is currently working as a Freelance Writer and a Para-Educator.