Gazette Editorial Staff
Ups and Downs gives a quick take on news of the past week.
Jobs for Montana. Bresnan Communications, which recently became the cable TV provider in Billings, plans to build a network operations center in Montana, creating 85 to 100 new jobs, some paying $35,000 or more. Billings would be an excellent location for Bresnan's center.
Northern failures. Nineteen of 49 nursing students failed to graduate from Montana State University-Northern's nursing program. Students and representatives of Benefis Health Care in Great Falls complained to the Board of Regents about shortcomings in program administration. The commissioner of higher education should promptly investigate this matter and get the nursing program on the right track.
Stream access. In a victory for anglers and boaters, the U.S. Supreme Court let stand lower court decisions upholding Montana's 1985 stream access law. As Attorney General Mike McGrath said: "… this issue is finally put to rest."
Arts aid. Arts supporters announced a statewide concert tour to raise $100,000 to replace the money taken from the Montana Arts Council budget on the last day of the Legislature. The first benefit concert is scheduled for June 19 in Butte and others are planned in Billings, Bozeman, Whitefish, Kalispell, Missoula, Helena and Great Falls. A study released last week concluded that 137 nonprofit arts organizations in Montana in one year generated 1,949 full-time jobs paying an average of $18,275, $13.5 million in taxes and 260,000 out-of-state visitors. Art contributes to Montana's economy.
Unreliable evidence. The Justice Department audit of state crime lab hair analyses performed by Arnold Melnikoff turned up at least five more cases, and possibly as many as 300, warranting further examination of evidence. Two men convicted largely on Melnikoff's testimony about hair samples have been exonerated by DNA testing.
Business networking. The Montana Economic Development Summit in Billings connected hundreds of entrepreneurs, executives, producers and economic development specialists who can continue to benefit from contacts made at the summit.