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5 Things to Know in Montana for May 19

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 19, 2014 at 6:31 am •  Published: May 19, 2014
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Your daily look at news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today.

FRUSTRATION AMONG NATIVE AMERICANS IN $3.4B GOVERNMENT SETTLEMENT:

Hundreds of thousands of Native Americans due shares of a $3.4 billion government settlement are growing frustrated over distribution delays. The payments have been held up by more than 2,400 appeals, and plaintiffs' attorneys plan to ask a federal judge this week to allow the distribution to take place before the appeals are finalized. More than 493,000 people have been identified as beneficiaries in the settlement over claims the government mismanaged billions of dollars held in trust for Indian landowners for more than a century.

ATTACK MAILERS ARRIVING AHEAD OF ELECTIONS:

Mailers from political-action committees and other outside groups attacking Republican candidates in contested legislative primaries are starting to appear in voters' mailboxes before the June 3 elections. Such attack mailers have become a fixture in Montana over the last few election cycles, and they are now appearing in contested GOP races where conservative and more moderate Republicans are competing for the party's nomination. Candidates and critics of the mailers say they distort voting records and try to deceive voters.

VACATION RENTALS AS TAX DEADBEATS?

Montana officials say they are losing millions in revenue each year because of the large number of unlicensed short-term vacation rentals that don't pay state lodging or resort taxes. The state has issued licenses for 657 vacation rental homes. That is less than a quarter of the more than 2,700 individual properties in Montana listed on the two websites managed by one of the largest online markets for vacation rentals.

MONTANA NO.2 IN HONEY PRODUCTION:

Montana has passed South Dakota for second in U.S. honey production by nearly doubling its crop from 2012 to 14.95 million pounds. North Dakota remains the nation's queen bee, reporting a 33.12 million pound crop for the second straight year.

GROUNDBREAKING IN BUTTE:

NorthWestern Energy will break ground on a new $25 million building in Butte on Thursday. The South Dakota-based company's new Montana headquarters will be uptown Butte's largest building project in decades, and city and business leaders hope it will spur more investments that will revitalize an area still struggling with vacancies and blight.