Where goats and dogs can create a crime wave
And for all the news that, by some standards, would not be fit to print, let's stop by Flathead County, Mont., that land of glacial peaks, azure lakes and tranquil wheat fields around Glacier National Park.
It's not as if the place isn't booming -- California retirees have been moving up to Kalispell, the county seat, in droves. The county's population, now more than 90,000, is up 20% over that of the last decade.
And the Flathead County Sheriff's Department has had to step up to the plate. The Flathead County Beacon's recent police blotter report has a rundown of the local goings-on, and it's not pretty: Four dogs "running all over" Highway 83 near Bigfork and attacking deer; and someone on Highway 2 East reported to be driving a motorcycle, texting and listening to his iPod, not necessarily in that order.
-- Two dogs in Hungry Horse killed a cat.
-- A Columbia Falls woman said another woman followed her from the post office and flipped her off.
-- A Whitefish man on JP Road said that whenever there is a soccer game, people drive really fast. He offered to stand outside with his shotgun.
-- Someone claimed that two goats were abandoned on North Hilltop Road in Columbia Falls.
-- A woman on Caroline Drive said there was a man sleeping in the back of her car. Apparently, it was a neighbor who said he was unable to make it all the way home.
Before the Sheriff's Department accuses someone of making fun at its expense, let it be pointed out that deputies have more to do than chase goats and dogs. Just take a look at the county's most-wanted gallery, and do not miss it. There were exactly two serious crimes in the county in all of August, but that's not to say the county doesn't get its share of such things (there have been four kidnappings, five robberies and 26 forcible sex offenses so far this year).
Then there are the parents in Kalispell who reported that their son had stolen some jewelry from them. "The caller said this is typical behavior," the blotter reported.
All told, the reports lead to one conclusion: Other parts of the country should be so lucky.
-- Kim Murphy in Helena, Mont.
Photo: Flathead County's website depicts a life of rainbows and green fields, and the county may live up to its own billing. Credit: Tim Tepas