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The proposal would more double the amount collected from oil and gas companies, to $45 million next year from about $20 million this year.


Board seeks cause of in-flight collision

A yearlong probe of an in-flight collision between a small plane and a tour helicopter over the Hudson River that claimed nine lives is culminating with a federal safety panel meeting to decide the cause of the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board already has released much of the evidence gathered during its investigation. But investigators have not provided their conclusions on the direct cause of the collision and what other factors, if any, contributed to the disaster. They plan to make that material public Tuesday.

All three people in the plane, the helicopter’s pilot and five tourists from Italy were killed in the Aug. 8, 2009, collision.


Ex-officer remains part of ‘tea party’

HELENA | The chairman of the Big Sky Tea Party Association says its former president is still a member of the party despite his online comments about gays.

Chairman Jim Walker tells the Independent Record that the Montana group’s board met Monday to confirm Tim Ravndal’s removal from his leadership post. However, a lengthier process is required to strip membership, and Mr. Walker says the board may not revisit the issue.

Mr. Ravndal made a Facebook post that appeared to joke about the death of Matthew Shepard. The gay man was beaten, tied to a fence and left to die in Wyoming in 1998.

But some party members protested Mr. Ravndal’s ouster and threatened to resign. Mr. Ravndal apologized for the July 23 post.


Panel: Cough medicines should stay put

A panel of medical experts says cough medicines like Robitussin should continue to be sold over the counter, despite increasing abuse among teenagers that has prompted calls to restrict the products.

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