PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) plans to sue the state of Montana for allowing the common ground squirrel, or the Richardson’s ground squirrel, to be known as a “pocket gopher.”

The Belgrade News learned of this pending legal action just before we went to press.

“I’m amazed at the rampant cruelty in this state,” one official told the Belgrade News. “Do you people have contests to see how many gophers you can cram in a pocket? And how big are the pockets? Do the gophers have food and water while they are in these pocket contests? Do they win prizes? Do they have bathroom breaks?”

“Gophers should able to live their lives without having to worry about being stuffed into pockets. This state is too backwards for words to describe.”

PETA is also looking into the possibility of legally forbidding pockets on all clothing. “If there are no pockets, the gophers can’t get confused and accidently die in a pocket. “

The Belgrade News learned that Missoula legislators have agreed to sponsor the bill. The Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Small Rodents, or APCSR, plans to sign on as co-sponsors.

Further, the Belgrade News learned that after this alleged cruelty situation is dealt with, PETA plans to look into the problem of pocket change.

“What’s being changed? And to what,” the same PETA official remarked. “What if they don’t want to change? Do they even get a vote?”

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The Belgrade News has learned the U.S. Supreme Court plans to take its “Originalist” roots all the way back to the founding of this country.

In a stunning confession, a source close to the court admitted it had ruled that only muzzle-loading firearms are legal under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The decision had not yet been published when Justice Antonin Scalia died suddenly in 2016, the Belgrade News was told.

“This was so glaringly apparent that I don’t know how it escaped the attention of all our legal minds,” admitted Justice Scalia in the ruling he authored. “Muzzleloaders were all that existed back then. Our Founding Fathers couldn’t have meant anything but that,” agreed Scalia.

Unfortunately, the rest of the Court didn’t have the heart to publish Scalia’s final opinion, and it has “disappeared” somewhere in the Court’s nooks and crannies.

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The Belgrade News has learned that any day now, multiple state legislators plan on introducing legislation to further tighten voter registration regulations with a unique take on signature verification – it will mandate that all voters have their signatures tattooed on their forehead.

“Voting is a privilege,” one legislator told the Belgrade News. “We should all be happy to be front and center with what it means to be a proud American.”

“Actually, this is a jobs bill. Think of all the tattoo people we’ll have to hire to make this happen.”

The Belgrade News was also told that this will simplify voter registration verification for the various county clerks in the state.

“All you have to do is stand in front of the clerk and hold up a piece of paper with your signature on it, next to your forehead. Easy-peasy to check,” it was explained to the News.

“This should make the whole process of verifying voters much simpler.”

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With county and city government budgets stretched to the limit, Belgrade city officials are quietly hopeful that science will help them handle two looming problems at once – both the need to deal with current sewage lagoon problems and the desire of Belgrade residents to have their own municipal swimming pool.

This is just in the planning stages, multiple city officials requesting anonymity told the Belgrade News. No one wanted to go on the record until city plans were in the works.

Numerous Belgrade city officials were adamant that current science is up to the challenge of taking Belgrade sewage effluent and easily recycling it to do double duty for a hoped-for municipal pool.

“It’s astounding the strides sewage science has made over the decades,” one official told the Belgrade News. “A few years ago, we could not have accomplished this in our wildest dreams.”

“We’ve got three problems – too much sewage, nowhere to put it, and a growing city population that wants its own city pool. How often does a problem so neatly segue into such a workable solution?”

It’s quite simple, we were told. Currently the “science is available to remove all effluents from the sewage, and get us back to pure water. Just pure, sparkling water,” one city official gushed. “This kills two birds with one stone. And we get to save our limited water rights for other needs. I can’t tell you how pleased I am.”

The same official told the Belgrade News that one further issue would be where to place the pool. “If we can get it right next to the current sewage lagoons, we can save a lot of money on infrastructure, pipes and everything,” he concluded.

These “reports” were specially prepared for April 1, or April’s Fool Day, by Staff Writer Karen E. Davis.