The internet blew up this afternoon regarding Sen. Max Baucus’ political future after Politico broke the news of a possible White House nomination for the retiring Democrat as United States ambassador to China.
National media outlets including The Washington Post, Huffington Post and USA Today quickly picked up the story. However, no one has yet gotten confirmation about the potential nomination from the White House, nor has Baucus’ office offered any confirmation of the reports. Baucus spokeswoman Kathy Weber told the Indy that "it's natural that Max would be under consideration given his breadth of experience and depth of knowledge necessary for this important position. Like his mentor, Senator [Mike] Mansfield, Max truly understands the importance of U.S. relationships in Asia." Weber also told Huffington Post today that "Max has given his life to public service and when asked to serve he takes that request very seriously."
Speculation today turned to who Gov. Steve Bullock might appoint to replace Baucus should the nomination be approved before the end of his final term. The prevailing theory among various reports was that the appointment would go to Lt. Gov. John Walsh, who is currently running for Baucus’ vacated seat on the 2014 ballot. Baucus would be vacating the chairmanship of the Senate Finance Committee in the midst of his efforts to rewrite the tax code.
Many including Politico likened Baucus' potential nomination to the political trajectory of former U.S. Sen. Mike Mansfield, who served nearly 10 years as U.S. ambassador to Japan following his storied decades in Congress.
Grizzly bears are denning up on Montana prairie
For the first time in a century, bear researchers have found that grizzly bears are denning up on the prairie in Montana, a discovery Chris Servheen, who leads the grizzly recovery program for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said is an indication of the recovery of the species in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem.
Great Falls Tribune; Dec. 18
Federal board approves BNSF's coal suppression requirement
In July of 2011, Burlington Northern Santa Fe put new rules in place for coal shipments, requiring the coal be loaded in a loaf shape and sprayed with suppressant to keep coal dust from fouling the tracks, and last week the federal Surface Transportation Board approved those rules.
Flathead Beacon (AP); Dec. 18
Find Rob Brezsny's "Free Will Astrology" online, every Wednesday, one day before it hits the Indy's printed pages.
ARIES (March 21-April 19): "Life is best organized as a series of daring ventures from a secure base," wrote psychologist John Bowlby. Some of you Aries enjoy the "daring venture" part of that formula, but neglect the "secure base" aspect. That's why your daring ventures may on occasion go awry. If you are that type of Ram, the first half of 2014 will be an excellent time to correct your bad habit. Life will be offering you considerable help and inspiration in building a strong foundation. And if you already appreciate how important it is for your pursuit of excitement to be rooted in well-crafted stability, the coming months will be golden.
On Dec. 7, Russ Talmo, Liz Fairbank, Erik Thompson and another person left a friend’s graduation party at Charlie B’s in downtown Missoula and walked south on Higgins Avenue toward their homes. The group toyed with the idea of grabbing a late-night snack, ultimately deciding against it. None of them could’ve anticipated what happened next.
Fairbank says a man standing next to a parked vehicle muttered something that she didn’t understand. There was no exchange of words and no obvious aggressive posturing before the man attacked, sending Talmo crumbling to the ground.
“He was basically already unconscious (before he hit the ground),” Fairbank says. “It happened all in just a few seconds.”
Fairbank dropped to her knees and asked Talmo to respond. He didn’t. “It was unprovoked,” she says. “(It) seems totally random.”
Erik Thompson says he was about a half-block behind Talmo and Fairbank, and engaged in another conversation when the attack occurred. He agrees that the assault appeared unprovoked. “Things happened way too fast for anything to have been said,” Thompson says.
Thompson and other onlookers tried to stop the assailant, but before they could he hopped into the car and sped off. Witnesses report there was more than one suspect involved in the attack.
As of press time, the Missoula Police Department had released few details about the alleged beating, other than to say that law enforcement responded to the scene. “We did find a male on the sidewalk,” says MPD Sgt. Travis Welsh. “The case is active and ongoing.”
Talmo, meanwhile, was hospitalized following the attack. His mother, Linda Fritz, who last week flew in from her Colorado home to care for her son, says that Talmo’s injuries range from bleeding and swelling on the brain to multiple hairline skull fractures and a fractured orbital socket. Talmo’s eyes were nearly swollen shut. Doctors used staples to close a gash in the back of his head. Talmo also lost a tooth, either as a result of the assailant’s blow, Fritz says, or while landing on the sidewalk.
Josh Quick's "Camp Sleepover" appears every Tuesday online, and can be seen in the Indy's printed pages every Thursday.
Company pulls out of Keystone XL contract to ship Bakken oil
Harold Hamm, CEO of Continental Resources, which had committed to shipping 35,000 barrels of oil from its Bakken field on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, said his company and other U.S. producers are no longer counting on the pipeline being built, and that his company had found shipping the oil by rail, while more expensive, was more flexible.
CNBCNews.com; Dec. 17
Study maps much more magma under Yellowstone Park
New seismic mapping of the molten rock under Yellowstone National Park found that the caldera is 55 miles long, 18 miles wide and its depth ranges from 3 miles to 9 miles, a size about 2 1/2 times that previously estimated.
Great Falls Tribune (AP); Dec. 17
The revival: This year, after a brief hiatus, the Kettlehouse revived Santa’s Slayer Winter Ale, a potent brew (7% ABV) that could warm up a fat man flying through thin air at 30,000 feet. The beer even looks warm. Matt Blair, a brewer who helped bring this beverage back to Kettlehouse customers, notes its “beautiful orange glow.” “We threw in a bunch of different adjuncts like orange peel, ginger, cinnamon, and we upped the gravity so that it has a kick to it,” he says. “It’s perfect for winter.”
The adventure: If you are feeling wild, ask the bartenders to blend Santa’s Slayer with the slightly overwhelming (it tastes like trees!) Spruce Tip Ale. What you’ll get is Santa’s Tip, a suggestively named concoction that cuts the cool spruce flavors with the warmth of ginger and cinnamon. Ask for it and try not to giggle.
When to get it: Blair says Santa’s Slayer should be available until at least Christmas, perhaps until the New Year if it doesn’t run out. “It’s selling great,” he says. “You can always tell when someone is drinking it by the glow in their glass.” So, check out the glow before it goes away.
Where to get it: You can find it on tap at the southside Kettlehouse, 602 Myrtle St., Missoula, MT 59801.
Happiest Hour celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, email email@example.com.
Montana senator's Forest bill divides conservation groups
The "golden decade of conservation" predicted by former U.S. Forest Service Chief Jack Ward Thomas in 1997 hasn't completely come to pass, and Montana U.S. Sen. Jon Tester's Forest Jobs and Recreation Act, which is touted as a consensus bill has deeply divided conservation groups in Montana.
Great Falls Tribune; Dec. 16
Federal appeals court lifts emergency ban on horse slaughterhouses
The emergency ban put in place by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver in November was lifted by that court on Friday, although it will be several months before processing plants in New Mexico and Missouri could begin production, as the underlying litigation in which the emergency ban was put in place is still ongoing.
USA Today (AP); Dec. 15
Curses, Foiled Again
Police investigating a burglary in Lake Worth, Fla., identified Derek Codd, 19, as their suspect because he left his cellphone at the scene, and his mother called. Investigators answered and asked the woman whose phone it was. They then arrested Codd and Kristen Rynearson, 19, with the stolen goods. (South Florida Sun Sentinel)
Authorities in Jonesboro, Ark., thwarted Larry Barnett’s plan to have a former employee murdered because the intended victim overheard the plot for himself when Barnett, 68, butt-dialed him while talking to a third party about burning down the man’s house “with him in it.” The call lasted 90 minutes, giving the target time to alert police, who found his gas stove had been tampered with. (Jonesboro’s KAIT-TV)
The Independent learned Monday that Village 6 staff had been notified of the impending closure. Messages left with Carmike’s corporate offices in Columbus, Ga., were not returned. Local managers are not authorized to speak to the media, but did confirm that movie times for the Village 6 would not be supplied beyond Thursday, Dec. 12. On Friday, the Village 6 marquee announced the closing and directed patrons to the Carmike 12.
The Carmike 12 is now the only local theater that screens major studio releases, such as the current lineup including The Hobbit, Frozen and The Hunger Games. The Wilma Theatre and the newly revived Roxy Theatre mostly specialize in independent, art house and foreign films.
Brendan Cashin, who worked at the Village 6 for more than a year, says his manager contacted him Sunday about the closure. Cashin says he was offered the chance to transfer to the Carmike 12. He declined the offer and resigned instead, adding that the intimate Southside location had a dedicated following and different feel than the one on Reserve Street.
“We had regulars and they would say we treated them better,” says Cashin, who acknowledges he did not get along with the Village 6’s new manager and did not like working at the Carmike 12. "They felt our theater was more comfortable. I loved the theater, but not the job, at least not recently.”
Carmike Cinemas, which closed the Cine 3 on Brooks Street in 2006, continues to make changes nationwide to adjust to a changing entertainment industry. The company’s stock has risen in the last four years from a low of $8 per share in 2009 to more than $24 today under CEO David Passman, who has aggressively paid down debt, updated or built new theaters, and closed underperforming locations. Carmike renovated the Carmike 12 in 2011 to add a “BigD” theater.
As of June 30, Carmike owned 245 theaters and 2,476 screens in 35 states.
The Village 6 location is surrounded by new development. The former Kmart building was recently torn down to make way for a new Cabela’s Outpost and Kohl’s department store. Petco is also expected to open along the strip. The Boot Barn, located next to the Village 6, opened this week.
My God! I hope this guy is going to be ok and the cowardly jerk…
did anyone get any description of the attacker?
Thank you Jessica and the Indy for bringing this story to the Missoula community