Researchers collect data on bats in Montana's Bitterroot Valley
As part of an ongoing project to gather information on bat populations across the United States to help document the spread of the fatal whitenose syndrome, there are 48 listening stations documenting bat populations across Montana, including near Painted Rocks Reservoir in the Bitterroot Valley, where researchers have discovered 12 of the state's 15 species of bats, and that bats are active even in the winter.
Ravalli Republic; July 21
Montana high court sends wind farm lawsuit to California court
After San Diego Gas and Electric filed a lawsuit in California against NaturEner, the Spain-based company that is building the 126-turbine Rim Rock wind farm in Montana near Cut Bank, alleging that NaturEner under-estimated the number of eagles and other raptors the wind farm could kill annually and asked that its contract to buy wind power from the Montana farm be voided, NaturEner filed a counter lawsuit in Montana, but on Friday, the Montana Supreme Court ordered the Montana lawsuit be dismissed and the entire case be heard by the California court.
Flathead Beacon (AP); July 21
Curses, Foiled Again
After a 17-year-old baby sitter reported a home invasion and robbery, police in Ferndale, Wash., wound up arresting the sitter, her 16-year-old boyfriend and another male suspect because the child being watched contradicted the sitter’s story. The sitter said two armed black men broke in, but 4-year-old Abby Dean declared the robbers were white and added, “They told us to get out of the house ’cause they wanted to steal stuff.” The sitter confessed. (Fox News)
Michael Shaske tried to turn a $3 winning lottery ticket into a $20,000 winner but his scheme unraveled after two Oklahoma City stores refused to pay on the bogus ticket. Shaske then took it to the Lottery Commission office, where officials immediately recognized it was two cards pasted together and notified police. “Basically with the number of times he tried to pass the ticket, it seemed he was doing everything he could to get himself arrested,” police MSgt Gary Knight said. (Oklahoma City’s KFOR-TV)
Snooze, You Lose
Dutch researchers discovered a new behavioral condition: “bedtime procrastination,” defined as “failing to go to bed at the intended time, while no external circumstances prevent a person from doing so.” “We speculate that it is not so much a matter of not wanting to sleep, but rather of not wanting to quit other activities," researcher Floor Kroese explained. Instead of going to sleep, it's "one more episode" on Netflix or "one more quest" on that video game. Besides the resulting tiredness, the researchers concluded that putting off sleep “may also lead to harmful outcomes in the area of health behavior … and individual well-being.” (Frontiers in Psychology)
Montana selects Helena company for bulk of cleanup of Superfund site
Helena Sand and Gravel's $7.2-million bid to clean up the bulk of tailings left behind at the Mike Horse Dam Superfund Site in Montana near the headwaters of the Blackfoot River, with the two-year contract to employ 26 workers and use 11 side-dump semi trailers to move the waste from its current location to the repository 6.5 miles away.
Helena Independent Record; July 18
Spate of human-caused wildfires in Idaho brings task force to state
A team of five fire prevention experts have arrived in Idaho's Magic Valley to help state officials get the word out about wildfire conditions after more than a dozen fires have burned more than 42,075 acres in that area of the state.
Twin Falls Times-News; July 18
If you thought fracking was a water-guzzling and violent way to get the oil and gas flowing from shale, then you should check out oil shale* retorting. Earlier this month, details were made public regarding an oil shale project Chevron proposes for western Colorado. Of particular note was the amount of energy and water it will take to produce 100,000 barrels of oil per day. If you think about it, it makes about as much sense as melting down five quarters to make a silver dollar.
In 2012, Chevron announced it was ceasing its oil shale research operations to focus on other things. However, the company continued to pursue water rights associated with the project. Boulder-based environmental group Western Resource Advocates wondered why, and took Chevron to court to find out. It turns out they still want to develop oil shale by strip mining the shale and then using Staged Turbulent Bed retorting, which “processes mined and crushed oil shale rock to remove the shale oil by heat transfer … accomplished by mixing spent oil shale, which has been heated (to temperatures as high as 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit) in a separate combuster, with fresh shale, causing the fresh shale to decompose and release the shale oil,” as it's described in the Chevron documents. They’re planning on cooking a bunch of rocks, in other words, and that requires water.
Montanans divided on transfers federal lands to state control
The transfer of federal lands to state control has gained momentum in the western United States, and in Montana, the Environmental Quality Council spent eight months studying the issue, although the recommendation of the panel made such a transfer an option of "last resort," and neither Gov. Steve Bullock nor state land managers support such a transfer.
Flathead Beacon; July 17
Colorado governor gives up on compromise oil, gas legislation
On Wednesday, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper admitted his work for a legislative compromise on local control of oil and gas operations had failed, allowing the two initiatives on the statewide ballot to remain on the November ballot.
Boulder Daily Camera (Denver Post); July 17
Welcome to Candy Wednesday, wherein "grown-ups" say to hell with it and eat sugary crap. In light of 90 degree temperatures, this week features frozen candy! Specifically, Reese's Peanut Butter Ice Cream Cups.
Kate says: A candy bar and an ice cream bar had a baby, and it turned into a giant Reese's cup. This is probably the best thing ever, and by "best thing," I mean I am sure as hell not going to spoil this by glancing at the ingredient list. Curiously, this retains the texture of a regular Reese's peanut butter cup, but in ice cream form. It also does not melt like normal ice cream, but kinda separates into a weird goo. Mm'mm good! (These are way better than last week's licorice debacle.)
Erika says: I tried to get on board the trend of freezing a Snicker's bar or Reese's Pieces, but the truth is, I found that they kind of lost their taste and that wasn't worth it no matter how awesome it seemed in the summer. This candy bar ice cream is different, coz it's ice cream. I bet some ice cream scientist out there could explain why exactly the molecules and temperature make it taste better in this form, but I don't know any ice cream scientists. I wish I was one.
Kate says: I'm picturing an ice cream scientist looking a lot like this. With even more sparkles.
****And Now, a Moment With Guest Reviewer Alex: "Oh, sweet, there's Reese's in the freezer upstairs?" Two minutes later, returning dejected: "...I'm lactose intolerant." To which we responded: "Yes, Alex, the ice cream bars have ice cream in them." ***
Erika says: According to Forbes, an ice cream taster makes $56,000 a year. Seems pretty unfair. Anyway, usually for Candy Wednesday I have some fond/horrible memory I share with readers about that candy. This one evokes no memories for me. It's the future, not the past.
Kate says: Ice Cream Dreams of Future Past is the working title for my novel now.
Email email@example.com to suggest a candy we should try.
Groups petition to keep Bakken oil out of older railroad tank cars
The Sierra Club and ForestEthics have petitioned the U.S. Department of Transportation to immediately ban the use of older railroad tanker cars, known as DOT-111s, to move Bakken oil, because the older cars rupture when involved in accidents, even at low speed, and the oil from that formation is more volatile than other crude.
Great Falls Tribune (AP); July 16
Study finds Wyoming elk herds could survive CWD
A study done by retired Game and Fish veterinarian Terry Kreeger, University of Wyoming veterinary graduate student Amy Williams and Brant Schumaker, of the Thorne-Williams Wildlife Research Unit followed 39 captive elk from the National Elk Refuge for a decade, and although 37 of the elk died from chronic wasting disease, the study found that elk with a certain genotype survived the disease, providing evidence that CWD would not wipe out elk in that area of the state.
Jackson Hole News & Guide; July 16
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): "I have complete faith in the continued absurdity of whatever's going on," says satirical news commentator Jon Stewart. That's a healthy attitude. To do his work, he needs a never-ending supply of stories about people doing crazy, corrupt, and hypocritical things. I'm sure this subject matter makes him sad and angry. But it also stimulates him to come up with funny ideas that entertain and educate his audience—and earns him a very good income. I invite you to try his approach, Aries. Have faith that the absurdity you experience can be used to your advantage.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Bananas grow in Iceland, a country that borders the Arctic Ocean. About 700 of the plants thrive in a large greenhouse heated by geothermal energy. They don't mature as fast as the bananas in Ecuador or Costa Rica. The low amounts of sunlight mean they require two years to ripen instead of a few months. To me, this entire scenario is a symbol for the work you have ahead of you. You've got to encourage and oversee growth in a place that doesn't seem hospitable in the usual ways, although it is actually just fine. And you must be patient, knowing that the process might take a while longer than it would in other circumstances.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): While at a cafe, I overheard two people at the next table talking about astrology. "I think the problem-solvers of the zodiac are Cancers and Capricorns," said a young, moon-faced woman. "Agreed," said her companion, an older woman with chiseled features. "And the problem-creators are Scorpios and Geminis." I couldn't help myself: I had to insert myself into their conversation so as to defend you. Leaning over toward their table, I said, "Speaking as a professional astrologer, I've got to say that right now Geminis are at least temporarily the zodiac's best problem-solvers. Give them a chance to change your minds." The women laughed, and moon-face said, "You must be a Gemini." "No," I replied. "But I'm on a crusade to help Geminis shift their reputations."
CANCER (June 21-July 22): Mozart debuted his now-famous opera Don Giovanni in Prague on October 29, 1787. It was a major production, featuring an orchestra, a chorus, and eight main singers. Yet the composer didn't finish writing the opera's overture until less than 24 hours before the show. Are you cooking up a similar scenario, Cancerian? I suspect that sometime in the next two weeks you will complete a breakthrough with an inspired, last-minute effort. And the final part of your work may well be its "overture;" the first part will arrive last. (P.S.: Mozart's Don Giovanni was well-received, and I expect your offering will be, too.)
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): "We must learn to bear the pleasures as we have borne the pains," says writer Nikki Giovanni. That will be apt advice for you to keep in mind during the coming months, Leo. You may think I'm perverse for suggesting such a thing. Compared to how demanding it was to manage the suffering you experienced in late 2013 and earlier this year, you might assume it will be simple to deal with the ease and awakening that are heading your way. But I'd like you to consider the possibility that these blessings will bring their own challenges. For example, you may need to surrender inconveniences and hardships you have gotten used to, almost comfortable with. It's conceivable you will have to divest yourself of habits that made sense when you were struggling, but are now becoming counterproductive.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): I would hate for your fine mind to become a liability. As much as I admire your native skepticism and analytical intelligence, it would be a shame if they prevented you from getting the full benefit of the wonders and marvels that are brewing in your vicinity. Your operative motto in the coming days comes from Virgo storyteller Roald Dahl: "Those who don't believe in magic will never find it." Suspend your disbelief, my beautiful friend. Make yourself receptive to the possibility of being amazed.
What you’re eating: Latin-Asian fusion food featuring homemade kimchi-seasoned fried rice and bulgogi—a thinly sliced marinated and grilled beef rib-eye. The “A.M. Pop” is a rice bowl topped with a scrambled organic egg (egg=breakfast!). Burritos and tacos come with the kimchi rice and bulgogi plus an assortment of cheese, pickled and fresh vegetables, chili-spiked crema or salsa verde.
How it happened: Doug Smith, who you might recognize as a member of the bands MASS FM and Volumen, and also as a wine distributor and all-around cool dude, recently started Quepop!, serving the fusion meals Saturday mornings at the Clark Fork River Market along with former Biga Pizza cook Greg Ragan. Smith caught the Latin-Asian fusion fever when he visited Portland, Ore., music festival Pickathon last year and formed an addiction to the Portland fusion vendor Bo Kwon Koi. “I started reading everything I could about Bo Kwon and [Los Angeles-based fusion chef] Roy Choi,” Smith says. “I decided it’s only a matter of time before this comes to Missoula—and I think I can do it.”
Secret ingredients: Smith’s biggest challenge was testing out recipes to make his kimchi—a fermented cabbage—just right. Unlike some kimchi that uses shrimp paste or oyster sauce, this one is vegan. If you’re not vegan, however, you can add the savory bulgogi for an extra $1 to any dish to satiate your meat cravings. Smith also makes the hot sauce himself.
The buzz: Smith freely admits that Missoula market-goers haven’t been quite sure what to think of kimchi-flavored brunch offerings—at least not at first. It’s true. After I tried my first Quepop! taco and shared a few bites with my friends and family, everyone decided they needed one. “Yep, that’s what always happens,” Smith says, laughing.
How to find it: Saturday mornings from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Clark Fork River Market next to Caras Park under the Higgins Avenue bridge.
Hangriest Hour serves up fresh details on western Montana eats. To recommend a restaurant, dish or chef for Hangriest Hour, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Josh Quick's "Camp Sleepover" appears every Tuesday online, and can be seen in the Indy's printed pages every Thursday.
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