Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Happiest Hour: Teddy Roosevelt American Badass

Posted By on Wed, Oct 19, 2016 at 12:05 PM


What you’re drinking:
An imperial wheat IPA, aged in oak. It’s brewed by Meadowlark Brewing, based on the eastern edge of the state, in Sidney.

Why you’re drinking it: I mean, do we really have to answer this? Look at that label. Just … look at it. Savor it. Blink. Then look again. Your eyes do not deceive you—that is, in fact, Teddy in an Evel Knievel outfit, sword outstretched, standing in the back of an El Camino being driven by a bear. Don’t sleep on the small details, either. For instance, the car’s No. 27 represents Richland County’s state license plate number.

How it tastes: Strong, as you’d expect from an imperial with 7.9 percent alcohol-by-volume (and from anything boasting such bold packaging), but also exceptionally smooth. Meadowlark founder Travis Peterson credits the oak for “mellowing out some of the bite” while also adding “a little complexity to the flavor.”

How it came about: Meadowlark produces a Flights of Fancy series, which basically gives the brewery an excuse to experiment. “It’s a chance for [brewmaster] Tim [Schnars] and I to have more fun than usual,” Peterson says. “We have a lot of fun anyway—I mean, we brew beer for a living—but this allows us to try something different.”

They came up with the idea for the imperial wheat IPA and were impressed with how well it turned out, but the name was harder to settle on. A running list of proposed titles included Teddy Roosevelt American Badass “kind of as a joke,” Peterson recalls, but it ended up sticking. “It’s a badass beer and there’s nothing quite like it,” he says. “We decided a fun beer deserves a fun name.”

And about that logo: Credit Jason Heuser for the artwork. The California illustrator’s personal website includes similarly sensational images of George W. Bush blasting six-shooters while riding an airborne great white shark and Ronald Reagan firing an assault rifle while sitting atop a flag-holding Tyrannosaurus Rex. Oh, and there’s also one of Nixon wrestling a sabertooth tiger.

How you know Meadowlark: Thanks to a Bozeman-based mobile canning operation, Meadowlark’s brews have become common on shelves statewide. The Badlands Extra Pale Ale and Ole Gus Scotch-Style Ale are available in standard six-packs of 12-ounce cans. The Teddy Roosevelt American Badass comes in a single 16-ounce can and proves a little tougher to find. We scored ours on sale for $3.99 at Good Food Store.

Peterson says Teddy will remain on shelves as long as supplies last, but it will continue to be “somewhat limited availability.”

“It takes time to brew,” he says. “Wood-aging isn’t something you can just speed up.”

Happiest Hour celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, email

Casting Bruiser: chihuahua auditions for part in UM musical

Posted By on Wed, Oct 19, 2016 at 10:26 AM

Each chihuahua came dressed for the part. Pip was wearing a tutu, while Teeto—whose half-Yorkie genes gave him long, flowing fur—sported a shirt that read, “The cool dog just showed up.”

Then there was Kung Pao. White-haired, 2 years old, and weighing in just under 4 pounds, she wore a pink sweater with a crown printed on it. Kung Pao was not to be messed with. While mingling in the foyer, Kung Pao hustled over to Teeto and barked in his face.

“Sorry, she’s feisty,” owner Karla Colwill said.

The three dogs had arrived at the University of Montana PAR/TV building to audition for any chihuahua’s most coveted role: Bruiser, the famed sidekick in Legally Blonde. UM’s School of Theatre & Dance, along with the School of Music, will perform the musical version of the cult classic in November. A month before opening night, director Teresa Waldorf had one part left to cast.

“Everyone knows Bruiser, so we knew we couldn’t just pop any small dog onstage,” she says. “We knew it had to be someone who would meet the expectations—which are high.”

For Kung Pao, it was an unlikely chance for a big break. None of the dogs there to audition had acting experience, but Kung Pao’s journey to the stage was particularly long. Her life began in a meth house in South Carolina, Colwill explains, where she was rescued by a friend before the meth dealers were busted and their animals seized. Kung Pao was five weeks old at the time.
Kung Pao, a 2-year-old rescue chihuahua, auditioned for the role of Bruiser in UM's upcoming production of Legally Blonde: The Musical, which opens Nov. 22. - PHOTO BY DEREK BROUWER
  • Photo by Derek Brouwer
  • Kung Pao, a 2-year-old rescue chihuahua, auditioned for the role of Bruiser in UM's upcoming production of Legally Blonde: The Musical, which opens Nov. 22.
Colwill, a UM employee who says she is “not a small dog person,” agreed to take in the chihuahua nonetheless. She learned about the Bruiser casting call through a friend involved with the production and decided to give Kung Pao a shot.

“Oh, it’s new for her,” Colwill says. “It’s a new experience.”

Waldorf outlined expectations before the auditions in the Masquer Theatre began. Bruiser’s role in the musical is modest, she said, just a few scenes in the first act. The dog must be able to run to center stage, sit or stay, walk on a leash, and hop into a bag or kennel. There’s a speaking line as well, but Waldorf has a backup plan in case the dog can’t bark on command, a more advanced skill.

“We plan for every contingency,” she says.

When the auditions began, Kung Pao’s name was called first. Her nails clacked along the stage as she ran around on the leash held by junior acting major Whitney Miller, who is cast for the lead role of Elle. Kung Pao refused to sit on the hard surface but impressed the production crew by jumping into her kennel on command. She gazed toward the audience while held in Miller’s arms—“cheating out,” in theater terminology.

The act wasn’t flawless, and Miller describes the competition as “stiff” (a fourth dog not at the Oct. 16 audition, named Machete, was ultimately cast, Waldorf says). Regardless, Kung Pao’s owner was upbeat.

“We’re going to do some obedience classes, donate her time to hospice,” Colwill told the director afterwards. “Because she’s pretty good, for a chihuahua.”

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Your future, a little early

Posted By on Wed, Oct 19, 2016 at 9:00 AM

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): In the 1980s, two performance artists did a project entitled “A Year Tied Together at the Waist.” For 12 months, Linda Montano and Tehching Hsieh were never farther than eight feet away from each other, bound by a rope. Hsieh said he tried this experiment because he felt very comfortable doing solo work, but wanted to upgrade his abilities as a collaborator. Montano testified that the piece “dislodged a deep hiddenness” in her. It sharpened her intuition and gave her a “heightened passion for living and relating.” If you were ever going to engage in a comparable effort to deepen your intimacy skills, Aries, the coming weeks would be a favorable time to attempt it.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): In the coming weeks would you prefer that we refer to you as “voracious?” Or do you like the word “ravenous” better? I have a feeling, based on the astrological omens, that you will be extra super eager to consume vast quantities of just about everything: food, information, beauty, sensory stimulation, novelty, pleasure and who knows what else. But please keep this in mind: Your hunger could be a torment or it could be a gift. Which way it goes may depend on your determination to actually enjoy what you devour. In other words, don’t get so enchanted by the hypnotic power of your longing that you neglect to exult in the gratification when your longing is satisfied.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): When the wind blows at ten miles per hour, a windmill generates eight times more power than when the breeze is five miles per hour. Judging from the astrological omens, I suspect there will be a similar principle at work in your life during the coming weeks. A modest increase in effort and intensity will make a huge difference in the results you produce. Are you willing to push yourself a bit beyond your comfort level in order to harvest a wave of abundance?

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Cuthbert Collingwood (1748-1810) had a distinguished career as an admiral in the British navy, leading the sailors under his command to numerous wartime victories. He was also a good-natured softie whose men regarded him as generous and kind. Between battles, while enjoying his downtime, he hiked through the English countryside carrying acorns, which he planted here and there so the “Navy would never want for oaks to build the fighting ships upon which the country’s safety depended.” (Quoted in Life in Nelson’s Navy, by Dudley Pope.) I propose that we make him your role model for the coming weeks. May his example inspire you to be both an effective warrior and a tender soul who takes practical actions to plan for the future.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Eighteenth-century musician Giuseppe Tartini has been called “the godfather of modern violin playing.” He was also an innovative composer who specialized in poignant and poetic melodies. One of his most famous works is the Sonata in G Minor, also known as the Devil’s Trill. Tartini said it was inspired by a dream in which he made a pact with the Devil to provide him with new material. The Infernal One picked up a violin and played the amazing piece that Tartini transcribed when he woke up. Here’s the lesson for you: He didn’t actually sell his soul to the Devil. Simply engaging in this rebellious, taboo act in the realm of fantasy had the alchemical effect of unleashing a burst of creative energy. Try it!

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): The planets have aligned in a curious pattern. I interpret it as meaning that you have cosmic permission to indulge in more self-interest and self-seeking than usual. So it won’t be taboo for you to unabashedly say, “What exactly is in it for me?” or “Prove your love, my dear” or “Gimmeee gimmeee gimmee what I want.” If someone makes a big promise, you shouldn’t be shy about saying, “Will you put that in writing?” If you get a sudden urge to snag the biggest piece of the pie, obey that urge.

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Monday, October 17, 2016

Rockies Today, October 17

Posted By on Mon, Oct 17, 2016 at 12:28 PM

Mountain West News is a service of the O’Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West — a regional studies and public education program at the University of Montana. The Center’s purpose is to serve as an important and credible resource for people in the state and region in understanding the region’s past, present, and future. For more, visit

As drought intensifies, Yakima accord offers model

Climate change has forced Washington State’s Yakima Basin to rethink how it manages water—and its plan could “point the way for an American West where long-standing water challenges are only growing more urgent and fractious.”

The pressure to solve decades-old disputes is rising. Water is already one of the West’s most contentious issues, with an infinite number of colliding interests — urban residents, farmers, environmentalists, native Americans, agribusiness owners, hydroelectric operators — all dipping their hoses into receding rivers and reservoirs. The only thing they all seem to have in common is their impulse to hire a lawyer.
Now, amid growing urbanization and the effects of climate change, the tensions are becoming even more fraught.
Yet the Yakima accord has given some people optimism that there’s a way out of this Gordian knot. They hope the example here — the deal as well as the years of squabbling and millions of dollars spent in courtrooms — will convince other regions to broker similar accords rather than perpetuate the debilitating era of water wars.

The tribal push for a Bears Ears monument in Utah

While the proposed Bears Ears National Monument doesn’t include any tribal lands, it would give a coalition of tribes “the freedom to be stewards of their homeland, and to have some say over how that land is administered, protected and interpreted to the public.”

…the Bears Ears battle at its core comes down to one type of local control versus another, of the Sagebrush Rebellion against an Indigenous uprising to gain sovereignty over ancestral homelands.
“It’s been far too long that us Natives have not been at the table,” says Malcolm Lehi, a Ute Mountain Ute council representative from the White Mesa community in San Juan County, at the Bluff hearing. “Here we are today inviting ourselves to the table. We’re making history.”

Wyoming industry may owe schools $4.5 million

A federal report (PDF) finds that since 2009 the Wyoming Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been unable to collect in excess of $4.5 million in unpaid penalties for health and safety violations, money that’s passed on to school districts.

In response to the unpaid fines, Wyoming had enlisted a collections agency to better collect on delinquent companies, John Ysebaert, Wyoming’s workforce standards and compliance administrator, wrote in [a response to some of the federal report’s findings in a July 29 letter].

Tough questions about small-town agriculture

In this episode of West Obsessed, the writers and editors of High Country News discuss some of the most interesting challenges — and solutions — to rural food supply.

How to buck the BLM’s wild horse problem?

The BLM’s wild horse program pays $49 million a year in rent for private ranches, corrals and feedlots where it stores the 46,000 wild horses it has removed from the West’s public lands. The cost is a symptom of a broader problem: too many wild horses roaming the West—about 77,000, some 27,000 more than the agency says the land can support.

Trying to make that rent has pushed the wild horse program into crisis. The expense eats up 66 percent of the federal budget for managing wild horses, and it is expected to total more than $1 billion over the life of the herds. The program cannot afford to continue old management practices that created the problem in the first place, or afford to come up with solutions that might fix it.
In short, the agency cannot break its cycle of storing horses because it is too busy storing horses.
“We’re in a real pickle,” Mr. Bolstad said. “We have huge challenges ahead of us, and we don’t have the resources to respond.”

Nations agree to phase out planet-warming HFCs

Negotiators from more than 170 countries reached a legally binding accord to counter climate change by cutting the use of hydrofluorocarbons—“a sort of supercharged greenhouse gas, with 1,000 times the heat-trapping potency of carbon dioxide.” The pact could have an equal or even greater impact than the Paris agreement.

Over all, the deal is expected to lead to the reduction of the equivalent of 70 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere — about two times the carbon pollution produced annually by the entire world.
The Kigali accord is “much, much, much stronger than Paris,” said Durwood Zaelke, the president of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, a research organization. “This is a mandatory treaty. Governments are obligated to comply.”
The deal is an amendment to the Montreal Protocol, the landmark 1987 pact designed to close the hole in the ozone layer by banning ozone-depleting coolants called chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs. That means the Kigali amendment maintains the legal force of a treaty, even if that treaty was ratified by the Senate during the Reagan administration.
Chemical companies responded to the 1987 agreement by developing HFCs, which do not harm the ozone layer but do trap heat in the atmosphere.

Shifting winds in Wyoming

There are few places in the country with more wind energy potential than Wyoming, but the state has seen almost no new wind turbines built in six years. That’s about to change.

In total, more than $12 billion dollars worth of wind projects are proposed in Wyoming. The tabling of the tax hike was good news for those projects, but political support alone isn’t enough for Wyoming’s wind industry to boom — there are technical challenges as well.
Most of the wind built in Wyoming would be sold to customers out of state, but there aren’t enough power lines to carry it. Half a dozen proposals for new lines have been stuck in the permitting process for years. But now, several of those are close to being approved, and that could open the floodgates.

Montana solar projects stall

Cypress Creek Renewables cites vague engineering delays for why at least five of the California company’s permitted solar farms in Montana are currently stalled. All were approved before the state Public Service Commission in June suspended the requirement that NorthWestern Energy pay small-scale solar energy producers $66 per megawatt hour.

The nightlife of a Durango black bear

There’s a new class of city bears that researchers find to be highly adapted to urban terrain and evade detection by foraging at night.

“It is amazing to me that, given all the time she spends in town — she is a big bear — she’s never gotten into significant trouble that has resulted in efforts to trap and remove her,” said Colorado Parks and Wildlife researcher Heather Johnson, who tracks [a 225-pound bear known as] B27 as part of an unprecedented five-year project driven by rising bear-human conflicts.

Solar sidewalk unveiled in Sandpoint, Idaho

Solar Roadways is the only business receiving federal highway research money in pursuit of solar road panels, part of the Federal Highway Administration’s efforts to fight climate change.

[Scott Brusaw’s] business, Solar Roadways, recently unveiled its first public installation, in a downtown plaza in this northern Idaho resort town. It’s 150 square feet of hexagon-shaped solar panels that people can walk and bicycle on.
The company is working on proof that the panels, for which it has a patent, are strong enough and have enough traction to handle motor vehicles, including semitrailers.

Bigamy's matchmaking answer to Tinder (and more News of the Weird)

Posted By on Mon, Oct 17, 2016 at 9:00 AM

Extreme Hobbies
John Weigel and Olaf Danielson are engaged in a frenzied battle of “extreme birdwatching,” each hoping to close out 2016 as the new North American champ of the American Birding Association, and a September Smithsonian piece had Weigel ahead, 763 to 759. Danielson is perhaps better known for doing much of his birding in the nude (and is the author of the provocatively titled volume, “Boobies, Peckers and Tits”—all common names of popular birds). The old one-year record was 749, and the association attributes the larger numbers this year to El Nino, which has disrupted food supplies and driven birds into different locations.

Fine Points of the Law

Compelling Explanation: Senate bill 1342, passed in the Idaho legislature earlier in 2016, authorizes schools to use the Bible as a reference in classrooms (despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s having specifically condemned a previous version of the bill ever since 1964). The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Sage Dixon, said he thought his law was nonetheless constitutional because, “The little Supreme Court in my head says this is OK.” (Even so, Gov. C.L. Otter vetoed the bill.)

Nebraska voters in November will be asked whether to keep the state’s longstanding death penalty for murder—even though retaining it will require them to vote “repeal.” The legislature replaced death row last year with mandatory life sentences, and the referendum is to “repeal” or “retain” that legislation. Hence, to abolish the death penalty, voters must select “retain.” The state attorney general, and election officials, declined to challenge the confusing arrangement, instead suggesting that Nebraskans are smart enough to figure the whole thing out.

The Arizona legislature passed a child-molestation law recently that made any adult contact with children’s genitals a criminal act, but unlike in other states’ similar laws, neglected to include a requirement that the outlawed contact be for “sexual” purposes. Consequently, in principle, parents may be criminally liable, for example, for bathing a baby or changing its diaper. The Arizona Supreme Court ruled in September that it is up to the legislature to change the law, but some lawmakers professed indifference, confident that district attorneys will use good judgment about whom to prosecute.

Fun With Pennies
Robert Napolitan, 34, was arrested in Taylor, Pennsylvania, in September and charged with theft of a drum containing 300,000 pennies from his employer, Pyne Freight Lines. That steel drum weighs several tons and, of course, netted Napolitan only $3,000. (By contrast, in New York City’s Diamond District in September, a brazen thief made off with a 5-gallon drum containing 86 pounds of something else—gold flakes, valued at more than $1 million—and is still at large.)

For some reason, according to a High Point, North Carolina, TV report, Larry Hall of Randolph County took seven-plus weeks out of his life recently and glued pennies to cover (except for windows and chrome) his 2000 Chevrolet Blazer (a total of 51,300 coins).

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Friday, October 14, 2016

Rockies Today, October 14

Posted By on Fri, Oct 14, 2016 at 3:13 PM

Mountain West News is a service of the O’Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West — a regional studies and public education program at the University of Montana. The Center’s purpose is to serve as an important and credible resource for people in the state and region in understanding the region’s past, present, and future. For more, visit

Sen. Tester seeks to block mines near Yellowstone

Montana U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat, has asked the Obama administration to block a pair of mining proposals outside Yellowstone National Park, and announced that he’s considering legislation to accomplish that.

In a letter (PDF) sent Thursday to the heads of the Interior Department, USDA, Forest Service, and BLM, Tester wrote, in part:

Mining has long played an important role in Montana’s history and our economy, but there are some places where it simply isn’t appropriate. The doorstep of Yellowstone, which was established as our first national park 144 years ago, is one of those places. The approximately 31,400 acres of public lands proposed from withdrawal adjacent to Yellowstone and the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness in the Custer Gallatin National Forest deserve special consideration because of their unique character, exceptional beauty, and ecological value.

The Billings Gazette recently reported that the proposals highlight “the growing pains of the New West — an old economy of resource extraction versus a cleaner, but often lower-paying, service industry; recreation versus industry; wildlife and the remaining areas of undisturbed habitat versus development,” and produced the following video.

Tester has also come out against the contentious Black Butte copper mine proposal, which could pollute the Smith River, saying the river “represents one of the best places to float, fish, and camp, and one of the last places you can escape civilization and truly experience Montana as our ancestors did.”

Attorneys general: no legal footing for land grabs

A new report (PDF) by the Conference of Western Attorney Generals, based on two years of work, casts doubt on many of the arguments Utah and other states have put forward in their push to gain control of millions of acres of federal land. CWAG, made up of the top law officers in 15 western states and three U.S. territories, voted 11–1 to approve the report at their annual meeting in Idaho this summer.

The report’s conclusion, in part:

Equality of sovereignty is an important constitutional principle that can help prevent federal intrusions upon the sovereignty and independence of the states. Court precedents, however, provide little support for the proposition that the principles of equal footing or equal sovereignty may compel transfer of public lands to the western states.

A photographer gets engulfed in ‘sagebrush sea’

David Showalter celebrates the sage grouse in his recent book Sage Spirit. Journalist Todd Wilkinson recently interviewed Showalter on what he learned as he toured the country speaking about sage grouse and the government’s controversial decision not to list the species.

I never really wanted my book to be a grouse book; it’s far more important that we view this sagebrush sea as the fabric that holds the West together. Sage-grouse are an umbrella species for 300-plus western wildlife species that rely on sagebrush for survival and sage-grouse offer a window into this remarkable, singular sagebrush ecosystem.

Fine dining in Weed Country

Pairing food with marijuana in Colorado.

The marijuana industry is trying to move away from its pizza-and-Doritos roots as folks explore how to safely serve marijuana and food. Chefs are working with marijuana growers to chart the still-very-unscientific world of pairing food and weed. And a proliferation of mass-market cheap pot is driving professional growers to develop distinctive flavors and aromas to distinguish themselves in a crowded market.
“We talk with the (marijuana) grower to understand what traits they saw in the marijuana … whether it’s earthy notes, citrus notes, herbal notes, things that we could play off,” said Corey Buck, head of catering for Blackbelly Restaurant, a top-rated farm-to-table restaurant that provided the meal.

Coal miner opts to export through B.C.

Lighthouse Resources, which operates mines in Montana and Wyoming, says it’s exporting coal to South Korea through British Columbia’s Westshore Terminals, and abandoning the stalled coal terminal proposal at Port of Morrow in Boardman, Oregon.

“I imagine Lighthouse doesn’t see a future for coal exports on the Columbia,” said Jasmine Zimmer-Stucky with Columbia Riverkeepers. “I see their attempt to export coal through Canada as a backdoor way to avoid the environmental standards that Oregon and Washington have put in place to review — and in Oregon’s case deny — coal exports.”

South Korea, Asia’s fourth-largest economy, plans to build 19 new coal-fired power plants by 2022, and ranks among the top coal importers globally.

Scorched trees featured in Boise art exhibit

Sicilian-born artist Giuseppe Licari has spent the last month and a half collecting, disassembling and then reconfiguring burned trees — many of them from Idaho’s massive Pioneer Fire—for a new art exhibit called “Contrappunto,” which means counterpoint.

“So in a way, metaphorically, this burning landscape somehow reflects the burning political situation we are in and the results we are seeing also in contemporary society,” says Licari. “Not just in the States or in Europe, but in the world.”

Quantifying the hunting economy

About 13.7 million people, or 6 percent of the U.S. population over age 16, consider themselves hunters. Below are some figures from the U.S. Census Bureau’s National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation 2011 report, the latest available.

National effort to save monarch butterfly builds

On Thursday, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock took the National Wildlife Federation’s Mayors’ Monarch Pledge, committing the city to “sustainable practices” that will help a butterfly whose numbers in North America have declined drastically.

Denver’s effort will include creating a monarch-friendly demonstration garden at City Hall, converting abandoned lots to monarch habitat and changing mowing schedules to allow milkweed to grow.

A recovery will require much more than milkweed:

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Devil’s Hump Red Ale wins gold

Posted By on Wed, Oct 12, 2016 at 2:56 PM

The stakes: Competition was thick in Denver last week. Judges at the 30th annual Great American Beer Festival waded through 7,227 entries from more than 1,750 breweries to select a mere 286 award-worthy brews. In other words, hundreds of brewers across the nation had simultaneously crossed their fingers. When the buzz cleared, one Missoula brew came away with a gold medal.
  • Photo by Alex Sakariassen
The winner: Devil’s Hump Red Ale, which claimed top prize in the Irish-style Red Ale category, is a whole lot lighter than the name might imply. The Missoula Brewing Company flagship weighs in at a drinkable 5 percent alcohol-by-volume. Taste-wise it tends to start out a bit on the sweet side, before the heavier malt body gives way to a crisper hops finish. And if that first sip triggers some deja vu, don’t be surprised.

The backstory: Though the name is new, Devil’s Hump has actually been kicking around western Montana since 2008. MBC owner Bob Lukes introduced the recipe after acquiring the rights to the Highlander beer label, and it won Best of Montana at the Garden City BrewFest in 2009. Formerly available only in bomber bottles and on select taps, the red-ale reimagining of one of Montana’s oldest brews finally enjoyed a wider release, including six-packs, shortly after MBC opened the doors of its taproom in 2015.

Fellow winners: MBC wasn’t the only Montana brewery to snag an award at last week’s festival. Philipsburg Brewing won a bronze medal for its 5 Phantoms Pumpkin Spice Barleywine. Billings-based Uberbrew claimed two gold medals, a silver and a bronze, and was also singled out as Small Brewing Company of the Year.

Find it: If you’re in the mood for a little Devil’s Hump, stop by Missoula Brewing Company at 200 International Dr., off Reserve Street.

Happiest Hour celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, email

Your future, a little early

Posted By on Wed, Oct 12, 2016 at 9:00 AM

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): A study published in the peer-reviewed Communications Research suggests that only 28 percent of us realize when someone is flirting with us. I hope that figure won’t apply to you Aries in the coming weeks. According to my analysis of the astrological situation, you will be on the receiving end of more invitations, inquiries and allurements than usual. The percentage of these that might be worth responding to will also be higher than normal. Not all of them will be obvious, however. So be extra vigilant.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): The ancient Greek sage Socrates was a founder of Western philosophy and a seminal champion of critical thinking. And yet he relied on his dreams for crucial information. He was initiated into the esoteric mysteries of love by the prophetess Diotima, and had an intimate relationship with a daimonion, a divine spirit. I propose that we make Socrates your patron saint for the next three weeks. Without abandoning your reliance on logic, make a playful effort to draw helpful clues from non-rational sources, too. (P.S.: Socrates drew oracular revelations from sneezes. Please consider that outlandish possibility yourself. Be alert, too, for the secret meanings of coughs, burps, grunts, mumbles and yawns.)

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): The Helper Experiment, Part One: Close your eyes and imagine that you are in the company of a kind, attentive helper—a person, animal, ancestral spirit or angel that you either know well or haven’t met yet. Spend at least five minutes visualizing a scene in which this ally aids you in fulfilling a particular goal. The Helper Experiment, Part Two: Repeat this exercise every day for the next seven days. Each time, visualize your helper making your life better in some specific way. Now here’s my prediction: Carrying out The Helper Experiment will attract actual support into your real life.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): New rules: 1. It’s unimaginable and impossible for you to be obsessed with anything or anyone that’s no good for you. 2. It’s unimaginable and impossible for you to sabotage your stability by indulging in unwarranted fear. 3. It’s imaginable and possible for you to remember the most crucial thing you have forgotten. 4. It’s imaginable and possible for you to replace debilitating self-pity with invigorating self-love and healthy self-care. 5. It’s imaginable and possible for you to discover a new mother lode of emotional strength.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): It’s swing-swirl-spiral time, Leo. It’s ripple-sway-flutter time and flow-gush-gyrate time and jive-jiggle-juggle time. So I trust you will not indulge in fruitless yearnings for unswerving progress and rock-solid evidence. If your path is not twisty and tricky, it’s probably the wrong path. If your heart isn’t teased and tickled into shedding its dependable formulas, it might be an overly hard heart. Be an improvisational curiosity-seeker. Be a principled player of unpredictable games.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Some English-speaking astronomers use the humorous slang term “meteor-wrong.” It refers to a rock that is at first thought to have fallen from the heavens as a meteorite (“meteor-right”), but that is ultimately proved to be of terrestrial origin. I suspect there may currently be the metaphorical equivalent of a meteor-wrong in your life. The source of some new arrival or fresh influence is not what it had initially seemed. But that doesn’t have to be a problem. On the contrary. Once you have identified the true nature of the new arrival or fresh influence, it’s likely to be useful and interesting.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Rockies Today, October 11

Posted By on Tue, Oct 11, 2016 at 5:07 PM

Mountain West News is a service of the O’Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West — a regional studies and public education program at the University of Montana. The Center’s purpose is to serve as an important and credible resource for people in the state and region in understanding the region’s past, present, and future. For more, visit

Climate change doubles Western wildfire extent

A new study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, concludes that human-induced climate change has doubled the area affected by forest fires in the West over the last 30 years.

Fires in western forests began increasing abruptly in the 1980s, as measured by area burned, the number of large fires, and length of the fire season. The increases have continued, and recently scientists and public officials have in part blamed human-influenced climate change. The new study is perhaps the first to quantify that assertion. “A lot of people are throwing around the words climate change and fire — specifically, last year fire chiefs and the governor of California started calling this the ‘new normal,’ “ said lead author John Abatzoglou, a professor of geography at the University of Idaho. “We wanted to put some numbers on it.”

Gold King: To contain mine drainage or funnel it out?

The EPA is wrestling with whether to try to contain toxic mine drainage inside the mountains, or funnel it out and clean it perpetually at huge expense.

Colorado and federal authorities want to resolve the issue as soon as possible because today’s untreated flow into Animas headwaters — averaging 3,750 gallons a minute — may be hurting not only the environment but human health, officials said recently.
All it would take inside this abandoned Red and Bonita Mine tunnel is a turn of the blue screw on that bulkhead plug to stop hundreds of gallons of the sulfuric acid from leaking. But if the EPA crew does turn that screw, shutting a valve, the blockage could cause new toxic blowouts from other mountainside tunnels, veins, faults and fissures.

Massive transmission project nears final approval

The BLM has released its final environmental impact statement for the two segments of the Gateway West project proposed by Idaho Power and Rocky Mountain Power. Should it win final approval, the 1,000-mile transmission line would run through southern Wyoming and southern Idaho, potentially tapping into Wyoming’s wind energy.

Why save Idaho farmland?

As growth and development spread across the Treasure Valley, the Treasure Valley Food Coalition is starting a conversation about preserving farmland in places like Canyon County.

Boise State has released a new survey that shows 24 percent of respondents think agriculture is the most important economic sector in the Treasure Valley.

Wyoming’s water war continues

Environmentalists and Wyoming ranchers agreed last month to end their two-year legal fight over whether a field worker trespassed when measuring water pollution on public grazing allotments. The real conflict, both sides agree, was never really as much about “trespassing” as it was about who was trespassing.

…the “settlement” between the 17 Wyoming ranchers who brought the lawsuit and Western Watersheds, the Idaho-based environmental watchdog, is like a ceasefire in Syria — more posturing than fact — rather than an actual end to hostilities.

Utah’s largest utility approves new solar fixed fees

Provo city leaders have approved a new fee for rooftop solar customers, arguing, as many utilities do, that net metering amounts to a subsidy paid by customers without solar panels. Matt Pacenza, executive director of HEAL Utah, a renewables advocacy group, said that instead of making it easier to install solar, “four council members decided to stick a knife in its back.” Rooftop solar is generally booming in Utah.

From Utility Dive:

The utility in an open letter to customers on its Facebook page said the “new Grid Access Fee is not intended to raise revenue but is intended to cover the fixed cost of the distribution system accessed by solar customers and not transfer these cost to customers that do not have the opportunity to install solar panels.”

Wildfire no longer exclusively a Western problem

Nationally, nearly a third of new homes built since 2000 are in the wildland-urban interface.

More than half the wildfires between 1992 and 2013 occurred in southern states such as Texas, Georgia, Florida and North Carolina. Fires there typically are smaller — with an average size of 27.6 acres. Fires in Western states are roughly six times larger.
But as climate change continues to bring warmer, drier conditions to most of the country, many experts agree that wildfires will be both larger and more frequent.
And those frequently tasked with battling the flames — local fire departments — often don’t have the training to fight wildfires.

Dakota Access pipeline construction to resume

The U.S. Court of Appeals has now joined the Federal District Court in denying the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s motion for an injunction to stop construction of the Dakota Access pipeline.

Colorado looks to push tourists to new areas

As travelers increasingly descend on Colorado, how to “push the right travelers to the right places”?

Tourism is booming in Colorado. Last year the state lured 77.7 million visitors who spent $19.1 billion, setting a fifth record for an industry that generated $1.13 billion in state and local taxes. Since the depth of the Great Recession, Colorado has seen a 31 percent rebound in visitation — almost double the national rate of recovery.
This year is pacing toward a sixth consecutive record number of visitors, and along the way, tourism leaders say they are hearing a consistent lament from Colorado’s most popular destinations: We are too busy.

The New Yorker pays tribute to the Craigheads

Jordan Fisher Smith, who came to know the Craigheads while working on a book about John and Frank’s collision with the National Park Service, writes about “the most recognizable faces in American wildlife conservation” in the ’60s and ’70s.

They wore flannel shirts and lived in log cabins, but were presciently unsentimental about what was “natural” or “unnatural” — a distinction that, with climate change and other human injuries to the planet, has become harder and harder to make. They thought only about what would give wild creatures a chance.

Uncle Bill's Sausages closes in midst of Brooks Street renovation

Posted By on Tue, Oct 11, 2016 at 10:30 AM

Missoula deli cases will soon be missing a familiar homegrown brand. Bill Stoianoff, the beret-wearing mascot and owner of Uncle Bill’s Sausages, is retiring after more than 30 years in the local food business. He’s run his eclectic storefront, The Joint Effort, even longer. He says the decision to close up shop was prompted in part because The Joint Effort’s lease expires in November, since its Brooks Street location has been bought by Southgate Mall with plans to demolish it. Oct. 29 will be his final farmers market appearance.

After about 30 years of making sausage, Bill Stoianoff is closing up shop. - KATE WHITTLE
  • Kate Whittle
  • After about 30 years of making sausage, Bill Stoianoff is closing up shop.

“I thought about another store, but god, I’m damn near 70 years old, I should retire,” Stoianoff says. “So whether I like it or not, that’s what’s happening. I’m not telling anybody what I’m doing. I’m just gonna go live some life.”

He’s not the only Brooks Street tenant to decide to close—his neighbor, Pet Nebula, is also calling it quits. Pet Nebula owner Jenny Lundberg DeNeut says she’s known about the lease expiring for a while.

“We actually caught wind of it last summer,” she says. Lundberg DeNeut decided to take the opportunity to spend more time at home with her two young kids.

The property manager, Jerry Ford with Lambros Real Estate, says Southgate Mall recently bought 1918 Brooks with plans to raze it. He says he wasn’t told what might be planned to go into the space.

Uncle Bill's Sausages ended production in late September, and his store is nearly empty. Local grocery stores should still have plenty of stock left, he says. - KATE WHITTLE
  • Kate Whittle
  • Uncle Bill's Sausages ended production in late September, and his store is nearly empty. Local grocery stores should still have plenty of stock left, he says.

As for Uncle Bill’s Sausages, Stoianoff also alludes to some kind of conflict with the Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center, where he’s rented kitchen space for years.

“Well, that’s another whole story I don’t wanna get into,” Stoianoff says.

The food processing center’s director, Jan Tusick, responds that they wish Stoianoff nothing but the best.

“We’re going to miss Bill,” Tusick says. “He had a great product line.”

Tusick does say that across the country, small businesses like Stoianoff’s are facing increasing scrutiny from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Recently passed regulations require additional food safety precautions and a new $800 training course, which can be daunting for small businesses trying to stay on top of the rules, she says.

“[The USDA inspectors] are becoming more and more present, is the best way to say it, so we’re also seeing more stringent inspections happening every day,” Tusick says. The food processing center is liable if it’s tied to any illness outbreaks.

"We’re almost like mini regulators in a sense, but we have to be,” she says.

Stoianoff says he’ll always be proud of his gourmet sausages. The recipes are secret—“goddamn right, they are”—at least until he finds an interested buyer who offers the right price. He says he learned about cooking during his extensive world travels, and he still makes chorizo the way he was taught in Oaxaca, Mexico.

“It’s been a damn fun run,” he says.

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