Friday, January 22, 2010

Court's spending decision hits home

Posted By on Fri, Jan 22, 2010 at 2:10 PM

Yesterday's shocking ruling by the Supreme Court to allow companies to spend unlimited amounts of cash to support or oppose individual candidates rightly hit home with a few local politicians.

The decision, if you're unfamiliar, "shakes the foundation of corporate limitations on federal and state elections that stretch back a century," wrote the Washington Post. Republicans cheered the decision as a victory for free speech. Obama and Democrats, not so much.

Two local Democrats — City Councilman Jason Wiener and congressional candidate Tyler Gernant — wrote to constituents today to speak out against the ruling and explain how they think it could impact upcoming races.

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Review: MAT's Closer

Posted By on Fri, Jan 22, 2010 at 11:25 AM

Larry the dermatologist delivers one of the best lines in Patrick Marber's Closer when he says, "Thank God life ends. We'd never survive it."

Oh, the pain of relationships.

From top left clockwise, Brandon Johnson, Hannah Paton, Kristen M. Beckmann and Matt Warner
  • From top left clockwise, Brandon Johnson, Hannah Paton, Kristen M. Beckmann and Matt Warner

But there's also something poignant about that sentiment after watching a play with several scenes of couples cheating, lying, playing mind games and always wishing for what they don't have. It's exhausting. You want the play to end eventually. But then again, the Montana Actors' Theatre puts on a version that only teeters on the brink of being too much to bear. Yelling matches, viciousness and deceit (self and otherwise) often render the characters unlikable. But in this play about four people who become intertwined in each other's lives—driven by loneliness, lust, desire for love—MAT's production, directed by Deborah Voss, takes heed of the tender moments and strong personalities of the characters and makes it breathe.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

A new kind of kegger?

Posted By on Thu, Jan 21, 2010 at 10:25 AM

Missoula just seems to thrive on party spirit, and in the interests of catering to that spirit the owner and operator of Ryan Creek Meadows has proposed a multi-act kegger for sometime in May. The concept is still in the planning stages, but Toby Hansen says he hopes to make this an annual event for the city.

“The more we look at [the venue]," Hansen tells the Independent, "the more we realize it’s as much an event location as it is a concert location.”

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Historic Howard Apartments back in familiar hands

Posted By on Wed, Jan 20, 2010 at 7:00 PM

Several investors with dreams of snatching up the historic Howard Apartment Building at 147 W. Main Street in the wake of a foreclosure proceeding gathered at the base of the Missoula County Courthouse steps Wednesday morning. When the auctioneer asked if anyone was willing to bid above the minimum $903,296 asking price, the small crowd stayed mum. Apparently, they couldn’t stomach covering the tab on the 120-year-old structure that has fallen into disrepair.

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Happy birthday David Lynch

Posted By on Wed, Jan 20, 2010 at 1:10 PM


Sixty-four years ago the eclectic filmmaker and artist was born right here in Missoula at St. Patrick Hospital.

Unfortunately, that's about where the story ends for us. As Lynch explained to the Indy in 2007, he has zero memories of his birthplace and, contrary to years of speculation, did not film in nor base Blue Velvet on the Wilma.

Trouble landing a job? You're not alone

Posted By on Wed, Jan 20, 2010 at 12:50 PM

According to, Missoula ranks among the worst cities in the U.S. for jobs.

Why? The article states:

According to seasonally adjusted data from the BLS, out of the largest 281 metros in the United States, 77 cities added jobs the July-October 2009 period. Eleven metros saw no change in the number of employed persons; however, another 193 metros saw declines in jobs.

We're among those 193, along with Bellingham, Wash., St. George, Utah, and Grand Junction, Colo. In fact, we're second to last. The details:

Missoula, Mont.
No. of employed in July: 55,100
No. of employed in October: 52,800
Percent change: -4.2

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Your future, a little early

Posted By on Tue, Jan 19, 2010 at 9:00 AM

Find Rob Brezsny's Free Will Astrology online, every Tuesday, two days before it hits the Indy's printed pages.

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Philosopher David Pearce is committed to the abolition of suffering. While he acknowledges that we’ve got a long way to go before accomplishing that goal, he believes it’s possible, mostly with the help of technology. (More at More than two millennia ago, Buddha also articulated a vision for the cessation of suffering. His methods revolve around psychological and spiritual work. In light of your current astrological omens, Aries, I think it’s an excellent time to contribute to this noble enterprise. Your level of suffering is rather low these days, which could give you a natural boost if you set in motion some long-term strategies for reducing the pain that you experience and the pain that you cause.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Extra, extra: In Other News, online

Posted By on Mon, Jan 18, 2010 at 10:00 AM

Check this week's installment for home-wreaking cattle and a banjo beat-down.

Curses, Foiled Again
Massachusetts State Police who stopped Francis Viliar, 36, for speeding said he showed troopers a driver’s license that had the name Luis Gomez but a different signature. When they asked him his birth date, he failed six times to match the one on the license, prompting his arrest. At the Brockton police station, officers noticed the pads of Viliar’s fingers were covered with scar tissue. They took fingerprints anyway, and federal officials were able to determine his identity and that he was wanted on 13 warrants. Viliar said he paid someone $400 to cut his fingers vertically, from the fingertip to the knuckle joint, so his prints would be unreadable. “Fortunately,” police official David Procopio told the Boston Globe, “our efforts to identify [suspects] are keeping pace with their efforts to mutilate themselves.”

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Friday, January 15, 2010

The Week in Review: Haiti, Newt Gingrich and medical marijuana

Posted By on Fri, Jan 15, 2010 at 4:55 PM

As the world reacts to the news in Haiti, many local organizations are working to make it easy to make a donation. The Indy has a link on its front page to the International Rescue Committee, the Missoulian's lead story today is a list of organizations accepting cash donations, and J-girl at 4&20 linked to other options. In addition to the usual mainstream media sources, we've been following the reports from a fellow alt weekly, Miami New Times. From the paper's report from Little Haiti, a Miami neighborhood, a day after the earthquake:

Inside Leandre's Unisex Beauty Salon, women sat under blow driers fixated on CNN.
Michele Previus, who hadn't spoken with her husband and 5- and 8-year-old daughters in 15 days, still hasn't been able to reach them in Gonaives, where they live. The 20-year-old has lived here for a year, working to support them. Just a month ago, she made plane reservations to visit Haiti, but the January 20 trip is now in jeopardy because of the tragedy. She said she still wants to go and isn't scared.

"I'm not feeling too lucky to be here because my family's over there," she said. "I wish I was there with them."

In other news, Wild Bill Schneider spoke with Rep. Denny Rehberg about his recent listening tour on Sen. Tester's Forest Jobs and Recreation Act. Today, Tester invited Rehberg to his office to "compare notes."

From Electric City, we learn that Great Falls, like Whitefish, is considering a zoning law that would prevent medical marijuana caregivers from opening storefronts. (Tribune story here.)

Gov. Brian Schweitzer and Newt Gingrich see eye-to-eye when it comes to money matters, and are now fast friends.

We wrote about Andy Smetanka's significant contributions to Guy Maddin's critically acclaimed My Winnipeg last May. Today we saw that Roger Ebert listed My Winnipeg as one of his 10 best films of the decade. Not year, decade. (For what it's worth, a friend recommended Ebert's personal site as "one of the smartest places on the Internet." He was right. It's more than movie reviews — although there are plenty of those. Many of Ebert's essays as he continues to fight cancer are incredibly moving and well written.)

The Historical Museum at Fort Missoula announced this week an effort to collect memories and memorabilia of the old Missoula Merc in light of Macy's closing. (For info, contact Curator of Collections Jason Bain at 728-3476, extension 2.) Bill Vaughn at Dark Acres has already offered his two cents, writing about his couch.

Lastly, our top three choices from the world of alt weeklies:
1. The Portland Mercury wonders why Oregon's jails are the biggest providers of mental health services in the state.
2. Indy Week reports that urban archery has hit Chapel Hill in hopes of curbing the city's deer population. (My goodness, how Missoula would LOVE an urban archery plan.)
3. The Boston Phoenix endorses Martha Coakley for Kennedy's Senate seat.

Oh, and the Indy made some industry news this week. Congrats, Lynne.

Candidates gone wild

Posted By on Fri, Jan 15, 2010 at 3:30 PM

Among the names already appearing on the state's candidate filing list are Ellie Hill in HD 94, Bryce Bennett in HD 92, Dick Barrett in HD 93, Betsy Hands in HD 99, Carolyn Squires in HD 96, Michele Reinhart in HD 97, Michael Sopuch in HD 98 and, as we learned the other day, Willis Curdy in HD 100. Sopuch is the only Republican, the rest are Dems. On the Senate side, Tom Facey and Teresa K. Henry (both Democrats) will square off in a primary for SD 42.

The state offers a full list of legislative and non-legislative filings online.

Not on the lists, so far: Tyler Gernant, a Missoula lawyer who's running against Dennis McDonald in the Democratic primary for Montana's seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, and Dean McGovern, who earlier announced a run for HD 92. Tyler's spokesperson Tashi Dondup says he will file in the next few weeks in hopes of maybe getting some of his own publicity. A call to McGovern has yet to be returned.

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