Make your voice heard — and help us make counting thousands of ballots easier — by voting online. You can find the link at the top of our homepage, or go directly here. (We do require an e-mail address and password to vote online, but nothing else.) Or, if you're feeling old-school, there's always the actual printed ballot inside this week's issue. (It'll be inserted every week through May 6.)
And mark your calendar now: Best of Missoula Party, Caras Park, Thursday, July 8, featuring drinks, food and music from top local bands.
May the best of Missoula win.
In 1955, the U.S. Government charged Dizzy Gillespie to be a jazz ambassador. Gillespie gathered a band and traveled to Southern Europe, the Middle East and South Asia to jam with other country’s bands, play for country leaders and mingle with locals to learn their customs. It wasn’t so rare back then to get government support for artists to go out on missions and share their work. Artists recognized as political ambassadors worthy of serious funding? It sort of seems like an alien concept now.
In the next few weeks you can attend a ridiculous number of jazz events in Missoula including Jazzoula, the Buddy DeFranco Festival and ongoing concerts with Daly Jazz and Jazz Martini night at the Badlander. But Jam Session: America’s Jazz Ambassadors Embrace the World is a must-see exhibit that gives some history about jazz that most people haven’t heard much about. That exhibit is showing at the Montana Museum of Art and Culture at UM’s PARTV Center.
The photos are pretty stunning: Louis Armstrong playing trumpet surrounded by children in Egypt. Duke Ellington and Paul Gonsalves smoking hookahs in Iraq. Gillespie playing for snakes in a market in Pakistan.
Check out the exhibit through Saturday, April 24. MMAC gallery hours are Tuesday—Thursday: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Friday—Saturday: 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Bob Minto, former attorney and current CEO of the ALPS Corporation in Missoula, announced this afternoon he hopes to turn the Florence into a premier downtown hotel, making the building a more prominent player in Missoula's Downtown Master Plan. Only last year, the Florence suffered the closure of Stoverud's Jewelers. Minto's goal is to preserve and restore the legacy of the historic Missoula location.
In a release from ALPS Corp., Minto stressed that he and his associates are only exploring the potential for a hotel inside the Florence at this time. Before he makes any commitments, Minto said he must get support from city officials, speak with current tenants of the building, and establish just how economically feasible the plan is.
"I am getting out in front of the rumors with the concept so that the public conversations can take place in the open and all the parties to the process will be able to work with facts rather than conjecture," Minto said.
ALPS Corp. will begin the exploratory process in earnest over the next few weeks, along with Missoula Osprey owner Mike Ellis. Minto added that he's worked toward the preservation of the Florence repeatedly since the early 1970s—when the building first closed as a hotel.
"Our commitment to downtown Missoula and its economic vibrancy remains unfettered," Minto said on behalf of those involved in the Florence hotel project. "Regardless of what purpose this building serves in Missoula’s future, it will remain a vital part of Downtown and a resource for the people of Missoula."
After five hours of emotional public comment on the anti-discrimination ordinance, the three-minute testimony of Taryn Nash, daughter of Not My Bathroom founder Tei Nash, managed to stand out.
Taryn drove from Spokane, where she's studying to be a physician's assistant, to come out to her father for the first time as a member of the LGBT community and admonish how he's portrayed the LGBT community during the ordinance debate. Not My Bathroom, "a coalition of several organizations and individuals" founded by Tei Nash and Dallas Erickson, has been the most vocal critic of the ordinance.
"He had no idea," said Taryn after her testimony. "That was the idea. When I was about the third person in line I saw that he got up and left."
Taryn, 25, was greeted by a small crowd of friends in the hallway outside council chambers after she spoke. She planned on leaving immediately to drive back to Spokane. She has class at 8 a.m.
"It wasn't hard for me to speak out because I'm absolutely passionate about this," Taryn said. "It was hard for me tonight, though, because my father is who he is. He's a strong voice in the community, and for that reason I've been intimidated. But I'm not scared anymore."
More on Taryn and the rest of this evening's historic vote tomorrow, and in Thursday's paper.
A tired Missoula City Council approved the state's first LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance with a 10-2 vote early Tuesday morning. After nearly seven hours of testimony, public comment and debate, a full crowd at council chambers erupted in cheers over the 1:45 a.m. vote.
Lyn Hellegaard and Renee Mitchell voted against the measure.
More in tomorrow's blog, and in Thursday's paper.
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): Photons work hard to get from the heart of the sun to the surface. They can take up to 160,000 years to complete the 400,000+-mile journey. And yet once Earth-bound photons get topside, they travel the 93-million-mile distance to our planet in just over eight minutes. I foresee a metaphorically similar situation unfolding in your life in the coming weeks. A development that has been a long time in the making will accelerate tremendously in its last phase of ripening.
Two humane societies announced today they're offering $2,500 rewards for solid leads in two separate poaching cases now under investigation by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks game wardens. The first case involves the killing of a male mountain lion in the West Fork area sometime in December or January. In the second case, wardens were led to a beheaded mule deer near Corvallis on Feb. 14.
FWP is already offering $1,000 rewards for information in each of the investigations, but the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust joined the effort in the hopes of seeing the poacher or poachers behind the acts arrested and convicted.
"The individual or individuals responsible for these callous poachings have an appalling disregard for both wildlife and the laws that exist to protect these species," Wendy Hergenraeder, Montana state director for the HSUS, said in a release from both humane societies this afternoon.
Poaching of Montana game, the focus of an Indy feature story earlier this year, remains one of FWP's top priorities in protecting the state's wild resources. However, with limited funding and law enforcement personnel, the agency relies heavily on tips from citizens in apprehending and prosecuting wildlife violators.
In this week's collection of odd news happenings: Chili pepper grenades, butt bras and band names.
Curses, Foiled Again
Elbert Lewis Thompson II, 20, was caught after fleeing a traffic stop in Vandergrift, Pa., then sent to a Pittsburgh hospital complaining of feeling sick and losing consciousness. He escaped from the hospital but was promptly arrested when police received a call from a bar that a man had walked in wearing a hospital gown with an intravenous needle still in his arm.
Right-to-die advocates with nonprofit Compassion and Choices hosted a teleconference this morning featuring Steve Johnson, a 72-year-old Helena resident with inoperable brain cancer. Johnson has asked doctors and state legislators to recognize the Montana Supreme Court's decision in late December and uphold his right to request life-ending medication.
In a release issued by Compassion and Choices today, Johnson said he was diagnosed with brain cancer eight years ago after passing out in a field on his ranch. He's since gone through surgery, radiation treatment and experimental new cancer treatments offered at Stanford University. Johnson stated he wants to take any measures possible to prolong his life but has accepted that his life is nearing an end.
"I was heartened when the Montana Supreme Court decided I have a choice on how I am allowed to die," Johnson said. "Unfortunately, not everyone agrees this will be my decision to make. Opponents in our legislature have already announced they will try to pass a law to take away my end-of-life choice, and yours. We should reject those efforts."
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