Friday, December 17, 2010

Snow reports meet the modern age

Posted By on Fri, Dec 17, 2010 at 2:26 PM

Montana ski enthusiast Dave Evans launched a public beta test this week of a new text messaging service aimed at helping powder hounds throughout the region answer that important early morning question: "Is the snow deep enough, or should I stay in bed?" Skiers and snowboarders in five states and counting can now receive snow reports for individual resorts via text, eliminating the need to strip off the covers and open up the laptop.

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Through his newly established website, skiingonthebrain.com, Evans is now offering snow condition updates for numerous resorts in California, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and, of course, Montana (Discovery, Lost Trail and Snowbowl are on the list). Similar services are in the works for Alaska, Idaho, Washington and Oregon. The service is completely free, and Evans says reports are updated every day by 7 a.m. at the latest.

In other ski news, Discovery is hosting a fundraiser this Sunday for The Max Wave initiative (an effort to build a second kayak wave in Missoula in honor of Max Lentz, a local surfer who died on West Virginia's Gauley River in 2007). Day passes are only $28, with $10 from each adult pass going to benefit The Max. Wondering how great the snow is? Text 612-217-7204.

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Dems drop omnibus bill, and Tester's forest bill with it

Posted By on Fri, Dec 17, 2010 at 9:43 AM

Just as quickly as Sen. Jon Tester's Forest Jobs and Recreation Act was revived earlier this week, it died—at least for the foreseeable future—last night, a casualty of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's decision amid bitter Republican backlash to pull the $1.2 trillion spending measure that had contained it.

A statement from Tester spokesman Aaron Murphy: “Partisan politics shot down this measure last night, but it won't keep Jon from creating Montana jobs—through middle-class tax relief, strengthening family agriculture and small businesses, and working together with Montanans on bipartisan plans like his forest jobs bill.”

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Your future, a little early

Posted By on Wed, Dec 15, 2010 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): I vividly remember seeing singer Diamanda Galas in concert. Though classically trained, she didn't confine herself to mellifluous melodies and elegant tones. She was a whirlwind of elemental sound, veering from animalistic bellows to otherworldly chants to operatic glossolalia. It was all very entertaining, and often enjoyable. The skill with which she shaped the sound as it escaped her body was prodigious. My companion and I agreed that "she made your ears convulse and your eyes writhe and your skin prickle—but in a good way." How would you feel about inviting some similar experiences into your life, Aries? The astrological omens suggest this would be an excellent time to seek the rowdy healing that only disciplined wildness can provide.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sen. Tester's forest bill may survive after all

Posted By on Tue, Dec 14, 2010 at 3:26 PM

Sen. Jon Tester's controversial Forest Jobs and Recreation Act has been lumped into a massive $1.1 trillion, 1,924-page omnibus spending bill Democrats hope to pass by year's end.

Actually, it's not called that anymore. The bill's now titled the "Montana Forest Jobs and Restoration Initiative." Here's a PDF. The initiative begins on page 893.

“Jon’s pleased that his Senate colleagues agree it’s time to put the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act up for a vote," spokesman Aaron Murphy said in a statement. "This is just another step in what has been a year-and-a-half long process to create jobs in Montana. Nothing is final until this bill is passed by the full Congress and is signed into law.”

Tester's office says the Senate is expected to vote on the bill sometime between Thursday and Saturday.

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Extra, extra: In Other News, online

Posted By on Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 9:00 AM

In this week's installment: Restraining orders against Jesus (and Tim Tebow), exploding escargots and The Supreme Foie Gras burger.

Curses, Foiled Again
Randy King, 53, admitted stealing an antique wrought-iron fence from a house in Duluth, Minn., after police confronted him with the evidence: the fence itself, which King had installed around his own house, a few blocks away. Officers came looking for him because the victim told them King had tried to buy her fence the month before.

Police arriving on the scene of a hotel robbery in Lewiston, Idaho, needed mere minutes to track down suspect Donald Mosley Jr., 40. He was next door, at a bar named The Alibi.

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Missoula produces more Peace Corps volunteers per capita than anywhere

Posted By on Wed, Dec 8, 2010 at 5:30 PM

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Perhaps it’s a reflection of our altruistic, vegan, Birkenstock-wearing population that Missoula this year topped the Peace Corps’ list of metropolitan areas with the highest number of volunteers per capita anywhere in the nation. According to data released by the Corps today, Missoula beat out other well-known peacenik havens such as second-ranked Burlington, Va., and third-place Boulder, Colo.

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Snowbowl troubles spark "skier safety and protection bill"

Posted By on Wed, Dec 8, 2010 at 2:45 PM

Missoula's backyard winter playground, Montana Snowbowl, made scores of local skiers and boarders happy with an early open Nov. 27, but repeated lift malfunctions and long lift ticket lines have rekindled the usual frustrations with our local mountain. Missoulian sports writer Nick Lockridge griped about it in a letter posted to the Montana Snow Sports blog last week, and a member of our staff reported waiting up to an hour to pick up a season pass.

Saturday brought further pains to eager powder hounds when the Griz chair shut down for the second time in as many days, this time for over an hour. The delay was enough to drive Missoula's Rep. Betsy Hands, who experienced the delays firsthand, to request legislation addressing the issue. The Montana skier safety and protection bill, as Hands has dubbed it, would offer skiers refunds for a ski lift rendered inoperable for one hour or more.

We're fairly certain anyone caught at the base on Saturday will agree: justice at last.

The gun rights champions of 2011

Posted By on Wed, Dec 8, 2010 at 11:40 AM

Two weeks back, the Indy offered up a preview of the Missoula Shooting Sports Association's 2011 legislative agenda and some of the more radical proposals MSSA President Gary Marbut hopes to see pass through the session. Now the champions of the MSSA's agenda are coming out of the woodwork. A quick glance through the current list of legislative drafts has helped put some names to the issues highlighted in the MSSA's agenda.

No surprise that Sen. Joe Balyeat is already lining up with the gun lobby for 2011. The Republican from Bozeman tackled a number of hunting bills in 2009—including a successful provision for nonresident college student combination game licenses and a not-so-successful revision to the state's wolf policy. He's standing tall with the MSSA once more this year, requesting a bill straight off the association's agenda to monitor and control diseases among wolves.

Sen. Greg Hinkle, R-Thompson Falls, has also made an impressive push on the pro-gun rights front so far, requesting no fewer than 10 pieces of legislation specifically addressing MSSA concerns. Hinkle, a familiar name at the Indy, is championing the gun lobby cause on everything from an expansion of concealed weapon rights to the establishment of a state Home Guard under the direct command of the governor. At this point, Hinkle's definitely heading the charge sounded by Marbut this fall.

Pogie over at Intelligent Discontent appears to be starting a legislative run-down of his own in advance of the session. We'll continue to keep an eye on gun lobby developments and champions as the legislature prepares to convene Jan. 3.

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Your future, a little early

Posted By on Wed, Dec 8, 2010 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 coming weeks, life will beguile you with secrets and riddles but probably not reveal as much as you’d like. I think this is an opportunity, not a problem. In my opinion, your task isn't to press for shiny clarity, but rather to revel in the luxuriant mysteries. Let them confer their blessings on you through the magic of teasing and tantalizing. And what is the nature of those blessings? To enlighten your irrational mind, stimulate your imagination, teach you patience, and nurture your connection with eternity.

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A three-letter word for beer

Posted By on Tue, Dec 7, 2010 at 7:30 PM

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You know you've made it big when The New York Times crossword puzzle uses you in a clue. That's exactly what happened in the Saturday, Nov. 27 puzzle, written by Xan Vongsathorn, when it called for a three-letter word in "40 Across." The hint read: "Moose Drool or Trout Slayer."

The answer, of course, is "ale." Both Moose Drool Brown Ale and Trout Slayer (a filtered wheat ale) are brewed by Big Sky.

Considering those beers aren't distributed east of Michigan, how many East Coasters do you think figured this one out? A better question: How the heck did it make it into the puzzle? Just guessing, but Vongsathorn happens to be a college student in California. Big Sky beers are much easier to find there.

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