Friday, January 21, 2011

Weird week in wolf news

Posted By on Fri, Jan 21, 2011 at 2:30 PM

Wolves always make news in these parts, and for good reason. Just this week, there was the gaggle of Stevi landowners perturbed over wolves allegedly forcing elk herds into their pastures and hay fields. There was also a report that wolves are to blame for low elk numbers in Yellowstone. And then there was the Montana House voting 99-1 in favor of a resolution to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list.

But those local stories don't raise eyebrows quite as high as two international wolf stories also out this week.

Just consider the Guardian's profile of Shaun Ellis, a Brit who, inspired by Idaho naturalist and Nez Perce tribal member Levi Holt, decided to live with the same wolf pack in the wild for over a year.

I was only ever truly scared on two occasions: once, when all the wolves were feeding, I ate the wrong piece of meat — there is a strict hierarchy of who eats what part of an animal — and one of the wolves leapt on me in seconds because of my mistake. He took my entire face in his mouth and started to squeeze hard. I could feel the bones in my jaw begin to bend, and in that split-second I realised how vulnerable I was and how restrained they were most of the time.

Then there's the report of a Norwegian boy who avoided a confrontation with four wolves on his way home by ... blasting Creed. According to Der Spiegel, and later reported by tech blog Gizmodo, the teenager first thought he'd run across some neighborhood dogs. When he realized they were wolves, he pulled the ear buds out of his smart phone and, naturally, turned up some cheesy heavy metal.

Eikrem said he was able to drive away the wolves by playing the song "Overcome" by the American hard-rock band Creed. "They didn't really get scared," Walter said. "They just turned around and simply trotted away."

The lesson here, apparently, is that Stevi landowners should really consider broadcasting more of this:

Ch-ch-ch-changes

Posted By on Fri, Jan 21, 2011 at 1:30 PM

You may have noticed a few changes to the Indy masthead in this week's issue. Here's a brief review of what's happening for the four or five people who tracks these things.

Yours truly has moved from the editor-in-chief position to a contributing editor role. That means I'll be regularly posting to the blog, occasionally writing for the paper and assisting in some editing responsibilities. The move's been in the works for a while, and allows me to spend more time at home and to pursue some other writing opportunities. After six years with the Indy I'm grateful for a chance to stay connected with the paper. You can still contact me here.

The search for a new editor, by the way, is ongoing.

Meanwhile, award-winning staff writer Matthew Frank moves up to the role of associate editor. Matthew will still write, but he's assumed some additional editing responsibilities that will continue even when the new editor is hired. You can reach Matthew here, or by calling the newsroom at 406-543-6609.

Lastly, beyond the masthead, be sure to check out the Indy's enhanced presence on Facebook. If you "like" the paper, you'll be notified of featured stories, new blog posts and other important announcements.

That's all. Happy Friday.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Crossroads: Links regarding the heavy haul

Posted By on Thu, Jan 20, 2011 at 2:52 PM

This week the Independent takes an in-depth look at the heavy haul proposed by big oil corporations Imperial Oil and ConocoPhillips, a pair of transportation projects that could well put Idaho and Montana on the map as a permanent industrial corridor for oversized loads. The Idaho Transportation Department approved the permits for ConocoPhillips this Tuesday, and opposition groups including Missoula's All Against the Haul are now planning nonviolent, family friendly demonstrations for when the loads roll through Lolo and Missoula. We'll have more details on that later, but for now here's a list of links pertinent to the current feature.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Queen City News suspends publication

Posted By on Wed, Jan 19, 2011 at 1:56 PM

Don't look for Helena's free weekly paper in the Capitol today.

As first reported by the Helena Independent-Record, and later confirmed by the Indy, the Queen City News has notified the Montana Newspaper Association (MNA) that its suspended publication. MNA Executive Director John Barrows declined to elaborate on the circumstances.

Queen City News took a scheduled holiday break, but did not publish issues on Jan. 5, Jan. 12 or today. The I-R reported that editor-publisher Cathy Siegner moved out of the paper's downtown offices, but would not comment on QCN's future.

“When I have something to say, I’ll say it,” she reportedly said.

The Indy left a message for Seigner on one of two numbers listed on the Queen City News website. The other number has been disconnected.

Siegner's weekly column, Helena Handbag, closely covered the Montana Legislature, making the timing of the development particularly unfortunate.

The Queen City News lists a circulation of approximately 8,500, making it the fourth largest weekly newspaper in the state.

Your future, a little early

Posted By on Wed, Jan 19, 2011 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): The age-old question comes up for review once again: Which should predominate, independence or interdependence? The answer is always different, of course, depending on the tenor of the time and the phase of your evolution. But in the coming weeks, at least, my view is that you should put more emphasis on interdependence. I think you’ll reap huge benefits from wholeheartedly blending your energies with allies whose power and intelligence match yours.

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Extra, extra: In Other News, online

Posted By on Mon, Jan 17, 2011 at 9:00 AM

In this week's installment: a cat litter melee, clowns on the commode and a blizzard thwarts a suicide.

Curses, Foiled Again
Police said two men making their getaway after an armed robbery in Orange County, Fla., tried to distract authorities from pursuing them by reporting a carjacking. The vehicle they described, however, was the same white Honda Accord they were driving. Law enforcement officers spotted it and arrested the suspects, charging them with filing a false report in addition to the armed robbery charge. (Orlando’s WFTV-TV)

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Friday, January 14, 2011

Watch someone eat Jeannette Rankin's head

Posted By on Fri, Jan 14, 2011 at 1:48 PM

No, really. That's what happened when the family at the center of Showtime's sitcom "Weeds" traveled to a county fair in Montana and entered a competitive eating contest. Characters Andy and Silas Botwin get stoned before having to chow down busts of Joe Montana and "Jeanette" Rankin (the placard's misspelled), respectively, made of butter. The Botwins hope to win an RV.

Other busts include Lakers coach and Montana off-season resident Phil Jackson and Ron Fitzgerald, an executive producer of the series who has ties to Missoula.

Brief warning: It takes three minutes to get to Rankin's noggin, there's some NSFW language and you'll also be subjected to some other impressions of a Montana county fair.

(Thanks to reader Ben for the link.)

How alternative media covered the Tucson shooting

Posted By on Fri, Jan 14, 2011 at 1:15 PM

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George Ochenski wrote about the assassination attempt on U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in this week's column, and almost every news outlet in the country has touched on the subject. But if you're interested in reading more from Tucson proper, check out the work done on the scene by Tucson Weekly.

The alternative paper covered the tragedy from every conceivable angle—and continues to do so online. There's a newsy recap, reactions and remembrances, more reaction and reverberations, a look at Jared Loughner and the context of Sheriff Clarence Dupnik's remarks. The paper's blog continues to provide updates.

In an interview with the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies Tucson Weekly editor Jimmy Boegle explained how the paper provided its coverage, particularly in the hours before cable news channels and the local daily jumped in.

The paper's first announcement went out on its Facebook and Twitter accounts at 11:32 a.m., "Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords shot in Tucson this morning," which linked to its blog, Daily Dispatch. Boegle and staff decided to keep updating that initial blog post throughout the day, rather than create separate posts for each new bit of information. That proved useful when others retweeted that first status update or shared the link hours later.

Boegle says a full three hours passed before Tucson's Daily Star carried any coverage about the shooting on its website. He adds the paper's coverage since then has been outstanding.

In the end, he says it was "the four most emotionally draining days of my journalism career." He also added this defense of his hometown:

"Everyone has this perception that Arizona must be a really terrible place, and that offends me. Look, SB 1070 is a disgrace and we came out against it from the start. But Tucson is a great place, just because some fuckhead committed this horrible crime, it doesn't change that. I mean look at all the great stories that are coming out, people like Daniel Hernandez. That's what we're about. Anyone who dares to bash Tucson has to answer to me."

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Your future, a little early

Posted By on Wed, Jan 12, 2011 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): What empire are you building, Aries? What master plan are you in the midst of carrying out? As you gaze out upon your realm, are you content with the way it’s evolving? Judging from the current astrological omens, I’d say it’s an excellent time to ponder questions like those. And if your inventory reveals that you’re missing some pieces of the big picture’s puzzle, I suggest you set out on a quest to locate them.

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Monday, January 10, 2011

Ski area tragedies continue

Posted By on Mon, Jan 10, 2011 at 2:25 PM

In last week's issue of the Independent, we expressed our concerns for the safety of our fellow snowsports enthusiasts following a string of on-area ski fatalities. Each story came as a cautionary tale for the potential dangers we face both inside and outside the ski area boundaries. But the season had more tragedy in store for us this past weekend, with two deaths on the slopes at Whitefish Mountain Resort.

The Flathead Beacon reports that a 29-year-old probation and parole officer from Kalispell was found buried in a tree well Saturday evening after friends reported him missing in an off-piste portion of the mountain off the T-Bar 2 lift. Emergency responders attempted to resuscitate the snowboarder, but he was later pronounced dead at the Kalispell Regional Medical Center. Also at Whitefish on Saturday, a 68-year-old man reportedly suffered a heart attack in the middle of a ski run and was pronounced dead at Whitefish's North Valley Hospital.

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