We’re typically purists when it comes to beer. We like our ale dark and straight up. Skip the veggies and mollusks, please. However, while state Sen. Jim Shockley’s citation this week for drinking canned red beer while driving inspired the Republican to step down from his position chairing the legislative committee drafting tougher DUI laws, it inspired us to devote this week’s Happiest Hour to his beverage of choice.
It appears time has finally caught up with “The Corner,” the posh condos on the corner of South Higgins Avenue and Brooks Street that, after years of construction, were listed for sale as the local high-end real estate market was tanking.
Last week, project developer and architect Eric Hefty filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, as did his company, The Corner Development, LLC.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
The skies are gray, the work week's been long and our tired minds are screaming for an escape that only a frosty pint and a flat-screen can provide. Given that NFL season is waning, and that we're so very close to downtown here at the office, we decided to go with an oldie and a goodie this week. See you at the taps.
This week: The Missoula Club
Atmosphere: Arguably one of Missoula’s go-to watering holes for University of Montana football fans, the Mo Club boasts wall upon wall of Griz memorabilia, from team photos and coach portraits to signed footballs and helmets. No surprise really that the bar has inherited so much material; the Mo Club’s been around since 1890. If you want a spirited game day experience, or the chance to rub shoulders with past and present Griz players, this is the place to be.
Who’s serving: Jace Palmer is a familiar face in these parts. Besides his Mo Club career, he played as a defensive end for the Griz from 2005 to 2009. He racked up 5.5 sacks in his final season, as well as one interception, making him the perfect bartender for the regular lunch crowd of shop-talking NFL fans.
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.)
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