Monday, May 30, 2011

Extra, extra: In Other News, online

Posted By on Mon, May 30, 2011 at 9:00 AM

In this week's installment: A Helena teen texts a cop for pot.

Curses, Foiled Again
When Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton received a text message from a Helena, Mont., teenager asking to buy marijuana, Dutton realized the boy had misdialed his drug dealer’s number. He directed the texter to meet a detective posing as the dealer. When the texter arrived with a friend, the detective identified himself. One of the boys fainted. No citations were issued, but Dutton said they faced worse punishment from their parents. (Helena Independent Record)

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Happiest Hour: Al's & Vic's

Posted By on Fri, May 27, 2011 at 3:30 PM

In this week's Happiest Hour, bellying up at an old stand-by.

Atmosphere: Al’s and Vic’s has a classic pool hall ambience that gives you the feeling you’re walking into a scene from The Outsiders, expecting to see a greasers hustling the billiard tables in the back. The beauty of the bar is its simplicity, from the black-and-white pictures that cover the walls to the functioning payphone on the wall by the door.

Claim to Fame: According to the bar’s Myspace page, it’s the oldest Missoula establishment in its original location. Al and Vic Pepe built the bar in 1936, and even though the old watering hole has gone through a series of facelifts over the years, it’s a safe bet that much of the original character has been preserved.

Happy hour: The bar keeps a steady weekday clientele thanks in part to its drink specials. On Sundays, they advertise $1.50 Olympia with lime, and on Wednesdays the special is $1.75 Bud Light. The real favorite, however, is the $3 double well drinks on Monday and Tuesday that have helped win them the Independent readers’ pick for “Best Bar for a Stiff Pour” three years in a row.

What you’re drinking: “This is a whiskey bar,” said Winter Sanor, who has worked here for 10 years. If you don’t want to drink Jameson with the old guys at the end of the bar, grab a “bucket of beer”— four PBR cans served in a tin pail full of ice for $7, and find a table on the concrete patio out back.

Who you’re drinking with: Anyone from a crew of Roller Derby girls to well-dressed socialites fresh from dinner at the adjacent James Bar.

Where to find it: 119 West Alder St., at the far end of the downtown strip.

Happiest Hour celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, e-mail editor@missoulanews.com.

A Night with the Foo Fighters

Posted By on Fri, May 27, 2011 at 10:09 AM

Music reviewer Jason McMackin figures out who the fans are.

Foo_Fighters.jpg

by Jason McMackin

I’ve often wondered who listens to classic rock radio, but also who enjoys it. After last night’s rock and roll concert at the Adams Center I now know: Foo Fighters fans.

Take away the modern stage accoutrements—a floor lit from below with video and vertigo-inducing lights, three-sided LED panels hung from the ceiling—and you essentially have a Van Hagar concert circa 1989. Dave Grohl and guitarist Chris Shifflet traded hot licks (Grohl doing so from an elevated perch at the back of the house, which, quite frankly was totally sweet). There was a drum solo. Hits were played. Charming ringleader Grohl enticed the crowd to sing along and rewarded them with praise when they did, “Why did we wait so long to come here and play a concert?” he asked, “If we knew it was this kick-ass, we would have been here 16 years ago." High fives all-around! And like a performance from the bad old days, the Foos played for about two hours. Impressive? Yes, but like most of their songs a touch too long. The boys seem to revel in 1970s rock and roll shtick, barely making fun of it, mostly enjoying the hell out of it. I never realized how meta the Foos were.

Like it or not, FF knows what the people want; they want that old time rock and roll, maybe even their parent’s old time rock and roll. The mom with husband and two tweens in tow who sat near me summed up it up, “This reminds me of when I saw Pearl Jam here in college.”

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A day in the field with the bear guys

Posted By on Thu, May 26, 2011 at 1:04 PM

The story “You’re next” pokes at the question of grizzly delisting in Montana and how the latest political turbulence around the Endangered Species Act complicated life for the bears. But in the course of covering the story, photo editor Chad Harder and I got an invite from Jamie Jonkel of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to tag along for a day of bear field research.

Jamie pulled into the Bonner gas station shortly after 10 a.m. last Saturday. He had a dead deer in the back of his rig and an 80-pound black bear riding rear-guard in a large culvert trap. As his colleague Eric Graham filled the truck’s tank, Jamie strolled over to greet Ryan Alter, an enterprising Missoula inventor who’s created a number of gadgets for state biologists over the years. Today Jamie and Eric planned to check out a high-tech culvert trap Ryan had put together and placed in a wooded glade near Lincoln. But first, the black bear.

Slideshow
Day in the life
Day in the life Day in the life Day in the life Day in the life Day in the life Day in the life Day in the life Day in the life

Day in the life

By Alex Sakariassen

Click to View 35 slides

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Steve Bullock is an 800-pound gorilla

Posted By on Wed, May 25, 2011 at 1:30 PM

So says the Washington Post when listing the 2012 Montana governor race as the nation's third most-likely to switch from Dem control to the GOP. (H/T to MT Cowgirl for noticing this first.)

Chris Cillizza of "The Fix" blog says the third-place ranking comes with a caveat:

State Attorney General Steve Bullock (D) is the 800-pound gorilla in the race and most smart Democrats now expect him to run. If he does, he gives Democrats a real chance of holding onto the Montana governorship for 12 straight years. Republicans already have a crowded field with former Rep. Rick Hill as well as former state Sens. Corey Stapleton and Ken Miller among others. Whoever winds up as the GOP nominee will likely benefit from the likelihood that the Republican presidential nominee will easily carry the state.

Politico, meanwhile, has the race listed as its second most competitive, also listing Bullock's expected candidacy as one of the driving factors.

Longtime Montana Democratic consultant Barrett Kaiser said there's a reason the Republican Governors Association is worried about Bullock.

"He's the complete Montana package. Good-looking, but not slick. Well-spoken, yet folksy, good name ID, solid record and can raise a pile of cash. Couple that with Rick Hill's personal issues and a contentious primary and you have a very competitive open seat," said Kaiser.

Speculation about Bullock running for governor started years ago. In fact, the Indy even wondered back in 2009 if his friendship with Missoula Mayor John Engen could factor into the ticket.

Your future, a little early

Posted By on Wed, May 25, 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): “Weaseling out of things is important to learn,” said cartoon anti-hero Homer Simpson. “It’s what separates us from the animals—except the weasel.” I normally don’t share that sentiment. My standard advice is to face up to challenging situations and take responsibility for the part you played in creating them. But I’m going to rebel against my custom this week and endorse Homer’s approach, Aries. You may be on the verge of getting sucked into a mess that you had virtually no role in creating. Either that, or you’ll be asked to carry out a mission that is irrelevant to your long-term goals. In either case, you have cosmic permission to weasel out.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Winner, winner, chicken dinner

Posted By on Tue, May 24, 2011 at 10:00 AM

The Society of Professional Journalists held its annual awards banquet last weekend, and we're proud to announce the Indy earned two first-place prizes.

Associate Editor Matthew Frank took top honors in the field of Business Reporting for "Green Rush," his story on the state's booming medical marijuana industry.

Staff Writer Alex Sakariassen won the "Sports Reporting" category for "A Call for Help," his in-depth look at search and rescue's challenges with Missoula's growing number of backcountry adventurers.

The northwest regional SPJ awards are open to publications in Montana, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska. The Indy competes in the "Alternative Weeklies" category against newspapers like Willamette Week, Seattle Weekly and the Pacific Northwest Inlander.

In the daily newspaper competition, the Missoulian took one first-place award for photographer Kurt Wilson's portfolio. Wilson also won a third place for his falling bear photo (you know the one) and sports columnist Bill Speltz won third for Sports Feature Story.

You can view the full list of winners here (PDF).

Monday, May 23, 2011

Extra, extra: In Other News, online

Posted By on Mon, May 23, 2011 at 9:00 AM

In this week's installment: pet alligators, lawn mower chucking, and an iPhone app saves a ducking.

Curses, Foiled Again
Matthew Dale Hudleston, 33, handed a bank teller in Foley, Ala., a note announcing, “I have a gun,” and detailing his demands. He left with $9,945 but returned awhile later for his hold-up note, which he’d left behind. A Baldwin County sheriff’s deputy spotted Hudleston in a stolen vehicle, chased it until it overturned, and recovered the stolen money, the hold-up note and Hudleston. (Mobile’s Press-Register)

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Watch a local TV news anchor ride down Snowbowl on a unicycle

Posted By on Fri, May 20, 2011 at 3:00 PM

KPAX's Mark Holyoak is a self-described "muni-ac," which is short for a mountain unicycle fanatic. He owns seven unicycles, rode a unicycle in the recent Bike for Shelter and, lucky for us, writes about this passion at length on his blog.

Last summer, he and his son tested their muni skills by riding down Snowbowl. Holyoak just recently posted the video online, and you can see the video below. "We later paid the price because we were e-x-t-r-e-m-e-l-y sore for four days to follow," he writes, "but what a great memory."

Happiest Hour: Deano's Casino

Posted By on Fri, May 20, 2011 at 2:30 PM

This weekend you want to party for a cause. Right? Our happiest hour this week leads us to a special, sometimes forgotten spot called Deano's Casino. This Saturday at the casino you can check out draGAGA, a drag extravaganza celebrating Lady Gaga, with tips and raffle to benefit Pride Foundation. After a high-octane weekend, you can hit Deano's again on Wednesday for Hump Night Theater's magic show, which ends at a reasonable 9 p.m. Happiest of times!

Atmosphere: The cozy, dimly-lit casino is nestled in a gas station travel plaza off Airway Blvd. It’s populated with soft, high-backed chairs made out of sofa material. With a carpeted seating area and pool table nook, it feels like a cross between a friend’s basement rec room and a 1980s hotel lounge.

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What you’re drinking: The specials change from night to night, but often include $5 domestic pitchers. Once a month, on Saturdays, Fuse productions puts on a drag show and, according to Johnny Spritzer—the current drag show prince and Deano’s bartender—vodka is the choice drink. “After a drag show there are usually 4 or 5 empty bottles of vodka,” Spritzer says.

Why you go: Besides the drag shows, Deano's has Wednesday night entertainment from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Aaron Broxterman plays music (including Irish drinking songs), Davol White exhibits his oil paintings, there’s sometimes free pizza, and Evan Disney puts on a magic show—all for $5. Disney calls it Hump Night Theatre, and he uses coins, cards, stuffed bunnies, and other everyday objects to do impressive tricks. Our favorite: Queens in the Kitchen, which involves peanut butter and jelly.

Who you’re drinking with: Regulars. Patrons include karaoke singers (Hump Night Theater is followed by combat karaoke), LGBTQ community supporters, and lovers of magic.

How to find it: 5336 W. Harrier, off the I-90 exit to Airport Blvd.

Happiest Hour celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, e-mail editor@missoulanews.com.

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