In this week's installment: Giant African Land Snails, a dumpling death, and an Indian passenger train travels 400 miles in the wrong direction.
Curses, Foiled Again
Otis Belicario Keene, 34, admitted stealing $300 worth of items from the base exchange store where he worked at Hurlburt Field in Mary Esther, Fla., when loss prevention officers confronted him after he wore one of the items, a $7.99 watch, to work. A colleague recognized it as among the stolen items. (Fort Walton Beach’s Northwest Florida Daily News)
Top news links, courtesy of Headwaters News.
Montana senator to introduce Rocky Mountain Heritage Act
On Friday, U.S. Sen. Max Baucus announced that he would introduce the Rocky Mountain Heritage Act, which would provide additional protections for 275,000 acres along Montana's Rocky Mountain Front, including adding 68,000 acres of wilderness to the Bob Marshall Wilderness.
Great Falls Tribune; Oct. 29
Fatal bear attacks in Northern Rockies signal need for better education
Wildlife officials in the Northern Rockies thought the "bear aware" education program was working until this year, when two fatal maulings occurred in Yellowstone National Park, and agencies are now considering how to expand that program and ensure members of the public get the message.
Idaho Statesman (AP); Oct. 31
Ready? Here we go:
First, if you haven't received your mailed ballot yet, there may be a problem. Call the Elections Office at 258-4751 for help. Don't freak out yet, though. Late registration is available at any time right up through the close of polls on Election Day, which is Nov. 8.
You can mail your ballot back or hand-deliver it to the Elections Office at the Missoula County Fairgrounds — just do so by Nov. 8.
If you want to track your ballot to make sure it's been received, do so here.
Candidate endorsements and interviews
The Indy endorsements came out today and included, for some, a few surprises.
Missoula Conservation Voters lists its endorsements here.
Yesterday we posted a link to a Boise Weekly story about the proposed Scotchman Peaks Wilderness. It's an important story about an effort to preserve a beautiful area in northwestern Montana and parts of Idaho. At the heart of that effort is Friends of the Scotchman Peaks Wilderness (FSPW), the nonprofit featured in the Boise Weekly story.
Members of that group emailed us last night with some additional info on the issue and to reiterate one point: there's significant support for this proposal.
Phil Hough, FSPW's executive director, wrote an op-ed that we agreed to post here as a complement to the story. You can read it below. And here's another link to the original story.
Top news links, courtesy of Headwaters News.
Family of Wyoming mauling victim sues grizzly bear study team
The wife and daughter of the 70-year-old botanist who was fatally mauled by a grizzly bear in June of 2010 after the bear had been captured, treated and released by a team of researchers in the Shoshone National Forest in Wyoming, have filed a wrongful death suit against the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team, and are seeking $5 million.
Jackson Hole Daily; Oct. 27
Colorado begins issuing medical-marijuana business licenses
Colorado has issued 11 medical-marijuana business licenses, making the state the first in the nation to do so.
Denver Post; Oct. 27
Boise Weekly recently published a feature story as much about Montana as Idaho. "Uphill Battle: A proposed North Idaho wilderness hangs on bureaucracy, politics and old habits," written by Zach Hagadone, covers Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness and its efforts to preserve 88,000 acres along the Idaho/Montana border. We're talking Lincoln and Sanders counties, up near Troy and Noxon.
The future of the Scotchman Peaks area is similarly precarious. Covering 88,000 acres, the proposed wilderness is managed by the U.S. Forest Service and sits at a nexus of competing interests and ideologies. While the western portion of the area is in Idaho, the bulk of the mountainous terrain lies across the border in Montana. Three counties—one in Idaho and two in Montana—would host the wilderness, and it straddles both the Idaho Panhandle and Kootenai national forests.
Within those jurisdictions are groups seeking to protect wildlife, promote recreation and preserve hunting and fishing opportunities. At the same time, there are mining interests, depressed rural economies that would like to expand timber harvesting, and many residents who would rather the federal government get out of the land-owning business all together.
Hagadone uses the rugged ascent up Scotchman as a metaphor for the fight to preserve the land. (Not unlike Noël Phillips, who used the same ascent as a metaphor for relationships in a 2010 Headwall story—the first time I read about the peaks.) As Hagadone writes, "the path climbs into the forest at a 20 percent grade for the first half mile or so. This is the part that veteran hikers warn the newbies about. It's easy to lose heart—there are more than three more miles to go, climbing an average of 1,000 feet per mile." His literal boots-on-the-ground reporting will give you a good sense of the area, and why so many are invested in its future.
You can read the full story here.
U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg appeared on "Fox & Friends" yesterday to continue his impassioned fight for keeping a Jesus statue on a Whitefish ski hill. The segment ends with Fox producers playing U2's "In God's Country." For some, I imagine this is a divine union. For others, maybe not so much.
Pat Williams served nine terms as a U.S. representative from Montana. After his retirement, he returned to Montana and is currently teaching at the University of Montana. He occasionally writes op-ed columns, and recently submitted this one on the president's decision to return U.S. troops home from Iraq by the end of the year.
The President has ordered our troops home from Iraq by year’s end, but it was President Bush who first announced this withdrawal date of December 31, 2011. President Obama is enforcing that timetable despite the opposition from some.
George W. Bush is the person who ordered us into the war in Iraq and now we need to consider the benefits and costs of that fateful decision.
First, Americans remember that we were led to war by falsehoods. Again and again President Bush and his top officials, including Secretary of State Colin Powell and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, mislead the American people about Iraq’s supposed possession of “weapons of mass destruction.” Why and how we got into this misbegotten war is critical and we must not forget the lies told from on high, which continue to eat away at our nation’s body politic.
Three things to get you ready for tonight's show featuring the recent Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame inductee.
1. The Russell resurgence
For most, Russell is best known for his work in the late '60s and early '70s. A whole new generation, however, met him through Elton John. The two collaborated on The Union, a double album produced by T-Bone Burnett that reached as high as No. 3 on last year's Billboard charts. They even played "SNL" together and were interviewed on "The View." Here's the background of that album.
2. Old-school Russell
We're all for career second-acts (third acts?), but Russell's influential old-school stuff shouldn't be forgotten. Like this 1970 clip of him doing "Delta Lady."
3. This will be at least the second most-popular Russell performance of the week
Last year Russell and Elton John played at the annual Bridge School benefit concert that's hosted by Neil Young and attended by a who's-who of musical talent. You can catch a clip of it below. That performance, along with dozens of others, was released on a 3 DVD/2 CD set Monday as part of the benefit's 25th anniversary. Others featured in the set: Paul McCartney, Metallica, Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen, Brian Wilson, the Who, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, R.E.M., Simon and Garfunkel, Patti Smith, Tom Waits, and, of course, Young. The Bridge School is a nonprofit run by Neil and Pegi Young, and dedicated to students with severe speech and physical impairments.
Tickets for tonight's show start at $31.50 and can be purchased through GrizTix.
Top news links, courtesy of Headwaters News.
SMU releases new map of geothermal resources in the U.S.
Google.org funded a study by Southern Methodist University's Geothermal Laboratory that resulted in a new map of the nation's geothermal resources that have the potential to produce more than 3 million megawatts of power, about 10 times that currently produced by coal-fired power plants in the U.S.
UPI.com; Oct. 26
Hearing today in lawsuit over Montana's plan that lets Yellowstone bison roam
Park County and the Park County Stockgrowers filed a lawsuit to overturn a deal signed earlier this year between Montana and federal agencies and several tribes, that allows bison to move freely out of Yellowstone National Park onto some lands in the Gallatin Basin during the winter, and today in Livingston, state District Court Judge Wayne Phillips will preside over an initial hearing in that lawsuit.
Great Falls Tribune (AP); Oct. 26
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