Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Your future, a little early

Posted By on Wed, Dec 28, 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): In North America, a farmer who grows wheat gets only five percent of the money earned by selling a loaf of bread made from his crop. When my band recorded an album for MCA, our contract called for us to receive just seven percent of the net profits. I encourage you to push for a much bigger share than that for the work you do in 2012. It will be an excellent time to raise the levels of respect you have for your own gifts, skills, and products—and to ask for that increased respect, as well.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Former Missoula homeless man nearly done with 1,460 mile march

Posted By on Tue, Dec 27, 2011 at 10:20 AM

Stephen Millhouse left Missoula on Aug. 3 and started walking south toward Los Angeles to raise money for programs addressing homelessness and hunger. Despite a fractured foot, countless blisters, and the usual weather issues, he's nearly reached his destination. As of yesterday, he was in Ventura, Calif.

Millhouse chose the route because he's been personally homeless in both Missoula and L.A. He wrote the following in a press release before starting his journey:

As an actor, I’ve worked hard to get inside a character’s skin and walk around in it, including that of Bob Ewell, the racist villain of “Mockingbird” a decade ago for the Montana Repertory Theatre. In real life, I’ve worn the shoes of a U.S. Marine, a Postal Service letter carrier, a Missoula County Sheriff’s deputy, a clinical therapist and a custodian.

I’ve also been homeless at two points in my life, once in Los Angeles and once in Missoula. I am grateful for the programs that helped sustain me. I understand personally and profoundly the importance of Missoula’s Poverello Center and Valor House, which houses homeless Veterans in Missoula. I also know what it means to receive federal food assistance programs (food stamps.) I’ve learned humility and compassion, as I believe anyone would if they had the same experience. In short, when it comes to the homeless, I know what it means to walk in their shoes.

He fractured his foot in Idaho (see the X-ray on the right). In an interview with the The Santa Maria Times he explained how a doctor at a VA clinic in Martinez bought him a walking boot so he could continue his march.

“Throughout I have been so amazed and humbled by the people — ‘Road Angels,’” Millhouse told the paper. “People will stop you and give you a sandwich, buy you a cup of coffee or pray for you.”

That generosity and awareness is why Millhouse is making the walk. He hopes to raise one penny per mile of the trip ($14.60) from enough people to reach his goal of $1 million.

Computer troubles have made updating the website difficult, but you can still follow his progress on the My One Man March Facebook page. At his current pace of four miles per day, he'll reach L.A.'s Skid Row in just more than two weeks.

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Monday, December 26, 2011

Rehberg's mining friends

Posted By on Mon, Dec 26, 2011 at 10:30 AM

In case you missed it over the holiday weekend, The New York Times published a Dec. 24 story about Denny Rehberg's strong ties to the mining industry.

Just in the past two years, mining industry executives and companies including big players like Murray Energy, Arch Coal and Cloud Peak Energy have donated nearly $100,000 to Mr. Rehberg’s Senate campaign, making him one of the top recipients of mining money in Congress and their favorite in the contest with Mr. Tester.

Not everyone associated with the mining industry appreciates Rehberg's efforts. As the congressman targets "excessive" regulatory measures, advocates for miner health and safety feel he's "trying to cut us in the neck."

There's plenty more to the story, and it's worth reading in its entirety, but this tidbit halfway through stuck out:

The congressman has a tangential personal tie to the mining industry. His son, A. J., is an executive at a startup business called Mongolia Forward, which is trying to negotiate with the Asian nation to tap its uranium reserves. If the company succeeds in the deal and seeks to import the minerals to the United States, it is likely to partner with one of the major mining businesses that donate to the lawmaker.

There's also a multimedia package attached to the story, which looks closer at Rehberg's record over the years.

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Extra, extra: In Other News, online

Posted By on Mon, Dec 26, 2011 at 9:00 AM

This week's installment includes a car that runs on soda and candy, stolen toilet paper, and Homeland Security snow cone machines.

Curses, Foiled Again
David Foley intended framing his landlord in Whitefish Bay, Wis., by sending a Milwaukee television station a CD containing child pornography. The station turned the disk over to police, who discovered it contained not only the planted porn, but also a stockpile of child porn belonging to Foley. Investigators said it also identified at least two children they said the one-time mentor for the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program had molested. (Milwaukee’s WITI-TV)

German police reported that a 57-year-old man tried to rob a bank in Osnabrueck by seizing a female hostage, brandishing a gun and demanding a 10,000-euro ($13,483) ransom. “The plan failed, however,” according to a regional court statement at the man’s trial, “due to the fact that the building has not held a bank for more than a decade but rather a physiotherapy practice.” The robber improvised by demanding that a passer-by withdraw money from a cash machine in the building. She withdrew 400 euros, which he took before fleeing in a stolen car. He abandoned the car but left behind the gun, which turned out to be a toy but was covered with his fingerprints. The man, labeled by the Bild newspaper as “Germany’s dumbest bank robber,” received a seven-year prison sentence. (Agence France-Presse)

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Friday, December 23, 2011

Happiest Hour: New Year's Eve cocktails

Posted By on Fri, Dec 23, 2011 at 1:50 PM

This time next week you'll be planning your New Year's Eve celebration, and Happiest Hour is here to help you get a head start.

New Year’s resolution: Sure, you can pop the cork on a bottle of bubbly and call it a year, but where’s the adventure in that? Perhaps 2012 should include some new customs and a little change. Here are a few tweaks to the traditional champagne.

Champagne Punch: Tragically undervalued. Anything that calls for the use of a punch bowl and allows for fruit and additional liquors should be embraced. This punch practices moderation and tastes delicious: mix 1 1/3 cups fresh lemon juice, 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup Grand Marnier, 1/2 cup Triple Sec, 1/2 cup cognac and 1/2 cup orange juice. Add two bottles of cold champagne and stir. Add a ton of ice or refrigerate. Garnish with fresh lemon slices or strawberries.

Chorus Girl’s Milk: A classic, otherwise known as the original Champagne Cocktail. Combine champagne, a sugar cube, a dash of bitters and a lemon twist. Serve in a champagne flute.

Black Velvet: Unexpectedly delicious twist on the usual champagne mixer. Take a standard pour of cheap brut and add a touch of black Irish stout.

Mimosa: Champagne with a dash of orange juice. Even better the next morning.

Hobo Mimosa: For those who don’t care for champagne wishes and caviar dreams but want to say they’re drinking a mimosa. This lowbagger delight is a Pabst Blue Ribbon with a little OJ.

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

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The Rockies Today, Dec. 23

Posted By on Fri, Dec 23, 2011 at 1:25 PM

Top news links, courtesy of Headwaters News.

Editor's notes: Technical difficulties delayed today's post. Darn technology. Also, The Rockies Today will be on hiatus until Jan. 3 for the holidays. See you next year.

Canada's energy board OKs Enbridge's Montana-Manitoba oil pipeline
Canada's National Energy Board has approved Enbridge Inc.'s $180-million Bakken Pipeline project that will carry oil from the Bakken and Three Forks formations in Montana and North Dakota to Manitoba.
Edmonton Journal; Dec. 23

BLM: Sales of energy leases in Montana, Dakotas set records in 2011
Oil and gas leases auctioned off in Montana and North Dakota by the Bureau of Land Management set records in 2011, due to the oil-rich Bakken formation in those states.
Billings Gazette (AP); Dec. 23

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Out on a limb

Posted By on Thu, Dec 22, 2011 at 11:30 AM

Hal Herring has written a story that brings a whole new perspective to the childlike practice of climbing trees. In a new feature for High Country News (subscription required, but worth it), he writes first-hand about getting up into the branches of Montana's whitebark pines in order to save them.


Chances are pretty good you've already read about how pine beetles are killing lodgepole pines throughout the West. Herring notes the beetles are an even bigger threat to whitebarks. It's so bad the U.S. Fish & WIldlife Service ruled the tree meets the criteria for protection under the Endangered Species Act, yet it can't afford to formally list them as threatened. The agency has been forced to explore other options.

As part of this effort, tree-climbers are paid to fan out in the high-elevation forests, harvesting whitebark pinecones so that the seeds can be used to grow new stands of whitebarks in U.S. Forest Service nurseries. So far, the rate of new planting doesn't come close to replacing the rapidly dying whitebark forests, but it's a start.

Read Herring's full story here.

Whitebark photo by Chad Harder

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The Rockies Today, Dec. 22

Posted By on Thu, Dec 22, 2011 at 10:50 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Headwaters News.

EPA puts new rules on mercury emissions in place
The Environmental Protection Agency released new limits on mercury, arsenic and other emissions from power plants and other large industrial sources on Wednesday.
Los Angeles Times; Dec. 22

Imperial Oil raises projections for its Kearl oilsands mine in Alberta
In its latest cost projections for its massive Kearl oilsands mine in Alberta, Imperial Oil raised the costs by 25 percent, or approximately $6.20 per barrel.
Toronto Globe and Mail; Dec. 22

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Montana's many ties to tonight's MAACO Bowl

Posted By on Thu, Dec 22, 2011 at 10:45 AM

It's not easy to get excited about any of the college football bowl games, except maybe the Rose Bowl (for tradition) and the national championship (because it's for all the Tostitos, as Brent Musburger would put it). But tonight's MAACO Bowl in Vegas between Arizona State and Boise State has a few storylines of interest to locals.

Brock Osweiler, ASU's starting quarterback, is a Flathead High product. One of his top receiving targets, Aaron Pflugrad, is the son of Griz head coach Robin. The ESPN video below highlights their relationship.

On the other sideline, standout Boise State receiver Matt Miller is a Helena product.

There's more as you dig into assistant coaches and whatnot. The Flathead Beacon's Dillon Tabish (a former Indy intern ... more connections!) has a full story on all the Montana ties.

The game kicks off at 6 p.m. on ESPN.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Rockies Today, Dec. 21

Posted By on Wed, Dec 21, 2011 at 10:15 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Headwaters News.

Montana governor's ban on moving wildlife stalls fish restocking plans
Gov. Brian Schweitzer imposed a rule prohibiting the Interior Department from transporting wildlife in or out of Montana, and while the rule was directed primarily at bison, it is also prohibiting planned stocking of fish from hatcheries in the state to various lakes and reservoirs.
Helena Independent Record; Dec. 21

Study of golden eagles in Yellowstone area tracks dwindling numbers
For the third year in an ongoing study of golden eagles in the Yellowstone ecosystem, the number of golden eagles has again declined, and biologists said a dramatic decline in cottontail rabbits, a primary food source for the big birds, may be driving the drop in numbers.
Casper Star-Tribune (Billings Gazette); Dec. 21

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