Thursday, April 26, 2012

Video: Schweitzer on Letterman

Posted By on Thu, Apr 26, 2012 at 7:55 AM

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Did you hear Gov. Brian Schweitzer has been in the Big Apple promoting Big Sky Country with big rigs and big pictures? It's true! There was jerky! And nudity!

Last night, the governor capped off his tour with an appearance on "Late Show with David Letterman," and they talked about Schweitzer's childhood, eminent domain laws, Mitt Romney and polygamy, a dairy farm in Saudi Arabia, and, eventually, visiting Montana. The best line came at the end and involved whiskey and fishing.

Here's the full interview:

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Life and death in a Boomtown

Posted By on Wed, Apr 25, 2012 at 12:02 PM

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Best-selling author Mark Ebner spent part of his winter in Sidney, Montana, and Williston, North Dakota, talking to locals about the high life and rough living in America's newest boomtowns. His story, titled "Fracked Up!", doesn't skimp on details about primitive "mancamps," high-priced prostitutes, higher-risk fracking operations, brutal on-site injuries, sketchy after-hour crimes, and the one thing that makes it all possible: high-paying jobs for those with limited education and, in some cases, even less experience. His story introduces a smattering of opportunists, from the builder living in a trailer looking to open an Italian restaurant to the trucker who owns a wolf and is there because it's "the boom of a century!" to the sweet-natured stripper from Missoula. He writes:

It’s the kind of place where you can see a middle-aged woman set an original Louis Vuitton bag up on the bar of a local dive. Where the hot twin waitresses at the local diner can earn $200 in tips for a split shift and family farmers can unload the right 60 acres for close to a million bucks (the tell are the shiny new grain silos, combines and pickup trucks visible from the highway). And it’s where the new Okies can dream of a new Big Rock Candy Mountain. This is either the Badlands made good or a good time gone bad, once the next bust inevitably arrives.

And me, I’m no exception.

There's no shortage of coverage about what's going on in eastern Montana and the Dakotas, especially following the death of Sidney teacher Sherry Arnold. Unlike many of those stories, Ebner's gets into some of the grimy reality of chasing the latest American dream.

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The Rockies Today, April 25

Posted By on Wed, Apr 25, 2012 at 10:15 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Yellowstone ecosystem grizzly experts debate new ways of counting bears
At a meeting last week of grizzly bear experts in the Yellowstone area, the current method of estimating bear populations was described as outmoded and inaccurate, and new methods of more accurately capturing bear numbers were debated.
Jackson Hole News & Guide; April 25

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Your future, a little early

Posted By on Wed, Apr 25, 2012 at 9:00 AM

Find Rob Brezsny's "Free Will Astrology" online, every Wednesday, one day before it hits the Indy's printed pages.ina

ARIES (March 21-April 19): “True life is lived when tiny changes occur,” said Leo Tolstoy. I agree. It’s rare for us to undergo rapid, dramatic transformations in short periods of time. That’s why it’s delusional to be forever pining for some big magic intervention that will fix everything. The best way to alter our course is slowly and gradually, by conscientiously revamping our responses to the small daily details. Keep these thoughts close at hand in the coming weeks, Aries. Be a devotee of the incremental approach. Step-by-step. Hour-by-hour.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Verizon proposes cell tower on edge of Missoula's Rattlesnake Valley

Posted By on Tue, Apr 24, 2012 at 3:07 PM

The Luckman family has owned a farmstead in the Rattlesnake Valley, on the eastern slope of Waterworks Hill, for more than a century. Today, the family’s 126 acres are surrounded on three sides by Missoula County open space land. To the east is a subdivision off Duncan Drive. Verizon has long eyed the Luckmans’ island of private property, wanting to build a 50-foot-tall cell phone tower on it to improve the valley’s spotty cell phone coverage.

An overlay of the project map on a Google Earth map. Click for a larger version
  • Jeremy Roberts
  • An overlay of the project map on a Google Earth map. Click for a larger version

“They’ve been after us for years,” says Greg Luckman. “They need a tower up there for that valley, and I guess our property’s the best place to put it.”

Now the Luckmans are receptive.

Greg is the son of Doris Luckman, who’s 82 and owns the land though doesn’t live on it. “She’s getting older and she sold her business several years ago and the income’s kind of dried up from that,” Greg says. “And [Verizon] offered to pay a long-term lease and she’d get some income.”

Verizon has submitted its preliminary plan (PDF): to build a road that would switchback up the steep hillside behind Highland and Skyline drives to the northernmost point of the Luckman property, and erect the tower; Mountain View Drive, south of the soccer fields and the PEAS Farm, would hit the tower if it continued west up the hill about a quarter mile.

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Schweitzer with The Naked Cowboy, puppet

Posted By on Tue, Apr 24, 2012 at 1:45 PM

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I know, we just posted about Gov. Brian Schweitzer and his tourism campaign/polygamist clarification tour this morning. We don't intend to cover every minute of the governor's exploits in New York City, but when he poses with The Naked Cowboy and a puppet, and there are images, well, it's hard to resist.

The Naked Cowboy is a Times Square entertainer/attraction with his own website and Facebook page. He can apparently marry you in Times Square for a mere $499.

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The puppet comes courtesy of Brian Carson, a NYC puppeteer and puppet builder. One of his puppets especially liked the Montana jerky the governor was handing out today.

Again, Schweitzer's in New York to entice folks to visit Montana. No word yet on whether the arrival of the puppets or the cowboy is imminent.

Images courtesy of the governor's Twitter feed @brianschweitzer

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The Rockies Today, April 24

Posted By on Tue, Apr 24, 2012 at 11:15 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

PPL Montana files lawsuit to keep Colstrip power plant info secret
The Environmental Protection Agency's plan to release 24 years of data on PPL Montana's capital improvement projects at the utility's coal-fired Colstrip Plant prompted the utility to file a lawsuit to keep the documents from being released to the Montana Environmental Information Center and the Sierra Club.
Billings Gazette (AP); April 24

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Schweitzer certainly successful in bringing attention to Montana

Posted By on Tue, Apr 24, 2012 at 9:10 AM

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Gov. Brian Schweitzer is in New York this week to help promote Montana tourism, but nobody is interested in talking about Glacier National Park or fly fishing. Instead, Schweitzer made the rounds with Anderson Cooper 360 yesterday to discuss and defend his remarks about presidential candidate Mitt Romney's polygamist family roots in Mexico.

Schweitzer said his sensational statements had been taken "way off base", that he "didn't say anything about any religion" and that his comments were about Romney's challenge attracting Latino voters.

Here's video of the segment:

In an interesting twist, the Great Falls Tribune reported last night that Schweitzer had a recent "bromance" with Romney and once said he'd consider voting for the former Massachusetts governor for president.

"If he gets the nomination, I might support him,'" Schweitzer told The New York Times in 2006.

All the Romney stuff is overshadowing Schweitzer's main reason for being in the Big Apple. He's there to promote new direct flights from Newark to Bozeman, and get people to visit. Starting next week, a bunch of trucks "wrapped in picturesque unspoiled natural landscapes and iconic Montana wildlife" will roll through New York City to entice potential travelers. (Nothing like promoting natural beauty with trucks.) Today, Schweitzer's standing in Times Square next to one of the big rigs and "handing out free promotional items from Montana such as beef and bison jerky and huckleberry jam." Tomorrow, he appears on the David Letterman.

All well and good, but chances are Letterman will want to talk as much about Romney as the gateway to Yellowstone.

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Monday, April 23, 2012

The Rockies Today, April 23

Posted By on Mon, Apr 23, 2012 at 12:15 PM

Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Opponents rally to stop $1-billion resort in British Columbia
Supporters of the Jumbo Glacier Ski Resort, a proposed $1-billion ski development that will bring 1,400 condos and 23 lifts offering year-round glacier near Invermere, said the project will bring needed jobs to the British Columbia community, but opponents said the development will have too great an impact on a wild area that provides habitat for grizzly bears.
Calgary Herald; April 22

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Extra, extra: In Other News, online

Posted By on Mon, Apr 23, 2012 at 9:00 AM

In this week's installment, we're forced to wonder if our coworkers might be urinating on our desk chairs.

Curses, Foiled Again
When Joshua Devonshire, 19, tried to pay for gas with a debit card in Lancaster, Pa., the clerk noticed the card had her mother’s name on it. She also recognized Devonshire as someone she went to school with. He fled but was arrested the next day. “Some people,” police Sgt. Jim Alexander observed, “just aren’t cut out to be criminals.” (United Press International)

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