Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Could Gary Johnson matter in Montana presidential race?

Posted By on Tue, Jul 24, 2012 at 11:56 AM

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It's been hard to muster up much excitement about the 2012 presidential election in Montana. Mitt Romney is expected to win the state's three electoral votes and the Obama campaign, unlike 2008 against John McCain, is not putting up a huge fight.

But a different story line is emerging, and it involves Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson. The former two-term New Mexico governor is polling higher than expected in key Mountain West states, and could play a role in November's election. From Politico:

In an interview with POLITICO reporters Tuesday, Johnson laid out the “libertarian-leaning states” where he expects to do best: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, and Wyoming.

Johnson's numbers are much better in New Mexico (13 percent), Colorado (7) and Arizona (9) than Montana, where he's hovering at or below 1 percent, according to Public Policy Polling. It'd be easy to write him off as a non-factor in Big Sky Country, until you notice some other numbers: like that Montana voters agree with Johnson more than any other candidate on key issues in the 2012 election.

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Monday, July 23, 2012

The Rockies Today, July 23

Posted By on Mon, Jul 23, 2012 at 10:28 AM

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Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

U. of Wyoming wildfire study challenges USFS's policy
The University of Wyoming's study of wildfires in Colorado, Oregon and Arizona dating back to the mid-1800's found that forests in those states were more dense than previously believed, and that high-severity wildfires occurred as often in the past as they do now, a finding that raises concerns that the current policy of fuel reduction activities in Western forests may actually increase the severity of wildfires.
Reno Gazette-Journal (AP); July 21

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Extra, extra: In Other News, online

Posted By on Mon, Jul 23, 2012 at 9:31 AM

This week, we learn that the Loch Ness monster is real, because that's what they teach in school.

Curses, Foiled Again
A 24-year-old New York man who tried to steal merchandise from a Virginia Wal-Mart store was thwarted when employees retrieved the merchandise before he got out the door. According to Loudoun County sheriff’s official Liz Mills, the man fled to a waiting pickup truck, got behind the wheel and started to drive away with his 46-year-old passenger, but the truck’s muffler “dislodged.” When the driver got out to fix it, the passenger got behind the wheel “and drove the truck forward at the request of the New Yorker and struck him.” Mills added he was hospitalized “in serious condition.” He wasn’t charged, however, because Wal-Mart declined to prosecute, but police arrested the passenger, Robert V. Lyons, 46, for reckless driving. (The Huffington Post)

A 42-year-old woman, who police in Lynn, Mass., reported was being “chased frantically” by a man wielding a large kitchen knife, sought safety by running into the police station, where she “quickly began to cower.” The man followed her and raised the knife above her head while punching her. Officer Raymond Therrien said he grabbed the man’s arm and “delivered several knee strikes to his midsection” until he dropped the knife. Police filed multiple charges against Constantine Greven, 40. (Lynn’s The Daily Item)

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Happiest Hour: Flathead Brewing in Woods Bay

Posted By on Fri, Jul 20, 2012 at 4:50 PM

It's been a scorcher the past few weeks, and, predictably, we've been hunting down cool drinks wherever we happen to be. Even when we're heading back from assignments elsewhere. Happy drinking!

This week: Flathead Lake Brewing in Woods Bay

Why you’re here: You’re cruising down the east side of Flathead Lake on your way back from Glacier National Park. The sun is hot, the drive is long and that stunning view of the lake is making you mighty thirsty. Then you see it, sitting on the side of the highway in Woods Bay: Flathead Lake Brewing. The temptation’s just too great.

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Atmosphere: Flathead has a distinct nautical theme, right down to the painting of waves above the bar and the sign officially declaring the restroom the “head.” There’s an open, airy vibe here, almost like one of those thatch-roofed bars you see at beachside resorts. The wind usually comes in off the lake, a refreshing touch when you’re passing a summer afternoon on Flathead’s deck. Just be careful not to ring the bell hanging near the bar, unless you’re prepared to buy the whole place a round.

What you’re drinking: Warm weather has marked the return of some of Flathead’s best seasonals. For those who like a lighter brew, the Wild Mile Wheat is a great choice for fighting off the effects of heatstroke. The Tripel and the Dirty Ginger are two more summer faves. Both are crisp, fruity and weigh in at about 8.4 percent alcohol. Pair a brew with a pub pretzel dunked in beer cheese or ale mustard and you’ll feel like you’re floating in brewery nirvana.

Who you’re drinking with: The folks around you could easily be fellow Missoulians up for a day on the lake. Or they could be out-of-state visitors taking an afternoon hiatus from the wonders of Glacier. Flathead relies heavily on drop-in customers, says Sarah, one of the two gals slinging refreshments on a recent blue-sky day. Not all of them are microbrew connoisseurs when they walk in; patrons occasionally ask Sarah if she’s got anything like Bud Light. “If we can turn someone into a beer fan, we’re doing our job right,” she says. Between the view, the beer and the pretzel dip, we’re guessing their convert ratio is somewhere around 100 percent.

Where to dock: Flathead Lake Brewing is right on Highway 35 at 26008 East Lake Shore Route. It’s in Woods Bay, just south of Bigfork. You can’t miss it.

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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Missoula never had a chance

Posted By on Fri, Jul 20, 2012 at 1:15 PM

We're talking about flags, people.

Helena flag
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It's not something you think of very often, if ever, but when a group called the North American Vexillological Association, better known as NAVA, releases a list of the top American city flags, and Helena and Billings make the list, and Missoula isn't anywhere to be seen, all of a sudden you start thinking about freakin' flags.

Helena's is pretty cool. The Billings one? Meh. D.C. won, which is a nice consolation prize considering the whole "taxation without representation" thing. I'm also fond of the Madison, Wis., flag and the Oakland, Calif., flag and the Seattle flag.

All of this is well and good, but where's Missoula? How come the Garden City didn't make the cut?

D.C. flag
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We don't have a flag.

An email to the city's public information/communications director, Ginny Merriam, confirms this tragic fact. We hang Old Glory and the state flag in Council Chambers. But no Missoula flag.

We never had a chance in the NAVA rankings.

Topeka flag
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So let me be the first to say, I'm not standing for it. I call on all those local illustrators and graphic designers out there. I think Josh Quick could do something infinitely better than the St. Petersburg pelican (ranked No. 23). Courtney Blazon would kick the tush of Topeka (No. 46). The Indy's production crew could take seven shots of J├Ąger, work a full week and still design something that looks better than the one from Spokane (No. 111). What about the folks from Statriot? Their flag would be Monfuckintastic.

I'm just naming a few. Someone has to have an idea that would capture Missoula's spirit, put us on NAVA's radar, and, quite literally, allow us to proudly wave our flag.

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The Rockies Today, July 20

Posted By on Fri, Jul 20, 2012 at 10:35 AM

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Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

110 Montanans sign up for wolf trapping classes
Just hours after Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks began taking names of people interested in taking the classes necessary to get certified to participate in the state's first wolf trapping season, 110 people had signed up.
Ravalli Republic; July 20

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Missoula Colony 17: Act 3

Posted By on Thu, Jul 19, 2012 at 6:00 PM

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In which we delight in the final days of our artistic gathering and bid good luck and farewell to our cast of emerging and established writers alike.

Part two of the Missoula Stories Project on Tuesday was stacked with drama and punctuated by an understanding of what it takes to live, love, win and fail in Missoula, as Montana Rep Artistic Director Greg Johnson puts it. Josh Wagner's Bleach Bone was a chilling old-style western set in familiar places, while Kate Morris' Everybody in Missoula Says I Love You touched on leaving and returning, waiting and wondering, moving on or giving up. The funny bone came from Floating, a four-character raft trip down the Clark Fork that showed the "down-and-dirty side" of Missoula (which actually is in Montana) through a roofing boss, his wife and his renters. The PBR was an excellent touch.

From left, Ali Tabibnejad, Nick Pavelich and producer Salina Chaitlin in the staged reading of Kate Morris' short play Everybody in Missoula Says I Love You.
  • Photo by Brooks Johnson
  • From left, Ali Tabibnejad, Nick Pavelich and producer Salina Chaitlin in the staged reading of Kate Morris' short play "Everybody in Missoula Says I Love You."

Craig Menteer and Nichole Pellant at the end of Mischa Jakupcaks play

Later that night the tone got serious.

Montana Rep Artistic Director Greg Johnson, left, chats with acclaimed playwright and screenwriter William Mastrosimone during the feedback session following the staged reading of his new play,
  • Photo by Brooks Johnson
  • Montana Rep Artistic Director Greg Johnson, left, chats with acclaimed playwright and screenwriter William Mastrosimone during the feedback session following the staged reading of his new play, "Oblivion."
Oblivion was such an involved experience I could see plenty of audience members on the edge of their seats for the last half hour at least. It was long and there are parts that give to real staging (like the eerie bass guitar signaling withdrawl) but there was some extraordinary acting that brought out the real-to-life characters of William Mastrosimone's autobiographical piece. He said in the feedback session (following every show) that the story, the imagery, gives more to film than the stage and may end up taking it in that direction. Let's hope so: this is a story that needs telling.

Just now the Colony witnessed Lily Gladstone and Joeseph Grady's Traps, a generational story told in an exciting new format with an immersive Medicine Wheel set that encourages participation or movement at the very least. It's a crows-eye look into modern Indian life and the strengths and weaknesses there, with all the bright anthropomorphic imagery you can imagine.

Tonight at 8, don't miss Character by Robert Caisley, whose work Colony producer Salina Chatlain calls "funny and cerebral."

And there are only four shows left after that, two Friday and two Saturday. It's an incredible experience to actually be on the stage with your back to the empty red seats watching the infant form of a written piece of art learn to walk. Read about all of the artists here, and print out the full schedule for the remainder of Colony, featuring readings by Christinane and Marcus Olson, Melissa Ross, Jay Kettering and a hard-hitting closer by WIlliam Missouri Downs Friday and Saturday at 3 and 8 p.m. To all ye Colonists: we'll see you next year.

Indy intern Brooks Johnson blogged throughout Missoula Colony 17 with reviews and previews of the action. Check out his first installment, Act I, and Tuesday's Act II.

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CBS drama based on UM grad's short story renewed for second season

Posted By on Thu, Jul 19, 2012 at 11:05 AM

Many months ago Indy arts editor Erika Fredrickson called my attention to a new CBS prime-time drama based on a short story written by a graduate of UM's creative writing program. We'd kicked around the idea of a story, but then it got put aside for other local arts stories and we — or at least I — forgot about it. That's kinda funny because the show in question is called "Unforgettable."

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CBS announced late last month the show would be renewed for a second season. It will continue to follow protagonist Carrie Wells (Poppy Montgomery), a detective with a medical condition called hyperthymesia. That means she remembers everything, a helpful trick for someone processing crime scenes. "Unforgettable" follows the same formula as fellow CBS crime shows like "CSI" and "NCIS," except for the whole hyperthymesia thing.

Det. Wells is almost exactly the same character introduced in J. Robert Lennon's short story, The Rememberer. Lennon, who started teaching at Cornell after earning his MFA at UM, wrote the story for an anthology of modern-day superheros. He never let his literary agent know about it, so he was surprised when someone from Sony Pictures called him about using the character.

“It was totally unexpected, and certainly bizarre to see my name on the show," Lennon told The Cornell Daily Sun.

Despite having his name attached to the show, Lennon, who is the author of six novels and short story collections, has nothing to do with the production. Frankly, that could be a good thing. Before being renewed a few weeks ago, CBS originally canceled "Unforgettable." And the second season isn't scheduled to air in the fall, but during the typically slow summer months a year from now.

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The Rockies Today, July 19

Posted By on Thu, Jul 19, 2012 at 10:54 AM

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Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Montana electric co-ops warn federal upgrades could raise rates
The U.S. Energy Department's plan to upgrade the federal government's pieces of transmission lines and other components of the nation's electrical grid, beginning with the 15-state Western Area Power Administration prompted concerns from Montana's electric cooperatives that such upgrades will raise prices for their customers.
Billings Gazette; July 19

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Indy presents Youth Lagoon

Posted on Wed, Jul 18, 2012 at 11:45 AM

Three things to know in advance of tonight's show at the Top Hat.

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1. Trevor Powers is the man behind Youth Lagoon. He does everything by himself, creating what's been described as "addictive" electronic pop with a "sweet and summery" vibe. Pitchfork scored the debut album a high 8.4 and called it "compulsively listenable music that explodes at just the right moments." Powers says he was influenced by listening to his parents' old folk albums. By the way, he also looks like he's 12. (He's really in his early 20s.)

2. His musical taste (Stevie Nicks, baby) tells you a little more about where Youth Lagoon is coming from. Speaking of where Powers comes from, he started writing songs while studying at Boise State.

3. You know we're linking to a song called "Montana." (Where was this during the whole Rocky Votolato thing?) Here's the powerful video:

Tickets for tonight's show run $14/$12 advance, with a $5 surcharge for those aged 18-20. 10 p.m., Top Hat

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