U.S. Supreme Court asked to review Montana campaign-spending case
Twelve plaintiffs, led by the American Tradition Partnership, have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to consider Montana's campaign spending limits on statewide political races after a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals put a federal court decision lifting those limits on hold, and contributions made during the six-day period to Republican candidates are being challenged in court.
Flathead Beacon (AP); >Oct. 22
Natural gas a losing proposition for operators
The glut of natural gas has pushed the price of the fuel down 60 percent, and the companies that have punched hundreds of holes to pull the plentiful fuel out of the ground in the United States are taking a major hit to their bottom lines.
New York Times; Oct. 19
This week, we learn that it's never a good idea to moon your bosses, even if said bosses work for Bank of America.
Curses, Foiled Again
After breaking into a St. Louis home and stealing several items, Damon L. Petty, 37, lingered to eat. The homeowner and a friend returned to find him frying bacon in the kitchen. They subdued him until police arrived. Petty pleaded guilty to burglary and received a seven-year prison sentence. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Police investigating a bank robbery in Southfield, Mich., arrested Todd Jason Kettler, 37, after the manager of a strip club in Kalamazoo Township reported a man was paying for lap dances with money covered in red dye, which banks use to mark stolen money. (Detroit Free Press)
Happiest Hour doesn't always have to be boozy.
What you’re doing: Laser tag, brah. A 12-minute game costs $8 and accommodates up to 26 players. Play with friends and against strangers, individually or as teams. At the end of the game, players get printouts detailing their laser war prowess, including how many times you got shot compared to your friends. Such records, we’ve found, are good to keep around for bragging rights.
Who you’re playing with: Hub owner Norman Parmiter says just about everyone. On a recent Friday afternoon, it’s a smattering of 20-somethings sizing up the go-carts and little kids ogling prizes in a glass case. Even old people play laser tag, Parmiter says. “Grandmas, grandpas…I mean, it’s exercise, like mall walking,” he says.
Ambience: The Hub has five pool tables, air hockey, go-carts, pinball machines and “Dance, Dance Revolution Extreme.” It smells like French fries and has a race-car painted on the wall. We can’t imagine a better to way to spend a Friday night.
Specials: Friday night is lady’s night, where a 14-lap go-cart race costs $10 compared to the $14 normally adult price. The Hub also has a lunch-hour special, a 12-lap race for $12. Junior carts run $8 for the first eight-lap race.
What you’re drinking: A bottomless root beer in a big blue cup for $1.59 from the Hub’s food counter, The Pit Stop. Sugar is the perfect drug for waging faux war.
What you’re eating: Pit Stop burgers on par with quality bar fare. We recommend “the Racer,” a bacon cheeseburger for $6.99.
How to find it: Take North Reserve to Expressway. It’s 1.4 miles west, at 5055 Expressway. It’s open now, but its grand opening celebration is Nov. 3 with plenty of prizes and free soda.
To protest Montana's bison plan, some landowners lock out hunters
Montana is in the process of drafting a statewide policy on bison, and in March, 64 bison from Yellowstone National Park were transferred to the Fort Peck Reservation in northeastern Montana, and six of 15 landowners who had lands enrolled in the Block Management Plan that opens the land up for hunters, have pulled their lands from that program to protest the transfer of the bison.
Billings Gazette; Oct. 19
Mine expansion on Montana reservation exposes ancient bison bed
A bed of bison bones estimated to be 2,000 years old was uncovered last summer by a crew working on a proposed expansion of Westmoreland Resources Inc.'s Absaloka Coal Mine on the Crow Reservation in Montana, and a crew of anthropologists and other experts are headed to the site today to assess the damage caused to the site by the backhoe that excavated it.
Great Falls Tribune; Oct. 19
Construction begins on wind farm in Montana
Goldwind Global broke ground on Thursday on the Musselshell Wind Project, a 14-turbine wind farm near Shawmut, about 75 miles northwest of Billings.
Billings Gazette; Oct. 19
Hellgate Hunters and Anglers has launched an incredible new mapping site for hunters just in time for this weekend's general rifle season opening, combining the ease of Google map searching with comprehensive information on land ownership, block management areas and hunting district regulations. The organization is calling it the Montana Sportsmen Atlas. It's free, and fully compatible with mobile devices. The site, which went live on Tuesday, had 1,200 visitors in the first 24 hours.
We scoped out the atlas this morning, and damn is it cool. Want to know more about land ownership patterns in hunting district 292, i.e. the southern portion of the lower Blackfoot Valley around Paw's Up? All you have to do is select which type of map—satellite, USGS, etc—you want to view and click the "land ownership" tab. But why are we telling you? Check it out for yourself, and start planning for the general season.
BNSF CEO: Pipeline through Montana won't halt rail shipments of oil
At the annual meeting of Big Sky Economic Development in Billings on Wednesday, Matthew Rose, the chief executive of BNSF Railway, talked about the increase of oil shipments by rail from the Bakken oil fields and how the development of Montana's coal reserves would affect train traffic.
Billings Gazette; Oct. 18
BNSF, others again apply to build 83-mile railroad line in Montana
After a federal court ruled nearly a year ago that the previously issued permits for the 83-mile Tongue River Railroad, which would run south from Miles City to Ashland, were outdated, BNSF Railway Co., Arch Coal, Inc. and billionaire Forrest Mars, Jr. have again applied to the Surface Transportation Board for a permit to build the line in southeastern Montana.
Great Falls Tribune (AP); Oct. 18
Flathead Lake Brewing today announced a lengthy list of changes going on at their downtown Missoula digs. Due to a massive water leak in early October—which did "several hundred thousands dollars of damage," according to the brewery's press release—Flathead will be remodeling the first and second floors. In addition, the name Sapore will officially disappear from the first floor restaurant, says events coordinator Patrick Landon, and the entire building will become Flathead Lake Brewing of Missoula.
"No owners are going anywhere," Landon says, explaining that the name change was decided on largely to make the building more uniform. Rather, Sapore and Flathead Lake are joining forces, as Sapore hinted on its Facebook page in early October.
The second floor tap room will be open Oct. 21 from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. for a Festival of the Dead-themed nonprofit fundraiser. Landon says the second floor should be fully open in about two weeks, with an extended bar. Renovations to the first floor restaurant will likely take an additional two weeks, Landon adds. The decor will be dramatically altered to fit more with Flathead Lake's style, and the building's menus will change. No one is losing a job, Landon says, but all staff will now work both floors. When the remodel is complete, patrons will be able to pass between both floors with drinks in hand.
Eventually, Flathead Lake plans to open an event room on the third floor called the Imperial Lounge. Landon says the brewery has not yet set a date for that opening.
Bullock releases his plan to improve public land access in Montana
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Bullock released his "Removing Padlocks and Creating Partnerships: Hunting and Fishing for all Montanans" plan in Great Falls on Tuesday.
Great Falls Tribune; Oct. 17
Tuesday's cold front delivered a milestone in Pacific NW power production
When a cold front moved through the Pacific Northwest on Tuesday, wind-generated power outpaced hydropower for the first time.
Idaho Statesman; Oct. 17
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): When Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro laid waste to Peru in 1532, his soldiers found green stones on the land. Were they emeralds? A priest who was traveling with them gave them bad advice. He said that the way to determine whether they were merely colored glass or else precious gems was to test their hardness by pounding them with hammers. In this manner, many actual emeralds were shattered into fragments. Learn from this mistake, Aries. Make sure you recognize treasures for what they are. And don’t force them to submit to unwise tests that misconstrue their true nature.
Montana sues landowner over closure of Meagher County road
On Friday, Montana filed a lawsuit in state district court against Howard Zehntner and Zehntner Brothers LLC, alleging that the landowners illegally gated the Tenderfoot Road that provides access to recently acquired state lands and U.S. Forest Service lands.
Great Falls Tribune; Oct. 16
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