"Virgil First Raise wakes with a shiner and a hangover in a roadside ditch on the hardscrabble plains of Montana. Haunted by the death of his beloved older brother Mose on a cattle drive twenty years earlier, Virgil is a dead man walking..."
If you haven't seen if yet, check out the Winter in the Blood official trailer. The film, directed by Alex and Andrew Smith, is based on the 1974 novel by James Welch about Virgil First Raise, who has become frozen to the possibilities of life, but whose vision quest takes him off the reservation and leads him to surprising redemption. The film was shot this summer on the Hi-Line in northern Montana and it's in post-production now. The Smith brothers' first feature film, The Slaughter Rule, starred Ryan Gosling before he became famous, and it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and garnered honors at several international festivals.
That's why we're providing links to each of our last five annual food issues and dozens of more recipes. Just remember that if you have any leftovers, it's never a bad idea to share with your faithful local journalists.
2007: Holiday feast
The inaugural recipe issue featured nine dishes from the likes of Scotty's Table, St. Patrick Hospital, Uncle Bill and the Good Food Store. The mayor (and issue cover boy) led things off with his own southern cornbread stuffing.
2008: Talking turkey
Eight different recipes, including one from the PEAS Farm for traditional turkey and stuffing.
2010: Kitchen Confidential
We changed things up a bit with a profile of the University of Montana’s College of Technology's culinary arts department, but there are still recipes. Check out the cider-braised sharptail grouse from chef Thomas Campbell.
2011: A Moveable Feast
Five words for you: curried sweet potato-apple soup. We totally made that last year.
Study tracks difficulty of Utah taking control of federal lands
A state study done on implementing HB148, which requires millions of acres of federal lands be transferred to Utah's control found that the process will be very complex, and recommendations made in the study include setting aside some land to be protected from development and taking steps to ensure millions of dollars of "payment in lieu of taxes" to counties continue.
Salt Lake Tribune; Nov. 15
BLM finishes analysis of Montana Hi-Line lands
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has identified 386,000 acres of lands it controls on Montana's Hi-Line as having wilderness characteristics, and 1.6 million acres of those 2.4-million acres as sage grouse habitat.
Great Falls Tribune; Nov. 15
Federal agency hosts meeting on Tongue River Railroad in Montana
On Tuesday, the third of 10 public meetings scheduled on the proposed Tongue River Railroad in Eastern Montana was held in Forsyth, where U.S. Surface Transportation Board personnel discussed the proposed routes the rail line would take to move coal from two places south of Ashland to Miles City, and gathered public input about the proposals.
Billings Gazette; Nov. 14
Group sues to force USFS to craft winter-use plan for national forests
Idaho-based Winter Wildlands Alliance will ask a federal district court judge to require national forest managers to prepare winter-use plans that limit where snowmobiles may be used on federal lands.
Idaho Statesman (AP); Nov. 14
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 old Christian and Islamic lore, the dove was a symbol of the holy spirit. The bird was considered so pure and sacred that the devil, who was an expert shapeshifter, could not take on its form. The dove had a different meaning in other traditions, however. Among the ancient Greeks, it had a special relationship with Aphrodite, the goddess of love. In Rome, its eggs were regarded as aphrodisiacs. Drawing on all these meanings, I’m nominating the dove to be your power animal in the coming week. You will have an excellent chance to intensify your connection with divine truths through the power of love and eros and vice versa.
Code of the West, a documentary that chronicles the 2011 legislative fight over Montana’s medical marijuana law, screened at Missoula’s Wilma Theater in May. The film ended with a postscript about one of the its main characters, Tom Daubert, noting that the chief architect of the state’s medical marijuana law had rejected a plea bargain with the federal government that would have resulted in at least 10 years in prison. He was still awaiting his fate.
We now know it: In September, Daubert received five years’ probation.
That sentence, while relatively lenient, was in line with what the director of Code of the West, Rebecca Richman Cohen, had expected. “But we certainly never anticipated that Chris Williams”—another main character in the film—“would go to trial and face charges that carry such draconian mandatory sentences attached to them,” Cohen said by phone a day after Code of the West aired in New York City on Nov. 12.
Williams was a partner in Montana Cannabis, one of the largest caregivers in the state and among the medical marijuana business raided by federal authorities in March 2011. Williams opted out of a plea bargain, saying, “This is nothing more than slavery and completely disregards my rights as a citizen of the United States of America. I have declined the offer.” A jury has convicted him, and he now faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 80 years in prison. He's requested a retrial.
Cohen said Williams’ fight against the federal government is too pivotal a development for an epilogue, so she’s hoping to update the film and flesh out Williams’ story. Cohen created a Kickstarter campaign to raise $30,000 to fund the work, and she’s more than a third of the way to her goal after just two weeks. The fundraising campaign runs through Dec. 5. Once the money’s raised, Cohen believes she can update the film in about six weeks. She hopes to screen the new version in Montana in the spring.
Of course, the film’s context has also changed in the wake of the recent elections. Colorado and Washington essentially legalized marijuana, further muddying the question of how the federal government will reconcile federal and state marijuana laws going forward.
“If those states had won by narrow margins, then I think things might be stickier, but those states won by large margins,” Cohen said. “In fact, in Colorado, more people voted for marijuana than they did for Barack Obama. And so that makes it politically very difficult for the administration to continue this crackdown on marijuana growers. But I don’t think by any means it’s a forgone conclusion.”
Here's a New York Times op-doc about Williams that Cohen published last week:
Grizzly bear numbers in Yellowstone ecosystem climb despite deaths
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department estimates that the number of grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem that includes areas of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming increased from an estimated 593 last year to 608 this year, despite the 44 grizzly bear deaths reported in 2011.
Casper Star-Tribune; Nov. 13
Montana FWP, DNRC plan land purchases near Canadian border
The Montana State Lands Board will vote today on $5.8-million in land deals today, including 4,505 acres of a Milk River ranch owned by Aageson Grain and Cattle, with 2,992 acres to be purchased by the state Fish, Wildlife and Parks and 1,513 acres to be bought by the state Department of Natural Resources and Conservation.
Great Falls Tribune; Nov. 12
This week, “the dumbest thief ever invented.”
Curses, Foiled Again
A man who stole T-shirts from a New York City store was making his getaway on foot when he passed James Marr, 79, who said he heard somebody yelling “Stop thief!” and spotted the shoplifter “with a full laundry bag running past full tilt.” Marr noticed some papers fly out of the suspect’s bag that turned out to be a court document with the name and address of Trevor Frasca, 27, whom police arrested and Marr labeled “the dumbest thief ever invented.” (New York’s Daily News)
Earlier this week, we talked about the tenuous connections between American Tradition Partnership and another mysterious nonprofit, the 501(c)(4) Taxpayers for Liberty. Trade unions sent a letter to Taxpayers for Liberty last month accusing it of trademark infringement, after the nonprofit had circulated political attack mailers in the late hours of the 2012 election using various union logos without permission. Now it seems the connections between Taxpayers for Liberty and American Tradition Partnership are firming up. ProPublica and PBS's Frontline just posted a collection of checks to and from ATP dating back to 2010, shedding unprecedented light on where the controversy-engulfed ATP gets its money.
Among the checks made out to Western Tradition Partnership—ATP's former moniker—in 2010 is a $1,000 donation from Lisa Perry, the community affairs manager for PPL Montana. According to the memo, the donation was made for the purpose of covering a "lobbying expense." Other donors include Whitefish's Flathead Timber, the Montana and Wyoming Oil Company, former Republican state Sen. Bruce Tutvedt of Kalispell, the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce PAC, and the official 2010 campaign of Republican state house candidate Dan Kennedy. One of the last checks included in the six-batch collection is a $4,000 contribution to WTP from—you guessed it—Taxpayers for Liberty executive director Andrew O'Neill.
The money trail doesn't end there. A separate collection of checks written by WTP between 2008 and 2010, posted earlier this week by Frontline's Emma Schwartz, reveals a series of payments to O'Neill totaling $1,750. For example, WTP cut a $500 check to O'Neill on Dec. 29, 2009; the memo simply reads "website." A year later, WTP paid O'Neill $100 for "consulting." WTP sent O'Neill another check, which lists no date, in the amount of $750 with "petty cash" written in the memo space. O'Neill's name and phone number—the same Montana number listed on Taxpayers for Liberty's 2009 IRS files—also appear scribbled on the side of a check made out to the MSU Bookstore by ATP in September 2010 for $970.
ProPublica and Frontline uploaded literally hundreds of pages of account transactions from WTP, documents that Montana District Court Judge Jeffrey Sherlock ordered the release of last week. We're combing through them, and will be back with more periodically. But here's one final gem: That donation from Tutvedt to WTP in 2010? It must not have been big enough. The group targeted Tutvedt with attack mailers in the 2012 Republican primaries up in the Flathead. So did Taxpayers for Liberty.
Montana FWP gives preliminary approval to elk-brucellosis plan
Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commissioner Bob Ream stressed that the plan approved by the Montana commission on Thursday to reduce brucellosis in elk and decrease transmission to domestic cattle herds was a preliminary plan, and that commissioners would take public comments received before Dec. 20 into consideration before making a final decision at the commission's January meeting.
Helena Independent Record; Nov. 9
Hiring of Chinese nationals to work in B.C. coal mines spurs Canadian review
After the Vancouver Sun reported that a consortium of Chinese companies planned to hire nearly 2,000 Chinese nationals to work in four underground mines in northeast British Columbia, because they could not find Canadian workers, Human Resources Minister Diane Finley said the federal government is investigating the process and Canadian unions have filed legal challenges.
Vancouver Sun; Nov. 9
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