Monday, November 19, 2012

Extra, extra: In Other News, online

Posted By on Mon, Nov 19, 2012 at 9:00 AM

This week, we learn that Helena is home to perhaps the ballsiest, and dumbest, car dealer employee ever.

Curses, Foiled Again
Authorities investigating the theft of President Obama’s teleprompter and podium last fall identified Eric Brown, 48, as their suspect. The equipment was recovered a few days later in Henrico, Va., but federal investigators continued their search for the culprit because the case involved the president. After an informant reported Brown had bragged about the theft and possessed items bearing the presidential seal, federal agents used tracking data in Brown’s cellphone to learn that the phone had been where the items were when they’d been stolen. (Richmond’s WTVR-TV)

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Happiest Hour: How to choose the right Thanksgiving wine

Posted By on Fri, Nov 16, 2012 at 1:30 PM

Admit it: Thanksgiving is the best holiday ever. It is the one day of the year when it is acceptable, nay, encouraged to overeat and over-imbibe. With the glorious holiday less than a week away, turkey is on the brain — and, naturally, which drink would go best with the bird. Adam Sandoval, a wine-savvy longtime bartender at The Red Bird Restaurant and Wine Bar, gives a few ideas on which wines will complete the holiday meal.

The approach: Most assume that white meat equals white wine (or a least those of us who only choose wine by the pretty label). It turns out, there is more to it than that. “Think of wine as another dish at the table,” Sandoval says. According to Sandoval, the wine should complement rather than mimic what you are eating. A wine with heavy cranberry tones, for example, may be overwhelming on top of the cranberry dish that is already on the table.

Keep it light: Though turkey is the mainstay of the thanksgiving holiday, its flavor isn't as strong. Because it is a lighter tasting meat, it should be pared with a light wine. For those who only drink red wine, a pinot noir is a good choice because it won’t overwhelm the flavor of the food, but is complex enough to stand on its own.

With white wine, Sandoval lists a few more choices. A vinho verde is a good, cheap option. “It is light in alcohol and slightly effervescent,” Sandovol says. If you want a wine with a bit more bite, a chenin blanc offers a drier, yet fruity flavor. For the sweet-tooth at the table, a gewurztraminer is the best option. Those who enjoy some sparkle with their meal are in luck. According to Sandoval, any bubbly will pare nicely with turkey. But if you really want to go crazy, make it a red bubbly. It will complement the cranberry sauce.

Where to find them: To try a bottle or two first, stop by The Red Bird at 111 N. Higgins Ave. Once the Thanksgiving drink list is made, Worden's Market and Deli, Liquid Planet and CVS provide a variety of wines at a range of prices.

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

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Rockies Today, Nov. 16

Posted By on Fri, Nov 16, 2012 at 10:40 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

BLM approves plan to put 800 wild horses on Montana ranch
The National Wild Horse and Burro Program, division of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, approved a 10-year plan to put up to 800 wild horses on the nearly 24-square-mile Rice-Spanish Q Ranch in Montana near Ennis, and if the plan is not challenged in court, horses could begin to arrive by Dec. 10.
Bozeman Daily Chronicle; Nov. 16

B.C. releases draft wolf management plan
British Columbia will take public comment on its draft wolf management plan through Dec. 5, but the B.C. Cattlemen's Association has already said it approves of the plan.
Kamloops Daily news; Nov. 14

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

A peek at Winter in the Blood

Posted By on Thu, Nov 15, 2012 at 11:14 AM

"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..."

  • Photo courtesy of Michael Coles

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.

Come and get it: More Thanksgiving recipes!

Posted By on Thu, Nov 15, 2012 at 7:00 AM

This week's cover story features five easy to make, outrageously delicious, hyper-local, Montana-inspired recipes, but we know there are a few of you looking for more to fill your Thanksgiving plates. Hey, we get it, no need to explain — we're here to please.

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.

2009: Guess who's coming to dinner?
Revisit the roasted butternut squash bisque from Finn & Porter, kale slaw from Lifeline Produce's Luci Brieger and Steve Elliott, or the green bean and roasted mushroom casserole from Organic Sprouts Kitchen.

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.

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Rockies Today, Nov. 15

Posted By on Thu, Nov 15, 2012 at 6:59 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

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

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Rockies Today, Nov. 14

Posted By on Wed, Nov 14, 2012 at 10:38 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

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

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Your future, a little early

Posted By on Wed, Nov 14, 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.

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.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Montana marijuana case inspires Code of the West update

Posted By on Tue, Nov 13, 2012 at 1:14 PM

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:

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Rockies Today, Nov. 13

Posted By on Tue, Nov 13, 2012 at 10:47 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

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

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