Monday, January 28, 2013

Extra, extra: In Other News, online

Posted By on Mon, Jan 28, 2013 at 9:00 AM

In which we learn that it is, in fact, possible to OD on Brussels sprouts — and energy drinks.

Curses, Foiled Again
An armed carjacker, whom police described as having “leathery skin,” failed to rob three women in the same shopping center parking lot in Oceanside, Calif. The first drove away. The other ignored him and proceeded to a store, where she called police. The third victim obeyed his order to remove the steering wheel lock and get out of the car, but then she activated a kill-switch that disabled the ignition and locked him inside. He smashed through a window and fled on foot. (San Diego’s KNSD-TV)

Security researchers exposed plans for a Russian cyberheist using fake wire transfers to steal millions of dollars from 30 big U.S. financial institutions when the purported brain behind the operation, known as “VorVzakone” (“thief in law”), posted notices in a criminal online forum advertising for accomplices. Cybersecurity experts at Massachusetts-based RSA blogged that VorVzakone’s notice said “accomplice botmasters” would be trained “boot camp style” and receive “a percentage of the funds they will siphon from victims’ accounts into mule accounts controlled by the gang.” (The Christian Science Monitor)

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Happiest Hour: Beerfarmer.com

Posted By on Fri, Jan 25, 2013 at 3:46 PM

The only thing we at the Indy like better than beer is beer we didn't pay for. So this week, we're going a different route with Happiest Hour, highlighting a brand-spanking-new website that allows you to gift local brews to your friends without leaving your laptop. It works long-distance too, so Mom, start taking notes...

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This week: Beerfarmer.com

Anywhere, anytime: The act of spotting a friend a beer just entered the 21st century. Missoulian Dave Evans has partnered with local brewers in launching a website to allow people near and far to “gift” pints for folks here in town. Beerfarmer.com—partly inspired by the Buddy Board at Snowbowl—lets you purchase a beer online from select vendors, then sends a digital coupon that the recipient can cash in at any time.

How it works: Whether you lost a bet involving a pint or are just in a generous mood, beerfarmer.com is pretty straight forward. Just set up an account, deposit some cash via PayPal and select one of the participating breweries. Then you simply enter your friend’s phone number and they’ll receive a text message informing them of the pending gift. Drinks are equally easy to claim. Once you get the text, create an account at beerfarmer.com to access the coupon from your mobile device. Show it to whoever’s working the taps and presto, beer. One small hitch: Recipients have to have a smartphone to collect their gifted beverage.

Who’s on board so far: Beerfarmer.com is a week into its pilot phase, and only two breweries have signed on to date—Bayern Brewing and Draught Works. Jeff Grant, co-owner at Draught Works, says the brewery got involved because the site sounded “innovative and neat.” He adds the taproom saw quite a few beer gifts show up on smartphone screens in the first week. We can’t really complain about the current limits of beerfarmer.com, since both participating breweries have plenty of tasty pints to choose from. And beerfarmer.com is bound to spread across town fast, as any hip new beer-centric idea does.

Where to start: Eventually, beerfarmer.com is hoping to expand its gifting potential to growler fills and special deals. For now, though, you’re limited to pints at Bayern and Draught Works. Go to beerfarmer.com, create an account and get gifting.

Happiest Hour celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, email editor@missoulanews.com.

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Rockies Today, Jan. 25

Posted By on Fri, Jan 25, 2013 at 10:30 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

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Colorado Rep. Perlmutter to introduce gun-regulation bill in the U.S. House
U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California introduced legislation on Thursday that would ban the manufacture and sale of 157 different types of semiautomatic weapons and the sale of high-capacity magazine clips, and U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter of Colorado is expected to introduce a companion bill in the U.S. House next week.
Denver Post; Jan. 25

Wyoming study pitches state's wind resource as perfect for California
The "Wind Diversity Enhancement of Wyoming/California Wind Energy Projects," released Thursday is being used by wind developers in Wyoming to pitch their renewable energy resource to California.
Casper Star-Tribune; Jan. 25

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Rockies Today, Jan. 24

Posted By on Thu, Jan 24, 2013 at 10:29 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

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Utah, Montana senators added bill to benefit Amgen to fiscal-cliff legislation
The U.S. House is expected to vote on a measure that would remove a measure from the fiscal-cliff legislation passed by the U.S. Senate that carved out a two-year reprieve on government price controls for a group of kidney-dialysis drugs, including Sensipar, a pill manufactured by Amgen, a donor to both Utah U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch and Montana U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, both of whom worked to get the measure put in the Senate bill.
Salt Lake Tribune; Jan. 24

Idaho Power considers closing some coal-fired power plants
A report from the Northwest Power and Conservation Council said that reduced demand for electricity, along with the addition of natural-gas power plants, is keeping the supply of power stable as coal-fired power plants are taken offline, and Idaho Power is expected to release the results of its study of coal-fired power next month.
Idaho Statesman; Jan. 23

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Rockies Today, Jan. 23

Posted By on Wed, Jan 23, 2013 at 10:28 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

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Montana legislator reminds university officials of natural resources' import
Before the top officials of the Montana University System spoke before the Legislature's Joint Appropriations Subcommittee on Education, Rep. Roy Hollandsworth, chairman of the panel, urged those officials to be mindful of their role in promoting development of the state's natural resources, and he commended Higher Education Commissioner Clayton Christian, Montana State University President Waded Cruzado and University of Montana President Royce Engstrom for wearing their lapel pins promoting coal.
Ravalli Republic; Jan. 23

Bill to allow bison in Montana to be shot on sight inspires vigorous debate
Montana Rep. Alan Doane said his House Bill 249, which would allow private property owners to shoot bison that wander onto their property, is a private-property bill, but opponents of the bill said it wrongly classifies bison as vermin.
Helena Independent Record; Jan. 23

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Your future, a little early

Posted By on Wed, Jan 23, 2013 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): The German government sponsored a scientific study of dowsing, which is a form of magical divination used to locate underground sources of water. After ten years, the chief researcher testified, "It absolutely works, beyond all doubt. But we have no idea why or how." An assertion like that might also apply to the mojo you'll have at your disposal, Aries, as you forge new alliances and bolster your web of connections in the coming weeks. I don't know how or why you'll be such an effective networker, but you will be.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Rockies Today, Jan. 22

Posted By on Tue, Jan 22, 2013 at 10:27 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

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Groups question Montana PSC decision to pull power graph from site
Montana Public Service Commission Chairman Bill Gallagher said that he ordered the graph that showed were NorthWestern Energy obtained its power pulled from the PSC's website because it contained inaccurate information, but officials of renewable energy groups questioned the timing of the decision as it was made the day that Gallagher testified before the Legislature in favor of a bill written by NorthWestern Energy.
Great Falls Tribune; Jan. 22

'FrackNation' to premiere tonight in Helena
Phelim McAleer, one of the Los Angeles-based filmmakers who made the new documentary that attacks opponents of the drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing, will attend tonight's premiere of FrackNation in Helena.
Great Falls Tribune (AP); Jan. 22

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Monday, January 21, 2013

Slaps on the wrist for Polson police officers Wade Nash and Cory Anderson

Posted By on Mon, Jan 21, 2013 at 10:20 AM

Polson Police Chief Wade Nash, accused of tampering with and intimidating a witness and violating the public safety officers’ code of ethics, will keep his badge.

So will Polson Police Officer Cory Anderson, also accused of witness tampering and intimidation, and whose history of alcohol abuse led to five counts of alleged misconduct.

Polson Police Chief Wade Nash
  • Polson Police Chief Wade Nash

The Montana Public Safety Officer Standards and Training Council, or POST, the quasi-judicial board that certifies public safety officers, brought the cases against Nash and Anderson in March 2012. The parties agreed to resolutions of both cases last month. The resolutions stipulate that, in order to retain their law enforcement certifications, Nash and Anderson must attend ethics training. Nash (PDF) must also attend training in evidence procedures, while Anderson (PDF) will undergo a chemical dependency evaluation.

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Extra, extra: In Other News, online

Posted By on Mon, Jan 21, 2013 at 9:00 AM

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Do you know what "bingo wings" are? Well, read up, friend.

Curses, Foiled Again
When Marquis Diggs, 29, appeared at family court in Hudson County, N.J., with his mother, who was there to drop a restraining order against her son, officials learned that Diggs had several outstanding warrants and arrested him. Deputies who searched him found 32 bags of suspected marijuana in his jacket pocket. (Jersey City’s The Jersey Journal)

Sheriff’s deputies who arrested a mother and daughter suspected of shoplifting in Oconee County, Ga., said the mother told them the daughter couldn’t be arrested because she was only 16. When asked for her date of birth, the daughter stated “02/01/1992.” Informed that would make her 20, she corrected herself: “02/01/1994.” When the arresting deputy explained she’d be an 18-year-old, “she again appeared to be counting in her head,” the deputy reported, “and when she could not come up with an answer, she and [the mother] started crying uncontrollably and would no longer answer my questions.” During subsequent interrogation, the mother disclosed further inconsistencies. When the deputy told the daughter she’d be booked as Jane Doe, she finally identified herself as Lavera Hammond-Jackson, 17. (Georgia’s Oconee Patch)

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Friday, January 18, 2013

Kettlehouse restructures business to acquire beer and wine license

Posted By on Fri, Jan 18, 2013 at 4:24 PM

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Last November, we touched base with Kettlehouse Brewing about the changes on tap at the Myrtle Street location. Co-owner Suzy Rizza confirmed for us at the time that the brewhouse would be moving to an adjacent building, freeing up space for a bigger bar and more standing room for all us thirsty regulars. But the big news didn't end there. Earlier this week the Missoula City Council referred to committee a proposal to allow a new company—Myrtle Street Taphouse LLC, established late last October—to acquire a non-gaming beer and wine license for the current Myrtle Street location.

According to the application, signed by Kettlehouse co-owner and Myrtle Street Taphouse LLC general manager Tim O'Leary on Nov. 16 of last year, it's "critical" that the city approve a conditional use permit for the proposed beer and wine license as the Kettlehouse Brewing Company will otherwise "not be able to continue to grow and add jobs, payroll, and property tax income to the Missoula community." O'Leary offered the following regarding the need for the council's thumbs-up:

In order to grow their brewing operation, add jobs, and meet the wholesale demand for their popular beer brands, the Kettlehouse must close its sampling taproom. Helen S. O'Leary of Helena, Montana has entered into a purchase agreement to acquire a Beer and Wine License in order to continue operating the property as a community taproom where our neighbors can continue to enjoy fresh brewed beer made in a separately leased and owned facility adjacent to the property. This will create the illusion of a brewery taproom while also providing Kettlehouse customers with the experience they have come to expect since 1999.

The conditional use permit application goes on to note that the proposal "will not have an adverse impact on the general welfare of the neighborhood or community," considering the beer and wine license will simply allow the continued sale of beer at a location that's been a craft brew hub for more than a decade.

Now, the license issue is a complex one for craft brewers like Kettlehouse, as O'Leary pointed out on the company's website last March in the wake of withdrawing wholesale distribution from Kalispell, Great Falls and Helena. "It is illegal in Montana for brewers to own any other kind of license to retail beer," O'Leary wrote. "There are partnerships that have formed where a bar owner sets up next to another unrelated brewer and they have a brewpub. But if we did this we’d be giving up control of our taproom to someone we hardly know." O'Leary added that the move would also be extremely costly, and a retail partnership could force the brewery to expand the business dramatically. "We feel that is WAY too risky for a mom and pop operation like ours," O'Leary wrote.

O'Leary has since found a solution to those problems. The beer and wine license will be held by Myrtle Street Taphouse LLC, of which Helen O'Leary—Tim's mom—is the registered agent on file with the state. That company will operate out of what is currently Kettlehouse's Myrtle Street taproom, and Kettlehouse will run its brewing operation out of the newly acquired adjacent building, thus occupying a separate physical address. O'Leary told the Indy today this is a business model similar to what's been used by other breweries in the state including Red Lodge Ales and The Front Brewing.

"The major difference is the brewery will be owned by me and the beer bar will be owned by Mom," O'Leary wrote in an explanation titled The Plan: Operation "Close our Taprooms," posted on Kettlehouse's Facebook page this afternoon. "We don’t expect to change our serving hours or quantities drastically. In fact we may not even serve wine. That is an option that the proposed license allows but does not require. Our goal is to maintain the atmosphere at 602 Myrtle that our longtime customers have come to love."

Meanwhile, the Northside location will become the Northside Brewing Company, owned solely by Rizza, who is O'Leary's wife. The location will continue to operate as is. And the best news of all, for those of us who can't get enough of our favorite Kettlehouse brews? "Since the Kettlehouse Brewing Company will no longer be operating a taproom, we will be able to produce as much beer as we can sell," O'Leary writes. "That means we are not bound by a 10,000 barrel limit to sell beer in a taproom."

The Missoula Plat, Annexation and Zoning Committee is scheduled to discuss Myrtle Street Taphouse's permit application Jan. 28 at a Jan. 23 pre-public hearing discussion at 11 a.m. The full council has a public hearing Jan. 28 during its regular 7 p.m. meeting. Kettlehouse is encouraging folks to show up and support the restructuring.

This story was updated Saturday, Jan. 19 to include the pre-public hearing.

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