Curses, Foiled Again
While serving time in the Gwinnett County, Ga., jail for paying an undercover police officer $3,000 to murder his neighbor and former business partner, Joseph Memar, 65, was caught again trying to have the man killed. Police Cpl. Jake Smith said Memar spread the word among inmates, met with a plainclothes officer during his visitation time, offered the officer $10,000 to kill the man and told him where to go to collect the money. (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
New York City police charged a teenage boy with stealing a girl’s iPhone after he called police to report someone had stolen the iPhone from him. “He portrays himself as being a complainant,” Sgt. Arnoldo Martinez said. “A victim.” The second thief snatched it while the teen was trying to sell it to him. Police quickly located the man and drove him and the teen to the police station. Meanwhile, police in a neighboring precinct were driving the original victim around looking for the three teens who snatched the phone from her. They eventually called the iPhone, and when the officer who answered it identified himself, the officers met. They arrested the teen after the girl identified him by his pink sneakers and her PIN unlocked the phone but he failed. (The New York Times)
Montana senators submit bill to fully fund Land, Water Conservation Fund
Legislation to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund was again sponsored by Montana's U.S. Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester, both Democrats, and with Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr joining as a lead sponsor, there is optimism that the bill will get bipartisan support.
Ravalli Republic (AP); Feb. 15
Montana high court rules landowner must open road to Pishkun Reservoir.
The Montana Supreme Court overturned a Teton County District Court decision and ruled that a private landowner who closed a popular route across his property to Pishkin Reservoir in the early 2000s must reopen that route and replace the bridge connecting Boadle Road and Canal Road in Teton County that burned in a wildfire to restore access across the Sun River Slope Canal.
Great Falls Tribune; Feb. 15
I won’t sugarcoat it: I loathe Valentine’s Day. Forget that Feb. 14 is just one more cliche-soaked, co-opted spot on the calendar. The thought of a single day dedicated to lounging around in matching Snuggies, eating Chunky Monkey and watching “Love Actually” for the 15th time makes me sicker than a night of hot tubbing with Smirnoff marshmallow vodka.
So you can understand why I balked when my editor approached me, the only single reporter on staff, with the idea of writing a Valentine’s advice column. I planned to do little more today than mine my Humphrey Bogart collection for a few classic war films. He promptly reminded me that, with my Christmas gift guide idea of a date in a box, I’d previously come off as something of a romantic. It’s not that I disagree with the celebration of love. Call me old fashioned, but I just don’t believe romance should be reduced to the level of getting drunk off green beer, plowing through mounds of wings during the Super Bowl or removing unsightly knuckle hair with festive rounds of bottle rockets.
But I get it. Your S.O. is expecting something—anything—to mark the big day. And if you’re like most humans, you only got the Facebook reminder this morning. Sure, you could pick up a flashy gift after work or pass off a night at the Red Bird as something you’d planned weeks ago. Or you could take a few tips from me, the date-in-a-box guy, as I try to temper my cynicism.
Romance, like fine dining and job interviews, is all about presentation. Flowers and chocolates just come off as cheesy when gift-wrapped and left on the kitchen counter. Don’t just hand them over, work them into the evening. Pluck the petals and leave a trail from the front door to the bathroom. Use those chocolates to line the tub, and while the lady’s soaking in bubbles, croon a little on the guitar. Think of it as a Manhattan with a black cherry: cheap, traditional, with a twist.
In more of a movie mood? Screw it. You’ve got Netflix 365 days a year. The web is teeming with MP3s of old radio dramas. Throw a few on your iPod, pack up dinner and park someplace secluded with a good view of the sky. You might have to use your imagination, but a few scratchy episodes of “Suspense” beats the hell out of another Michael Bay disaster. Plus, if high school taught us anything, it’s that a car is vastly more “romantic” than a couch.
The smallest gestures usually get the biggest results. If you’re going with the old culinary standby (read: Chinese delivery) think of a 10-minute distraction to keep your S.O. busy. Use tweezers to pluck the fortunes out of the fortune cookies and insert a few of your own. It’s tastier than those chalky Valentine’s message candies, and you can get more, err, creative.
I could rattle off a host of other tried-and-true suggestions—kinky scavenger hunts, doing the five chores you hate the most, reenacting the iconic Lloyd Dobler scene from Say Anything. But this is all just to jump-start your creative process. As much as I may hate the holiday, there’s no denying its power. According to Facebook alone, Valentine’s Day 2011 saw 49 percent more new hookups than breakups.
Consider this: President Obama is spending Valentine’s Day visiting pre-kindergarteners and air base personnel in Georgia, before sitting down for an online “Fireside Hangout” about his State of the Union Address. Even with such a busy schedule, you just know the leader of the free world is going to find some small way to treat Michelle. In other words, a PajamaGram isn’t going to cut it.
Groups file federal lawsuit challenging Interior Dept.'s solar plans
Western Lands Project, the Western Watersheds Project and the Desert Protective Council filed a federal lawsuit in California on Wednesday challenging the federal government's creation of solar energy zones on federal lands in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah, arguing that the federal government should have considered placing large-scale solar-energy projects in already developed areas.
Deseret News; Feb. 14
U. of Montana professors tout NWF's 'Wildlife in a Warming World'
On Tuesday, University of Montana professors Steve Running and Diana Six, Todd Tanner of Conservation Hawk, and Greater Yellowstone Coalition climate change program director Scott Christensen joined forces to call attention to the National Wildlife Federation's "Wildlife in a Warming World" report.
Great Falls Tribune; Feb. 13
Montana FWP launches moose study in 3 areas of state
Biologists have radio-collared 12 cow moose in three regions of the state to learn more about the populations in the East Cabinet study area south of Libby, the Big Hole and along the Eastern Front of the Rockies.
Kalispell Daily InterLake; Feb. 13
Last week, the Indy ran a story titled "Mixed Messages" about a pro-choice group's accusation that a Missoula pregnancy care center was misleading women about its services. Administrators at Care Net of Missoula declined to comment for the story, and pointed to their website for information about its services. The website stated, "We do not offer or refer for abortions...," but the "title" on its homepage that appeared at the top of any browser read: "abortion info: abortion pill, free abortions, free pregnancy tests." (A photograph of the "title" ran with the original story).
Similarly, at the time the article was written a Google search for "Care Net Missoula" produced Care Net's website under the same title: "abortion info: abortion pill, free abortions, free pregnancy tests."
As of Monday, Feb. 11, Care Net changed the "title" code on their website. It now reads, "Care Net of Missoula."
Care Net administrators have not returned multiple phone calls asking for comment on the change.
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): Afrikaner author Laurens van der Post told a story about a conversation between psychologist Carl Jung and Ochwiay Biano, a Pueblo Indian chief. Jung asked Biano to offer his views about white people. "White people must be crazy because they think with their heads," said the chief, "and it is well-known that only crazy people do that." Jung asked him what the alternative was. Biano said that his people think with their hearts. That's your assignment for the week ahead, Aries: to think with your heart — especially when it comes to love. For extra credit, you should feel with your head — especially when it comes to love. Happy Valentine Daze, Aries!
Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.
Montana county commissioners challenge USFS's water-rights filings
In 2007, the U.S. Forest Service and Montana completed 15 years of negotiations over water rights that the federal agency to file for in-stream water rights on rivers and creeks on federal lands and the Forest Service has completed such filings on five streams and are working on 11 others, which has raised the concerns of the Ravalli County Commission and local residents.
Ravalli Republic; Feb. 12
The New York Times can't stop writing about Missoula.
A few days after previewing the Jordan Johnson rape case, the Grey Lady covered Forward Montana in a glowing examination of those who are "Young, Liberal and Open to Big Government." (That's the title of the article.)
Here's how it starts:
This funky college town, nestled along two rivers where five mountain ranges converge, has long been a liberal pocket, an isolated speck of blue in a deeply red state. Now Montana is electing more politicians who lean that way, thanks to a different-minded generation of young voters animated by the recession and social issues.
It's a fun read about a strong local organization — and a little different from the national exposure generated by the Johnson case. Read the full thing here.
The photo above by former Indy photo intern Eric Oravsky is from a Forward Montana election night party, and currently graces the organization's homepage.
Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.
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