Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Outside Online interviews Missoula poet, fishing guide Chris Dombrowski

Posted By on Wed, Mar 13, 2013 at 1:31 PM

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Missoula fly-fishing guide, poet and Indy contributor Chris Dombrowski recently released his second collection of verse, Earth Again.

These days, he spends the academic year (the "off-season" to fishing guides) teaching creative writing at the Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan. After a book tour this spring, he and his family plan on returning to Missoula for the summer (which to at least one creative writing professor is also called "fishing season").

Outside Online's Jonah Ogles recently caught up with Dombrowski to talk fishing, poetry and why they taste good together. Both the interview and the book are worth checking out.

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Rockies Today, March 13

Posted By on Wed, Mar 13, 2013 at 10:39 AM

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Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Montana board pegs value of Beartooth Highway to Montana's economy
On Tuesday, the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research at the University of Montana released results of its study on the revenue generated by tourists driving across the Beartooth All-American Road to the local economy, with the study finding that tourism provided 176 jobs and generated $13.6 million in spending from nonresident visitors to Red Lodge and Carbon County.
Billings Gazette; March 13

Wyoming board approves Encana's request to inject wastewater into aquifer
Despite a recommendation from the two state geologists on the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission that Encana not be allowed to inject wastewater from oil and gas drilling operations into the Madison aquifer, the board voted Tuesday to allow the company to do so.
Casper Star-Tribune; March 13

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Your future, a little early

Posted By on Wed, Mar 13, 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): "If it's stupid and it works, it's not stupid." That could turn out to be a useful mantra for you in the coming week. Being pragmatic should be near the top of your priority list, whereas being judgmental should be at the bottom. Here's another mantra that may serve you well: "Those who take history personally are condemned to repeat it." I hope you invoke that wisdom to help you escape an oppressive part of your past. Do you have room for one more inspirational motto, Aries? Here it is: "I am only as strong as my weakest delusion."

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

National media revisits Pinehaven and legislature's lack of action

Posted By on Tue, Mar 12, 2013 at 12:30 PM

Pinehaven Christian Children’s Ranch in St. Ignatius is again drawing national scrutiny with "Anderson Cooper 360" reporting this week on the Montana Legislature’s refusal to regulate the embattled home for troubled youth.

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The March 8 Anderson Cooper segment is a follow-up to three-part series that CNN ran last year, titled “Ungodly Discipline.” The Indy first reported in 2010 on the controversial ranch that aims to rehabilitate kids. Last month, we followed up on efforts by Missoula Democratic Rep. Ellie Hill to persuade the Montana Legislature to require private religious youth homes be licensed by the state.

Dave Bingham worked as a house parent at Pinehaven Christian Children's Ranch in St. Ignatius for five years. He still remembers the sounds that the kids made when they were restrained with what ranch staffers referred to as "pressure pointing."

"That really hurts, just to hear the kids screaming," says Bingham, who worked at the ranch with his wife, Denise. "I watched a 17-year-old boy, tough as nails, but somebody else was getting pressure pointed, and he was screaming he was so afraid of what was coming after him."

House Bill 236 would require private religious youth homes to report to the state how behavior is managed, whether regular communication with family members is allowed and if residents are receiving medication and psychological care.

On Feb. 28, House Judiciary Committee Republicans shot down HB 236 on a 12-8 party-line vote.

In the program that aired March 8, CNN asks House Judiciary Committee Chairman Krayton Kerns about his rationale for voting against Pinehaven being licensed. Kerns tells CNN that he doesn’t think that imposing new regulations would affect how Pinehaven's staff treats youth. "I don't think it would change it, I really don't," he says.

You watch the entire segment below:

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Rockies Today, March 12

Posted By on Tue, Mar 12, 2013 at 11:10 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

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EPA decision could fuel a camelina comeback on Montana farms
Camelina has fallen out of favor as a cash crop for Montana farmers, with 22,500 acres planted to the crop in 2007 down to just 2,500 acres in 2011, but a decision made two weeks ago by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that put the oil from camelina seed on the list of low-carbon feed stocks under the Renewable Fuel Standard could again convert acres to camelina.
Billings Gazette; March 12

Investors file SEC notice of takeover bid for Montana's Stillwater Mining Co.
Former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer and the New York-based Clinton Group hedge fund filed formal notice with the Securities and Exchange Commission of their intent to wrest control of Billings-based Stillwater Mining Co. from the current board of directors and CEO.
Great Falls Tribune (AP); March 12

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There's a bison feed in Helena today...

Posted By on Tue, Mar 12, 2013 at 10:38 AM

Tribal leaders, conservationists and sportsmen are banding together under the Capitol Rotunda today to oppose a slate of proposals targeting bison conservation that actually survived the transmittal deadline. This isn't your run-of-the-mill legislative rally. Fort Belknap has supplied an entire bison—dead and served up in chili, of course—for a massive bison feed open to the public and legislators alike. The event lasts from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. today.

"Bison have been at the center of a debate about whether wildlife can co-exist with Montana’s farms and ranches and what areas may be appropriate for future restoration efforts," Defenders of Wildlife spokesman Jonathan Procter wrote in a release announcing the event last week. "This session, the legislature has introduced 10 bills targeting bison—an attempt by a select few legislators to derail tribal and state-led restoration efforts. While tribes, sportsmen and conservationists have successfully worked together to defeat many of these bills, five bills remain active that would negatively impact current and future bison management and restoration efforts."

Several of the bison bills that failed to make it far this session would have rewritten the entire book on management of the ungulates, including Senate Bill 249, which sought to strengthen the legal right of landowners to shoot bison on sight if they feel private property is at risk. Defenders of Wildlife offered a run-down last week of the proposals that are still alive in the legislature; among them are House Bill 396, which gives county commissioners veto power over bison restoration in their counties, and SB 143, which orders Montana officials to kill any wild bison migrating into Montana from Yellowstone National park.

Procter, whose group played a key role in getting quarantined Yellowstone bison to Fort Peck last year, said today's event will also feature a drum circle and a host of guest speakers including Fort Peck Tribal Councilman Tom Christian. Christian led the welcoming ceremony for the bison last spring alongside then-governor Brian Schweitzer. After today's event in the rotunda, bison conservation proponents will attend committee meetings on two of the still-active bills in an attempt to see them defeated as well.

This post was updated Wednesday morning to correct an error.

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Monday, March 11, 2013

Why you shouldn't lose your wife while golfing (and more from In Other News)

Posted By on Mon, Mar 11, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Curses, Foiled Again
A woman was kneeling in prayer on the kitchen floor of her Seattle home when she felt someone grab her hair from behind. She later told police she thought it was her husband playing a joke on her, but when she turned around, she saw an unknown man. According to the police report, she yelled out, “Lord help me,” whereupon the intruder fell back, hitting his head on the refrigerator. The man then stumbled out of the house, taking only a $20 bill that had been sitting on the table, and drove off in a white Cadillac. (Seattle’s KOMO-TV)

A woman told police in Des Moines, Iowa, that she returned home one morning to find a strange vehicle in her driveway. She parked behind it and saw a man walk out of her front door. He told her two other men had broken in and that he was driving by, saw them and stopped to investigate. When the homeowner started to call police, however, the man grabbed a crowbar, smashed the window of her car, put it in neutral and rammed it with his pickup truck to push it into the street so he could drive off. Police officers spotted him and gave chase. After he crashed into a utility pole, he fled on foot but didn’t get far, according to police, who reported, “He would have been able to run faster if he wasn’t wearing snow pants.” Officers arrested Martin Thicklen, 49, on multiple charges. (Des Moines Register)

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Rockies Today, March 11

Posted By on Mon, Mar 11, 2013 at 10:56 AM

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Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Neighboring farms in Montana reflect organic, GMO divide
There are an estimated 200,000 acres in Montana planted with genetically modified sugar beets, alfalfa and other crops, and there are 215,000 acres in the Big Sky State planted to certified organic crops, and near Lewistown, separated by just a road, an organic farmer prepares to plant Montana Morado Maize across the road from his neighbor's field planted with Roundup Ready alfalfa.
Great Falls Tribune; March 9

Landslides making waves in Berkeley Pit in Montana
Environmental Protection Agency officials said the landslides that are occurring in the Berkeley Pit in Montana pose no problem to the public yet, as the water level is still 100 feet below the critical level.
Ravalli Republic (Montana Standard); March 11

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Friday, March 8, 2013

Rockies Today, March 8

Posted By on Fri, Mar 8, 2013 at 10:51 AM

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Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Senate panel questions Interior secretary nominee
President Obama's nominee to be Interior secretary, Sally Jewell, appeared before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Thursday, where she provided generally noncommittal answers to the polite questions offered by the panel members, but she did say "Leaning into oil and gas development is an important part of the mission of the Bureau of Land Management and also of the Department of Interior."
New York Times; March 8

Federal agency says $580 million spent last year fighting largest wildfires
The National Interagency Fire Center released a summary of last year's wildfire season that said $580 million was spent fighting the largest of those wildfires, and that 80 percent of the 51 largest fires were caused by lightning.
Idaho Statesman (AP); March 8

Environmental groups urge investigation into grizzly disappearance in Montana
Two weeks after federal researchers captured and radio-collared a male grizzly bear on the Montana-Idaho border near the U.S. Sheep Research Station, the 392-pound bear disappeared late last summer, with its radio collar found shortly after that buried under a rock, and the Cottonwood Environmental Law Center filed notice this week demanding that if the federal government does not take steps to protect bears on the 16,000-acre research station, the group will move to stop grazing on the station.
Flathead Beacon (AP); March 8

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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Russell Street corridor readies for major changes

Posted By on Thu, Mar 7, 2013 at 4:12 PM

Dallas Neil is excited. The former professional football player and longtime Missoula resident has big plans for a slice of the former Intermountain Lumber site on Russell Street—he envisions a two-story fitness center, complete with a bistro and espresso bar.

“It’s going to be something fresh for Missoula,” he says.

Neil owns LifeStyle Fitness on Reserve Street and he plans on moving it to the Russell Street location. He hasn’t yet bought his portion of the Russell site from its current owner, the Farran Group. But he aims to close on the parcel soon. “Everything is moving forward,” Neil says.

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The new fitness center constitutes one of many new developments on tap for the long languishing property. Since the Intermountain Lumber Company shuttered in 2002, much of the site has remained a bare patch of concrete alongside one of Missoula’s most traveled thoroughfares. In 2010, the Missoula Housing Authority opened the 37-unit Garden District, a low income housing project, on the parcel’s southwestern corner. However, until this year, efforts to launch commercial development had fallen short.

That changed on Dec. 24, when Missoula developers the Farran Group purchased the land from the Missoula Housing Authority. In January, they broke ground on what will be a $19.5 million apartment complex, composed of seven buildings and 224 units, including studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments.

Farran Group principal Jim McLeod sounds just as excited as Neil when talking about what’s happening on the 9.29-acre property. In addition to the apartments, which will rent for between $650 and $900 per month, the development will offer a large clubhouse, fitness center, pool and an on-site community garden that will be open to the public.

McLeod anticipates that the project, which is being financed by First Security Bank, will pump $5 million in local wages into the community. “It’s a project that’s being built in Missoula by Missoulians and being financed by Missoulians,” he says.

What’s more, McLeod points out that when the Russell Street redesign finally comes to fruition, locals who commute on foot or by bike will be able to skirt vehicle traffic almost entirely. The city's long-planned redesign calls for overhauling 1.5 miles of Russell, from West Broadway to Mount, adding bicycle lanes, new sidewalks and an underground tunnel that links the newly paved Milwaukee Trail to the west of Russell to Missoula’s expansive trail system on the east.

McCloud says that the Farran Group aims to begin opening apartments for rent this summer. “We hope to have our first two buildings ready to occupy [in] July, August, and our club house.”

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