Manager of Idaho national forest proposes change to 'megaload' criteria
Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest Supervisor Rick Brazell, who set out the criteria to define a megaload, which would require a formal review process for a permit—which has yet to be created—agreed to revise the rule about requiring traffic to stop to bring it in line with an Idaho rule that requires traffic control plans for loads more than 16 feet wide or 150 feet long traveling on a narrow section of U.S. Highway 12.
Great Falls Tribune (AP); July 31
U.S. Senate committee takes testimony on Montana public lands bills
On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate Public Lands, Forests and Mining Subcommittee heard testimony on 14 public lands bills, including Montana U.S. Sen. Max Baucus' Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act and U.S. Sen. Jon Tester's Forest Jobs and Recreation Act.
Missoulian; July 31
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): To add zest to mealtime, you might choose food that has been seasoned with red chili peppers, cumin, or other piquant flavors. Some chimpanzees have a similar inclination, which is why they like to snack on red fire ants. Judging from the astrological omens, I'm guessing you are currently in a phase when your attraction to spicy things is at a peak — not just for dinner but in other areas of your life, as well. I have a suggestion: Pursue rowdy fun with adventures that have metaphorical resemblances to red chili peppers, but stay away from those that are like red fire ants.
Butte native Stephanie Schriock, the former Jon Tester campaign manager who currently helms the nonprofit EMILY'S List, announced today that she will not run for U.S. Senate in 2014. Schriock's name has been dropped repeatedly in recent months as one of several potential Democratic candidates to replace retiring Sen. Max Baucus.
“Montana raised me, and it will always be my heart," Schriock said in an emailed statement this morning. "It has been truly incredible to hear from so many folks who believe in me. I would love to say yes, but this is not the right time. There is so much work to be done all over the country fighting on behalf of women and standing up against a concerted effort to roll back the clock on our freedoms and opportunities. I will always be committed to the people who taught me that those freedoms are something we must keep fighting to protect. Montana is my home and I will always want to be a part of its future.”
The Democratic field for Baucus' replacement has thinned noticeably in the past month. Schweitzer declined a bid for office in early July, a move that many believe could make the race easier for Republicans. State Auditor Monica Lindeen also decided not to run, making her announcement via Twitter July 16. Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau remains one of the few talked-about Democrats who have yet to issue a firm position. A "Draft Denise" Facebook page currently has 929 likes.
Wildfire in Montana wilderness burns through built-up fuels
The Red Shale Fire in the Bob Marshall Wilderness in Montana has burned across 8,613 acres since igniting 11 days ago, and fire managers said the fire is eliminating snags and dead trees that have impeded use of the area since the 1988 Gates Park fire.
Great Falls Tribune; July 30
FERC says JPMorgan manipulated energy markets in Montana
In an enforcement action filed Monday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission charged JPMorgan's energy unit with using illegal bidding strategies to obtain excessive payments in California and in the Midwest, with five such events occurring in California between September 2010 and June 2011, and three such events involving Midcontinent Independent System Operator, which covers Montana and 14 other states, between October 2010 to May 2011.
Great Falls Tribune (AP); July 30
Exceptional ethnic food is difficult to find away from its native land, unless it’s made by the people who grew up eating those very dishes. Pasties are no exceptions, and the Butte natives who run Lisa’s Pasty Pantry serve some of the largest and finest you’re likely to find this far from the Berkeley Pit’s golden shores
What it comes with: A cup of hot gravy to salve the golden-brown crust. There’s also a hearty side of coleslaw that, while delicious, does little to soothe the “Oh my God, I should be eating a salad” pangs of guilt that accompany any pasty dinner. Finally, a $8.95 meal at Lisa’s includes a delicious fruit turnover that looks like the miniature frosted offspring of the main course.
Why you’re eating it: There are three possible reasons. First, because the savory carb-, protein- and fat-loaded dish fills and satisfies in a way that a veggie burger could never touch. Second, you need several days worth of calories in one sitting. Third, there’s a vein of ore somewhere that needs to be dug up and smelted.
Bonus: In addition to the meaty original pasty, Lisa’s offers a vegetarian option as well as teeny-tiny “cocktail pasties.” All of these can be bought frozen and saved for another day.
Where to find ’em: Lisa’s Pasty Pantry is located at 2004 West Sussex in Missoula. The small but cozy dining room pays homage to Butte’s Irish and mining roots.
Hangriest Hour serves up fresh details on western Montana eats. To recommend a restaurant, dish or chef for Hangriest Hour, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.
New U.S. safety regulations for rail tanker cars delayed again
The soda-can shaped rail oil tanker car, and known as the DOT-111, has long been criticized for being prone to slit open during derailments or other accidents, but a plan to beef up the integrity of the rail car's structure set to take effect last October, has again been delayed by the U.S., due in part to the industry protesting the cost of updating all the DOT-111's in the system.
Billings Gazette (AP); July 29
Megaloads at Idaho port awaiting USFS clearance for route to Montana
Two water-purification units that are 255 feet long, 21 feet wide and weigh an estimated 644,000 pounds have been delivered to the Port of Lewiston, where they await transport through Idaho and Montana for ultimate delivery to Alberta's oilsands country, but until the U.S. Forest Service approves the loads moving along 100 miles of U.S. Highway 12 in Idaho that passes through the Nez Perce National Forest and several protected areas.
Missoulian; July 28
Curses, Foiled Again
Police charged four people with theft after they used a stolen credit card to buy tickets at a movie theater in Crofton, Md. Anne Arundel County police identified the three teenagers and a 20-year-old as suspects after they posed for pictures in the theater’s souvenir-photo booth. After police posted the photos, community members provided their names. (Bowie, Md., Patch)
Ontario police caught Jorden Morin, 25, driving a stolen vehicle 90 miles to a Toronto-area jail to serve his weekend jail sentence for assault. “It’s clear from the record, you are not getting the message of deterrence,” Judge Kevin Sherwood said after adding time to his sentence for violating probation and possession of stolen property. (Canada’s QMI Agency)
University boosters provided extra benefits to football players, including meals, free legal representation and bail bond payments, a small loan, clothing, lodging, transportation and laundry services. Additionally, the football team exceeded coaching limits and two former student-athletes competed while ineligible. As a result of this activity, the university and the former head coach failed to monitor.
UM is being punished with "a three-year probation period, scholarship reductions, a vacation of wins in which the ineligible student-athletes participated and reduction in the number of undergraduate student assistant positions," according to the report. That means five wins in 2011 have been removed, as have all references to that season's conference championship and playoff appearance, says Athletics Director Kent Haslam.
The case was resolved through "a cooperative effort" with the university, involved individuals and the NCAA.
The NCAA report begins by detailing how a booster paid bail for two student-athletes in 2011, a violation of NCAA rules. Former head coach Robin Pflugrad, who is not listed by name in the report, knew of the booster paying bail, according to the NCAA, but the coach did not report it to administrators.
Senior athletics department officials, including the compliance director and director of athletics, were also aware that the booster was providing legal assistance to the student-athletes.
In October 2011, Trumaine Johnson and Gerald Kemp were arrested and Tased for obstructing a police officer, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. They were released after an hour in jail. Neither Johnson nor Kemp is named in the report.
Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.
Montana extends comment period on Yellowstone bison plan
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has extended the public comment period on its environmental assessment of a plan to allow bison from Yellowstone National Park on public lands in the state year-round to Sept. 13, and on Monday, the state Department of Livestock will hold a meeting on the EA that will begin at 1 p.m. in Room 318 at the Livestock Building at 301 N. Roberts in Helena.
Helena Independent Record; July 26
There are all sorts of reasons to hit the highway this time of year. You might be trying to escape recent extremes of desert heat, bound for cooler high country and the freezing plunge of alpine lakes, or bone-chilling swells along the Pacific Coast. Or perhaps you’re the sort whose perfect lark includes the world’s largest ball of twine, catsup bottle and box of raisins.
Kirsten Howard and Allie Goldstein, both recent graduates of the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment, had something different in mind when they embarked this June on their Great American Adaptation Road Trip. After earning Masters degrees in environmental policy, the young women hoped to see firsthand how people — from city planners to farmers to federal officials to neighbors — are adapting their lives and livelihoods to cope with climate change. “We wanted to focus on what they’re doing to move past the conversation, that we find boring and not relevant, about whether climate change is actually happening or not,” says Goldstein. “And then, we really just wanted to go on a road trip,” Howard says with a laugh.
So it is that the pair is now looping the nation over three months, documenting various approaches and sharing them through written stories, videos, audio slideshows and more with the aim of getting the public engaged, spreading good ideas and helping inspire further innovations. (Here’s a map that shows where they’ve been and where they’re going; they have Missoula slotted for a future stop.)
By the time Goldstein and Howard rolled up to High Country News headquarters in Colorado’s North Fork Valley in Goldstein’s mom’s mini-van last week, they had already driven from Michigan to the Eastern Seaboard and down the coast to Louisiana. They stopped to check out everything from a solar power company on Long Island whose business is booming in the wake of Hurricane Sandy to Georgian farmers who are adapting more efficient irrigation methods to ride out expected increases in drought.
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