All of the drama was supposed to end with the sale of one of the highest-priced fossils ever offered on the open market. But that sale will have to wait.
The dinosaur skeletons failed to sell at auction in New York City yesterday. From The Associated Press:
A pre-sale estimate had predicted that the skeletons, offered as a single lot, could fetch between $7 million and $9 million — a price out of the reach of most museums. There were hopes that a wealthy buyer would donate the skeletons to a public institution, similar to how The Field Museum came to own Sue, a Tyrannosaurus rex discovered in South Dakota in 1990. The museum acquired Sue at a total cost of $8.36 million, including premium, with backing from McDonald's, Disney and other donors.
But the skeletons did not make the reserve at the Bonhams auction; the highest offer was $5.5 million. Auction officials said they remained hopeful that they'd find a buyer, possibly among institutions that had previously expressed interest.
Utah provides a model for communities seeking federal transportation funds
At a meeting Tuesday in Washington, D.C., of Transportation of America, an alliance of community, business and elected officials, the ability of Utah to obtain federal funding for transportation projects was touted as one to follow.
Salt Lake Tribune; Nov. 20
Montana county hires attorney to fend off USFS water-rights claims
The Ravalli County Commission voted unanimously to use $1,500 of donated private funds to hire a Wyoming law firm to continue its challenge of the U.S. Forest Service's plan to obtain water rights on headwaters streams in the Bitterroot Forest in Montana.
Ravalli Republic; Nov. 20
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 poet Charles Baudelaire prayed for help, but not to God—rather he prayed to the writer Edgar Allan Poe. Novelist Malcolm Lowry sometimes pleaded with God to give him insight, but he also prayed to the writer Franz Kafka. I really like this approach to seeking guidance, and recommend it to you in the coming days. Which hero, dead or alive, could you call on to uplift you? What amazing character might bring you the inspiration you need? Be brazen and imaginative. The spirits could be of more help than you can imagine. Magic is afoot.
Josh Quick's "Camp Sleepover" appears every Tuesday online, and can be seen in the Indy's printed pages every Thursday.
Montana State U. builds an acoustic atlas
There are hundreds of natural sounds recorded by researchers waiting to be archived on Montana State University's new website acousticatlas.org and work is underway to capture sounds in the Yellowstone ecosystem, including its iconic bubbling geothermal system.
Billings Gazette; Nov. 19
NPS hosts meeting on Yellowstone Park's winter plan on Friday
The National Park Service will hold a public meeting about Yellowstone National Park's collaborative winter adaptive management program on Friday in Bozeman, and the agency is offering an option for those who can't make the meeting in Montana to participate remotely, and all who plan are attending, either in person or remotely, are asked to RSVP by Wednesday.
Billings Gazette; Nov. 19
EPA wants to slow down pace of ethanol mix in gasoline
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is taking public comment on its proposal to slow down the pace of blending ethanol into gasoline mandated by the 2007 energy law.
New York Times; Nov. 18
Supervisor of Montana national forest lauds volunteers' work
The Bitterroot National Forest in Montana has had its budget for trail clearing cut by nearly a third over the past three years, yet the forest was able to clear 656 miles of trail this year, nearly double the agency's goal of 345 miles, with volunteers from a slate of groups pitching in to help.
Ravalli Republic; Nov. 18
Curses, Foiled Again
Investigators concluded that Lucas Burke, 21, and Ethan Keeler, 20, broke into a landscaping business in Hopkinton, N.H., and tried to open a locked safe with an acetylene cutting torch. The safe was full of fireworks. “The whole thing went up and blew their bodies apart,” owner Thomas Komisarek said. (New Hampshire Union Leader)
Police charged Ethan Gettier, 16, with drug and weapons offenses after he aroused their suspicions by posting “over 600 photos on Instagram showing parties he was having in the house with ample amounts of suspected marijuana and alcohol,” according to the police report, which accused him of selling marijuana from the residence in Gaithersburg, Md. The SWAT team that raided the home also found 45 guns, including an M16 assault rifle. (The Washington Post)
Montana FWP board gives initial OK to land access tax credit for landowners
At the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission meeting on Thursday, the panel gave preliminary approval to a tax credit for landowners who allow access across their lands to public lands, and approved the release of 20 black-footed ferrets at UL Bend National Wildlife Refuge in Phillips County.
Great Falls Tribune; Nov. 15
FWP Commission approves purchase of Montana Snowy Mountain access parcel
On Thursday, the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks acted expeditiously to spend $50,000 on a 40-acre parcel of land in Fergus County to assure access to 18,000 acres of land in the Snowy Mountains.
Billings Gazette; Nov. 15
Driving through southwestern New Mexico this summer, I passed one of the area’s wolf-proof school bus stops. I’d heard about the enclosures for years and couldn’t resist pulling off Highway 180 onto State Road 32 to check one out in person. More recently, the cages have been featured in a new documentary film, “Wolves in Government Clothing.”
Peering into the eight- or ten-foot high wood and wire enclosure, we found its bench smashed and the dirt floor covered with trash. To be fair, school had been out for over a month. But the flimsy, trash-filled box didn’t convince me it sheltered many schoolchildren. The first of the cages were built in 2007 by a local school district; a picture of children looking out from a cage near Reserve, N.M. appeared in newspapers at the time. Both then and now, the cages smell of a publicity stunt.
A vocal group of citizens in southwestern New Mexico have long fought the Mexican gray wolf recovery program run by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its state and tribal partners — a program that hasn’t actually been a resounding success. Despite more than a decade of planning and 15 years of on-the-ground work, only 75 wolves roam the recovery area in Arizona and New Mexico. Thanks to political wrangling, local opposition, a pledge to remove or kill wolves that prey on livestock, and a highly restricted recovery area, the program remains far below its goal of 100 wolves in the wild by 2006.
Yet despite the relatively small population of wolves, it’s clear from signs along Highway 180 that local communities are still outraged by the reintroduction of the predators. And now, at a time when FWS is considering removing wolves from protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), a right-wing “media consultant” has come along to try to influence that debate and to drive a deeper wedge between rural people and government employees.
David Spady’s new film, “Wolves in Government’s Clothing” is anti-wolf propaganda in its purest form. On the film’s website, the Montana-born Spady describes himself as an outdoorsman and filmmaker who has traveled the West looking for people who have been victims to wolves, government agencies and the ESA. A public affairs and media consultant, Spady is also an advisor to Salem Communication Corporation, which owns and operates about 100 “mostly Christian” radio stations, and he’s also the California director of the Americans for Prosperity, a conservative political advocacy group which was founded in 2004 by David Koch and Koch Industries board member, Richard Fink.
Elk-collaring project on Montana reservation helps state refine survey efforts
Stacy Courville, a Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, satisfied his curiosity about where the hundreds of elk that winter in the Hog Heaven area of the Flathead Reservation in Montana between Elmo and Niarada, by putting GPS collars on three cow elk in 2012, and one traveled to near McGregor Lake, another moved into the Lost Trail area and the third moved more than 60 miles to the Fortine Creek area northwest of Whitefish Lake.
Kalispell Daily InterLake; Nov. 14
Golden eagle numbers along Montana migration route continue to decline
The slow, but steady decline in the number of golden eagles counted in the annual survey done earlier this month at Bridger Bowl Ski Area in Montana along the big birds' annual migration from Canada and Alaska to the southwestern United States and the Central Rockies continued, with 1,131 counted this year, down from 1,272 in 2012.
Great Falls Tribune; Nov. 14
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