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Monday, April 17, 2017

Indy sign (inevitably) vandalized

Posted By on Mon, Apr 17, 2017 at 10:53 AM

The Missoula Independent's street-facing sign was turned into a punchline over the weekend.

Making a joke that Indy staffers have heard repeatedly since the paper was acquired by Lee Enterprises last Thursday, someone spray painted over the first two letters of the newspaper's name so it reads as "dependent."
The Missoula "dependent," get it? - PHOTO BY DEREK BROUWER
  • Photo by Derek Brouwer
  • The Missoula "dependent," get it?

Publisher Matt Gibson noticed the damage when he arrived at the office Monday morning and filed a police report.

"I can't believe it took this long for our sign to get vandalized," he says. The red-and-white sign is a decade old.

The Independent was independently owned since its founding in 1991. The paper is now under the same corporate umbrella as the Missoulian.

Read the newsroom's initial response to the sale here, and keep an eye out this Thursday for full coverage.

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

So, about that sale...

Posted By on Thu, Apr 13, 2017 at 1:36 PM

If you're reading this, you've probably already heard the news: Lee Enterprises, owner of the Missoulian, has purchased the Missoula Independent, effective today.

This is not a delayed April Fools joke, and it is not a cut-and-paste error from News of the Weird. The Independent, at least in terms of ownership, is no longer independent.

The paper's staff learned of the sale this morning at a 9 a.m. meeting at the Independent office with Independent publisher Matt Gibson, Missoulian Publisher Mike Gulledge and HR reps from Lee Enterprises.
The last independently owned Independent.
  • The last independently owned Independent.

We were not expecting the news. And frankly we have not come anywhere near fully processing it yet.

Here's what was presented to us: Gibson will stay on as publisher of the Independent. We will stay in our current offices at 317 S. Orange Street. All staff are being retained at their current salaries. Our benefits just got a bit better.

We are led to understand that the Independent will retain full editorial independence.

Are we skeptical? Damn right we're skeptical. Skepticism is kind of what we do.

And reporting.

We'll be reporting this story in the days and weeks to come, online and most prominently in next week's paper, the scheduled stories of which we've just scrapped in order to start over with blanket coverage of the sale: how we got to here, what it means for advertisers and for journalism in Montana, reactions from readers and prominent figures in Indy history, and what you can expect from us going forward.

The short answer to that last question is this: more of the same. We're taking Lee's assurance of editorial independence at face value until we hear otherwise. If we hear otherwise, you'll hear that from us. Right before we hand over the reins to whomever wants that job.

We don't have all the answers yet, but we're working hard to track them down, and we'll let you know what we know when we know it. We appreciate you sticking with us while we find our way forward.



Thursday, April 6, 2017

We're teaming up with Forward Montana and Last Best News to deliver Facebook Live town halls with the candidates for Montana's congressional seat. Got a question for the candidates? Let us have it!

Posted By on Thu, Apr 6, 2017 at 3:02 PM

Perhaps you've heard: Democrat Rob Quist, Republican Greg Gianforte and Libertarian Mark Wicks are seeking Montana's lone congressional seat, the one left vacant when President Trump called Ryan Zinke to Washington to head the Department of the Interior. The special election that will send one of these men to Congress will be held May 25.

Across the country, voters sit elections out because they lack access to reliable information about the candidates and issues, and Forward Montana, along with the Missoula Independent and Last Best News, aims to change that. We'll be jointly hosting Facebook Live town halls with the candidates so you can get to know them and what their positions mean to you. Forward Montana has hosted candidate forums for local and statewide elections for over five years.

“By offering the town halls online, we’re hoping to reach young people across Montana”, said Rachel Huff-Doria, Forward Montana’s Executive Director. “The town halls will provide accessible, fun and informative opportunities for voters to engage with candidates about the issues that matter most to Montanans.”

Each congressional candidate will be featured independently in hour-long town halls shown live on Facebook during the first week of May. Both Rob Quist, the Democratic candidate, and Mark Wicks, the Libertarian candidate, have confirmed their participation. Greg Gianforte, the Republican candidate, has been invited, but has not yet responded.

“We hope that Greg Gianforte will participate in the town hall”, said Huff-Doria. “It’s important that young Montanans have information about all of the candidates on the ballot.”

To make sure you get the information you want and need, Forward Montana, the Missoula Independent, and Last Best News invite Montanans from anywhere in the state to submit questions for the town halls. Questions can be submitted online at forwardmontana.org/questionsforcongress by April 20.

Got a question? Let us have it.



Saturday, April 1, 2017

Saturday's avalanche advisory: Moderate danger

Posted By on Sat, Apr 1, 2017 at 7:29 AM

From the West Central Montana Avalanche Center: The current avalanche danger is MODERATE for the West Central Montana backcountry. Human triggered avalanches are possible in specific terrain. Evaluate the snow and terrain carefully to identify features of concern.
moderate-450.png

Good morning, this is Logan King with the West Central Montana Avalanche Center’s avalanche advisory for April 1, 2017. This danger rating does not apply to operating ski areas, expires at midnight tonight and is the sole responsibility of the U.S. Forest Service.

For the full advisory, including photos and video, visit the West Central Montana Avalanche Center's website.

Here's what the National Weather Service's backcountry forecast has to say for the rest of the weekend:

A few scattered showers under westerly flow will be expected today and tonight, though snow amounts will remain fairly light. By Sunday into Monday, additional scattered snow showers and cooler temperatures will be likely across the area. Drier and warmer weather will move over Tuesday and Wednesday under developing high pressure. 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Thursday's avalanche advisory: Moderate danger

Posted By on Thu, Mar 30, 2017 at 7:11 AM

From the West Central Montana Avalanche Center: The current avalanche danger is MODERATE for the West Central Montana backcountry. Human triggered avalanches are possible in specific terrain. Evaluate the snow and terrain carefully to to identify features of concern.
moderate-450.png

Good morning, this is Logan King with the West Central Montana Avalanche Center’s avalanche advisory for March 30, 2017. This danger rating does not apply to operating ski areas, expires at midnight tonight and is the sole responsibility of the U.S. Forest Service.

For the full advisory, visit the West Central Montana Avalanche Center's website.

Here's what the National Weather Service's backcountry forecast has to say heading into the weekend:
Snow accumulations of 6 to 12 inches above 5500 feet are expected today across southern Clearwater/Bitterroot, Flint Creek and Anaconda Ranges. Considering the relatively warm temperatures during the main snow event, a lot of compaction is anticipated. Some transport of snow by wind is possible toward northeast facing slopes, but realistically confined to above 7500 feet.

Another shot of minor accumulations across the Northern Rockies is possible on Sunday and Monday. Otherwise, temperatures will continue to warm above freezing each afternoon for most elevations for the next week.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Saturday's avalanche advisory: Low danger

Posted By on Sat, Mar 25, 2017 at 7:24 AM

From the West Central Montana Avalance Center: The current avalanche danger is LOW for the West Central Montana backcountry. Low danger does not mean no danger and avalanches are still possible in isolated terrain. Carefully evaluate terrain to identify features of greatest concern. With temperatures above freezing later today avalanche danger will increase in the afternoon as the sun starts to affect the snow surface.
low-450.png

Good morning, this is Logan King with the West Central Montana Avalanche Center’s avalanche advisory for March 25, 2017. This danger rating does not apply to operating ski areas, expires at midnight tonight and is the sole responsibility of the U.S. Forest Service.

For the full advisory, including photos and video, visit the West Central Montana Avalanche Center's website.

Here's what the National Weather Service's backcountry forecast has to say as the weekend continues:
Aside from the relatively dry periods of Sunday and Tuesday, high elevations snow showers will be present for much of the next week. Despite the high likelihood of snow, accumulations per event will be only up to several inches in a given day. Daytime temperatures will warm well above freezing each day, with overnight temperatures barely cooling to below freezing for some locations. Afternoon winds will become breezy at times,particularly this afternoon and Monday afternoon. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Montana news roundup, March 23

Posted By on Thu, Mar 23, 2017 at 4:43 PM

What others are writing about Montana this week, as collected by Mountain West News:

Montana lawmakers pass anti-Sharia law bill

Montana is one of 13 states, including Idaho, considering legislation this year that would prohibit the use of foreign law in state courts. Nine states already have similar laws, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures. (3/22/17, Buzzfeed)

Fewer migrating geese land at Freezeout Lake
Freezeout Lake, Montana’s primary snow goose staging area where as many as 300,000 snow geese and 10,000 tundra swans gather and rest before flying onward, appears to be hosting fewer birds this year, perhaps because of warmer weather. (3/21/17, Great Falls Tribune)

Bull trout are bouncing back in Glacier backcountry
In 2009, USGS biologists in partnership with Glacier National Park pioneered a new effort to suppress lake trout in remote backcountry lakes and reintroduce dwindling native trout populations. According to a recent study, published in Fisheries Management and Ecology, results show strong evidence of success, and indicate that the efforts could be applied to other invaded habitats and broader ranges. (3/21/17, Flathead Beacon)

For tribes, GOP health bill ‘stops the momentum’
The Affordable Care Act contains several health insurance reforms specific to Native Americans. In Montana and across the country, tribes are reporting significant improvements as a result of the reforms. Now, state and tribal leaders fear much of that progress could be lost if the House GOP proposal to replace Obamacare passes as currently written. (3/22/17, Missoulian)

The Colstrip quandary spawns 12 bills in Montana
The 2,094-megawatt coal-fired Colstrip plant in eastern Montana, with two of its four units shutting down by 2022, has lawmakers wrangling with whether, and how, to save a rural company town. (3/21/17, ClimateWire)

Mining bill ‘about learning the lessons from our past’
So says state Rep. Nate McConnell, a Democrat from Missoula, who has introduced a bill that would increase the amount of bonding required for certain mines that have a higher likelihood of producing acid mine drainage. It’s primarily intended to protect the Smith River from the proposed Black Butte copper mine near Sheep Creek, a tributary of the Smith, in central Montana, a river Montana U.S. Sen. Jon Tester has described as “one of the best places to float, fish, and camp, and one of the last places you can escape civilization and truly experience Montana as our ancestors did.” (3/20/17, Great Falls Tribune)

Democrats’ ‘center of gravity’ may be moving West
Politico reports from Helena, where New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker’s appearance at a Montana Democratic Party dinner on Saturday night “is a signal that potential 2020 [presidential] contenders are recognizing the subtle shift away from more traditional party power centers on the East Coast.” (3/19/17, Politico)

Money pours in to sway Tester’s vote on Gorsuch
A $900,000 TV ad “carpet bombing” attempted to get Montana Sen. Jon Tester to confirm Trump nominee Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. (3/19/17, Billings Gazette)


Mountain West News is a service of the O’Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West — a regional studies and public education program at the University of Montana. The Center’s purpose is to serve as an important and credible resource for people in the state and region in understanding the region’s past, present, and future. For more, visit mountainwestnews.org.

Thursday's avalanche advisory: Moderate danger

Posted By on Thu, Mar 23, 2017 at 9:49 AM

From the West Central Montana Avalanche Center: The current avalanche danger is LOW for the west central Montana backcountry and will rise to MODERATE this afternoon. Human triggered avalanches are still possible in isolated terrain this morning and human triggered avalanches are possible this afternoon.
moderate-450.png

Good morning, this is Travis Craft with the West Central Montana Avalanche Center’s avalanche advisory for March 23, 2017. This danger rating does not apply to operating ski areas, expires at midnight tonight and is the sole responsibility of the U.S. Forest Service.

For the full advisory, including photos and video, visit the West Central Montana Avalanche Center website.

Here's what the National Weather Service's backcountry forecast has to say heading into the weekend:

A ridge of high pressure will dominate the region today through much of Friday. By Friday afternoon another weather disturbance will move through the region impacting the region with precipitation through Saturday morning. A couple of inches of snow are expected with snow levels lowering to 4000-4500 feet. Some higher elevations may receive up to 6 inches of snow. 

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Saturday's avalanche advisory: Moderate danger

Posted By on Sat, Mar 18, 2017 at 7:24 AM

From the West Central Montana Avalanche Center: The current avalanche danger in the West Central Montana Backcountry is MODERATE. Human triggered avalanches are possible in specific terrain. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully to identify features of concern.
moderate-450.png

Good morning, this is Logan King with the West Central Montana Avalanche Center’s avalanche advisory for March 18, 2017. This danger rating does not apply to operating ski areas, expires at midnight tonight and is the sole responsibility of the U.S. Forest Service.

For the full advisory, plus photos and video, visit the West Central Montana Avalanche Center's website.

Here's a look at what the National Weather Service's backcountry forecast says about the rest of the weekend:

A warm and wet weather system will continue into tonight with rain totals of 1 to 2 inches common in north central Idaho and northwest Montana. West central Montana will see lesser amounts. A cold front late this afternoon into the evening hours will bring gusty winds, a few thunderstorms, and quickly drop snow levels. Cool and drier weather is anticipated for Sunday.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Thursday's avalanche advisory: Considerable danger

Posted By on Thu, Mar 16, 2017 at 8:58 AM

From the West Central Montana Avalanche Center: The current avalanche danger in the West Central Montana Backcountry is CONSIDERABLE. Human triggered avalanches are likely in specific terrain. Careful evaluation of the snowpack and cautious-route finding are essential to recreate in the backcountry today.
considerable-450.png

Good morning, this is Logan King with the West Central Montana Avalanche Center’s avalanche advisory for March 16, 2017. This danger rating does not apply to operating ski areas, expires at midnight tonight and is the sole responsibility of the U.S. Forest Service.

For the full advisory, including photos, visit the West Central Montana Avalanche Center's website.

Here's what the National Weather Service's backcountry forecast has to say as we head into the weekend:
The cold front will be through the region this morning and lower snow levels, gusty winds, and decreasing precipitation chances will be left in its wake. The best chances for any appreciable snow accumulations will be in the Beaverhead/Deerlodge and mainly this morning. A brief drier period remains forecast for tonight and Friday. Friday and Saturday will see warming temperatures and precipitation arrives Friday night with quickly rising snow levels.

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