Roughly 1,000 friends, family members and allies came together this past weekend to celebrate Buffalo Field Campaign cofounder Rosalie Little Thunder’s life and to mourn her death. She was buried in a bison robe in a cemetery atop a hill on South Dakota’s Rosebud Indian Reservation.
“It’s going to be really hard without her,” says Buffalo Field Campaign Executive Director Dan Brister.
Oregon denies Ambre Energy's application for coal-export terminal
Officials of Australia-based Ambre Energy said they intend to continue to pursue the proposal to build a coal-export terminal in Oregon after the state denied its application to ship coal brought in by rail from Montana and Wyoming down the Columbia River from Boardman to the Port of St. Helens, where it would be offloaded onto oceangoing freighters.
Montana Standard (AP); Aug. 19
Freight bottlenecks hamstring Amtrak's Empire Builder
Eighty-five years after the Great Northern Railway's premier passenger service launched between Chicago and Seattle and Portland, and five years after Amtrak's Empire Builder earned the railroad system's top honors for on-time service, the Empire Builder has been manhandled by rail congestion caused by a marked increase in the movement of oil and other freight by rail.
Flathead Beacon; Aug. 13
What you’re listening to: On Monday nights from 5 to 7, talented Missoula bard Larry Hirshberg treats the Top Hat Lounge’s Happy Hour patrons to live recordings of Grateful Dead shows. As the curator of Raising the Dead, Hirshberg edits the recordings and projects animation and other visual curiosities onto a screen to accompany the music. On a recent Monday, Hirshberg played the set from the band’s 1974 Missoula show.
What you’re drinking: During Happy Hour, Blackfoot Single Malt IPA runs $3.75, draft beers are $2.75, Santa Rita red and white wines are $3.50 and well drinks go for $2.50.
What you’re munching on: The Happy Hour menu changes with the seasons but it currently features $4 items like lamb empanadas, zucchini and carrot fritters, caesar salad and stone-fired flatbreads including smoked salmon, antipasto and bacon-date.
Who you’re hanging out with: Young and old Deadheads, hippies and suits, plus unsuspecting patrons who came for the Happy Hour specials and stayed for the tunes.
What you’re doing: Raising the Dead isn’t a passive event. Hirshberg often approaches tables and offers listeners a chance to guess Grateful Dead songs—you listen through the headphones to a short snippet—for a free drink token.
Why you go even if you don’t like The Dead: Besides hanging out with the dry-witted Hirshberg, the main reason is the Deadhead punch card. Each night you attend Raising the Dead Happy Hour and order a Happy Hour item, you get your card punched. After six visits/hole punches, a cardholder is entitled to one free ticket to any Top Hat concert. That’s a big deal considering the venue’s propensity for bringing in big-name acts and underground favorites that appeal to Deadheads and anti-Deadheads alike.
Where to go: The Top Hat, 134 W. Front.
Happiest Hour celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, email email@example.com.
Chinese companies' see little return on Canadian energy investments
Since 2005, Chinese companies have poured more than $30-billion into Canadian energy projects, but few have seen any return on that investment.
Toronto Globe and Mail; Aug. 18
B.C. First Nation remains resolute in blocking Northern Gateway pipeline
Enbridge's proposed Northern Gateway pipeline will pass through the heart of Nak'azdli territory in British Columbia and that First Nation remains steadfast in its opposition to the pipeline.
Vancouver Sun; Aug. 15
As the Aug. 26 date for Charter Communications’ switch to an all-digital cable network grows closer, lines at the company’s Third Street location have grown longer. Occasionally, they have even extended out the door and down the sidewalk. The queues are mostly made up of elderly customers who go in empty handed and come out with a small, black box. On a recent afternoon, Gerald Mueller exited the store.
“You live here, you do this,” he says, holding up his new box. “So, here I am.”
The boxes are digital receivers. Not all Charter customers need them, but those whose televisions connect directly to a coaxial cable without passing through a Charter-issued digital device do. In compliance with a Federal Communications Commission rule, Charter is giving the boxes out for free—but they won’t be free forever.
According to Brian Anderson, the company’s director of regional communications, limited basic cable subscribers are allowed two free boxes for two years. (In addition, courtesy of another FCC rule, limited basic subscribers who qualify for Medicaid will get their boxes free for 5 years.) Subscribers to more expansive plans get a free box or two for only one year. For every extra box and for every box after the grace period has ended, Charter will charge customers $6.99 a month. The boxes cannot be bought, only rented in perpetuity.
Though the boxes have created some inconvenience and will ultimately raise cable costs for some customers, the removal of analog signals will free up bandwidth. That means access to more television channels and faster Internet speeds later this year, when the transition is complete. Charter also also plans to reshuffle channels in order to group stations with similar content into blocks.
“There are so many channels now that, trying to find us, I had to get a magnifying glass,” says Joel Baird, Missoula Community Access Television’s general manager, who will see his station moved from channels 7 and 11 to 189 and 190. “Of course I’m bummed.”
At Charter’s Third Street location, Mueller says he’s resigned about the actions of the area’s only cable provider.
“I don’t know if this progress, but this is what’s happening,” Mueller says. “We don’t have a choice about which cable companies to take.”
Curses, Foiled Again
Police in Bloomsburg, Pa., arrested Jacob Close, 25, for jumping bail after he took part in the local newspaper’s “Your Opinion” feature and allowed his photo to be published. An officer noticed Close’s photo and tracked him down. (Associated Press)
After Quamier Claiborne, 20, asked a passerby for a coat hanger, explaining that he was locked out of his car in Linden, N.J., the passerby notified police. Officers found Claiborne standing near a 2009 Volkswagen Passat that he claimed he’d borrowed from his aunt. A check found the vehicle had been reported stolen, and he was arrested. (Newark’s The Star-Ledger)
Getting to Be a Habit
Engine trouble forced the pilot of a small plane to make an emergency landing on a highway near East Moriches, N.Y. A week later, he made another emergency landing on the same highway. “It wasn’t one of my better landings,” Frank Fierro, 75, said, adding, “My wife is going to kill me.” (New York’s WCBS-TV)
Oscar Otero Aguilar, 21, who Mexican authorities described as obsessed with taking impressive photos of himself to post on social media, borrowed a gun and was waving it around while he took pictures with his cellphone when he accidentally shot himself in the head. (Britain’s Mirror)
Just over a week ago, we wrote about Forward Montana looking back on 10 years of work registering voters and inspiring youth to get involved in politics. The Missoula-based nonprofit has grown considerably in both size and reputation over the past decade, and while the article hit the highlights, a lot of inspiring material wound up on the cutting room floor. Tomorrow, Forward Montana will officially celebrate its 10-year anniversary with a shindig in Caras Park—an event, open to the public, that the group has dubbed “The Williams Effect” in honor of longtime supporters Pat and Carol Williams. There’ll be music, food, a dunking booth and an IPA brewed specially for the anniversary from 7 to 10 p.m. In the meantime, here’s more commentary on Forward Montana past and present.
Forward Montana co-founder Matt Singer, on the nonprofit’s continued growth: “If I was just going to give Forward Montana one piece of advice right now, I think sometimes it can be intimidating to realize that your budget is growing, that your scale is growing, that that responsibility is on you. But I hope instead they see this as a vote of confidence from a whole bunch of folks that we want them to keep growing, we want them to keep trying to do big and interesting things and engaging more and more young people across the state to be heard in their communities. I feel like we invented some cool stuff over the last ten years, and I’m just super excited to see what they keep inventing over the next ten.”
Forward Montana CEO Kayje Booker, on Forward Montana’s future outside Missoula: “You can’t just push out from a place and drop something in there. You need to incubate something that’s already starting and people that are already connected in that community. The challenge is finding and cultivating the right people, really. Kiah [Abbey] is a great example. We couldn’t export a Missoula person to Bozeman and be like, ‘Start a Forward Montana here.’ It was about finding the right person that was already there, that was excited, that had connections, that has skill, passion, all those things, and giving them what they need to succeed.”
Missoula City Councilman Jason Wiener, on Forward Montana’s role in the big picture: “I definitely appreciate the fact that they are training and equipping a new generation of leaders. I mean, I’m glad they’re involving people who will be elected officials later on, because the pipeline’s gotta come from somewhere, and coming from the ranks of people who have gone to great lengths in order to involve their peers, going from that to an elected official, that’s a good transition.”
Sen. Kendall Van Dyk, D-Billings, on his hopes for Forward Montana in 10 more years: “It’s my hope that when we’re celebrating Forward Montana’s 20-year anniversary, there’s folks that are as active in places like Billings.”
Rep. Amanda Curtis, D-Butte, on Forward Montana helping her 2012 campaign: “We knocked I think 1,000 doors that day, which would have taken me weeks and weeks to do on my own … It really felt like there was no way I could lose at that point. And when you’ve got youth on your side, you really feel like you’re doing something right.”
Forward Montana co-founder Rep. Bryce Bennett, D-Missoula, on the nonprofit—at its inception and now: “The organization was a bunch of college students hanging at one of our friends’ house trying to come up with some cool ideas about how to get our friends involved in politics. Nobody in that room would have been able to guess that this organization would have registered over 11,000 voters in 2012 and helped to elect countless people to the legislature and to city councils and to the office of the governor. This is a huge milestone, and a real testament to the fact that we asked the question, ‘Is it possible to get excited about politics?’ The answer seems to be a resounding yes.”
Quantum Energy to pitch new refinery proposal to Montana county
Texas-based Quantum Energy will make a presentation to Yellowstone County commissioners next week about building a $500 million refinery in Billings, citing the three refineries already in operation in the Montana city, as well as its rail access to Bakken crude.
Helena Independent Record (Billings Gazette); Aug. 15
Report says coal imports into U.S. up 44% in first half of 2014
A report from Global Trade Information Services said that the U.S. imported 44 percent more coal in the first half of 2014 than it did a year ago, and part of the reason for the sharp increase in imports is a global glut of coal that has caused the price of coal from Colombia to drop dramatically.
Wall Street Journal (AP); Aug. 15
Conservation groups to sue USFWS over wolverine decision
A coalition of 13 conservation groups filed a notice of intent to file a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service challenging the agency's decision issued Tuesday that it would not pursue protection of the wolverine.
Great Falls Tribune (AP); Aug. 14
Montana's Cascade County has more open jobs than applicants
The nation's dynamic workforce is mirrored in Montana's Cascade County, where the unemployment rate is 4 percent and local labor officials estimate there are twice as many open jobs as there are available workers, and in the skilled trades sector, companies' inability to hire workers has limited their ability to secure contracts.
Great Falls Tribune; Aug. 14
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