Thursday, July 21, 2016

Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Project looks to drum up congressional support

Posted By on Thu, Jul 21, 2016 at 3:55 PM

The Swan Range - ANDREW GRAHAM
  • Andrew Graham
  • The Swan Range

Turning away
 from the cloud-shrouded Blackfoot river, the pilot heads toward the beginning of the Swan Mountain range, crossing first to the east, where outfitter Mack Long points out mountain basins that eventually drain into the Blackfoot Valley.

The plane then banks back to the west and flies parallel with the Swans, northeast of Seeley Lake. Long and his organization, the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Project, intend to turn a large strip of land along the range’s front, seen from the air as a swath of green forest where the mountains meet the valley floor, into an extension of the Bob Marshall Wilderness. 

The project has brought members of the media up for a birds-eye view of the area as part of a renewed push to advance their project into law. More than a decade of planning and promotion has led to partial but not complete victories for the project. Long says there is currently an "impressive" amount of public support, and he believes the project has reached a tipping point where the time to act is now.  

The stretch of land along the Swans would be paired with more wilderness extension and protection for the Blackfoot’s sources on the southeastern part of the Swans, plus a piece of land around the West Fork of the Clearwater River, in the Mission Mountain Range across the Seeley Valley. The proposed protections, Long says, would ensure wildlife corridors between the Bob Marshall Wilderness and the Blackfoot Clearwater Game Range, near Ovando, for grizzly bears, deer and elk. Protecting the drainages would also help bull trout, who swim upstream to spawn. 

“You get up in the air and start looking around and you see how things are connected," says Long of the recent flight. "You just got to keep up that connectivity." 

The project hopes to convert forest along the base of the Swan Range into an extension of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area. - BLACKFOOT CLEARWATER STEWARDSHIP PROJECT
  • Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Project
  • The project hopes to convert forest along the base of the Swan Range into an extension of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area.

The plan to do so, which was put together over the course of a decade by a coalition of Montanans that includes conservation groups, ranchers, lumber companies, outfitters and even snowmobilers, now needs Montana’s congressional delegation to push the proposal in Washington, D.C. A portion of the project that funded forest restoration work became law in 2009 under the guidance of Democratic Sen. Jon Tester. But the larger Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Project, including the wilderness designations and considerations for recreation groups, has failed to advance. 

Tester tried to wrap it into a larger bill, the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act, which he has introduced several times without success. Rep. Ryan Zinke and Sen. Steve Daines, both Republicans, have declined to throw their weight behind the proposal. The feeling among the project’s proponents is that a united delegation would have a far better chance of getting over the hump

“The senators have kind of drug their feet a little bit,” says Smoke Elser, a retired outfitter and wilderness advocate who is one of the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Project's main advocates.

The project hopes to continue raising public support by releasing a new promotional video each month through its website. The videos feature the perspective of different stakeholders, with the first focusing on Seeley Lake timber company Pyramid Mountain Lumber, and the second on Long. 


Mack Long, left, and Smoke Elser have helped push the project, a collaboration between many different stakeholders in the Blackfoot Valley and Seeley Lake area. - ANDREW GRAHAM
  • Andrew Graham
  • Mack Long, left, and Smoke Elser have helped push the project, a collaboration between many different stakeholders in the Blackfoot Valley and Seeley Lake area.

Your future, a little early

Posted By on Thu, Jul 21, 2016 at 1:54 PM

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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): Upcoming adventures might make you more manly if you are a woman. If you are a man, the coming escapades could make you more womanly. How about if
you’re trans? Odds are that you’ll become even more gender fluid. I am exaggerating a bit, of course. The transformations I’m referring to may not be visible to casual observers. They will mostly unfold in the depths of your psyche. But they won’t be merely symbolic, either. There’ll be mutations in your biochemistry that will expand your sense of your own gender. If you respond enthusiastically to these shifts, you will begin a process that could turn you into an even more complete and attractive human being than you already are.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): I’ll name five heroic tasks you will have more than enough power to
accomplish in the next eight months. 1. Turning an adversary into an ally. 2. Converting a debilitating obsession into a empowering passion. 3. Transforming an obstacle into a motivator. 4. Discovering small treasures in the midst of junk and decay. 5. Using the unsolved riddles of childhood to create a living shrine to eternal youth. 6. Gathering a slew of new freedom songs, learning them by heart, and singing them regularly–especially when habitual fears rise up in you.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Your life has resemblances to a jigsaw puzzle that lies unassembled
on a kitchen table. Unbeknownst to you, but revealed to you by me, a few of the pieces are missing. Maybe your cat knocked them under the refrigerator, or they fell out of their storage box somewhere along the way. But this doesn’t have to be a problem. I believe you can mostly put together the puzzle without the missing fragments. At the end, when you’re finished, you may be tempted to feel frustration that the picture’s not complete. But that would be illogical
perfectionism. Ninety-seven-percent success will be just fine.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): If you are smoothly attuned with the cosmic rhythms and finely
aligned with your unconscious wisdom, you could wake up one morning and find that a mental block has miraculously crumbled, instantly raising your intelligence. If you can find it in your proud heart to surrender to “God,” your weirdest dilemma will get at least partially solved during a magical three-hour interlude. And if you are able to forgive 50 percent of the wrongs that have been done to you in the last six years, you will no longer feel like you’re running into a strong wind, but rather you’ll feel like the beneficiary of a strong wind blowing in the same direction you’re headed.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): How often have you visited hell or the suburbs of hell during the last few weeks? According to my guesstimates, the time you spent there was exactly the right amount. You got the teachings you needed most, including a few tricks about how to steer clear of hell in the future. With this valuable information, you will forevermore be smarter about how to avoid unnecessary pain and irrelevant hindrances. So congratulations! I suggest you celebrate. And please use your new-found wisdom as you decline one last invitation to visit the heart of a big, hot mess.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): My friend Athena works as a masseuse. She says that the highest
praise she can receive is drool. When her clients feel so sublimely serene that threads of spit droop out of their mouths, she knows she’s in top form. You might trigger responses akin to drool in the coming weeks, Virgo. Even if you don’t work as a massage therapist, I think it’s possible you’ll provoke rather extreme expressions of approval, longing, and curiosity. You will be at the height of your power to inspire potent feelings in those you encounter. In light of this situation, you might want to wear a small sign or button that reads, “You have my permission to drool freely.”

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): The latest Free Will Astrology poll shows that thirty-three percent of your friends, loved ones, and acquaintances approve of your grab for glory. Thirty-eight percent disapprove, eighteen percent remain undecided, and eleven percent wish you would grab for even greater glory. As for me, I’m aligned with the eleven-percent minority. Here’s what I say: Don’t allow your quest for shiny breakthroughs and brilliant accomplishments to be overly influenced by what people think of you.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): You are at the pinnacle of your powers to both hurt and heal. Your
turbulent yearnings could disrupt the integrity of those whose self-knowledge is shaky, even as your smoldering radiance can illuminate the darkness for those who are lost or weak. As strong and confident as I am, even I would be cautious about engaging your tricky intelligence. Your piercing perceptions and wild understandings might either undo me or vitalize me. Given these
volatile conditions, I advise everyone to approach you as if you were a love bomb or a truth fire or a beauty tornado.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Here’s the deal: I will confess a dark secret from my past if you
confess an equivalent secret from yours. Shall I go first? When I first got started in the business of writing horoscope columns, I contributed a sexed-up monthly edition to a porn magazine published by smut magnate Larry Flynt. What’s even more scandalous is that I enjoyed doing it. OK. It’s your turn. Locate a compassionate listener who won’t judge you harshly, and unveil one of your subterranean mysteries. You may be surprised at how much psychic energy this will liberate. (For extra credit and emancipation, spill two or even three secrets.)

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): What do you want to be when you grow up, Capricorn? What? You say you are already all grown up, and my question is irrelevant? If that’s your firm belief, I will ask you to set it aside for now. I’ll invite you to entertain the possibility that maybe some parts of you are not in fact fully mature; that no matter how ripe you imagine yourself to be, you could become even riper – an even more gorgeous version of your best self. I will also encourage you to immerse yourself in a mood of playful fun as you respond to the following question: “How can I activate and embody an even more complete version of my soul’s code?”

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): On a summer day 20 years ago, I took my five-year-old daughter Zoe and her friend Max to the merry-go-round in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Zoe jumped on the elegant golden-maned lion and Max mounted the wild blue horse. Me? I climbed aboard the humble pig. Its squat pink body didn’t seem designed for rapid movement. Its timid gaze was fixed on the floor in front of it. As the man who operated the ride came around to see if everyone was in place, he congratulated me on my bold choice. Very few riders preferred the porker, he said. Not glamorous enough. “But I’m sure I will arrive at our destination as quickly and efficiently as everyone else,” I replied. Your immediate future, Aquarius, has symbolic resemblances to this scene.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Early on in our work together, my psychotherapist confessed that she only works with clients whose problems are interesting to her. In part, her motivations are selfish: Her goal is to enjoy her work. But her motivations are also altruistic. She feels she’s not likely to be of service to anyone with whom she can’t be deeply engaged. I understand this perspective, and am inclined to make it more universal. Isn’t it smart to pick all our allies according to this principle? Every one of us is a mess in one way or another, so why not choose to blend our fates with those whose messiness entertains us and teaches us the most? I suggest you experiment with this view in the coming weeks and months, Pisces.

Rockies Today, July 21

Posted By on Thu, Jul 21, 2016 at 1:31 PM

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

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Rockies Today, July 20

Posted By on Wed, Jul 20, 2016 at 1:13 PM

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


Happiest Hour: Hard Root Beer

Posted By on Wed, Jul 20, 2016 at 1:06 PM

What you’re drinking: Over the past year, alcoholic beverage companies seem to be increasingly targeting the little kid inside each of us. It started last summer with a sudden explosion of hard root beer labels on local shelves. Best Damn Root Beer, Coney Island Brewing’s Hard Root Beer, Not Your Father’s Root Beer—each called to mind childhood memories of cowboy boots and sarsaparilla bottles, with the added bonus of nearly 6 percent alcohol by volume.
ALEX SAKARIASSEN
  • Alex Sakariassen

Why you’re drinking it:
Alcohol-fueled nostalgia aside, Orange Street Food Farm store manager Vanessa Hendrix credits the draw of hard root beer to its easy drinkability. Despite an ABV similar to many lagers, the heavy fusion of vanilla and spices tends to mask its potency. According to Hendrix, the initial buzz seems to have worn off, a development she credits to the string of other alcoholic sodas that have followed. But hard root beer offers something those newer “porch pounders,” as Hendrix calls them, don’t. You know where this is going …

What you’re mixing it with: Ice cream. The very notion of grown-up root beer floats was enough to convince Orange Street Food Farm to house its hard root beer in the freezer aisle for months, Hendrix says. Pattee Creek Market recognized the appeal, too, teasing the promise of alcoholic floats via Facebook when it first stocked Not Your Father’s Root Beer last August. As for what flavor ice cream works best, Hendrix insists there’s only one right answer: “Classic vanilla, of course.”

Where you’re getting it: Grocery stores and gas stations throughout Missoula carry various brands of hard root beer, with some offering six-packs and singles. Not Your Father’s Root Beer is also currently available in bottles at the Dram Shop at 229 E. Front St.

Happiest Hour celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, email editor@missoulanews.com.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Regents approve $70K signing bonus for UM vice president

Posted By on Tue, Jul 19, 2016 at 5:08 PM

The Montana Board of Regents approved a $70,000 signing bonus today for University of Montana administrator Tom Crady, but only after two members questioned President Royce Engstrom’s decision to offer the unprecedented “enticement” to the man charged with improving UM’s enrollment.

“I just think it’s bad strategy to offer a one-time, lump-sum, big payment to someone who doesn’t have to stay beyond a year, when we know we can’t evaluate performance within that year,” said regent Martha Sheehy.

The bonus, which greatly exceeds the $5,000 bonus limit set by Montana University System policy, was scrutinized at length before regents voted 5-2 to accept it. UM officials and Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian argued the “extraordinary effort" was necessary to attract Crady, whom they described as a standout candidate during a nationwide search and a necessary hire at a difficult moment for the university.

Crady, formerly of Gustavus Adolphus College, will step into a retooled cabinet position that prioritizes student recruitment and retention. Crady’s $240,000 compensation package for the upcoming year, including the signing bonus, marks the second largest at UM, and one of the highest in the state’s university system.

The agreement was the product of negotiations between Engstrom and Crady following Crady’s endorsement by a university search committee, officials said. But Engstrom was not present during the regents’ scheduled July 19 conference call to explain his reasoning; he was touring Scandinavia on a 12-day luxury cruise organized by the UM Alumni Association, his office confirmed.

Engstrom used vacation time for the trip and paid for his own ticket, according to his assistant.

The bonus request put university system officials in an awkward position. They have been reluctant to criticize UM’s five-year enrollment drop—one of the steepest in the nation among public research institutions—but couldn’t justify Crady’s signing bonus without recognizing enrollment as an urgent priority.
New Vice President for Enrollment and Student Affairs Tom Crady has been awarded an unprecedented signing bonus as he takes over the effort to lead the University of Montana out of an enrollment tailspin. - UNIVERSITY OF MONTANA
  • University of Montana
  • New Vice President for Enrollment and Student Affairs Tom Crady has been awarded an unprecedented signing bonus as he takes over the effort to lead the University of Montana out of an enrollment tailspin.

The volatile situation at UM appeared to weaken the university’s negotiating position as well. Administrators may be hired only on one-year contracts, and UM has seen a complete turnover in Engstrom’s cabinet since 2012, including four departures last year. No office in Main Hall will be under more pressure during the next few years than Crady’s.

“We certainly need to acknowledge this is not the easiest job to walk into right now,” Christian told regents, chuckling.

Regents expressed unanimous support for Engstrom’s desire to invest in enrollment management. However, Sheehy and regent Casey Lozar said they would have preferred to tie such a large incentive to Crady’s performance in the role, rather than as an upfront payment. Sheehy also noted the bonus offered to Crady appeared to exceed the salary range advertised to other potential candidates during the search process.

“What the search committee said to everyone during the process was basically taken off the table,” she said.

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Rockies Today, July 19

Posted By on Tue, Jul 19, 2016 at 1:49 PM

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


Monday, July 18, 2016

An unusually chaste DUI arrest (and more News of the Weird)

Posted By on Mon, Jul 18, 2016 at 9:00 PM

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Fashion Challenges
Beautician Sarah Bryan, 28, of Wakefield, England, who garnered worldwide notoriety last year when she introduced a wearable dress made of 3,000 Skittles, returned this summer with a wearable skirt and bra made of donated human hair (a substantial amount, she said, of pubic hair). She admits having had to work in an eye mask, breathing mask and thick gloves, out of fear of donors’ hygiene habits. More conventionally, designer Van Tran of Brooklyn, New York, won the 12th annual (wearable) Toilet Paper Wedding Dress design contest in New York City in June, with a $10,000 prize from sponsors Charmin and Ripley’s Believe It or Not.

World’s Greatest Lawyers
Attorney Chris Dyer convinced a jury in La Crosse, Wisconsin, in June that there was “reasonable doubt” about what his client was doing in a family’s basement when he was discovered, pants down, perched (“doggy style”) over the family’s golden retriever, Cooper. Client Daniel Reinsvold, a stranger in the house, told the jury that he has an “intestinal disorder” that makes him subject to “emergencies.” What Reinsvold was doing was apparently perfectly clear to the resident’s 17-year-old daughter, who discovered the scene and reported Reinsvold “screwing Cooper” (and a vet said later that Cooper showed signs of trauma). Nonetheless, Reinsvold was
convicted only of trespassing and disorderly conduct.

Attorney Lee Pearlman finally earned an acquittal in June (after two hung-jury trials) for his client Danielle Goeller–one of a seemingly increasing number of drivers who hit pedestrians but claim they were unaware of anybody being hit. Goeller, 28, a trauma-room nurse with no intoxicants in her system, had struck a 60-year-old man on a busy, heavily lighted Tampa street at 11:45 p.m., cracking her windshield–but drove on without stopping. “What does she think she hit?” asked the prosecutor. “A deer? A bear?” Responded Pearlman, “She’s a scared girl in the middle of the night who doesn’t have the life experience other people do.”

Bright Ideas
Picturesque Torrelodones, Spain (pop. 22,000), has 6,000 pet dogs and apparently few conscientious dog owners, which town leaders say accounts for the nearly half-ton of “litter” that accumulates daily. The town’s latest bright idea: installing a 7-foot-high, 10-by-10-foot brown,
inflated plastic “swirly” in the center of town as a reminder to residents to pick up after their dogs. Spain’s The Local reported in June that other towns have begun to tackle the problem as
well, such as with DNA testing of dogs and street-scrubbing punishment for guilty owners.

British student Joshua Browder, 19, created an easy-to-use computer app to help drivers fight parking tickets they believe unjust – and now reports that users have won 160,000 cases (out of 250,000), all in London and New York City, by following his question-and-answer “chat” interface at DoNotPay.co.uk. Browder said he was motivated to develop the app (which, as of now, is still free of charge) after himself getting about 30 tickets he says he did not deserve.

Continue reading »

Rockies Today, July 18

Posted By on Mon, Jul 18, 2016 at 1:17 PM

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


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Westside management project moves forward in face of continued criticism

Posted By on Wed, Jul 13, 2016 at 4:46 PM

Following the release of a decision notice and finding of no significant impact last week, the Bitterroot National Forest is preparing to move ahead with implementation of its Westside Collaborative Vegetation Management Project. West Fork District Ranger and project lead Ryan Domsalla says he anticipates non-commercial thinning and fuels work will start within the next month and a half, and commercial logging activities associated with the project could follow as early as this fall. The decision notice authorized commercial and non-commercial treatments, including prescribed burns, on roughly 2,327 acres of national forest southwest of Hamilton.
The Coyote Coulee trail stretches through several areas proposed for commercial timber harvest as part of the Westside Collaborative Vegetation Management Project, which the Bitterroot National Forest authorized last week. - COURTESY JEFF LONN
  • Courtesy Jeff Lonn
  • The Coyote Coulee trail stretches through several areas proposed for commercial timber harvest as part of the Westside Collaborative Vegetation Management Project, which the Bitterroot National Forest authorized last week.

The Westside project area lies just east of the lightning-caused Observation Fire, which has swelled to 1,429 acres since late June and prompted the closure of Lost Horse Road. Despite the proximity, Domsalla says the blaze has had minimal impact on the Bitterroot National Forest’s plans.

“It did come down into the planning area and into one of the units that we actually proposed for some non-commercial thinning,” he adds.

The decision notice comes on the heels of a contentious objection period during which landowners adjacent to the 5,700-acre Westside project area lodged numerous complaints with the U.S. Forest Service. Criticism ranged from a lack of collaboration by the agency to unmitigated impacts along rural roads from heavy equipment and log truck traffic. All objections and the agency’s responses were outlined in a 158-page document released July 6 alongside the decision notice. The Westside Collaborative Residents, a collection of area landowners who came together in opposition to aspects of the project last fall, released the following statement July 7:

We are very disappointed that the Westside project was approved with no significant changes to the initial proposal despite many public objections and suggested resolutions. The Forest Service has completely ignored the majority of public comments asking for modifications to the initial plan, particularly concerning the construction of new logging roads, a bridge across a pristine riparian area, heavy handed logging methods planned for the Coyote Coulee trail area and the use of quiet residential roads by logging trucks. 

Opponents of the project also argued the Forest Service had already decided to approve the project before the objection period closed, pointing to marked trees and a soil test pit at the proposed Camas Creek bridge site as evidence. Bitterroot National Forest Supervisor Julie King stated in the decision notice she authorized those pre-implementation activities “in anticipation of making some level of decision addressing the purpose and need," adding they complied with Forest Service regulations and she “did not have a specific decision in mind.”

However, Westside Collaborative Residents member Michele Dieterich says the perception throughout the process is that the project was “like a steamroller that wasn’t going to stop.” Dieterich and other concerned parties met with King in the field June 17 to further voice their reservations, but, Dieterich adds, the point seemed moot.

“Our main beef is just the method, that there really was no collaboration,” Dieterich says. “It was basically just, they decided what they wanted to do long before they spoke to any of the residents, and they didn’t really notify any of the residents.”

Now that a decision notice has been published and work could commence soon, Dieterich says the residents near the Westside project area are hoping someone will “take the initiative and fight this on a legal stance.”

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