Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Your future, a little early

Posted By on Wed, Sep 14, 2016 at 9:00 AM

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): What should you do if your allies get bogged down by excess caution or lazy procrastination? Here’s what I advise: Don’t confront them or berate them. Instead, cheerfully do what must be done without their help. And what action should you take if mediocrity begins to creep into collaborative projects? Try this: Figure out how to restore excellence, and cheerfully make it happen. And how should you proceed if the world around you seems to have fallen prey to fear-induced apathy or courage-shrinking numbness? My suggestion: Cheerfully kick the world’s butt—with gentle but firm good humor.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): For the foreseeable future, your main duty is to be in love. Rowdily and innocently in love. Meticulously and shrewdly in love. In love with whom or what? Everyone and everything—or at least with as much of everyone and everything as you can manage. I realize this is a breathtaking assignment that will require you to push beyond some of your limitations and conjure up almost superhuman levels of generosity. But that’s exactly what the cosmic omens suggest is necessary if you want to break through to the next major chapter of your life story.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): What do you hope to be when you are all grown up, Gemini? An irresistible charmer who is beloved by many and owned by none? A master multi-tasker who’s paid well for the art of never being bored? A versatile virtuoso who is skilled at brokering truces and making matches and tinkering with unique blends? The coming weeks will be a favorable time to entertain fantasies like these—to dream about your future success and happiness. You are likely to generate good fortune for yourself as you brainstorm and play with the pleasurable possibilities. I invite you to be as creative as you dare.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): “Dear Soul Doctor: I have been trying my best to body-surf the flood of feelings that swept me away a few weeks ago. So far I haven’t drowned! That’s good news, right? But I don’t know how much longer I can stay afloat. It’s hard to maintain so much concentration. The power and volume of the surge doesn’t seem to be abating. Are there any signs that I won’t have to do this forever? Will I eventually reach dry land? - Careening Crab.” Dear Careening: Five or six more days, at the most: You won’t have to hold out longer than that. During this last stretch, see if you can enjoy the ride more. Re-imagine your journey as a rambunctious adventure rather than a harrowing ordeal. And remember to feel grateful: Not many people have your capacity to feel so deeply.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): If there can be such a thing as a triumphant loss, you will achieve it sometime soon. If anyone can slink in through the back door but make it look like a grand entrance, it’s you. I am in awe of your potential to achieve auspicious reversals and medicinal redefinitions. Plain old simple justice may not be available, but I bet you’ll be able to conjure up some unruly justice that’s just as valuable. To assist you in your cagey maneuvers, I offer this advice: Don’t let your prowess make you overconfident, and always look for ways to use your so-called liabilities to your advantage.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Caution: You may soon be exposed to outbreaks of peace, intelligence, and mutual admiration. Sweet satisfactions might erupt unexpectedly. Rousing connections could become almost routine, and useful revelations may proliferate. Are you prepared to fully accept this surge of grace? Or will you be suspicious of the chance to feel soulfully successful? I hope you can find a way to at least temporarily adopt an almost comically expansive optimism. That might be a good way to ensure you’re not blindsided by delight.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Happiest Hour: Soiled Dove Gin

Posted By on Tue, Sep 13, 2016 at 5:07 PM


What it is:
A brand new spirit from The Montana Distillery. How new? The release party was  held Sept. 9 and the distillery’s Woody Street tasting room is still developing its gin-specific cocktail menu.

What it tastes like: Much like the distillery’s award-winning vodka, Soiled Dove is a smooth, easy-to-drink gin heavy on the juniper notes. Also like the vodka, it’s distilled from Montana sugar beets.

What’s behind the name: The bottle explains the term was used to describe birds that flew into a bar clean and left dirty after being exposed to wood stove and saloon smoke. Also, the bottle mentions, it’s a term that later referred to retired prostitutes.

How to drink it: The gin menu may be a work in progress, but it’s not lacking options. There are currently six cocktails, ranging from a simple G&T to a refreshing River Run (Soiled Dove mixed with fresh lime juice, fresh mint and fresh cucumber, topped with soda). Both cost $6. For $7, try The Meadow (Soiled Dove mixed with fresh huckleberry puree, sweet-n-sour and fresh mint).

Bartender Justin Tavenner talked us into trying the Soiled Dove on the rocks with a splash of fresh grapefruit juice.

“It’s very versatile,” Tavenner says. “I’m finding it can go with almost anything, but it’s smooth enough to sip straight or just with a little bit of juice. You can mix it with whatever you want, but this way you’re getting the full flavor of the gin.”

Where to find it: The Montana Distillery is located at 631 Woody St. The tasting room is open Monday through Saturday, noon to 8 p.m. Sundays include an extensive bloody mary bar from noon to 6 p.m. A bottle of Soiled Dove will set you back $35 for 750 ml or $21.50 for 375 ml.

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

Rockies Today, September 13

Posted By on Tue, Sep 13, 2016 at 3:09 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 

Oil well leak fills Wyoming school with benzene

Air quality tests performed two days after Midwest School, 40 miles north of Casper, Wyoming, was evacuated in May for a gas leak found benzene at 200 times safe levels, according to health officials.

The Salt Creek Oil Field, which surrounds Midwest, has been drilled since the late 1800s. There are 120 abandoned wells in the 640 acres around Midwest, according to state records. FDL [Energy] identified and plugged the well responsible for the leak and is monitoring other the wells in the area, under the guidance of the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

A guide to following the Bundy trial

Ultimately, the trial will likely be a critical touchstone amidst a spate of Sagebrush Rebellion activities throughout the West in the past few years. It will inevitably touch on the issue of federal management of public lands, a talking point in this year’s election, as well as gun ownership and use, a discussion after a string of mass shootings and gun violence has brought gun control to the forefront of national conversation.

Visualizing the warmest August on record

While the seasonal temperature cycle typically peaks in July, August 2016 wound up tying July 2016 as the warmest month ever recorded.

Unpacking the prospects of a Owyhee Canyonlands National Monument.

…Obama has created more than two dozen national monuments, protecting more square miles of land and sea than any predecessor.
If these actions delight some, they alarm others — notably folk who run cattle, mine, log or otherwise exploit nature’s bounty in picturesque bits of America. One such place is the Owyhee basin of eastern Oregon, a remote landscape of wild rivers and vertiginous cliffs, and high desert edged with red and pink rocks. Before Mr Obama steps down, environmentalists, outdoor-leisure companies (including Keen, an Oregon-based shoe-maker) and some Democratic politicians want him to create an Owyhee Canyonlands National Monument covering as much as 2.5m acres.

Utah’s biggest dairy operation goes solar

Mosida Farms has 16,000 cows producing 92,000 gallons of milk every day—about 18 percent of all the milk sold in Utah. Now a solar array almost twice the size of a football field provides about 20 percent of the farm’s electricity.

“Yeah, this is very good-sized for the state of Utah,” said Billy Sorenson of RS Energy, the company that installed the solar panels. “It’s probably the largest one, agricultural one, for the state of Utah.”
The panels are expected to generate 950,000 kilowatt-hours per year. That’s enough juice to power nearly 200 family homes. Instead of powering homes, it will provide about 20 percent of the Bateman farm’s annual electricity demand. The family hopes it will be a hedge against rising electricity costs.

$57 million may not, actually, help pallid sturgeon

A government-commissioned study concludes there’s considerable risk that a $57 million dam and fish bypass proposed on the Yellowstone River, near the Montana-North Dakota border, won’t meet its goal of helping the ancient, endangered pallid sturgeon reach upstream spawning grounds.

“There is no evidence that the behavior of adult fish can be manipulated to attract them to the bypass channel, that they would be motivated to swim upstream through the bypass channel, or that they would navigate upstream through the proposed bypass channel,” panel members said in the 74-page report.

Alberta’s minimum wage will be $15 an hour by 2018

On October 1, Alberta’s current minimum wage of $11.20 per hour will rise to $12.20, then to $13.60 a year later until reaching $15 on Oct. 1, 2018. In the U.S., the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, though several states have higher minimums.

The province estimates that 305,000 employed Albertans earn less than $15 an hour, two-thirds of whom are women.
Of those figures, it estimates one in four are students, one-third are in retail, one quarter in food services, 40 per cent are heads of households, and five per cent are working single parents.

Arch Coal to put up collateral for cleanups

Arch Coal, the second largest U.S. coal miner, has agreed to set aside collateral to cover future mine cleanup costs as part of its bankruptcy reorganization plan.

The plan would end Arch’s use of self-bonding, a controversial federal exemption that the largest U.S. coal companies have used for decades. Its use exempts companies from posting bonds or other securities to cover the cost of returning mined land to its natural state.
Arch had $485.5 million in self-bonds in Wyoming when it filed for bankruptcy protection in January, saddled with $6 billion of debt.

A watershed moment for United Methodist Church

The Rev. Dr. Karen Oliveto recently began her tenure as bishop of the Mountain Sky Area of the United Methodist Church, and in doing so became first openly gay pastor in the denomination to hold the leadership post in the second largest denomination in the country. Based in Denver, she’ll work with churches in Montana, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and a part of Idaho. “It was tough breaking that stained-glass ceiling,” Oliveto said in a recent interview in Billings.

The liberal side of the denomination calls her election the culmination of a hard-fought battle to fully include LGBTQ people in the life of the denomination. Conservatives are disappointed in both the action and its timing, saying it violates the UMC’s governing policies.
One thing most agree on is that her election could be one more step toward schism in a denomination that finds it increasingly difficult to call itself the United Methodist Church.

Groups say lesser prairie chicken in imminent danger

Environmental groups have filed a petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service arguing that distinct populations of the lesser prairie chicken, including one in southeast Colorado, warrant emergency protections as climate change exacerbates threats to the species.

Monday, September 12, 2016

A Florida boy with a brain-eating amoeba (and more News of the Weird)

Posted By on Mon, Sep 12, 2016 at 9:00 AM

These Shoes Weren't Made for Walkin'
The upscale clothier Barneys New York recently introduced $585 "Distressed Superstar  Sneakers" (from the high-end brand Golden Goose) that were purposely designed to look scuffed, well-worn and cobbled-together, as if they were shoes recovered from a Dumpster. The quintessential touch was the generous use of duct tape on the bottom trim. Critics were in abundance, accusing Barneys of mocking poverty.

News That Sounds Like a Joke
The British food artists Bompas & Parr are staging (through Oct. 30) a tribute to the late writer Roald Dahl by brewing batches of beer using yeast swabbed and cultured from a chair Dahl used and which has been on display at the Roald Dahl Museum in Great Missenden, England.
(2) A 16-year-old boy made headlines in August for being one of the rare survivors of an amoeba – a brain-eating amoeba –which he acquired diving into a pond on private property in Florida's Broward County. (By popular legend, Floridians are believed to lack sufficient brain matter to satisfy amoebas!)

Government in Action
The Drug Enforcement Administration has schemed for several years to pay airline and Amtrak employees for tips on passengers who might be traveling with large sums of cash, so that the DEA can interview them – with an eye toward seizing the cash under federal law if they merely "suspect" that the money is involved in illegal activity. A USA Today investigation, reported in August, revealed that the agency had seized $209 million in a decade, from 5,200 travelers who, even if no criminal charge results, almost never get all their money back (and, of 87 recent cash seizures, only two actually resulted in charges). One Amtrak employee was secretly paid $854,460 over a decade for snitching passenger information to the DEA.

Update: In August, the Defense Department's inspector general affirmed once again (following on 2013 disclosures) that the agency has little knowledge of where its money goes – this time admitting that the Department of the Army had made $6.5 trillion in accounting "adjustments" that appeared simply to be made up out of thin air, just to get the books balanced for 2015. (In part, the problem was laid to 16,000 financial data files that simply disappeared with no trace.) "As a result," reported Fortune magazine, "there has been no way to know how the Defense Department – far and away the biggest chunk of Congress's annual budget – spends the public's money."

Wait, What?
In August, the banking giant Citigroup and the communications giant AT&T agreed to end their two-month-long legal hostilities over AT&T's right to have a customer service program titled "Thanks." Citigroup had pointed out that it holds trademarks for customer service titles "thankyou," "citi thankyou," "thankyou from citi" and "thankyou your way," and had tried to block the program name "AT&T Thanks."
In July in the African nation of Malawi (on the western border of Mozambique), Eric Aniva was finally arrested — but not before he had been employed by village families more than 100 times to have ritual sex to "cleanse" recent widows – and girls immediately after their first menstruation. Aniva is one of several such sex workers known as "hyenas" (because they operate stealthily, at night), but Malawi president Peter Mutharika took action after reading devastating dispatches (reporting hyenas' underage victims and Aniva's HIV-positive status) in The New York Times and London's The Guardian, among other news services.
The July 2012 Aurora, Colorado, theater shooter, James Holmes, is hardly wealthy enough to be sued, so 41 massacre victims and families instead filed against Cinemark Theater for having an unsafe premises, and by August 2016 Cinemark had offered $150,000 as a total settlement. Thirty-seven of the 41 accepted, but four held out since the scaled payout offered only a maximum of $30,000 for the worst-off victims. Following the settlement, the judge, finding that Cinemark could not have anticipated Holmes's attack, ruled for the theater — making the four holdouts liable under Colorado law for Cinemark's expenses defending against the lawsuit ($699,000).

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Friday, September 9, 2016

Missoulians rally in solidarity with Standing Rock Sioux

Posted By on Fri, Sep 9, 2016 at 6:18 PM

The drumming on the Higgins Avenue Bridge stopped long enough today for Raymond Kingfisher to take a few swigs off a glass bottle of soda. He’d been playing and singing consistently for an hour. On either side of him stretched a line of roughly 60 demonstrators, many waving signs like “No DAPL” and “You Can’t Drink Oil.” The rally—meant as a show of solidarity with oil pipeline protesters in North Dakota—came together on fairly short notice considering Kingfisher had only put the call on Facebook that morning. In his opinion, it was long overdue.

“People have been wondering why this hasn’t happened here yet,” Kingfisher said this afternoon. “A lot of us are stuck here, can’t really pick up and head out [to the protest camps].”
Missoula resident and Blackfeet tribal member Kevin Kicking Woman (in the white hat) sings and plays drums during a Friday rally organized as a show of solidarity with the protesters of a controversial oil pipeline in North Dakota. - PHOTO BY ALEX SAKARIASSEN
  • Photo by Alex Sakariassen
  • Missoula resident and Blackfeet tribal member Kevin Kicking Woman (in the white hat) sings and plays drums during a Friday rally organized as a show of solidarity with the protesters of a controversial oil pipeline in North Dakota.
Montanans have been traveling to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation for weeks now to join the thousands-strong stand against the Dakota Access Pipeline, or DAPL, and more have been collecting supplies to donate to the camps. Today was the first time Missoula locals have held a public gathering, however. Several took it as an opportunity to educate curious passers-by about the ins and outs of the DAPL debate and the stand people are taking against perceived threats to clean water and cultural sites. Others simply cheered every time a passing car honked in support. One pedestrian walking through the crowd informed the demonstrators that she’d already donated money to the legal defense fund established by Standing Rock.

“This is where it stops,” she said, raising her hand in the air as she navigated the choked sidewalk.

A number of critical developments have occurred in regards to the DAPL over the past week. On Sept. 6, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ordered a temporary halt to work on a portion of the pipeline following a violent Labor Day weekend altercation between protestors and private security guards at the construction site. On Sept. 7, North Dakota’s Morton County issued an arrest warrant for Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein after a video of her spray-painting a DAPL bulldozer went viral. Gov. Jack Dalrymple called on the North Dakota National Guard Sept. 8 to help step up enforcement efforts near the protest camps. And throughout all that time, rallies similar to the one in Missoula today have taken shape across the country in cities like Chicago, Portland, Juneau, Denver and Flagstaff. Hundreds of protestors from the camps near Standing Rock marched on Bismarck today, filling the lawn outside the state capitol building.

That march, as well as the Missoula rally, happened within hours of Boasberg denying the Standing Rock Sioux’s request for a preliminary injunction against the DAPL. The tribe immediately announced its intent to appeal the judge’s decision. Not long after, the U.S. departments of Justice, the Army and the Interior jointly called on Energy Transfer Partners to stop DAPL construction, stating a need to pursue national reform to “ensure meaningful tribal input” on such projects. Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II responded in a statement saying “our voices have been heard.” And some of those voices came from right here in western Montana.

“We pray for it,” Ruth Swaney said this afternoon while holding a sign and watching her daughter Lily. “Every night when we say our bedtime prayers, it’s one of the things we pray for.” 
  • Photo by Alex Sakariassen
  • Photo by Alex Sakariassen
  • Photo by Alex Sakariassen
  • Photo by Alex Sakariassen
  • Photo by Alex Sakariassen

  • Photo by Alex Sakariassen

Rockies Today, September 9

Posted By on Fri, Sep 9, 2016 at 4:08 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

The debate over burning biomass for electricity

In a recent study in Energy Policy, Erica Belmont, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Wyoming, and colleague Emily Beagle do the math on whether it would make sense to burn dead trees in existing coal plants, which can be “co-fired” with wood.

In this regulatory context, burning trees that are already destined to decompose, catch fire, or be incinerated — and thus, give off greenhouse gases to the atmosphere no matter what — could conceivably supplant some of coal’s voluminous emissions.

On David Quammen’s new Yellowstone book

Bozeman-based author David Quammen wrote all of the May 2016 issue of National Geographic devoted entirely to America’s first national park. He then expanded the project into a book, “Yellowstone: A Journey Through America’s Wild Heart,” released last month. He reads from the book tonight in Missoula and on Tuesday in Bozeman.

In “Yellowstone,” Quammen sought to provide a comprehensive view of the complicated ecosystem, focusing on history, ecology and management. The meat of the book is structured as a wheel, with grizzlies at the hub and their food sources spokes leading into other issues. Cutthroat trout address invasive species; Meat from elk and bison lead to surrounding private lands; Whitebark pine nuts give way to a greater discussion of climate change; and cutworm moths show how the delicate ecosystem is connected to agriculture in America’s heartland.
“It has given me an even deeper appreciation for how complicated and interconnected everything is in Yellowstone,” Quammen said. “…This is a book about America’s relationship with the natural world, not just a book about Yellowstone.”

Grizzlies as product testers

At the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center, just outside Yellowstone National Park, eight bears with a demonstrated aptitude for raiding trash cans, breaking into parked vehicles or burgling chicken coops have seen their skills put to use as product testers.

Montana panel moves to expand rooftop solar

A legislative panel endorsed a pair of bills to sustain and expand installations of rooftop solar-power systems in Montana. One would maintain the current net-metering rate structure, which pays retail prices. The other would quintuple the maximum allowable size of systems, but only for government-owned systems.

The state’s dominant electric utility, NorthWestern Energy, also made clear it still opposes increasing the cap at all.
“In a very real sense, saying the 250-KW cap is for nonprofits — that’s just a camel’s nose under the tent,” said John Alke, an attorney for NorthWestern. “It will be 250 for everybody. … The subsidy doesn’t go away because it’s a nonprofit entity.”
NorthWestern maintains that solar-power systems that sell power back to the company are being subsidized by other electric customers, because solar-power customers then don’t pay their fair share of maintaining the system.

Feds tap private sector to conserve sage grouse

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced grants for a pair of programs that will attempt to use private financing to restore greater sage grouse habitat across the West. One is a so-called land bank in Wyoming that credits ranchers and landowners for protecting habitat. The other establishes a fund to guarantee landowners in seven states can recover their costs after restoring sage grouse habitat.

So-called land banks have been used previously for other species, requiring developers to offset their impacts by creating or paying for new habitat elsewhere, said Brian Rutledge, a sage grouse advocate with the National Audubon Society.
But to reverse the sage grouse’s fortunes, Rutledge said the trade-off between habitat destroyed and habitat protected cannot be a simple one-for-one exchange.
“Setting aside part of the land doesn’t make up for destroying another part of it. Even if it’s one-for-one you end up with 50 percent less than you had,” he said. “We have to be gaining.”

First Descents founder named CNN Hero

CNN has recognized Brad Ludden, founder of the non-profit First Descents, which provides outdoor adventures for young adults impacted by cancer.

Elizabeth Hill and her family, including two young daughters, had traveled from South Dakota to the Standing Rock camp to support the opposition to the pipeline. They didn’t anticipate violence. Then a private security team used dogs and pepper spray against the crowd.

The limits of telemedicine in rural America

The use of telemedicine is widespread and expanding, but the technology isn’t a panacea for all that ails rural healthcare today.

In March, the Journal of Rural Health published a study illustrating that rural hospitals and clinics have significantly slower Internet connections than do their urban counterparts. Between 2010 and 2014, that gap widened, and continues to widen, “a cause for concern,” noted the authors.
“I can’t imagine telemedicine can replace a facility, because you always need a place for people to go,” Marlene Maheu, executive director of San Diego’s TeleMental Institute, says. “You can’t do a video consultation at a McDonald’s. Telemedicine is not designed to treat the full-range of mental illness, such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. But it can help with the initial screening.”

How the Bundy trial breaks the legal mold

The trial, now underway, could be as unorthodox as the crime itself.

In a court document made public last week, Bundy attorney Marcus Mumford cited the 1948 western film “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” to make a point about federal jurisdiction, the Los Angeles Times reports. In one scene in the classic movie, Fred Dobbs (played by Humphrey Bogart) asks a lawman who is actually a bandit where his badge is, to which the lawman responds, “Badges? We ain’t got no badges. We don’t need no badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges!”

A mine beneath wilderness area could rob it of water

Groups contend that a copper-sliver mine proposed to tunnel beneath Montana’s Cabinet Mountains Wilderness would illegally siphon the region’s streams of water.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Rockies Today, September 8

Posted By on Thu, Sep 8, 2016 at 2:09 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

Judge: Canada lynx merit more habitat in West

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service erred in excluding large swaths of the Rocky Mountains when it designated, in 2014, 40,000 square miles of habitat as critical to the survival of imperiled Canada lynx, a federal judge ruled Wednesday. The agency must now consider adding more habitat for the wild cats in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and New Mexico.

The judge cited the presence of a reproducing lynx population in the southern Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Agency officials had earlier concluded that area was “not essential” for the recovery of the species, pointing in part to low population densities of snowshoe hares that lynx eat.
“The (Fish and Wildlife) Service’s own representations suggest that parts of Colorado constitute suitable critical habitat,” Christensen wrote. He added that snowshoe hares are “certainly present” in the southern Rockies at densities “at or near” the level needed to support lynx.
“In such a close call….the (Endangered Species Act) demands that the tie go to the species,” the judge said.

Gold King Mine region listed as Superfund site

The EPA has put Colorado’s Gold King Mine and 47 other nearby mining-related sites, together known as the Bonita Peak Mining District, on the National Priorities List for Superfund cleanup. The EPA has waste quantity data on 32 of Bonita Peak’s 48 sources, which discharge contaminated water at at combined rate of 5.4 million gallons per day.

The Columbia Falls Aluminum Company property in Northwest Montana was also designated a Superfund site.

At Standing Rock, tribes vow to stay

Jason Begay, an associate professor at the University of Montana School of Journalism and the president of the Native American Journalists Association, reports from Standing Rock.

“We want the Standing Rock Sioux to know that we are serious about our support,” said Mark Azure, president of the Fort Belknap Indian Community in central Montana. Azure arrived at the camp Friday evening with about 30 members of the Gros Ventre and Assiniboine tribes, which call Fort Belknap home, bringing with them truckloads of food and supplies collected in community donation drives.
“It was powerful,” Azure said recalling his group arriving into the campground as supporters lined up on both sides of the entrance singing, drumming and cheering as the Fort Belknap vehicles drove between the corridor of flags in the evening light. “It was a feeling I don’t think will ever be duplicated.”

‘Frackibacter’ found inside fracked wells

Researchers have found evidence of sustainable ecosystems taking hold in oil and gas wells, populated in part by a never-before-seen genus of bacteria dubbed “Frackibacter.”

Almost all the microbes they found had been seen elsewhere before, and many likely came from the surface ponds that energy companies draw on to fill the wells. But that’s not the case with the newly identified Candidatus Frackibacter, which may be unique to hydraulic fracturing sites, said Kelly Wrighton, assistant professor of microbiology and biophysics at Ohio State.

The huckleberry entices researchers

A new project delves deep into the bushes to examine the role the somewhat mysterious huckleberry plays in the food chain.

A lot of people will be interested in the answers. Wildlife managers know that good or bad huckleberry crops influence how many black and grizzly bears wander into town looking for apples or bird feeders — but they don’t know how to predict a good or bad year. Huckleberries react to drought and drenching conditions, but can they forecast them? How might forest thinning and hazardous fuels work affect huckleberry patches?

Enbridge’s Spectra acquisition all about natural gas

Enbridge had been trying to expand its natural gas transportation business to reduce reliance on oil shipments, an effort it will be spared after acquiring Spectra’s 141,000 kilometres of gas lines.

SNL reports:

As flagging investment and environmental opposition slows opportunities to haul tar-like bitumen from Canada’s oil sands, the nation’s two pipeline giants have been on the prowl for deals that will bolster future earnings. After a decade that has seen proposals to build conduits from the oil sands to foreign markets crumble, both companies have set their sights on existing natural gas transportation assets with a focus on the prolific Marcellus Shale in the U.S.

Inside Clif Bar’s new Idaho bakery

The 300,000-square-foot manufacturing facility is Clif Bar’s first owned and operated bakery, and it features a host of cutting-edge technology to maximize energy efficiency, reduce the company’s carbon footprint, and create a happy, healthy workplace for its employees (who, by the way, are the owners of the company).

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Happiest Hour: Highlander's Graveyard Hill Pumpkin Stout

Posted By on Wed, Sep 7, 2016 at 2:41 PM

  • photo by Derek Brouwer
What it is: A new seasonal stout from Missoula Brewing Company that doesn’t get too carried away with the pumpkin flavoring.

Why you’re drinking it: Summer is over, and so are the days of light, fruity beers. I showed up to Highlander’s taproom on a dreary Tuesday looking to taste the stout. It wasn’t on tap yet, so I ordered the Strawberry Wolf Point Wheat. A quintessential summer brew, the beer was subtle and tasty, but it didn’t feel right for the weather. It certainly didn’t feel right to head brewer Gary Gagliardi, who decided he’d rather pour me a snifter of the as-yet uncarbonated stout straight from the tank rather than finish explaining to me the intricacies of a strawberry wheat.

What it tastes like:
There’s just a hint of pumpkin (which, on any day that isn’t Halloween, is the correct amount). But the brew itself is hefty, clocking in at 10 percent alcohol by volume.

The pumpkin plan: To pour me that snifter, Gagliardi had to sneak past two rows of whisky barrels, where a portion of the batch is destined to be aged over the following year. Last year’s pumpkin brew, the Graveyard Hill Belgian Double, was also aged in whisky barrels and was recently packaged into 22-ounce bomber bottles. It’s the start of what Gagliardi expects will be a fall tradition and part of a burgeoning barrel-aged brewing program.

How to get it: It’s now officially on tap and Gagliardi hopes it lasts at Missoula Brewing Co.’s taproom, 200 International Drive, through Halloween. Bottles of last year’s Belgian double should be on shelves soon.

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

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Fash the campus

UM tagged with white nationalist propaganda

Posted By on Wed, Sep 7, 2016 at 10:09 AM

There was a certain subtlety to the racist stickers slapped last month onto light poles and walls around the University of Montana campus. To passersby hustling between summer classes, the stylized photos of Greco-Roman statues could be mistaken as promos for an art exhibition. Someone reading their slogans—one, “Let's Become Great Again,” is co-opted from Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump—might interpret the stickers as campaign material.

But to Jason White, the code was clear.

“I knew exactly what they were,” he says. “I’m a black male from Tennessee. I know all about that stuff.”
Posters associated with a white nationalist group’s guerrilla marketing campaign appeared in dorms and academic buildings on the University of Montana campus sometime in August. - PHOTO COURTESY IDENTITY EVROPA FACEBOOK PAGE
  • Photo courtesy Identity Evropa Facebook Page
  • Posters associated with a white nationalist group’s guerrilla marketing campaign appeared in dorms and academic buildings on the University of Montana campus sometime in August.

The stickers were produced by a California-based white nationalist group called Identity Evropa and are part of a guerrilla marketing campaign aimed at college campuses. White says he was visiting a friend’s dorm room when he spotted one in a stairwell. Not a UM student himself, White headed back upstairs to alert his friend. She took him outside and pointed out several others.

The propaganda drop occurred days before the start of fall classes and UM’s Week of Welcome for incoming students. “Just the tip of the iceberg,” the group wrote in Aug. 12 social media posts showing photos of the UM stickers. By September, however, most if not all had disappeared from campus. A UM spokesperson was unaware of their presence.

Identity Evropa’s lineage traces to the far-right American Freedom Party, a political organization with a platform of promoting “ethnic European” identity and interests. Identity Evropa’s leader, Nathan Damigo, is an Iraqi war veteran who served prison time for robbing a Middle Eastern cab driver at gunpoint after a night of binge drinking. (He was said to be exhibiting symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder at the time.)

The group also has close ties to one of Montana’s foremost white nationalists. Whitefish-native Richard Spencer, who runs a white supremacist think-tank called the National Policy Institute, appeared at the group’s first public event on the UC-Berkeley campus earlier this year, and its website features a video Spencer produced promoting white racial identity.

In the group’s online posts, the men have embraced the spotlight brought on by Trump’s candidacy as well as the associated media attention and perceived mainstreaming of the so-called “alt-right” movement. Identity Evropa leaders boast in their blog that the “Fash the City” poster campaign is bringing new recognition and recruits as the group looks to gain wider traction.

The Missoula incident was attributed by the group to a UM student, but Montana Human Rights Network Co-director Rachel Carroll Rivas says it doesn’t necessarily suggest white supremacists are organizing locally. Regardless of who put up the stickers on campus, Carroll Rivas says, “The impact of postering is sort of the same, and that is to ... make folks know that there are people out there who believe these racist things and thus make people feel intimidated and afraid and unwelcome if they’re part of a targeted group.”

White says seeing the posters reminded him of an earlier encounter he had shortly after moving to Missoula five months ago. He and a friend were eating dinner at the Dinosaur Cafe inside Charlie B’s bar when a burly man dressed in camouflage and combat boots confronted him. White says the man took food from his plate and began yelling racial slurs, drawing the attention of the entire bar.

“I just grabbed my fork,” White says. “I don’t want to fight a Nazi at five in the afternoon.”

When bartenders didn’t step in to remove the man, White says he and his friend left with their food still on the table. A Dino employee confirms the incident and says restaurant staff called police, who eventually escorted the man from the bar after White and his friend were gone.

White says the situation “put a distaste in my mouth” about the environment in Missoula, one he had specifically sought out in deciding to move to the city. The campus posters added to his disappointment.

“I thought it was liberal,” he says. “It’s not true at all.”

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Your future, a little early

Posted By on Wed, Sep 7, 2016 at 9:00 AM

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): Two seven-year-old girls showed me three tricks I could use
  to avoid taking myself too seriously and getting too attached to my dignity. I'm offering these tricks to you just in time for the letting-go phase of your astrological cycle. Trick #1: Speak in a made-up language for at least ten minutes. Example: "Groftyp hulbnu wivgeeri proot xud amasterulius. Quoshibojor frovid zemplissit." Trick #2: Put a different kind of shoe and sock on each foot and pretend you're two people stuck in a single body. Give each side of you a unique nickname. Trick #3: Place an unopened bag of barbecue-flavored potato chips on a table, then bash your fist down on it, detonating a loud popping sound and unleashing a spray of crumbs out the ends of the bag. Don't clean up the mess for at least an hour.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): In accordance with the astrological omens, I suggest you spend less energy dwelling in profane time so you expand your relationship with sacred time. If that's of interest to you, consider the following definitions. PROFANE TIME happens when you're engulfed in the daily grind. Swarmed by a relentless flurry of immediate concerns, you are held hostage by the chatter of your monkey mind. Being in SACRED TIME attunes you to the relaxing hum of eternity. It enables you to be in intimate contact with your soul's deeper agenda, and affords you extra power to transform yourself in harmony with your noble desires and beautiful intentions. 

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): About 1.7 
million years ago, our human ancestors began using primitive hand axes made from rocks. This technology remained in use for over 60,000 generations before anyone invented more sophisticated tools and
implements. Science writer Marcus Chown refers to this period as "the million years of boredom." Its slow pace contrasts sharply with technology's brisk evolution in the last 140 years. In 1880, there were no cars, planes, electric lights, telephones, TVs, or Internet. I surmise that you're leaving your own phase of relatively slow progress, Gemini. In the coming months, I expect your transformations will progress with increasing speed – starting soon.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Prediction #1: You will attract truckloads of good luck by working to upgrade and refine the way you communicate. Prediction #2: You will tickle the attention of interesting people who could ultimately provide you with clues you will need to thrive in 2017. #3: You will discover secrets of how to articulate complicated feelings and subtle ideas
that have been locked inside you. Prediction #4: You'll begin a vibrant conversation that will continue to evolve for a long time.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): You know you have a second brain in your gut, right? (If not, read this: During the past three weeks, I have been beaming telepathic instructions toward this smart part of you. Here's an edited version of the message I've been sending: "Cultivate your tenacity, darling. Build up your stamina, sweetheart. Feed your ability to follow through on what you've started, beautiful. Be persistent and spunky and gritty, my dear." Alas, I'm not sure my psychic broadcasts have been as effective as I'd hoped. I think
you need further encouragement. So please summon more fortitude and staying power, you gutsy stalwart. Be staunch and dogged and resolute, you stouthearted powerhouse.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Is "Big Bang" the best term we can come up with to reference the beginning of the universe? It sounds violent and messy – like a random, accidental splatter. I would much prefer a term that suggests sublime elegance and playful power – language that would capture the awe and reverence I feel as I contemplate the sacred mystery we are privileged to inhabit. What if we used a different name for the birth of creation, like the "Primal Billow" or the "Blooming Ha Ha" or the "Majestic Bouquet"? By the way, I recommend that you consider those last three terms as being suitable titles for your own personal life story in the coming weeks. A great awakening and activation are imminent.

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