Is it just us, or is the 100 block of South 4th West one of the most happening little districts in Missoula at the moment? It might sound awfully immodest of us to say so, but we’re just so awful damn proud of our neighbors. Just last month, Tipu’s Tiger was selected as the PETA’s (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) Featured Restaurant for their enlightened business philosophy—and la muchachita tasty vegetarian food! And now we just learned that Le Petit Outre, the local bakery with the killer crispy crust on the corner of South 4th and Myrtle, has been named the 2001 Montana MicroBusiness of the Year by the state’s MicroBusiness Advisory Council. Congratulations!

According to the Montana Department of Commerce, the bakery is a model business among the fully 159,000 small companies that make up more than 90 percent of the state’s economy. Sales have risen more than 400 percent in the four years since owners Susan and Leif Bjelland opened their doors to business in 1998 with exactly one full-time employee: Leif. That number, too, has since risen to 12 full-time and 10 part-time employees working from the wee hours onward to stay apace with Missoula’s taste for good coffee and heavenly baked goods, as well as to keep the city sated with specialty vinegars and olive oils (please see this week’s “Flash in the Pan” column on pg. 18) and ultra-healthful Odwalla juices. Last year, Le Petit also donated more than 20,000 pounds of bread to the Missoula Food Bank, Salvation Army, the Poverello Center and the YMCA.

Jolly good show, Susan and Leif, and all the fine folks in your employ. As always, the Independent is proud to lean on you for our daily fix of coffee and scones.

There’s no honorable way to kill, no gentle way to destroy. There is nothing good in war. Except its ending. –Abraham Lincoln

It was an idea whose time had come—and then apparently vanished exactly two months later on Sept. 11.

Seems Rep. Dennis Kucinich has introduced legislation that would create a new cabinet-level position: the U.S. Department of Peace, headed by a Secretary of Peace (George McGovern? Jimmy Carter?) and appointed by the president with the advice and consent of the Senate.

Kucinich, a Democrat, hails from the Buckeye State of Ohio. He introduced his bill, HR 2459 on July 11, 2001, two months before the fateful day that shocked the nation and probably doomed any prospects for a Department of Peace.

So far, 43 co-sponsors have signed on to the bill, (no, Rep. Dennis Rehberg is not one of them,) including three who bravely signed on after Sept. 11. Though there are no westerners on the post-9/11 co-sponsorship list, all are Democrats: Reps. Tammy Baldwin (D—Wis.) John Olver (D–Mass.) and George Miller (D–Calif.)

If approved—possibly sometime in the next millennium—the Department of Peace would hold peace as an organizing principle, develop national and international conflict prevention and engage in non-violent intervention and mediation, among other optimistic goals.

It would also establish a Peace Day urging “all citizens to observe and celebrate the blessings of peace and endeavor to create peace on such day.”

HR 2459 was referred to a House committee on Sept. 28 where it is undoubtedly receiving careful, er, review and consideration.

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