In case you hadn’t heard, just about every single hip, fun, cultural landmark in Missoula has already been sold or is up for sale. Jay’s…slated to expire next month. The Blue Heron…limping along and looking for buyers. The Wilma Theatre…well, this one hasn’t been sold yet.

Those rumors that a church—some say one out by Wal-Mart, some say one that believes movies are the spawn of the anti-Christ—has purchased the decades-old Missoula theatre just aren’t true. Both Bill McQuirk of Lambros Real Estate and a Wilma spokesperson confirm that there was an offer, but no sale.

Looks like Missoula gets to keep one cultural haven, at least for the time being. Remember: You can’t believe everything you hear out on the street, only what you read in the Indy.

•••

Kalispell might be one of the dimmer stars in the growing political universe of Democratic frontrunner Howard Dean, but it’s still part of the big picture. On Sept. 3, Dean supporters in the Flathead came together for their first official “Meet Up” at a coffee shop in downtown Kalispell. For a town withering under the weight of news-talk blather and Bush-driven jingoism, the recent Dean gathering was a cause for hope. Rush Limbaugh calls him “Nikita Dean,” in an attempt to paint the Vermont governor with a Commie brush, and this coloring-book level of political discourse seems to work with the crew-shirt-and-Coors-Light crowd on the golf course, but not with the thoughtful voters who are filling Dean’s coffers with $50 donations. So much money is flowing Dean’s way, Bush had his fetch-it boy Marc Racicot send out a letter recently portraying the president as the fundraising underdog. After everyone stopped laughing, Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe predicted that the DNC will have a $250 million war chest to counter Bush’s $600 million in campaign cash come 2004. How much might the Dean Machine add to the Dem’s cause if Howard becomes the nominee (maybe with Gen. Wesley Clark as his hawk vs. dove running mate)? Who knows, but the prospects have folks chattering in faraway Kalispell.

•••

On Thursday, Aug. 28, the Indy reported the just-totally-screwed-up story of Noni Belland. A Hamilton resident and Canadian citizen, Belland went to visit her sick father in Calgary and never came back. After being stopped at the U.S. border, she was informed that she was illegally working in the United States and was barred from returning for at least the next three years.

Admirably recognizing a hot story when it read one, the Missoulian reported on Sunday, Sept. 7, the familiar-sounding news that after being stopped at the U.S. border, Belland was told she’d been illegally working in the United States and was barred from returning for at least the next three years. From there, the news spread through Montana and beyond on the AP wire.

The fact that so many outlets have picked up on our reporting is flattering (even if we weren’t credited with breaking the story), but it hasn’t done much for Belland. She’s still stuck in Canada.

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