Thursday, March 31, 2011

For the birds

Posted By on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 12:00 PM

As if this week's cover story didn't already offer a dizzying amount of pigeon info, we've got even more. Here are four nuggets that can help supplement your new-found fascination with these birds:

1. Racing pigeons are just one segment of Montana's pigeon population. Polson retiree Rich Hayes raises world champion roller pigeons. These birds tumble through the sky like circus acrobats, flipping along as they fly. In 2008, Hayes won the World Cup Fly, garnering him local and national attention. Here's what tumblers look like in action:

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Kansas City, not Missoula, wins Google's heart

Posted By on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 9:35 AM

The dream of becoming Google's adopted city is over, and with it any hope of wicked fast Internet service. The company announced yesterday that it will build a state-of-the-art fiber optic data network in Kansas City, Kan., a suburb of the real Kansas City in Missouri.

The much-coveted project prompted cities across the nation to go bananas in hopes of attracting Google. The mayor of Duluth, Minn., jumped into Lake Superior to declare his commitment to bring the network to his town. Topeka, Kan., renamed itself "Google" for the month of March last year. Missoula kept it a bit more chill, with local rallies and a Facebook page. It didn't work.

“Our goal was to find a location where we could build efficiently, make an impact on the community, and develop relationships with local government and community organizations,’’ wrote Milo Medin, Google’s vice president of access services, on the company’s blog. “We’ve found this in Kansas City.’’

Network World speculated the decision may have had to do with the location of Sprint's official headquarters. The two companies are already working together on Google Voice.

According to Medin, nearly 1,100 cities applied along with Missoula for the network.

Play ball

Posted By on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 8:30 AM

Today marks the official start of baseball season, so what better time to introduce you to the Missoula Osprey's wonderfully titled, regularly updated, new blog. Bird Droppings offers nearly daily updates on former Missoula players, as well as pertinent information on the local franchise and its parent organization, the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Which former Osprey landed opening day MLB roster spots? It's there. How's fan-favorite first baseman Lyle Overbay, Missoula's most famous alum, doing in Pittsburgh? They've got the scoop. Where is Clay Zavada and his famous mustache? That there too, complete with a video tribute.

Welcome to the blogosphere, Bird Droppings, and welcome back baseball.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dead fish fill Missoula duck pond

Posted By on Wed, Mar 30, 2011 at 2:38 PM

Visitors to the duck pond on the south side of town will find a pretty gross scene: more dead fish than actual ducks.

A line of dead fish -- those white dots -- stretch across part of the pond
  • A line of dead fish — those white dots — stretch across part of the pond
Roughly 50 dead fish are visibly floating on the surface of the small pond. Neighbors first noticed the issue and reported it to Missoula Parks and Rec yesterday. This morning, Parks and Rec recovered one of the fish and sent it to Fish, Wildlife and Parks for testing.

"We don't know what caused it. We don't even know what kind of fish it is," says Morgan Valliant, the city's conservation lands manager. "Right now, we don't know much except that they're there."

Valliant says FWP will identify the fish and then conduct a toxicology test. Results should be available in a couple days. Valliant says he'll know more then about the possible cause and the city's next steps.

It's not exactly a scene out of the Arkansas River, but maybe skip taking the kids to the duck pond for a little while.

Photos: The Hellgate Rollergirls conquer the Adams Center

Posted By on Wed, Mar 30, 2011 at 10:13 AM

On Friday, March 25, Missoula's emergent roller derby league, the Hellgate Rollergirls, performed for the first time under the bright lights of the University of Montana's Adams Center. The league's growing fan base watched as Missoula's two teams, the Dirt Road Dolls and the Brawlin' Mollies, went head-to-head, with the Dirt Road Dolls winning 116-79. The bout kicked off the Rollergirls' 2011 schedule, which takes the teams to Washington, Colorado and Utah. Photojournalist Anne Medley was there to capture the action.

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Your future, a little early

Posted By on Wed, Mar 30, 2011 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): This is an excellent time to study the book Assholeology: The Science Behind Getting Your Way—and Getting Away with it. In fact, the cosmos would not only look the other way if you acted on the principles described therein; the cosmos is actively encouraging you to be a successful jerk. APRIL FOOL! It’s true that you’re in a phase when it makes sense to be a little extra selfish and eager to bend the world to meet your needs. But according to my analysis, it’s crucial that you do this politely and graciously.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Schweitzer's presidential prospects

Posted By on Tue, Mar 29, 2011 at 9:30 AM

Washington Post political reporter Chris Cillizza was asked the other day "just for fun" to list a few Democrats who may run for U.S. president in 2016. His answer: Mark Warner, Martin O'Malley and ... Brian Schweitzer.

He explains in the online chat:

I think Warner and O'Malley are VERY likely to be in.

[Andrew] Cuomo may depend on how his efforts to close the budget gap in the state go over the next few years.

Brian Schweitzer, outgoing Montana governor, is also an intriguing possibility and wants a role on the national stage....

Intriguing indeed.

This is the second Schweitzer in '16 reference in a month from D.C.'s political press.

Of course, there have been rumblings like this before to little effect).

Who knows, maybe the recent attention will at least boost his nonexistent campaign's Facebook page beyond its current 32 fans.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Extra, extra: In Other News, online

Posted By on Mon, Mar 28, 2011 at 9:00 AM

In this week's installment: staged castration, emoticon enticement and the freaky accident of the week.

Curses, Foiled Again
A man buying a box of bullets at a gun store in Kansas City, Mo., handed $40 to the owner, who was ringing up the sale when the man pointed a gun at him and demanded money. The owner said he noticed the gun wasn’t loaded and pulled his own gun, chasing off the robber, who left behind the bullets and his $40. (Kansas City’s KMBC-TV)

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ezra LeBank's PITCH adds dynamite to mystery

Posted By on Thu, Mar 24, 2011 at 12:56 PM

There are two very important points made in Ezra LeBank’s new show, PITCH. One is that the pro-life movement isn’t really about the sanctity of life; it’s about control. The other is: “You don’t fuck around with dynamite.” And that, my friends, seems especially true.

But a large portion of the allure of PITCH is the mysterious pageantry surrounding it, before you even set foot at the show. LeBank, an assistant professor at University of Montana's School of Theatre and Dance, set up a blog dating back to mid-February that follows the unnamed character of PITCH from the East Coast through Georgia, across the Midwest to Wyoming and Montana. Besides commenting on the scenery, LeBank’s character mentions the meetings he’s conducting to discuss his big plan: persuading people across America to join an underground coalition to create change—with explosives. It’s a nice prologue for getting a little window into the character.


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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Native Missoulian reports in from Katashina, Japan

Posted By on Wed, Mar 23, 2011 at 3:30 PM

Since the record-breaking 9.0-magnitude earthquake hit Japan on March 11, a number of interesting local connections have come to light. A group of local residents have even raised funds to get Missoula homeboy and Hellgate High grad Brandon Palmer and his family to the Garden City, away from the disaster that continues to unfold half a world away (the Palmer family is due in to Missoula this evening, according to fundraising leader Rick Heilman). News organizations are now reporting this as the costliest natural disaster in history.

Another native son has opted to remain in Japan, however, continuing his work as an English teacher and helping aid efforts in whatever way he can. The Indy contacted Brian McGrath yesterday via Facebook for a quick question-and-answer session on what he saw, and he plans to do next. We also spoke briefly with his father, Tom McGrath, who described the hours between when he heard about the quake and when his son finally phoned home as "stressful." Here's the news from Katashina, a small village of 5,000, two weeks after the quake from the eyes of one of Missoula's own.

Indy: What was the scene in your area like immediately following the earthquake?

McGrath: I live in the village of Katashina located in Gunma Prefecture. Besides the initial shaking of the earthquake, my area sustained minimal damage. Older architecture may have received slight damage in a few locations around me, but other than that nothing of real consequence. People were scared by the force and length of the quake, but at the time no one realized how unique it was.

Indy: When did your thoughts first turn to contacting family in Missoula?

McGrath: I attempted to reach my family soon after the quake. I was aware that it had been fairly strong, and I wanted to let them know I was okay before things were picked up by the international media. I wasn't aware of the damage it had caused or the impending tsunami. I just wanted to contact them and let them know I was fine.

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