Monday, July 25, 2011

Extra, extra: In Other News, online

Posted By on Mon, Jul 25, 2011 at 9:00 AM

In this week's installment, a Snickers in a gas tank, a wonder-condom, and how not to blend fireworks.

Curses, Foiled Again
Police believe Jamie Minor, 26, tried to break into the Austin, Texas, restaurant where she worked by crawling through an exhaust duct leading to the office. She apparently became trapped when the duct tapered into an opening she couldn’t fit through, and she couldn’t back up. Noting that Minor had been missing more than a month before maintenance worker found her body, police Commander Julie O’Brien explained, “That area is located in a part of the building where it’s not readily accessible to anyone, so noises inside of the duct work couldn’t be heard.” (Associated Press)

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Soundcheck: The Decemberists at Big Sky (vintage video edition)

Posted By on Fri, Jul 22, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Four things to know before tonight's much-anticipated show.

1. Unless you're new to these parts, you probably already know that Decemberists frontman Colin Meloy went to the University of Montana and found his voice with a local outfit called Tarkio. But did you ever see the band play? What about when they were dressed as pirates? Yes, pirates. No? Then check out this old video from the Top Hat, circa 1998, and read up about the former Missoula band. Here's hoping "Save Yourself" makes it onto tonight's setlist.

2. Buy a T-shirt tonight. The band's keyboardist and accordion player, Jenny Conlee, was diagnosed with breast cancer in May. Carson Ellis, an amazing artist and Colin's wife, designed a "Team Jenny" shirt with all proceeds going to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure affiliate in Oregon.

3. Speaking of Ellis, keep an eye out for a book she and Meloy have been working on for 12 years. It's slated for release next month.

4. Don't sleep on tonight's opener, Typhoon. Jason McMackin reviewed the band's latest this week. By all accounts, the 10-person group is best seen live. But its videos are also cool. This is from last year's release:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Detour: Police roadblock tonight on Missoula's south side

Posted By on Thu, Jul 21, 2011 at 11:30 AM

You may want to avoid Missoula's south side this evening, as the Missoula Police Department is conducting another "Temporary Traffic Enforcement Roadblock." The department used to be more specific about where it was setting up, but the latest release only says tonight's event will occur between 8 and 11 "on the south side of Missoula."

From the release:

The purpose of this roadblock will be to apprehend persons wanted for violation of the laws of this state, of any other state, or of the United States who are using the highways of this state, identifying drivers, or checking for driver's licenses, vehicle registration, and insurance.

The unlikely connection between Ani DiFranco, a midwife's manifesta and the Indy

Posted By on Thu, Jul 21, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Salon called Ina May Gaskin "the midwife of modern midwifery." Ricki Lake calls Gaskin "my inspiration and my hero," while Naomi Wolf refers to her as "an American treasure." Ani DiFranco believes Gaskin's writing should be considered among "the great philosophical contributions of our time." In fact, that's what she wrote in the foreword to Gaskin's latest book, Birth Matters: A Midwife's Manifesta.

So, how on earth did the Indy end up in the same book?

Back in 2005, I wrote a cover story titled "Let your monkey do it." It's a first-person account of how my wife and I decided to have our first child born at home, with more than a little information on the history of natural birth, the birth choices in Missoula, and the misconceptions, in general, about childbirth. The story's lead, and title, came from a story our midwife, Sandhano Danison, relayed about Gaskin, Mormon nurses in Idaho, and, of course, monkeys.

Long story short, Gaskin liked the piece and we've traded a few emails since it was published. Last year, out of the blue, she asked to reprint a part of it in her next book. Considering my wife talks about Gaskin in the same ways as Lake, Wolf and DiFranco, and at least three of her books are on our bookshelf, it was an easy answer.

Now, a good portion of "Let your monkey do it" fills Chapter 7 of Birth Matters: A Midwife's Manifesta. The chapter is titled "What's a father-to-be to do."

You can read the original cover story online, but I suggest picking up a copy of Gaskin's work. Not because I get anything from it, but because her new book covers much more than some scared father's recollections of helping his wife give birth in the living room. The book "reminds us that the ways in which women experience birth have implications for all of us" and, as Time magazine put it, Gaskin explains why "America needs midwives more than ever."

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It's a bird! It's a ... well, another cool bird!

Posted By on Thu, Jul 21, 2011 at 8:36 AM

This week's cover story on raptors by Jessica Mayrer included a ton of photos by Indy photographer Chad Harder. He has even more, so we put together this slideshow:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Building up and out

Posted By on Wed, Jul 20, 2011 at 5:00 PM

This post should have the soundtrack to "The Jeffersons," as two popular entertainment establishments embark on ambitious expansion plans.

The Elbow Room, open since 1960, is moving on up from a double-wide trailer to a two-story "event center." Jill Valley at KPAX has the scoop:

They broke ground in May and hope to have people drinking beer by November. Once the new facility is open, it will fit about three of the old ones as the new bar will be have about 19,000 square feet.

It will be an event center, two stories tall, with a covered back patio for concerts or weddings. There will also be a restaurant, two horseshoe pits, places for meetings, boxing, fashion shows and of course- several huge televisions. It will be a place to drink beer with a lot more....elbow room.

Meanwhile, Carmike Cinemas is adding two new super-sized auditoriums to its N. Reserve Street location. Breanna Roy, also at KPAX, tells us more:

Both will seat 400 people, more than twice what the largest one seats now. The screens will be bigger, too.

Carmike Cinemas city manager Richard Taylor said moviegoers said it's hard to visualize just how big the new 80-foot long and two-story high digital "signature" screen will be.

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More shots from Glacier

Posted By on Wed, Jul 20, 2011 at 4:56 PM

Indy photographer Chad Harder wrote in this week's dead-tree issue about the unprecedented late opening of Going to the Sun Road. The Indy ran a ton of striking images with the story, but we have more.

Here's a slideshow of Chad's outtakes:

Missoula XC race week! Missoula XC race week!

Posted By on Wed, Jul 20, 2011 at 12:00 PM

Six things to know as this weekend's professional mountain bike race approaches.

- You can test your skills on the course tonight. The Kettlehouse Weekday Race Series concludes this evening, with races starting at 5:30. It's just $10, and offers a chance to measure yourself against the pros.

- Speaking of which, Missoula riders enter this weekend's race with some momentum. Accomplished pro Sam Schultz, who rides for Subaru-Trek, placed second in last week's USA Cycling 2011 Mountain Bike XC Nationals in Sun Valley, Idaho. Lindsy Campbell placed second in the women’s Cat 1 group, and Ingrid Lovitt placed first in Cat 2.

- The Missoula XC marks the last race of the USA pro mountain bike season, meaning the points race will be decided on Marshall Mountain. The current standings have Schultz in third, with Georgia Gould (Luna) and Max Plaxton (Specialized USA) in front of him.

- Who else will push for the win in Missoula? At the end of this video, Schultz lists the local riders he expects to do well:

Visit for more videos

- Local press is geeked about the event. The Indy wrote about the course and the K-hole series last month. The Missoulian previewed this weekend's race (although, it references local "Sam Schmidt." Oops.) And Laurel Douglas has been offering weekly updates of the race series at

- Wanna see the course? Indy photographer Chad Harder filmed a helmet cam video of the descent. It doesn't include the huge wooden bridge built more recently. The Missoula XC website also has a course map and stats—and images of the bridge.

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Questioning Missoula County Attorney Van Valkenburg

Posted By on Wed, Jul 20, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Great Falls Tribune Capitol Bureau Chief John S. Adams recently posted on his blog, The Lowdown, a detailed analysis of Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg's decision-making process in a high-profile Montana Innocence Project case.

It's a complicated issue with tons of background, so summarizing here won't do Adams' post justice. I recommend reading The Lowdown piece, titled "Double-standard for perjury in Missoula County?", in its entirety.

But I'll attempt to cut to the chase: In the Montana Innocence Project case, the victim of a prison rape, who was 13 at the time, has said he made up the story. The victim, who is currently serving a sentence in Deer Lodge for underage sex, hasn't signed a sworn statement. Adams suggests it's because Van Valkenburg opposes granting the victim immunity; the victim could be subjected to a perjury charge that would lengthen his stay in Deer Lodge. Meanwhile, the accused, Cody Marble, who has maintained his innocence all along, remains a registered sex offender.

Adams compares Van Valkenburg's unwillingness to work with this new information to a rape case Adams covered in 2006 while working at the Independent. (Full disclosure: In addition to Adams being a former Indy staff reporter, the executive director of the Montana Innocence Project, Jessie McQuillan, is also a former Indy staff reporter.) In that 2006 example, two Missoula police officers admitted to giving false testimony in court.

After comparing the two cases, Adams concludes:

It appears from his statements and actions that Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg places a higher value on preserving convictions than serving justice.

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Your future, a little early

Posted By on Wed, Jul 20, 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): I dreamed you were in a cake store. Every delicious kind of cake you could imagine was there: carrot cake, strawberry cheesecake, gooey butter cake, rich chocolate cake with four layers of cherries and whipped cream, birthday cakes that must have been baked in paradise. Sadly, there was a problem: You weren’t allowed to buy anything, even though you had enough money. A big sign on the wall said, simply, “Absolutely no cakes available for Aries.” What do you think my dream means? More importantly, what are you going to do about the situation? I suggest that in my next dream, you get a friend to buy a cake for you. Either that, or go to a different cake store. One way or another, the astrological omens say it’s high time for you get the cake you want.

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