Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Rockies Today, Sept. 27

Posted By on Tue, Sep 27, 2011 at 10:20 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Headwaters News.

Stimulus project in Wyoming spends lots of federal cash for no progress
WyoFile's investigation into stimulus funds spent on the Two Elk Energy Park Carbon Site Characterization project in Wyoming found that nearly 20 percent of the money spent between September of 2009 and July of 2011 went to Michael J. Ruffatto, founder and CEO of Colorado-based North American Power Group Ltd. and Brad Enzi, the son of Sen. Mike Enzi, and although the funding came from the National Recovery Act designed to create jobs, no direct jobs had yet been created.
WyoFile.com; Sept. 27

Tonbridge shareholders approve sale of company to Enbridge
The shareholders of Tonbridge Power Co., the Toronto-based developer of the Montana-Alberta Tie Line, approved the purchase of the company by Alberta-based Enbridge Inc.
Great Falls Tribune; Sept. 27

BLM: Hydraulic fracturing regulations under consideration
At a Wyoming conference on hydraulic fracturing, BLM-Wyoming Deputy Director Larry Claypool said that the federal agency is seriously considering regulating the drilling method.
Casper Star-Tribune; Sept. 27

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Free Sublime tribute show at the Wilma on Wednesday

Posted By on Mon, Sep 26, 2011 at 3:00 PM

The Trail and Knitting Factory announced today that Wednesday's Badfish concert at the Wilma will be free. Badfish is a Sublime tribute band that started in 2001 and is named after a song on Sublime's debut album, 40oz. to Freedom. Doors open at 7, show starts at 8.

The announcement says the free show is a "thank you [to] Missoula for a great summer of music!!!" No ticket is needed to get in.

Before today, however, tickets were listed as $18, or $17.50 in advance. (Still are, in fact, at TicketFly). We haven't heard back from Knitting Factory about whether refunds will be offered to those who previously purchased tickets.

In the meantime, here's what Badfish sounds like:

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"Missoula is on the front lines of the global movement to stop water privatization"

Posted By on Mon, Sep 26, 2011 at 11:25 AM

Some of the suspense was taken out of today's Montana Public Service Commission meeting to discuss the proposed sale of Mountain Water to the Carlyle Group after the city brokered a deal with the new buyer. According to reports, Missoula has the option to purchase the water system in the future. In exchange, the city and the Clark Fork Coalition, two outspoken critics of the Carlyle Group deal, agreed to offer their support.

The agreement hasn't appeased everyone. Sam Schabacker is a senior organizer for the consumer advocacy group Food & Water Watch, and a graduate of the University of Montana. His organization has been closely following the situation in Missoula.

"The proposed sale to Carlyle is precedent setting," he says. "It's their foray into domestic water system ownership. We're very concerned about the implications. Missoula is on the front lines of the global movement to stop water privatization. That's why we're involved."

Schabacker says the agreement between the city and Clark Fork Coalition and the Carlyle Group may change the dynamic of the conversation, but not the immediate issue.

"This deal leaves many unanswered questions," he says. "Is this what Missoulians want? What guarantees are there that Carlyle will be willing to sell to Missoula? How long out is 'the future'? Ten years, 20 years, 30 years? The reality is that Missoula negotiated a deal to allow a private, multinational corporation to buy its water system in the hope that Carlyle will sell it back to the city sometime in the future. That's quite a risk to take with one of Missoula's most precious public resources."

Today's PSC hearing begins at 1 p.m.

In the meantime, Schabacker answered a few other questions with us last week to help put the issue into perspective.

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The Rockies Today, Sept. 26

Posted By on Mon, Sep 26, 2011 at 10:16 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Headwaters News.

After fatal grizzly attacks, Yellowstone Park examines policies
Following two fatal grizzly attacks this year in Yellowstone National Park, park officials said they are taking another look at visitor safety policies.
Spokane Spokesman-Review; Sept. 24

Grizzly study in Idaho, Montana planned for next year
Kate Kendall, a scientist at the U.S. Geological Service at Glacier National Park who led a grizzly study in the Montana’s Northern Divide Ecosystem, will put the techniques used in that study to get a count of grizzly bears in the Cabinet-Yaak ecosystem of North Idaho and Western Montana, beginning next year.
Spokane Spokesman-Review; Sept. 24

Another pneumonia outbreak reported in Montana bighorn sheep herd
Smoke from wildfires are suspected to have caused another outbreak of pneumonia in a herd of bighorn sheep in western Montana.
Ravalli Republic; Sept. 26

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Extra, extra: In Other News, online

Posted By on Mon, Sep 26, 2011 at 9:00 AM

In this week's installment: A Fred Flintstone wannabe, paintballs and breast implants, and cheerleaders' "cheeks are hanging out."

Curses, Foiled Again
When Colby Wade Cardoso, 20, came upon a car crash that killed two people in Hillsborough County, Fla., authorities said he parked his vehicle near the scene and tried to steal a pickup truck belonging to a witness. The truck wouldn’t start, however, so he ran, only to be chased by sheriff’s Deputy Carl Luis, 53, and arrested. (Tampa’s WFLA-AM)

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Friday, September 23, 2011

What it takes to keep Missoula's Festival of the Dead alive

Posted By on Fri, Sep 23, 2011 at 3:15 PM

Many locals have their own favorite story about the annual parade and performance celebrating Missoula's version of Día de los Muertos. Tarn Ream of Unity Dance and Drum has been involved with the event since it started 19 years ago, and rattles off a number of anecdotes that track its history — her debut performance, when artists were paid for the participation; the year a bunch of Charlie B's regulars marched along the route to honor author Jim Crumley; and the recent years when a small group of volunteers scrambled to keep the Higgins Avenue procession from disappearing altogether.

That last part often gets overlooked. Unlike other beloved Missoula festivals that are run by nonprofits, boards of directors or otherwise invested groups, Missoula's Festival of the Dead happens every year due to the planning, fundraising and promotion of a few loosely organized, selfless individuals. At first, it was run by local artists Bev Glueckert and Mike deMeng. Then Kay Grissom-Kiely took over for years, before Rachel Winick and then Julia LaTray jumped in to help keep things running. The event almost didn't happen in 2006, but was saved at the 11th hour. City Council had to step in to make sure 2007's parade came together. And so on.

That's how it's been the last couple years, with a rotating cast of locals hustling to catch each spinning plate — or, in this case, twirling fire stick — before it crashes to the ground.

This year, the trio of Ream, Selvedge Studio's Leah Morrow, and Very Special Arts' Alayne Dolson has emerged to help steady the operation. All have a long history with the festival — Morrow was among those who rescued it in 2007; VSA has sponsored it forever — and are sacrificing their own time to raise the funds and find volunteers.

Here's where you could help. The Festival of the Dead operates on a budget of about $6,000 to cover the parade permit, barricades, insurance, promotional materials, and other operational costs. That money comes directly from local businesses and individual donations. If you'd like to help keep the Festival of the Dead alive, check out the event's new Facebook page or contact Ream directly at 546-0858.

"This has always been a community-driven event," says Ream, "and we're trying to get out ahead this year to make sure it's a part of the community for years to come."

The 2011 Festival of the Dead is scheduled for Nov. 2 with the usual pre-parade performance at 6 p.m. at Circle Square, and the parade beginning at 7.

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The best Ron Paul rap music video made in Missoula

Posted By on Fri, Sep 23, 2011 at 2:15 PM

You gotta hand it to rapper mG for spitting sick rhymes about Sen. Ron Paul while standing in the Bitterroot River. Or maybe some scenes are the Clark Fork.

Anyway, the song is titled "Wake Up," and mG stands for Man of God.

The last two minutes or so of the video are just Paul speechifying, but I'm still willing to call this the best Ron Paul rap music video made in Missoula. That said, if you think there's another worthy candidate, please, by all means, let me know.

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The Rockies Today, Sept. 23

Posted By on Fri, Sep 23, 2011 at 10:13 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Headwaters News.

Groups seek U.S. trade sanctions against Canada over oilsands operations
The Pelly amendment is an obscure provision of U.S. trade law that allows the president to impose trade sanctions against any country that weakens international efforts to conserve endangered species, and this week a coalition of U.S. and Canadian environmental groups have petitioned the president to impose such a sanction against Canada, alleging that the country's oilsands operations in Alberta are threatening
woodland caribou, whooping cranes and scores of migratory birds.

Global BC (Canadian Press); Sept. 23

State Department to hold Montana hearing on Keystone XL pipeline next week
The State Department is holding public hearings in every state through which the proposed Keystone XL pipeline will pass, with Montana's set for Tuesday, Sept. 27, in Glendive.
Great Falls Tribune; Sept. 23

Idaho city, airport post options for expanding Friedman airport
The Friedman airport that serves Hailey and other cities in Idaho's Wood River Valley is currently operating under a special permit that allows Q-400 commercial passenger aircraft to land at the airport, even though it does not meet specifications for the craft, and now that the Federal Aviation Administration has suspended its review of a proposal to build a new airport, Hailey and Friedman officials are again considering ways to expand the airport to accommodate larger, commercial aircraft.
Idaho Mountain Express (Sun Valley); Sept. 23

Utah can't afford signs to warn anglers about mercury levels in fish
Members of the Mercury Work Group were told by Utah health department officials that the agency can no longer afford the $15 signs that are posted on waterways to warn anglers that fight caught in those waters contain high levels of mercury.
Salt Lake Tribune; Sept. 23

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Missoula City Council candidates, in their own words

Posted By on Thu, Sep 22, 2011 at 3:00 PM


As I'm sure everyone reading this blog is well aware, it's the season for City Council elections. On Nov. 8, Missoula will choose among 15 candidates to fill seven of the council's 12 seats. You could educate yourself on the issues by attending a candidate forum, reading local newspapers (look for Indy endorsements in an upcoming issue) or, with these new videos, by clicking a few buttons from the comfort of your own computer.

MCAT invited each candidate "to spend ten minutes responding to 5 questions about why they were running and what they would do if elected." Those videos, like the one above featuring Ward 3 hopeful Alex Taft, are now popping up online.

MCAT's Joel Baird says all but three candidates agreed to interviews, and he's posting the videos in the order they were conducted. So far, Jason Wiener (Ward 1), Caitlin Copple (Ward 4), Taft (Ward 3), and Cynthia Wolken (Ward 2) are online. Later today he expects to post Mike O’Herron (Ward 5), Peggy Miller (Ward 6), and Pam Walzer (Ward 2). The others will be posted by Tuesday.

Baird says the candidates who declined interviews were Shane Stack (Ward 6), Sean D. Ives (Ward 3) and Adam Hertz (Ward 2).

We'll update when all 12 are uploaded. In the meantime, you can check out the current videos on Vimeo.

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A sneak peek at The Bus

Posted By on Thu, Sep 22, 2011 at 12:45 PM

Local filmmaker Damon Ristau has put out a new teaser for his upcoming documentary on the iconic VW bus, titled The Bus, and you can watch it right here.

Ristau says the project is nearing completion, but there's no release date yet.

"I have a couple more interviews to shoot (in Germany and the U.K.), but have most everything I need to finish the film," he writes in an email. "There is a fairly large niche audience that is beating my door down to see it, so I'm motivated to wrap it up."

The project gained momentum earlier this year after a pitch session at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival. That led to support from the Documentary Channel and a campaign on Kickstarter.com.

Local moviegoers may recognize Ristau from his work at BSDFF, or his feature film directorial debut, The Best Bar in America. He now owns and operates Firewater Film Company.

You can track the completion of The Bus at the film's website, or at its Facebook page.

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