Monday, September 30, 2013

One Day in Missoula community photo essay

Posted By on Mon, Sep 30, 2013 at 2:43 PM

How do you capture a typical day in Missoula?

The Indy used to do an annual photo essay. Heres the 1998 cover.
  • The Indy used to do an annual photo essay. Here's the 1998 cover.
Whether the focus is the pageantry of a Griz game, the simple moments of a Saturday in the Slant Streets or the seedy happenings after bar break downtown, we’re looking to document 24 hours in the city we call home—and we’re asking for your help to do it.

We invite all levels of photographers—iPhone shooters to pros—to contribute images they feel best represent Missoula. The best images will be published in the Independent and invited to display at the Rocky Mountain School of Photography as part of a First Friday event.

Selections will be made based on composition, creativity and overall execution. Anyone can enter. We only require that the images be taken within city limits and shot between 12:01 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 5. The result, we hope, will offer an inspiring, challenging, contemplative and diverse visual celebration of Missoula.

Here’s a full rundown of how to contribute:

WHAT: A Day in the Life Photo Essay
WHO: Digital photographers
WHEN: Photos must be taken between 12:01 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5 (make sure your camera’s internal clock is accurate)
WHERE: All images must be taken within Missoula city limits
WHY: To celebrate Missoula and its creative community through photography

A limit of 5 images per photographer must be sent via email to by midnight on Monday, Oct 7. Each image should include a basic caption and the time it was shot, as well as contact information for the photographer (name, email, phone number). Photographers will be notified by Friday, Oct. 11, if their image was selected. Out of the images selected for publication, one photographer will be awarded free admission to the Rocky Mountain School of Photography’s Photo Weekend in Missoula Oct. 19 and 20 ($139 value).

By submitting entries to the Independent, the photographer grants us permission to print the image in the paper and use the image on our website. The top images will be selected by the Independent and published in a special issue of the weekly paper and online. The selected images will also be invited to appear at the Rocky Mountain School of Photography on N. Higgins Ave. as part of a First Friday showing on Friday, Nov. 1.

The Independent and RMSP will promote the First Friday event and provide complimentary food and drinks. Photographers are responsible for printing, matting and framing their own print at a size of 11 x 14 inches and delivered to the RMSP no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 25.

Questions? Email us or call 406-543-6609 and ask for photo editor Cathrine L. Walters.

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Rockies Today, Sept. 30

Posted By on Mon, Sep 30, 2013 at 11:31 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Idaho has big stake in federal highway funding fight
More than two-thirds of Idaho's annual spending on highway and bridge construction projects comes from the federal government, and with the federal highway trust fund predicted to run out of money by 2015 and Congress at loggerheads about raising the federal gasoline tax to keep funds flowing into the fund, the Gem State could have to put projects on hold should the federal funding dry up.
Idaho Statesman; Sept. 29

Flathead NF in Montana updating Flathead River management plan
The management plan for all three forks of the Flathead River in Montana is 33 years old, and two years ago, rangers began interviewing river users they encountered to begin work on updating the Wild and Scenic River management plan for river.
Kalispell Daily InterLake; Sept. 30

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How to cover up an airline accident in Bangkok (and more from In Other News)

Posted By on Mon, Sep 30, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Curses, Foiled Again
New Zealand authorities nabbed a Vietnamese man at the Auckland airport trying to smuggle tropical fish into the country after they noticed his bulging pants pockets were leaking. Ministry of Primary Industries official Craig Hughes said the man explained that he was carrying water from the plane because he was thirsty, but subsequent questioning turned up seven tropical fish hidden in two plastic bags in his cargo pants. (Agence France-Presse)

Police investigating a break-in at a home in Westborough, Mass., where the intruder used a hammer to smash a fish tank, windows and mirrors, identified Michael D. Turpin, 44, as their suspect after finding blood on the floors. Officers followed the bloody footprints to a home, where they found Turpin “bleeding profusely” from both his feet. (The MetroWest Daily News)

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Debunking the drill-your-way-to-low-gas-prices myth

Posted By on Fri, Sep 27, 2013 at 12:03 PM

Something funny happened over the last few weeks. First, the price of oil started climbing. Then, the announcement came that U.S. fields were producing more oil than they had since 1989. Wait? Isn't that exactly the opposite of what's supposed to happen under the energy independence myth?

The myth goes something like this: The more oil we extract from U.S. ground, the less oil we need to import from the Middle East. As our dependence on Middle Eastern oil drops, so does the volatility of oil prices caused by geopolitical forces and supply chain disruptions. In other words, the more we drill here at home, the less we pay at the pump.

Nope. We’re now producing more oil domestically than we have since 1989. But back then, the price of oil was about $20 per barrel. Today, it’s over $100, which translates to the price at the pump. As the two graphs below show, domestic production has virtually no effect on oil prices. Whether oil is drilled in North Dakota or Kuwait, it’s tied into the global market, where prices are dictated by global supply, demand and geopolitical forces. Much of the new demand is coming from Asia, which has driven prices higher generally. Meanwhile, tension over the possibility of a U.S. military strike in Syria was to blame for the recent price spike. While we're getting a lot of oil out of North Dakota, it's not and never will be enough to dilute these global forces.

So much for drilling our way to energy independence and low gas prices.

U.S. oil production is higher than its been since 1989. Graph by the author, based on data from the Energy Information Administration.
  • U.S. oil production is higher than it's been since 1989. Graph by the author, based on data from the Energy Information Administration.

Cross-posted from High Country News, The author is solely responsible for the content.

Rockies Today, Sept. 27

Posted By on Fri, Sep 27, 2013 at 11:37 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

NorthWestern Energy to buy PPL Montana's hydropower dams for $900M
The $900-million deal for NorthWestern Energy to buy PPL Montana's 11 hydropower dams on five Montana rivers must still be approved by state and federal regulators.
Great Falls Tribune; Sept. 27

Coalition asks court to intervene in company's lawsuit on Montana oil leases
On Thursday, EarthJustice and a coalition of environmental groups, members of the Blackfeet Tribe and recreationists asked the U.S. District Court in D.C. to allow them to intervene in the lawsuit filed by Louisiana-based Solenex LLC against the federal government seeking to end a suspension of its gas and oil lease on 6,200 acres in the Badger-Two Medicine region in Montana.
Great Falls Tribune; Sept. 27

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Rockies Today, Sept. 26

Posted By on Thu, Sep 26, 2013 at 11:35 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Grizzly bear sightings in Montana prompt warnings for hunters
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks grizzly bear management specialist Mike Madel said the sighting of a grizzly bear near Fort Shaw is the farthest east on the Sun River that grizzlies have been spotted, and a second sighting of two grizzlies near Simms indicate that the bears are moving east, following the river and the berries that grow near the river.
Great Falls Tribune; Sept. 26

Former Yellowstone NP chiefs talk bears, bison and wolves
At a Greater Yellowstone Coalition conference in Wyoming last week, former Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Michael Finley said he believed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will push to get grizzly bears delisted, despite habitat conditions that should keep protections in place, and former superintendent Bob Barbee talked about his experiences at the park during the time of wolf reintroduction, a decision he said was not tainted by politics.
Jackson Hole News & Guide; Sept. 25

Researchers track pine beetles' devastation of whitebark pines in Montana
The Whitebark Pine Ecosystem Foundation will meet in Bozeman on Friday, and in advance of that meeting a retired U.S. Forest Service ecologist and a University of Utah researcher led a tour to a stand of the trees on a mountain peak in Montana under siege from pine beetles and a warming climate, and additional tours are planned on Saturday and Sunday.
Billings Gazette; Sept. 26

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Wolf update: Montana tries to attract more hunters as feds consider national delisting

Posted By on Thu, Sep 26, 2013 at 11:02 AM

Montana’s wolf hunters hung up their bows last Saturday as archery season closed and rifle season began. Five years after the federal government dropped Montana’s wolves from the Endangered Species List and the state took over management, officials are still trying to trim the state's growing wolf population. This year, each hunter can bag five wolves, up from last year’s maximum of three. In addition, out-of-state hunters can get a wolf license for $50, down from the $350 fee at this time last year. Plus, hunters will have an additional month to stake out these clever, adaptable predators. Montana’s changes come amidst a contentious national conversation about whether gray wolves everywhere should come off the Endangered Species List.

This map from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows the 2012 distribution of the Northern Rockies gray wolf packs.
  • This map from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows the 2012 distribution of the Northern Rockies gray wolf packs.
Public comments on the proposed federal delisting were supposed to wrap up last week, but because of the overwhelming response, the comment period has been extended to late October. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) says that the proposal to delist is scientifically sound, and that the Endangered Species Act (ESA) does not require full restoration across a species' previous range. With populations already returned to state management in the Northern Rockies (Montana, Idaho and Wyoming) and the Western Great Lakes (Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan), the agency says it has fulfilled recovery requirements. The proposal would also allow the agency to focus on a southwestern sub-species, the Mexican wolf, which would still be listed as endangered. Gary Frazer, the agency's assistant director for endangered species, told Nature journal, “That was the plan from the beginning: to declare recovery, to delist the species, and to move on to other species that need our attention.”

However, opponents argue that, while wolf populations have indeed improved since the mid-20th century, their range and numbers are still not big enough to maintain healthy genetic diversity. And states managing wolves plan to reduce current populations even further through hunting, trapping and agency culls (although they can't let numbers drop below a federally required minimum). Conservationists say the delisting proposal sets a dangerous precedent for the ESA by calling it good on wolves when they may still need federal protection. “The Fish and Wildlife Service is essentially saying that this is the best that wolves can do, and it’s not even close,” John Vucetich, a forest scientist at Michigan Technological University in Houghton, told Nature.
In Montana, the minimum federally required number is 150 individuals, including 15 breeding pairs. Since the state took over wolf management, it has increased the access for wolf hunters through a longer season and larger bag counts. And each year, the numbers of hunters and the reported kills have also increased. Still, wolf populations are growing faster than state managers would like. The most recent count in Montana, conducted at the end of 2012, estimated at least 625.

As wolf populations in the state have increased in recent decades, so have wolf conflicts with humans and livestock. For the 2011 hunting season, Montana FWP set a state-wide maximum of 220 wolf kills, a number that managers thought would strike a balance between maintaining a healthy population and reducing those conflicts. But by the end of the season, which had already been extended by a month and a half, hunters and trappers had taken 166 wolves — only 75 percent of the total managers had hoped to remove. For the 2012-2013 season, hunters and trappers reported 225 wolf kills.

With wolf counts continuing to grow in the Northern Rockies, the FWS says its work with the gray wolf is done. “Of course, the gray wolf is not everywhere it once was, nor can it be; think Denver, or Minneapolis, or Salt Lake City, or even the now grain- and livestock-dominated American Plains,” FWS Director Dan Ashe wrote in a blog post in June. Ashe sees current wolf populations as a mark of success and reason enough to delist in all states: “We can work conservation miracles, because we have. The gray wolf is proof.”

Cross-posted from High Country News, The author is solely responsible for the content.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Rockies Today, Sept. 25

Posted By on Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 11:09 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Montana, Japanese computer chip equipment makers to merge
Applied Materials Inc., which operates a chipmaking-equipment manufacturing company in Montana, announced a $9.39-billion stock deal with Tokyo Electron Ltd., to create a new, yet-unnamed company.
Kalispell Daily InterLake; Sept. 25

U. of Idaho researcher makes plastic out of cow manure
Dairies are big business in Idaho, and with each of the more than a million cows in the state producing up to 100 or so pounds of manure each day, finding a way to put that poop to practical use is a good thing, and University of Idaho researcher Erik Coats and his team have found a way to process the manure to make biodegradable plastic.
Twin Falls Times-News; Sept. 25

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Your future, a little early

Posted By on Wed, Sep 25, 2013 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've got a good feeling about your relationship with intimacy in the coming weeks. Judging from the astrological omens, I think you will have a good instinct about how to drum up interesting fun with your most important allies. You'll just naturally know what to do to make your collaborative efforts synergistic. So by all means cash in on this potential. Don't just sit back and hope for the best; rather, call on your imagination to provide you with original ideas about how to make it all happen.

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tuesdays with "Camp Sleepover"

Posted By on Tue, Sep 24, 2013 at 11:50 AM


Josh Quick's "Camp Sleepover" appears every Tuesday online, and can be seen in the Indy's printed pages every Thursday.

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Summer MADE fair @ Caras Park

Sun., June 25, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

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