Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Rockies Today, Sept. 17

Posted By on Tue, Sep 17, 2013 at 11:44 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Industry execs say E. Montana oil communities need government help
At the Montana Economic Development Summit in Butte on Monday, representatives of the engineering, oil and construction industries said that in order to keep the Bakken oil development sustainable, the communities in Eastern Montana need government help in building out infrastructure for needed housing and schools, as well as higher education programs to train workers needed.
Montana Standard; Sept. 17

CEOs discuss job growth at Montana economic summit
On day one of the two-day Montana Economic Development Summit, thousands of attendees listened to top executives from Delta, FedEx, Facebook, Google and SpaceX and Tesla Motors talk about their experiences and what they believed would help propel job creation in the Big Sky State.
Montana Standard (Lee State Bureau); Sept. 17

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Rockies Today, Sept. 16

Posted By on Mon, Sep 16, 2013 at 12:34 PM

Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Federal judge halts megaloads through Idaho
As promised, U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill issued a decision in the lawsuit filed by the Nez Perce Tribe and Idaho Rivers United to halt the movement of the transport of oversized truckloads through the Idaho tribe's lands and along a Wild and Scenic River Corridor that temporarily halted the movement of the megaloads, until the U.S. Forest Service completes a review of moving the megaloads along U.S. Highway 12 and consults with the tribe about the transport plan.
Los Angeles Times; Sept. 14

Protest against coal in Montana's capital city ends with 13 arrests
About 60 people gathered at Helena's Hill Park on Sunday to protest the sale of Montana coal to Asian markets, and then marched to a sit-in on Montana Rail Line property to protest the railroad's role in getting that coal to market.
Helena Independent Record; Sept. 16

Program that provides air service to Montana communities under scrutiny
The Essential Air Service hatched out of airline deregulation in 1978, and the program to provide airline service to small, underserved airports was supposed to run just 10 years, but 35 years later, it's a $200 million program that served 150 U.S. communities, including a handful in Montana, but federal lawmakers are questioning the cost of the program and its true usefulness. An analysis.
Great Falls Tribune; Sept. 16

Changes in grizzly bear's diets in Yellowstone ecosystem a delisting factor
The number of grizzly bears in the Yellowstone ecosystem has reached a level that puts them on the road to removal of federal protections, but some key components of the big bruin's traditional diet: whitebark pine nuts and native cutthroat trout, to name two, are on the decline, a factor conservationists said should keep federal protections in place for the bears.
Casper Star-Tribune; Sept. 16

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How not to smuggle pot into a prison (and more from In Other News)

Posted By on Mon, Sep 16, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Curses, Foiled Again
When two men showed a gun at a busy Chicago restaurant and announced a holdup, the owner asked them to come back in an hour when fewer customers would be around. After they agreed and left, the owner called police, who were waiting when Mario Garcia, 39, and Domingo Garcia-Hernandez, 28, returned and arrested them. The gun turned out to be a toy water pistol. (Chicago Tribune)

Police investigating vandalism during a riot that followed a surfing contest in Huntington Beach, Calif., posted photos of 25 suspects on Facebook and asked the public to help identify them. Enrique Rodriguez, 18, saved them the trouble by “liking” his photo and posting another photo of himself at the scene on his Facebook profile page, leading investigators to him. They also arrested Niko Johnson, 18, who saw his photo and bragged on Twitter about being Huntington Beach’s Most Wanted. (LAist and Associated Press)

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Friday, September 13, 2013

Rockies Today, Sept. 13

Posted By on Fri, Sep 13, 2013 at 11:45 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Floods inundate, strand communities along Colorado's Front Range
Officials in Colorado's Front Range cities and communities said they can't even begin to assess the damage done by floods since Thursday until the rain lets up, communication is again established, and access opened to areas now stranded by floodwaters and washed out roads.
Denver Post; Sept. 13

Western Watersheds Project's Marvel talks about his retirement
In his video exit interview with Ketchum Keystone, Jon Marvel, the longtime leader of Western Watersheds Project, talks about his work on the issue of grazing on public lands.
Idaho Statesman; Sept. 13

Montana state forester tells legislators fire costs down this year
In a report to legislators, Montana state forester Bob Harrington said the state's share of firefighting costs was $11 million this year, about a fifth of last year's $60 million, with just 192 square miles of land affected by wildfire, compared to last year, when 18,750 square miles burned.
Helena Independent Record; Sept. 13

Montana closes archery season for wolves in one district near Yellowstone
The archery season for wolves will close across Montana on Saturday, the day before rifle season for wolves begins, but in one district near Yellowstone, the archery season will close a day earlier, as one wolf has already been killed in that district, and state officials want to keep the remaining three wolves in the district's quota available for rifle hunters.
Helena Independent Record; Sept. 13

Montana governor takes a hike with reps from companies on best list
On Thursday, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock met with representatives of the seven companies in the state that made Outdoor Magazine's Best Places to Work list, and during a roundtable discussion followed by a hike up Mount Helena, he heard why Whitefish e-commerce ZaneGroup, Outlaw Partners in Big Sky, Missoula's Adventure Life, and even the Seeley Elementary School, made the list.
Helena Independent Record; Sept. 13

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Western native plant societies urge USDA to ban exotics

Posted By on Thu, Sep 12, 2013 at 3:00 PM

Forage kochia is a small shrub, a bouquet of stems with narrow, light-green leaves. It appears unremarkable, belying its utility. Forage kochia grows in alkaline and salty soils, provides forage for livestock and wildlife, creates effective firebreaks and competes with cheat grass. Its usefulness explains why it’s been seeded on between 400,000 and 700,000 acres of public rangelands around the West since 1984.

Researcher Erin Gray studying forage kochia in southern Idaho
  • Researcher Erin Gray studying forage kochia in southern Idaho

“After watching rangelands sit for year after year with nothing but cheat grass and seeing how forage kochia can help there, it does seem to be a miracle plant in some cases,” says Blair Waldron, a research geneticist in the USDA Forage and Range Research Laboratory in Utah.

But forage kochia is an exotic species, one that evolved in the steppes of Central Asia, and a coalition of native plant societies from around the West, lead by Montana’s, are trying to halt its planting.

In early August, native plant societies in Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Arizona, Utah, and Nevada sent a letter (PDF) to the USDA encouraging the agency to stop seeding introduced species, such as forage kochia and Canada bluegrass, and use native plants instead.

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Slideshow: Bozeman greets the Westboro Baptist Church

Posted By on Thu, Sep 12, 2013 at 2:56 PM

The Westboro Baptist Church arrived Monday at the Montana State University campus in Bozeman to protest the university's failure to prepare students "for the final day of judgment." An estimated 1,500 people greeted the three church members with a counter-protest, first on campus and again later at Bozeman High School.

Jessica Mayrer has a story about the day's events in this week's issue. Here's a slideshow that also captures how things unfolded.

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Rockies Today, Sept. 12

Posted By on Thu, Sep 12, 2013 at 11:52 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Elk Foundation's buy secures public access to Montana national forest
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation purchased a 40-acre parcel of land that will ease access to 18,000 acres the Snowy Mountains, with plans to offer the $190,000 Red Hill property to the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks for $50,000.
Great Falls Tribune; Sept. 12

Study indicates number of eagles killed by wind farms increasing
Research done by federal biologists found that at least 85 golden and bald eagles have been killed by wind farms in 10 states since 1997, with most of those deaths occurring between 2008 and 2012, when wind farms were expanding.
Great Falls Tribune (AP); Sept. 12

Wildlife refuge in Montana deemed too dry for waterfowl hunting
Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge in northcentral Montana received almost no spring runoff this year, and federal officials said it's too dry for waterfowl season this year, although some upland game bird hunting will be allowed.
Great Falls Tribune; Sept. 12

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Top Bush official joins The Nature Conservancy

Posted By on Thu, Sep 12, 2013 at 9:00 AM

It's no surprise that federal officials often end up employed by various think-tanks, nonprofits and trade groups once their stints on Capitol Hill are over. For example, here's where some George W. Bush administration folks have gone: Dale Hall, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service director, is now CEO of Ducks Unlimited. Dave Tenny, who headed the Forest Service, founded the National Alliance of Forest Owners, which lobbies for policies that "advance the economic and environmental benefits of privately-owned forests." And former Interior Secretary Gale Norton started her own consulting firm, Norton Regulatory Strategies, to help energy, mining and other companies navigate "the toughest regulatory challenges."

The latest announcement concerns former Interior deputy secretary Lynn Scarlett, who's going to work for The Nature Conservancy, as managing director for public policy. TNC describes itself as "the leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people."

At first glance, the choice might seem, well, surprising. Scarlett, you'll recall, was second in command at the younger Bush's Interior Department. And that administration was, of course, notorious for its anti-environmentalist, pro-corporate policies.

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Rockies Today, Sept. 11

Posted By on Wed, Sep 11, 2013 at 10:58 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Montana small business owners say public lands a draw
A survey of 200 small business owners in Montana found 70 percent agreed that public lands and outdoor recreational opportunities were a draw for locating or expanding their businesses in the Big Sky State. Contains a breakout about the panel: "Boosting Montana's Economy Through the Great Outdoors," scheduled for Monday at the sixth Montana Economic Development Summit at Montana Tech in Butte.
Montana Standard; Sept. 11

Colorado releases its rules for recreational marijuana businesses
On Monday, Colorado released its 136 pages of regulations for recreational marijuana businesses, making it the first state in the union to regulate such sales.
Denver Post; Sept. 11

Senate Judiciary Committee holds hearing on marijuana issues
At the hearing Tuesday of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on emerging issues dealing with the legalization of marijuana use by adults in Washington state and Colorado, federal officials said they were working with regulators to ease access to banking services for marijuana businesses in those states.
Seattle Times; Sept. 11

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Your future, a little early

Posted By on Wed, Sep 11, 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): "A good story should make you laugh, and a moment later break your heart," wrote Chuck Palahniuk in his book Stranger Than Fiction. From what I can tell, Aries, the sequence is the reverse for you. In your story, the disruption has already happened. Next comes the part where you laugh. It may be a sardonic chuckle at first, as you become aware of the illusions you had been under before the jolt exposed them. Eventually I expect you will be giggling and gleeful, eternally grateful for the tricky luck that freed you to pursue a more complete version of your fondest dream.

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