When Montana Sen. Conrad Burns discreetly attached a rider to the Interior Appropriations Bill which would allow logging on the Kootenai and Flathead national forests—logging that had previously been halted by a ruling from Federal 9th Circuit Judge Donald Molloy—concerns were raised in the state’s newspapers about whether the rider would cut judicial review out of logging projects. Members of Montana’s environmental community quickly deemed Burns’ rider “lawless logging.” One concern that didn’t make headlines, however, was the rider’s possible effect on grizzly bears and their habitats. Missoula’s foremost bear expert, Chuck Jonkel, president and scientific advisor of the Great Bear Foundation, says he’s not surprised by the Burns rider, particularly, he says, since the Senator is the man responsible for killing griz reintroduction into the Selway-Bitterroot.

“From what I can tell…the intent is to open a lot of places for logging—old growth logging, which is the Bush agenda,” Jonkel says.

Jonkel notes that he doesn’t have a problem with salvage logging, but that the Forest Service should “fill in one hole when they create a hole somewhere else.” If they don’t, Jonkel says, “you kill more habitat, and the [grizzly] population is going to go down, down, down.”

Whether Burns’ rider passes remains to be seen. Sen. Max Baucus has expressed agreement with much of its content, although he has also objected with the arguably clandestine way in which Burns went about including it.


Looks like Missoula is full of Weeners, er, maybe that’s Weenheads. We all know that Ween fans are super-dedicated and super-weird (see “Devoted to Boognish,” by Andy Smetanka, Oct. 2, 2003). What we didn’t know is that they are also common criminals.

During Ween’s Missoula show at the University Theater on Wednesday, Oct. 8, 15 counterfeit tickets were confiscated at the door. But UM Productions Director Marcus Duckwitz has a hunch there were a lot more in circulation that never made it to the ticket window.

“One of my employees just a heard a rumor through the grapevine that a hundred or a few hundred tickets for the concert were printed off of somebody’s home computer,” says Duckwitz. “I imagine that multiple people saw that we were closely scanning the tickets and turned around before getting to the door.”

Duckwitz says he gives the counterfeiters credit for a solidly done job, but their downfall was a missing watermark–something that’s pretty tough to duplicate with just a scanner and color printer.

Duckwitz suspects that the Ween fans knew they were holding bogus tickets based on the body language of the about-face more than a few people made once they got an eyeful of the extra security and skeptical ticket takers.

UM Public Safety Captain Jim Lemcke says that the office is trying to track down the source of the bogus tickets, but the investigation is “going nowhere,” largely because no one with a counterfeit ticket was identified at the show—they were just turned away. Lemcke says he’s heard the same rumor about football tickets in the past, but hasn’t found any offenders.

UM Productions has decided not to pursue charges, but may well in the future.

“We can’t get the artists that we want if people are duping off tickets,” says Duckwitz.

Maybe Ween just attracts too many scofflaws. As a prophylactic measure, we suggest more Christian rock bookings. We hear those folks won’t even cut in line.

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