Archive for July, 2008

by jhwygirl

First Friday – beloved by Missoulians and visitors alike for its free beverage and munchies and fabulous art – will include a special exhibit upstairs at 515 S Higgins. It begins at 5 p.m.

The show will feature portraits, in paint and photo, of Poverello Center clients and residents. All exhibits are by local artists painter Kimberly Anderson and photographer Catherine L. Walters.

Behind every face is a story. From the Pov:

Meet four-year-old Layne, who came to live at the Joseph Residence at Maclay Commons with his mom and little brother after months where they were unable to make ends meet, they were evicted from their Missoula home, and left homeless.

Meet Pat, who found refuge at the Poverello Center in downtown Missoula when she lost everything she owned because her run down, beat up old car burst into flames. Pat came to the Pov with only a warped and charred driver’s license from the fire and the clothes on her back.

Meet Steve, who came to the Poverello Center in search of peace of mind after losing someone dear to him to a horrendous tragedy.

Head to the other side of the bridge and see and discuss the many faces of homelessness in Missoula.

by Jay Stevens

With the Hell’s Angels coming to town tomorrow – and some already here! – it’s time to bunker up out of pepper spray range. What better way to spend your days watching…motorcycle flicks?

Here’s my short list of bike movies:

The Wild One. A no-brainer. The movie classic starring Marlon Brando as a motorcycle gang leader who terrorizes a small town. Sound familiar? Only in this flick, it’s the townspeople who kick the sh*t out of the motorcyclist, while the cop stands helplessly by – whereas, in 2000, it was the cops who kicked the sh*t out of the townspeople, while the motorcyclists stood helplessly by.

Hell’s Angels on Wheels. Jack Nicholson joins the Hell’s Angels with the code name, “poet; hilarity ensues. Amid fighting and partying and hanging out with girls, Poet realizes the Hell’s Angels are too strict for him. Hell’s Angel Sonny Barger was a technical advisor for the film and made some appearances.

Easy Rider. Duh.

Hell’s Angels. Okay, so it’s really a war movie. But Howard Hughes made it for a ton of money — even refilming after he was halfway done to add that newfangled technology, sound, to the picture. But here it is! 1930! Hell’s Angels!

I know that’s a pathetically short list. Consider it an invitation to add other biker flicks. And please don’t mention “Breaking Away.”

by jhwygirl

USFS and BLM flags are flying at half-staff for two firefighters killed on the Panther Fire, in northwestern California.

One firefighter – 18-year old Andrew Palmer – was killed when a snag fell on him. Andrew was on his first fire.

The other firefighter, 49-year old Daniel Packer, Chief of East Pierce County Fire and Rescue in Bonney Lake, Washington, was killed when the fire made a run up a ridge. One other firefighter with Daniel was able to make the run down the hill, to a road, where he deployed his shelters also – always a last resort to be used when a fire burns over. Daniel was unable to make it down the hill. He had deployed his shelter.

Daniel was a 27 year veteran of firefighting. A father of 4 girls, and grandfather to two. One daughter graduated high school this fall, and two others are in college.

Daniel Packer was born and raised in Havre, Montana. His mother now lives in Billings. He also attended college here – but his friends couldn’t remember which school. True to Montana and his bull riding past, Daniel kept his burly mustache as a reminder.

Packer’s body was brought back to Tacoma today on a USFS firefighting plane. Firefighters met the plane, and bagpipes played as his flag covered casket was unloaded. Friends and family stood and wept.

A full investigation, needless to say, will be completed.

In the meantime, prayers and condolences to his wife, children and friends. His loss is felt by an enormously large group of people. Daniel’s funeral will be August 7th, and firefighters from across America will be there to show their respect.

A memorial fund has been set up at Washington Mutual Bank – Fire Chief Dan Packer Memorial, Acct # 3170484930. Checks may be mailed to:

East Pierce Professional Firefighters
PO Box 7500
Bonney Lake, WA 98391

Some men can’t be replaced. They can only be remembered. Daniel was one of them.

by jhwygirl


by jhwygirl

NewWest’s Rob Struckman posted a piece this afternoon, based on some information that has come his way, that Smurfit-Stone is mulling some tough decisions. He’s spot-on with all of it – their woes over pulp have been widely known for some time.

Sincerely troubling news. Not only does Smurfit employ well over 400 employees, it’s a fantastic community citizen. A huge tax base. If they close, the reverberations will be felt much further than Missoula alone.

Reuter’s has this story on its consecutive quarterly losses.

Struckman’s piece reports that Dick King of the Missoula Area Economic Development Corporation is working hard to try and keep Smurfit-Stone up and running.

Let’s hope that Dick King has some help – everyone from the Mayor and our Board of County Commissioners, to the Governor and his base of economic funding, to Representative Rehberg, to Senators Baucus and Tester…..230 good paying, family-raising, community-benefiting jobs is too much for any Montana city to loose – let alone the state.

If the Governor and the Department of Commerce can find $400,000 for Deerlodge’s Sun Mountain Lumber, surely they can find a solution for Smurfit-Stone.

If the USFS can put together over $600,000 in community grants based on slash, sawdust and small-diameter timber thinning projects, surely they can do something here.

Fact is – any solution must involve local communities and the USFS. The USFS is the only property owner with large enough holdings to sustain this industry. But communities, too, have to work together to realize that bug kill isn’t going to go away, and thinning projects will, in the long run, reduce fire danger to Montana’s sprawling communities. Forestry practices can be sustainable – and the key is to involve the communities and natural resource advocates up front. There are solutions.

And industry is the key word here folks. Unless we Montanans are content to survive on Burger King and hotel jobs, we need to have industry jobs. Tech would be nice, and so would medical – but until our universities start focusing on those types of jobs and drawing those industries to the state, we gotta work to keep what industry we have. Otherwise, huge tax bases are going to be gone, and the burden will be shouldered more and more on individual taxpayers.

by jhwygirl

It’s been a while since I last checked on local Missoula foreclosures, and given The Missoulian’s glass-half-full take on the local real estate market, published last Saturday, I went looking into that deep dark secret place that so many don’t want to address.

Including The Missoulian. What? Not one mention of the foreclosures that now make regular appearances in the Legal Notice section?

So I found a new site,…..and boy, was I shocked at how that list for Missoula County has grown. Of course, this new website lists pre-foreclosures also.

Local sellers, and realtors alike, don’t seem willing to drop their prices. As has been mentioned here before – local prices haven’t dropped by even 1% – yet inventory levels are rising. While realtors are trying to talk up the “lease to own” option, I’m thinking that ’tis still a seller’s season.

Buyers – wait thee until October when selling season has passed, and merchants and buyers alike are wanting to make that move before the snow flies.

And if your real patient, save a little more cash, put a bigger cash payment down, and hold out until early spring.

Ya got plenty of time…..why lock yourself into a price and a lease when prices clearly are still going to fall.

Don’t be fooled by those condos either – you need to calculate not only that mortgage payment, but that HOA fee when considering if it is ‘affordable’ and a good deal. Those HOA fees, too, will go up. Forget the free big screen tv, too – (this choice bit directly from NewWest’s Robert Struckman: Remember – all sellers avoid price drops, which push down future property appraisals.) Pry those realtors and developers fingers from the greedy hold they have on our market.

In other words? Patience grasshopper, patience.

Let me add – for the record – I do not believe that prices are going to drop to where there is a sufficient supply of truly affordable homes on the market to meet the number of people in the 80-120% of median household income range. It’d be nice, but so would winning the lottery. So Mayor Engen and the rest of the affordable housing advocates? Keep on pluggin’ away – which, BTW, some of us would like to have a status report.

by jhwygirl

That from the San Francisco Business Times.

Yep, blame that increasing list of failed banks on blogs.

Who knew we had so much power? Quick, someone tell George Bush, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Denny Rehberg, Brian Schweitzer, Max Baucus….

According to that San Francisco Business Journal story linked to above, historically only 13% of the banks on the FDIC “troubled banks” list fail – but FDIC Chairperson Sheila Blair said that disclosing who is on that troubled bank list would likely boost that rate to 100%.

Now, just who is starting to sound hysterical?

FDIC compiles a list of troubled banks on a quarterly basis. Currently there are 90 banks on the list. While they say revealing the banks on their list would be “unfair,” they say that they release “reams of information” that customers can use to determine whether their banks are healthy.

Research Associates of American (RAA) has compiled a list of potentially troubled banks, based on what is called a “Texas ratio” – the ratio of assets and reserves to its non-performing loans. That method is based on what happened to Texas’ savings and loans during the 1980’s.

RAA gets the information from the FDIC.

ABC News, which obtained RAA’s list of troubled banks, tried to interview some of the banks on the list – including Eastern Savings Bank (with a 222.7 ratio) and Integrity Banks (a 191.6 ratio) – and neither returned calls.

Another bank – First National Bank of Brookfield (ratio 112.1) acknowledged that while the bank had many nonperforming loans, they were at least secured by real estate that is still remains high in value.

Hopefully they didn’t get that information from their local real estate agent.

by jhwygirl

A recent court case in Utah’s Supreme Court found that access to the state’s navigable rivers did, indeed, allow access not only to the water, but to the streambed underneath.

Yep – that one went all the way to the Supreme Court, folks. Private property owners made the case that floaters coming through their property committed criminal trespass every time their raft, paddles, or fishing tackle bumped the bottom of the river.

Consider this: The largest growing economic sector in Montana is tourism and recreation.

Could that come to Montana? The state does lay claim to some navigable waterways, including the streambeds and banks – see the PPL case – so those waters could be ruled out. But for other waters? The state’s Stream Access Law, laid out in 1984 by the Montana Supreme Court held that any river or stream that has the capability to be used for recreation, such as fishing and floating, can be used by the public regardless of whether or not the river is navigable and who is the owner of the streambed property.

Not that there aren’t issues. The 2007 state legislative session saw 3 bills proposed to try and clarify public access to the state’s waterways from bridges which cross such waterways. Trouble is, property owners are attaching fencing to the bridges – the public right-of-way – making stream access impossible.

None of the bills made it out of committee. Two of the bills – one, HJ 58, which was just to study the problem, the other HB 642, which was to define the access on the right-of-way easement and provide access with conditions, failed in committee due to the failure of both to meet deadlines for transmittal. Both of those bills were submitted by Mike Milburn (R-HD19).

The third bill, SB 78, made it a little further, but still died in committee after a 50-47 vote on the initial reading. Proposed by Lane Larson (D-SD22), the bill would have provided for public access from public rights-of-way, and would have reimbursed the owners of fences for alternations that would have been required to be made. If I recall correctly, $15,000 would have been put in an FWP fund to satisfy private property owners.

SB 78 failed to get to its second reading due to a party line vote.

Come now to July 2009. The Public Lands Access Association is now in court, and has sued Madison County for failing to remove encroachments (i.e., fences) attached to and on its public right-of-way.

The judge has said that he has some sense of how this should be resolved, but has not disclosed his position.

I wonder how the judge is going to rule? Who is going to have to remove the encroachment to the public right-of-way? Who is going to be burdened with that cost?

In some way it’d be a shame if it’s the local taxpayers, when a nominal funding to the FWP would have taken care of it. And it’d be a shame, too, if it’s shouldered on the private property owners who fought against all three of the bills.

Then again – maybe that is what you call poetic justice.

by jhwygirl

Well DARN! Those crickets sure were loud last night. chirp…chirp…chirp….

I can think of a few who might like this one: Codex Sinaiticus went up Thursday and has already had something like 24,000,000 hits. It is a scanned version of the oldest bible in the world.

Who hasn’t wanted to shoot their lawn mower when it wouldn’t start? The guy got pissed off. He grabbed his gun. He pulled the trigger. Who doesn’t get that?

McCain had a photo-op scheduled for an offshore drilling rig off the coast of Louisiana this past week, but he had to cancel because of a catastrophic spill of 419,000 gallons of crude that occurred when a barge split apart in transit to refineries in New Orleans. McCain’s camp, of course, claimed it was weather.

John Tester had some interesting things to say on Thursday, during a debate on oil speculation. I liked this:

“Folks, a hundred years ago the Model T got 25 miles per gallon. Now a car gets 28 miles per gallon. Since that time we’ve split the atom, sent men to the moon, developed computers, mapped the human genome, but we get the same fuel efficiency? Come on. That’s not right.”

Now there’s straight talk.

Speaking of NASA……former NASA astronaut Dr. Edgar Mitchell, who has also walked the moon, is claiming that aliens exist, that they’ve visited many times, and that there is a government cover-up. Hey, I’m down with that. I just don’t get why it’s a big deal. He’s an astronaut. Shouldn’t he be the one to know?

by jhwygirl

Hey there BS Cairn. Good morning. Nice to meet you.

I didn’t mentioned our “I-sleep-on-my-couch” Rehberg’s HR 6566, otherwise known as the American Energy Act of 2008, because it wasn’t up on his website when I wrote the original piece.

How many hours did it take him to add it, once the alert went out on my post?

As for “snarky”? Sometimes truth is more humorous (if not ironic) than fiction. It’s interesting, though, that you find Rehberg’s hypocrisy “snarky”.

Now, let’s analyze the bill that Mr. “I-sleep-on-my-couch” supports – the one you suggested I intentionally did not mention. Its purpose is: “To bring down energy prices by increasing safe, domestic production, encouraging the development of alternative and renewable energy, and promoting conservation.”

Well – there we go again – increasing domestic fuel production. Translate? More drilling, more welfare-for-the-oil-corporations federally-financed refineries – lovely.

As for “encouraging development of alternative and renewable energy and promoting conservation,” I see little specifics on that. In fact, the whole so-lovely-called American Energy Act of 2008 is a shell of a piece of introduced legislation, with an extremely short list of things probably taken off of Max’s SB 3125, otherwise known as the Energy Independence and Tax Relief Act of 2008.

Why do I say that? Because the HR 6566 that Mr. “I-sleep-on-my-couch” wants to support does the following:
–Tax credit for new qualified electric plug-in vehicles
–Tax credit for new alternative fuel vehicles
–Extension of tax credits for alternative fuel refueling properties
–Extension of tax credits for energy efficient appliances

Check, check, check, check.

Clearly there’s a pattern there, BS.

As for the allegation that Baucus has a “colossal policy failure” when it comes to energy, you clearly haven’t been paying attention to what Max has been doing in the Senate. He’s stood behind alternative fuels for as long as you’ve at least been out of high school – and dare-I-suggest, probably a lot longer.

As for your “I-sleep-on-my-couch” guy? When was the last time he did anything but piggy-back on other industry lapdogs like Rep. John A. Boehner (R-OH) and Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX), Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-PA), Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO),Rep. Don Young (R-AK), and Rep. Sue Wilkins-Myrick (R-NC).

Of course – gotta give credit when credit is due, Rep. “I-sleep-on-my-couch” Rehberg did piggy-back on Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) for HR 2208, which is Coal-to-Liquid Fuel Act.

Still doesn’t make me like coal. And it still – believe it – doesn’t make me think Denny is doing the right stuff for Montanans.

On that note – let’s not leave this post without Mr. Rehberg’s grades. Here they are, from


by jhwygirl

Yesterday, in a piece criticizing Rehberg, I blogged about Baucus’ Energy Independence and Tax Relief Act of 2008, but I missed one tidbit that we’ve blogged about here in the past.

Near the end of the bill, I found this:
Amend the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000 (SRS) to extend such Act through FY2011.

Now, Baucus has been working to reinstate this important funding. It goes to rural western counties, and is geared towards supplementing tax revenues unrealized because of the large amounts of federal ownership within their tax base – stuff like National Forests and BLM lands.

Don’t forget that Dennis “I-sleep-on-my-couch” Rehberg voted against this funding when it last came around in Congress – on a largely party line vote, too.

Rehberg should have been ashamed, but he wasn’t. He objected to the funding because it also including provisions for the establishment of conservation of resources fees for federal oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

SRS funding is important – necessary – to virtually all of Montana’s counties, for necessary services like police and fire and schools. The impacts of higher fuel costs have especially hit rural counties, which have to rely heavily on providing services spread out over large areas. Some areas have spent more than 75% of their fuel and energy budgets – and winter hasn’t even done its damage.

At least someone’s getting some work done while he’s in Washington – instead of sleeping on his couch.

by jhwygirl

The Jackson Hole News and Guide gives us the details on Schweitzer’s letter to the USDA, which criticizes Wyoming’s practice of operating elk feedgrounds and Bridger-Teton National Forest’s recent approval of renewing state leases on the National Forest.

“Despite long-standing acknowledgement of the problem, it now appears that Wyoming Game and Fish and the USDA are the only two entities who believe these feedgrounds are not a major contributing factor to the Greater Yellowstone Area being the last remaining reservoir for brucellosis in the nation,” Schweitzer said in the letter.

“Montana had done everything in its power to prevent the transmission of brucellosis to its cattle herd,” he said. “Meanwhile, USDA has insisted upon application of antiquated herd-to-herd regulations for disease transmission in cattle that have nothing to do with transmission from wildlife. As a result, Montana, Idaho and Wyoming at best continue to experience a yo-yo effect with respect to brucellosis status. At worst, the net effect is a permanent loss of status.”

“The Forest Service has taken a firm step to continue franchising the feeding of elk, while [USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services] continues to employ outdated, inapplicable and heavy-handed regulations, and threatens the state with loss of its brucellosis status.”

The Governor’s letter goes to to say that he is considering opting out of the Greater Yellowstone Interagency Brucellosis Committee (GYIBC) memorandum of understanding:

“I am questioning the wisdom of signing this document, when it has not been demonstrated to me that all parties are truly committed to finding realistic solutions.”

Conservation groups have sued to stop the feedgrounds, so needless to say, they are pleased with the Governor’s position.

Considering opting out of the GYIBC MOU is certainly an option that needs to be very seriously considered. Slaughtering bison is not the solution. Not in any way. Montana can not participate in the slaughter of wildlife as a reasonable practice for managing brucellosis.

The GYIBC’s members include the Wyoming Game & Fish, the USDA Forest Service, and the US Fish & Wildlife Service – all agencies which manage, promote and/or have feedgrounds on the lands they manage.

Consider the GYIBC’s goal:

It is the Goal of the Greater Yellowstone Interagency Brucellosis Committee to protect and sustain the existing free-ranging elk and bison populations in the Greater Yellowstone Area and protect the public interests and economic viability of the livestock industry in the States of Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana.

Given the GYIBC’s goal, its members, and their actions, the Governor has no choice: Opt Out – Now.

by jhwygirl

Sent to me by an astute reader, Governor Schweitzer fired off a letter on Tuesday to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, criticizing Wyoming’s elk feedgrounds, which many say are a breeding ground for brucellosis.


This was one of the developments out of Tuesdays Board of Livestock meeting – the other being the revival of the split-state status, in which the brucellosis hot spot around Yellowstone is subject to vaccine and other mitigative measures, leaving the rest of the state without having to subject its cattle to the extra round of oversight. Schweitzer has pushed for this method for years now. Under a split-state status, only 5% of Montana’s cattle would be affected.

Now if he can stand strong and put an end to the bison slaughter for now – either that or start the slaughter of elk too, since they’ve been the root cause of Montana’s last two cases of brucellosis – then maybe now we can move forward to real solutions instead of hysterical political “kill the bison” mentality.

I’ll note, too, that the Board of Livestock story – and the mention of the Governor’s letter to the USDA – was mentioned in Forbes Magazine. It’s that important, folks. People are paying attention.

Thank you, Governor, for a step forward.

by jhwygirl

Standing in front of a solar panel, Montana’s congressman, Representative “I-sleep-on-my-couch” Rehberg announced his plan for America’s Energy Independence.

Rehberg has proudly supporting 7 bills:

HR 3089 which builds more oil refineries and “making available more homegrown energy through environmentally sensitive exploration of the Arctic Energy Slope and America’s Deep-Sea Energy Reserves”;

HR 2279 which streamlines refinery application processes and “requiring the President to open at least three closed military installations for the purpose of siting new and reliable American refineries.”;

HR 2208, which promotes coal-to-liquid by authorizing the Secretary of Energy to enter into loan agreements for these projects. Yep – you read that rights – loan agreements for the federal government. And just who are those loans going to come from? China?;

HR 5656 which pushes forward alternative fuels acquisitions by the federal government in oil shale, tar sands, and coal-to-liquid (who knew coal and oil were alternative fuels? Not me….);

HR 2493 which reduces the price of gasoline by removing fuel blend requirements and onerous government mandates if they contribute to unaffordable gas prices;

HR 6107 which opens the Arctic Energy Slope to environmentally sensitive American energy exploration, and creates a “alternative energy trust fund” from .01% of the revenues. With coal and oil shale being alternative fuels, I don’t know if I buy it – and, yes folks, he’s championing “environmentally sensitive American energy exploration.”; and finally,

HR 6108 is titled “Deep Oceans Energy Resources Act of 2008,” and I think you know what that means: Drill. Drill. Drill. Yipee Ki Yay!

Contrast all Rehberg’s gobbly-gook to Senator Max Baucus’ S.3125, introduced June 12 and titled the “Energy Independence and Tax Relief Act of 2008.”

Max’s bill – read twice already and now sitting in the Finance Committee – does the following:

Amends the Internal Revenue Code to extend various provisions relating to energy production and conservation and to individual and business-related activities;

Extends through 2009 the tax credit for producing electricity from wind facilities and through 2011 for closed and open-loop biomass, geothermal, small irrigation, hydropower, landfill gas, and trash combustion facilities. Includes marine and hydrokinetic renewable energy as a renewable resource for purposes of such tax credit;

Extends through 2014: (1) the energy tax credits for solar energy, fuel cell, and microturbine property; and (2) the residential energy efficient property tax credit. Allows a new investment tax credit for combined heat and power system property;

Allows a tax credit for new qualified plug-in electric drive motor vehicles;

Extends through 2013 the tax deduction for energy efficient commercial building expenditures;

Extends through 2010 the tax credit for energy efficient appliances;

…and so it goes.

Now, to be fair – he’s got an inclusion which “allows tax credits for investment in advanced coal electricity and coal gasification projects,” but he’s also got this one, which “extends through 2018 the temporary increase in coal excise taxes, but sets forth special rules for refunds of coal excise taxes to certain producers or exporters.”

So someone please explain to me how Rehberg can stand there and make his announcement in front of a solar panel while endorsing offshore drilling, Artic drilling and coal-to-liquid, in every which way you can possibly imagine – especially in the context of our Good Senator Baucus’ bill – which is essentially a renumeration of stuff that he has been advocating for years?

Sure does make him look silly now, doesn’t it?

by jhwygirl

The Wild West Institute’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the USFS for communications between the USFS and Plum Creek Timber for “any and all communications between the US Forest Service and Plum Creek Timber Company regarding forest-road agreements, including discussions as they relate to real estate development,” is apparently in-transit, awaiting approval signatures before being delivered to WWI.

A “partial response,” according to the USFS personnel that handle such FOIA requests.

WWI’s initial request went out May 13th. On May 30th, the USFS asked that the request be modified because it was too large, and WWI complied (on June 2nd). Since then it’s been a waiting game.

Under U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(A)(i), FOIA requests are to be answered within 20 days.

Tick, tock….tick, tock…

With that kind of turnaround by the USFS, maybe there’s nothing to worry about. Rey will be out of office before they can get anything done, and Tester’s requested GAO report will reveal whether Missoula and the rest of the counties concerned about these “clarified” deeds have any legal concerns – despite Rey’s allegations that MEPA and public input wasn’t required.

by Rebecca Schmitz

Even the best campaign advertising doesn’t get much better than this:

“I wondered what kind of help they would need, and when I got over to the campsite I couldn’t believe it,” [Betsy] Hands said. “The fire had traveled along this root system and there was this large black area that was generating a lot of heat.” [snip] Together the two hiking groups scrambled to douse the blaze, which was about 300 feet from the lake. Using their waterproof stuff sacks and an abandoned rubber raft to carry water, it took the hikers about 90 minutes to put out the fire.

Yes, that’s HD 99’s Representative, Democrat Betsy Hands. When not using discarded outdoor recreation equipment to fight fires set by slob campers, Rep. Hands is one of our best advocates for energy independence and conservation. She’s up for re-election this year. Her opponent, Jedediah Cox, is one of the three College Republicans who want to represent Missoula in the Legislature.

Unless Jedediah plans on fighting wildfire this summer with a cracked Nalgene bottle and a fishing creel, he can’t top this kind of exposure.

by jhwygirl

Saying brucellosis “does not belong in our future,” Suzanne Lewis, the superintendent of Yellow-stone National Park, pledged Monday to work with Montana’s Board of Livestock to eradicate the disease.

That, from today’s Billings Gazette.

…eradicate the disease”? From Yellowstone?

While the Bridger-Teton National Forest, to the south, is approving new leases on Wyoming state elk feedgrounds?

While the National Elk Refuge continue to feed elk?

That’s just plain lunacy speaking, Ms. Lewis. I simply can’t see it any other way. Maybe someone can please – please tell me why I’m wrong to think that.

It’s time for the NPS and Montana and the livestock industry to put pressure on Wyoming (and the USFS and the National Elk Refuge – a branch of the USFWS) to stop feeding wildlife, for Christ’s sake.

Until then, you’ll be pissin’ $$$$$$ into thin air doing anything else – including rounding up elk and bison to slaughter.

I had to add a new category because of this one: Common Sense.

On Meetings

by jhwygirl

Are you lonely???

Don’t like working on your own?

Hate making decisions?

Than call a MEETING!!!

You can…

SEE people

DRAW flowcharts

FEEL important

FORM subcommittees

IMPRESS your colleagues

MAKE meaningless recommendations



The practical alternative to work.

by jhwygirl

Don’t forget Jay’s ActBlue page for the battleground Montana House Seats. Deadline is tomorrow, folks.

We blogged this one here.

Well, I finally got after it – and threw some cash out there. Not much, but every bit helps.

My favs:
Jill Cohenour (HD-78 ) ;-)
Jennifer Pomnichowski (HD-63);-)
Jim Elliot (HD-13) ;-)

Cohenour, out of Helena, is a fav because of her give-em-hell-Harry work on the Water Policy Committee. She’s fighting for senior water rights and all sorts of other water related issues that should be near and dear to everyone.

Jennifer Pomnichowski voted for some of my more favorite bills from the last legislative session: SD51, which required growth policies to evaluate the potential for fire and wildland fire; SB167, the wildland urban interface bill which requires counties to adopt the growth policies resulting from SD51 as they related to mitigating wildland fire dangers, or pay for the cost of structure protection in those developed areas. She also voted to protect the Big Hole River in HJ34 . In other words, we want to keep Jill around too.

As for Jim Elliot, I was a bit shocked that he hadn’t raised more on this page. Jim is a termed-out Senator serving the Sanders County area. He strongly supported Jon Tester and is one of the good guys. We definitely need to keep Jim around.

For a full tally of the candidates and to donate, see the main page: Montana’s Battleground House Races.

by jhwygirl


Gee – that didn’t take long, did it?

UPDATE: The White House apparently brought this upon themselves. Methinks someone is waking up this morning hating themselves.

by jhwygirl

First things first: Watch out for spontaneously combusting flowerpots.

The board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (wonder if Al Gore is on it?) has accepted a plan to allow web domain users to put anything that they damned well please at the end of a web address. Instead of being restricted to the 18 approved endings (like .com, .org, .net, .biz, .tv and a whole bunch of others), users will be able to pick whatever they please.

hmmmm…..I’ll have to mull that one over.

Duncan’s defense team wants him found incompetent. No mullin’ that one over folks. We should have saved all that cash that has been spent so far on the whole affair. Dug a hole and put a bullet in the sick bastard’s head the night they got him out there in St. Regis.

For those of you that haven’t had the heart to follow the story – Duncan wants to defend himself just for the opportunity to have Shasta on the stand so he can question her. Like I said – sick bastard.

It’s OK to enjoy fresh tomatoes folks. The USDS lifted the salmonella warning late Thursday. Just in case you were wondering.  Of course, most Montanan’s won’t care – they’ve been picking up their produce at farmer’s markets – in all their glorious bounty – around the state.

The U.S. media is starting to notice that we’ve got a war in Afghanistan. Remember Afghanistan? Osama bin Laden? The Taliban?

Finally, this from the Pew Research Center. People aren’t satisfied. But you probably already knew that.

by jhwygirl

Late Friday, right here in Missoula, U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy granted an injunction requested by Earthjustice and 11 other environmental groups.

While those groups celebrated, Idaho and other state officials weren’t so happy. Neither was the USFWS.

Ed Bangs, of the USFWS

“For an injunction, you have to show irreparable harm,” Bangs said. “The hunting of wolves clearly wouldn’t endanger threatened wolf populations. We thought our delisting was a very biologically sound package.”

And I suppose a temporary injunction does irreparable harm? What’s the harm there?

Guess that throws a wrench into FWP’s plans to allow wolves to be hunted this winter. Wyoming and Idaho had also been planning to open wolves to hunting.

by jhwygirl

Only 9 days since the Mt. Sentinel fire.

It’s amazing how fast these things move. I had only driven by it about an hour before and I hadn’t seen a thing. Hopefully, the two old roads up there will serve as a break so that firefighters get this thing out by tonight. It was slightly windy, causing it to move up the hill.

Some pretty fancy helicopter work. These guys have to hate situations like this. Immediately adjacent to the highway with a steep hillside. Winds. It doesn’t even look easy.

I liked these two…the sun was just sinking behind the trees. I thought they looked neat.

The Lolo Volunteers got there pretty quick. The whole fire scene is pretty regimented – for good reason – Montana firefighters have an excellent safety record. These guys and gals (yep – there are female volunteers out there in Lolo, folks!) came ready in their nomex and were standing by waiting for their orders.

by jhwygirl

Blacksmith Brewing is coming to Stevensville, locating itself over on the east side of town near the Cenex.

From what I’m told, they hope to open by the end of the month.

Neighbors near and far – that would include me too – are very excited.

They’ve got some nice pics of their progress up on their website.

Put a menu up Blacksmith! We need to know more!

Maybe they can talk a local farmer down there into growing some hops, and Montana will have it’s first grown-brewed-and-served in Montana beer. Providing, of course, they use some Montana barley too.

by jhwygirl

Who knew the Hip Strip was so highbrow?

Oh yeah – “own a piece of Missoula’s history in the heart of our vibrant downtown” the Lambros MLS notes: Unit 2, one of the turetted units that’s been renovated, is currently being offered at $499,500, while you can opt to pick it up without a complete interior remodel for only $403,532.

I don’t know, maybe I can pick the colors and the cabinets, and see if they’ll take $495,500. Whadda ya think? I can even forego window treatments.

Of particular interest is the east side patio area which will include an outdoor cooking space with a Viking gas grill and Traeger smoker, dining area and landscaping with seating areas. For indoor gatherings, the community room will have a Brunswick 8′ pool table, card table, wet bar, Sony Bravia XBR LCD television and a restroom.

Quite the party house, huh? Wonder what the rest of the tenant’s will say about all that noise?

Of course, if Unit 2 is out of your price range, perhaps Unit 1 will do – you can pick that one up now for steal (sans complete interior remodel) for $415,000. You’ll have to skip the turret, but you still get the top floor, plus you also get a grand staircase entrance!

Then again, if you are really low on cash you can hit up Units 4-13, which range from $237,000 to $298,750.

Unit 13, coming in at 634 sq. ft. (does that include the closets?) will be $237,000 completely renovated – but of course, you can do the reno yourself and save $20,000.

Before you go all crazy, folks – don’t forget to check the HOA fees and docs before you sign the bottom line.

You’ll also need 20% down. Don’t want to make the mortgage banks too nervous.

by jhwygirl

This comes to us via Electric City Weblog.

The Montana Environmental Information Center (MEIC) was denied access to City of Great Falls records pertaining to the possibly soon-to-be-ill-fated coal-fired Highwood Generation Plant being constructed for Southern Electric Generation and Transmission.

The feasibility study is apparently problematic for the city – City Attorney Gliko said that even the preliminary draft was off-limits, citing that “no feasibility study existed, per se,” and that the city was not required to produce preliminary drafts under MCA 2.4.601(2)(ii)(c).

Looks like Great Falls will be picking up the tab on MEIC’s attorney fees too. Ouch.

We’ve blogged on Great Falls here in the past. This is one of my favorites: Quashing Public Comment and Police Strong Arm Tactics in Great Falls.

Big KUDOS to MEIC and its staff. They’ve got an eye on the Highwood Plant and five other proposed coal-fired plants across the state.

You can download the entire order here.

by jhwygirl

State veterinarian Dr. Martin Zaluski is nearing completion of the testing of adjacent herds to the infected cow that cost Montana its brucellosis-free status and is encouraged by the results. So far, none have tested positive.

He’s also had this to say:

“All of the testing so far has focused on ruling out cattle as the potential source,” Zaluski said. “As testing eliminates cattle sources, the likelihood that the infected cow contracted the disease from elk increases.”

What’s odd about that statement is that he’s automatically gone to elk.

Why is the state’s veterinarian reaching to elk as the cause when we’ve been rounding up bison and slaughtering them for what – 12 years now? Maybe more?

Then on other fronts, Bridger Teton National Forest Supervisor Kniffy Hamilton reauthorized 5 Wyoming state-run elk feed grounds on national forest lands for 20 years. She held back on one that doesn’t need re-auth until 2011.

Ever wonder why brucellosis only seems to be a problem in-and-around the Yellowstone ecosystem?

The problem is going to get worse before it ever gets better with Wyoming feeding elk and the USFS approving their feedgrounds.

Meanwhile, one Wyoming rancher was content to spay his whole herd rather than submit to testing. Wyoming recently had a cow test positive for brucellosis.

That’s one way to ensure Wyoming won’t lose its brucellosis-free status.

So, hey – as a solution, I suggest we open up 5 extra tags per hunter for the Gardiner/Livingstone and West Yellowstone areas. I’ll take my 5 all for area 313 please. Should make trophies pretty easy to get, don’t you think?

  • Pages

  • Recent Comments

    Miles on A New Shelter for Vets or an E…
    success rate for In… on Thirty years ago ARCO killed A…
    Warrior for the Lord on The Dark Side of Colorado
    Linda Kelley-Miller on The Dark Side of Colorado
    Dan on A New Shelter for Vets or an E…
    Former Prosecutor Se… on Former Chief Deputy County Att…
    JediPeaceFrog on Montana AG Tim Fox and US Rep.…
  • Recent Posts

  • Blog Stats

    • 1,693,484 hits
  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 2,734 other subscribers
  • July 2008
    S M T W T F S
  • Categories