Archive for September 29th, 2009

by jhwygirl

Longer-term readers of this 4&20 might remember my skepticism of the now (seemingly…I do believe in zombies) defunct Performing Arts Center fiasco of 2 years ago.

I mean – if King George can keep resurfacing his damned golf course-killing condo plan every couple years – call me a skeptic – it isn’t far fetched to think that that darned PAC won’t resurface….but I digress.

Last night, the Missoula Events Center (MEC) steering committee unveiled its plans for an events center for Missoula. With proper pomp-and-procedure, a carefully orchestrated event designed to make the mere commoners believe that electeds were all in support (since they were all ushered to the front rows for not only the best seats, but to make them all visible to everyone there), delivered to Missoulians the important information that:

(One) We don’t have a non-university related events center when compared with a randomly picked sampling of other university towns (the horrors!)
(Two) That cities that “compete with Missoula for economic development” (Texas?) have centers and Missoula doesn’t (crisis!)
(Three) Only 6 facilities exist in Missoula that have over 10,000 square feet of space! (Red Flag Warning!) Those include the Missoula Children’s Theater (at 17,748 square feet – and boy, that thing hardly has an open night to host all those conventions and events lining up to come here!), the UM Center (at 21,205 square feet) and, yep, the Adam’s Center, at 31,700 square feet.
(Four) A new facility would have the advantage of – well – being new.

Apparently I’m not part of the crowd of people that travel to places just to see their new events center. Who knew it was such a cool thing to do?

After the presentation (done by Hunden Strategic Partners, out of Chicago and Indiana) went through the ‘what Missoula has and why we need it’ portion, it went on to compare what regional competitors have (Spokane, Billings, Bozeman, Belgrade, Butte, Great Falls) have.

What? No mention of the Lewis & Clark County’s new, 36,000 square foot exhibit/convention/car show/concert hall. Didn’t work that into your analysis because – maybe? – it was new and the one’s that they picked elsewhere were built at the average date of 1976?

I mean – how’d they miss that?

All those comparisons and nothing telling us how many events per year? Capacity ratio? They gave us the hotel occupancy rates throughout the year, but didn’t think to tell us how jam-packed and overbooked all those comparables are in the region?

I also love how the throw the Bozeman Brickhouse in – considering that they started off with the horror that Missoula doesn’t have a non-university related events center. But yeah – that Brickhouse is pretty and would make someone wanting one of these things jealous. It’s Bozeman after all! Gotta keep up with the Jones’!

They also use the Belgrade Special Events Center – built by the school district to host regional sports events.

Why no comparison, then, with the Osprey Stadium (or whatever it’s called these days?) Cause you know that’s packed with outdoor concerts and stuff….and you know that is how that was sold to Missoulians nearly 8 years ago, right?. Call the Mayor and ask to see the agreement. We were blessed with a facility that was going to be for baseball and at least 2 outdoor events each year for the first 10 years…and then it gets turned over to the city.

So they build the presentation into a crescendo of “Everyone has one – and you, Missoula, are behind. Nerd.” level and then drop the bomb of their analysis (which included lots and lots of fine pictures of Brennan’s Wave and views of the Higgin’s Avenue Bridge and Caras Park and the Boone and Crockett and the U…and downtown, of course – but where do they believe this convention center should go? Out by Reserve Street and the Airport.

It scored 92 points, don’tcha know?

Economic Development my ass. It’s an economic UNdevelopment plan to kill downtown is what it is.

What? 17 acres of parking? 5 acres for the building? Easy access to what? Those hotels and motels that all end with the letter “N”? Meh.

The funniest absurdity of the night? Here it is: The steering committee comes to unveil its project. It’s the first time most are hearing of it, yet alone being able to see this pseudo early feasibility analysis of why we must have one…and after pulling all the ‘important’ people up front together for everyone to see, and they’re done with their presentation, they ask if everyone’s on board for the next step (which is putting them under contract for the full feasibility study – that probably-close-to-if-not-6-digit-contract) while everyone is still absorbing who? what? where? when? how much? Obligatory applause ends the presentation and little time is left for anyone that was even able to think of anything to ask.

You mean there was a quiz, sir?

So maybe I AM right. Maybe the PAC isn’t dead, and the MEC is just the zombie reincarnation of it. Because – you know – the Board of County Commissioners are on board with this. Of course, the numero uno location is close, if not within, their overwrought-with-bidders county economic development park.

Who wants to start the office poll on how many millions they’ll be asking to have put on the ballot to get this thing off the ground?

What comes around goes around. And around. And around. Kinda like the water draining out of the bathtub.

Thanks a bunch, Max

by Pete Talbot

I’ll keep this short and let the others who are better versed in health care reform than I to weigh in — both here and at other sites.

Sen. Baucus voted against a public option plan, similar to Medicare, that was proposed by Sen. Jay Rockefeller.

Baucus said he voted against it because he’s looking for a plan that would get all 60 Democratic votes in the Senate.

I know Max is savvy enough to count votes.  So, which Democrats are against the public option?  Please, tell us Max.  That way we can work our asses of to keep them from getting re-elected — just as I’ve committed myself to searching for a candidate to run against you in the 2014 primary election.

by Pete Talbot

In my constant quest to recycle the occasional wine and beer bottle. or mayonnaise and pickle jar that ends up in my trash, I discovered glass recycling bins in Drummond, of all places.

The bins are at the Drummond dump on the east side of town. If you’re coming from Missoula, take the first and only exit off I-90 (headed east), go through the urban core, and you’ll find the dump about a half mile up the road after going under I-90.

You don’t have to sort the glass by color but they ask that it be clean so maybe give those jars and bottles a quick rinse before putting them in your bin at home.

I don’t have much detail here. Is this some sort of grant? Why Drummond and not Missoula? Who’s responsible for the bins? I saw some Allied Waste dumpsters around but since AW doesn’t recycle glass anywhere else in Montana, that I know of, what’s the deal? Inquiring minds want to know.

Since the glass isn’t sorted by color, I assume it goes into a crusher somewhere to be turned into aggregate or sand. This isn’t the best practice for recycling glass — turning the old glass into new glass, or reusing the bottles and jars would be better — but this is an improvement over sending the stuff to the landfill. Plus, it should reduce the need to dig more holes in the ground to produce sand and gravel.

(Remember those attempts at passing a bottle bill in Montana that were thwarted by the beverage industry?)

At this point, I wouldn’t worry about overflowing the small town’s bins. The three locals I asked directions from in order to find the glass recycling “center” in the metropolis of Drummond didn’t even know the town was recycling glass.

“You might try the dump,” one old-timer said.

Making a special trip to Drummond just to recycle your glass probably won’t reduce your carbon footprint. But if you’re heading east for pleasure or business, load up some glass and check out the Drummond dump.

(UPDATE: For those who don’t make it to the comment section, word has it that there are glass recycling bins in P-burg, Butte and Dillon. Time for Missoula to get on the ball.)

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