Archive for August 26th, 2010

by Pete Talbot

From a news brief in the Montana section of the Missoulian:

A large prescribed fire on Idaho’s Clearwater National Forest created an impressive plume of smoke that drifted into the Missoula Valley Wednesday night.

So thick was the smoke and smell – and so many the calls from worried residents – that the Lolo National Forest and Missoula Rural Fire sent engines out in search of the smoke’s source.

Now I’m no forester but who does prescribed burns in August? I mean really, why do prescribed burns at all, ever?  There has to be a better way to get rid of slash heaps and unwanted undergrowth.

But especially in August, when the air is already thick with smoke from naturally occurring fires.  Thanks a lot, Idaho.

by JC

One good bit of pr0n deserves another! ;-)

Slow day at the office… Enjoy!

by @CarFreeStpdty

As construction on the three block stretch of North Higgins grinds towards completion the final character the street will assume is slowly coming into view.  The question is… “will this ultimately create a safer environment for everyone and help to promote business downtown?”  I sure hope so…  I personally think this is a great project, one that is much needed along this stretch of Higgins with the ever increasing popularity of the Farmer’s Markets.  Saturday mornings in downtown are becoming almost unbearable with the number of people frequenting the Saturday Markets… maybe City Council should outlaw those ridiculously huge baby strollers to help alleviate foot traffic… I would hate to see the carnage caused by a three stroller pile-up.

Anyway, foot traffic downtown has certainly increased to the point where giving over more space along this stretch of road makes sense.  A decade ago the Farmer’s Market was respectable, but I would venture to guess that visitors have increased by a factor of three or four over the last decade… especially with the success of the Clark Fork Market.

The North Higgins Streetscape is well ahead of schedule thanks to economic stimulus money.  Originally the idea of downtown business owners and the BID, and first proposed in Greater Downtown Master Plan, the project is meant to create a more inviting, calm, and safe urban environment for pedestrians and cyclists along this often congested downtown corridor… encouraging people to spend more time – and thus money – downtown.

Pedestrians have already had ample opportunity to test out and benefit from the extra real-estate given over to them as the series of bulb-outs have been finished for some time.

While the curb-extensions work well at creating a safe pedestrian environment, at this moment I’m skeptical of the other half of the project… the new, integrated cycle-tracks seen below (in their unfinished state).

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by Pete Talbot

Apparently, our President isn’t really that committed to combating climate change.

According to Environment and Energy Daily, the Obama administration is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to toss out an appeals court decision that would allow lawsuits against major greenhouse gas emitters for their contributions to global warming.

(Here’s a link to the publication but unfortunately you need to subscribe to read the story. Trial subscriptions are available. I’ve reproduced the story below the fold.)

The case centers on what’s known as “public nuisance” lawsuits and the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the plaintiffs — a coalition of states, environmental groups and New York City. The plaintiffs are filing a lawsuit that seeks to force several of the nation’s largest coal-fired utilities to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

Environmentalists were shocked with the administration siding with the big coal companies. From the story:

Matt Pawa, an attorney representing plaintiffs in the case, said he and his colleagues expected the White House to stay out of the matter. During a meeting with more than 30 administration lawyers at the solicitor general’s office on June 24, it seemed they had “a lot of friends in the room,” he said.

“We feel stabbed in the back,” Pawa said. “This was really a dastardly move by an administration that said it was a friend of the environment. With friends like this, who needs enemies?”

I’m feeling a little back-stabbed, too.

Continue Reading »

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