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Montana Guv Laments Indian Bias

“All over Montana, you can walk into a bar, a café or even a school or a courthouse and just listen for a while as people talk to each other,” Schweitzer explained, shortly after noting 93 percent of his state’s population is classified as Caucasian. “And you will hear somebody, before very long, say something outrageously racist about the people who’ve lived in Montana for 10,000 years” — Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer at Ohio Democratic Party annual dinner.

Just the other day, Politico said Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s rhetorical prowess is a valuable asset and a dangerous liability for his future political ambitions. Case in point: Less than two weeks ago, Schweitzer delivered the keynote address at the Ohio Democratic Party’s annual dinner. In the speech, he told a gripping tale of his grandmother immigrating to the United States to start a new life. Riveting. In the same address, Schweitzer dipped into darker rhetoric to blast Caucasian Montanans as racist toward American Indians/Dustin Hurst, Watchdog.org. More here.

Question: Is there a bias against Native Americans in Idaho?

Fish Creek habitat project needs public support

FISH HABITAT — Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is seeking public comment on a proposal to install a series of log jams consisting of native green and aged woody debris along a portion of lower Fish Creek in Mineral County. 

Fish Creek, which begins at the crest of the Bitterroot Mountains, flows under I-90 and into the Clark Fork River near Superior.

The proposed project is a cooperative effort between FWP, Trout Unlimited and the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. 

If approved, the project is projected to be completed later this summer and would improve habitat for native fish, restore natural stream processes and likely enhance the quality of fishing in the area.

A draft environmental assessment has been prepared for this proposal, and FWP is accepting public comment through Aug. 3. 

Find the documents and make comments online at fwp.mt.gov under “Public Notices.”

Info: Region 2 FWP office in Missoula, (406) 542-5540; or email shrose@mt.gov.

Heat curtails fishing on 3 Montana rivers

FISHING — While rivers in the Spokane-to-Missoula region are still flowing somewhat higher that normal and reasonably cool, waters — and fish — farther east are feeling the heat of a drought.

Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks today advised anglers on three central Montana rivers that all fishing would close daily from 2 p.m. to midnight until conditions improve.

The "hoot-owl" closures, effective Friday, July 27, are issued for:

  • Dearborn River—from Highway Bridge 431 to confluence of the Missouri River north of Craig;
  • Smith River—from the confluence of the North and South forks to Eden Bridge east of Great Falls;
  • Sun River—from Highway 287 Bridge to the mouth of Muddy Creek west of Great Falls.

FWP's drought policy provides for angling closures when flows drop below critical levels for fish, when water quality is diminished, or when maximum daily water temperatures reach at least 73 degrees for three consecutive days. Water temperatures have exceeded 73 degrees on the Sun River for 17 days and for 14 days on the Dearborn River. The Smith River's water temperature has exceeded 73 degrees for the past seven days.

The preferred water temperature for rainbow and brown trout is about 55-57 degrees. Temperatures of 77 degrees or more can be lethal to trout.

Read on for more details.

Marc: Corporations ARE Really People

While the nation holds its collective breath over the fate of Obamacare (hint, it’s going down) the conservative judicial activists on the U.S. Supreme Court have affirmed their original controversial decision that its just fine to have unlimited and often undisclosed corporate money flow into our political system. At issue in the case summarily disposed of Monday was a Montana Supreme Court decision that attempted to uphold the Treasure State’s 100-year plus ban on corporate money in state elections. The Court’s five man majority reversed the Montana court decision and reminded all of us of the essence of its earlier ruling in the now infamous Citizens United case.  “Political speech does not lose First Amendment protection simply because its source is a corporation,” the majority said in an unsigned, one-page ruling/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Report. More here.

Question: Do you think corporations are people (or just Soylent Green)?

Montanan Clocked At 134mph Nabbed

A Montana man faces a felony charge of driving under the influence after authorities say a state trooper clocked him driving 134 mph in a 50 mph zone. The Billings Gazette reports (http://bit.ly/KCdsRz ) 32-year-old Shaun Kachina Bell of Billings made an initial appearance in Justice Court Monday on the DUI charge, along with felony criminal endangerment and misdemeanor counts of speeding and driving without a license or proof of insurance. His bail was set at $15,000. Prosecutors allege Bell was speeding in a Dodge Magnum late Sunday on Highway 312 outside Billings/Associated Press. More here.

Question: How fast is the fastest you've ever driven? Where? Why?

AM Headlines — 6.12.12

This undated photo by provided by the Roosevelt County Sheriff''s Department in Billing, Mt., shows 52-year-old Lloyd Christopher Danielson from Washington state who is charged with felony assault with a weapon in a seemingly-random weekend shooting that injured a man from West Virginia. The victim told authorities he was working on a memoir about kindness. Story here. (AP Photo/Roosevelt County Sheriff''s Department)

Fish free in Montana on Fathers Day weekend

FISHING – Everybody with a yen to go fishing benefits from a Fathers Day gift from the Montana legislature.

For the second year, Montanan is celebrating Father's Day by waiving the fishing license requirements on June 16 and 17.

All other fishing regulations apply.

See Montana's 2012 fishing regulations.

Get tips on Montana boating rules and water and boating safety.

Kidnapped man escapes from car trunk

A kidnapped man forced into the trunk of a car in Montana freed himself on a Pend Oreille County highway early Sunday, leading to two arrests.

A motorist said he was driving on Highway 2 near Pend Oreille Park about 7:10 a.m. when the trunk of the vehicle in front of him opened and a man started waving his arms and yelling for help, the Pend Oreille County Sheriff's Office said today.

The vehicle stopped and the man jumped from the trunk and ran toward the witness's vehicle. He said he'd been beaten, bound and forced into the trunk while in Montana.

Sheriff's deputies stopped the suspect vehicle a short time later near Newport, Wash. The driver initially refused to stop, and someone threw a firearm from the vehicle that was later recovered.

Kenny J. Morrison, 29, and John M. Davis, 39, of Columbia Falls, Mont., were arrested on charges of kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment, fourth-degree assault, possession of methadone without a prescription and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Pend Oreille County sheriff's investigators are working with detectives in Flathead County, Mont.

Montana discusses future of free-roaming bison

WILDLIFE – Planning for long-term management of bison at a wildlife species – which may include hunting down the road — will kick off Monday, May 14, in Missoula with a public meeting organized by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

The meeting is set for 6 p.m at the Holiday Inn, Downtown at the Park, 200 S. Pattee.

Putting bison back on more of the Montana landscape would restore the last existing link to the wildlife mix at the time of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

But landowners in particular are wary.

Issues already identified include, the risk of bison spreading disease to domestic livestock, competition between bison and other wildlife, competition between bison and livestock for rangeland, damage to fencing, public safety, and the legal classification and status of bison in Montana.

Info: fwp.mt.gov. Under 'For Fish & Wildlife Information' choose "Bison Background."

Dustin Hurst Makes Waves In Montana

Looks like our old Idaho Reporter friend Dustin Hurst has encountered some turbulence in his new in Montana. A blog called Montana Cowgirl penned an article titled, "Pro-Rehberg blogger fled Idaho under a cloud." It begins: "Dustin Hurst is a right-wing blogger that recently arrived in Helena from Idaho, and has written stories defending Congressman Dennis Rehberg and the Montana GOP, and attacking Democrats.  He calls himself a “reporter.”  His “articles” are trash with no connection to facts or truth.  Last week, for example, he wrote a story saying that Schweitzer is “happy with high unemployment.”  He also claimed that Rob Stutz had called for a pre-emptive strike against Iran, as this video explains.  Intelligent Discontent did a write up of the factual problems with some of the other blog posts Hurst was responsible for. Hurst works for the Montana Watchdog, a somewhat absurd website that is a subsidiary of the right-wing Montana Policy Institute." More here. (Photo from Dustin Hurst Facebook page)


Fugitive arrested in Center of Universe

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — A man who failed to appear in court on charges he caused a disturbance at a Missoula hotel was taken into custody by a bail bond company after a standoff at a Wallace, Idaho, hotel.

Michael Dell Babinski, 42, was booked into the Missoula County jail early Tuesday, the Missoulian (http://bit.ly/HHBR9U) reported.

Chase Investigations owner Kelli Martin told the newspaper her team took Babinski into custody at about 2 a.m. Tuesday at the Wallace Inn. She said he raved about bombs and the federal Department of Homeland Security during the standoff.

Babinski initially was arrested Saturday at the Hilton Garden Inn. He had been kicked out of the Missoula hotel on Thursday for having a dog. He returned on Friday. On Saturday, prosecutors said Babinski was again asked to leave and threatened to "take down" the hotel. Officers said he was carrying several knives, a semiautomatic handgun, a stun gun and pepper spray and had a large dog with him.

Officers who searched Babinski at the jail Saturday reported finding eight hydrocodone tablets and 7 ½ tablets of lorazepam, an anti-anxiety drug.

Babinski was released from jail Sunday after posting bond on $50,000 bail. Justice of the Peace Karen Orzech issued a $100,000 bench warrant Monday when Babinski failed to appear in court on two counts of criminal possession of dangerous drugs, criminal trespass and carrying concealed weapons.

A records check showed he had four restraining orders in Spokane County, Wash., and Shoshone County, Idaho, according to the affidavit. Two of those orders prohibit him from possessing firearms, it said.

FBI Finds Possible Body Of Teacher

FBI Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson of the Salt Lake City Division and Chief of Police Frank DiFonzo of the Sidney, Montana Police Department announce a development in the ongoing investigation into the disappearance of Sherry Arnold. On March 20, 2012, special agents assigned to the FBI Evidence Response Team began efforts to recover human remains in the vicinity of Williston, North Dakota. During this operation, the FBI received support and assistance from several Montana and North Dakota law enforcement agencies to include the Sidney Police Department, Richland County Sheriff’s Office, Williams County Sheriff’s Office, Williston Police Department, and the North Dakota Highway Patrol. By the early morning hours of March 21, 2012, special agents had recovered the physical remains of a female. While a positive identification has not been made at this time, it is believed the remains are those of Sherry Arnold of Sidney, Montana/FBI, Salt Lake Division, news release. More here.

Loading Up On Girl Scout Cookies

Girl Scout Bailey Zundel, 10, stacks boxes of Girl Scout cookies for Troop 2132 in the back of a moving truck as they pick up their order of 4900 boxes Tuesday. According to Girl Scouts of Montana and Wyoming, Girl Scouts have sold 157,000 boxes of cookies in Yellowstone County, Mont. They will be delivered over the next couple of weeks. Booth sales by troops start this weekend, and continue through the end of April. (AP Photo/Billings Gazette, Casey Page)

Question: Which kind of Girl Scout cookie is your favorite — Samoas/Caramel deLites, Savannah Smiles, Shout Outs, Tagalongs/Peanut Butter Patties, Thanks-A-Lot (Animal Treasures or All Abouts), Thank U Berry Much, Thin Mints, or Trefoils?

Owner Of Butte’s Last Brothel Dies

The woman who ran the last brothel in Butte when it closed in 1982 has died at the age of 94. Ruby Garrett died March 17 at Crest Nursing Home in Butte. Garrett lived a colorful life that included a six-month prison term for tax evasion and an acquittal by a jury on charges that she shot and killed her husband in June 1959 while he was playing cards at a Butte bar. She owned and ran the Dumas Brothel for years until 1982, when her federal tax evasion conviction forced Garrett to close it. But people who knew Garrett in her later years recalled a kind woman who looked out for the women who worked in the brothel and was involved in the community/Nick Gevock, Butte Standard. More here. (AP/Butte Standard photo, of Ruby Garrett)

Question: Anyone remember the brothels in Wallace? (I won't ask whether or not you remember them fondly)

AM: ‘Angry Birds’ Helps Man Survive

David Heatherly holds "Cujo" in West Virginia. Heatherly, who recently was stranded for three days on a snowy mountain road in Montana after his SUV became stuck in the snow, attributed his survival to God, a rationed supply of beef jerky and the video game "Angry Birds" that he played on his cellphone to keep his wits. Story here. (AP Photo/David Heatherly)

KKK Group Wants Montana Homeland

Montana state legislators this week received a newsletter from a white supremacist group tied to the Ku Klux Klan that wants to turn the Northwest into “the future homeland of the white race from people all over the world.” The newsletter came from the Northwest Knights, whose national headquarters is based in Harrison, Ark., and whose website, www.KKK.com, is that of the Ku Klux Klan. It mentions that the Montana First Committee was formed in 2011 as an umbrella group for “white racialists in Montana, who want to create a white homeland in the Northwest.” The Northwest Knights, the newsletter said, is a “fraternal organization that is dedicated towards white civil rights in the Northwest”/Charles S. Johnson, Missoulian State Bureau. More here. (AP photo of late Aryan Nations leader Richard Butler during 1999 rally in Coeur d'Alene)

Question: Sound familiar?

Judge Admits Anti-Obama Email

Montana’s chief federal judge apologized Wednesday for forwarding an email that contained a joke involving bestiality and President Barack Obama’s mother, saying he did so because he dislikes the president and not because he’s racist. Judge Richard Cebull, of Billings, forwarded the email from his chambers to six other people on Feb. 20, the Great Falls Tribune reported. Cebull said that his brother sent him the email, which he forwarded to six “old buddies” and acquaintances. The text of the forwarded email says: “Normally I don’t send or forward a lot of these, but even by my standards, it was a bit touching. I want all of my friends to feel what I felt when I read this. Hope it touches your heart like it did mine/AP. More here. (AP file photo of Judge Cebull making speech during Naturalization proceedings last summer)

Question: What do you do when you receive ujsolicited emails from friends or acquaintances containing racial, sexual, or other inappropriate content?

Sober Driver Baits Cops Into Chase

Why did a sober, middle-aged man lead Butte police on a dangerous, high-speed chase through the city and on the interstate early Thursday? “I just always wanted to do that,” he said, according to the police report. John C. Hughes, 55, is accused of trying to evade a police patrol just to see what it would be like, police reported. Hughes likely found out it involved severe tire damage, because police used “stop sticks” to deflate his tires to get him to stop, according to the report. Hughes was arrested without further incident and faces a misdemeanor charge of reckless driving while eluding police. Investigators say Hughes wasn’t intoxicated  and they didn’t find drugs or other contraband in his vehicle/John Grant Emeigh, Butte Standard. More here. H/T: Orbusmax

Question: Do you have anything stupid on your bucket list?

Barter for Beer at the Whitefish Winter Carnival

(Pam Barberis and son Evan wave to the crowd from the Black Star van at the Whitefish Winter Carnival Grand Parade. Photo by Cheryl-Anne Millsap)

    There’s still time to get to Whitefish, Montana this weekend for a unique Northwest winter event.

    This Saturday, Feb. 4, is the culmination of the annual Whitefish Winter Carnival. You can watch the gooseflesh-and-screams fun of the Penguin Plunge as hundreds of locals cannonball off the icy shore of City Beach at Whitefish Lake. You can elbow toddlers out of the way to catch candy thrown by participants at the rowdy downtown Grand Parade. Or, best of all, If you’re the haggling sort, especially the beer-drinking haggling sort, you might just be lucky enough to score a year’s worth of Black Star Beer.

    Ah. Now I have your attention.

    At the annual Black Star Beer Barter, held at the Great Northern Brewing Company, contestants try to out-bid one another by offering outrageous examples of just what they would do and how far they would go to win fifty-two cases (1,248 bottles if you’re math challenged) of the distinctive double-hopped golden lager. You don’t have to participate to enjoy the fun. It’s perfectly OK to hoist a Black Star or two and just watch the show, but it’s still not too late to come up with your own outrageous trade.

    If you want to prove you’re willing to party hard, here’s an idea:  Catch the 1:30 am Amtrak Empire Builder in Spokane, arrive in Whitefish with the Saturday morning sunrise. Spend the day downtown, after the Beer Barter stop by the Great Northern 17th Anniversary festivities and then take in the Whitefish Mountain Resort Torchlight Parade before the train pulls out and heads back to Spokane at 9:40 pm.

   Don't tell me that wouldn't impress your friends at Sunday's Super Bowl party.


Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a freelance writer based in Spokane, Washington. She blogs at CAMera and Treasure Hunting. Her essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She is the author of “Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons” and can be reached at catmillsap@gmail.com


Shawn Stockton ready to roll

The Montana Grizzlies, including Spokane product Shawn Stockton, are in Cheney tonight to take on Eastern.

Stockton, a member of Ferris High School's back-to-back unbeaten state title teams in 2007-8, isn't a starter, but might be the toughest, grittiest player on the Grizzlies' roster.

The reason? Growing up a basketball family. right here in Spokane. Here's a link to an entertaining story about Stockton in the Missoulian.

Hysterics: Let’s Kill Us Some Wolves

Let's kill every wolf in Montana. Sounds like a popular idea these days among hunters. While we're at it, let's kill every grizzly bear, every black bear and every mountain lion. Throw in golden eagles, bald eagles, rattlesnakes and coyotes. We'd be left with a hunter's paradise - a state teeming with game animals and hunting opportunity, right? That's the sentiment I heard recently at a meeting on the hunting season setting proposals in Butte, where an oft-angry group of sportsmen called for large-scale killing of predators to increase the number of deer, elk and other game species. The suggestions ranged from having government trappers shoot wolves from helicopters to creating a season on eagles so they don't kill mountain goats/Nick Gevock, Montana Standard. More here.

Question: Who's more hysterical — certain hunters who want to kill all wolves or certain conservationists who want to spare all wolves?

SR: Stopping Violence In The Cards

There’s new hope for victims of domestic violence in Idaho. Attorney General Lawrence Wasden and the Idaho Sheriff’s Association have begun issuing wallet-size “Hope Cards” to people who have obtained long-term civil protection orders against spouses, former spouses, stalkers or anyone else. On the front are the names of those being protected, the court that issued the order, the order number and the date it was issued. On the back is the name of the person ordered to stay away from the holder, a date of birth, physical description and, most importantly, a picture. Court-issued paperwork is far less convenient and far less useful because it lacks a photograph/Spokesman-Review Editorial Board. More here. (Photo: front of Hope Card, issued by state of Montana)


Question: Do you know someone who could use a "Hope Card" for protection?

Applications start today for floating Montana’s Smith River

RIVER RUNNING — Applications for permits to float Montana's popular Smith River this spring and summer are available starting today.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks will accept applications for permits to float the Smith River State Park and River Corridor through Feb. 15, and Smith River Super Permit lottery chances will also be available starting today, with chances sold through March 15.

Here's a more detailed story on the applications from The Billings Gazette.

Here's a link on floating the Smith River from the Montana FWP website.

Here are photos and the story I wrote after floating and fishing the river — an experience that should be on every floater-flyfisher's bucket list.

Montana sportsman’s group offers $100 reward for wolf kills

PREDATORS — Idaho is using trappers and helicopter gunners to try to get wolf numbers down.

In Montana, with wolf-harvest goals looking as though they could go unmet,  a hunting group is offering a legal version of a bounty as an incentive to get hunters out to fill more wolf tags.

The Montana Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife is offering $100 and an annual membership for photographs of wolves killed in any open wolf hunting district between Dec. 19 and the Feb. 15 end of the season, or until a quota is filled.

Read the story from the Ravali Republic.

Montana may sell 7,200 acres of state land

PUBLIC LANDS — Montana is considering the sale of 7,280 acres of its lands in northeastern Montana’s Daniels County, 49 tracts ranging from 5 to 360 acres, according to the Billings Gazette.

“Over the years, landowners and others in Daniels County have urged the Department (of Natural Resources and Conservation) to initiate sale of lands due to the large amount of state land in the western half of the county,” Hoyt Richards, Glasgow Unit manager for the DNRC’s Trust Land Management Division, wrote in an email. 

Roughly half of western Daniels County is in state ownership, designated as a large block of blue lands on maps. The state land piled up in Daniels County by a quirk of fate. When the federal government granted states every section 16 and 36 in each township to be held in trust for educational purposes, areas such as national parks and reservations were excluded.

Read on for more of the story by Gazette Outdoors reporter Brett French.

Hayden Poacher Fined For Bighorn Kill

A 64-year-old Idaho North Idaho man has agreed to pay more than $13,000 in restitution and fines and will lose his hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for life for illegally obtaining a Montana hunting license and killing a trophy bighorn sheep in north-central Montana, the Associated Press reports. Roger J. Woodworth of Hayden was sentenced Nov. 6 by District Judge Nels Swandal as part of a plea agreement with Fergus County prosecutors, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials/Rich Landers, SR Outdoors. More here.

Question: Just penalty?

Returning home with loaded pickup

HUNTING — I'm on the road, returning from the annual cast and blast trip to Montana  — perfectly timed to avoid the Spokane Public Radio pledge drive. 

The pickup is loaded with a whitetail, a pronghorn, pheasants, Huns, sharpies, and a dog-tired dog.  Fishing waders are still wet. Life is good.  

Arson and murder suspects arrested

In two separate incidents yesterday, police arrested a 15-year-old boy suspected of setting multiple arson fires and a 22-year-old man suspected in a triple murder outside Lodge Grass, Mont., on the Crow Indian Reservation.

Sheldon B. Chase was arrested during a traffic stop near the Spokane Valley Mall only a few hours after local law enforcement received a wanted flyer for the murder suspect. Click here for more details.

Crews from the Spokane Valley Fire Department responded to two arson fires between midnight and 9 a.m. on Wednesday. Three dumpsters were reported on fire behind a strip mall on the northwest corner of Sprague and Evergreen at 12:41 a.m. They were quickly put out and there was little damage. A caller reported at 9 a.m. that bushes were set on fire near the Numerica Credit Union at 14610 E. Sprague just a few blocks away.

The 15-year-old admitted setting the fires and also admitted to stealing a bicycle in Liberty Lake, said assistant fire marshal Bill Clifford. He will be charged with four counts of second degree arson and one count of third degree theft. Anyone in Liberty Lake missing a 10-speed bike can call the Fire Department at 928-1700 to describe it.

Hours, pay not worth the stress, many Montana game wardens say

WILDLIFE ENFORCEMENT — There's nothing lucrative about the life of a Montana game warden, and that's only part of the reason there are job openings.

In the past five years, 24 game wardens in Montana — about a third of the force — have left their jobs, and most said the long hours, relatively low pay and the inability to get away from the job for just a couple of days all played a role in their decision to leave.

See the story by the Helena Independent Record.