Two conferences are taking place over the next couple of days in Missoula, the Northwest Land Trust Conference
and an affordable housing conference called "The Price of Paradise: Affordable Housing in Montana
The 12th edition of the Northwest Land Trust Conference is Thursday through Saturday at the DoubleTree Hotel and features over 200 land trust practitioners from the Northwest. The conference, put on by Land Trust Alliance, is co-hosted by Five Valleys Land Trust, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and The Vital Ground Foundation. Among the event's dozens of speakers, seminars, workshops and field trips, keynote speaker Steven Running talks about climate trends Friday morning beginning at 9:15, and Governor Schweitzer speaks at a lunch plenary Friday beginning at 12:00. You can register at the door; $50 for a day pass. Click here
for the full conference agenda.
"The Price of Paradise," hosted by the Burton K. Wheeler Center, kicks off Thursday night at the Holiday Inn Parkside with a keynote from Anne McCulloch, Fannie Mae's senior vice president of housing and community development, titled Buying That Home on the Range - Discouraging Words?
George Masnick of Harvard University speaks Friday morning at 8:30 followed by a full day of panel discussions. Tickets cost $75 at the door. Click here
for the schedule.
Conferences Look at Affordable Housing and Conservation
The accomplished writer Melanie Rae Thon grew up in Montana and teaches at the University of Utah. In This Light: New & Selected Stories (Graywolf Press, 256 pages, $15) collects some of the highlights of her career, and there have been many—her stories have regularly appeared in the Best American Short Stories, O. Henry Prize Stories, and Pushcart Prize anthologies. Thon frequently sets her stories in the West, but they follow none of the typical paths Western writers are often expected to take.
Thon focuses on people who exist on the fringes of society, who are damaged, dispossessed, addicted to drugs, alcohol, sex, or all three, people who never have the chance to stop and admire the landscape—like the homeless kids of Kalispell in her story "Heavenly Creatures"—they're too busy scrapping for survival. Thon relentlessly turns her attention on people that society ignores, and describes them with intense language in stories that are replete with ghosts.