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Jule Banville

Judge Rules Against Montana Dept. of Transportation, Haulting Megaload Shipments

In what appears to be a major victory for those fighting the transport of oversized oil refinery equipment through Idaho and Montana to the Kearl Oil Sands in Canada, a judge has ruled that the Montana Department of Transportation is in violation of the law and issued a preliminary injunction. Judge Ray Dayton, a district court judge in Anaconda, found the Department of Transportation was in default in accepting a less-than-adequate environmental assessment regarding the construction of turnouts, which are essential for the rigs as they travel from Lewiston, Idaho, along the Lochsa River on Highway 12 over Lolo Pass and into Montana, where they'd also traverse Highway 200 and other two-lane roads. The judgment was in favor of the four plaintiffs, most notably Missoula County, which was joined in the suit by environmental groups National Wildlife Federation, Montana Environmental Information Center and the Montana chapter of the Sierra Club.

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Hiker Who Suffered Fatal Fall at Glacier Identified

The hiker involved in a fatal fall on Monday, July 18, in Glacier National Park has been identified as 30-year old Nicholas Ryan from Omaha, Nebraska. Ryan and two friends were hiking the Grinnell Glacier Trail in the Many Glacier Valley when Ryan fell 50 to 100 feet on a steep snowfield. At approximately 11:50 a.m. that day, an interpretive park ranger leading a hike on the trail received a report of a male hiker who had taken a slide and needed medical assistance. National Park Service Rangers, Kalispell Regional Medical Center’s ALERT helicopter and Minuteman Aviation responded.

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Fish and Wildlife Won’t List Threatened Whitebark Pine as Endangered

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Department this week announced its conclusions from a 12-month study prompted by a petition to list the whitebark pine as endangered: The tree is threatened and deserves protection, but it won't get that this time around. The department's announcement explained that "after review of all available scientific and commercial information, we find that listing P. albicaulis as threatened or endangered is warranted. However, currently listing [whitebark pine] is precluded by higher priority actions to amend the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants." Instead, the tree will be added as a candidate to the species list, with a "proposed rule" to revisit listing it as endangered "as our priorities and funding will allow."

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Fat Girls Finish: Training for the Missoula Marathon, Final Installment

When last I left you, I was anticipating finishing the 5th Annual Missoula Marathon, now more than a week into what almost seems a distant past. And speaking of distance, 26.2 miles never seemed so long. It's taken me, truly, this entire week to not only recover what's physically barking at me (my gnarly toes, my stretched hamstring, my urge to sleep, like, all the time), but to walk (slowly) through the mental ups and downs of the race enough to write about it. It'd be more encouraging to any readers out there thinking of a full as a goal to tell you that, after six months of training, I breezed through it and crossed the finish in an elated state of being, akin to Lady Gaga entering the Grammys in an egg held aloft by gold-painted men. But it wasn't like that for me. It was grueling and emotional. And there were no painted men. And the theme from "Chariots of Fire" didn't ring in my ears. And it was hard, just plain hard. And if it wasn't, I'm told, everyone would do it, which does, in the end, make the marathon a worthy goal. Fewer than 1 percent of people do this weird thing. But it's not a goal I'm likely to attempt again.

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Fat Girls Finish: Training for the Missoula Marathon Part 5

Today's the final Friday before Marathon Day. In two words: Holy crap. The journey that began in the thick ice of January will end in a forecasted 83-degree heat in July. It has been long. It has been mostly paved. It has been filled with a longing, a searching, a quest... for a clean, open bathroom somewhere along all those training routes in every neighborhood of Missoula, Montana. Those routes all lead, eventually, to Frenchtown, the starting spot for the 5th Annual Missoula Marathon, my first and maybe last. But, fortunately (I think?), it's not the first time I will have willed my two feet to take me 26 miles. My class and training program built up to that distance three weeks ago, which taught me a couple of lessons:

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Details Emerge About Fatal Griz Attack on Hikers Inside Yellowstone

Following a fatal bear attack this week on hikers inside Yellowstone National Park, park officials were quick to point out it was the first such attack in 25 years. It happened on Wednesday morning, when a man and his wife about a mile and half in on the Wapiti Lake trail startled a sow and her cubs. Park officials today released their identities: Fatally wounded was Brian Matayoshi, 57, of Torence, Calif. Also wounded was Marylyn Matayoshi. It appears from the release put out by YNP that Brian Matayohsi tried to defend himself while his wife ran for help. According to the release, another group of hikers "heard the victim’s wife crying out for help, and used a cell phone to call 911." The couple saw the bear twice on their hike, according to Yellowstone spokesman Al Nash. The second time, the bear charged them and the couple ran, according to a press release. "The bear caught up with them, attacking Mr. Matayoshi. The beear then went over to Mrs. Matayoshi, who had fallen to the ground nearby. The bear bit her daypack, lifting her from the ground and then dropping her. She remained still and the bear left the area." It does not appear the couple carried bear mace.

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Fat Girls Finish: Training for the Missoula Marathon, Part 4

When last I left you, I was joining a cult. Possibly, that's what some of us in the biz call an "attention-grabber" lead. Closer to the truth: I read in the paper last January that this fellow I'd never heard of named Jeff Galloway was coming to Missoula to talk about how just about anybody could add "marathon" to their list of things to do. Most, he seemed to be claiming, could actually cross it off. Galloway, who ran the marathon in the '72 Olympics, decided, correctly, that that's a pretty tough career to sustain. Over the years, he came up with another one, based on a method he calls "run-walk-run." This is the cult part. I mean, it's possible that someone like me could figure out that taking regularly scheduled walk breaks while training for and covering long distances will help me finish without feeling like I might die. I could have probably figured out how to buy a timer that beeps every so often to tell me to run or tell me to walk, so that I don't have to think about it or be a slave to my nonexistent watch. But I didn't figure it out. Jeff Galloway figured it out, writing book after book and holding seminar after seminar and inspiring fatties like me to just go give it a try, already. I even have a timer with his name on it. Because he actually might be a genius.

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Public Comments on Wolf Hunts: More Pro Than Con, Still Divisive

On July 14, the commissioners for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks will likely OK a quota of 220 gray wolves for the revival of the much-debated hunt this fall. In advance of the hunt, FWP sought public comments. Today, the Associated Press released a report on its analysis of those comments. Not surprisingly, the comments range from extremes, with some advocating trapping and poisoning. The story by Matthew Brown, a Billings-based reporter, includes the e-mailed comments of "Barry from California," who referred to wolves as "hounds of hell" and said their reintroduction was instigated by subversives bent on "destroying our nation." That's followed by Barbara Laxson of Mansfield, Texas, who decried the "senseless killing of God's creation." "What are you crazies doing up there in the beautiful state of Montana?" Laxson wrote.

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Fat Girls Finish: Training for the Missoula Marathon, Part 3

When last I left you, we were lined up at the start of the 2010 Missoula Half Marthon, vibrating to "Eye of the Tiger" or, possibly, our nervous bladders. It's hard to tell which has more influence when, after 18 weeks of training for a goal I, a lover of butter, find myself in running clothes and waiting for a cannon. And we're off, my running partner, Claire, and I. And as we near Maclay Flats, we are stopped, off the course, taking a detour, because my nervous bladder is suddenly joined by my nervous bowels. Being a local in this crowded race has its advantages when nature does more than calmly call. No one else hits the park's bathrooms and, as we near the first aid station about three miles in, it's clear some of them should have. There's a line at the Port-A-Johns about three miles long.

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VIDEO: Camping With Potato Gun in New Mexico

It's possible that a spud gun is not as important as, say, a tent, a sleeping bag and beer when you car camp. But here's what karlwinkler66 knows that you don't: Should you decide you can't bunk up without a spud gun, do yourself a favor -- upgrade. Here's his video, shot at a campground in New Mexico, of the outdoor life with a 2-inch bore potato cannon with a 4-inch by 8.5-inch chamber and large silencer/suppressor. Static Guard fuel, piezo ignition. Big potato gun fun.

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