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Glacier Country (c466)

New West Daily Roundup for Dec. 10, 2015

Here’s your New West news: Colorado small business ownership, a follow-up regarding Yellowstone grizzlies, legal ambiguity enters Utah public lands debate, and could Montana lose a county?

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New West Daily Roundup for Dec. 4, 2015

Today’s New West news: Wyoming wants Congress to reevaluate state’s Wilderness Study Areas, Frontier Airlines reportedly in IPO talks, Glacier National Park breaks attendance record, more developments in the Badger Two-Medicine area, and Salt Lake City’s Avenues neighborhood receiving fiber network from Beehive Broadband.

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Pombo, Green Anger and the Endangered Species Act

The Endangered Species Act is like a wolf, one of the species it strives to save. Wherever the Act goes, controversy follows. In fact, is there an environmental law on the books more controversial? I doubt it. Now, even before the January changing of the guard, the Blue Congress is sending out positive signs that the approach to the ESA will change -- and change for the good. During the Red Congress recently sent home to lick its wounds, enviros barely fought back many attempts to “revise” or “modernize” the ESA. But no more. Now, Congress will concentrate on overseeing the law to make sure agencies implement it as intended by its authors.

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BNSF to Bomb Glacier

The Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad has decided that rather than taking on the expense of building and maintaining snowsheds in Glacier National Park to secure their tracks from avalanches this winter, they'd rather bomb the mountains. Their tracks cover the southern boundary of the park from Marias Pass to Essex in a steep, mountainous avalanche zone creating a hazard for the 33,000 plus freight cars that pass through there daily. Last year, 15 freight cars were derailed by an avalanche in the proposed bombing zone.

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Mom and Dad Dodge Red Eagle Fire, Return Home Safe From Babbfest

Babb, Montana is about nine miles from St. Mary, Montana, on the eastern edge of Glacier National Park. Every year the tiny town holds its 'Babbfest,' an outdoor music shindig boasting as much PBR, hemp t-shirts, Indian tacos and gourmet tequila shooters as any 20- or 30-something could possibly desire. Bands play all day long, local wares are sold in booths, and everyone generally has a jolly old time. Babbfesters camp at the festival, which makes sense: this year tickets were $40, and admission meant an all-you-can-drink party that reached its pinnacle of fun around 1 A.M. when the headlining band, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band out of New Orleans, began playing. My parents love Babbfest. I've never been, so I tune in with a keen ear to their stories. They're fond of saying things like 'We were looking to win the award for the oldest people there' when they talk about it. I don't know why; they're fun. Not, you know, mosh pit fun, but they're fun.

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Regional Airline Pulling Out of Kalispell, Great Falls, Spokane

Airline rumors floating around the Flathead the last couple of days have proven to be true: as of August 5 Big Sky Airlines will discontinue its service to Kalispell, Great Falls and Spokane. Currently Big Sky's route through Montana is as follows: Billings to Helena, Helena to Great Falls, Great Falls to Kalispell, Kalispell to Spokane. I spoke with Big Sky President Fred Deleeuw this morning, who confirmed that August 4 will be the last service day for that route.

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Cheney Expected to Visit Flathead for Burns Fundraiser

The Daily Inter Lake reported today that Vice President Dick Cheney will likely be visiting the Flathead Valley for a Conrad Burns fundraiser, although Cheney Spokeswoman Jenny Mayfield neither confirmed nor denied the VP's visit. The Inter Lake reports that the fundraiser would take place August 16, although place and time were not given. There is no mention of a Flathead Burns fundraiser on Burns' website. Possible locations of a Burns fundraiser? With Cheney in the mix, it may be possible that Halliburton CEO Dave Lesar, a part-time Whitefish resident, is involved in the event. Lesar and his wife, Sherry, donated $500,000 toward the construction of Whitefish's new North Valley Hospital.

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Flathead Lake’s Economic Worth Estimated Between $6-$10 Billion

The war between development and environment tends be too simplistic and trite in the Flathead these days. That's why, just maybe, a report by a UM economist may add a more interesting facet to the debate. On July 5 the Bigfork Eagle published a story highlighting the work of Jack Stanford, director of the University of Montana Flathead Lake Biological Station (FLBS). Stanford, who has done extensive work on the biology and ecosystem of the Crown of the Continent and its "Crown Jewel," Flathead Lake, said that a UM economist estimates Flathead Lake's economic worth between $6 and $10 million dollars.

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Things to do in the Flathead Heat

Put on your SPF 5 million this weekend and take part in the Flathead fun. Here's a list of things you should be doing, if you're not doing them already: 1. Go to Kalispell's annual Arts in the Park. Presented by the Hockaday Museum, this festival is outdoor at Depot Park Square. It features the works of local, regional and national artists, dance performances, musicians, and tasty bites to eat. This is a family affair, so bring the kids for face painting and hands-on art activities. Admission is $3 a day and that includes admission to the nearby Hockaday Museum. Kids under 12 are admitted free. For information on participating artists, musicians and everything else, click here. 2. Do the Bull Thing at the Tobacco Valley Rodeo in Eureka. Rodeo dates are July 21 and 22, so suck in, paste on your Wranglers and get out there. For more info. on tickets and rodeo events, click here.

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Energy Economics For a Sustainable Future

By Sean Stalpes With a diminishing global oil supply coupled with the strenuous rises in oil prices, United States consumers are starting to notice some of the problems that are concurrent with our current energy agenda – and we should. The United States has roughly 5% of the world’s population, but we consume roughly 26% of the oil. Our lifestyles are based on an immediate access to cheap, dependable, and abundant energy sources. Sooner or later, though, the United States will be forced into a substantial increase in the use of renewable energy as either the amount of fossil fuel energy becomes too scarce or our environment can no longer withstand the effects of its combustion. The good news is that the United States has a plethora of potential for renewable energy generation, from our vast areas of strong winds to the areas of bountiful and intense sunshine that wield tremendous capacities for solar energy. Therefore, it would definitely be in our economic interests to make the transition to a renewable energy economy as soon as possible.

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