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Tag Archives: Missoula

New West cities make strong showing in livability study

Downtown Boulder

Not that readers choosing to live in New West cities need the validation of a website ranking, but 16 regional markets were ranked among America’s top 100 in a new ranking of midsized areas.

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New West Daily Roundup for May 24, 2013

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Making news in the New West today: plotting the future of the former Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. property, a properly reverential visit to the Shire of Montana from a self-proclaimed Lord of the Rings nerd, the opening of the Beartooth Highway, the return of Patrick Roy to the Colorado Avalanche, and a study indicating Montana pets live longer.

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Biomass Energy: Beware of the Costs

After the Smurfit-Stone Container Corp.'s linerboard plant in Missoula announced that it was closing permanently, there have been many people including Montana Governor Switzer, Missoula mayor John Engen and Senator Jon Tester, among others who advocate turning the mill into a biomass energy plant. Northwestern Energy, a company which has expressed interest in using the plant for energy production has already indicated that it would expect more wood from national forests to make the plant economically viable. The Smurfit Stone conversion to biomass is not alone. There has been a spade of new proposals for new wood burning biomass energy plants sprouting across the country like mushrooms after a rain. Currently there are plans and/or proposals for new biomass power plants in Maine, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Florida, California, Idaho, Oregon and elsewhere. In every instance, these plants are being promoted as “green” technology.

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Tom Catmull and the Clerics – Glamour Puss

The new record is not so much a departure for Tom and his band, but a big step up and forward. Catmull’s songwriting has always been top notch, it is just better this time around. The sound of the recording is improved (it was recorded at Club Schmed Studios in Missoula, and mixed in Seattle at the Imperial Room); hell, the band just sounds better, period. Not surprising, as this is a combo that plays a pile of shows and obviously has a great time making music together.

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Buying Nothing is a Tough Sell on Black Friday

Black Friday of course is the name given to the day after Thanksgiving, traditionally one of the biggest retail days of the year. It is the official start of the Christmas shopping season, supposedly, though it seems apparent that, like Christmas decorations, that frenzy is beginning before the Halloween junk is even stuffed back in the garage. Flyers advertising early “Black Friday” sales started two weeks ago. The chains are particularly desperate this year, especially with typical Christmas meccas like Circuit City bankrupt, and Best Buy issuing their own ominous rumblings. Money is tight everywhere, and the only people who will be surprised if more companies fail after the holiday fog clears will likely be the same ones who were surprised when the house of cards that is our American borrow-and-spend economy started to tumble in the first place!

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What Did You Do This Summer?

There isn’t anything particularly glamorous about a van-based rock tour. Maybe the bigshots who have money behind them for a fancy bus have it pretty good, but for those of us in the trenches it is a gritty – and smelly – endeavor. Three words sum up the experience in order of time spent: driving, waiting, and rocking. Everything else, like eating and sleeping, you squeeze in as best you can.

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Independent Music — Totally

Missoula hosts the premier independent music festival in the Northwest. I’m talking, or course, about Total Fest, which just saw its 7th incarnation go off as a resounding success this past weekend. This is a huge event to wrangle; lots of bands from all over (all of whom needed places to stay, things to eat, gear to protect, etc.) to manage, three nights in a row of rock, and all the promotion and hustling to make it a success. From what I saw Saturday night, it all seemed to go off with less fuss and confusion than most single night shows I’ve had to suffer through with only 3 or 4 bands involved! Just a fantastic effort all around.

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Fair Days Revisited

Despite how much I hated the last day/night of the fair, and the realization of where our animals, pets by now, were headed, I have nothing but fond memories of my years as a 4-H kid and a participant in what made the fair so awesome. One of my regrets is the moving around we’ve done did not allow me to get my son into 4-H, though who knows if he would have been interested in it. Times are different now.

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Our Neighbors Probably Hate Us

We have a long side yard that runs the length of our house to the east. Half of it gets a fair amount of shade in the afternoon so the grass does okay. The rest is scorched, and right now it is a bloody battleground where war is being waged against knapweed. In this space I have already built two 4’ x 8’ frames that will be filled with soil to serve as raised beds. There is room for more, and we will probably add at least 3, if not 4, more frames between now and the first snows. There is also a metal container that contains four tomato plants, just planted a couple weeks ago. Our neighbor across the street saw the beds, asked if we were making a garden, and gave us some plants. Ah, the community of gardeners! I know she won’t need it, but I intend to gift her with the first fruit of these beauties.

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Soccer Moms Unite!

Every Sunday afternoon for the next several weeks, hundreds of intrepid parents and grandparents will converge on the muddy fields of Fort Missoula, folding camp chairs slung over their shoulders, backpacks and coolers clutched at their sides. They set up camp, regardless of the weather, and spend up to five hours shivering in the cold or baking in the sun, watching their charges run up and down the field chasing a black and white ball and learning valuable lessons about sportsmanship, life, and personal chafing. YMCA spring soccer is upon us. Twice a year the Fort is overrun for six Sundays (and one Saturday), where dozens of teams with kids age 5 to 13 fly around the field in their brightly colored, Y-issued nylon jerseys. By the time the kids hit adolescence, they’ve either moved on to Strikers soccer (the semi-pro money- and time-suck league in Missoula), or have lost interest in the sport altogether, taking up activities like hanging out at the mall or car prowling.

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