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Friday, December 30, 2016

Bitterroot National Forest Travel Plan / Russian Hacking

Missoulian: Recreation groups file lawsuit over travel restrictions in Bitterroot National Forest
Bitterroot National Forest
“The Bitterroot National Forest Travel Management Planning Project Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and Record of Decision (ROD) have been prepared. These documents are now available and can be reviewed at the Stevensville, Darby, Sula and West Fork District Offices, the Supervisor’s Office and the public libraries in Stevensville, Hamilton, Darby, and Missoula.”
Click here to go to the project documents and maps.

Missoulian: US announces retaliation against Russia over election-related hacking
Department of State Actions in Response to Russian Harassment
“The State Department today declared persona non grata 35 Russian officials operating in the United States who were acting in a manner inconsistent with their diplomatic or consular status. The Department also informed the Russian Government that it would deny Russian personnel access to two recreational compounds in the United States owned by the Russian Government.”

Joint DHS, ODNI, FBI Statement on Russian Malicious Cyber Activity
“On October 7, 2016, Secretary Johnson and Director Clapper issued a joint statement that the intelligence community is confident the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from U.S. persons and institutions, including from U.S. political organizations, and that the disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like and WikiLeaks are consistent with the Russian-directed efforts.  The statement also noted that the Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europe and Eurasia to influence public opinion there.”

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Sage Grouse / 2 New Monuments / Electoral College

Missoulian: US considers mining limits in West to save sage grouse
BLM Releases Draft EIS on Proposed Withdrawal in Crucial Sage-Grouse Habitat
“As part of its continuing efforts to conserve habitat vital to healthy populations of the Greater Sage-Grouse in the West, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today announced the draft proposal to withdraw a subset of lands that are sage-grouse strongholds from future mining claims. ”

I don’t normally include letters to the editor but this is a great opportunity to provide some links to early U.S. government documents.

Missoulian: Electoral College myth versus fact (letter to the editor)
What is the Electoral College?
“The Electoral College is a process, not a place. The founding fathers established it in the Constitution as a compromise between election of the President by a vote in Congress and election of the President by a popular vote of qualified citizens.”

The Federalist Papers

The Mode of Electing the President- Alexander Hamilton, no. 68
“It was equally desirable, that the immediate election should be made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station, and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice. A small number of persons, selected by their fellow-citizens from the general mass, will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations…. It was also peculiarly desirable to afford as little opportunity as possible to tumult and disorder. This evil was not least to be dreaded in the election of a magistrate, who was to have so important an agency in the administration of the government as the President of the United States. But the precautions which have been so happily concerted in the system under consideration, promise an effectual security against this mischief. The choice of SEVERAL, to form an intermediate body of electors, will be much less apt to convulse the community with any extraordinary or violent movements, than the choice of ONE who was himself to be the final object of the public wishes. And as the electors, chosen in each State, are to assemble and vote in the State in which they are chosen, this detached and divided situation will expose them much less to heats and ferments, which might be communicated from them to the people, than if they were all to be convened at one time, in one place.

“The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man; and we see them everywhere brought into different degrees of activity, according to the different circumstances of civil society. A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, as well of speculation as of practice; an attachment to different leaders ambitiously contending for pre-eminence and power; or to persons of other descriptions whose fortunes have been interesting to the human passions, have, in turn, divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to co-operate for their common good. So strong is this propensity of mankind to fall into mutual animosities, that where no substantial occasion presents itself, the most frivolous and fanciful distinctions have been sufficient to kindle their unfriendly passions and excite their most violent conflicts….. By what means is this object attainable? Evidently by one of two only. Either the existence of the same passion or interest in a majority at the same time must be prevented, or the majority, having such coexistent passion or interest, must be rendered, by their number and local situation, unable to concert and carry into effect schemes of oppression. If the impulse and the opportunity be suffered to coincide, we well know that neither moral nor religious motives can be relied on as an adequate control. They are not found to be such on the injustice and violence of individuals, and lose their efficacy in proportion to the number combined together, that is, in proportion as their efficacy becomes needful.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Quiet Watercraft Proposal / Skin Cancer

Quiet Waters Proposed Rules
“A petition, known as the Quiet Water’s Initiative, was submitted to the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission this past spring by Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. The petition states Montana has experienced advanced motorized technology on its waterways, which has potentially opened up waters previously thought to be unusable by motorized water craft. At its regular May meeting, the Commission initiated rulemaking on the petition, stating, in part, the Commission should consider being proactive instead of reactive to the changes in recreation on Montana’s waterways to avoid conflicts and protect traditional and safe recreational uses. Public hearings will be held to obtain public comment.
•             Jan. 3 at the FWP Region 1 office, 490 N. Meridian Road, Kalispell at 6 p.m.
•             Jan. 4 at the FWP Region 2 office, 3201 Spurgin Road, Missoula at 6 p.m.
•             Jan. 5 at the FWP Region 3 office, 1400 S. 19th Ave., Bozemen at 6 p.m.
•             Jan. 9 at the FWP Region 5 office, 2300 Lake Elmo Drive, Billings at 6 p.m.
•             Jan. 11 at the FWP Region 4 office, 4600 Giant Springs Road, Great Falls at 6 p.m.
•             Jan. 11 at the FWP headquarters office, 1420 E. 6th Ave., Helena at 6 p.m.”

“The 2016 Skin Cancer Prevention Progress Report[PDF-3.7MB] summarizes recent prevention efforts and highlights new data, developments, and success stories following the Call to Action. By updating this report annually, we will monitor progress, celebrate and learn from successes, recognize areas that need improvement, and identify opportunities to work with partners in government, health care, education, business, and the community.”

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Farm Loans

“Providing "a financial safety net for America's farmers and ranchers to sustain economically viable agricultural production" is the number goal in FSA's Strategic Plan for 2016-2018 (PDF, 5.08 MB).  And provide a financial safety net the Agency did!  Fiscal Year 2016 was amazing!  The Farm Service Agency made and guaranteed a total of 39,650 loans.”

Saturday, December 24, 2016

NORAD Santa Tracker

NORAD Santa Tracker

"This Christmas Eve people all over the world will log on to the official Santa Tracker to follow his progress through U.S. military radar. This all started in 1955, with a misprint in a Colorado Springs newspaper and a call to Col. Harry Shoup's secret hotline at the Continental Air Defense Command, now known as NORAD."

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Questionable Montana Laws / Montana v. Wyoming

1. Simulated animal abuse
Title 45. Chapter 5. Part 6: Ritual Abuse Of Minor
actually or by simulation tortures, mutilates, or sacrifices an animal or person in the presence of the minor;

2. It is illegal to have a sheep in the cab of your truck without a chaperone.
If this was a law it was repealed.

3. Billings Ordinances Sec. 4-304. - Raising rats.
“It is unlawful for any person to sell, offer for sale, harbor, raise or give away rats as pets, toys, premiums, novelties, or for any other purpose except…”

4. Squirrel worrying
Excelsior Springs Ordinances- this law was repealed, and this wasn’t from Montana. Excelsior Springs is in Missouri, not Montana.

5. Kalispell pool tables
Kalispell Municipal Code.
19-30 Screens in Pool Rooms.
“It shall be unlawful for any person or the agent of employee of any person owning or conducting any place of business wherein is kept any pool table, billiard table or bagatelle table to place in front of the room or across the inside of the room, wherein is kept any such pool table, billiard table or bagatelle table for hire or gain, any screen, blind, curtain, shutter, painted, colored or ground glass or any article of furniture or any obstruction that would prohibit the view of such pool table, billiard table or bagatelle table from the street in front of such room or place of business wherein is kept any of the tables above described.”

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

American History for Dec. 20th

Not much to connect with in the news today, so here is some history.
Happy Dec. 20th!

In 1803 the Louisiana Purchase was completed.
Louisiana: European Explorations and the Louisiana Purchase
“The Louisiana Purchase is a landmark event in American history, one that had a lasting impact not only on the size of the United States, but also on its economic, cultural, and political makeup. Before President Thomas Jefferson's administration purchased the territory in 1803, parts or all of the territory had been under the control of various Native American nations.  From the 16th century onwards the Spanish and later the French controlled the territory.”
In 1941 The Flying Tigers engaged in their First Battle.
Image of a crew working on Flying Tiger plane from the Library of Congress 

Flying Tigers of WWII
“The Flying Tigers were officially called the American Volunteer Group, and were known for their planes with iconic shark faces on them.  They were equipped and recruited in the spring and summer of 1941, with the express purposed of aiding the Chinese in theater against the Japanese. The group trained at a Royal Air Force airfield in Burma that fall, but it was not until after the Pearl Harbor attack on 07 December 1941 that the group went into combat.  They were led by Lieutenant General Claire Lee Chennault (September 6, 1893 – July 27, 1958).”

Image of Jimmy Stewart from Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum in Hollywood CA, from the Library of Congress

In 1946 It’s A Wonderful Life was released in New York. The film was added to the National Film Registry in 1990.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Investment Fraud / Kennewick Man

“As alleged, Nordlicht and his cohorts engaged in one of the largest and most brazen investment frauds perpetrated on the investing public, earning Platinum more than $100 million in fees during the charged conspiracy.  Platinum Partners purported to be a standard bearer in the hedge fund industry, reporting annual average returns of more than 17 percent since inception in 2003.  In reality, their returns were the result of the overvaluation of their largest assets, which eventually led to Nordlicht and his co-conspirators operating Platinum like a Ponzi scheme, where they used loans and new investor funds to pay off existing investors,” stated United States Attorney Capers. 

Army Core of Engineers: Kennewick Man

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Tainted Peanut Butter / Toxic Spills

Missoulian: Tainted peanut butter leads to $11.2M penalty a decade later
May 20, 2015: ConAgra Subsidiary Agrees to Enter Guilty Plea in Connection with 2006 through 2007 Outbreak of Salmonella Poisoning Related to Peanut Butter
“ConAgra Grocery Products LLC, a subsidiary of ConAgra Foods Inc., today agreed to plead guilty and pay $11.2 million in connection with the shipment of contaminated peanut butter linked to a 2006 through 2007 nationwide outbreak of salmonellosis, or salmonella poisoning, the Department of Justice announced today.  ConAgra Grocery Products LLC is based in Omaha, Nebraska, with a manufacturing facility in Sylvester, Georgia.”

This map indicates the number of estimated chemical incidents by state. The colors on the map indicate the concentration of counts in each of the states, so the audience can visualize quickly where the high concentration of events are happening across the nation. Maps contain the last 11 years data or you can query by specific year.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Workplace accidents

"“The Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities (IIF) program provides annual information on the rate and number of work-related injuries, illnesses, and fatal injuries, and how these statistics vary by incident, industry, geography, occupation, and other characteristics. These data are collected through the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) and the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI).”

Friday, December 9, 2016

Wildfire Funds / Berkeley Pit / John Glenn

“The water in the Berkeley Pit is highly acidic and high in concentrations of arsenic, copper, cadmium, cobalt, iron, manganese, zinc, and sulfate, plus other inorganic constituents. Water-quality samples are collected semi-annually at selected locations. Water quality in the underground mines was very acidic and high in metals concentrations when flooding began; however, as water levels have risen, pH has increased and metals concentrations have decreased.”

Glenn's official portrait as one of NASA's original seven Mercury astronauts. Credits: NASA

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

State Delay of Street Projects/ Divide Travel Plan/ Pearl Harbor

Russell Street
“Final Construction and Right of Way plans are currently being developed for the Russell Street segment from West Broadway to Dakota St.”

Divide Travel Plan
“Travel management analysis for summer and winter motorized use; to provide a manageable system of designated public motorized routes and areas consistent with 36 CFR 261.13. A programmatic Forest Plan amendment for elk hiding coverage is included.”

World War II Valor in the Pacific
Statement by the President on the 75th Anniversary of the Attack on Pearl Harbor
Air Raid On Pearl Harbor
“On December 7, 1941, Japanese planes attacked the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor External, Hawaii Territory, killing more than 2,300 Americans. The U.S.S. Arizona was completely destroyed and the U.S.S. Oklahoma capsized. A total of twelve ships sank or were beached in the attack and nine additional vessels were damaged. More than 160 aircraft were destroyed and more than 150 others damaged.”

Monday, December 5, 2016

Black Footed Ferret

“Rocky Mountain Arsenal has been planning for the reintroduction of black-footed ferrets for nearly two years. When I started in May, ferrets were a routine topic of conversation. For months, staff meetings were jam-packed with phrases like “prairie dog transects” and ‘ferret box.’”

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Invasive Mussel Emergency / Yellowstone Bison Cull

Missoulian: Yellowstone park looks at large bison cull to trim herds
Bison Management
“The protection and recovery of bison in Yellowstone is one of the great triumphs of American conservation. In 1902, after years of market hunting and poaching, there were only two dozen bison left in Yellowstone. Over the next hundred years, park employees worked to bring this species back from the brink of extinction. We succeeded, and now face the challenge of helping to manage a rapidly growing population of migratory bison that frequently roam beyond our borders onto private land and land managed by other agencies.”

Monday, November 28, 2016

Sugar Beets / Katahdin Woods and Waters

Sugar and Sweeteners Outlook
“U.S. sugar production in 2015/16 is estimated to be 8.989 million STRV, an 82,000-STRV increase from the previous month’s estimate. This is primarily due to the 95,000-STRV increase in estimated beet sugar production, due to the relatively larger September production of the current crop.”

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Elouise Cobell / Addition in America

“Elouise Cobell was a Blackfeet Tribal community leader and an advocate for Native American self-determination and financial independence.  She used her expertise in accounting to champion a lawsuit that resulted in a historic settlement, restoring tribal homelands to her beloved Blackfeet Nation and many other tribes, and in so doing, inspired a new generation of Native Americans to fight for the rights of others.”

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Badger-Two Medicine/ Trans-Pacific Partnership

Secretary Jewell, Senator Tester, Blackfeet Nation and Devon Energy Announce Cancellation of Oil & Gas Leases in Montana’s Lewis and Clark National Forest
 U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today joined U.S. Senator Jon Tester, Blackfeet Nation Chairman Harry Barnes and Devon Energy Corporation President and CEO David Hager to announce that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has canceled 15 additional oil and gas leases in the Badger-Two Medicine area of the Lewis and Clark National Forest in northwestern Montana. Devon Energy owns an interest in these federal leases. The lease cancellations address outstanding concerns about the potential for oil and gas development in this culturally and ecologically important area.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Civil Forfeiture

“Section 44-12-203(3), MCA (2013), denied Chilinski the right to be tried by a jury, in violation of the guarantee to trial by jury provided by Article II, Section 26 of the Montana Constitution. The District Court erred when it denied Chilinski the right to a trial by jury in these civil in rem forfeiture proceedings. We reverse and remand for a new trial consistent with this Opinion.”

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Bozeman Logging Stopped/ Hebgen Lake Trout

“The proposed action is to cease stocking of Rainbow Trout in Hebgen Reservoir during 2017 (final stocking in 2016). Many efforts have been made to evaluate success of Rainbow Trout stocking in Hebgen Reservoir over the past 20 years.”

Monday, October 31, 2016

Superfund site / Fish, Wildlife and Parks Fees

“On October 13, 2016, the Fish and Wildlife Commission approved proposed changes to the fee schedule for the Biennial Fishing Access Site Rule. Under the proposed changes, the camping fees at Fishing Access Sites will be raised from $7 to $12 for fishing-license holders, and from $12 to $18 for non-license holders. If approved, this fee increase would be the first time since 2002 that the cost of camping fees at FASs has been raised.”

Friday, October 28, 2016

Yellowstone River Oil Spill

Missoulian: State, federal agency seek damages for Yellowstone oil spill
MT, US Intend To Conduct Assessment, Seek Natural Resources Damages For 2015 Bridger Pipeline, LLC, Yellowstone River Oil Spill
2015 Yellowstone River Oil Spill
“On January 17, 2015, a pipeline owned and operated by Bridger Pipeline, LLC, of Casper, WY discharged at least 30,000 gallons (approximately 714 barrels) of Bakken crude oil into the lower Yellowstone River just upstream of Glendive, MT.”