N. Gregory Kohn, chairman of the board of the Billings Chamber of Commerce and director of human resources at Rocky Mountain College, stood out as the voice for the environment at the American Energy Alliance’s Bus Tour event at the Big Horn Resort in Billings on Monday.
“Everybody has a responsibility to protect the environment, and energy development has to be done responsibly,” he said. “I don’t think that we should hinder new development of our energy resources - we must do it responsibly.”
Mr. Kohn was the singular person at the AEA event to mention natural beauty. He said, “Montana’s natural beauty, its rivers, its plains, its national parks, are unrivalled. Energy must be developed in an efficient, responsible way ... . Responsible reclamation of land is critical not only by mandate, but also because of sense of shared responsibility.”
Mr. Kohn pointed out that some mines, such as the Spring Creek Mine in Decker, have espoused reclamation and have replanted much vegetation and even started a greenhouse to repopulate the land with indigenous plants. Reviews are mixed, however, on the success of such reclamation projects.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 August 2012 20:14
We call grass a “one-hour fuel” because after one hour in the sun, it is as burnable as ever. Soon after clouds and rain, grass dries. Fire danger should be very high across the Reservation for the start of Crow Fair. Gusts of 30 mph dried out our moisture Saturday morning. Sun and temperatures in the 90’s return Sunday through Tuesday.
About 40 lightning strikes since Friday evening sprinkled West and East Pryor Mountains, Garvin Basin, Big Bull and Black Canyon areas, Red Rock Springs, Willow Creek, Pass Creek, Bear Creek, and Corral Creek in the Wolf Mountains. Lightning often smolders for several days before it shows up as a fire.
We have five “RAWS” (remote automated weather stations) on the Reservation, that send observations each hour by satellite to the National Weather Service website http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/byz/current.php. They show some blessed rain Saturday: .11” in the Pryors, .25” in the Big Horns, and .15” in the Wolf Mtns. However, a “wetting rain” that actually soaks in to lessen timber fire danger takes more than .25”: a quarter inch. Our 2011 Hoss fire in Black Canyon blew up after a quarter inch of rain.
Pryor engines responded in town Friday to the 1/10 acre Little Light fire. The Crow Tribe has prohibited open burning, but children tried to burn trash in a barrel, and the fire caught the grass.
Last Updated on Sunday, 12 August 2012 16:40
Last Updated on Monday, 06 August 2012 12:30
From Duane Winslow, director of emergency and general services for Yellowstone County:
Below is a National Weather Service Red Flag warning which will be in effect from noon Monday, Aug. 6, through midnight. The weather conditions will create explosive fire growth potential. If there are any questions concerning this, please contact me. Please urge everyone to use EXTREME caution during this critical period! Thank you.
..RED FLAG WARNING IN EFFECT FROM NOON TODAY TO MIDNIGHT MDT TONIGHT LOW HUMIDITIES...HOT TEMPERATURES...AND INCREASING THUNDERSTORM ACTIVITY FOR ALL OF SOUTH CENTRAL MONTANA AND PARTS OF NORTH CENTRAL WYOMING...
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BILLINGS HAS ISSUED A RED FLAG WARNING...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM NOON TODAY TO MIDNIGHT MDT TONIGHT. THE FIRE WEATHER WATCH IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT.
Last Updated on Monday, 06 August 2012 08:53
Most wildfire on the Sarpy Hills complex today consisted of isolated smokes burning in the interior of the fire. Massive numbers of engines are mopping up burning material that could possibly threaten firelines. The 82,000 acre fire is 65 percent contained.
Some of the 701 personnel on the incident are working in the northeast corner of the Crow Reservation on fires that have become part of the Rosebud Complex. They have relieved Big Horn County resources who worked several days on those fires. At night about 300 people are “spiked” (camping out) at a cow camp on Sarpy Basin Road. Heavy equipment is staging on firelines and at the Multipurpose building in Crow Agency to respond speedily to any running fire.
The National Weather Service again predicts critical fire weather Monday through Wednesday for three days of possible lightning on the Reservation without rain. High temperatures in Crow reach 97 to 102 degrees the next four days, through Thursday.
The fire did not harm the landscape in the pine highlands of Castle Rock or south of US Highway 212. It burned on the ground beneath the ponderosa pines, fertilizing the forest floor without killing too many trees. Ponderosa pines do not mind gentle fires. They carry thick bark as an adaptation to fire. This landscape will be green again soon after rain.
Last Updated on Monday, 06 August 2012 06:34
The Billings Chamber of Commerce is "American Idol"'s point of contact for the Small Town Audition Bus Tour stop on Monday, Aug. 6, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.at ZooMontana!
So here's what you need to know:
No one will be allowed into the area until 9 a.m. Contestants must show photo identification proving they are between the ages of 15 and 28. After ID's are checked, contestants will be given a number and will need to wait in the outdoor audition line.
The Tour is kicking off this weekend in Idaho Falls, Idaho. From Billings, the crew will head south to Casper, Wyo. For more information, check out www.visitbillings.com.
As the Billings Chamber/Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) announced last week, "American Idol" is shaking things up for their latest season with a new "Small Town Tour" and a flashy, new bus. In keeping with the fresh recruitment efforts, these tryouts will be scaled down from what has been seen in years' past. The judges will not be part of these tryouts and the producers are looking more for raw talent than crowds.
Last Updated on Monday, 03 June 2013 21:59
HELENA – An organization that promotes limited government joined with a group of doctors on July 31 and announced a coalition to oppose the oncoming Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, saying it would be costly and not deliver on promises.
Americans for Prosperity and the Montana Medical Free Choice Coalition held a news conference on the steps of the state Capitol in Helena, an event that organizers said was attended by about 30 people. A few signs, such as “Obamacare ... Just say no” and “Give us Liberty, not mandated health care!” peppered the area.
According to a news release, the MMFCC opposes government-run health care, the president’s health care law, commonly called “Obamacare,” and supports “market-based and patient-centered reform.”
Joe Balyeat, the state director for AFP and former state lawmaker, said Obamacare would create “a whole new class of serfs in Montana.”
“People with incomes all the way up to $92,200 will have a portion of their insurance paid by the feds,” he said, adding it would put the majority the state’s residents on “the government dole.”
Last Updated on Friday, 03 August 2012 12:57
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Montana State University President Waded Cruzado testified before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee on higher-education tax incentives and the need for tax reform last week in Washington, D.C.
Cruzado was invited to testify, along with four other witnesses, by Finance Committee Chairman and senior Montana Sen. Max Baucus. In her written remarks, Cruzado focused on the mounting challenges students and their families have in paying for college and how tax policy can play an important role in making higher education more accessible.
“Overall, a dramatic decline in the finances of students and their families has forced them to borrow more,” Cruzado said in her written remarks. “Today’s students are tomorrow’s innovators, small business owners and employers. So when rising tuition costs keep families from affording college, it hurts our whole economy. We have a responsibility to give our future job creators all the tools they need to succeed, and giving working families tax breaks to send their kids to college is part of that effort,” said Baucus, whose Finance Committee has sole jurisdiction over the tax code.
The cornerstone form for applying for all federal financial aid for higher education is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, commonly known as the FAFSA, which allows students to qualify for loans, grants and work-study. At MSU, the number of FAFSA forms received has grown 43 percent in just three years and shows no signs of slowing down, Cruzado said in her testimony.
“When students and their families use the FAFSA form, those students with the greatest financial need qualify for Pell Grants. As such, Pell Grants are a good indicator of the financial stress students and their families face,” Cruzado said. “The number of students receiving Pell Grants has jumped 65.6 percent (at MSU) in just three years.”
Last Updated on Friday, 03 August 2012 12:55
The Yellowstone River Conservation District Council has announced plans to market its own private label beer with proceeds going toward conservation projects on the Yellowstone River.
Don Youngbauer, chairman of the YRCDC, arranged collaboration with Yellowstone Valley Brewing Co. of Billings who will produce the beverage named “692-No Dam Brew.” Jerry Hanson of Billings and a member of the Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) for the river group worked out the details with Yellowstone Valley Brewing Co.’s owner, George Moncure.
Hanson said the project has been in the works for over a year with extensive tasting and naming exercises in hopes that the marketplace will enjoy and try the No Dam Brew. The number 692 represents the number of miles the river is long. The Yellowstone is the longest free-flowing, or dam-free, river in the lower 48 states.
Mr. Moncure, the creator of the No Dam Brew, describes it as session ale with body from generous Munich malt yet low enough in gravity to please a wide range of beer lovers.
692 No Dam Brew is now available at the Yellowstone Valley Brewing Co. in Billings, but soon it will be available on tap at beer parlors and restaurants all the length of the Yellowstone River corridor.
Last Updated on Friday, 03 August 2012 12:52
When Natural Grocers opened last month at 304 S. 24th St., the number of organic markets in the city expanded to five. All are located in downtown or the West End. None are in the Heights.
“When a business hopeful wants to put up $100,000 or more for building and inventory, then there will be a health food store in the Heights,” said a staffer at one health food store.
Billings’ natural food stores are Bonanza, Good Earth Market Cooperative at 3024 Second Ave. N., Mary’s Health Foods at 2564 King Ave. W., Montana Harvest at 1710 Grand Ave. and Natural Grocers.
Main line stores such as Albertsons and IGA are beginning to stock an increasing number of organic foods. Also, Yellowstone Valley Outdoor Farmers Market opened July 21 at Skypoint at Broadway and Second Avenue North. The seasonal open air market runs until Oct. 6.
The five most commonly purchased food items in the United States are non-alcoholic beverages, proteins (meats, poultry, fish and eggs), dairy, cereals and bakery, fruits and vegetables, according to Aaron McNary, an economist at the Montana department of Labor and Industry in Helena.
Last Updated on Friday, 03 August 2012 12:51