The Billings Outpost

Rambunctious bison live on

Story and Photo - By CAL CUMIN - For The Outpost

Doc Woerner points to Henry’s femur while holding the femur of a Columbian mammoth.In the middle of winter several years ago, veterinarian Don Woerner of Laurel’s East Animal Center got a call for help. The Humane Society of Northwest Montana was asking him to assist in dealing with what was probably the largest animal rescue effort ever in the U.S.

Dr. Woerner had helped the Humane Society before as a veterinarian.

The 400-acre Montana Large Animal Sanctuary, spreading over 400 acres at Niaradia near Kalispell and operated by Brian and Kathryn Warrington, had managed to run out of funds and common sense to care for their 810 animals, many of which were dying from starvation and neglect.

Last Updated on Friday, 17 April 2015 11:03

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Redneck in Red China, Part 2

Dam reboots Chinese economy

Story and Photo - By BRAD MOLNAR - For The Outpost
On a smog-shrouded morning, the massive Three Gorges Dam looms over China.

Historically the fate of nations has depended on two issues: energy and transportation. Successful nations have incentivized what works and ignored what doesn’t. 

You can say what you want about China and whatever you say will be true, unless you say the Chinese are sitting on their heels. There are many proofs, but the greatest is now recognized as one of the Wonders of the Modern World: the Three Gorges Dam, known in China as the TGP (Three Gorges Project).

I recently toured the Three Gorges, the largest dam in the world, located about a 45-minute drive from Yichang (pronounced E-shaung). Though shrouded in the early morning mist, it was an awesome sight.

This dam was enveloped in international criticism with concern for the migration of sturgeon, the displacement of a million people, and the submerging of historical sites and relics from its ground breaking. Any of those arguments would have kept such a project in the United States on the drawing board and in the courts.

Completed in 2007, TGP generates 18,200 megawatts of power every hour. By comparison, the Hoover Dam generates 2,000 MW per hour. The largest dam in America, the Grand Coulee, generates 10,830.

When first completed, the TGP supplied 10 percent of China’s power, but because of double digit economic growth, and a rising middle class, it now produces 2 percent of China’s energy needs.

Last Updated on Saturday, 04 April 2015 10:55

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Monte loses Carlo


During the 60-some years that the Monte Carlo Casino has operated in Billings, it’s hard to imagine that anyone ever confused it with the Monte Carlo Casino in the Principality of Monaco.

But the powers that be in Monaco, which owns the copyright on the name, apparently thought it was worth the trouble to avoid the possibility of such confusion. And so, after more than three years of negotiations and legal wrangling, the Billings casino dropped the second part of its name last week.

Welcome to the Monte.

“It’s kind of sad,” Cori LaFever said. “It’s the end of an era.”

Cori is the 28-year-old daughter of Neal LaFever, the longtime owner of the Monte Carlo who died on Feb. 22 at the age of 70. She had been working with her father for the past four years, trying to learn the ropes of the casino and his other business interests.

After his unexpected death, she said, there’s “no more easing into it.”

Most people assume it’s the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino in Las Vegas that is forcing the name change, LaFever said, but it’s definitely Monaco, a city-state on the French Riviera.

Last Updated on Thursday, 02 April 2015 10:36

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Crichton stepping down from ACLU

Story and Photo - By ED KEMMICK -

At age 67, Scott Crichton figures he’s earned some time off.MISSOULA — In a few months, Scott Crichton is going to be playing a lot more guitar.

Twenty-eight years after becoming the first full-time executive director of the Montana chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, he plans to leave his job in August.

That will give him more time for his music, taking him back to the beginning of his long career as an activist and organizer, when he sang labor songs, civil rights songs and songs of struggle. At 67, he figures he’s earned some time off.

Last Updated on Friday, 27 March 2015 14:33

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