News » Etc.

Another Independent paper and Montana history in the news



As the Indy staff and its compadres slowly emerge from the cranial fog left behind by the cornucopia of free wine, champagne, Latin rhythms and full frontal nekkidness of last week’s Independent 10th anniversary party, what better time to announce the birth of another soon-to-be weekly in our neck of the woods?

On April 5, the first issue of The Clark Fork Wagon Wheel rolled into town, the latest addition to the greater Missoula news ’n’ gossip market. The Wagon Wheel is the first stab at commercial media publishing by 28-year-old founder, editor and writer Don Linton of Alberton, who says he wants the Wagon Wheel to be known as “the good-news newspaper.”

With an initial press run of 3,200 papers, the Wagon Wheel is making the rounds as far west as Fish Creek, east to Frenchtown and north to Evaro. And, like any salty independent worth its weight in newsprint and soy-based inks, the Double W plans is distributed for free.

“We’re just trying to serve this community out here, because we’re kind of forgotten by the other media sources,” says Linton about the 12-page debut issue. Future issues will also feature light community news, new business openings, birth announcements and a community calendar. (P.S. Don’t tell the Calendar Kid.) No word yet on any hostile takeover bids by corporate media behemoth Lee Enterprises, but we’re all remaining vigilant for that looming shadow and telltale “Caw!” of the Iowa-based vultures. Best of luck to the newest newsies on the block. We’ll see y’all down at the Press Club bar. (As soon as Missoula gets one.)

How often do you find word from Montana in any of those glossy national magazines you see at the newsstand? Almost never these days, and perhaps that’s a good thing. The last thing we need, after all, is another influx of Californians-cum-flyfishers, with their uncalloused hands and wardrobes lifted straight from the pages of the Sundance catalog. But still, a little publicity wouldn’t kill us. Hell, if it weren’t for the Freemen and Ted Kaczynski, most Americans wouldn’t even know we were here.

So imagine our surprise when we opened up the pages of American History magazine (we were irresistibly drawn to the cover announcing the breaking antiquarian news: “George Washington Faces Defeat on Long Island!”) to find not one but two articles about life in the Treasure State.

Or at least, how life used to be in the Treasure State. On page 32 of the upcoming June issue, Colorado freelancer Doug Hacker offers a cursory look at the WWII internment camps in western Montana, outlining the strange political environment that led to the imprisonment of foreign nationals, mainly Italians, in what is now the civilian turf of Fort Missoula. One-time prisoner and beloved proprietor of Broadway Market Alfredo Cipolato figures prominently.

A few pages later—among all the ads for collector’s plates and Civil War memorabilia—Montanan Bert Gildart commemorates the 125th anniversary of the Battle of Little Big Horn, white man’s most famous failure on the frontier, from the perspective of the winners—i.e., the Sioux and Northern Cheyenne. Native American historians and the fair-haired boy of Western Americana George Armstrong Custer figure prominently. Hey, at least Montana is getting some press, even if it is—in the most literal sense—passé.

Add a comment