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As we turn the corner and stare down Highway 2007, wondering what bumps lie ahead, we pause for a look back at some noteworthy potholes our fellow Montanans dug for themselves in 2006. What, we can’t help but wonder, where they thinking?

If at first you don’t succeed, alienate even more potential supporters…When Missoula’s Air America affiliate was pulled off the airwaves in late February (reportedly due to the difficulty of selling ads on the unabashedly left-wing frequency), a group of loyal listeners vowed to bring the station back. So they launched a website in March and held a benefit film screening in April. The film? Loose Change 2nd Edition, a controversial documentary alleging that the U.S. government was behind the 9/11 attacks. The event raised about $300, but we still haven’t heard Jack from Al Franken.

Big dog on the loose…Gov. Brian Schweitzer, visiting Missoula in May, escaped with a warning after an anonymous caller reported that Guv and his omnipresent border collie, Jag, were wandering leashless around town. The dog was unleashed, that is. Way to go, dogtown…

Bright ideas…On July 4, a still-unidentified East Missoulian decided to celebrate American independence by sparking Mount Jumbo with a backyard fireworks display. The ensuing spectacle brought Missoulians to the curb to watch slurry bombers plying the skies, but the $182,000 firefighting bill hardly seemed worth the show.

And we thought we were going to be the next Boulder…Former Sen. Conrad Burns (now that’s got a nice ring to it) hogged most of the headlines with his never-ending parade of gaffes, but it was Sen. Max Baucus who marked the September opening of Missoula’s new DirecTV call center with the memorable (and disturbing) line, “Move over Bangalore.”

A cold night for alligators…when two Kalispell boys hooked a 5-foot alligator while fishing in a local pond last August, the fun was just beginning. The ensuing vigilante-fest drew more than 50 people with fishing poles, archery equipment and knives (one man wrestled with the gator and slashed its throat). The “hunt” lasted until authorities, who never did file cruelty charges, showed up around 10 p.m.

One hot minute…Billings native and reigning Miss Teen USA Katie Blair made us proud when she became the first woman from Montana to win a major beauty pageant in August. Then she made us cringe when Mothers Against Drunk Driving severed ties with their hard-partying 18-year-old spokesperson earlier this month. For her next act, Blair got busted making out with Miss USA at a Trump Place birthday bash in New York City for Miss Universe. At least we know what she was thinking.

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