Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Time For Another Poll

Given that Super Tuesday is less than a week away, I thought it would be interesting to see what you think about the candidates.

The question is: Which Republican candidate do you think can beat the Democratic nominee? (See right)

The poll will run until next Thursday to give you time to digest the results from Tuesday and change your vote if you wish.

If you want to add a comment about your vote, e-mail me and I will post your remarks after the poll closes.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Issues: Where Do They Stand

I found this article helpful, if only for now.

Can't Argue With The Facts

In today's Tribune is an editorial decrying that the Tribune and Animal Foundation are "dirty". Evidently the writer thinks that the Animal Foundation has "undue influence on the Tribune as well as on the City". I don't know if this is true, but I do believe the writer is all for the Humane Society of Cascade County (HSCC) taking back control of the shelter.

About two weeks after the city took control of the animal shelter, they hired Kim Staton, an animal welfare consultant to review the shelter. She spent five days observing and talking with staff and issued a 32 page report on her findings, which she indicated was only an abbreviated report, outlining the more obvious problems.

Animal activists have been insistent that the HSCC be given back control of the shelter. According to this document that Susan Overfield scanned, the HSCC claimed in September 2007 that "because HSCC has been running the shelter for the past fifteen years, it has the experience to continue doing so and to do so effectively and efficiently".

* If they were doing such an effective and efficient job, why did they tell the commissioners on July 3, 2007 that it was a good idea for the city to take temporary control?

* If they were doing such an effective and efficient job, why did this independent animal welfare consultant find at least 120 deficiencies?

It seems many of the problems Ms. Staton observed had much to do with lack of training. I know of no business or organization that can be effective and efficient if it does not have trained staff. It's essential.

Let's take a look at some of the issues:

Lack of training - page 18:

"Current staff have had very limited training for the jobs they are required to perform. This results in costly mistakes, safety issues, frustration on the part of staff and the public, and a less professional organization. It also places staff in an unfair situation by expecting them to perform well in a job they have not been trained for. Further, it is difficult to hold staff accountable for errors that are made."

"I asked a number of staff what training they had received for their respective jobs and all of them indicated they learned from someone at the shelter. None had any formal training for the jobs they were doing".

This lack of training also led to other problems:

Animal care - page 16 - "While staff made a concerted effort to assess animals upon intake and record this information using an "Animal Health Check" form, no real training had been provided on how to properly evaluate an animal. For the most part, staff training consisted of "on the job" learning from previous employees whose training was also limited. Consequently, the legitimacy of any findings is questionable".

"Animal Care Standards" - page 17 - It was pointed out that the shelter was giving out "Animal Care Standards" to the public, but was not following the guidelines themselves.

Animal Vaccinations - page 9 - follow up vaccines were not being administered and different brands and types were being used.

Shelter Sanitation - page 19 - many "longstanding oversights" were referenced with lack of training and resources being given as the main reason for staff not following proper procedure.

The shelter also did not have any written guidelines.

Standard Operating Procedures - page 21 - "There is a glaring absence of written guidelines at the shelter. I was provided with some information on sanitation protocols, certain forms used at the shelter, and animal care guidelines provided to pet owners. Beyond that, I was not able to locate anything".

Is asking that the HSCC be back in control really a wise request?

Vote On Water And Sewer Increase

CCE (Citizens for Clean Energy) say that Commissioner Jolley voted against the water and sewer increase at last week's City Commission meeting. (Click on the Breaking News link).

The Tribune reported in their article that the vote was 5-0. According to my notes, she did ask questions, but did not dissent. Commissioner Jolley, would you mind clearing this up? Thanks.

Slow News Day?

It must have been a pretty slow news day on Sunday for the Tribune. The top headline of the day was about.....stop signs. I'm not making light of the story, because traffic control is important, but to be THE headline for Sunday's paper?

Let's see. What other topic could have made the cut:

1. More money to SME - We found out last week that the city just paid SME another $130,000+ for September and October "energy imbalances". We've discussed it here and here. The explanation given by City Manager John Lawton raised more questions than it answered. Nothing much new about that.

2. The City, SME and ECP - This relationship is just begging for an independent investigation. Gosh, the Trib. could maybe even win another Pulitzer Prize if it stepped up to the plate.

3. The City and water rights - I asked if anybody had a clue about this subject, and FireFly responded. Commissioner Jolley mentioned a report that was supplied by the city's water rights attorney that raised more questions.

4. City Commission Travel Fund - At the City Commission meeting last week, this issue was raised by Mary Jolley and prompted a response the next day from Assistant City Manager, Cheryl Patton. It's just another example of the city's caviler attitude toward our money.

5. Airport Authority - it seems everyday something new and exciting is happening with this organization. Just recently, they found out they couldn't keep information secret and now they want to get into the economic development business, but from the sounds of it, management is not qualified. What's really going on up there?

6. Fairgrounds mismanagement - After reading Commissioner Joe Briggs' comment here, my question is why this 'lack of fiscal control over spending" has not been addressed sooner? How responsible is local "management" for this apparent mismanagement?

7. The Animal Shelter - It would be nice if the Trib. would do an unbiased exposé of this entire story from ALL parties involved in animal welfare in Great Falls. As I've mentioned before, there are always two sides to every story and in this case, at least three or four.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Be Aware!

Police say that the gang usually is comprised of four members, one adult and three younger ones. While the three younger ones, all appearing sweet and innocent, divert their 'mark' (or intended target) with a show of friendliness , the fourth -- the eldest -- sneaks in from behind the person's back to expertly rifle through his or her pocket or purse for any valuables. Be on the alert!!

Scroll down to see a photo from a recent attack that was captured on film..

Friday, January 25, 2008

Second Poll Results

Thanks to those of you who participated. 9 of you liked the new name of the minor league ball club, the Voyagers, 9 of you did not and 1 didn't care. Personally, I don't care for the name, but I am curious about who/what the mascot will be.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Volunteers Are Needed

RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program) needs your help:

We are seeking volunteers for our February 4th through the 7th commodities distribution. We need help unloading food from the semis, stacking pre-boxed food, and to help deliver the food to low-income seniors. The commodities will be held at the Family Living Center which is located at Expo Park. Some of the jobs that we need volunteers for are:

UNLOADERS: These folks will be unloading the semi that brings us the food for our clients. This is done on Monday from 9:00-10:00.

STACKERS: These folks help stack the boxes of food as they come off the packing line. This is done on Monday from 10:30-until finished. Lunch will be provided.

HAULERS: These folks are needed to help load the food in our client's vehicles. This is done on Tuesday-Thursday, 9:00am-6:30pm. You can pick the day and amount of time you wish to volunteer.

DRIVERS: These folks are needed to deliver the food to our clients who can't pick up their box of food. This is done on Tuesday-Thursday, 8:00am-6:30pm. You can pick the day and amount of time you wish to volunteer.

PARKDALE: We desperately need 4-6 volunteers on Monday between the hours of 3pm-6pm to help the Parkdale Distribution center deliver about 44 boxes of food. For more information contact Don Calkins at 727-1120 or email him at

We always look forward to recruiting new volunteers. So if you think you may be interested in volunteering, email or call me with the day, time and job that you would like to volunteer for. My email address is or call me 454-6989 and we'll sign you up for an hour or a day, whatever time you can contribute will be greatly appreciated.

Russell H. McKinney
Retired Senior Volunteer Program
Independent Senior Volunteer Coordinator
Located at: 1004 Central Ave, 2nd Floor

Coal To Liquid Fuel Plant Meeting

Here's your chance to learn more and voice your opinion about the proposed Coal to Liquid Fuel Plant.

What: Air Force Town Hall Meeting

When: January 30, 2008
6:00pm - 8:00pm

Where: Great Falls Civic Center

What A Shock

I did not know Stan Perkins personally, but I did take a Montana history class from him about 8-10 years ago through Northern. I liked him as an instructor. He knew his stuff.

Then this. It's one thing to read about an unknown person doing things like this, but it makes a difference when you knew the person enough to have formed a positive opinion.

We just never know.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Energy Imbalance

When the agenda came out last Friday for tonight's City Commission meeting, I questioned this item . Commissioner Jolley asked that the item be pulled from the consent agenda for further discussion, which it was. According to John Lawton, this is what it means:

* SME buys power from PPL and sells it to the city.

* During the course of the month, sometimes the demand for power is high, sometimes it is not. This imbalance is tracked by NorthWestern, the cost of which is market driven.

* It takes a few months for the actual imbalances to be calculated and the invoices sent to the city.

When the vote was taken on this item, Commissioner Jolley dissented.

So yes, Firefly, you do need to add $130,700 to your totals for 2007.

Monday, January 21, 2008

2 And 2 Are Not Equaling 4

In today's Tribune is an article about the Animal Foundation. Included are the following numbers pertaining to the Foundation:

Total assets: $1,308,907

Contributions: 1,145,995
Fur Ball proceeds: 161,863
Proceeds from investments: 97,352

Expenses: 96,349

Difference: $46.00

The Animal Foundation's website reports that they have raised $1,426,207. (I'm assuming this amount includes the proceeds from investments). According to the information published by the Trib., they have raised $1,405.210. That is a difference of $ 20,997.

Today, Susan Overfield posted her take on the numbers and comes up with a difference of $ 117,346.00.

So, which is it? $20,997 or $117,346? Either way, there's a problem.

He Had A Dream

Here is the complete text of Martin Luther King's, I Have A Dream speech.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Jan. 22 City Commission Agenda

Here is the agenda for the January 22 City Commission meeting.

Consent agenda: Note page 2 of the total expenditures (#7) under Electric:

Sept. energy imbalance adj. $54,752
Oct. energy imbalance adj. $75,948

Does anyone know what this is about?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

And Some People Think Great Falls Is Boring

In a matter of two weeks or so we've had an animal activist group demand the recall of certain city officials and the minor league baseball team, the White Sox, change their name. While the two aren't related, they have generated discussion. And that's a good thing.

Over at GreaterFalls, David has received several comments about the name change. Since the Recall Poll was successful with 62 of you participating, I thought I would try another one. This time about the name change. If you're new to it, it's real simple. Just click on your answer; no signing in. You can't vote more than once, but you can change your answer. (See right column).
Here is the footage of the sighting.

The Poll Was A Success!

Thank you all very much for participating in the first Cataract City poll. 62 of you voted. By a slim margin, most of you believe the recall will be successful. 32 or 51% said it will succeed and 29 or 46% thought it will not. Only one person said they didn't care. Sure glad it was only one.

Now, for my "expert" analysis:

When the poll first went up, I think the majority were placing the recall in the context of the animal shelter abuse allegations and did not think it would be a success. But, as time went on, I think folks began to realize this could be a good way to clean up city hall.

For sake of argument, let's say the signatures are gathered, the vote taken and the mayor and the two commissioners are recalled. Where does that leave us:

1. A city manager on the job for less than a year, maybe not even six months
2. Two commissioners on the job for less than a year
3. Two other commissioners and a mayor who would be brand new to the job
4. City department heads who are used to doing things under the "old guard"

I'm not convinced recall is the answer. Should it occur, I would feel more confident if there were experienced leaders at the helm. Granted, Bill Bronson and Mary Jolley have been involved in city politics, but they have never been commissioners before, sitting on the other side of the desk.

If the mayor and both commissioners are recalled, that means three brand new people on board. Who would they be? They could end up being the same or worse, which is very possible.

The city manager answers to the city commission so we would have a new city manager answering to new bosses.

Before attempting this recall, I'm in favor of giving the two new commissioners and the new city manager a chance before we start making drastic changes.

Have You Ever Been Neezled?

I bet you have. According to my Forgotten English desk calendar, neezled is an old English word meaning a little drunk or intoxicated.

88 years ago, on January 16, 1920 at the stroke of midnight, prohibition commenced in America. It lasted until March of 1933.

In 1876 Mark Twain had this to say, "Prohibition only drives drunkenness behind doors and into dark places, and does not cure it or even diminish it". (I'm sure the Mafia would agree with that)!

Investigation Found Mistakes

You can find the 22 page report here.

According to today's breaking news on the online Tribune, the police department's investigation of alleged abuses at the animal shelter did find that mistakes were made, but that no criminal conduct occurred. On Tuesday, city commissioners will appoint a lawyer to independently review the investigation.

Water Rights Explained

A few days ago I asked if anybody could explain our water rights. Firefly posted a very good explanation at her place.

Thanks FireFly!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

New City Manager

Gregory Doyon, from New Hampshire, will be our new city manager. His first day on the job will be March 24.


One More Day

Well folks, you have only one more day to vote or change your vote in the unofficial Cataract City recall poll.

In today's Tribune, we learn that "proposed language for recall petitions at three city officials (Stebbins, Beecher and Rosenbaum) was submitted to the Cascade County Elections Office on Tuesday". A deputy Cascade County civil attorney has five days to examine the language.

According to Elections Supervisor, Debbie Mart, more research is needed to establish whether the others listed in the recall fit the definition of an appointed official; City Manager, John Lawton, Police Chief, Corky Grove and animal shelter director, Jamie Bennett.

Each petition will need 7,480 votes.

Monday, January 14, 2008

If You Don't Have Plans Tomorrow (Tuesday) Night...

You just may want to attend the public hearing on the re-zoning of the land that SME wants to use for the Highwood Generating Station. The commissioners (county) believe the meeting will last through midnight. If you can't attend in the afternoon, you can still voice your opinion in the evening.

It starts at 3:00pm in the Trade and Industries Building at the fairgrounds.

Water Rights. Who Understands Them?

Does anybody out there know or know of somebody who can explain our water rights and how they work? This is a serious issue, but nobody I have talked to really understands the ins and outs of them.

Cause for Paws

NO. This is not a fundraising request.

First, let me begin by saying that I am not involved in any way with any of the animal organizations in town. I do not personally know any of the players. I do not have a bone (no pun intended) to pick with anyone nor do I have a "secret" agenda. I'm a concerned citizen who has what I think are legitimate questions and concerns.

This post is primarily about questions I have pertaining to a couple of the demands made by the Ric Valois and Susan Overfield group. Ric Valois' entire statement at the January 8 commission meeting can be found here.

Demand #2: "I am calling for the immediate transfer of care and responsibility of the existing shelter to be placed back in the domain of the Humane Society of Cascade County, with a full team of citizens oversight on board at the moment of transfer. All funding and financial resources approved by the City and County, at the level stated in the Staton report, to revert back to the HSCC as well".

In July 2007 I was in attendance at the commission meeting when the commission voted to give control of the shelter to the police department. The president of the HSCC and a member of the board each approached the podium and thanked the commission for their decision. This was 6 months ago. What has changed with HSCC? In fact, are they even a viable organization? They still have a website, with a couple of the links in "Adorable Adoptables"updated, but there is no link to a board of directors. And since I have mentioned their site, why do they have a list of animals available for adoption as well as a list of those that have been? This information is dated primarily November and December 2007. They are not in control so why the posting? For me, as an outsider, this is creating more confusion.

Has there been any discussion between HSCC and the city for HSCC to take back control? I have not heard of any. This makes me wonder if HSCC is in favor of taking back the shelter or if it's what Ric, Susan and their group want.

And who would be this "full team of citizens oversight?" Ric, Susan and their group or an impartial one?

Demand #3: I am calling for the HSCC to install people of proven capability and integrity, Amy Lowe and Jason Dern, to positions of authority in the care and function of the reacquired shelter.

Jason Dern resigned his position at the animal shelter in November. When I read the animal documentations that GeeGuy scanned, I was surprised not to see any correspondence from Mr. Dern telling his story. He had nothing to loose. He had already quit his job. If I recall those e-mails correctly, Ms. Lowe commented that she was fighting this all alone and needed help. Where was Mr. Dern?

In today's Tribune, there is a letter to the editor from K. Dale Schwanke, the personal representative of the Margaret Maclean estate. This is part of his comment: "I spent considerable time researching the possible ways I could fulfill her wishes. Although the Humane Society of Cascade County (HSCC) made a proposal, I did not find it satisfactory as the HSCC was advised". He went on to award $400,000 to the Animal Foundation.

Granted, we don't know the details, but there was something he did not like and an opportunity for an underfunded organization to receive $400,000 went out the window. One can't help but wonder why.

Finally, a couple of more concerns:

-the animosity these various pro animal groups have toward each other. How in the world can they expect trust from the public when they can't get along with themselves? And from what I continue to read, the relationship between these groups is not getting close to being warm and fuzzy.

-no plan about how HSCC will improve the situation from when they had control before. And we know there were problems; otherwise, why would two board members, one of whom was the president, have agreed that it was best for the city to take control?

Here is a comment from Ric Valois from the January 5 Tribune:

"Valois said he favors an effort to recall city commissioners and the mayor for their actions on animal control and the shelter. He added that the Humane Society's only problem when it ran the shelter and animal control was a lack of funding from the city".

There is ALWAYS two sides to every story and right now, this very vocal side is giving me cause to pause. At this point in time, I just can't believe that lack of funding was the only problem.

p.s. - the documents that GeeGuy scanned are no longer available at mediafire. It's been previously posted that you can get a copy at Licini's print shop.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Official Misconduct

With all this recall talk, I thought it be a good idea to find out how the state of Montana defines official misconduct.

45-7-401. Official misconduct. (1) A public servant commits the offense of official misconduct when in his official capacity he commits any of the following acts:
(a) purposely or negligently fails to perform any mandatory duty as required by law or by a court of competent jurisdiction;
(b) knowingly performs an act in his official capacity which he knows is forbidden by law;
(c) with the purpose to obtain advantage for himself or another, performs an act in excess of his lawful authority;
(d) solicits or knowingly accepts for the performance of any act a fee or reward which he knows is not authorized by law; or
(e) knowingly conducts a meeting of a public agency in violation of 2-3-203.

I'm not an attorney, but reading through it, I don't think recalling these officials is going to be as easy as some may think. Which is a good thing. If it were,I can only imagine how many officials would be chucked out of office and government would effectively cease to exist.

Recall Rules

This is information received from Deb Mart, the Elections Supervisor of Cascade County. I'm paraphrasing what was said:

Before the recall process starts, those asking for the recall must submit proof of misconduct. When that documentation is received by the county, it is then given to their attorney who has one week to review the documentation to see if it meets the appropriate criteria. If so, the process can begin. If it does not, the recall group can appeal the decision to a judge.

If the recall gets the green light:

There must be a petition for EACH official

EACH official must receive a minimum of 7,480 signatures in order for their name to be placed on the special election ballot. (Even though six were asked to resign, they are treated independently of each other).

The recall group has three months to collect signatures

Not all officials have to be recalled for the others to be. It all depends on the number of signatures each receives. And, just because you may sign one petition, doesn't mean you have to sign the others.


Official 1 - receives 2,500 names
Official 2 - receives 5,000 names
Official 3 - receives 3,100 names
Official 4 - receives 7,500 names
Official 5 - receives 7,300 names
Official 6 - receives 2,450 names

Official 4 would be the only name on the special election ballot.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

We Have Names

From the Great Falls Tribune: Here is the list of the city manager candidates. They will be interviewed on Saturday at the Holiday Inn, Russell Room. The interviews are open to the public.

1. James H. Patrick, the city manager of Kalispell

2. Michael L. Ashcraft, deputy city manager in Olathe, Kans.

3. Gregory Thomas Doyon, city manager of Franklin, N.H.

4. Michael L. Stampfler, a consultant and former city manager of Casselberry, Fla., and Portage, Mich.

5. Mark A. Winson, vice president of Lake Superior College in Duluth, Minn., and former city of Duluth chief administrative officer


Well, it looks like the animal activists will be going forward with their recall of the mayor, two city commissioners, the city manager, the police chief and the animal control director.

They will need 6 different petitions with a minimum of 7480 votes each in order for the recalls to make the ballot for a special election. They will have 3 months to do it.

So, do you think they can? At the top of the right column is a poll. It works pretty slick. Just click on your answer. You don't have to sign in so there's no excuse not to participate.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Just Who Is HSCC?

One of the demands Ric Valois made last night at the City Commission meeting was that the Humane Society of Cascade County be immediately reinstated as head of the animal shelter. If you visit the HSCC website, nothing, other than the link to the board and staff, has been updated since they were last in charge.

I'm curious. There's a DEMAND that these people take back control, but, who are they?

Did The Scream Go With It?

This reminds me of Howard Dean. I wonder if the "scream" went with it?

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

A Breath Of Fresh Air

Tonight's city commission meeting was enjoyable. Commissioner Mary Jolley made comments and asked questions that spurred dialogue amongst the commissioners. She dissented on agenda items 4 & 5. For regular followers of the commission meetings, you know that dissenting votes have been very few and far between for several years.

The highlight of the evening were the animal activists. A few of their demands:

-the immediate resignation of Mayor Stebbins, Commissioners Beecher and Rosenbaum, Police Chief Grove, City Manager Lawton and the director of the animal shelter. If they don't turn in their resignations to Commissioners Bronson and Jolley by Wednesday, January 9, they will immediately start the recall process.

-that the shelter be immediately turned over to the Humane Society of Cascade County.

-opening of the city books for public inspection. If ignored, those asked to resign will have their personal finances investigated.

Susan Overfield was in attendance and made a few remarks that lasted much less than five minutes. Thank goodness.

I'm not familiar with the recall process, but this is what I found concerning Montana.

Monday, January 7, 2008

An Expected Outcome

There is quite a discussion going on over at GeeGuy's about the animal shelter and the so-called town hall meeting Saturday night. I didn't attend and I'm glad I didn't. From the comments that have been made, it was a one-sided affair, which I believe was the intent in the first place.

According to the article in Sunday's paper, Ric Valois is loaded for bear. He encouraged everyone to block Animal Foundation fundraising, because I guess they're in cahoots with the city. He also said that the city commissioners, except for Jolley and Bronson, and the chief of police, better resign or he is going to start collecting signatures for a recall. When I brought up Sunday's article, Ms Overfield indicated that some had already volunteered to collect signatures. Her quote, "The removal of the current administration and all cronies is not about IF, it's now merely about WHEN".

The article mentioned that Mary Jolley asked several questions, but did not elaborate on what those were.

Mary, if you would like to e-mail me your questions and the answers, I will post them.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Glad To Hear It

I am glad to read that the city is going to hire a special examiner to look into the animal shelter allegations.

I am wondering though why this wasn't done in the beginning. Maybe it has to do with some internal investigation process with which I am not familiar.

Friday, January 4, 2008

City Commission Agenda

Find the January 8th city commission agenda here.

A Good Example of Blatant Hypocrisy

In today's offline edition of the Tribune was a guest opinion by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. You can find the article here.

I don't have a problem with the article, but I do take issue with a quote from democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards:

"In the last 30 years, our country has systematically pursued policies to concentrate wealth and power in the hands of the richest Americans while making the rest of us poorer, more insecure and more vulnerable."

I'll just bet John Edwards is more insecure and more vulnerable since his net worth is estimated by Money Magazine to be about only $55 million. Poor thing. I wonder just how much "poorer" he has become since these policies have been in place?

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Instruction Frustration

Before I start, let me just say that I am neither a computer idiot or an Einstein. I'm somewhere in between.

I am working on a PDF project that I am hoping I can publish online. I've never done this before, but I'm always, for the most part, willing to take on a challenge. I found "instructions" about how to do this. I felt great when a message popped up telling me my file would be converted in approximately 10 hours. I was a little surprised at the length of time, but figured they must have a lot of jobs. An hour into it, I received a message that my job had timed out. Now what? No instructions telling me it was still queued, or to resubmit, nothing. So, I checked the FAQs and, you guessed it, nothing that answered my question. I hate to admit it, but I abandoned ship. It was a trial offer so at least I wasn't out anything, except my time.

I started to look for a plan B. I found another option and submitted my file, but when the process was complete, I couldn't find the file. No message telling me where to look, etc. so I assumed it probably didn't process. I went back and tried it again, but this time, I got a message telling me "the service is temporarily out of order while it is checking your sign on credentials". My only options were to go back or to cancel. I went back, but the same thing happened, so I canceled.

Well, lo and behold, this morning I received an e-mail from my very first submission; the one that timed out. It was ready for pick-up!! (10 hours took only 3+ days!). I "picked it up" and the good news is, it is my file. Tonight, when I have more time, I will see if it will do what I think it should.

Stay tuned.

Taxpayers Ride To The Rescue, Again

"Anyone who believes that the government can give the country presents has fallen for the oldest political illusion of all - the illusion of something for nothing".

Thomas Sowell has a good article in today's offline editorial page of the Trib. You can find it here.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Snake That Ate Golf Balls

I didn't wake up this morning thinking I would be googling python snakes today, but that is exactly what I did.

The Billings Gazette has an online section entitled "Strange News", which can sometimes be amusing. Today there is an article about a python in Australia that ate four golf balls thinking they were chicken eggs. According to the article about pythons, they use sight, smell and heat to ambush their prey. Evidently the owners of a chicken coop placed the balls inside the coop to encourage their hen to nest. The article didn't say if the plan worked, but I bet they don't try it again. The snake, after surgery, is recovering nicely.

It's Hard To Trust Any Of Them

GeeGuy has a post about an item that Susan Overfield posted on her site regarding a report filed on the animal shelter.

As I mentioned here, I cannot understand how operating an animal shelter has disintegrated into such controversy. I am not personally acquainted with any of the players, but I just can't help think all parties involved are, to some degree or another, responsible for this total breakdown. There are just too many accusations being tossed about that are being refuted, a comment posted that needed to be retracted and who knows what else.

How can anyone trust anything that is said?

If the care of animals is really what is uppermost on the minds of these folks, then they need to stop the power struggle or whatever the hell it is and get on with the business of taking care of the animals.