City lights: Tomorrow’s news yesterday, or something

2010-08-22T00:00:00Z 2010-08-22T09:12:38Z City lights: Tomorrow’s news yesterday, or somethingED KEMMICK OF The Gazette Staff The Billings Gazette
August 22, 2010 12:00 am  • 

By the time you read this, I will have been on vacation for nearly two weeks.

Fortunately, I have been in the news biz long enough that my predictive powers are nearly unmatched, allowing me to weigh in on events that will, I’m quite certain, have occurred in my absence.

For starters, how about the tornado that struck Dehler Park during the Bob Dylan concert, just as Dylan was singing the first chorus on “Blowin’ in the Wind”? What can I add to the expressions of astonishment?

It’s a miracle that no one was killed, and who doesn’t see the hand of a benevolent deity in the fact that the tornado forced the evacuation of the park just 20 minutes before a carload of drunks crashed through the outside fence and sailed into left field for the second time this year?

 

Western expansion

 

As for the Parmly Billings Library, I’m just glad the site-selection committee finally came through with its recommendation.

I was a little surprised at first, thinking Reed Point was just a tad far outside of town, but I have to agree with the committee that we need to plan ahead for the inevitable westward expansion of the city.

And who could object to Library Director Bill Cochran’s idea for keeping construction costs down? Allowing people to pay off their library fines by serving as laborers on the project is perfectly brilliant. Ditto with the planned reuse of the old downtown library building. It is bound to become the nation’s premier indoor disc golf facility.

 

Biden gores gal

 

Will these tourists never learn? During Vice President Joe Biden’s second trip to Yellowstone National Park this summer, he was on hand to dedicate a new $43 million toilet built with stimulus funds.

Visitors were warned repeatedly not to get too close to the deceptively slow-moving veep, but a Rhode Island woman kept inching her way toward the national icon.

Park rangers say she was within 12 feet of Biden when, startled by the flash of a news photographer’s camera, the veep lunged forward, lowered his head, caught the tourist by the right thigh and tossed her over his head. She suffered a broken leg and numerous cuts and bruises. Biden was not hurt.

 

Trimming the weeds

 

Congratulations to the Legislative Interim Committee on Reforming Montana’s Hilariously Inadequate Medical Marijuana Law.

The panel’s common-sense suggestions ought to be considered carefully by the full Legislature. Particularly welcome is the recommendation to provide funding for classes in which elderly and arthritic patients are given training in the proper way to roll a marijuana cigarette.

Another class would teach proper group-smoking protocol. Don’t Bogart that joint, grandma.

I also like the idea of shutting down all the state’s many growing operations and confining the cultivation, production and packaging of medical marijuana to the Montana State Prison Farm in Deer Lodge. This will put control back in the state’s hands while giving convicts valuable job skills. It remains to be seen what effect the proposal will have on state license plates.

 

Ahead of his time

 

Congratulations to the Duck Creek-area man who was installing a septic tank and found a well-preserved cottonwood stump on which Capt. William Clark carved his name on July 24, 1806. It is remarkable that Clark also carved into the wood this observation — “this would in all Probabillity be a fine spot on which to establish severel Casinnoes” — and that it likewise survived these 200 years.

And a few miscellaneous observations:

I wish I could have been here for the Aug. 15 snowstorm.

The fickleness of Mother Nature was on full display when the Nobody Was Watching the Bonfire fire scorched 1,200 acres north of Big Timber just two days after the snowstorm.

Kudos to the Montana Supreme Court for ruling in favor of Broadwater Elementary fifth-grader Josh Johansen, who sued School District 2 on the grounds that starting school on the Wednesday before Labor Day amounted to cruel and unusual punishment.

Enjoy your extended vacation, kids!

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