Scuttled solar, bison prophylactics, and oil-and-gas exploration is Bakken the saddle again in Montana

A few newbies from Fellows today. From Sammy Fretwell at The State:

Scuttled solar deal leaves churches, charities in the lurch

With power bills averaging $5,000 a month, Glenforest School was interested in an ambitious solar energy project that could save the small academy big money.

A New England company told Glenforest that adding a solar component could cut the West Columbia school’s electric bill by thousands of dollars. What’s more, the company was offering free solar panels through a federally supported program that encouraged renewable energy projects.

“This was critical,” principal Chris Winkler said. “It would have saved us $1,000 a month I could put toward the kids. And plus, I could have had the kids learn about solar energy.”... Read more.

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From Cassandra Willyard, blogging for Smithsonian.com:

The isle where buffalo roam

In 1924, a film crew descended on California’s Catalina Island to shoot a silent Western calledThe Vanishing American. When the filming was finished, the crew members packed up and left. Legend has it, however, that they abandoned several of their extras. The castoffs—14 American bison—took up residence in the arid hills of this rocky island.

In the decades that followed, the bison did what bison do: The animals grazed and bred. Each spring a new batch of calves was born. By the late 1980s, some records suggest the herd had swelled to more than 500 animals (pdf). On this small island where no bison had ever lived before, these unlikely ungulates thrived... Read more.

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From Sarah Gilman, blogging at High Country News. (She even gives a shout-out to IJNR!):

That old Bakken forth

There's an ongoing, half-bitter joke at High Country News that nothing we cover ever reaches true resolution. Flip through newsprint HCN papers from the 1990s and you're bound to see headlines you could very well read on our blog or in our now-glossy pages today: "Las Vegas seeks watery jackpot," "Conservatism still reigns in Idaho," "The West's native sheep scramble for a foothold," or the perennial "ORVs are the scourge of the West's public lands."

It's enough to make a girl feel that she's traveling some kind of journalistic mobius strip.

tWhich brings us to Montana's Rocky Mountain Front -- a sweep of sheer-cliffed peaks that virtually explode upward from the gentle swells of the High Plains... Read more.