Councilman Dave Strohmaier “fake marries” a couple in Caras Park

Check out this video passed on by Councilwoman Caitlin Copple: Dave Strohmaier, a member of the Missoula City Council and a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, “fake marries” a gay couple in Caras Park to show support for marriage equality.

Get this: Strohmaier conducts the ceremony wearing his fishing hat. (Sorry but I had trouble with the embed code, but click on the link to watch.)

In other news, the Missoula Independent has this story about the cell phone tower proposed for Waterworks Hill, the one I mentioned here yesterday, when I asked you about granny suites. (Hint, hint.)  More on cell phones again soon.

— Keila Szpaller

Back in the Garden City!

olentangyFinally! Whirlwind trip.

Here’s a picture of the Olentangy River in Columbus, Ohio.

So what’d I miss? I’m going to jump on a story about a cell phone tower, and I’m taking other ideas to add to the clean list of stories to write.

Also, if you have a mother-in-law unit you think is really sweet or hideously terrible, shoot me the address. It’s time to take a closer look at some of those homes in Missoula. My email is keila.szpaller@missoulian.com.

Oh, and you saw this story about the mom who says TSA treated her daughter like a terrorist, right? Her daughter is 4 years old.

Alrighty. Back in the saddle.

— Keila Szpaller

Howdy from the Buckeye State!

A quick hello from Columbus, Ohio.

These past few weeks, I’ve been buried in coal train stories, and I’ve kind of ignored you all. I’m sorry. Here’s the kickoff to the series in case you missed it.

This week, I’m at a cool Kiplinger Program fellowship in public affairs and digital media, so I still won’t be around much. But it’ll be worth it for the both of us: When I’m back with you on April 25, posts and tweets and reports will be better than ever!

Ciao for now.

— Keila Szpaller

A “welcome mat” for the neighborhood

Man alive, the Spruce Street and Toole Avenue area is getting, err, spruced up. First, new and cleaned up buildings, and secondly a miniature roundabout.

I drive through that intersection a lot to head up Scott Street. You wait, wait, wait, wait, wait … and then GO! And HOPE!

Wouldn’t it be great if the roundabout, or “mini urban,” gets folks through with less stress? And faster? And more safely?

Anyway, Councilwoman Cynthia Wolken has talked about that intersection before, but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to connect with her yesterday until it was too late for the print edition.

The amazing assistant news editor Cory Walsh got part of Wolken’s comments into the online version of the story (more on that in a minute), and I wanted you to read the rest of it ’cause I thought part of it was kind of neat.

“I believe, with an attractive design, it can serve as a sort of welcome mat into the Westside neighborhood,” Wolken wrote in an email.

A welcome mat! That sounds so cozy. Here’s the rest of it:

“I’m very excited about the recent additions to the Westside neighborhood.  There are a lot of great people who live here who are excited to support local businesses and neighborhood improvement projects, such as the roundabout at Spruce, Scott, and Toole.  The folks I have heard from are supportive of the roundabout and feel it will make it a safer, more accessible intersection for walkers, bikers, and pedestrians.”

I called the Bike Doctor for the story ’cause they’re right on that corner there, and they have been for a while. I was curious to hear what those folks would say.

Eric Cline, an owner there, is skeptical it’ll be better: “I think it’s likely to anger and frustrate more people than it’s likely to please,” said Cline, who noted his perspective comes from a cyclist’s.

I had been hoping to get Wolken’s feedback, too, because she lives close to the crossing, and she’s talked about it. I called her and couldn’t get through because, as I later learned, she was on an airplane.

Instead of leaving a voicemail, I shot her an email asking for comment if she was available. She sent it after 10 p.m., I read it after 11 p.m., close to 11:30 p.m. I know better, but I emailed it to Cory anyway, probably while the presses were already running.

What else? I text him. To make sure he gets it. (Yes, one of *those* reporters … )

So get this. Cory is already off work and watching probably the best television series on earth, “The Wire.” Yet he pauses. He stops his evening to add part of Wolken’s comments to the online version of the story.

How great is that? It’s pretty great.

I might have ignored me.

— Keila Szpaller

Humane Society adopts out 132 pets!

petpicGuess who is included in that bunch? DUDE! He was in the story about the adoption marathon this weekend at the Humane Society of Western Montana.

I was on the Saturday shift, and I had a blast covering the event. Photographer Michael Gallacher got adorable pictures, including the one at left.

I’m surprised neither of us came home with another pet, to be honest.

Director Lora O’Connor reported Monday that 132 pets were adopted in all, and the Missoulian story helped. I think that’s rad. The goal was 100 to 125, but the shelter stayed open late and got homes for a few more.

I had really hoped for a good home for Dude, and this weekend, he was adopted. Even more rad.

A kitty cat named Missy is still available, though. Check her out here! She loves feathers, but … she can be a couch potato. You can relate, right?

— Keila Szpaller