I’m very honored and excited to be back on the printed page with “Restoring Butte” here in The Butte Weekly. This is my fourth column series, and the first one since 2005 when I authored “The Thirteenth Stool,” a title given by the late, great Rick Foote, who was the Weekly’s editor at the time. A true Butte character, it was Rick’s request to play off the old Butte “R.A.T.S.” acronym. For those who don’t know, “R.A.T.S” stood for Royal Association of Twelve Stoolers, an unofficial group of individuals, from whom when drunk, you wanted to stay at least twelve bar stools away. I never did ask Rick if he was implying it was me sitting on thirteenth stool, or speaking from the twelfth, but no matter. I didn’t make the list, at least not that I’m aware.
Prior to that, I co-penned the award-winning and infamous “Rat Chat,” with Bill Foley in The Montana Standard, as well as another solo venture in the daily, which I called “The Last Best Guess,” a column featuring topics of natural resources, conservation and outdoor recreation topics.
Now, here I go again.
“Restoring Butte” will be my effort to help readers make sense of all the environmental issues and goings-on in Butte, starting and ending with Superfund. Most of what I cover will be from a factual standpoint, as news. Regarding the cleanup here in Butte, this work started more than 30 years ago, and there’s still plenty more to come. So much is going on and so many facts need to be kept track of and sorted out, it was my pleasure when I was asked to contribute. Occasionally, I will offer my opinions based on my experience. I will do my best to let you know when my column is coming from the direction of news or editorial. I strongly believe it’s important to learn the facts and let those form the basis of an educated opinion. Likewise, before I offer my advice or opinion, I want readers to know where I’m coming from, so I’ll start with the news approach.
What do I know?
I have a degree from Montana Tech in Chemistry and 25 years working on the Clark Fork Superfund sites and environmental issues in a variety of positions. All of my prior jobs have added to my experience, but the most relevant for this new writing endeavor are my past efforts as a journalist and my time spent writing and teaching environmental education curriculum with the Clark Fork Watershed Education Program. Most recently, I’ve been involved in the Butte cleanup negotiations as the past Chief Executive of Butte-Silver Bow, and also as a consultant. Presently, I own my own professional consulting firm and provide expertise to a handful of public and private sector clients. It is from this perspective that I hope to share knowledge and educated opinions – on Superfund, restoration, environmental issues and more topics along these lines. Do you have questions or ideas you’d like me to cover in a future column? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org