Today has been dull. At one point I started Googling various words looking for stuff to blog about. I struck gold.
A search for the word "llama" led me to the following webpage: Captured Bat and a Llama on the Lam. I was intrigued. How could I resist this kind of website? What I found when I clicked on the link was not only madcap tales of llamas and bats; it was a window into the lives of perhaps the most bored law enforcement officers and newspaper reporters on this blue planet.
I had stumbled upon the Flathead Beacon. What, you ask, is the Flathead Beacon? Let their own words answer this question:
To publish a multimedia-driven and truly independent news source; a medium where everyone who wants a voice, has one. To approach journalism armed with curiosity and even hands, reflecting the values ingrained in Western Montana.
The Flathead Beacon is devoted to delivering thought-provoking news and commentary to the greater Flathead Valley. Printed every week in tabloid form and updated daily at flatheadbeacon.com, the Beacon encourages its readers to participate in discussions about their valley.
The Beacon is a news source, in the traditional sense. Yet our seasoned journalists are asked to turn the prism when a story breaks, look at another angle and write stories that provide answers instead of pose questions.
Where, you ask, is the Flathead Valley? It's actually probably quite beautiful - as it is right on the edge of Glacier National Park in Montana.
Its biggest city is the sprawling megalopolis of Kalispell.
And has been the home of TV personality Maurie Povich.
But nothing compares to the incredible tales woven by the Flathead Beacon (funded, incidentally, by Mr. Povich), especially the section called "Police Blotter." This is where the lives of bats, llamas, and drunks unwinds into a sordid tale of woe; held at bay only by the untiring efforts of the Flathead Valley Sheriff's office.
Here is what I uncovered:
6:33 a.m. On Riverside Drive, a tree fell on top of some important wires and blew an electrical transformer.
6:57 a.m. A husband and wife duo argued loudly in Bigfork. The male party was gone when authorities arrived.
7:43 a.m. Three horses ran amok on Middle Trap Road. One was brown, another white with dark spots and the other dark-colored.
8:16 a.m. Someone decided to drive on the lawn at a local private school. This detracted from the lawn’s aesthetic appearance.
Oh, the tales of woe! I am heartbroken by the assault on the aesthetics of the lawn. And that is only the beginning! On that very same day the following incidents occurred:
12:45 p.m. On Highway 2, someone spotted a big brown llama eluding captivity. The creature was gone when authorities arrived.
4:13 p.m. An individual seen near Hungry Horse Reservoir may have had mental health issues. Forest Service officials were notified.
4:24 p.m. Several horses and mules looked particularly thin on Highway 2. They were in actuality normal-sized.
Whoa. This llama, described as being "big" and "brown," seems to be a suspicious character. I wonder if he will show up later. I wonder why they don't talk about whether it is "particularly thin."
Then I asked myself: "What about the Bat?" It didn't take long to find out:
5:15 p.m. A young child captured a bat at an education center on North Fork Road. The family was advised to bring the bat in for disease testing.
5:17 p.m. A dog on South Cedar Drive got out of its fence, inspiring a neighbor to shoot it with a pellet gun.
6:54 p.m. At a local grocery store, someone recognized a dog in an unfamiliar car as their own. The dog was returned and all was well.
7:08 p.m. Numerous bicyclists occupied both lanes of the North Fork Road. This behavior perturbed passing motorists.
I want to emphasize that this all happened on the very same day! Children capture bats, people are inspired by dogs to use pellet guns, other dogs get in unfamiliar cars, and motorists are perturbed! It's non-stop action! I couldn't wait for more! My suspicion is that the llama was the one who moved the dog to the other car.
11:49 p.m. A daughter and her parents argued in Martin City. The issue was resolved and all parties went to bed.
2:33 a.m. A gentleman hanging around a local eatery claims that he is with the FBI. He is in reality not with the FBI.
I can now see why Mr. Povich doesn't live in this den of iniquity. A daughter agued with her parents?? A man pretends to be from the FBI?? I was struck with the non-stop pace of the day (as well as the poetic writing of the journalist), and wondered if this was a typical day in the Flathead Valley.
Here's what the next day brought:
10:40 a.m. A resident of Plentywood Drive discovered that an empty trailer down the road contained a gaggle of transients. The individuals were asked to move along.
11:12 a.m. Someone removed a table and chair from a Bigfork restaurant.
11:26 a.m. A 16-year-old girl had no interest in returning to her Columbia Falls home. She was found and counseled.
12:27 p.m. Someone on Kokanee Bend claims that a neighbor’s horse is standing in a pasture with no access to shade. Authorities responded and found that the horse did indeed have shade available but had chosen to stand in the sun.
1:02 p.m. A young boy was spotted crouching in a field along Reserve Drive, holding what appeared to be a rifle and pointing it at passing cars. The reporting party then called again to mention that the boy was holding a “duck call.” It was later found that he was merely shooting gophers with a BB gun.
1:33 p.m. While it appeared that a pit bull on Killdeer Lane had no access to shade or water, the creature did indeed have water and liked to lie in the sun.
2:30 p.m. Dogs on Mountain View Lane were lying in the sun. Authorities gave the owner suggestions for keeping them in the shade.
It seems that someone has a thing about animals standing in the shade. I suspect the llama stole the table and chair from the Bigfork restaurant, but the police haven't yet seen it from this angle. I think the police were finding a shady spot to stand in.
The second day of drama concludes:
6:23 p.m. A handful of youths on Bootjack Lake were burning a recreational fire and perhaps shooting into the air. The party-goers were doing nothing illegal but simply having a good time.
6:38 p.m. Two young kids looked like they might attempt to cross Main Street near a local shopping mall. The two were holding hands.
7:29 p.m. A 38-year-old male driver hit a cow on Lost Prairie Road. His teeth were knocked out on impact.
8:01 p.m. A 20-year-old male fell out of his boat on Echo Lake.
9:02 p.m. Someone created speed bumps on Blackhawk Lane in Evergreen. This irritates several drivers in the area.
9:56 p.m. Someone was bitten on the nose by a spider at a Hungry Horse bar. He became very ill and began to shake.
So there you go. I this excitement doesn't make it hard to sleep. This is just the tip of the iceberg! There are other tales of llamas, drunk people arguing, mailboxes being uprooted, and of animals who are felt to be thin, but are actually normal in size.
I am pinching myself.