Lay of the Land: Being one with Billings

Lay of the Land: A series of essays on the spirit of Montana
I can’t remember when I first came to Billings, but the safe money would put it sometime in the first half of 1970, when I would have been mere weeks or months old. My parents lived in Casper, Wyo., at the time, and we had kin in Billings and Great Falls who were eager to meet me.


Study says Meth Project less effective than advertised


A recently published study has found that in eight states where the Meth Project anti-methamphetamine advertising campaign has been used, there is little evidence that the campaigns had any effect on meth use among high school students.

The study did find, however, that there was “some evidence” that the Meth Project may have decreased meth use among white high school students. Continue Reading →

The pleasure of voting for Mike Wheat


In almost every election there is something on the ballot I feel good about voting for or against, something to balance my cynical distaste for politics.

A few years ago it was the chance to vote for our beautiful new library. When I pass it now I can say to myself, “I built that,” and it’s kind of true, in a way. In other elections, during the time I was covering the City Council, I could for vote for an incumbent I knew from experience to be a good public servant—or against one I knew to be an annoying jackass. Continue Reading →

Alexie delivers rollicking, raucous speech at Rocky


It’s a safe bet that the Skyview High parent who did not want her child to read Sherman Alexie’s “Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” would not have wanted her child to attend Alexie’s speech in Billings Thursday night.

The wildly popular author delivered a 65-minute talk and then spent 48 minutes answering, more or less, just three questions from the audience in the gymnasium of Rocky Mountain College’s Fortin Education Center. Continue Reading →