I live in Montana. Most people, hearing that, especially if they weren’t from around here, would probably picture a log cabin surrounded by towering pine trees, alongside a racing stream, with snow-clad peaks over yonder.
Not quite. I live on the second floor of a century-old converted warehouse 100 feet from the railroad tracks in the heart of the biggest city in the state. Out my windows I can just see the tops of the forest of pipes and stacks rising from the Phillips 66 refinery.
Eight times a year, on average, the Billings Police Department deploys its Special Weapons and Tactics team, 12 officers wearing heavy armor and toting semiautomatic and automatic weapons.
In almost all cases, they are executing high-risk search warrants at the homes of suspected drug dealers, and they roll up in the BEAR, the Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Department’s 35,000-pound Ballistic Engineered Armored Response vehicle.
That’s what I tell myself as I look around the campground. I’ve lost my party. It was easy to find them in the daytime. They had plastic palm trees in front of their tents. Now all I can see are the stars and the wild Montana sky. The Milky Way glows, constellations are endless and the stars are glorious, almost holy. Continue Reading →
To mark the 75th anniversary of Billings Senior High School, a volunteer committee has launched a “Save Our Murals” campaign to restore and protect the iconic artwork adorning walls and stairwells around the school.
“Just think of them not being on the walls anymore,” Kristeen Keup said. “That’s just not possible.” Continue Reading →
Dear Ed: I gave up the Internet for the summer, thinking I needed to get off the digital merry go-round, read some books and experience the real world in real time. I was doing just fine — actually, I hadn’t felt better in all my 20 years — until recently. Continue Reading →
The company that is proposing to build five oil refineries in Montana and North Dakota — projects that would require funding of $2.5 billion — appears to have very few assets itself.
Bloomberg was reporting as of Wednesday afternoon that Quantum Energy Inc.’s market capitalization — the number of outstanding shares times the value of a share — was about $3.8 million. Continue Reading →
Lay of the Land: A series of essays on the spirit of Montana
I made the phone call hoping he wouldn’t answer. This was going to be tough conversation and my husband, although great under pressure, would have a hard time making this decision. I was trying to figure out a way to lessen the impact. Continue Reading →
In 1986, when I was a junior at Richland High School in North Richland Hills, Texas, the local chapter of the NAACP came to my school with a request: It wanted us to drop the Confederate flag from our letterhead, our uniforms, the middle of our gym floor. Continue Reading →