Prairie Lights

Recent Posts

Prairie Lights: Blessed by immigrants in our midst


Supporters of refugee resettlement, for good reason, tend to focus on all the good things that we can do for people who come here from other countries. On Friday, as I listened to Wilmot Collins, who entered the United States as a Liberian refugee and is now the mayor of Helena, it occurred to me that we should also spend some time considering how good it is for us to have refugees in our midst. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Prairie Lights: Liberal media or just good journalism?

I often buy old magazines at thrift stores and take them with me to the Y, so I can read them while working out on an elliptical machine. Most of these “old” magazines were published in the previous 18 months or so, but recently I bought a New Yorker magazine dated Feb. 8, 1969. I took it to the Y, climbed up on the machine and started reading, beginning with a couple of shorter articles before turning to a piece titled simply, “The Whitmore Confessions.” (more…) Continue Reading →

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Prairie Lights: The pleasure of their company

Joe Med

I’ve spent the past 10 days or so immersed in Montana history, working on a project that I hope will bear fruit soon. As part of that immersion, I’ve done interviews with people who’ve had front-row seats — when they weren’t down on the floor, in the thick of things — on some of the most momentous events in Montana’s history over the past 50 years. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Prairie Lights: A remarkable woman’s amazing life story

I met Marion Dozier in 1996 or 1997, when I was working as a reporter and wanted to do a story about efforts to clean up some of the most blighted properties in Billings. Marion, who was a city code enforcement officer at the time, filled me in on some of their efforts, but then she had a better idea. We hopped in a city vehicle and she gave me a guided tour of a handful of the worst eyesores in the city, complete with a running commentary on the city’s history with each property, and some pointed comments on the property owners in question. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Prairie Lights: Waiting for a Chinook, enjoying the snow


I might be singing a different tune by late March, but it sure feels good right now to be experiencing a bit of real winter weather. After living in Montana for four decades, I still can’t quite get used to the regular, rapid disappearance of huge quantities of snow. The first big snowfall I saw in Montana was in Missoula in the mid-1970s. (more…) Continue Reading →

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