One kosher food delivery, then 15 minutes of fame

El Al

Kat Healy didn’t think her act of kindness of behalf of a group of stranded travelers last weekend was that big a deal.

“Honestly, my mom and I did not think it was a story,” she said.

A lot of other people apparently did. The tale of their efforts to provide kosher food for passengers on an El Al Airlines flight out of Israel that made an unplanned stop at Billings Logan International Airport on Sunday was reported by the Billings Gazette and then picked up by newspapers and websites around the world. Continue Reading →

BPD sanctioned for release of criminal justice info


The Montana Department of Justice has issued a sanction letter to the Billings Police Department in response to a police officer’s personal use of the state’s Criminal Justice Information Network.

The letter to Police Chief Rich St. John from Jennifer Viets, CJIN program manager, gives the department 30 days to document what steps have been taken to ensure that there are no further CJIN violations. Continue Reading →

New novel, set in Butte, draws on Cheyenne memories


“You know how much money came out of the Butte copper mines?” Shann Ray Ferch asked. “It’s 300 billion dollars! I can’t even imagine it because it’s so much.”

Such is the background of Ferch’s much heralded first work of historical fiction, “American Copper,” released this month. The Montana native, who writes under the pen name Shann Ray, launched his book at a release party last week in Spokane with Sherman Alexie as the keynote speaker. Continue Reading →

Food drive part of busy week for VISTA volunteers


This is a busy week for Shametrius Long.

Long, who is in Billings with AmericCorps Volunteers in Service to America, was the main organizer of two events being held today to examine aspects of hunger and homelessness.

And working with another Vista, Sade Johnson, Long organized a food drive this week that will help Family Service Inc. prepare Thanksgiving boxes for needy families. Continue Reading →

Book on Senior High murals on sale at open house tonight

muralbookTwo years of hard work by the Save Our Murals Committee at Billings Senior High School will come together tonight during an event that will feature a book launch, art auction and open house at Senior High.

Copies of the book, “If the Walls Could Speak: The Iconic Murals of Billings Senior High School,” will be available for $45 during the open house, set for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The silent auction will take place in the old gym, featuring dozens of donated works by Kira Fercho, Dirk Lee, Kim Jette, Ben Steele and many others. Continue Reading →

Prairie Lights: Honoring vets not as simple as it seems


Years ago, I wrote a story about a Billings man who had entered one of Nazi Germany’s concentration camps shortly after it had been liberated.

That prompted a well-known crank in Big Timber to call me and “argue” about whether the Holocaust had actually happened. I specifically said in my story (unavailable in the Gazette archives) that the soldier had entered a concentration camp, not technically one of the death camps, but that was beside the point. The crank didn’t need much pretext for expounding his silly views. Continue Reading →