Trial opens over house wrecked by sandstone slab


Opening arguments Monday in a case involving a Billings couple whose house was destroyed when an enormous slab of sandstone calved off the Rims five years ago sounded at times like a college-level science seminar.

And that was just the attorneys. They told the seven-man, five-women jury that it would be hearing from a battery of geologists, hydrologists, engineers and other expert witnesses during a trial that is expected to last seven days. Continue Reading →


Prairie Lights: Oly-dimmed memories of Aber Days past


The first Aber Day Kegger I attended was in 1974, when the annual bash was still held at Bonner Flats, or maybe on Lower Miller Creek, just outside of Missoula.

Anyway, it wasn’t yet on Upper Miller Creek, the venue of legend where it eventually ended up. What distinguished the concert grounds in 1974 was that a vast area in front of the stage was covered in about a foot of wood chips. Continue Reading →

Bishop’s letter to parishioners hammers Gazette editorial


Catholic parishioners all over Eastern Montana are expected to find a letter from Bishop Michael Warfel in their Mass bulletins this Sunday, harshly criticizing a recent editorial in the Billings Gazette.

The letter, dated Aug. 17 and signed by Warfel, bishop of the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings, takes the Gazette to task for what Warfel calls “an incredibly erroneous opinion piece” that ran last Sunday. Continue Reading →

Reservation schools striving to attract Indian teachers


HAYS-LODGE POLE —When Aloha Shortman asked her sixth-graders to find Italy on a world map during a social studies lesson last August, they couldn’t do it. One student’s finger landed on Brazil. Others grew bored and restless.

Shortman quickly shifted gears, searching for a way to make a lesson on the Roman Republic relevant to a group of American Indian students in a remote Montana community. Continue Reading →

A man in full: Documentary takes a close look at Knievel

evel“Being Evel,” a new documentary about Butte’s most infamous son, works hard to capture Evel Knievel as he really was—a monumental daredevil and self-promoter who could also be a selfish jerk.

The film presents abundant evidence for his having been a jerk. There’s talk about his pursuit of lowlife crime as a young man, and footage of a surly Knievel cursing at the press corps before his big jump over the Snake River Canyon. Continue Reading →

Roundup motorcycle club raises $6,000 for vets home


When motorcyclists from Roundup roared into the parking lot of Independence Hall July 11 to begin a club rally, Bill Holder wasn’t sure what might result.

Holder, director of veterans services at the Volunteers of America-operated residence hall for formerly homeless veterans, often fields offers from the community to help veterans. The Harley-riding club—called the Forty Fives—was a little different from church groups bringing in cookies or secondhand clothes.

Continue Reading →