Prairie Lights: Refining the Montana bucket list


Excuse me for being late on this, but I just discovered (on Facebook, the unsleeping recycler of pop culture) that the Great Falls Tribune published a Big Sky bucket list in December.

The Tribune presented “100 activities every Montanan should have on a bucket list of things to do in a lifetime.” I found it impossible not to read the article from start to finish, and impossible not to keep a running tally of how many of the activities I had already done. Continue Reading →


Cody artist’s ‘lost treasures’ on display through April 10


In a nondescript metal warehouse on the outskirts of Cody, Wyoming, sits an unlikely treasure: a vast body of work by an artist praised by Jackson Pollock, displayed at prestigious museums of art across the United States, and collected by Presidents Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford and Lyndon Johnson.

The artist, the late Harry Jackson, of Cody and Camaiore, Italy, left behind an extraordinary legacy reflective of a life that spanned more than eight decades and several continents. Continue Reading →

Stuck at Warm Springs: Patients’ rights under scrutiny

Warm Springs

An unknown number of non-criminal patients at Montana’s overcrowded state mental institution are stuck in limbo awaiting transfer to less restrictive facilities.

The law says mental health patients must be held in the least restrictive setting possible. But even after Montana State Hospital civil patients have stabilized enough that mental-health staff clear them for transfer to less institutional treatment centers in or nearer their home communities, some patients report being delayed at the Warm Springs campus for months at a time. Continue Reading →

Garfield County packs gym for young rancher’s funeral


JORDAN—Having already opened their pocketbooks, residents of Garfield County opened their hearts Monday to the family of Owen Murnion, who was killed in a farm accident four days earlier.

Hundreds of people crowded into the gym of Garfield County High School in tiny Jordan to pay their respects to Owen, 38, and to show their support for his wife, Briana, and their seven young daughters. Continue Reading →

Clothing bans? Let us add our suggestions


Auxilliary editor’s note: Important clarifications have been made to the editor’s note at the bottom of this column.

Poor David Moore. For the past four or five sessions of the Montana Legislature, at least one lawmaker—invariably a Republican, I feel compelled to point out—has made himself a national laughingstock.

Moore, a state House member from Missoula, was catapulted to infamy after he introduced a bill that contained, even in its short summary version, the phrase “private parts.” That is never a good sign, and some of the language included in the full text of the bill made things even worse. Continue Reading →

Tribal leader, healer, to receive governor’s award


Billings resident William Snell was to be honored in Helena on Friday for his decades of work to improve the health and wellbeing of Native Americans in Montana.

Snell, currently the project manager for the Montana-Wyoming Tribal Leadership Council, along with six other individuals and organizations, is to receive a ServeMontana Award at noon Friday in the old Supreme Court chambers of the state Capitol. Continue Reading →

County museum exhibit tells local story of World War I


Among the contributions made by residents of Yellowstone County to achieve victory in World War I was the tireless needlework of Peter Peroe.

The Red Cross encouraged people to abandon their dainty knitting and instead create regulation clothing and supplies for American soldiers. In response, knitters in Yellowstone County made more than 26,500 items and knit more than 22,000 garments. Continue Reading →