Jim Elliott

Montana Viewpoint: Calling foul on unlawful ‘forfeiture’

As a young man, I remember seeing highway signs in the South that said, “Warning, Speed Trap Ahead.”

These were not put up by the highway departments. They were paid for by the American Automobile Association. Typically, and quite legally, the speed limit would suddenly change from 60 to 25.

Hail Columbia Gulch: Tales from a feral childhood


I enjoyed some time recently with an old friend who shared memories and photographs of her early childhood on a scratch-gravel South Dakota farm before it even had electricity. The photos in particular elicited powerful memories of my own.

I was too young to remember when electricity was installed at my family’s summer place in the mid-1950s. I do recall the day when the much-anticipated telephone service arrived to Hail Columbia Gulch. Continue Reading →


New owners have big plans for St. Vincent de Paul building

Vincent building

The new owners of the Montana Avenue building that houses the Charitable Works Office of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul plan to start renovating the three-story structure as soon as St. Vincent moves out.

Vicki Massie, volunteer coordinator for St. Vincent de Paul, which has been without a director since Ed Zabrocki resigned in January, said the charity office should be in its new building south of the railroad tracks by the end of July. (See related story.) Continue Reading →

St. Vincent gearing up for move into new building


The move of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul charity office and thrift store to a new building south of the railroad tracks began about three years.

Ernie Dutton, who had done some volunteer work for St. Vincent de Paul, was coming out of a Rotary meeting at what is now the DoubleTree by Hilton and decided to walk across Montana Avenue to the charity office. Continue Reading →

Candidates spar over NDO, climate change

It took about an hour into a 90-minute public forum, but candidates for Billings mayor finally found things to disagree about on Tuesday.

Four of six candidates for mayor appeared at the forum, which was sponsored by the Yellowstone Democratic Club. Angela Cimmino and Danny Sandefur were unable to attend, forum organizers said, and a seventh candidate, Paul Bledsoe, has dropped out of the race. Continue Reading →

Camper crushed, baby inside survives, witness says


It was a close call for one family camped at Lake Alva this past weekend when a mature pine crashed down on the fifth-wheel trailer where a baby was sleeping, nearly splitting the vehicle in two.

The incident was reported to the Missoula County Sheriff’s Department on Friday evening, shortly after a powerful storm pushed through the Seeley-Swan Valley. Continue Reading →

A lucky man: Reaping the benefits of a forced slowdown


I had total hip replacement surgery in the middle of May, and I figured that if I was anything like my coworker, I’d be back to normal in three weeks, four weeks max.

My coworker, who had the same surgery, is 20 years younger and a Special Forces vet. He returned to work a week after his hip replacement, but he later told me that he had made a mistake in coming back so soon and almost passed out numerous times his first week back. Continue Reading →