Ed Kemmick

Ed Kemmick has been a newspaper reporter, editor and columnist since 1980. Except for four years in his home state of Minnesota, he has spent his entire journalism career in Montana, working in Missoula, Anaconda, Butte and Billings. "The Big Sky, By and By," a collection of some of his newspaper stories and columns, plus a few essays and one short story, was published in 2011.

Recent Posts

Prairie Lights: We shouldn’t forget what Trump doesn’t know

Ed

The funniest, truest thing I’ve read about what’s going on in the United States these days was written by David Brooks in a recent New York Times column: “Those who ignore history are condemned to retweet it.”

He was referring, of course, to President Donald Trump, whose knowledge of history, even of American history, would be an embarrassment in a junior high classroom, and who can say everything he knows on most subjects in no more than 140 characters. (more…) Continue Reading →

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‘Wilderness Walks’ unveil beauty of Eastern Montana

A hike into Bitter Creek

Starting this Sunday and continuing through the end of September, a series of “Wilderness Walks” will be offered at 10 locations in Eastern Montana and northern Wyoming. You could probably tell what part of Montana many of these walks are in just by glancing at their names: Bitter Creek, West Crooked Creek, Terry Badlands, Tongue River Breaks and Chain Buttes. A lot of the places are spectacular, but in subtler ways than places like Paradise Valley or Glacier National Park are spectacular. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Refugees, settled in Montana, to tell their stories in film

Joel

Much has been written about the African and Middle Eastern refugees who have resettled in Missoula in the past year, welcomed by many and looked at with fear and disdain by many others. Now, some of those refugees will be using video cameras to tell their own stories of what it means to resettle so far from home, and to share with the rest of us their perceptions of their new surroundings. (more…) Continue Reading →

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College freshman, mad about ice cream, launches business

Van

The new ice-cream man in town is a young woman, but don’t look for her in a three-wheeled cart blaring calliope music. Bailey Scott, a 19-year-old freshman at Rocky Mountain College, will be driving a big sky-blue van with pink trim, and she’ll mostly be doing special events and private parties. (more…) Continue Reading →

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A bit of excitement in downtown Billings

Miss

And some people think living in downtown Billings is uneventful. My daughter called me about 3 in the afternoon Sunday to let me know that a cow was running loose on South 30th Street a block west of the Montana Rescue Mission. Since I live nearby, I raced down with my camera. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Prairie Lights: Mother’s Day ordeal, take 2

Ordeal

Editor’s note: I am not on vacation, traditionally the only reason for republishing an old piece. I am not embarrassed to admit that my excuse is that I’ve been having too much fun and find myself disinclined to ask my brain to do any work. So I’m running this Mother’s Day piece from May 9, 1982, when we were living in Anaconda. Mother’s Day 2017 is just around the corner, and the little girl who is the star of the story is due to have her second child just a few days before then. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Web-based radio a new outlet for musician’s passion

Jimmy

RED LODGE — There was never much question that Jimmy Kujala’s life would revolve around music. The native of Red Lodge played his first professional gig, at the Snag Bar, when he was 9. He and one of his sisters, Carolyn, started a band, The Lost Generation, a few years later. Kujala was only 15 or 16 when the band opened for Merle Haggard at the Shrine Auditorium in Billings in the late 1960s.  (more…) Continue Reading →

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Prairie Lights: Quist dragged into unwinnable arms race

That ain’t no banjo, pilgrim. I was rooting for Rob Quist, I really was. And not just rooting. I was also praying. I’d get up in the morning, drop to my knees and I’d say, “Please, God, don’t let Rob Quist, in this truncated special-election season, give in to the temptation to shoot a gun in a television commercial.” (more…) Continue Reading →

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Independent staff weighs in on sale to Lee

Lee

As promised, the staff of the Missoula Independent has written extensively about the sale of the newspaper to Lee Enterprises, the national chain that owns the Missoulian and the Billings Gazette. The coverage includes news stories, a Q&A section with some damned hilarious segments, an editorial from publisher Matt Gibson and a damned hilarious column from Dan Brooks. (His column also highlights the chief danger of satire: I’m not absolutely sure he was joking about this being his last column.)

It’s all good stuff, even if a faint air of whistling in the graveyard hangs over the issue. Everyone involved wants desperately to believe that Lee will live up to its promise of hands-off ownership, wants to believe its assurances that the Indy’s tradition of hard-nosed reporting on the Missoulian is something that has to continue. There were more than a few signs of writers pushing the boundaries right out of the gate, to see what will be tolerated in the new era. Continue Reading →

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At Crow hand-game tourney, the spectacle is the thing

Other Meds

I was told by several people that the Crow hand game was difficult to explain, but that once I’d watched a few rounds it would start to make sense. I suppose it did, sort of in the way that the one cricket game I ever watched had begun to make some sense by the time it ended. The big difference is that at a cricket game, cricket is the main attraction. (more…) Continue Reading →

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