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Dates set for 2 House candidate Facebook town halls

Forward Montana is still waiting to hear from Greg Gianforte, but the other two candidates for the state’s sole U.S. House seat have scheduled Facebook Live town halls. As we reported earlier this month, Forward Montana has teamed up with Last Best News and the Missoula Independent to sponsor the town halls. Democratic candidate Rob Quist and Libertarian candidate Mark Wicks will be featured in hour-long town halls moderated by Alex Sakariassen of the Missoula Independent, who will be asking questions submitted by readers. Some questions have been submitted already, but we could use some more, so please go to and submit yours. Forward Montana, a youth-advocacy group whose slogan is “Not right, not left, but forward,” has not yet been able to schedule a town hall with Gianforte, the Republican candidate for the House seat vacated by Ryan Zinke when he became secretary of the Interior. Continue Reading →

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Library hosts panel discussion of Montana literature


Montana has become known for its rich history of books and writers, but how did that happen? Neighboring states like Wyoming and the Dakotas boast a handful of well-known writers, but with books and stories like “The Big Sky,” “A River Runs Through It” and “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” Montana established itself early on as a place that produces quality writers. Thursday night, the Billings Public Library will host a panel discussion about some of these writers and books, and panelists will bat around a few ideas of what it is about Montana that inspires such incredible literature. The discussion will start at 6:30 p.m. in the library’s Royal Johnson Community Room, led by local author Russell Rowland. The panel will also feature, High Plains Book Festival founder Corby Skinner, former Montana Poet Laureate Tami Haaland, Last Best News founder Ed Kemmick and MSU-Billings literature professor Rachel Schaffer. Continue Reading →

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Top-chop bluegrass-Americana band to play Billings


Two Bit Franks, a Bozeman-based acoustic bluegrass and Americana four-piece band that has played in shows all over the region, will be performing in Billings on Friday, April 21. The concert will be at Harper & Madison, 3115 10th Ave. N. The music will run from 7 to 9 p.m., but there will be a no-host cocktail hour starting at 6, with wine, beer and handcrafted cocktails from the Edgar Bar. Seating is limited to 50 seats. Two Bit Franks features John Lowell on guitar and vocals, Tom Murphy on mandolin and vocals, Jeff Shouse on banjo and special guest Wes Horton on standup bass. Continue Reading →

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High Plains Book Awards has record number of nominations

A record number of books and writers have been nominated for the 11th annual High Plains Book Awards in Billings. The awards are given out as part of the High Plains Bookfest, which seeks to recognize regional authors and literary works that examine and reflect life on the High Plains. This year’s festival is scheduled for Oct. 20-21. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Montana State Prison has new warden


A veteran of the Nevada Department of Corrections has been hired as the new warden of Montana State Prison. Montana Department of Corrections Interim Director Loraine Wodnik announced Thursday that Michael Fletcher, whose most recent job was superintending a maximum-security juvenile detention facility in Nevada, will replace Warden Leroy Kirkegard. Kirkegard, warden for the past five years, is retiring on April 14. (more…) Continue Reading →

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History grants go to Adams Hotel, other projects


The Montana History Foundation announced the awarding of grants totaling $117,000 on Wednesday. “Our grant recipients are new and unique every year,” MHF President and CEO Charlene Porsild said in a press release. “We are so proud to support projects from Libby to Ekalaka and all points in between this year ranging from interpretive signage of outdoor exhibits to curation of dinosaur fossils to restoration work on a log cabin or an historic hotel.” (more…) Continue Reading →

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Partners team up to provide transportation for veterans


An effort to provide a van to help transport veterans to equine therapy at Intermountain Equestrian Center west of Billings recently received a boost from several foundations, two local businesses and the Billings School District 2 Career Center. The first meeting of collaborators working to provide transportation for veterans to and from the Intermountain Equestrian Center took place in November. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Industry groups, states challenge flaring restrictions


The Courthouse News Service is reporting that Montana and Wyoming, as well as two energy trade groups, are suing the federal government over new restrictions on the release of natural gas at oil and gas well sites. The separate lawsuits challenge the constitutionality of the Interior Department’s new Methane and Waste Prevention Rule, which restricts the venting, flaring and leaking of natural gas. The two industry groups filed their lawsuit on Nov. 15, and last Friday the attorneys general for Montana and Wyoming filed a joint lawsuit against the rule. The story also has links to both lawsuit. Continue Reading →

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Equine program for vets gets dual financial boost


An equine-therapy program that works with military veterans with disabilities has received two major grants to help expand the program in Montana. Horses Spirits Healing Inc., which operates from the Intermountain Equestrian Center, said in a press release that it will benefit from a $52,500 Veterans Administration grant and a $20,000 Montana Healthcare Foundation grant. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Yellowstone County has first case of Zika infection

RiverStone Health and the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services say they have identified the first case of Zika virus infection in Yellowstone County. Here is the whole story, via a press release from RiverStone Health:

This is the fourth reported case in Montana and was found in an adult male who had traveled to an affected area. In February, Missoula County reported the first travel-related case of Zika in Montana. As of July 27, there have been 1,658 confirmed cases of Zika in the United States. Nearly all cases were travel-related. Continue Reading →

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