Last Best Blog

This is the weblog page of Last Best News. Here you will find some news, perhaps, but also lots of commentary, opinion and satire. Just so you know.

Recent Posts

Last Best News partners featured on ‘Home Ground’

Brian Kahn

Last Best News partners Ed Kemmick and David Crisp will be featured in this week’s “Home Ground” show on Yellowstone Public Radio. Hosted by Brian Kahn, “Home Ground” is a  weekly public affairs program that was launched in 1996 and is broadcast on radio stations throughout the Rocky Mountain West. The interview with Crisp and Kemmick will be broadcast tonight at 6:30 on Yellowstone Public Radio/KEMC and this Sunday at 11:10 a.m. on Montana Public Radio/KUFM. After the show airs, it will be archived on the Home Ground Radio website. The latest episode looks at the changes sweeping the newspaper world and how online publications like Last Best News fit into that rapidly evolving world. Continue Reading →

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Fire ecology prof: We’d better get used to this

Fire

As a follow-up to our recent story about “Land on Fire,” Gary Ferguson’s new book, here’s an interesting interview with Philip Higuera, a professor of fire ecology at the University of Montana. In no-nonsense terms, he talks about drought, the traditional role of fires in forest ecosystems, the advisability of tree-thinning to prevent fires, climate change and “good” and “bad” fires. Here’s one good example of his way of thinking, in response to the question of whether should be building houses in what as known as the wildland-urban interface:

“Every place on our planet has some natural phenomenon that is not friendly to humans. If you live on the East Coast, you are going to experience hurricanes. If you live in the Midwest, you are going to experience tornadoes. Continue Reading →

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Helena manager a hit with Billings fans

Opposing managers occasionally strike a certain rapport with Billings Mustangs fans, but nobody ever has done it quite like Nestor Corredor. Corredor is the manager of the Helena Brewers, and he was a catcher for that team back in his playing days. When he took the field to coach third base on Wednesday night in Dehler Park, fans in Section 117 greeted him with applause and cheers. Section 117 is as close to the third base coaching box as a spectator can get, and we have had season tickets there ever since Dehler Park opened. It’s a cozy ballpark, and managers, who typically also coach third in the Pioneer League, often toss the fans foul balls, take a rope of licorice from a generous fan or exchange small talk. Continue Reading →

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Democrats sponsor city candidate forums

Hall

With the city primary election set for Sept. 12, a little less than a month away, the Yellowstone County Democratic Study Group, also known as the Democrats Breakfast Club, is offering a few more chances to see City Council candidates in action. The Democratic group has already hosted two events for mayoral candidates and another for Ward 3 City Council candidates. This Wednesday, it will have City Council candidates from Ward 1 — Joshua Kostelecky, Charlie Smillie and Mike Yakawich — as speakers at a no-host breakfast forum at the McCormick Café, 2419 Montana Ave., starting at 7 a.m.

There will be a question-and-answer session and the public is welcome. There is generally enough time for any person to ask specific questions of the candidates. Continue Reading →

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‘Dreyfest’ organizers interview ‘the man himself’

Dreyfuss

The main organizer of Richard Dreyfest V, the punk-inspired music and arts festival that opens Friday in downtown Billings, wasn’t really expecting to get an interview with the actor to whom the festival pays indirect homage. “It was just kind of a weird, cool, freaky thing for us to pick up,” said Phillip Griffin, a musician and writer who stepped in this year to put together the fifth annual festival. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Freshly arrived writer overwhelmed by Montana crime news

Cuffs

A recently arrived resident of Missoula has noticed a curious thing: that exposure to Montana’s daily newspapers makes one keenly, alarmingly aware of local crime. Anne Helen Petersen, the author of these musings, is a bit more than a casual observer. She is a native of Idaho who covers the West for Buzzfeed, who wrote one of the best, most thoughtful pieces on the special election that resulted in Greg Gianforte’s ascension to the House of Representatives. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Minnesota Avenue’s Oasis sign comes down

Sign1

We reported a couple of weeks ago that the old Oasis Bar sign on Minnesota Avenue had been sold to a local, private collector. The sign came down today, witnessed by its new owner, Steve Henry, and the couple who sold him the sign, Pat and Angie Cormier, as well as a few passersby. We were too busy to do any kind of story today, but we did get some photos. If you do want more details, KTVQ evening anchor Jay Kohn was on hand and should have the whole story later today. Continue Reading →

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Daines introduces bill he opposes

steve daines

Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., who has been criticized for his silence on healthcare reforms, took to the Senate floor Thursday to thrust a fresh new proposal into the Senate debate: Medicare for all. Daines offered a single-payer amendment identical to House Resolution 676, which has been stalled in the U.S. House since it was introduced in January by Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich. The House bill has 115 co-sponsors, all of them Democrats. Democrats on Thursday criticized Daines’ amendment as political grandstanding, and all of them voted against it or voted “present,” a tactic urged by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., unless Daines himself voted for the amendment. The amendment failed, 0-57, with both Daines and Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., casting “no” votes. Continue Reading →

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Documentary traces history of Great American Hill Climb

Hill

In case you haven’t heard, the 99th annual Great American Hill Climb, billed as the world’s oldest motorcycle hill climb, and the one with the largest riders’ purse, gets underway Friday in Billings. Whether you’re a big fan of the event or have never seen it live, you’ll wanted to check out a “The Great American,” a 15-minute documentary on the climb made by Highway Goat Productions. One of the founders of the production company is Ryan Seitz, a graduate of Billings Senior High School. The documentary features lots of interviews, action scenes from last year’s hill climb, and archival footage tracing the history of the event—including a priceless black-and-white scene from the earliest days of the climb, showing a competitor on a big, heavy Harley-Davidson. And no helmet, of course. Continue Reading →

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