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Bill would ban bicyclists from most 2-lane roads in state

Molt

Editor’s note: Rep. Barry Usher called back after this story was posted. We have included his comments at the end of the story. Bicyclists from around the state are rallying against a proposed bill that would ban bicyclists and pedestrians from using virtually every two-lane road in the state that doesn’t have a paved shoulder. Kristi Drake, director of Billings TrailNet, said her first thought was not to worry about the proposal because it seemed to have so little chance of passing. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Parents in Crow reservation death still seeking justice

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Since the death of their son Steven Bearcrane-Cole on the Crow Indian Reservation in 2005, Cletus and Earline Cole have fought for the justice they feel their son deserves. They continue to believe that there was compelling evidence of murder, and that his death was never investigated properly by federal agents in charge of dealing with serious crimes on the reservation. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Independent journalism takes small step ahead in Montana

Regular readers of Last Best News already know that we have been collaborating with Missoula Current, an independent online newspaper that is filling the same niche in Missoula that we have been filling here in Billings. We have been sharing stories, giving each other advice and talking about other ways we can work together to promote and expand independent journalism in Montana. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Urban farming forum set for this Saturday in Billings

Bounty

This fall, Christian Keeve was three-quarters of the way through his one-year volunteer stint with the city of Billings Parks and Recreation Department. A member of the Billings Metro VISTA Project, Keeve worked on the Billings Grown Gardening Initiative, which involves community gardens and other programs related to food security. At that point he was thinking about sustainability, about how to make sure the initiative he had worked on would be continued and expanded after he left. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Lawmakers weigh privacy issues in the digital age

Rotunda

Section 10 of the Montana Constitution states that “the right of individual privacy is essential to the well-being of a free society and shall not be infringed without the showing of a compelling state interest.”

But as technology rapidly advances, finding the line between individual privacy and “a compelling state interest” is more complex than ever before. In response, the 2017 Montana Legislature will begin to make distinctions, wrestling with bills that deal with issues like cell phone data, GPS-enabled heart monitors and even “revenge porn.” (more…) Continue Reading →

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Budget gets top billing, but plenty on the table in Helena

Keane

Budget subcommittees proposed further cuts to Gov. Steve Bullock’s budget throughout the second week of the Montana Legislature. “If we can get through the budget and balance it, that will be probably all we can do,” said Rep. Nancy Ballance, R-Hamilton. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Huge infill project underway near downtown Missoula

Projects

MISSOULA — More than $100 million in construction is planned for the Old Sawmill District this summer, including a student housing facility, two additional condominiums, a high-end apartment building and a new restaurant, the developers said this week. A new commercial building may also break ground this year, along with the start of a 55-and-older active living center on the district’s west end. (more…) Continue Reading →

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New director has long history with state Audubon center

Sevier

In marketing itself to the outside world, Carolyn Sevier said, Billings is “closely wedded to landscape—the Rims, the river, the mountains, the prairies.”

She hopes that the Montana Audubon Center, which she was named to lead effective Jan. 1, will become widely known as the premier entity for helping connect people in this region with their natural surroundings. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Foes of landfill expansion prepare for Tuesday hearing

Horses

Billings lawyer Joel Guthals isn’t sure how much effect his words will have, but he plans to testify Tuesday night on the proposed expansion of the Billings Regional Landfill, and to submit written comments as well. The state Department of Environmental Quality will be conducting the public hearing from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday in the gym of Blue Creek School, 3652 Blue Creek Rd. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Bills on budget, infrastructure, sex assault get attention

Clark

HELENA—Calls for unity across party lines abounded throughout the opening day of Montana’s 65th legislative session. Hundreds gathered in the Capitol rotunda on Jan. 2 as top state leaders were sworn into office. “Before any of us are Democrats or Republicans, we’re Montanans,” Gov. Steve Bullock told the audience in his first speech of the session. “And Montanans elected us to serve.”

The ceremony featured local school children performing Montana’s state song and Rep. George Kipp III, D-Heart Butte, performing two Native American songs. Continue Reading →

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