Prairie Lights

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Prairie Lights: Putting the public in public records


The people who wrote the new Montana Constitution, ratified in 1972, were admirably clear on the subject of access to public records. Under the heading of “Right to know,” in Section 9 of Article II, the Declaration of Rights, the constitution says: “No person shall be deprived of the right to examine documents or to observe the deliberations of all public bodies or agencies of state government and its subdivisions, except in cases in which the demand of individual privacy clearly exceeds the merits of public disclosure.” (more…) Continue Reading →

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Prairie Lights: Looking back on, trying to forget, 2016


We think it’s safe to say that 2016 will always be remembered as the year that tens of millions of people wish they couldn’t remember. It was a year in which the people of England voted to withdraw from the United Kingdom, Russian government hackers blatantly attempted to influence the outcome of “The Voice” and in America the unthinkable happened—the Chicago Bulls won the World Series. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Prairie Lights: For Christmas, a new best friend


Christmas came a day early for Kiki. On Christmas Eve, the 16-year-old sophomore at Billings Senior High School brought home Zarah, a Bichon Frise puppy that was born on Oct. 29. The impossibly cute little dog won’t be just a pet, though. She will also be Kiki’s emotional support and service dog, mainly helping Kiki deal with chronic depression and “really bad anxiety.” Continue Reading →

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Prairie Lights: Notes on a successful fund drive


Just after we posted an appeal for donations to Last Best News on Tuesday, I got an email from Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia. “Dear Edward,” it began, because Jimmy always calls me Edward, “When the clock strikes midnight, our email fundraiser will end—but we haven’t yet hit our goal.” (more…) Continue Reading →

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Prairie Lights: Truth, if it even shows up, doesn’t always win


Listening to late-night radio for about five minutes the other night, I heard something I can’t get out of my head. The host of the show was talking to an “expert” of some kind, who had alarming things to say about the fate of the Earth in light of experiments underway at CERN, home of the Large Hadron Collider. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Prairie Lights: Heritage, history call man to protest


Jordan Wolf Voice was planning to leave early this morning for his second trip to join the pipeline protesters in North Dakota. Wolf Voice is a 27-year-old Northern Cheyenne and Lakota. He has lived in Laurel his whole life and he works in the deli at Lucky’s Market in Billings. In late November, he spent three days at the protest against the Dakota Access pipeline, just outside the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, and he’s going back for three more days out of a sense of obligation. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Prairie Lights: In the new news biz, truth is for suckers


There has been no lack of disappointing, discouraging news over the past few months, but I don’t think anything I read was as depressing as these two sentences:

“Six months ago, Wade and his business partner, Ben Goldman, were unemployed restaurant workers. Now they’re at the helm of a website that gained 300,000 Facebook followers in October alone and say they are making so much money that they feel uncomfortable talking about it because they don’t want people to start asking for loans.” (more…) Continue Reading →

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Prairie Lights: Glimmers of good sense in election results


Three weeks ago in this space, I urged readers of Last Best News to vote for Gov. Steve Bullock and Montana Supreme Court candidate Dirk Sandefur, and in favor of Initiative 182, loosening restrictions on medical marijuana. I won’t claim one iota of credit, but I will admit that on an otherwise dismal Election Day, I was buoyed by the victories of Bullock, Sandefur and the proponents of I-182. (more…) Continue Reading →

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