First Time for Everything: A belated visit to Bannack


How I missed visiting Bannack for all these years I can’t really say.

I spent four years in Butte and Anaconda in the early 1980s, during which time I did manage to explore Virginia City and Nevada City, those two other early gold camps, but somehow I never got to Bannack. Blame it on my youth and my heedlessness, and the fact that I had a young child at home. I was also nearly always broke and the owner of unreliable cars. Continue Reading →

Prairie Lights: Should we just scrap judicial elections?


Yellowstone County District Court Judge Russell Fagg, as you may know, has an occasional column, “Ask the Judge,” in the Billings Gazette.

I wasn’t sure it would be appropriate for me to pose a question through the Gazette, so I called Fagg directly the other day and asked him why he was retiring from the bench this fall, roughly 15 months before his latest six-year term ends. Continue Reading →

After success at home, Uzbek pastry chef opening new store


A little more than a year after starting a bakery in her home kitchen, making Russian, French and Eastern European pastries for customers who placed orders by phone or via the internet, Veronika Baukema is almost ready to open a brick-and-mortar pastry shop on Montana Avenue.

The self-taught baker said she learned a lot from books and YouTube videos, but she thinks her passion for baking is the most important thing she has going for her.

“And I practice,” she said. “I practice. I practice.” Continue Reading →

UM scientist issues warning after retreat from climate accord

Steve R

One week after President Donald Trump shunned the world’s leading scientists and pulled the United States from the global pact on climate change, more than 1,200 U.S. business leaders, governors, mayors and college presidents signed an open letter to the world.

Despite the president’s decision, they wrote, America would continue to support climate action in hopes of meeting the goals of the Paris Accord, even “in the absence of leadership from Washington.” Continue Reading →