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After Maria batters Puerto Rico, family reunited in Billings


Wanda Morales’ parents, Edgar Morales and Ana Alequin, were already planning to move back to Montana eventually, to be closer to their children and grandchildren. They recently made the move, but in a way that nobody was expecting. Instead of a well-planned transfer made after all their affairs were in order, they left their native Puerto Rico in a hurry, flying to Montana in the aftermath of a hurricane that has left their homeland, two months after the fact, in a humanitarian crisis. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Civic duty deadline fast approaching: Election today


We’re not saying that anyone reading Last Best News hasn’t voted in the Billings city election yet, but not quite half of the voters who received mail-in ballots had returned them as of Monday. The Yellowstone County Elections Office sent ballots to 54,436 voters in this election, and as of the end of the day Monday, 26,793 had been returned, for voter turnout so far of 49.2 percent. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Snoop Dogg posts video of cruise through downtown Billings


Snoop Dogg played the Shrine Auditorium last Thursday. Before the show, in the midst of what would be the heaviest snowfall in 30 years, Snoop Dogg drove through downtown Billings, awed by the great heaps of snow already on the ground. He compliments his nephew, who is driving, and says someday he’d like to try driving in the snow himself. He also breaks into an impromptu rendition of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” Best of all, the whole thing was captured on video, which he posted on Instagram. Continue Reading →

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Up Alkali Creek: Good-bye to a special place


The artist stepped back to study the imprint of her hands on the grainy sandstone surface above her head. She was satisfied and added nothing else. The red berry dye reflected her slender hands well. As she had lifted her fingers, she trailed them slightly upward, elongating each finger—reflecting the radiation outward of her personal power. She thought the simplicity elegant. Continue Reading →

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Billings list: Recalling the crucified cat, or not


I’m not that big a fan of lists … unless they’re actually good, and this one, “14 Signs That You Grew Up in Billings MT,” is pretty good. It is the work of Justin Hutchinson, local radio guy, photographer, party-goer, etc., who pointed out a couple of days ago that his post about Billings was “going around again,” this time on BuzzFeed. The post, which I didn’t see on any previous go-rounds, begins with this promising statement: “You remember the first time you heard about the crucified cat.” I’m happy to say I never heard of the poor crucified cat, but I was well aware of the Father’s Day tornado, the Dollar Theater, Snowbird and my favorite, “Speed Limits Are Suggestions.” Continue Reading →

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Symposium planned as a ‘movement toward healing’


Editor’s note: Russell Rowland helped organize the Native American Race Relations and Healing Symposium, a daylong series of panel discussions scheduled for Aug. 22 at the Billings Public Library. A companion piece by co-organizer Adrian Jawort, is published above this one. Click here to see it.  (more…) Continue Reading →

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‘Livability’ list is meaningless … and irresistible

There are two things about all those “best of” lists that newspapers, magazines and websites love to publish: 1) they’re mostly bullshit, and 2) they’re irresistible. The main objective of all these lists — the skinniest city in America, the most business-friendly, the best place to raise a family, the best outdoor city, etc. — is to sell more newspapers or magazines or steer readers to your website. The criteria are often questionable and the question of how to assign value once you’ve established criteria is more questionable still. And yet they are irresistible. Continue Reading →

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The Most Beautiful Lake in Montana


Lay of the Land: A series of essays on the spirit of Montana
Beauty is only skin deep? In this case, maybe a bit deeper…

I didn’t start out to find the most beautiful lake in Montana. Rather, at 59, I brushed off an old dream of bicycling solo across the United States. But to fit my dream within work, I would bike the country in multiple stretches over several years — a week or so, 3- to 400 miles at a time. (more…) Continue Reading →

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