Tina Volek

Recent Posts

Prairie Lights: Time for the city to admit it lost again

EK

The good news is that the Billings City Council intends to debate in a public meeting whether to appeal a District Court ruling in a pay dispute with the city’s police officers. The bad news is that the council will be taking advice from the city legal department, which should have been able to read the plain language in the police contract to begin with, and which foolishly prolonged a court fight over that language, all the while running up a higher and higher tab—which now stands at about $3 million. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Big downtown project faces questions, serious doubts

Backers of the huge building project proposed for downtown Billings will have to persuade a majority of the City Council to put up at least $30 million in public funds for the project to work. The tougher job might be winning the support of the city’s finance director, Pat Weber, to whom a lot of council members will be looking for guidance. (more…) Continue Reading →

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David Crisp: Baseball’s risks harder and harder to ignore

DC

Imagine a sport in which part of the evening’s entertainment is, a couple of dozen times a game, to randomly fire hard objects traveling 100 mph at the fans in the stands. Imagine that an average of two fans get hurt every three games, even when the game is played at the highest level. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Prairie Lights: Who will do the work newspapers once did?

Ed

Sometimes, one of the best things a newspaper can do for its readers is to assign reporters to watch paint dry. During the years I covered City Hall for the Billings Gazette, I spent hundreds of hours so employed, and even when the process was stupefyingly boring it never seemed like a waste of time. (more…) Continue Reading →

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PPL Montana puts coal plant property up for sale

Corette

A huge parcel of prime riverfront in Billings is being offered for sale, but there’s a hitch: the 74-acre property is currently occupied by PPL Montana’s coal-fired power plant. At least one party, the city of Billings, is already interested in the land, which sits between the Public Utilities Division’s water production plant, just upstream, and city-owned Coulson Park, just downstream of the power plant on the Yellowstone River. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Two cities give Billings advice on helping street people

Babock

Nearly 200 people gathered in the Babcock Theatre Wednesday to hear how other cities developed innovative programs to ease two of the biggest problems in downtown Billings. Representatives from San Diego, Calif., talked about their Serial Inebriate Program to help alcoholics finally kick the habit, and the president of Haven for Hope in San Antonio, Texas, talked about what has been described as the largest single effort in the country to do something about homelessness. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Mayor Hanel in the hot seat for Monday’s NDO vote

Stairs

All eyes will be on Mayor Tom Hanel Monday night, when the Billings City Council is finally scheduled to vote on a nondiscrimination ordinance. Hanel appears to be the swing vote on the 11-member council, and on a roll-call vote the mayor is traditionally the last one to cast his vote. (more…) Continue Reading →

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