Tom Hanel

Recent Posts

Opinion: Mayor Hanel owes millennials an apology

Clark

Dear Mayor Tom Hanel,

I am writing to you to express my concern regarding a comment you made during the Nov. 21 Billings City Council meeting. Your statement, “If millennials want to move because Billings is boring, I’ll sell their home for them,” is disappointing at best. You, as the mayor, are the figurehead and vocal proponent of our great city. With that title comes great responsibility. Continue Reading →

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One Big Sky Center gets council nod to take next step

Lectern

One Big Sky Center, a proposed development that would create the tallest building in Montana as the centerpiece of a $165 million project in downtown Billings, won the grudging support of the City Council Monday night. On a 6-2 vote, with two absences and one abstention, the council approved a memorandum of understanding with the project developers, giving them until June 30 to work with city staff and the city’s legal and financial consultants to come up with a final development agreement. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Big downtown project faces questions, serious doubts

Skip and company

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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City Council gives first nod to downtown project

Center

The public and private partners working on a huge development in downtown Billings got their first nod of approval Monday night from the City Council. By general assent—since no actual votes are taken at council work sessions like the one held Monday—developers of the One Big Sky Center got the green light to present the council with a predevelopment agreement at the council’s Sept. 12 meeting. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Plucky starlet excited about move to Magic City

JL

Jennifer Lawrence is moving to Billings! It’s true. The “Hunger Games” star said she’s had it with Hollywood and she wants to live in a town where people know their neighbors, where a celebrity can go to the 7-Eleven in her pajamas at 1 a.m. for a pack of smokes without a gang of paparazzi dogging her every step of the way. (more…) Continue Reading →

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A few surprises at a low-key Trumpfest

Hall

I’m not sure what I was expecting when I went to the Donald J. Trump rally Thursday afternoon, but I wasn’t expecting anything quite so low key. There were probably 6,000 or 7,000 people on hand, and while they waved signs and cheered loudly enough, it seemed to me that they were mostly excited about the fact that they were finally able to attend a Trump rally, rather than passionate about Trump himself. What was even more surprising was that Trump seemed so much less menacing in person. All the comparisons with Hitler seemed ludicrous. He’s no Hitler and he’s no Mussolini. Continue Reading →

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Rally kicks off campaign for School District 2 mill levies

Kids

Billings voters in 2013 approved two new middle schools and renovations of two elementary schools in School District 2. Now, school supporters say, it’s time to add more staff. The Yes for Kids Ballot Initiative Committee kicked off its campaign for passage of a mill levy on Thursday at the Mansfield Health Education Center. Mail-in ballots for the May 3 election are expected to arrive in mailboxes on April 16. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Prairie Lights: NDO will hinge on results of fall election

Banner

A former Billings City Council candidate who has inserted himself oafishly into this year’s council race has, purely by accident, exposed a general misunderstanding of how that legislative body conducts its business. Brian Kenat, a Tea Party Republican who unsuccessfully ran against Ward 3 Councilwoman Becky Bird in 2013, has been calling council candidates to sound them out on their beliefs—and to badger them if he didn’t like their views. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Prairie Lights: Looking back on a strange, snowy year

In this photo of downtown Billings, taken in mid-February 2013, the top of the First Interstate Building is just visible on the horizon.

As the New Year dawned a year ago this week, most people in Montana were already sick and tired of winter, of endless days of bitter cold and snowstorms that raged with Arctic intensity. Billings was hit particularly hard. At one point in mid-February the snow was so deep that only the top seven floors of the First Interstate Building were visible. (more…) Continue Reading →

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