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Articles from the January 7, 2024 edition


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  • Lincoln Government Day meeting brief but informative

    Roger Dey, BVD|Updated Jan 11, 2024

    The first Lincoln Government Day meeting of 2024 Jan. 5 proved to be short and to the point, despite getting off to a slightly late start. The start of the meeting was delayed for a few minutes as a camera was set up to record the meeting. A new law that goes onto effect in June, aimed at increasing transparency, will require the county to post video of their meetings in Lincoln and Augusta on line just as they do with their meeting in Helena. Commission Chair Andy Hunthausen...

  • Transparency project aims to help Montanans navigate their right to know

    Arren Kimbel-Sannit, Montana Free Press|Updated Jan 11, 2024

    This story is excerpted from Capitolized, a weekly newsletter featuring expert reporting, analysis and insight from reporters of Montana Free Press. A group of Montana law students and young activists launched an organization this week to help facilitate freedom-of-information requests and to educate both the public and policymakers on the state Constitution's right to know. The founders of the Montana Transparency Project, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, say they want to complement the state's existing landscape of FOI...

  • This is Montana: Before YouTube

    Henriette Lowisch, Graduate Program Director - UM School of Journalism|Updated Jan 9, 2024

    Sometimes we need to be reminded of the fact that not everything is on YouTube. Rummaging through the shelves of the University of Montana's Mansfield Library to find materials for a book I'm writing, I recently came across a stack of five DVDs. The makeshift case covers, titled "Montana," lacked visual appeal, except for a pink warning sticker that indicated, "This DVD-R may not play on all machines." Intrigued, I hauled them home and inserted the first disc into my laptop. B...

  • Obituary: Barbara Lee Grimes

    Updated Jan 9, 2024

    Barb Grimes, 76, of Lincoln, Mont., passed away peacefully on Dec. 25, 2023. She was born on May 16, 1947, in Butte Montana to Joyce and Richard Vashro. She married Mike Grimes on July 3, 1970, and they had two children. Barb was a devoted wife and mother who dedicated herself to her family, protecting them, teaching them, and loving them. She had a kind and generous heart and a gentle spirit. She loved all creatures, especially her dogs. She enjoyed the outdoors and watching... Full story

  • Opinion: Don't Be a Sheep

    District Judge Katherine Bidegaray|Updated Jan 9, 2024

    In the fabric of Montana's history, woven through the life stories of our people, is a simple yet profound wisdom: "Don't be a sheep." This is the legacy of my Basque heritage, a creed passed down from my father, who turned the rugged terrains of eastern Montana into a home for our family. It's this same spirit that now compels me to seek a seat on the Montana Supreme Court. I want to ensure that our judiciary reflects the strength, independence, and integrity of the state we...

  • Montana population growth slows

    Eric Dietrich, Montana Free Press|Updated Jan 9, 2024

    After years of new arrivals swelling Montana's population and straining its housing supply, new data released Dec. 19 by the U.S. Census Bureau indicates that the volume of net migration into the state has declined. As of July 1, 2023, the federal demographics agency estimates Montana had 1,132,800 residents. That's about 9,900 more than a year prior, or a 0.9% increase. While that's a lot of new Montanans - roughly as many people as the populations of Belgrade, Miles City or...

  • Op-Ed: New Year brings lower taxes to Montanans

    Updated Jan 9, 2024

    By: Senators Jason Ellsworth, Becky Beard, and Greg Hertz There's no way Republican legislators would rather ring in a new year than with lower taxes, and that's exactly what we've done to kick off 2024. As of January 1st, Montanans of all income levels are now paying lower income taxes, thanks to legislation that just went into effect. Those tax savings will be felt either on upcoming paychecks or when you file your 2024 taxes next year, depending on where and how you get pai...

  • Record-low snowpack widespread throughout Montana, report shows

    Amanda Eggert, Montana Free Press|Updated Jan 9, 2024

    More than half of the snowpack monitoring sites used to measure the water supply for Montana watersheds are posting record-low accumulations, according to a report out this week. Several basins in central Montana have one-third of their normal snow-water equivalent - a measurement of water in the snow. About half of all of the basins in the report, including the Upper Missouri, Flathead, and Upper and Lower Clark Fork basins, are posting record-low totals. Eric Larson, a...