Reporting from The Montana Standard

Montana State Hospital’s end-of-life care questioned: A 3-part investigative series

The revelation that the state mental hospital, whose self-described mission is to provide “psychiatric evaluation, treatment and rehabilitation services for adults with severe mental illness,” is placing most Spratt patients on comfort care measures that call for doctors “to relieve pain and suffering” rather than actively treat medical issues, has advocates from Disability Right Montana, which works to protect the rights of Montanans with disabilities, deeply concerned.

Kids in crisis, care in question: A 4-part investigative series

When an outcry erupted earlier this month in Oregon over the use of injected medication to chemically restrain a 9-year-old girl at Acadia Montana, it brought attention both in and out of state to the Butte psychiatric residential treatment center for adolescents.

But it wasn't the first time the facility has faced allegations of mistreatment. 

Big Hole range rider tracks wolves toward middle ground

Chet Robertson found the spot he was headed to on a recent morning by doing what he’s done six hours a day, July through September, for the last eight summers: following wolves.

Hostage in Butte standoff shows up at suspected hijacker's hearing
'so he knows I understand’

"Right now, I feel like there's somebody with a gun in my back, and it's pretty horrible," Baumgartner said before Gibson entered the courtroom. "But I'm not here against this guy. I'm here to be there so he knows I understand. ... I feel bad for what I did to him, as stupid as that sounds." 

High-tech bird-hazing techniques on display at the Berkeley Pit

On Friday afternoon, Ian Fairweather, president of Fairweather IT, remotely navigated a six-propeller drone his company designed and built toward an exhausted snow goose that had recently landed on the placid, reflective water of the Berkeley Pit.

Comeback tale of the westslope cutthroat trout: A fresh controversy arises

As mist moves over the foothills of Ted Turner's Flying D ranch, the bison that linger and roam in the rain stand out as an obvious indicator that this native species has found a refuge on this 175-square-mile spread southwest of Bozeman and northeast of Ennis.

Parrot project discovers more extensive contamination than many expected

Overlooking the massive, tiered hole in the earth near where the Parrot smelter once stood and where a fleet of heavy equipment was rapidly moving dirt, clay, slag and tailings on Friday morning, Water and Environmental Technologies Senior Engineer John Trudnowski explained the scene below in the most understated of terms: “What you’re seeing right here is more or less a backfill operation.”

That might technically be true, but what was actually happening was a major environmental cleanup that has been in the works since at least 2006, when the state of Montana began pushing the Environmental Protection Agency to remove the buried contamination to protect Blacktail and Silver Bow creeks.

Montana Tech releases draft plan to eliminate programs, faculty positions

Montana Tech will undergo a significant cutting and reshuffling of its faculty, staff, and programs if the university follows through with the recommendations made in a draft report released Friday afternoon.

Puzzling Uptown propeller explained...sort of

But ultimately, after weeks of following tentative leads, the mystery of the massive propeller sitting inside a fence on an empty lot on the 600 block of South Washington Street was solved — or rather, was somewhat solved — through a phone call from Walkerville.

Complete archive of stories

Click above to view a complete list of breaking, enterprise and investigative reporting from The Montana Standard.

Reporting from the Missoula Independent

Freedom Fighter

When rancher Cliven Bundy engaged in a standoff with the BLM, a Montana man initiated a call to action to militia across the country. He considers it just the first battle in a war to reclaim America.

In Society's Shadows

Legislators, activists and law enforcement are working to combat human trafficking in Montana, but first they have to find the victims. (Archive not available online.)

Translating Tragedy

As Missoula watches Markus Kaarma’s murder trial, a nation abroad waits for justice. (Archive not available online.)

Close Encounters

Montana has a long and involved history of reported UFO sightings, unexplained crop circles and suspicious cattle mutilations. So, is the truth really out there? (Archive not available online.)

Complete archive of stories

A complete archive of news reporting, arts coverage, features and reviews from the Missoula Independent is not currently available due to the paper’s closure.

Reporting from KBMF

Butte struggles to fill gap without homeless shelter

Kevin Foster says it started last month, when he pulled over at a Wyoming rest stop, on his way
from Texas to Butte, where he was coming to be closer to his 11- and 12-year- old sons.

Warden announces closure of Department of Corrections boot camp

The Montana Correctional Enterprises ranch spreads across golden grassland west of Deer Lodge and just east of the Flint Creek Range.

Dioxin at Montana Pole Plant will be left in place, capped

Aimee Reynolds knows a lot about dioxins. A risk assessor with the Montana Department of Environmental Quality and the agency’s contaminated site bureau chief, Reynolds has spent a significant part of her career trying to find ways to remove these highly toxic, cancer-causing compounds from contaminated sites around the state, from Frenchtown to Columbia Falls.

Economics, environment intersect at Superfund site

Last week, I went up to Montana Tech to hear Pat Williams give a talk. Williams, a Butte native (and cousin of Evel Knievel) who represented Montana for nine consecutive terms in the US House of Representatives, was there to discuss his role in helping craft the nation’s Superfund law, to promote Butte’s initial listing under the law, and to ensure the Butte Hill got the clean-up it needed.