While my day to day reporting at the Montana Standard covers crime and courts in a six county area around Butte, I'm always working on investigations and features like you'll see below. Headlines are links to full stories.
"The closed plant is a 150-acre moonscape of radioactive slag dunes, evaporated tailings ponds, and skeletonized industrial structures visible from Interstates 15 and 90. But the site's most dangerous feature isn't so visible: a 500,000-gallon concrete tank filled with white phosphorus sludge. If the sludge ever touches the atmosphere, it will explode and release a toxic gas ..."
" ... Montana Tech professors and proctors were confronted by dozens of out-of-state Middle Eastern students blatantly cheating through a variety of methods, including smuggled cell phones, earpieces, fake calculators, smart watches, hand signals, mass bathroom breaks and at least one diversionary fake fainting episode, according to documents attached to a Faculty Senate report.
The report, authored by Montana Tech professors and proctors, details a summer-long escalation of cheating and resultant crackdowns culminating in students intimidating and threatening faculty members teaching general engineering courses which were populated at up to 10 times their typical class size ... "
" ... The details of Little’s murder are common knowledge. Just after 3 in the morning on August 1, 1917, five men in carnival masks dragged Frank Little from Nora Byrne’s boarding house on 316 N. Wyoming St. and stuffed him into a Cadillac with a waiting driver. Little was beaten and his skull fractured. He was dragged behind the car by a rope until his knee caps were shorn off. The car stopped at the Milwaukee railroad trestle, and the men threw the rope over the top. Still alive, Little was hoisted into the air by the neck and strangled. A note pinned to his corpse threatened local labor leaders with the same fate ... "
I spent more of my time at school editing others' work than writing my own, but I took my chances where I could.
" ... Like many tribes, the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation define membership through blood quantum, requiring at least one-quarter Assiniboine or Sioux blood to be considered a fully enrolled member. The tribes’ associate membership is an additional classification for those with less than one-quarter but at least one-eighth. However, these tribal members are all but confined to second-class citizenship. Under the Fort Peck tribes’ constitution, associate members cannot vote or run for tribal government and do not receive resources from the tribe ..."
"Democratic Governor Steve Bullock had made expanding Medicaid to some 70,000 poor Montanans a priority since his 2012 election, and yet it seemed doomed. In 2013 the bill failed by a single vote when a fellow Democrat mistakenly voted “no.” In 2015, the Republican majorities in the state House and Senate made passage seem like a fantasy. And yet in April, Montana became the 30th state to expand its Medicaid program ... "
"A man walks into Dr. Cheryl Minnick's stuffy basement office and hands her a thick paperback textbook on résumé writing. He says it's from the library. She opens the front cover, sees the publication year is 1994, and promptly hurls it into a trash bin. Minnick has a right to do this. She is a nationally certified résumé writer, one of only 36 in the world ... "
"John Bohman talks to his 4-year old son through an iPhone perched on the edge of a half-finished wicker seat. His callused hands move fast, cracked fingernails pinching and pulling imported Brazilian vine to the tune of grainy toddler babel. The intricacies of the elaborate weave do not betray the fact that this is Bohman's first time caning a chair, or that his first major furniture show is less than an hour away ... "