The Billings Outpost

Static-X moves

The Static-X concert on Wednesday has moved from the Babcock Theater to Manny's Sports and Entertainment. Refunds for previously purchased tickets can be made at their point of purchase. Questions on tickets can be directed to Tickets300 at (866) 300-8300.

The lineup also has changed. Playing are 9 Electric and the Farthest Edge.

Last Updated on Monday, 17 September 2012 08:57

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9-11 ceremony on Tuesday



A year after the Billings community dedicated a memorial to honor those who died and served in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, tragedy, a commemoration ceremony will be held at its site at City College at Montana State University Billings.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept., 11 at the site of Montana’s 9/11 Memorial at City College (formerly the College of Technology). The ceremony will involve administrators, faculty, staff and students from MSU Billings as well as representatives from the Billings Police Department, Billings Fire Department and local Boy Scouts.

Here is a look at the schedule for the event:

  • 7:30 a.m.:  Sirens sound memorial remembrance by City College paramedic program
  • 7:31 a.m.: Flag- raising by the MSU Billings Army ROTC members
  • 7:35 a.m.: Laying of Wreaths by MSU Billings Chancellor Rolf Groseth, City College Dean Marsha Riley, Billings Police Chief Rich St. John, and Billings Fire Chief Paul Dextras, paramedic student Brianna Kaftan, fire science student Michael Kooy, and Ben and Josh Winn, members of Billings Boy Scout Troop 394
  • 8 a.m.: Lessons learned from 9/11. Room 127 Health Sciences Building. Special guest speaker will be George Menig. Menig will discuss medical issues and the physical and mental after-effects that catastrophic events can have on first responders. Menig was a member of the NYPD from 1981 to 2001. He retired as Commanding Officer of the 33rd Precinct Detective Squad and was previously assigned to the NYPD Emergency Service Unit.  Of the 23 NYPD police officers killed on 9/11, 14 were members of the Emergency Service Unit.

Montana’s 9/11 Memorial stands as a steadfast, silent witness to the memory of those who lost their lives at the hands of terrorism on that landmark day 11 years ago. It also provides a place of reflection and honor for those who serve others, whether in the armed services, police, fire or emergency response.


The centerpiece of the memorial is a 600-pound piece of steel I-beam recovered from the rubble of the World Trade Center, which collapsed after the attacks a decade ago.  I was formally dedicated on Sept. 11, 2011.

Volunteers from across the community worked together through the spring and summer of 2011 to make the project a reality. City College faculty members developed the idea for the memorial and secured the piece of iron. Representatives from MSU Billings, Exchange Clubs of Billings, Stockman Bank and the Billings Fire Department broke ground on the site and worked by hand to give the area its shape. Workers from EEC Inc., and CMG Construction followed up with dirt removal and site preparation. Fisher Sand and Gravel poured the slab. 

Set on a 40-foot diameter concrete pad, the 4,150 square-foot memorial features benches for personal reflection as well as informational panels set in sandstone around the edges. At the center is a 12-foot diameter raised platform on which the I-beam rests. Rising above the I-beam are two 16-foot tube steel towers, a scaled-down visual replica of the World Trade Center towers that fell on Sept. 11, 2001.

Faculty and students make use of the memorial ways to enhance the academic experience. Awards will be given to 10 students for outstanding 9/11-related class or personal projects produced during this academic year. These projects could include a research paper, report, speech, lesson plan, literary work, art, computer animation or music. Five $100 awards are open to students from all colleges and departments, and five will be awarded to City College students. The 10 awardees will be selected by a university-wide committee of faculty and staff.

In addition, the memorial led to a community project. The Montana 9/11 Oral History Project was a service learning activity for students and community members. The objective is to collect, record and archive 9/11 memories from the Billings community with the intention of sharing their unique perspectives with future generations.  Ultimately, the project will create a greater understanding of what the 9/11 attacks mean to Montanans and how the events of September 11, 2001, shaped our community over the course of the last decade.



Last Updated on Sunday, 09 September 2012 17:10

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Liquor licenses available

HELENA – The Montana Department of Revenue is publishing the availability of additional liquor licenses and accepting applications in three Montana communities.

After reviewing this year’s population estimates by the U.S. Bureau of Census, DOR is adding one Floater All-Alcoholic Beverages License for Billings and new All-Alcoholic Beverages Licenses for Broadwater and Liberty counties.

Every year about this time, DOR adjusts the number of licenses available in each quota area based on the population estimates and advertises for lottery applications.

“The population in Billings increased enough to allow one license to be floated into that quota area, and the populations of Broadwater and Liberty counties grew, which increased the license quota,” said John Flynn, DOR Liquor Licensing Bureau Chief.

The notices began this week and continue for four consecutive weeks in the Billings Gazette, Townsend Star and Liberty County News. DOR will accept lottery applications for the available liquor licenses until 5 p.m. on Oct. 1, 2012. To apply, visit

Last Updated on Thursday, 06 September 2012 23:03

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New magazine to focus on native life, issues

By ADRIAN JAWORT - For The Outpost

Bethany Yellowtail, 23, a Northern Cheyenne Tribal Member also with Crow descent, has come a long way from the tiny town of Wyola (population 215) on the Crow Indian Reservation to where she now resides in Los Angeles and holds the title of first patternmaker on the design team of hip-hop mogul Russell Simon’s popular urban clothing line Baby Phat.

Yellowtail was exactly the type of person Mary White, a Crow Indian who grew up in Pryor, was looking for to represent the debut of the Native Strong Magazine launch that took place Aug. 17 during this year’s Crow Fair.

White said the magazine is the culmination of ideas from American Indian tribes from Montana, California, Oklahoma and other western states that aim to inspire American Indians from ages 15 to 30 “to be proud of who they are and to live healthy, productive and positive lifestyles.”

“Inspiration” was the theme of the model casting call contest and follow-up concert accommodating the magazine’s kickoff.

It will cover everything from Native American pop culture, current events and native humor to serious social issues like high suicide and poverty rates plaguing reservations.

“We come from a lot of hardships, but we also have a lot of belief and faith in our culture,” White said. “We really want to bring up and highlight the good of our people.”

Native Strong Magazine’s motto, “In Beauty We Walk,” was brought to life by the model casting call where female and male contestants walked on a runway, answered a few basic questions, and sought to win a professional photo shoot to help their budding modeling careers and inclusion into the magazine.

The model casting call judges included Yellowtail and this year’s America’s Next Top Model contestant Mariah Watchman, a Umatilla Tribal Member from Pendleton, Ore. Watchman has Montana roots in Missoula – where she was born - and Wolf Point, where she spent considerable time growing up with her mom’s family on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.

The 21-year-old Watchman was also one of the models who helped debut Yellowtail’s designs in Billings in April during a fund-raising fashion show for Crow Democratic primary congressional candidate Jason Ward.

“When we look at a contestant, we want a candidate to be confident and proud of who they are,” Watchman said of the judging criteria. “A model can always be a pretty girl or good looking, but what’s important to me is that they have a really good personality.”

At least a couple of dozen contestants from 4-year-olds to 20-somethings entered, although most contestants were in their teens.

One young woman, Natasha Laforge, said she wanted to go to college at Central Arizona College to study equine science and become a horse veterinarian. Another teen named Mika wanted to become a nurse after joining the Navy, while 8-year-old Tina wore a pink cowboy outfit and naturally aspired to be a cowgirl.

Bridgette Shields, an Assiniboine tribal member from the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, won the female model contest. Stephen Yellowtail, a Crow Indian from Wyola and Sheridan, won on the male side. Both contestants wanted to become models and positive role models for their communities as Watchman and Bethany Yellowtail were.

Watchman, who has modeled internationally since she was 15 after signing her first contract, said the Umatilla Reservation always gave her positive support whenever she came back home so she tries to give back to Indian reservations however she can. She speaks fluent Umatilla, is always quick to tell people she’s American Indian and grew up on reservations, and is proud to use her personal success to be an ambassador of sorts for all natives.

However, Watchman and Yellowtail both want to see all Native success become the norm and not the exception in mainstream culture. Yellowtail said, “We don’t want to stay doing casting calls on the reservation and be pigeonholed here, because we have beautiful models and women who are strong and have dreams to do other things away from here. We want to be successful inside and outside the reservation.”

In spite of their young ages and already high level of success in their chosen careers, Yellowtail and Watchman want to continue setting their personal bar of achievements higher to help inspire other native youths who may struggle to find role models.

“We’re not even at the peak of our careers,” Yellowtail said. “We’re on the incline.”

Watchman concurred, and related a story of how when she was eliminated from the “America’s Next Top Model” show, her disappointment was short lived after Tyra Banks told her while she might not be America’s Next Top Model, she could be Native America’s first supermodel.

Now whenever Watchman gives speeches to youth on Indian reservations, she tells them, “I was the first Native American to appear on ‘America’s Next Top Model.’ Who wants to be the first native to win it?”

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 August 2012 22:11

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Partnership launched

RiverStone Health, in collaboration with the Missoula City-County Health has launched the Nurse-Family Partnership, an evidence-based community health program that aims to help transform the lives of vulnerable mothers pregnant with their first child.

Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) is a voluntary prevention program that provides nurse home visitation services to low-income, first-time mothers. Nurses begin home visits early in the mother’s pregnancy and continue visitation until the child’s second birthday. Nurses provide support, education and counseling on health, behavioral and self-sufficiency issues.

Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, a nationwide law enforcement organization of more than 5,000 members that include police chiefs, sheriffs, prosecutors and attorneys general, identified NFP as a proven investment to cut crime and violence. Providing voluntary parent coaching to at-risk parents of young children through NFP, a research study showed that the children served were half as likely to be abused and neglected.

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 August 2012 22:01

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Gazebo to be built

Groundbreaking was scheduled for Wednesday this week on a new gazebo to replace the one that had been in South Park.

According to a news release, the city of Billings in 2010 demolished and removed the gazebo, which was constructed around 1914. The structure had become unsafe from, time, wear and weather.

The South Side Neighborhood Task Force has been requesting funds for the construction of a new gazebo. Plans are to construct a 40 foot facility that will provide a place for musical performances, festivals, family and group events, weddings and many other programs and events.

With the final plans being decided by the end of July, additional upgrades still needed funding. Within one week, the task force secured $25,000 from two donations: First Interstate Bank and the Billings Downtown Exchange Club.

On Monday, July 30, South Side Task Force officers received the checks at South Park from First Interstate’s Keith Cook and the Exchange Club’s Lisa Von Laven. Some words by our Ward I Councilman Jim Ronquillo, Councilman Brent Cromley and Task Force Chair Mike Yakawich will be given in an expression of gratitude to all those who have contributed to this amazing project not only for the South Side but for the entire city of Billings.

For more information please contact: Mike Yakawich at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 254-2445

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 August 2012 21:43

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Ground breaking for gazebo


The City of Billings Park and Recreation Department would like to invite Billings residents to attend a ground breaking ceremony at South Park for the new South Park Gazebo at noon Tuesday, Aug. 21.

Please call City Parks and Recreation at 657-8371 or 657-8372 if you have any questions.


Last Updated on Sunday, 19 August 2012 19:39

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Lunch with Daniel

By JIM LARSON - The Billings Outpost

Before he returned from the East, celebrity counterman Daniel McCormack sent me a letter. He thought, he wrote, that we should get together for lunch.

This began a series of midday encounters that I shall always count as some of my life’s best moments.

I can’t remember where we went first, but our last was at the McCormick Café, where we had first met.

As usual, lunch was an epic tour of the cosmos, an analysis of our respective psyches, a review of the state of our personal illnesses, and an expert critique of the food, all with relevant references from literature, modern physics and eastern and western religious traditions.

The conversation throughout was peppered with his sly wit, and the darker the subject, the harder he made me laugh.

I believe that at times he tested me. Once, after describing his mood as being in a minor key and then applying the bilocational properties of particles described by quantum physics to a memory of his father, he noticed that I was actually following his train of thought.

This halted the locomotive for a moment and elicited this fine compliment.

“You’re much smarter than you seem,” he said.

Then, worried that his words had stung, he said, “I meant that in a good way.” I replied that in ad sales and in reporting, holding back a little often helped. He was relieved to hear that I hadn’t taken offence. In truth, I was usually barely able to keep up with the accelerating carnival ride that our conversations invariably became.

When we left a restaurant, the wait staff would always be in a better mood than when we came in. Daniel was at heart an entertainer, even at lunch.  Our meals were punctuated with belly laughs and wild gesturing, always cathartic.

As time passed, our mutual respect and affection grew.

The day after our last lunch together, I stopped in at the McCormick for a cup of coffee and a lemon bar. Daniel had pointed out to me years before that the lemon bars there had a wonderful shortbread crust.

A longtime employee of the restaurant greeted me and noted what a good time Daniel and I had been having the day before. He asked, “Are you brothers?”

“Not by birth,” I said.



Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 August 2012 21:22

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McCormack’s death left lyrical legacy

EDITOR’S NOTE: Daniel McCormack, a restaurant worker, writer, musician and longtime friend of the Outpost whose greatest artistic achievement may have been the elegance and grace of his own life, died last week. He was 58 (see obituary).

The last time I saw him, a few months before his death, he told me that he would soon be no longer be able to walk. He said this as casually as anyone else might toss out a worn-out pair of tennis shoes.  Life was too precious to fret over inconveniences. (Please read JimLarson's rememberance of "Lunch with Daniel").

Occasionally, he sent us original poems and song lyrics that we were free to publish as we saw fit. As it happened, we still had two recent efforts in our files at the time of his death. They appear below.

Surfing Siberia
say hello to sunshine
cloudy days are through
let me tell ya’, people
what we’re gonna do
we’re goin’ north for the winter
oh, won’tcha come and play
we’ll be surfin’ siberia
come christmas day
pack the boards in the lexus
and away we go
forget about texas
and mexico
california was a fun place
but it’s almost gone
so we’re headin’ for the one place
where we can party on
we’ll be surfin’ siberia
every girl and boy
ridin’ down a tidal wave
and jumpin’ for joy
hot fun in the wintertime
on a northern shore
we’ll be surfin’ siberia
for ever more
ho-daddies from helsinki
babes from bejing
kahunas from krakow
come to do their thing
bikinis by the baltic
searchin’ for some fun
wahinis from warsaw
in the midnight sun
surfin-surfin’ siberia
just like a magazine
every single cutie there
is a beauty queen
see the super swinger swayin’
on reality TV
surfin-surfin’ siberia
all for you and me
yes, it’s surfin’ siberia
all for me and you
we’ll be surfin’ the artic
before we’re through
see santa in a speedo
he’s hangin’ ten
surfin’ sweet siberia
at the world’s end
‘cause it’s the end of days, kids
and we got no cares
we’re goin’ out surfin’
insteada sayin’ prayers
we’ll dancin’ by the bonfire
or we’ll be shootin’ the curl
surfin-surfin’ siberia
runnin’ down the world
surfin’ siberia
oh, mama, don’t cry
about what was
believe it goes the way it does
it may not all make sense
but there are no accidents along the way 
 – welcome to today
and, papa, don’t sigh
about what’s not
just try to get to the things you’ve got
use’em or lose’em
and you’ll always have a lot to give away
 – welcome to today
‘cause life is not a dress rehearsal
love is not a bill of goods
god is not a bearded wonder
or a path out of the woods
we aren’t on the t.v.
or off to see the wiz
so we better just let it cut loose
‘cause it’s the only dance there
feel the swing and sway
hear the caller say
welcome to today
and step right up
when it’s time to go
we only learn what we don’t know
time to take the pathway clear
so that we came come right here and say
 – welcome to today
‘cause life is not a dress rehearsal
love is not a shopping list
god is not a bearded wonder
or a path out through the mist
this ain’t no game show
we’re not off to see the wiz
so we better just let it cut loose
‘cause it’s the only dance there
oh, feel the swing and sway
 hear the caller say
  let the music play
   dance the night away
    welcome to today
     hey, welcome
       to today.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 August 2012 21:37

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Bus tour touts energy production

American Energy’s diesel bus makes a stop in Billings.

By JANE WHITE - The Billings Outpost

N. Gregory Kohn, chairman of the board of the Billings Chamber of Commerce and director of human resources at Rocky Mountain College, stood out as the voice for the environment at the American Energy Alliance’s Bus Tour event at the Big Horn Resort in Billings on Monday.

“Everybody has a responsibility to protect the environment, and energy development has to be done responsibly,” he said. “I don’t think that we should hinder new development of our energy resources - we must do it responsibly.”

Mr. Kohn was the singular person at the AEA event to mention natural beauty. He said, “Montana’s natural beauty, its rivers, its plains, its national parks, are unrivalled. Energy must be developed in an efficient, responsible way ... . Responsible reclamation of land is critical not only by mandate, but also because of sense of shared responsibility.”

Mr. Kohn pointed out that some mines, such as the Spring Creek Mine in Decker, have espoused reclamation and have replanted much vegetation and even started a greenhouse to repopulate the land with indigenous plants. Reviews are mixed, however, on the success of such reclamation projects.

State Republican Sens. Ed Walker, R-Laurel, and Jason Priest, R-Red Lodge, spoke at the AEA event. Along with Atlas Shrugged Tea Party Movement Leader Eric Olson, they want Montana to get rich, be rich and stay rich.

“We are 40th in take-home pay in Carbon County,” said Sen. Priest. Priest said he wants Montana to be the place where innovation in business attracts copious amounts of money.

“Fracking was invented in Wyoming. It should have been invented here,” Sen. Priest said. In another question about how to get more money into Montana, Eric Olson, in shorts and a red polo shirt, said more money from oil ought to stay in Montana.

“Why is our hard-earned money going to foreign oil wells overseas?” asked Mr. Olson. “China absorbed the prosperity we gave up. One of the biggest mistakes we ever made was to give oil rights to the commodity market. We cannot predict the oil price in order to efficiently run a business. North Dakota is producing 500,000 barrels of oil per day and Montana is producing 60,000. We have a lot of catching up to do. Drill here, drill now.” he said.

Mike McKenna, the leader of the AEA Bus Tour, group provided soda, water, brats, burgers and potato salad. The group said it has traveled to Billings in the bus three times in the last 12 months.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 August 2012 20:14

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