As another year wraps up, Prairie Populist takes a look back at 2018. We covered stories from all four corners of the state and everything in between. We featured writers from the Musselshell Valley to Northwest Montana, from Fort Peck to Yellowstone County. We wrote about the solutions, issues, and values that matter to you: to farmers and ranchers, to teachers and firemen, to parents and community members, to republicans, democrats and independents alike.
Thank you for all of your support, feedback, and engaged discussions throughout this year. As we tip our hats to you and to 2018, here are our top 10 favorite stories from the past 12 months.
See you in 2019, friends.
People and Places:
“THIS IS A HOMETOWN CAMPGROUND” — GENERATIONS CONNECT AT PAINTED ROCKS STATE PARK
This past summer, we joined the thousands of Montanans visiting the amazing lands, lakes, and historical sites that make up Montana’s state parks. At Painted Rocks, we met a local family who, for generations, has made this state park a home away from home.
RAIN OR SHINE, FLOOD OR FIRE, THE AUGUSTA RODEO GOES ON
This summer, Augusta experienced some of the worst flooding it’s had in decades.
But this community stood strong. People came together to help folks recover from the flood, and they still put on one of the best rodeos our state has to offer.
On the land:
WHEN ALL THE BEERS ARE STILL ACCOUNTED FOR, YOU RAISED YOUR KID RIGHT
Ryan and Haven Linder know the benefits of raising your kids back on the farm. After making the rounds to different towns around the state, the Linder family returned to farm in Flaxville so they could give their kids large open spaces and a rural school experience.
MONTANA HORSE COULD BE FIRST TO WIN KENTUCKY DERBY SINCE 1889
This year, Bolt d’Oro, who was started and broke in Columbia Falls, could’ve made history at the Kentucky Derby. He followed in the hoof-steps of Spokane, the copper-colored colt was the first — and is still the only — horse from our great state to win the Kentucky Derby.
Making a living:
BENEFITS OF RESTORATION GO BEYOND LANDSCAPES
Our grandparents may not have known about the unintended consequences of channelizing streams, but we certainly do now. Today, Montanans from Eureka to the Ruby are implementing conservation projects that improve trout habitat and mitigate floods, while also giving a boost to the local economy.
THIS ISN’T A STRIKE — WE’RE LOCKED OUT OF OUR JOBS
This summer, there was a lockout at the Talc Mill in Three Forks. “We’re not asking for something, we’re asking to keep things,” said Nestor Hill, who has worked at the mill for 15 years.
IN CENTRAL MONTANA, CAN ‘GRASSBANKING’ HELP KEEP YOUNG RANCHERS ON THE LAND?
Guest writer Laura Nowlin tells the story of a group of central Montanans who are looking to create a grassbank — a piece of land where livestock from several producers, who commit to conservation practices, could graze.
RESPECT BUILDS COEXISTENCE AND COMMUNITY
Guest writer Justin Willis writes about Spencer Kehler, a white farmer whose family has been farming and ranching within the Crow Reservation for three generations. Kehler believes that respecting the Crow culture is key to coexisting with the Crow People.
I CAN WALK BECAUSE OF A CRITICAL ACCESS HOSPITAL
Contributor Brooke Reynolds tells about her childhood experience at a Critical Access Hospital. These rural hospitals treat, heal, and patch up thousands of Montanans every day, addressing critical medical needs and offering short-term emergency care.
MONTANA NEEDS STRONGER PROTECTION FOR FIREFIGHTERS AND THEIR FAMILIES
Firefighters have our backs, but it’s time we had theirs.
When it comes to protecting the health of firefighters, Montana lags well behind the rest of the country. Great Falls firefighter Jason Baker, who was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in 2016, shows why it’s about time our state makes some changes.
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