Flathead Beacon

Rebranding the University of Montana

Lately, when fall rolls around, Betters also sees his Griz disappearing deeper into the dark clouds circling Washington-Grizzly Stadium. He’s seen, like the rest of us, UM and its football team connected to a highly publicized spate of sexual assaults, physical attacks and bad behavior. He’s seen the damning federal investigations, the no-holds-barred book, the often-criticized leadership and, least importantly but not insignificantly, the losses mount on the gridiron. He’s seen enrollment drop to critical levels, upheaval in the administration and the reputation of his university dragged through the mud.
Daily Inter Lake

100 days of solitude

Whither the wandering soul, be she moose or man? “One day I saw an old moose,” Dr. Amy Pearson begins. “Like a really old moose. “I was looking north and I see this animal coming out and it’s really slow and I’m like ‘what the ... what is that?’ And I look over and it’s this old moose and he’s just like [moose groan].’” Pearson contorts her face to mimic the moose, twisting into a distant, mildly pained stare as she drifts deeper into the memory. “And he gets up and I’m like ‘where is he going to go?’ Because it’s just ridgeline rock and it ends, so I just watched him go up and stand there for about 10 minutes.
Flathead Beacon

Healing Through Hoops

It’s been more than a decade since that awful day, but Tyler Johnson’s recall is as vivid as ever. “I remember that morning so well,” he said calmly, minutes after his efficient 23-point performance in Flathead’s 69-46 win at Columbia Falls on Dec. 16. “I don’t, obviously, remember a lot of stuff back then, but I remember that morning detail to detail: my brother and I not going to school and stuff, and we were wondering why. “And then we got told.”
Daily Inter Lake

Love and life's journey: How two Kalispell gym owners saved themselves

This story is about a lot of things. It's about college romance. It's about Royce Gracie and the Rev. Horton Heat. It's about pumping gas, the collapse of the housing market and brain surgery. It's about dogs, a laboratory, and a couple of entrepreneurs whose business won't stop growing. But mostly, it’s about life and the human experience, and what we do when we’re presented with challenges that feel impossible to survive. It begins with wyeonmia smithii.
Daily Inter Lake

A victory for Libby

LIBBY ­— Years ago, before the mills went away and the terrible secret of the mine was revealed, the whistle blew to signal the end of a shift and thousands of workers streamed down U.S. 2, admiring the splendorous Cabinet Mountains before arriving at Libby High School. They walked back behind the school, mingled with their friends and neighbors, filed neatly into the bleachers and settled in for the evening. They howled with delight when the freshman football players revved up their chainsaws and roared as the home team, renamed the Loggers in the 1950s, took the field and bravely battled the competition.
Daily Inter Lake

Bigfork senior finds family, future after addiction

“Dear dad, I left because I thought it would teach you a life lesson but I was wrong. You tried to tell me that I didn’t have to fall to the bottom to learn but I didn’t believe you. I wish I would have because now I have made it to the bottom.” — Denim Carlson, from a note pinned to his father’s front door. --- The summer after his freshman year of high school, Denim Carlson was drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana almost daily. By the end of the summer, he had used meth for the first time.
Daily Inter Lake

One-and-done FVCC men's basketball program won big

Years before he would hone his craft under a future hall of fame coach, convince a Texan with a funky name to study in Laramie, Wyoming, and turn the men’s basketball team at that state’s flagship university from perennial punching bag to NCAA Tournament darlings, Jim Brandenburg was finished with coaching. After 11 years leading successful high school programs in Texas and Colorado, he was ready to trade the rigors of coaching for a lifetime as an academic, beginning work on a doctoral degree and raising his young family.
Daily Inter Lake

Sean Opland is Troy's Trojan workhorse

TROY — It’s dark and quiet in a tiny, blue-collar town in a faraway corner of northwest Montana. In his bedroom, upstairs in his family’s modest home, one of the most jaw-dropping athletes in the state is wide awake. He cannot and will not sleep on this night, so he stays up watching his favorite videos. First there’s the one with the heartbreaking ending, then another that crescendos to a jubilant finish. Then there’s the old one, not quite in black-and-white, that’s showing him a whole new side of a man he’s only recently gotten to know.
Daily Inter Lake

Zinke takes hot seat at confirmation hearing

WASHINGTON — Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of the Interior, disputed Trump’s belief that climate change is a “hoax” and forcefully reaffirmed his opposition to the sale of public lands during his confirmation hearing Tuesday in front of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The Whitefish Republican was received amicably, for the most part, by members of both parties during the hours-long hearing and was endorsed by both of Montana’s senators. Republican Steve Daines, a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Democrat Jon Tester introduced Zinke and advocated for the fellow Montanan.
Daily Inter Lake

In Good Hands: Film celebrates 40 years of private land trusts

Traversing the Lower Valley is a trip through Montana’s existential crisis. Look right to see endless open fields framed by majestic, snow capped mountains. Look left at shimmering, brick McMansions protected by foreboding iron gates. Look right to see a pair of white-tailed deer grabbing a snack, a bald eagle standing sentry and a flock of geese gliding in for a landing. Look left at the smiling faces of real estate agents, decorating enticing signs promoting “waterfront properties” now for sale.