Tuesday, May 22, 2018 - The Department of Justice bows to Trump demands – at least, in part.

Also on the rundown: the latest Supreme Court ruling deemed a blow to worker’s rights; plus a

solar program back by popular demand.



by Diane Larson


May 21, 2018 - May 28, 2018 is Memorial Day. A day in which we remember and honor those who died in active military service. Becoming a federal holiday in 1971, Memorial Day is a relatively new holiday. However, the concept of honoring those who have fallen in battle dates back to the ancient Greeks and Romans.

“The ancient Greeks and Romans held annual days of remembrance for loved ones (including soldiers) each year, festooning their graves with flowers and holding public festivals and feasts in their honor,” says History.com.

What the Greeks and Romans did all those years ago sounds like a normal Memorial Day celebration. Our festivals and feasts take on the shape of barbecues and picnics in neighborhoods and communities across the United States.

But, before all of that fun begins people head to cemeteries with flowers in hand. They festoon the graves of soldiers and all loved ones as a way of honoring, remembering and celebrating the life of their loved one.

In recent years the Memorial Day holiday has been a passage into the summer celebration with the family and community coming together at outdoor feasts.

However, there are some formal rituals for the day, on the books, according to History.com. The American flag should be hung at half-staff until noon, at which time it should then be raised to the top of the staff. Americans are encouraged to pause for a National Moment of Remembrance at 3:00 pm local time.

Some protocol or things to remember if you are visiting the gravesite of loved ones.

RomeMonument.com provides the following gravesite visitation ideas:

Lay a bouquet of flowers on the headstone.

Place a picture of the deceased on the monument

Plant a flag next to the headstone-especially on Memorial or Veteran’s Day.

Kneel and pray.

Put pebbles on the grave. (This is done to show that you have visited the grave and a sign that you remember the deceased).

A few tips on cemetery etiquette.

Anthonychapels.com says, “A cemetery is a unique place. While it is part of the everyday scene, it is not part of everyday life. That is to say, it is a place where tranquility and quiet are the desired norm, and activities of everyday life should be suspended.”

Be sympathetic to all, loud music playing in cars with windows rolled down can be interruptive to visitors.

Be respectful of the environment and the other guests. Remember the other visitors are mourning their loved ones as well. When leaving flowers and trinkets behind make sure trash of any sort is picked up as not to disturb the environment.

If you are bringing your pets with you, please keep them with you, and if necessary, clean up after them.

Do not disturb other gravesites. These, after all, are also places for remembering, keep them in-tact.

Some cemeteries are public and some private, know the difference. If you are visiting a public one you might be able to visit anytime.

For private cemeteries make sure you contact someone prior to make arrangements for a visit.

One last piece of politeness, before heading to the cemetery this Memorial Day weekend it wouldn’t hurt to check with the cemetery to see if they have any specific rules or protocol.


Big Sky Connection

Eric Tegethoff

May 21, 2018

BILLINGS, Montana - The number of Native Americans running for political office is surging across the country this year. 

More than 100 candidates representing both parties have entered contests, according to Mark Trahant, editor of Indian Country Today - with Montana seeing the highest number of any state, at 17. 

Trahant says these numbers are record breaking.

"I've been chronicling this for quite a while," he states. "About six years I've been building a database and every cycle, it starts to get a little bit bigger. And this year, it just kind of went off the map, and Montana is a great example with the sheer number of candidates."

Trahant says it's important to note that many of the candidates are young, and many are women. He says if even a handful win races for Montana legislative seats, there would be a higher percentage of Native Americans in the Legislature than in the population. 

In neighboring Idaho last week, Paulette Jordan handily won the Democratic primary for governor. If she wins in November, Jordan would be the first Native American governor in the country's history.

Trahant says another impressive trend is that many candidates are running to represent urban areas. 

Jade Bahr, a member of the Northern Cheyenne tribe, is one example. She hopes to represent Billings in the state House.

"It's almost like it's a sort of global consciousness that we're all feeling some similar pressures, and we're ready to just be bold and step up, and be a voice for our communities," she states. "So, I think it's wonderful."

Bahr says Standing Rock could be inspiring Native Americans to run. For her, the catalyst was the Women's March.

Bahr was born on the Crow Indian Reservation, but grew up in Billings. She says many people in the city are facing the same issues folks on the reservation face. 

"Coming from a reservation, there's a huge community aspect and I feel like the whole tribe is my family," she states. "And I translate that to Billings as well, because I want to build community, I want to make it stronger."

The Montana primary is June 5.





Monday, May 21, 2018 - Giuliani now says the Mueller probe into whether President Trump obstructed the Russian collusion inquiry will

end by September. Also on the rundown: Healthcare providers gear up as Trump's new "Gag Rule" targets Planned Parenthood; and

some perspective on the administration’s push for Arctic oil. 



Click on the image to listen to the audio.

Big Sky Connection

Eric Tegethoff

MISSOULA, Montana - Another intense fire season is expected and just around the corner in Montana. Could the solution to severe fire years in the future actually be putting more burns on the landscape? 

Mark Finney, a research forester at the U.S. Forest Service's Missoula Fire Sciences Lab, says fires have historically burned across Montana with less intensity. He notes the present strategy for dealing with fires is focused on suppression, and it's something firefighters in the West are good at. 

But the most intense infernos have escaped managers' control. Finney says big fires makeup about two percent of blazes but burn 90 percent of the total acreage.

"The only options we have are when to have and what kind to have," says Finney. "And if we insist on trying to remove all of the fire all the time we can, then the consequences of that choice are to have only the most extreme fires roaming the landscape."

Finney says removing small and moderate fires means biomass that would usually burn instead builds up and turns into fuel for massive fires every few years. About 1.4 million acres burned during Montana's 2017 fire season, the most in state history.

Finney says the history of management could be a guide to maintenance in the future. He notes that the benefits of fire are not as ingrained in western culture as they are in other parts of the country, such as the Southeast. However, knowledge of the need for fires is there. 

California timber companies in the late 1800s used prescribed burning to maintain their land. Then, Finney says, a devastating fire at the turn of the century changed the Forest Service's view of management.

"The 1910 fires, which were on the Idaho-Montana divide there, really, really catalyzed the notion that we were going to have to suppress fires and remove them from our forestlands to protect timber supplies, and that they were a threat to professional management," says Finney.

The Great Fire of 1910 in Montana, Idaho and Washington is believed to be the largest single fire in U.S. history. It killed 87 people.

Finney says in fire-dependent ecosystems, there's no substitute for fires. He says it will require a culture change in the West to get used to this idea, but adds that it should be part of the region's management scheme.

"Find out how much and where we need to have fire and how often," says Finney. "And so fire has to be built into our land-management planning, our land-management activities, at a scale that is really unprecedented in the last century or so."


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