Brian Kahn

The Helena Business Improvement District and Downtown Helena Inc

In small or medium-sized towns, "anchor" stores benefit many nearby businesses. Billie Shepard, owner for the last seventeen years of The Pan Handler Store on Last Chance Gulch in Helena, MT, thrives on supplying cooks with their tools and demonstrating how to use them. She also provides health insurance, sick leave and vacation pay to her employees and frequently helps pay for their training and education.

MT PSC

Bill Gallagher had a key vote in the MT Public Service Commission's decision to approve NorthWestern Energy's proposal to buy 11 of Montana's hydroelectric dams from PPL Montana. How did he make his decision?

(Broadcast: "Home Ground Radio," 12/21/14. Listen weekly on the radio, Sundays at  11:10 a.m., or via podcast.)

For a state in the richest nation in the world, it's an awkward truth that many Montanans go hungry. In Helena, approximately fourteen percent of residents face hunger. Host Brian Kahn talks about it with Ann Waickman, Executive Director of Helena Food Share.

Who comes to Helena Food Share?   

"We really try to never have to come in here, but we usually end up here a few times a year.  I haven't been paid in three weeks and my wife's job just won't cover all our bills."  -HFS Client

Flickr user, BigRedSky

It's 1848 and you're heading 2,200 miles up the Missouri River, spending two months literally pulling the keel boat upstream. When you arrive at the American Fur Company trading post of Fort Benton, you're in for a surprise. It's a barter post rather than a military fort, where Blackfeet and white traders exchange goods, not hostilities. In fact, many of these traders are related through marriage.

Kim Metez

Chef Ben Thorpe, a home-schooled native of rural Idaho, is the chef at Fort Benton's Grand Union Hotel. From seminary, to an abbreviated career in classical dance, to ministerial work, then a stint as a wine steward, Thorpe came to his culinary career in a roundabout way. "I think the ability to please people, to take ingredients and put them together, and to see people truly feel happiness, is really life-changing.

When we think of "health," we often think about the well-being of an individual. But Lindsey Krywaruchka, Emily Epperson, and George Burns work on behalf of a different definition of "health:" the well-being of an entire human population. All three work in the public health programs of Montana's Department of Public Health and Human Services.

courtesy of Deep Springs College

Nearly one hundred years ago, L.L. Nunn, an electrical pioneer and the manager of a Colorado power company, founded a two-year college for young men in California's Deep Springs Valley. Deep Springs College isn't the typical American junior college: it's tiny, with just twenty-six students. No one pays tuition or fees.  It's located on a remote cattle ranch and alfalfa farm. The student-faculty ratio is 5:1.

Flickr user, Meet the Media Guru

"My way of learning was never through a book - it was always through experience. Going out and finding things and thinking about them is basically how I have learned everything. When it comes to teaching a student something, I want that student to do the same thing. I think reading is overrated, quite frankly, and I think there's no reason to read a book and learn about someone else's idea. I think it's more important to experience something and have your own idea."

Jim Winstead

Greg and Susan Gianforte started a hi-tech business in a spare bedroom of their home in Bozeman. Fourteen years later, they sold RightNow Technologies, Inc. to Oracle for $1.5 billion.

Big money is pouring into judges' elections. So how would you feel if the judge deciding your case had received $3.5 million from your opponent? Hugh Caperton knows. With attorney James Sample, he took his case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Pages