features

Healing from the Trauma

Human trafficking survivor has Her Refuge to thank for her life Tucked inside a booth at midtown coffee shop, 54-year-old Marie* tugs nervously at her sleeves and shifts a bit in her seat. Her eyes scan the room as she starts to recall a painful snippet of time that she’s tried for more than 40…

The Face of a Human Trafficker

Terrance Edwards, sentenced to 30 years for sex trafficking What started as an apparently innocent connection on Facebook led one woman into almost two years’ bondage in a statewide sex trafficking ring. Ultimately, her bravery led to the arrest and conviction of Terrance Edwards, 36, a pimp with connections to Missoula and Billings. In their…

A Refuge for Her

Couple sells everything to shelter victims of human trafficking Above the rustic fireplace in the home of Sammy and Britney Higgs, the words on a hand-painted wooden sign pretty much sum up their work these days. It reads, “Perfect love drives out fear.” They have had to drive out their share of fear over the…

Doggone Good!

Give your pup some treats baked up with love I will admit it. I’m a dog person. I grew up with dogs. My husband grew up with dogs and we have always had one or two by our sides. Our dogs are family. Years ago, I started making my own dog treats after finding a…

Salute Celebrates 35 Years

YWCA’s Major Fund and Friend-raiser sparks community spirit At 85 years old, Maria Beltran-Jensen still spends time in the courtroom, legally representing those who may not otherwise be able to afford a lawyer. Most of her work as an attorney is pro-bono through Montana Legal Services. Each case reminds her a little bit of her…

A Heartwarming Tale

Max the Prison Paws pup is now larger than life After spending 20 years in front of an elementary school classroom, Donna Cochran always loved reading stories to children. As a teacher, her favorite activity was helping students write and illustrate their own books. But, over the course of all of those years, she never…

Hopping Into Easter

DIY candy dish is as sweet as the treats it holds If you’re looking for an easy way to bring a little spring into your home décor, thanks to a few figurines and some chalk paint, you can have an inexpensive project that is just as sweet as the treats it will hold. You may…

Just Three Questions…

Many years ago, back when I was becoming me and leaving the scared girl behind, I learned that if I asked three questions before making a statement, I had time to actually think about my statement, and my words were more on target. Way back then, when my hair was brown, my eyes bagless, and…

It’s Not Netflix

Respect guides Jennie Hansen’s role as the Montana Women’s Prison warden Life in the Montana Women’s Prison on Billings’ South 27th Street doesn’t mimic the scenes depicted in the popular Netflix series, “Orange Is the New Black.” It’s not steeped in fear and retribution. Daily life isn’t ruled by violence. Instead, Jennie Hansen, appointed warden…

Building Community, One Belt at a Time

Jen Perry empowers women & cinches up success Just 20 yards away from the concrete walls that house more than 220 female inmates at the Montana Women’s Prison, the quiet hum of a sewing machine can be heard as one of the inmates sews up another project. Beth Anthony, a 50-something inmate with three years…

The Heart Gallery’s Helen

A teen with a smile that can light up a room  Editor’s Note: The Heart Gallery is an ongoing feature and partnership with Rimrock Mall to give a voice to those children waiting for a loving adoptive family of their own. Visit Rimrock Mall to see the Heart Gallery, with continually changing photos of adoptable…

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Through a lens of compassion

Photographer Tracy Moore uses her talents to change lives When Tracy Moore was in the eighth grade, her family moved from California to Colorado. At her new school, she didn’t know anyone, and rather than walk into the cafeteria and have no one to sit with, she grabbed her lunch tray and found an empty…

Still Loving the Hot Wadda

Behind the Scenes at Chico Hot Springs If you’ve lived in the Yellowstone River region for any length of time, you know about Chico Hot Springs. Maybe you have a favorite Chico story or you’ve celebrated a special occasion there with family or friends. Chico Hot Springs got its start in 1900, when Bill and…

Fab, Fit & 40

Resolutions to conquer the challenges and changes of mid life While every season of life brings joys and new discoveries, perhaps no season challenges us more than the decade of our 40s, described by journalist and author Gail Sheehy as “the old age of youth and the infancy of adulthood.” During this season, we might…

It’s a (Wo)Man’s World!

Maranda Ratcliff is on a mission to bring more women outdoors Maranda Ratcliff thought she was going to be an engineer. She worked hard for two years at the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis and then spent another year and a half at Montana Tech. It was then that she realized her heart wasn’t really into engineering. “I…

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