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Articles from the Belgrade News

In retirement, actually semi-retirement, or as a friend and former reporter colleague calls it, independence, I briefly returned to reporting for the local weekly newspaper. It’s the Belgrade News in Belgrade, Montana. This part-time job started on September 1, 2108. I concentrated on feature stories while the editor handled the “fun” things, like City Council and School Board meetings. Not! I’ve done my share and gladly let him have that task.

I pulled the plug on this gig in March 2019 after Carolyn, my wife of almost 20 years, was diagnosed with incurable brain cancer (glioblastoma). She died in September 2019, and I carried on with our plans to downsize from our home in Belgrade and move to a cottage in Billings, Montana. Thus, my last newspaper reporting hitch (I think) came to an end.

Before officially drawing a paycheck, I freelanced a few special-edition pieces for the News. Sample here:

Freelance articles

Keeping Belgrade’s history alive

Articles written as Belgrade News staffer

All in the Family – antique/classic car show at the local Fall Festival

Belgrade’s Green Thumb – local man who grows onions and all kinds of other vegetables

Belgrade man leads charge – statewide effort to send a classic World War II transport plane to next June’s 75th anniversary of D-Day

Keeping Belgrade’s history alive – the story of Corbett, the Holstein bull that bucked off everyone who tried to ride him more than a century ago

Tale of the bull – part of the special-edition package about Corbett, the Belgrade Bull

Montana Gluten-Free: a local milling operation that grinds oats grown in Montana and Idaho, ships them around the country and also has found a market for kosher oats in Israel

The Turkey Red Special: a feature about a quirky local railroad that brought Turkey Red winter wheat and a few passengers from rural Gallatin County into Bozeman, starting early in the 20th century

Veteran’s Day turns 100: two stories to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, November 11, 2018

World War I family history and what it means: a column I wrote about my family connection to the Great War

Column – Remembering George Bush

Three Forks School District struggles with financial woes, government fines

Pair make soap business using bacon fat, beer

Three Forks trail gets accolades

Reader appreciation

Letter to the editor, re: Three Forks School District finances story

Bannack’s Glory Days

Article about Bannack Days, annual celebration of the heritage of Montana’s first territorial capital. This article appeared in the June 2016 issue of Trailer Life magazine.

Trailer Life_June 2016

Park City Perfection

Article that appeared in the Billings (MT) Gazette on March 22, 2015, describing an epic Montana state high school basketball championship that occurred on the same weekend 45 years earlier.

Park City Perfection

“Sandwich Generation” article

Article that appeared in the January 2012 issue of Montana 55, a special publication of Lee Newspapers of Montana


Desert Dreams – outdoor adventures in Moab, Utah

Article published in the May 2012 issue of Magic City Magazine, a publication of the Billings (Montana) Gazette


Big Timber awarded Cowboy Hall of Fame

Article from the April 30, 2012, issue of the Billings Gazette


Spirited competition for Cowboy Hall of Fame

Article from the October 18, 2011 issue of the Billings Gazette


Web copy – landing page & article for RightNow Technologies

RightNow Technologies_home page article_May 2010

KOA Kompass articles (2003-2005)

I wrote one to three articles per month in 2003, 2004, and in January 2005, as a freelancer for KOA Kompass, the online publication of Billings, Montana-based Kampgrounds of America. Below are links to those articles.

April 2003

Retrace the Lewis and Clark Trail During Its Bicentennial

May 2003

Lewis and Clark in Iowa, South Dakota and North Dakota

Tour the Fiesta Key KOA!

June 2003

Explore the Lewis and Clark Trail through Montana

July 2003

Camping Closer to Home

Lewis and Clark Reach the Pacific Ocean

August 2003

Lewis and Clark the Final Chapter

Plan Now to See Fall Foliage

September 2003

Fiesta Key Murals

October 2003

Winterizing Your RV

November 2003

RV Snowbirds

December 2003

KOA introduces new KOAs to visit

January 2004

KOA’s Franchise of the Year

New Bern KOA Joins KOA System

February 2004

RV Electrical-system Suggestions

March 2004

RV Electrical 101

April 2004

Great Places To Visit In Southeastern U.S

RV Holding Tank Tips

May 2004

Grand Canyon National Park

June 2004

South Dakota’s Black Hills

RV Breaker Tips

July 2004

Yellowstone Park

August 2004

Santa Claus In Las Vegas

Camp Canada

September 2004

Tent Buying Tips

October 2004

Head South to Warmer Days

Whale Watching from Coast-to-Coast

Caring for Your Tent

November 2004

Holiday Traditions Bring Friends and Family Together

December 2004

Mammoth Cave National Park

January 2005

New KOAs To Explore in 2005

Billings Gazette clips

I enjoyed a lengthy and rewarding career as a reporter for the Billings Gazette, Montana’s largest newspaper. I worked there on three occasions:

  • As a part-time sportswriter during my senior year in high school and then full-time the following summer after I graduated, before enrolling in college (Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where I earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism);
  • As a sportswriter, from 1976-78;
  • Varied responsibilities, from 1981-1997.
    • During this period, I was a sportswriter for four years and then covered a variety of news beats from 1985-1994. City government reporting became my lengthiest beat, but I also covered county government, business, police and courts, politics, outdoor recreation and general assignment topics in Eastern Montana – an are as large as New England
    • After earning my MBA from the University of Montana, I worked from 1995-1997 in business development, as the Gazette’s online project manager, and led the initiative to put the newspaper on the Web, which occurred early in 1996

Earlier, I worked as a a reporter for daily newspapers in Colorado (Grand Junction Daily Sentinel), covering sports and City Hall) and Wyoming (Gillette News-Record, sports editor). I also was editor of a weekly newspaper in Michigan (Frankenmuth News).

As one might image, a career spanning three decades resulted in my writing thousands of articles. And, for a while, I had a lot of news article clips. But, housecleaning and multiple moves weeded out almost all of them.

I’m posting articles about two of the more enjoyable personal adventures I wrote about:

  • Helicopter skiing at Montana’s Big Sky resort in 1983, when using an airborne lift as one’s ticket to backcountry skiing was still a novelty in this area
  • A 45-minute trip in a Navy Hornet F1-8 fighter plane, in July 1988 when the Blue Angels highlighted Billings’ air show
  • A ride from Big Timber, Montana, to Billings aboard a World War II B-24 bomber

Helicopter Skiing_Billings Gazette_1983

Blue Angels_Gazette_July 1988

World War II bombers arrive

Further examples of my reporting versatility include articles published in the Billings Gazette about:

  • Local businesses that had taken the then-pioneering step of embracing e-commerce in 1997
  • A look back at Billings’ tax-increment district, which reshaped the downtown skyline during the district’s 12-year existence; this article was part of a package of articles I wrote, for which I received Northwest regional awards from a professional journalist organization

Business on the Internet_Billings Gazette_August 1997

Tax-increment district ends_Billings Gazette_1988

Old Faithful Inn at 100

I wrote this article in May 2004 when Yellowstone National Park’s iconic Old Faithful Inn celebrated its 100th birthday and opened for the season, kicking off a three-year refurbishing. I wrote it for the Billings (Montana) Outpost, an independent weekly newspaper that I helped found in 1997 and for which I worked in 1997-98.

It was especially delightful to write about Old Faithful because I was a Yellowstone Park bus driver for two summers while in college. And, for my second summer as a driver, I was based at Old Faithful. Those summers provided memories for a lifetime.


Frankenmuth News

I was editor of the Frankenmuth, Michigan, News, a weekly paper serving a delightful community in the Michigan “thumb” region from 1980-81. Some memorable articles I wrote there include:

A B-24 crew that flew bombing missions in Europe during World War II held a reunion in town.

B-24 crew reunion

A California weekly won the Pulitzer Prize for its courageous coverage of the cult that held Patty Hearst hostage. That inspired this column.

Pulitzer Prize column

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Jamie Larson