Author

Keila Szpaller

Keila Szpaller

Keila Szpaller is deputy editor of the Daily Montanan and covers education. In Montana since 1998, she loves hiking in Glacier National Park, wandering the grounds of the Archie Bray and sitting on her front porch with friends. Before joining States Newsroom Montana, she served as city editor of the Missoulian, the largest news outlet in western Montana. She worked there from 2006 to 2020. As a Missoulian reporter, she was named a co-fellow by the Education Writers Association to report on a series about economic mobility; grantee of the Society of Environmental Journalists for a project on conservation from the U.S. to Africa; and Kiplinger Fellow in Digital Media and Public Affairs Journalism. She previously worked at the Great Falls Tribune and Missoula Independent, and she earned her master’s in journalism from the University of Montana. She lives in Missoula with her husband, Brock, who is also her favorite chef, and her pup, Henry, who is her favorite adventure companion. She believes she deserves to wear the T-shirt with this saying: “World’s most mediocre runner.”

Clyde Coffee nearly shutters, will reopen in new space

By: - March 28, 2021

Customers who wanted espresso drinks but didn’t want to wear masks yelled at Lily Anderson at Clyde Coffee during the pandemic. “One time, a man had to pull his wife out because she was screaming at us,” said Anderson, manager of the Missoula coffee shop. Anderson, trying to keep workers safe, got tough with them: […]

Montana flag uses ‘seal-on-a-bedsheet formula’

By: - March 24, 2021

Montana is a diverse and majestic state, but you wouldn’t necessarily get that picture from the state flag, said Rep. Moffie Funk, a Helena Democrat. The design — a “so-called seal-on-a-bedsheet formula,” according to an art history professor — is similar to that of 15 other states with coats of arms or seals on a […]

Montana University System to get $1M for guns on campus

By: - March 24, 2021

A million dollars looks headed to Montana University System coffers for the “full implementation of open and concealed firearms” on campuses — a shift from earlier debates in the legislature. Monday, representatives in the House voted 67-33 to approve an amendment allocating the one-time appropriation for items such as firearms training, metal detectors for events, […]

Opponents: Ballot collection bill unconstitutional, costly

By: - March 22, 2021

If you mess up when you drop off your friend’s ballot, you could be in hot water — and owe big money — if House Bill 406 becomes law. “If well-intentioned ballot deliverers make a mistake, they could be convicted of a criminal misdemeanor offense and incur a penalty of $500 for each wrongly delivered […]

College sports mean big money; bill would let students earn a cut

By: - March 21, 2021

Rep. Jimmy Patelis played football for Montana Tech, and he may soon present his old No. 43 college jersey on the Montana House floor and pose a question. “You know how many people would have bought this back when I was playing?” said the Billings Republican. He joked about the answer too. “I guarantee there […]

Campus free speech bill passes 11-0; companion HB349 passes 7-4

By: - March 18, 2021

A bill to protect free speech on public college campuses passed 11-0 on Thursday in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Sen. Jen Gross, D-Billings, said she remembers as a student being subject to a “free speech zone” near a building no one ever walked by. She said she liked the bill and the “slightly less prominent” […]

Bill pitches public charter schools

By: - March 18, 2021

Rep. Ed Hill, R-Havre, pitched a bill to allow public charter schools in Montana and give parents and students flexibility — but other lawmakers and opponents said the state already has a way to set up public charter schools, and it’s working well. Rep. Wendy McKamey, R-Ulm, repeatedly quizzed Hill and other supporters of House […]

Blackfeet Nation: Glacier entrances to open on east side

By: - March 17, 2021

The eastern entrances in Glacier National Park will be open this summer, and travelers will be able to drive into the park on either end of Going-to-the-Sun Road, according to the Blackfeet Nation. Kwebb Galbreath, incident commander for the Blackfeet, said the council voted 9-0 Wednesday to open the eastern entrances of the park, which […]

Campbell: ‘A cat I could accommodate’

By: - March 14, 2021

Kathi Campbell, going on 79, moved into a condo for seniors after her husband died seven years ago. The retired Missoula educator remodeled it to suit her tastes, and she’s been pleased with it. “Then eventually, you just say, ‘Well, what do I really miss?’ I really miss having a pet, and a cat I […]

Legal counsel: $350M at stake with transgender athletes bill

By: - March 11, 2021

Montana could lose an estimated $350 million in federal funding — money that goes largely to student loans and Pell grants — if a bill that aims to regulate transgender athletes becomes law, according to the Montana Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education. Ali Bovingdon, chief legal counsel for the Commissioner’s Office, said Thursday […]

University of Montana dean resigns post after eight months

By: - March 10, 2021

The dean of humanities and sciences at the University of Montana has stepped down just eight months after taking the reins of the flagship’s cornerstone college. “Throughout the months of academic planning in which we have been engaged this year, it has become clear to me that aspirations I have for the college cannot be […]

Stoneking: ‘What if I lose another parent?’

By: - March 10, 2021

After the pandemic hit Montana last March, Jennifer Stoneking felt her anxiety spike. She’d experienced anxiety before, but the 24-year-old felt more urgent panic attacks. “It would be scary to go outside,” said Stoneking, of Missoula. She doesn’t want to use the word if it’s inappropriate, but she believes she may have suffered agoraphobic tendencies, […]