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.”

NorthWestern to skip PSC approval for $250M Laurel plant

By: - September 21, 2021

In a bid to fast-track construction of a $250 million gas-fired plant in Laurel and avoid higher labor costs, NorthWestern Energy said Tuesday it intends to withdraw its request for approval by the Montana Public Service Commission. Instead, the monopoly utility will move forward with plans to build the Laurel Generating Station without review by […]

Missoula couple sues Albertsons after knife slashing

By: - September 17, 2021

Missoula couple Dylan and Joselin Turner are taking Albertsons and Tremper Shopping Center to court after an unprovoked man wearing a grocery store vest slashed Dylan Turner’s arm in the parking lot and put him out of work, according to a complaint filed Friday in Missoula County District Court. The man, Shane Roy Davis, on […]

Montana 10 pushes up retention at University of Montana

By: - September 15, 2021

A pilot program to boost retention for students with lower incomes at the University of Montana has moved the dial so far – even surpassing all freshman retention – that the Montana Board of Regents wants its expansion to be a top priority. “Nothing warms the heart of a regent like a program that has […]

Survey: Youth depression high, cigarette smoking low

By: - September 13, 2021

Roughly 30 percent to 50 percent of high school students in most Montana counties felt so hopeless, they didn’t do normal activities for at least a couple of weeks in the 12 months prior to a spring survey, according to results of the questionnaire. “We’ve not seen data this high before,” said Susan Court, with […]

Faculty, student leaders call for mask, vaccine requirements

By: - September 13, 2021

One University of Montana student senator talked about being on oxygen in the hospital for four days before the vaccine was available, and another student talked about losing multiple family members to COVID-19, recalled Noah Durnell, student body leader at UM. A call for heightened safety measures across Montana University System campuses is growing as […]

Cremation rates up, Montana rates beat national average

By: - September 9, 2021

More and more people in the United States are choosing to be cremated, and Montanans are making the choice way more frequently than the national average, according to Montana State University Extension. In 2020, 79 percent of people who died in Montana were cremated, compared to 56 percent of people who died in the country […]

Montana DOC works to bring Pell program to inmates

By: - September 2, 2021

Once people leave a Montana prison, Cynthia Wolken, deputy director for the Department of Corrections, doesn’t want to see them again. “Every person who comes to us should have the opportunities and the skills to never come back to us,” Wolken said. So it’s helpful if people who were inmates can get jobs, and good […]

Glacier ends pilot ticketed system this weekend

By: - September 1, 2021

In just a few days, you can get onto Glacier National Park’s famous Going-to-the-Sun Road without a ticket. This year, Glacier started a ticketed entry pilot program to cut down on traffic jams on the Going-to-the-Sun Road, and the pilot ends this Labor Day weekend. The park’s shuttle program ends for the season at the […]

Montana AG Knudsen signs onto lawsuit challenging federal stance on transgender athletes

By: - September 1, 2021

The Montana Attorney General signed onto a lawsuit alleging a misinterpretation of Title IX by the U.S. Department of Education and identifying the state’s “Save Women’s Sports Act” — which bans transgender women athletes from K-16 women’s athletics — as facing a threat of inappropriate enforcement by the federal agency. In the case filed Monday […]

University of Montana kicks off fall semester in person

By: - August 30, 2021

On the first day of the fall 2021 semester at the University of Montana, people greeted each other with hugs on the Oval, students soaked up the sun on the green grass, and the campus appeared to tiptoe toward normalcy. Coronavirus infections are swinging upward in Montana, and concerns about the pandemic and contagious delta […]

Housing prices continue climbing in urban, rural Montana

By: - August 30, 2021

The sale of a $500,000 home in Billings used to be a rarity. Not anymore. Bob Leach, a Billings realtor and broker in the business 43 years, recently did a price survey of the properties that have sold in his area in the last five years. He found 50 percent fewer properties for sale under […]

PSC proposes debt collection, plus interest

By: - August 24, 2021

If you don’t pay your fees, the Montana Public Service Commission may send you to collections. Earlier this year, legislative auditors told the regulatory agency to shore up its financial controls to avoid unchecked travel, underreported revenue and expenses, and uncollected debt. At a Legislative Audit Committee hearing in June, PSC Chair James Brown said […]