Keila Szpaller

Keila Szpaller

Keila Szpaller is deputy editor of the Daily Montanan and covers education. Before joining States Newsroom Montana, she served as city editor of the Missoulian, the largest news outlet in western Montana.

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, […]

Menegat: ‘It’s been every man for himself’

By: - March 7, 2021

Susie Menegat misses hugging her son, and she used to enjoy tickling the ivories in the afternoons while her husband, Lan, cooked dinner. Menegat, 77, had learned Beethoven’s “Fur Elise” and Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind,” but she hasn’t played much in recent months. “I realize I will never be a good piano […]


Here’s how we’re faring through the pandemic

By: - March 7, 2021

The snow crunched under our skis along the Going-to-the-Sun Road last week, and at times, the images of Mount Vaught and Mount Cannon on a still Lake McDonald showed perfect twin reflections. A chubby dipper bounced with vigor in the lake. I peeled off my coat and long sleeve shirt, and my friend and I […]

House takes up bills on computer programming, vaccination, students with disabilities

By: - February 26, 2021

On Thursday, the Montana House killed an education bill to include software programming in schools, legislation pushed in committee by the Governor’s Office. “This specifically goes with our governor’s Comeback Plan,” said Rep. Scot Kerns, R-Great Falls, in his introduction to the bill on the floor. But House Bill 185 died on an 82-18 vote, […]

House Ed Committee passes Pledge of Allegiance requirement

By: - February 25, 2021

Rep. Bob Phalen’s bill that tells school trustees to make sure students grades three through 12 “receive instruction about the United States Constitution and the Pledge of Allegiance” got a green light Wednesday in the House Education Committee. “We owe it to each generation to teach in public schools what it means to be an […]

Bill to limit absentee ballots tabled

By: - February 24, 2021

A bill to place significant restrictions on absentee voting was tabled Tuesday in committee — and vocally slaughtered by a couple of lawmakers. “This bill is just probably the worst bill I’ve seen all session if you want the truth of the matter,” said Rep. Geraldine Custer, R-Forsyth. “It just needs to die.” The bill […]

Bill aims to place sideboards on recreational marijuana

By: - February 24, 2021

Glenn Broughton grew his medical marijuana business from a small storage shed to an operation that employees nearly 30 people, and if he’s shut down, he said he’ll go bankrupt. “I’ve never been so scared in my life of what is going to happen to me at a pen-stroke,” said Broughton, who operates in Missoula, […]

Bill that would allow children to attend school without vaccination squeaks by in committee

By: - February 24, 2021

A bill that would change the definition of “immunity” for school attendance and allow children to go to school without vaccines squeaked through the House Education Committee on a 9-8 vote this week. “I’m a strong proponent of choice, and ultimately, this bill provides a choice,” said Rep. Scot Kerns, R-Great Falls. Chair Rep. Seth […]

Bill to limit absentee ballot voting heard

By: - February 22, 2021

Voters won’t be able to receive absentee ballots at Post Office boxes anymore if House Bill 455 passes, just one problem with it among many raised Monday by the Montana Association of Clerk and Recorders, Election Administrators. Rep. Tyson Running Wolf, D-Browning, wondered if the main proponent of the bill, Tony Rausch, knew how it […]