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Montana Asks For More Time To Comply With REAL ID Act

The Montana Department of Justice is asking U.S. Homeland Security for more time to comply with the REAL ID Act , the 2005 federal law passed in the wake of 9/11 requiring stricter identification before boarding an airplane.

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West Fork firefighter serving as a lookout for Hotshot crews working below on the Nelson Creek fire.
Inciweb

2017 Fire Season Is Montana's Most Expensive Since 1999

Both state and federal governments have spent a combined $378 million this year battling blazes. This was the most expensive fire season in Montana since at least 1999, when adjusted for inflation. Montanans may need to prepare for similar wildfire seasons in the future.

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Truffle With A Squirrel Bite
FLICKR USER, SCOTT DARBEY (CC-BY-2.0)

Truffles, Trees And — Squirrels?

Walking through the woods recently, I saw a red squirrel digging in the litter of the forest floor. I assumed it was burying a pine cone, but on closer inspection I found a piece of mushroom. Little did I know I was witnessing a process critical to the survival of a forest.

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Emigrant Peak north of Yellowstone, near the area of a proposed Lucky Minerals mine exploration.
Flickr user Sean Wolf (CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0)

Environmental groups today sued the state of Montana, attempting to block a mining company’s plans to begin exploring for gold and other precious metals in the mountains just north of Yellowstone National Park.

Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality gave Lucky Minerals approval in July to begin their search for minerals the Paradise Valley north of Yellowstone. The proposed drill site is on about eight acres of private land in the mountains southeast of Emigrant.

Governor Bullock and members of the Salish community helped celebrate the opening of Missoula College's new building on Friday, September 22, 2017
University of Montana

A crowd of roughly 200 people crammed into the entryway of Missoula College Friday afternoon to celebrate the opening of the two-year college’s new building.

The family of Salish elder Louis Adams, who passed away last year, gave a blessing and performed an honor song for the opening.

Governor Steve Bullock was among the speakers and guests at the opening. He called it a celebration and an investment in Montana’s future.

UM President Candidate Seth Bodnar at the UC Theater Friday
Matt Blois

The third of four finalists to be the next president of the University of Montana, Seth Bodnar, spoke to, and took questions from, a packed house at the U-C theater this afternoon.

"I’m in the people development business," Bodnar said. "My passion, my purpose, my energy in life has come from working with helping to develop teams, and helping people to reach their full potential."

Proposed budget cuts could make the overcrowding at Montana’s jails and prisons worse. Groups supporting local law enforcement warned lawmakers of potential consequences of the coming cuts during the Law and Justice Interim Committee this afternoon.

State Seeking New Libby Asbestos Cleanup Liaison

Sep 21, 2017
Libby Superfund map.
US Environmental Protection Agency

State and local officials have begun preparations to take over management of the cleanup of the Libby Superfund site, where health officials say hundreds of people have been killed by asbestos exposure.

The Libby Asbestos Superfund Advisory Team met for the first time today after being established by the Montana Legislature earlier this year.

Smoke from the Lolo Peak Fire fills the town of Lolo August 17, 2017.
Eric Whitney

Governor Steve Bullock announced two new grants today that will help businesses and communities that suffered losses during fire season. One grant will help tourist destinations create a marketing campaign to lure visitors back, and another will help businesses that lost inventory or customers because of fire. 

Violinist, composer and singer songwriter Gaelynn Lea produces 21st century music in a style rooted in classical, Celtic and traditional folk. The 2016 winner of NPR's Tiny Desk Contest is also a disability rights advocate and an in-demand speaker, particularly concerning osteogenesis imperfecta ("brittle bone disease"), a condition that she’s had all her life.

Lea is the guest on this episode of "Musician's Spotlight"

Site of the the proposed Montana Artesian Water Company bottling plant near Creston, MT.
Nicky Ouellet

 UPDATE: Friday, September 22: The public hearing record remains open pending closing briefs from counsel and Montana Artesian Water Company owner Lew Weaver's testimony. Weaver's testimony is optional to the proceedings.

 

The DNRC's 90-day decision period will not commence until the record closes. Hearing examiner David Vogler will meet on a conference call with the parties' counsel on Wednesday, Sept. 27 to determine next steps in this matter. 

(Original post continues below)

Montana’s Department of Natural Resources and Conservation has wrapped up its third and final day of a hearing on a proposed water bottling plant in Creston in the Flathead Valley. Creston resident Lew Weaver’s Montana Artesian Water Company applied for a permit to draw and bottle groundwater almost two years ago.
 
There are concerns about the connectivity of water in the region, possible effects on neighboring wells, and the procedures followed by the DNRC in their preliminary determination to grant the permit earlier this year. MTPR’s Olga Kreimer has been following the story, she spoke with News Director Eric Whitney.

The Montana Department of Justice is asking U.S. Homeland Security for more time to comply with the REAL ID Act, the 2005 federal law passed in the wake of 9/11 requiring stricter identification before boarding an airplane.

Patagonia

"I mean I don’t know where all this is going, but I can’t believe we’re letting the fabric of the natural world unravel without more of a hullabaloo about it because it’s essentially our greater selves. " -- Doug Chadwick

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