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Carole Mackin, a taxpayer from Helena, is escorted out of a hearing room at the Montana Capitol by a sergeant-at-arms Thursday, March 23 after she refused to stop her testimony in support of Senate Bill 305, which would allow mail ballot elections.
Freddy Monares - UM Legislative News Service

Montana Legislature Hears Heated Testimony On Mail Voting Bill

A bill intended to save counties hundreds of thousands of dollars in the upcoming special election for Montana's vacant U.S. House seat brought heated testimony and debate Thursday in the Capitol. Senate Bill 305 would allow counties the option of running the May 25 election entirely through mail-in-ballots. Great Falls Republican Senator Steve Fitzpatrick introduced his bill to the House Judiciary Committee:

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Health coverage in Montana.
Montana Commissioner of Securities & Insurance

Comparing Obamacare And GOP Health Bill

The Environmental Protection Agency designated the former Columbia Falls Aluminum Company as an official Superfund site in September 2016.
Courtesy Columbia Falls Aluminum Company

Columbia Falls Aluminum Pollution Evaluation Released

Belinda Bullshoe says her Blackfeet tradition and culture guide her designs.
Nicky Ouellet

My Culture On The Runway: Blackfeet Woman Takes On New York Fashion Week

On a normal weekend, the inside of the Four Seasons Arena in Great Falls is a cacophony of referees whistles, sneaker squeaks and raving basketball fans. But this past weekend it transformed to house the annual Great Western Living and Design Show. Instead of high school pep bands, old-timey western music plays over loudspeakers. The room smells like leather softener and wood. At the far end of the arena — past booths of silver and turquoise jewelry, paintings of horses and aspens, and vests made of the softest furs — a woman with a long, black ponytail sells blankets and bed sheets in iconic, geometric Pendleton designs. Then she pulls dresses out of a garment sheet. One after another, her colorful designs draw stares from ambling shoppers. This is Belinda Bullshoe. She recently showed her dresses at New York Fashion Week, and may be the first Native American designer to do so. I pull up a chair, and she tells me her story:

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MTPR Features

Martin Sexton's 'Mixtape Of The Open Road' Keeps The Musical Bus Rolling

One of the most dynamic singer-songwriters of any generation, Martin Sexton returns to “Musicians’ Spotlight,” recording three songs in the studio (with harmony help from the Brothers McCann) and chatting retrospectively about his career.

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A Congressional death in 1945 and a federal judgeship appointment in 1969 triggered two Montana special Congressional elections like the one we have scheduled for May 23, now that Rep. Ryan Zinke has been sworn in as Interior Secretary.

Belinda Bullshoe says her Blackfeet tradition and culture guide her designs.
Nicky Ouellet

On a normal weekend, the inside of the Four Seasons Arena in Great Falls is a cacophony of referees whistles, sneaker squeaks and raving basketball fans. But this past weekend it transformed to house the annual Great Western Living and Design Show. Instead of high school pep bands, old-timey western music plays over loudspeakers. The room smells like leather softener and wood. At the far end of the arena — past booths of silver and turquoise jewelry, paintings of horses and aspens, and vests made of the softest furs — a woman with a long, black ponytail sells blankets and bed sheets in iconic, geometric Pendleton designs. Then she pulls dresses out of a garment sheet. One after another, her colorful designs draw stares from ambling shoppers.

This is Belinda Bullshoe. She recently showed her dresses at New York Fashion Week, and may be the first Native American designer to do so. I pull up a chair, and she tells me her story:

Colstrip power plant, Montana
Flicker User ambib (CC-BY-NC)

The speaker of Montana’s House is hoping to extend the life of the coal-fired power plants in Colstrip by offering their operators loans to keep them running for at least the next five years.

March LFD General Fund Revenue Update Compared to HJ 2.
Legislative Fiscal Division

Montana may have more than $100 million in additional revenue coming into the state than expected just a few months ago.

The revenue forecast released this afternoon by the state's nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Division shows the most significant uptick in state earnings coming from individual income taxes and corporation income taxes. It says state revenues from oil and natural gas production taxes are expected to decrease over the next 3 years.

The Associated Press is reporting that more than $800,000 has been spent on Montana's special U.S. House election in just two weeks.
(PD)

The Associated Press is reporting that more than $800,000 has been spent on Montana's special U.S. House election in just two weeks.

It says a Super PAC associated with House Republicans has pledged to spend $700,000 supporting Greg Gianforte in his quest to replace Ryan Zinke, who was confirmed as Interior Secretary in March.

Quagga mussels cover an outboard motor at Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
National Parks Service (PD)

Even one confirmed detection of quagga or zebra mussels could have devastating economic and environmental consequence for the Flathead Reservation. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes are mounting a campaign to prevent that from happening.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Courtesy EPA

There’s some good news in the latest sampling for contaminants at the Columbia Falls Aluminum Company site on the Flathead River. That’s according to Mike Cirian with the Environmental Protection Agency.

"There wasn’t anything out there that we didn’t expect, and there's no urgent or emergency type responses needed at this time," Cirian says.

Missoula Police Seek Missing Man

Mar 20, 2017
Missoula PD is looking for 76 year old Stanley Steffen of Lincoln, MT.
Missoula PD

UPDATE: State authorities reported early this morning that Mr. Steffen has been found. 

Missoula PD is looking for 76 year old Stanley Steffen of Lincoln, MT. White Male, 5 foot 6, gray hair and beard. He was released from hospital in Missoula on 3/15/17, but did not show up for VA Rideshare appointment on 3/16/17. If you have any information please contact the Missoula PD at 406-552-6300.

'Why Print Books'

Mar 20, 2017
Sabda Press

why print books he said
who needs books these days
everything's on the web

well i wouldn't know i said
i still enjoy turning pages
in a chair by the fire

still window-shop mainstreet
still relish a big screen matinee
buttered popcorn jujubes and milk duds

still sit and think about how
all last century carriages went horseless
and horses thank god are not extinct

still long for real letters in the post
the effort of someone's penmanship
the dear and sincerely yours

NPR Politics team will live blog the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearings on the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. The live blog will include streaming video, with posts featuring highlights, context and analysis from NPR reporters and correspondents.

President Trump's pick for the Supreme Court is testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. It is Day 2 of what is expected to be three days of hearings on Judge Neil Gorsuch's nomination. If confirmed, Gorsuch would fill the high court seat left vacant in February 2016, after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

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Former Penn State president Graham Spanier was convicted Friday of child endangerment for his role in the sexual abuse scandal involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

In a split verdict, the Pennsylvania jury found that Spanier's handling of a 2001 complaint alleging abuse by Sandusky, warranted conviction on one of three charges against him. The jury did, however, acquit Spanier of conspiracy and a second count of child endangerment, the Associated Press reports.

In a series of memorandums sent to U.S. embassies, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has offered a glimpse of what President Trump's promised "extreme vetting" will mean for visa applicants when put into practice.

There are beers that can make headlines simply by existing, especially if they use unique ingredients. That's the case with Stone Brewing's Full Circle Pale Ale, whose key component — water — came from an advanced filtration system that recycles and purifies San Diego wastewater that had previously been used in taps, toilets and showers.

Updated at 5 p.m. ET

House Republicans scrapped a vote on their health care replacement plan on Friday after defections from both the right and center that made it clear the bill would not pass.

"Obamacare is the law of the land. It is going to remain the law of the land," House Speaker Paul Ryan admitted shortly after he pulled the bill. "We're going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future. I don't know how long it's going to take us to replace this law."

Doctors say it all started eight years ago, when a urology clinic in Oregon ran an ad promoting the benefits of scheduling a vasectomy in March.

"You go in for a little snip, snip and come out with doctor's orders to sit back and watch nonstop basketball," the voice-over promises. "If you miss out on this, you'll end up recovering during a weekend marathon of Desperate Housewives!"

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