Montana News

News from the state of Montana.

Bowhunter Still Missing In Wisdom Area

Sep 25, 2015

After a week, search and rescue teams that have been looking for a 53-year-old Kalispell man who failed to return from a bowhunting trip west of Wisdom are beginning to lose hope.

Robert Carter Jr. had been hunting a few miles west of Big Hole Battlefield National Park. Searchers found his campsite and later his pickup truck.

Republican candidate for governor Brad Johnson says his political experience makes him a better choice for his party’s nomination than the other high profile Republican candidate in the race, Bozeman Businessman Greg Gianforte.

Greater sage grouse
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services (CC-BY-2)

Tuesday’s announcement that the federal government won't add the greater sage grouse to the endangered species list is being called a historic decision. That’s because the threat of listing spurred state governments, ranchers, the energy industry and environmentalists to come up alternative strategies to protect the bird. Those strategies are being praised by many, but not everyone.

A new pilot course designed to address the shortage in computer programmers in Montana opens Monday.

On Monday Governor Steve Bullock announced Montana will be hiring 33 new social workers for the Department of Child and Family Services. He says the new positions represent a 160 percent increase in the number of staff providing frontline services to children and families.

Pope Francis Raises Challenging Moral Questions For Coal Country

Sep 23, 2015
Congregants of Cheyenne, WY's Cathedral of St. Mary sing during Sunday Mass, June 21, 2015
Dan Boyce, Inside Energy

Pope Francis is visiting the U.S., this week. On Thursday he will make a historic address to Congress.

Some conservative Catholics say Pope Francis is meddling in American politics with his recent encyclical on the environment, the biggest papal statement ever on the subject and one which included a call for action on climate change. Meanwhile, for the faithful in western coal country, he is raising moral questions.

Canada lynx.
Keith Williams (CC-BY-2)

The threatened Canada lynx was given more protection this week in a settlement that will put greater restrictions on trapping in some parts of Montana.

Tuesday’s settlement between the State of Montana and conservation groups ends a 2013 lawsuit that claimed the State didn’t protect lynx from trapping.

There's been a significant shake-up at the Montana Department of Livestock. The agency's executive officer of over eight years, Christian Mackay, resigned this week after a closed-door evaluation by the board that oversees his agency. Brands Enforcement Division Administrator, John Grainger and dairy industry representative, Jeff Lewis, also tendered their resignations.

Greater sage grouse. The Department of Interior announced it's decision today not to recommend endangered species protections for the bird.

Governor Steve Bullock says Tuesday’s decision to not recommend endangered species protection for the greater sage grouse is good for both industry and conservationists.

The U.S. Department of Interior has decided that the greater sage grouse, a peculiar and distinctly Western bird, does not need protection under the Endangered Species Act.

In a statement, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said that an unprecedented land conservation effort has already significantly reduced the threats to sage grouse.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the conservation marked a successful effort by the government and ranchers on public and private lands.

BLM Wild Horse Auction Brings Record-Breaking Sale

Sep 21, 2015
Wild horses at the Britton Springs holding facility near the Montana-Wyoming border just days before their new owners picked them up.
Blair Koch

The Bureau of Land Management just completed one of its most successful wild horse adoptions to date. The top-selling horse went for a record breaking $4,000.

Gov. Steve Bullock. File Photo
Christopher B. Allen

Governor Steve Bullock today said he’s taking action where the state legislature chose not to, to reform the state’s system for protecting abused and neglected children.

The Solenex well site in the Badger-Two Medicine
Corin Cates-Carney

A federal advisory council that’s been reviewing a decades old proposal to explore for energy in the Badger-Two Medicine area of the Lewis and Clark National Forest issued its recommendation today.

The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation’s recommendation says:

A crew working in the Bob Marshall Wilderness rebuilds a main line trail that was damaged during a fire this summer.
Corin Cates-Carney

Hunting and fishing licenses generate about $48 million a year in Montana, and 70 percent of that revenue comes from people from out of state. But this year some of those hunters and fishers had to cancel their trips because of the intense fire season. And that makes it tough on the businesses that serve them.

Former secretary of state Brad Johnson will formally announce his campaign for governor next week.  Johnson in July announced that he might run.

Greater Sage Grouse
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Pacific Southwest Region (CC-BY-2)

The federal government could announce whether the greater sage grouse will be added to the endangered species list as early as next week.

Solar panel installation.
Wayne National Forest (CC-BY-2)

Fans of non-petroleum energy are having a “Clean Energy Fair” in Missoula’s Caras Park Saturday. Diana Maneta, the executive director of the Montana Renewable energy association says they’ll be unveiling a new initiative called Solarize Missoula.

Senate Committee Hears Testimony On Pipeline Safety In Billings

Sep 18, 2015
The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation held a field hearing at Montana State University Billings on pipeline safety as part of the reauthorization of the federal agency that oversees pipelines and hazardous materials.
Jackie Yamanaka - Yellowstone Public Radio

Last winter’s oil pipeline spill into the Yellowstone River near Glendive prompted Montana Senator Steve Daines to call a field hearing on pipeline safety in Billings, which happened today.

The Senate is working on a bill reauthorizing the federal agency that oversees pipelines and hazardous materials. Senator Jon Tester also participated in the hearing.

2015 Montana Rabies Distribution by Species.
Montana Department of Livestock

A Missoula County resident is getting a series of rabies shots after being bitten by a rabid skunk. It’s the first time rabies had been identified in an animal other than a bat west of the continental divide in nearly 20 years, health officials say.

Health officials have recorded twelve cases of flu in six Montana counties: Yellowstone, Gallatin, Lewis and Clark, Missoula, Beaverhead, and Broadwater. Karl Milhon with the Department of Public Health says Montana's flu season typically doesn’t begin until October.

Golden Sunlight Mine
Courtesy Barrick Gold Corporation

Golden Sunlight Mine general manager, Daniel Banghart, says there's no good news to be had from his company’s announcement this week that 140 employees will be out of a job by the end of November.

Concerned woman on telephone
Public Domain

People in Helena are being targeted by scammers who claim the Federal Courts want to arrest them for missing jury duty. At least one person in Helena has sent money to a PayPal account to settle a non-existent arrest warrant supposedly issued by the U.S. District Court.

Mountain Water Company, Missoula, MT.
Cheri Trusler

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — The CEO of a Canadian firm seeking to buy the water company that serves the city of Missoula leaked what was supposed to be a confidential valuation of the system, an attorney for the city said.

This morning the Montana Department of Livestock and Missoula City County Health Department issued the press release below. We'll have more on this story later today.

Louise Ogemahgeshig Fischer in the smudging room with an eagle feather.
Steve Jess

Saint Peter’s Hospital in Helena Wednesday dedicated a new room where Native Americans can carry out a traditional healing practice called “smudging.”

Flu vaccine is available at Missoula’s city-county health department.
James Gathany (PD)

The Missoula City-County Health Department has confirmed several cases of seasonal flu in Missoula County. Four other Montana counties have also confirmed flu cases.

Montana State Hospital in Warm Springs.
Courtesy Montana State Hospital

Governor Steve Bullock announced that 16 Montana counties have received a total of almost $2 million in state funding to help keep the mentally ill out of jail and, when possible,the state mental hospital.

The sign outside the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices Office
Steve Jess

Montana’s Commissioner of Political Practices has dismissed a complaint against Greg Gianforte, a Republican Candidate for Governor in the upcoming election.

Glacier National Park
Flickr user photommo (CC-BY-ND)

Glacier National Park is increasing entrance fees this fall. The fees will go up again in the spring, and some campgrounds will cost more in the spring, too.

Starting November 1, Glacier ups the price of a seven-day vehicle entrance fee by $5 to $20. Motorcycle fees will also go up $5.

The fees will go up again in May, to $30 per car and $25 per motorcycle.

In January the cost of an annual pass to Glacier will go up $10, to $45.

Flickr user Ed Yourdon (BY-NC-SA-2)

The U.S Department of Justice last month said local laws prohibiting public camping and sleeping amounts to criminalizing homelessness.