Montana News

Deliberate Homocide Or Self Defense?
4:15 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Kaarma's Fate Now In Jury's Hands

Deputy Missoula County Attorney Karla Painter during closing arguments of the deliberate homicide trial of Markus Kaarma in Missoula, MT, Tuesday.
Credit Christopher B. Allen

Closing arguments finished today in the murder trial of a Missoula man who shot and killed a German exchange student last April.

Markus Kaarma fired a shotgun four times into his garage, killing 17-year-old Diren Dede.

Kaarma’s defense team said he was simply a scared homeowner defending his family against burglars who had already victimized Kaarma twice. Lead defense attorney Paul Ryan said Montana’s Castle Doctrine gives Kaarma special protection.

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Public Lands Package
4:09 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Public Lands Compromise A 'Bittersweet Pill' For Some Environmentalists

Ranch along the Rocky Mountain Front in Montana.
Credit Flickr user SBebee

Dupuyer-area rancher, Karl Rappold, is thrilled that the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act has finally passed.

"My grandparents and my mom and dad took care of this place. the bears and wolves and everything else. This is a historic deal for me to see that my grandkids and their grandkids will hopefully have this same view and this same region will be protected so it will never change," says Rappold.  

Last week Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act which now awaits President Obama's signature.

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Flathead Water Compact
2:27 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Share Your Opinions On The Flathead Water Compact

Montana Public Radio News wants to hear your thoughts and opinions on the Flathead water compact. Do you support the new compact? Why or why not?

Leave us a comment here or on our Facebook page. Or email our news department with your thoughts at news@mtpr.org

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Legislature Must Approve
6:06 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Tribes: New Water Compact Has Better Chance

Image courtesy CSKT

An attorney for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes says the latest compact governing tribal water rights has a better chance of passing the state legislature, than one that was rejected two years ago. 

Rhonda Swaney, says the biggest single improvement in the latest version of the tribe’s water compact with the state and federal governments is in its timing. The previous version was just introduced too late in the legislative session for lawmakers to deal with, she says.

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Flathead Water Compact
7:00 am
Sat December 13, 2014

The New Flathead Water Compact Explained

    

One of the issues that you will hear a lot about in the coming months is the proposed water-rights compact between the State of Montana and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. It’s the only water compact involving a Montana reservation that remains un-ratified by the state legislature, after the first version was rejected in 2013.

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New Wilderness And Energy Development
6:02 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Senate Passes Montana Public Lands Package Attached To Defense Bill

Bob Marshall Wilderness trail sign.
Credit U.S. Forest Service Northern Region (CC-BY-2.0)

The U.S. Senate has approved an expansive bill that adds new wilderness lands in Montana and blocks mining and drilling near Glacier National Park.

The measures were in a defense bill that passed 89 to 11 today.

The bill adds 67,000 acres to the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex. It also allows for a complex coal swap involving the Northern Cheyenne Indians. The tribe will get back 5,000 acres of coal deposits it was wrongly stripped of more than a century ago.

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EPA Risk Assessment
4:44 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Hundreds Of Libby Properties Still Untested For Asbestos Contamination

Libby, MT
Credit libbymt.com

On Thursday the EPA wrapped up three meetings in Libby and Troy to tell people about the agency's new asbestos risk assessment. In a determination that people have been waiting years to hear, it says that, in general, it's safe to live in Libby now.
 

But it also says that, for people who live in houses that haven't been through an extensive EPA cleanup, the risk of getting asbestos-related disease is significantly higher.

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For Coverage Starting Jan. 1
4:38 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Enrollment Deadline For Affordable Care Act Approaching

Partnership Health Center, Missoula, MT
Credit Courtesy Partnership Health Center

An important deadline is fast approaching for those who want an Affordable Care Act health plan that takes effect on January first. Applicants must be enrolled by the end of business on Monday, December 15.

Those who've already signed up, but want to make last minute changes, face the same deadline.

Partnership Health Center's Sandra Mytty says she and her staff have helped lots of people in the Missoula area select policies.

"We're actually doing really well. Since we started we've helped over 350 people since November 15 and we're still going."

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BCBS Settlement
5:14 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

BCBS To Pay $1 Million To Settle Consumer Complaints

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana is paying $1 million to the state to settle more than three hundred consumer complaints.

State Insurance Commissioner Monica Lindeen says the complaints mostly came from people who bought policies on the new health insurance exchange last year. Lindeen says every insurance company had problems with the rollout, but the problems with Blue Cross-Blue Shield were extreme.

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SRS Funding
4:34 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Rural Counties Worry About Losing Federal Schools, Roads Funding

Credit Reynermedia.com (CC-BY-2.0)

Officials in 33 Montana counties are keenly aware of what's not in the trillion dollar federal spending bill to keep government open: an extension of the Secure Rural Schools, or SRS program, that Montana counties have relied on since 2000.

SRS funding is stripped out of the spending bill the House has been considering this week.

The SRS program was helps pay down school bonds and also funds road maintenance projects.

Mineral County Commissioner Laurie Johnston has a blunt assessment of the situation.

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