Montana News

News from around the state from Montana Public Radio.

Montana Public Radio News podcast

A broken waterpipe ruined the Frenchtown high school gym floor and bleachers. They will have to be replaced.
Courtesy Frenchtown School District

Classes resumed this week in Frenchtown where a broken water pipe last month cancelled classes a week before the scheduled winter break. Superintendent Randy Cline says the flooding caused over $500,000 worth of damage in the junior and senior high schools.

Taylor Swift, Amy Martin tells us, is like coal buried beneath Montana.
Flickr User Larry Darling (CC-BY-NC-2)

Accounting is not sexy. So let’s start with two people who are — Ryan Adams and Taylor Swift.

This fall, Ryan Adams released an entire album of Taylor Swift songs. He called it 1989 – just like she did. In exchange for using Swift’s property — her songs — Adams has to pay her a portion of whatever money he makes from selling that recording. That’s known as a “royalty.”

The Parrot Smelter operated between 1891 and 1899

The State of Montana says the best way to clean up toxic waste rock at the former Parrot copper smelter site in Butte is to dump it into the Berkeley pit. The buried tailings threaten to contaminate Silver Bow Creek and the Clark Fork River.

JayBird (J.Star)/Flickr/CC-BY-NC-SA

Missoula County authorities this week charged a local man with killing his 26-year-old girlfriend when she tried to leave him a few days before Christmas. Emmanuel Gomez is accused of deliberate homicide for the death of 26-year-old Charlie Wyrick.

Back in 1992 Ruth Glenn’s husband shot her three times – twice in the head - when she tried to leave her abusive marriage.  He killed himself when the police tracked him down several months later.

cover image credit : Tom Mangelson / Rizzoli Publications

A record 59 grizzly bears died in the Yellowstone ecosystem in 2015, most of them after conflicts with hunters and livestock growers. And yet, one bear, a female called 399, has shown a remarkable ability to survive interactions with humans without getting herself into trouble. If 399 emerges from her den next spring, she’ll be 20 years old.

According to journalist Todd Wilkinson “399, because she’s been so accessible, has become the most famous and widely-recognized bear on earth.”

Wilkinson is the author of Grizzlies of Pilgrim Creek:  An Intimate Portrait of 399. The book is coffee-table-sized and includes dozens of gorgeous images captured by Wyoming naturalist-photographer Thomas Mangleson. Wilkinson, says Mangleson had to work hard for those images.

“The only way that you can amass a portfolio like this,” says Wilkinson, “is spending months of every year rising before sun rise, staying out until past dusk, trailing these bears, but not getting too close, because he’s an ethical wildlife photographer. But he also had this network of people wired. So whenever sightings would occur of either 399 or her daughter, 610, Mangelson would know where to go and then provide a stake-out in order to see the bears.”

Three-ninety-nine’s intelligence is legendary. Not only has she managed to stay alive for nearly two decades, but she has taught her cubs what she knows about avoiding trouble with humans.
Brian McCloskey / Flickr


Atlantic Richfield Company is countersuing residents near Anaconda in an ongoing dispute over Superfund cleanup. 

 Residents with property around the former smelting site now owned by ARCO are dismayed by the company’s unexpected legal move last week. Citizens in Opportunity and Crackerville first filed a complaint against ARCO almost a decade ago demanding property reparations.  

  Mike Cooney is Montana’s new Lieutenant Governor.

The 61-year-old Cooney spent eleven years in Montana’s legislature, and was elected Secretary of State three times in between stints in the state House and Senate. He ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2000. Cooney’s current job is Deputy Director for the Montana Department of Labor and Industry. He’ll start his term as Lieutenant Governor on Monday.

Mike Cooney Is Montana's New Lieutenant Governor

Dec 30, 2015
Montana Governor's Office

Below is the press release from Governor Steve Bullock, we'll have more on this story this afternoon.

"Today Governor Steve Bullock appointed former Montana Secretary of State Mike Cooney as Montana’s Lieutenant Governor.

Bison at Fort Belknap
Mark Azure

After a nine month analysis, the Bureau of Land Management is now prepared to allow bison to replace cattle on a publicly-owned grazing allotment near Malta.

Missoula YWCA

Missoula County authorities on Monday charged a 30-year-old man with making good on a threat to kill his girlfriend. Emmanuel Gomez is accused of deliberate homicide for the death of 26-year-old Charlie Wyrick.

Wyrick went missing a few days before Christmas. Prosecutors allege Gomez regularly abused Wyrick. They say she feared Gomez would kill her, and that he did when she tried to leave him.

As heartbreaking as the accusations are, Cindy Weese says they’re not unique. Weese is the executive director of the YWCA of Missoula. Hear our interview with her below: