Montana News

News from the state of Montana.

Medical marijuana advocates accuse state Attorney General Tim Fox of  defying the will of voters.

Montanans voted to legalize medical marijuana in 2004. In 2011 state lawmakers passed a bill to tighten rules governing the sale of the drug.

Fox's office this week filed a brief with the state Supreme Court to reverse District Judge James Reynolds' ruling that blocks parts of that more-strict medical marijuana law.

U.S. Forest Service Northern Region

Montana fishing regulations are being re-written this year. And for anglers who want the rulebook to change, now is the time to speak up.

Every four years, Montana’s fishing regulations undergo a comprehensive review. This month, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is hosting statewide open houses to discuss regulations for the 2016-2019 fishing seasons.

William Marcus

People in Montana who are out of work because of domestic violence will soon be able to get the same unemployment benefits as others who lose their jobs.

Josh Burnham

Montana water users are being told to brace for early and below-average snow-melt runoff this spring. The Natural Resources Conservation Service reports snowpack in all of Montana's basins are well below normal for May first.

Missoula Police Department

The male believed to have murdered two Missoulians on Wednesday evening died early this morning.

The Missoula County Coroner says 36-year-old Nicholas Scolatti was pronounced dead at 4:11 am. He died of injuries sustained from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Scolatti's  suspected of shooting and killing 34-year-old KTMF-TV News Director Kalee Scolatti and 46-year-old family friend Anthony Dupras.

Author Jon Krakauer speaks as moderator Larry Abramson listens during about his book "Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town" during a community forum in Missoula, MT Wednesday May 6.
Cheri Trusler

This is a recording of the entire event with Author Jon Krakauer and Larry Abramson, dean of the University of Montana Journalism School, sponsored by Fact and Fiction bookstore, held at the Doubletree Inn in Missoula, May 6, 2015.

Author Jon Krakauer speaks during about his book "Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town" during a community forum in Missoula, MT Wednesday May 6.
Cheri Trusler

Author Jon Krakauer got a standing ovation at a forum last night about his new book: Missoula Rape and the Justice System in a College Town.

The capacity crowd of more than 500 people at the Doubletree Inn ballroom applauded Krakauer several times when he stood up for rape victims, and repeated the main point of his book.

“Rape is a serious crime that’s not being taken seriously,” he said.

Montanans' property can still be seized if police suspect it's connected to criminal activity, but now it has to be returned if they can't get a conviction.  That hasn't always been the case.

Tom Westbrook (CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0)

In 2014, Glacier National Park set an all-time visitation record. But, with the record comes concern for growing traffic in the park.

Park Officials are looking for public comment on The Going-to-the-Sun Road Corridor Management Plan, which started in 2013.

Montana Capitol
William Marcus

Tribal leaders from across Montana gathered at the state capitol today as Governor Steve Bullock signed two bills designed to preserve native languages.

Montanans this evening will hear directly from the author whose latest book has - for better or worse - cast a national spotlight on Missoula. Jon Krakauer will participate in a public forum to discuss "Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town". The book details how the community handled reports of sexual assaults involving University of Montana students.

State of Montana

In late April, as the Montana Legislature was getting ready to adjourn, the state Senate confirmed Jonathan Motl as Commissioner of Political Practices, a job he’s held since being appointed by Democratic Governor Steve Bullock in 2013. Montana has had four different Political Practices Commissioners since 2011, and Motl is the first in that time to win Senate confirmation, against harsh criticism from some Republicans.

The remains of six Montana veterans will go to their final resting place next month, in the state veterans cemetery at Fort Harrison. Steve Jess reports that it’s part of a nationwide effort to find the unclaimed ashes of service members, and give them the burial they deserve.

The federal government's point man on grizzly bears says the Yellowstone ecosystem's grizzly population should be removed from the endangered species list.

Chris Servheen says the most accurate population estimate shows between 1,000 and 1,200 grizzly bears in the Yellowstone ecosystem.

Corin Cates-Carney

The 2015 State Music Festivals were held last weekend in Billings and Missoula. This event draws young musicians from all over the state to showcase their work in front of a panel of judges. The annual festival also forces some high school students to decide between music and busy spring sports seasons. 

Chuck Johnson, Sally Mauk and Mike Dennison
Eliza Wiley

On the final "Capitol Talk" of the 2015 session, Sally, Chuck, and Mike talk about the death of the infrastructure bill, the session's winners and losers, and how the outcome might affect the 2016 election.

Cheri Trusler

A new audit shows Missoula is doing a better job of responding to reports of sexual assault. That same audit also says there's room for improvement.

'Senior Companions' Give And Get, More Needed

May 1, 2015
Cali Beeson

Judy Allan and Alice McGraw are the poster kids for the Missoula Aging Services Senior Companion program. Their photo made a brochure, and when you meet them, you understand a bit better what this program is about.

"I can tell how wonderful it is being old and having a friend like Judy to do things with," says McGraw. "We do a lot of talking and visiting. She make me feel like my family is here."

The Montana Republican Party claims a non-profit group from Billings broke election laws during the 2014 campaign season.

The complaint filed with the Commissioner of Political Practices charges that the Montana League of Rural Voters used “dark money” to influence the 2014 election. 

Montana health care providers are paying close attention to a second case of measles that was confirmed this week in Spokane.

Workers at Smartlam's Columbia Falls plant work on cross-laminated timber or CLT.
Corin Cates-Carney

A young company in Columbia Falls is finding success in developing new construction material, and they’ve just received a federal grant to help push that success to the next stage.

Steve Jess, MTPR

    

Yesterday Governor Steve Bullock, a Democrat, signed a Medicaid expansion bill into law that was sponsored by a Republican senator, Ed Buttrey. Buttrey has long been opposed to Medicaid expansion as called for in President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. So how did the businessman from Great Falls come to sponsor a Medicaid expansion bill? I asked him about that immediately after yesterday’s bill signing ceremony at the capitol.

Eric Whitney

Montana's U.S. Senators want Secure Rural Schools payments distributed in short order, now that President Obama has reauthorized the act. S.R.S  funds compensate rural counties with federal land that have experienced declining timber production.   

Powdered alcohol, just add water.
Courtesy Palcohol

A new alcohol product that’s not even on store shelves yet has already been banned in at least six states. Three states have cleared the way for powdered alcohol. Montana’s in the undecided column.

Gov. Bullock signs the Medicaid expansion plan into law on April 29 at the captiol. The bill's sponsor Sen. Ed Buttrey, and supporter Stephanie Wallace look on.
Steve Jess

Backers of Medicaid expansion celebrated in Helena today as Governor Bullock signed the bill extending the health coverage to an estimated 45,000 more Montanans.

Rachelle Meidinger holds the world bench press record for women age 20-25
Corin Cates Carney

A student at Salish Kootenai College is a world record holder in weightlifting. She’s a powerful woman, but for a time felt so weak she didn’t want to leave her room.

Global energy leaders are meeting at the University of Montana today through Friday for the Asia-Montana Energy Summit.

Leaders in global energy issues from five different countries are converging at the University of Montana Wednesday through Friday for the Asia-Montana Energy Summit. Hosted by the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center, the summit will highlight trends that are shaping the world’s energy future, and Montana’s role in it. I talked about the summit with the Mansfield Center’s director, Abraham Kim.

Language Is No Barrier For Senior Companions

Apr 28, 2015
Emily Proctor

Frank Havlick and Chuck Gheer get together every Tuesday at Chuck’s place. It’s a small room with a twin bed, a recliner in the corner, and pictures of children hanging on the walls. Here they read scripture, listen to music and chat about life.

Michael Wright - Community News Service

Welcome to the lobby, and the sometimes-confusing world of lobbying….

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