Montana News

News from the state of Montana.

William Neuheisel

Flathead Lake is a good two feet below full pool following this particularly dry spring in northwest Montana. Northwestern Energy, which manages Kerr Dam, has notified tribal and federal agencies that water levels are low which could affect outflows this summer. Kerr produces power, regulates the lake's water levels and several reservoirs.

Monday at the Montana Capitol the Legislature’s Water Policy Interim Committee raised questions about new federal clean water rules intended to give the Environmental Protection Agency a say in regulating many streams and ditches that are now the domain of state and local regulators. Montana lawmakers from both parties say they’re troubled by the new rules.

Marianne Wiest - Courtesy photo

Bozeman technology entrepreneur Greg Gianforte is asking Montanans who live out of state to come home, and to bring their high paying jobs with them.

He launched what he’s calling his “Bring our Families Back tour,” Monday visiting economic development agencies in northwest Montana to promote telecommuting as a way to drive up Montana’s average income and improve the economy.

Poplar pipeline crack
Courtesy Bridger Pipeline

Last week we reported that state wildlife biologists have not found any evidence of damage to fish species in the Yellowstone River downstream of the oil spill in January near Glendive. But Ryan Moehring, a spokesperson for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service says that that doesn’t mean scientists are finished looking.

Two Medicaid Expansion Opponents Named To State Oversight Committee

May 29, 2015

Governor Steve Bullock and Legislative leaders named their picks for the 9-member panel that will oversee the roll-out of Medicaid coverage for Montana’s working poor. The oversight committee includes two opponents of Medicaid Expansion.

Snowmobiles ride past bison in Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park (CC-BY-2.0)

A national conservation group and a motorized access group describe a proposed winter use management tool for Yellowstone National Park as a step in the right direction.

Sen. Tester Talks Infrastructure In Eastern Montana

May 28, 2015
Sen. Jon Tester (D) Montana
Courtesy photo

Senator Jon Tester met with local officials in Sidney Thursday to talk about the Bakken-area boom town’s strained roads, water and sewer systems.

Tester has made numerous trips to and held field hearings in Bakken-impacted communities. He’s wanted a first-hand look at how these communities are coping with what was rapid growth. The most recent field hearing was last fall.

 When Seaman decided to dedicate his life to farming, he set out looking for a place with a ripe ear of corn and tomato grown out doors, hunting, fishing and good people. He says he found that in Paradise, Montana.
Corin Cates-Carney

Two hundred fifteen certified organic producers in Montana are cashing in on the growing demand for organic products. Organic farm sales in the United States grew 82 percent in the past five years, according to the Organic Trade Association.

But the growing demand doesn’t guarantee small organic farms will be, or stay, profitable.

Monica Lindeen
Courtesy Monica Lindeen

State auditor Monica Lindeen hit the campaign trail this week, announcing her bid to become Montana's next secretary of state. Fellow Democrat Linda McCulloch currently holds that position and was re-elected back in 2012.

Wednesday at the state capitol Girl Scouts from across Montana gathered to honor some of their own.

A new report released by a broad array of Montana conservation, timber and recreation groups details the economic and conservation benefits of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Corin Cates-Carney

Public health officials want more people to take the risk of concussions youth sports more seriously.

On Tuesday night, Kalispell Regional Healthcare’s Save the Brain Project tried to get the word out at Somers Middle School.

Fewer than 10 people showed up.

A revised federal water pollution rule issued today is earning praise from Montana conservationists and condemnation from the agriculture and building sectors.

Chuck Johson with Sally Mauk and Mike Dennison
William Marcus

As you might have heard, the Lee newspaper chain, which publishes most of Montana’s larger papers, is closing its state bureau in Helena. Chuck Johnson and Mike Dennison, the two veteran reporters who staff the bureau, are leaving the company.  The news stunned many Montanans who follow politics. Johnson and Dennison have been honored with blog posts on the internet and speeches on the floor of the U. S. Senate.

Recently I sat down with Chuck Johnson in his Helena office to talk about his 43 years covering the state of Montana, starting with how he found out it was coming to an end.

Fewer state and federal dollars are filling Montana school district coffers, so school officials are turning to local voters for help.

Bob Vogel of the Montana School Boards Association says bonding requests are becoming more common.

Bill Gallagher, former Montana Public Service Commission Chairman
Montana Public Service Commission

The chairman of the Montana Public Service Commission remembers his predecessor, Bill Gallagher, as a man of courage and grace.

Gallagher died of pancreatic cancer late last week.

Eric Whitney

More than two hundred people gathered at the Western Montana State Veterans Cemetery in Missoula to mark Memorial day. It was one of dozens of ceremonies across the state.

Evening Newscast 05-22-15

May 22, 2015
MTPR Evening Newscast
Josh Burnham

On tonight's evening newscast: The state Board of Regents today formally approved renaming the University of Montana Law School in honor of Great Falls Attorney Alexander Blewett the third, following Blewett and his wife’s gift of $10 million to the school announced this week.

Two adult male grizzly bears have been euthanized for killing calves on a private ranch southeast of Red Lodge.

Montana’s new campaign finance law still has at least one loophole that needs to be addressed. That’s according to state Political Practices Commissioner Jonathan Motl.

A 90-year-old Butte woman was killed when she was hit by her car after a trip to the grocery store.

The U.S. Supreme Court has denied a petition from Yellowstone Club founder Tim Blixseth to be released from a Montana jail after he was found in contempt of court.

American paddlefish
Timothy Knepp - U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

One week into Montana’s paddlefish season on the the lower Yellowstone river, biologists say they’re not seeing any negative impacts from an oil spill on that stretch of river in January.

Jonathan Motl, Montana Commissioner of Political Practices speaks during a forum about the "Disclose Act" in Missoula, MT
Josh Burnham

Montana’s new campaign finance law still has at least one loophole that needs to be addressed. That’s according to state Political Practices Commissioner Jonathan Motl.

Pending the approval of the Montana Board of Regents today the University of Montana School of Law will take on the name of its biggest donor.

Alexander Blewett’s gift of $10 million was announced yesterday to the regents. The donation is the largest in UM law school history, and among the largest individual gifts in UM history.

Chuck Johnson, Sally Mauk and Mike Dennison
Eliza Wiley

Late Thursday afternoon a news story broke on the Great Falls Tribune website that spread across Twitter like wildfire, and struck some people like a death in the family: Lee Newspapers, which owns five of Montana’s largest papers, is closing its state bureau, and its two reporters, Chuck Johnson and Mike Dennison, are leaving the company.

Sen. Jon Tester (D) Montana
Courtesy photo

Senator Jon Tester says the Veterans Administration’s new Choice Card program got off to a  “shaky” start. The Choice Card is a new program that lets veterans use private medical care if their nearest VA facility is too busy or too far away.

Montana Senator Jon Tester hopes Wednesday’s 10-hour filibuster over the Patriot Act will convince his colleagues that the controversial law needs a full Senate debate.

Tester says Patriot Act supporters usually bring up the re-authorization vote just before the law expires, forcing the Senate to rush through the process, instead of taking the time for a full discussion.

New data says Montana does a good job at placing placing kids in its child welfare system with relatives or foster families, which is seen as preferable to placements in group homes.

Forest Service helicopter crews practicing medical evacuation west of Missoula, MT.
Lane Lamoreaux (PD)

Two Forest Service helicopter crews are practicing medical evacuation maneuvers this week west of Missoula.

The teams are training for "Emergency Medical Short-Haul" missions.

Alexander Blewett III
Courtesy photo

A Great Falls trial lawyer is giving the University of Montana law school $10 million, and the school is one step away from being re-named in his honor.

Helena Teens Found Safe In Missoula

May 20, 2015

Police issued an alert this morning for two teens from Helena they believed were in danger after they left the city this morning. They were later found safe in Missoula, and the alert was canceled at 2:40 pm. 

Paxon Elementary School in Missoula
Missoula County Public Schools

Missoula voters are being asked to approve two major school bond issues. They haven’t said yes to school debt of this magnitude since 1952.

Supporters of the bond questions that will appear on November's ballot say it’s time to update badly deteriorating local public schools.

A Wisconsin man was fined more than$2,000 Monday for accidently killing a grizzly bear in Northwest Montana.

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