Montana News

News from the state of Montana.

Dan Boyce

A closed casket viewing was held in the Capitol building’s rotunda this for the public to pay respects for former Montana First Lady Betty Babcock.

The wife of former Governor Tim Babcock died this past Sunday at age 91.

It’s rare for anybody to lie in state in Montana’s seat of public power.

Former Governor Tom Judge’s casket was given a public viewing after he died in 2006. That was in the Old Supreme Court Chambers, on the third floor.  

Edward O'Brien

Missoula County Fairgrounds has a new director and his name is Todd Garrett. Garrett will replace Steve Earle who, earlier this year, announced his retirement plans.
      Garrett and his family currently live in Whitefish. He's a University of Montana grad who earned a degree in Recreation Management. Garrett says many people mistakenly assume that's a discipline rooted in fun and games, when in fact, he says he learned critically important management and communication skills.

University of California, San Francisco

Over 300 health professionals, advocates and

Mike Steinberg

Missoula's Roxy Theater has served as the headquarters of the International Wildlife Film Festival for several years.

Montana reporters with the Associated Press have been receiving online threats for more than the past week after requesting the public information available on the state’s concealed carry permit holders.

The request made headlines in recent weeks after the Attorney General’s office refused the request, citing privacy concerns.

Montana reporters with the Associated Press have been receiving online threats for requesting the public information available on the state’s concealed carry permit holders.

The request made headlines in recent weeks after the Attorney General’s office refused the request, citing privacy concerns.

Attorney General Tim Fox speaks with Capitol Reporter Dan Boyce about those threats and how his administration plans to approach open records requests in the future.

  

SSA Marine

American coal companies want to vastly increase their sale of coal to Asia, including coal from Montana, but that requires a new coal export terminal to be built on the west coast to handle the shipments.

Seeds to Cities/Adventure Cycling

Three young women are bicycling from California to New York this summer gathering information about seeds; meeting people who produce and save seeds, traditions that revolve around seeds and local agriculture.

Laurie Bridgeman

17-year-old Jesse Linton of Missoula has changed a lot over the past couple of years.

Dan Boyce

PPL Montana is now operating a completely renovated Rainbow Dam, just a few miles northeast of Great Falls.

The $230 million project marks the biggest investment in energy generation in the state since the Colstrip coal-fired power plant was built about 30 years ago.

PPL Montana Director of External Affairs David Hoffman said the new power house generates almost twice as much electricity as the old one. It’s enough to power about 45-thousand homes.

Construction on this renovation started back in 2009 and went fully online this past April.

Sally Mauk

One in 2000 kids are born with genital or reproductive anatomy or chromosomal patterns that are not clearly male or female.

The Montana Attorney General’s Office deposited a new $40 million check this week—money from the sale of Blue Cross, Blue Shield of Montana to an out of state company.

Another $100 million or more may eventually be on the way as Blue Cross sells off its assets.

Sally Mauk

Montana’s State Forester Monday said the state’s wildfire suppression fund still has the vast majority of the funding provided to it by the 2013 Legislature.

"I think we're doing relatively well, certainly compared to last year," State Forester Bob Harrington said.

So far in 2013, the state is sitting at a little less than $2 million dollars in estimated fire costs, out of a wildfire suppression fund of about $20 million. 810 fires have been reported so far, burning 43,000 acres.

National Weather Service meteorologist LeAnne Allegretto describes an incoming weather system as a potential "resetting" event; one that could - at least temporarily - give firefighters in parts of western Montana a much needed break.
       The technical term for this sort of wet, slow-moving weather event is a "cut-off low". Allegretto says thunderstorms will start to develop across central Idaho and southwest Montana.

photo courtesy Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes

If all goes as planned, in September 2015, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes will be the first tribes in the country to own a major hydroelectric facility.

Dan Boyce

A group of Great Falls health advocates are accusing at least nine bars and casinos in that city of not being in compliance with Montana’s Clean Indoor Air Act.

The law prohibits smoking in public buildings and fully went into effect in 2009.

At issue are so-called ‘smoke shacks’ attached to the casinos. These ventilated rooms allow people to smoke, drink and use gaming machines. Bar owners are open-air vents in the rooms make them technically not indoor, enclosed, spaces.

Coal development generates money in Montana. Executive Director of the Montana Coal Council Bud Clinch said an average train carrying coal has about 120 cars, and represents about $30,000 of local, state, and federal taxes being paid.

He said Coal is worth continuing to invest in, it’s what Montana has, and the demand for it is not going away.

Firefighters report significant progress on the Firestone Flats fire burning about 6 miles outside of Arlee.
       The fire started Saturday afternoon and within hours blew up into a 700 acre incident.
       Fire information officer, Cindy Super, says the crews will continue to work around the clock to build line around that fire.  If they continue to make progress and conditions hold,  pending evacuations will come to an end at 5:00 Thursday afternoon.

Bev Yeager

You may have already seen them: new TV ads featuring a Montana high school rodeo athlete promoting tobacco-free rodeo.

Margaret Stratton

Natalie Brown's first novel "The Lovebird" is set first in southern California and then on the Crow reservation in Montana

Youpa Stein

Fire Information – Firestone Flats

Cause: Under Investigation

Detected: July 27, 2013

Location: Approximately 5 miles east northeast of Arlee, MT.

Size: 1,388 acres on Saturday, July 27 at 7:00 PM

Jurisdiction: Confederated Salish Kootenai Tribes, Lake County Current Status: Today, Sunday, July 28th, the fire is listed at 0 percent containment. Fire activity was erratic and extreme yesterday resulting in multiple evacuations.

Teams on the ground and in the air are working to beat down the as-of-yet officially unnamed Jocko Canyon area fire near Arlee. Lolo National Forest spokesman Boyd Hartwig tells us it stands at 700 acres with Lolo Hotshots on the ground. A single engine air tanker and heavy air tanker is working from above.  The Seeley Lake Ranger district will be closing the Forest Service portion of Jocko road for public safety. Scattered evacuations along Jocko Road are complete for the time being. 

Lake County Sheriff's department spokeswoman, Karen Sargent, says 18 homes have been evacuated as a result of the Jocko Canyon fire. None of them - at least to her knowledge - have been lost or damaged.  Also the fire has not yet been officially named. More updates as we get them....

Jocko Canyon Fire

Jul 27, 2013
Edward O'Brien

A new wildfire burning in the Jocko Canyon area is throwing up a huge smoke plume easily visible from Missoula. A Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes Division of Fire dispatcher, identifying himself as Buttercup, says law enforcement has blocked roads from the reservation to Seeley Lake. The Jocko Canyon road is now blocked to traffic, as is the St Mary's Lake road. Buttercup says evacuation orders have been issued for homes in the Jocko Canyon.  Early estimates of the fire stood at 500 acres, but Buttercup tells us smoke was laying low making next to impossible to confirm that number.

Sally Mauk

Firefighters are feeling a lot better today about the 720-acre Mill Creek fire that broke out yesterday between Frenchtown and Missoula.

A retired Oregon corrections counselor, who also worked as a parole and probation officer, says America's war on drugs is an abject failure.
       Shelley Fox-Loken says states should have the authority to decide whether they want to legalize drugs that are now illegal. She predicts that responsibly legalizing drugs would result in decreased violent crime and drug use rates, while simultaneously  benefiting state coffers.
       Loken is a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a group of law enforcement officials opposed to the war on drugs.

The results of the NCAA's investigation into the University of Montana athletics department have just been released. Here's a copy of the memo UM president Royce Engstrom released to the campus community today: 

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

Sally Mauk

A new  wildfire burning just east of Frenchtown and west of Missoula has grown to over 550 acres and prompted several evacuations. The fire - started by a mower sparking on a rock this afternoon - has forced homeowners between Mill Creek and Fred Lane to evacuate as firefighters attack the blaze from the ground and the air. (see map) So far, there are no reports of homes lost to the fire.

Associated Press


    Carlee Soto will never forget December 14th, 2012.

UM looks for ET

Jul 23, 2013

NASA recently awarded a 1.125 million dollar grant to researchers at the University of Montana to explore, among other things, whether there is life on other planets.

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