Montana News

News from the state of Montana.

Sally Mauk

The new film "Winter in the Blood", based on the late Montana author James Welch's novel, had its Montana premiere over the weekend in Missoula.

Political leaders, college students, colorful banners and flat screen TVs ringed the state capitol building’s rotunda on Friday for the unveiling of a 3-year, $2 million grant to expand entrepreneurship through Montana’s two biggest Universities.

Joel Berger

A professor at the University of Montana has won this year's prestigious Aldo Leopold award from the American Society of Mammalogists

Fresh pack, helicopters, and the "last best cherry"

Jul 18, 2013
Katrin Frye

From Polson, north to Bigfork cherry stands which have remained shuttered through the year are just opening up as the cherry harvest starts in Montana.

Some of the growers along the east shore of Flathead Lake are hobby growers with a couple of acres of orchard in their yards scaling down toward the lake, or up to the edge of the mountains.

Many pool their resources and their cherries as part of the Flathead Lake Cherry Growers Cooperative.

Earlier this week harvest started on the first Flathead cherries of the season.

Sally Mauk

The Mineral County sheriff's office issued more evacuation orders today as temperatures rose and the humidity decreased on the West Mullan fire burning north of Superior. Strong winds yesterday pushed the fire to over 3600 acres. Information officer Pat McKelvey says the fire took a big run but they're making some progress today. At least 100 homes have been evacuated since the fire started on Sunday, with the latest evacuations in the Keystone area near the fire. No structures have been lost so far.

Native leader Gordon Belcourt dies

Jul 17, 2013
Jaime Belcourt

Gordon Belcourt, one of the Rocky Mountain West’s most influential Native American leaders died Monday in Billings.

He was Executive Director of the Montana-Wyoming Tribal Leaders Council from 1998 until his death. He was known for building the organization into a powerful regional voice on Native issues, especially public health.

Gordon’s daughter Annie Belcourt says her father’s traditional Blackfeet name, Meekskimeeksskumapi, means Mixed Iron Boy.

She says it’s a name reflecting the strength her father carried with him through his life.

Ken Billington

The new Montana-made film "Winter in the Blood" received a warm reception at its recent premiere at the Los Angeles film festival, and will have its Montana premiere this Saturday evening in Missoula. The film is based on the acclaimed novel by the late Montana author James Welch - who was a family friend of the film's directors, brothers Alex and Andrew Smith. Both the novel and the movie give a harsh but authentic portrait of growing up on Montana's Blackfeet reservation and the hi-line, where it was filmed.

Hotshot crews, retardant planes and six water-dropping helicopters are keeping the West Mullan fire steered away from the town of Superior and surrounding homes. Several homes remain under mandatory or voluntary evacuation notice as the 700-plus acre fire continues to burn north and east of town. Firefighters are keeping a wary eye on the weather - hoping a predicted storm front will bring more rain than wind, and give firefighters the upper hand on the three-day old fire.

Dan Boyce


Leaders from across Montana’s public education spectrum met in Helena Tuesday to discuss shared priorities for improving the experience and results for the state’s students.

The political world - both in Montana and nationally - is still reeling a bit from former Governor Brian Schweitzer's announcement last weekend that he will not run for the U.S. Senate seat

Ron Fitzgerald has written for the hit network television series "Friday Night Lights" and the Showtime hit series "Weeds" but he started his writing career as a playwright.

A school program with a non-academic focus

Jul 15, 2013

The Student Assistance Program doesn’t involve money for school, or extra study time. It focuses on helping students in something other than academics. It’s a network of support groups offered through a school with focuses varying from grief, to substance abuse, anger, and self-esteem, among others. Whitefish School Psychologist Robin Bissell said SAP came to Whitefish four years ago after the high school lost a student to suicide.

Missoula County Commissioner Jean Curtiss recently returned from a symposium in Washington D.C featuring First Lady Michelle Obama that was designed to let elected officials share strategies effective in addressing childhood obesity.
     "Let's Move!" is a public/private partnership designed to enhance and build healthy environments for children and adults.  

Montana Folk Festival

Organizers are hoping for another huge turnout to the Montana Folk Festival which kicks off tomorrow.

Denise Juneau, Montana superintendent of public school.

There's some encouraging results in a survey of Montana students; and some troubling results as well.

Powwow traditions

Jul 10, 2013
Justin Steck

Since 1898 the Jocko Valley north of Missoula has hosted a celebration during the week of the Fourth of July.  The timing is no coincidence.

Dan Boyce

Activity at the site of this year’s Rainbow Family Gathering is continuing to wind down this week as a small team of revelers stays behind to cleanup and county and state officials tally up the costs.

Beaverhead Deerlodge National Forest District Ranger Russ Riebe predicted there were still about two-thousand people at the site near Jackson, Montana, down from a high of about 9700 people on the fourth of July.

Urban American Outdoors

An award-winning television episode takes a look at the U-S Forest Service in Western Montana.

Kids eat free in Kalispell all summer long

Jul 9, 2013
Katrin Frye / summer food program, kalispell free kids lunch

Making sure kids get fed healthy food is the goal behind “free meal” programs at school.

Making sure they continue getting healthy meals through the summer is the goal behind a federal grant that’s covering the cost of summertime free meal programs in communities across Montana.

The Esther England Story

Jul 9, 2013
Contributed to Anna Cole by Esther England

Renowned University of Montana music professor, Esther England, died this past Saturday.

Ray Wong/Flickr

Calgary--in Alberta, Canada lies less than 200 miles from the Montana border.

This city of a million people is recovering from devastating floods which ravaged the area in June.

A two-week emergency declaration was lifted last Thursday and the Calgary Herald newspaper estimates the costs to repair infrastructure are coming in at hundreds of millions of dollars.

The city is still showing its grit, putting on the annual Calgary Stampede as planned.

It continues through this Sunday.

Dan Boyce

The Rainbow Family gathering 10 miles outside the SouthWest Montana town of Jackson reached its peak over the weekend, as revelers traveled from all over the country for the extended fourth of July weekend.

The U.S. Forest Service estimated nearly 10 thousand people camped on the piece of land in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest. The event promotes a message of peace, love, and non-violence.

Capitol Reporter Dan Boyce took us inside the gathering, which in many ways took on the characteristics of a small city—both the good and the bad.  

Dan Boyce

Helena’s government-run health clinic for state employees is seeing much more use than originally expected as the experiment moves closer to its one-year anniversary.

The clinic provides free primary care services to the Capital city’s 11-thousand state workers and their dependents. It was launched last year by former Democratic Governor Brian Schweitzer as way to improve overall employee health and save money for the state’s self-funded health insurance plan.

Hundreds of firefighters making progress on the wildfire outside the mountain town of Yarnell, Arizona came off the line to share a moment of silence and watch a procession of the towed vehicles of the 19 elite Hotshot crew members killed over the weekend.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes recently released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement looking at netting, commercial fishing, and bounties to cut deeper into the invasive lake trout population in Flathead Lake.

Ron Muffick

College students will notice interest rates on new loans for the fall term will be double what they were just last spring - unless Congress follows through on its pledge to restore lower rates when it returns after the July 4th holiday.

Montana Tech

Montana Tech is spearheading a project that organizers say will improve the quantity and diversity of native plants on the Butte Hill.

Montana’s Attorney General announced Friday the proceeds from the sale of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana to a larger, out of state, insurance company will be used to create the “Montana Healthcare Foundation.”


Just as forecasters promised, hot temperatures have moved into the region.

Katrin Frye

The International Traditional Games Society was started when a group of native middle school students in Browning asked a simple question.