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Grizzly bears in the NCDE  have been roaming far east of the Rocky Mountains following drainages, streams and food into the tan waves of farmland stretching out from the forest edges of the Rocky Mountain Front.
Josh Burnham

State and federal wildlife officials are investigating the death of a grizzly bear east of Missoula near Bonner.

“This is an active, ongoing investigation and the service will share more information with the public when the circumstances of the case permit,” says Ryan Moehring, a public affairs specialist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Montana House of Representatives.
MTPR

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Leaders of the Republican-controlled Legislature say they do not support convening a special session to reopen discussions on a package of infrastructure projects.

Montana drought status by county, May 1, 2017.
Montana DNRC

Drought is not expected to be a major factor this year in Montana.

Here’s something Montanans don’t frequently hear this time of year:

“It’s very unusual for most of Montana to be as wet as it is at this point," says National Weather Service Meteorologist Bruce Bauck.

Stakes High For Tribes In Republican Health Bills

May 30, 2017
Kevin Howlett is director of the Confederated Salish and Kootenia Tribes' Health and Human Services Department
Eric Whitney

As one of the states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, more than 77,000 Montanans now have access to healthcare, and more than 11,000 of those with coverage are Native American.

Jeff Mangan is Montana's new commissioner of political practices.
Corin Cates-Carney

Montana’s commissioner of political practices basically serves as the state’s top political cop. The commissioner oversees campaign finance and ethics laws. It’s a complicated, sometimes controversial job.

In this interview with MTPR's Edward O'Brien, Montana’s brand new Political Practices Commissioner Jeff Mangan says he believes most Montanans are glad the position is there:

Eric Whitney: Howdy and Welcome to "Capitol Talk," our weekly political analysis show. I'm Eric Whitney filling in for Sally Mauk.

Greg Gianforte: Montana sent a strong message tonight that we want a congressman who will work with President Trump to make America and Montana great again.

Mark Wicks was the Libertarian candidate for Montana's U.S. House seat in the 2017 special election.
Courtesy Mark Wicks

The Libertarian in yesterday’s special congressional election says he’s getting accused of being a spoiler candidate.

Mark Wicks posted on Facebook today that some people upset about Republican Greg Gianforte’s election to the U.S House of Representatives are taking out their frustrations on him:

Greg Gianforte and his wife, Susan, celebrate victory in the U.S. House race May 25, 2017 in Bozeman, MT.
Corin Cates-Carney

Greg Gianforte won the special election for Montana’s lone seat in the U.S. House in an early test of support for the Trump Administration. His win came one day after Gianforte was charged for assaulting a reporter.

In his victory speech at a Bozeman hotel, the Republican second-time candidate Gianforte told a crowd of supporters that Montana just sent a wakeup call to the political establishment in Washington D.C.

Updated at 4:55 a.m. ET

Republican Greg Gianforte won the special election for Montana's lone congressional seat on Thursday despite an election eve misdemeanor assault charge for allegedly body-slamming a reporter.

Montana Elects Greg Gianforte To The US House Of Representatives

May 25, 2017
Greg Gianforte
Courtesy Gianforte campaign

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — Republican multimillionaire Greg Gianforte won Montana's only U.S. House seat on Thursday despite being charged a day earlier with assault after witnesses said he grabbed a reporter by the neck and threw him to the ground.

Voters cast ballots at the Missoula County Fairgrounds, May 25, 2017.
Josh Burnham

Last night, the Republican candidate to fill Montana’s vacant U.S. House seat reportedly body-slammed a political reporter from international news outlet The Guardian.

Greg Gianforte was later charged with misdemeanor assault. But did the “body slam” affect how people are voting today? We sent reporters out to Bozeman, Missoula and the Flathead Valley to find out.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin speaks during a press conference on the Gianforte assault in Bozeman, May 25, 2017.
Corin Cates-Carney

Greg Gianforte is not responding to the Gallatin County Sheriff’s request for an interview in the investigation that led to him being charged with misdemeanor assault.

According to a Ben Jacobs, a reporter for the Guardian, Gianforte "body slammed" him as Jacobs attempted to interview him Wednesday night.

Election administrators around Montana report fairly high turnout for the special election so far. Cascade and Missoula Counties had received about 70 percent of absentee ballots by 3:00 p.m. Yellowstone County reports that about half of registered voters have already voted.

Several county administrators say voters have called wanting to change their votes after last night’s incident.

U.S. Congressman-Elect Greg Gianforte
Bree Zender

Reactions to Republican U.S. House candidate Greg Gianforte being charged with misdemeanor assault last night for allegedly attacking newspaper reporter Ben Jacobs is rolling in.

At 10 a.m., Republican Senator Steve Daines tweeted “Greg Gianforte needs to apologize.”

*Updated Thurs. 5/25 at 2:30 p.m. 

GOP Candidate Greg Gianforte faces misdemeanor assault charges for "body slamming" a reporter for The Guardian at his campaign headquarters last night, on the eve of today’s special election to fill Montana’s lone U.S. House Seat. He must appear in Gallatin County Justice Court by June 7. 

Crime reporter Whitney Bermes for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle first heard the assault report on a police scanner, as she was packing up to leave the newsroom and go home for the evening.

Updated May 25 at 1 p.m. ET

Guardian Reporter Alleges Assault By US House Candidate Greg Gianforte

May 24, 2017

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A reporter said the Republican candidate for Montana's sole congressional seat "body-slammed" him Wednesday, the day before the special election.

So-called “robo-calls” are prohibited by state law, but whether these calls are strictly illegal is hard to sort out.
(PD)

Some Montanans are getting phone calls with pre-recorded messages from President Donald Trump and others urging them to vote for Republican U.S. House Candidate Greg Gianforte. So-called “robo-calls” are prohibited by state law, but whether these calls are strictly illegal is hard to sort out.

The Republican National Committee is paying for robo-calls by President Donald Trump, according to a report from CNN.

The "quiet waters" initiative recommends restrictions on motorized watercraft on several major water systems in Montana.
(PD)

On Friday, Montana's Fish and Wildlife Commission is expected to vote on the so-called “quiet waters” initiative proposed last year.

Sen. Jon Tester
U.S. Senate

The U.S. Department of Education will now reconsider the University of Montana’s grant application for a low-income college prep program.

UM’s application for Upward Bound requested just under $2 million to fund the program for 75 students from this year through 2022. But it was rejected because of a technicality; one page was single-spaced, instead of double-spaced.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is updating the bison range’s comprehensive conservation plan and accompanying environmental impact statement.
(PD)

Two federal scoping meetings are scheduled to help shape future management options for the National Bison Range at Moiese. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is updating the bison range’s comprehensive conservation plan and accompanying environmental impact statement. 

Greg Gianforte.
Josh Burnham

This week Republican U.S. House candidate Greg Gianforte has been telling his supporters that the race is, “closer than it should be.” MTPR's Corin Cates-Carney dropped in on a Gianforte get-out-the-vote event at Montana GOP headquarters in Helena today.

U.S. House candidate Rob Quist at a campaign rally in Missoula, April 27, 2017.
Josh Burnham

In the final hours leading up to tomorrow’s special election to fill Montana’s lone U.S. House seat, Democratic candidate Rob Quist is squeezing in a few final visits with voters, and making use of social media. 

Quist’s campaign Facebook and Twitter pages are flooded with testimonials from voters:

How to find your polling place, return your absentee ballot, or vote in person in Montana's special election:
Josh Burnham

How to find your polling place, return your absentee ballot, or vote in person in Montana's special election:

The election to fill Montana's U.S. House seat is Thursday, May 25. You have until 8:00 p.m. to cast your ballot.

This Land Is ... Cut Under Trump's Budget?

May 24, 2017

Rural communities dependent on U.S. public lands for everything from outdoor recreation to hunting to livestock grazing could be hit hard under the Trump administration's latest budget proposal unveiled Tuesday.

Voters at the Missoula County ballot drop-off center, May 23, 2017.
Eric Whitney

Montana’s special election to fill its empty U.S. House seat is mere days away, but election officials say many voters still aren’t sure how to vote.

"The biggest hurdle for us has been trying to combat voter confusion," says Rebecca Connors, the election administrator for Missoula County.

U.S. House candidate Greg Gianforte at a "meet and greet" with supporters in Great Falls, MT, May 23, 2017.
Corin Cates-Carney

The candidates in Thursday's election for the state’s lone seat in the U.S. House are anticipating a close finish, and it’s fueling a final push for voter turnout in the final days on the campaign trail.

The GOP’s Greg Gianforte held the first of three "meet and greet" events Tuesday morning in Great Falls. He stood among a couple dozen supporters under a pavilion at a city park, where local Republican leaders supplied coffee and donuts for the chance to mingle with the candidate.

Hundreds of first responders, friends and family attended a memorial service Tuesday for Broadwater County Sheriff’s Deputy Mason Moore in Belgrade.
Courtesy Broadwater County Sheriff's Department

Hundreds of first responders, friends and family attended a memorial service Tuesday for Broadwater County Sheriff’s Deputy Mason Moore in Belgrade. Moore was fatally shot May 16 after what started as a routine traffic stop.

Expected gust speeds during the afternoon hours for May 24, 2017. These values are simply representative of overall gust speeds for each area.
National Weather Service, Missoula, MT.

Be prepared for strong gusts, tree damage, and possible hazardous driving conditions in western Montana Wednesday.

Montana's special election is getting lots of attention from the national media. That includes NPR, which sent national political correspondent Don Gonyea here for coverage that will air this week. Gonyea stopped by MTPR to talk about the American political scene now from his perspective. He spoke with MTPR News Director Emeritus Sally Mauk.

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