Montana News

News from the state of Montana.

Fireworks
Flickr user Michael Cramer (CC-BY-NC-2.0)

Counties across western Montana today imposed Stage One fire restrictions effective this Friday morning at 12:01 a.m.

The restrictions come along with a ban on fireworks on all public and private land in Missoula, Ravalli, and Lake, and Lincoln counties. Flathead County commissioners will vote Thursday on a county-wide fireworks ban.

Fire Danger 'Extreme' In Missoula County

Jun 30, 2015
Stage 2 Fire restrictions go into effect across northwestern Montana Thursday at 1:00 a.m.
Josh Burnham

Officials have bumped the fire danger rating to "extreme" in Missoula County following a record-breaking heat wave and forecasts calling for hot, dry conditions to continue through the holiday weekend.

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox
MT DOJ

Montana and twelve other states sued the federal government Monday to stop the Environmental Protection Agency from enacting a new rule extending the Clean Water Act to small streams and wetlands.

State Attorney General Tim Fox says the Obama administration went too far by asserting control over waterways that belong to the states.

Fire Near Glacier Park Has Burned 80 Acres

Jun 29, 2015
North Fork of the Flathead River
U.S. Forest Service

A human-caused fire that started over the weekend just outside Glacier National Park has burned 80 acres and started eight spot fires inside the Park. Officials are calling the Glacier Rim Fire 25% contained.

Critics of the Clean Power Plan worry about its impacts on coal development and jobs.
BLM

Montana coal advocates are hailing the Supreme Court's ruling against the Obama administration's attempt to limit toxic emissions from power plants.

The justices ruled the Environmental Protection Agency failed to adequately consider costs when regulating emissions from coal and oil-fired plants.

Steve Jess

Montana’s Republican Party has a new leader. Delegates at the party’s convention over the weekend rejected the most conservative candidate, settling on an experienced lawmaker and party insider.

Slideshow: Great Burn Proposed Wilderness Area

Jun 29, 2015
Eric Whitney

On Sunday the Montana Wilderness Association, Great Burn Study Group and EcoFlight offered Missoula journalists an hour-long flyover of the Great Burn Proposed Wilderness Area straddling the Montana-Idaho border west and north of Missoula.

BLM (CC-BY-2.0)

Montana fire officials are urging people to be extra careful with fire this weekend and over Fourth of July.

Josh Burnham

Bozeman's Stacey Haugland never thought she'd live to see the day when gay marriage would be legalized nationwide. The Supreme Court today guaranteed that right.

Flathead Lake Biological Station research boat, Jessie-B.
Courtesy Flathead Lake Biological Station

Researchers at the Flathead Lake Biological Station are studying how climate change may affect the lake’s chemistry and temperature. Corin Cates-Carney reports from a research presentation at the station Thursday night.

The bullet point is Flathead Lake is an extremely complex body of water; and it’s changing.

courtesy Montana Republican Party

This weekend, the Montana Republican party will choose its leader, and chart the course for its future. Delegates from all over the state are meeting today and tomorrow in Helena for their annual convention.

U.S. Supreme Court
Flickr user: Marty Stone (CC-BY-NC-2)

The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies for people to buy health insurance means nothing really changes in Montana’s health insurance market. And that’s pretty big news.

Heat Safety Checklist

Jun 25, 2015
Extreme heat safety checklist
National Weather Service, Missoula Montana

Historic high temperatures are forecast across western Montana for this weekend and into next week. Here are some tips for staying safe in extreme heat.

Elsie Arntzen, a Republican from Billings and former teacher, is running for Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Montana Legislature

Two Montana teachers want to be the state’s next Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Term limiting prevents current Superintendent, Democrat Denise Juneau, from running again. Republican state lawmaker Elsie Arntzen recently filed paperwork to replace her.

Bighorn sheep
(PD)

Hunters have less than a week to throw their name in the hat to win the chance for a dream hunt. Corin Cates-Carney reports on Montana’s SuperTag lottery deadline.

William Marcus

Budget officials from the Montana Governor’s office faced an angry panel of state lawmakers Wednesday morning. Members of the Legislative Audit Committee demanded to know why a crucial report on the state’s finances was issued in May instead of March, but also contained multiple mistakes, with the potential to cost taxpayers money.

The Supreme Court will soon rule on whether states can ban same-sex marriage. Their decision could come as early as Thursday the 25th. This graphic shows how three possible outcomes would affect the laws in Montana and across the country.

Whitefish Police Chief Bill Dial says Montanan’s culture of drinking is a learned behavior.
Corin Cates-Carney

Flathead County ranks among the highest in Montana in traffic deaths, behind Yellowstone County and ahead of Missoula County.

One hundred eighty four people died on Flathead County roads between 2004 and 2013.

National Weather Service, Missoula

The National Weather Service warns an intense and prolonged heat wave will bring dangerously hot temperatures to western Montana this weekend.

"I am not hesitant to use the word 'historic' for this event," Weather Service meteorologist Dan Zumpf explained.

James St. Goddard announced his candidacy for Montana's lone House seat Tuesday at the state capitol.
Steve Jess

The 2016 election is more than 16 months away, but the race for Montana’s lone seat in the U.S. House already has its first candidate.

James St. Goddard, a former Blackfeet Tribal Council member, announced he’s running for Congress as a Democrat.

One easy way to start an argument these days is to bring up climate change. Yet when several dozen farmers and researchers gathered to talk about it last Friday in Great Falls, there was virtually no argument. That’s because the group that sponsored the event, the Montana Farmers Union, accepts climate change as a fact and because the event, called Plowing Forward, was not focused on placing the blame for it, but rather on its effects, especially on agriculture.

Glacier National Park Entrance At St. Mary
Flicker user GlacierNPS (CC-BY-2.0)

After four years as the deputy superintendent of Glacier National Park, Kym Hall is leaving Montana.

Hall’s career in the National Park Service spans almost 29 years. She came to Glacier during a transition of leadership in the park, before Jeff Mow was named superintendent. She briefly served as acting superintendent of the park in 2013. She says in her mind Glacier will remain an important place.

Helena school officials are considering their next move in the wake of last week's defeat of a $70-million elementary school bond. Supporters say the measure would have funded badly-needed technology and infrastructure projects.

Opponents said it was too expensive and would have unfairly distributed funds.   

Fire Danger Very High In Missoula County

Jun 22, 2015
Fire danger sign
BLM

Missoula County interagency fire officials say fire danger is very high in Missoula County. Officials remind the public that burning by permit is closed and ask that people exercise caution with fire and anything that can produce sparks.

(PD)

Montana farmers will have to take the changing climate into account, even planting different species to accommodate warmer temperatures. That was part of the message delivered at a gathering in Great Falls Friday, sponsored by The Montana Farmers Union. 

Neptune Aviation air tanker on the Mountain Fire
Steve Whitby/Neptune Aviation

A contract dispute has created uncertainty and potential lost revenue for the companies that supply firefighting air tankers, including Missoula’s Neptune Aviation.

The conflict is over long-term contracts for jet engine, so-called "next generation" planes that bring more to the table than the Korean War-era prop-driven tankers firefighters have been using for decades.

Susan Cahill says she had over 400 regular patients that came to her for general family practice medicine.
Corin Cates-Carney

When Zachary Klundt broke into and vandalized All Families Healthcare in Kalispell, in March 2014, he destroyed the only clinic providing abortions in the Flathead Valley.

Now, over a year later, the clinic remains closed, and the building is now used to help people file taxes.

After a three day sentencing hearing, the case involving the vandalism and closing of the Flathead Valley’s only clinic to provide abortions came to an end today.

Twenty four year-old Zachary Klundt received a 20-year sentence with 15 years suspended for destroying All Families Healthcare clinic in Kalispell. Klundt will also pay the clinics’ owner, Susan Cahill and other victims over 600,000 dollars in restitution.

A powerful Senate committee Thursday increased funding for a public lands access program, but Montana's senators disagreed on the amount.

Fishing the North Fork of the Flathead
Flickr user: Minh-Kiet Callies (CC-BY-2.0)

Montana’s 21,000 miles of streams and rivers are open for free fishing this weekend in honor of father’s day.

Anyone with a fishing rod, resident or non-resident, can cast a line without a permit on June 20 & 21, as long as the angler follows posted regulations.

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