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Gerry and Chuck Jennings, volunteers for Democrat Rob Quist's campaign, go over their door knocking assignments Monday in Great Falls
Corin Cates-Carney

With just three days remaining in the race to become Montana’s next congressman, both major parties are working their ground games. And the candidates are hitting the state’s population centers in final efforts to get their bases to the polls.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Montana
The American Civil Liberties Union of Montana

The American Civil Liberties Union of Montana filed a complaint today with the Montana Human Rights Bureau on behalf of four Native Americans, who say say they were barred entrance to a high school basketball game earlier this year because of their race. 

Gov. Steve Bullock. File photo.
Corin Cates-Carney

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Gov. Steve Bullock has rejected five more bills, including one he said was a well-intentioned effort to bring more transparency to healthcare prices but would have done little to drive down costs.

Shots Fired In Missoula; 3 In Custody, 1 Injured

May 22, 2017

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — Law enforcement officers are investigating a shooting in Missoula that sent one person to the hospital.

Missoula County Undersheriff Rick Maricelli says three people are in custody after a shooting that happened inside a vehicle on Monday morning.

Blackfeet tribal leaders have reopened some reservation waters to motorized boats. All boats are required to receive an official inspection before launching into a lake or river on the reservation.
Katrin Frye

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — Blackfeet tribal leaders have reopened some reservation waters to motorized boats after approving new regulations in response to the threat of aquatic invasive mussels.

The Flathead Beacon reported last week that motorized crafts are limited to four lakes (Duck, St. Mary, Mission and Four Horn lakes).

Greg Gianforte, Rob Quist and Mark Wicks at the MTN News debate April 29, 2017.
Screen capture courtesy MTN News

In the final week of the special election for Montana’s lone U.S. House seat, Congressional hopefuls are packing in numerous stops around the state.

How Montana Communities Are Coping With Meth Use

May 21, 2017
"Montana Meth Effect" tells the complex stories of Montana communites coping with meth.
Tailyr Irvine

This program contains mature themes, and may not be appropriate for all audiences.

The flood of methamphetamines into Montana communities has left law enforcement, the courts and social services strained. Prosecutors report drug cases have clogged district courts. Child protection case numbers have soared as parents addicted to the drug neglect or abuse their children. Families of addicts report few options for helping their loved ones kick the substance. The Montana Meth Effect is an effort to tell the complex web of stories about communities coping with widespread drug use.

Sen. Bernie Sanders campaigns for Rob Quist in Missoula, May 20, 2017.
Josh Burnham

Bernie Sanders’ first campaign stop in Montana for Democratic U.S. House candidate Rob Quist drew thousands, enough to mostly fill the Adams Center arena on the University of Montana Campus in Missoula.

Eric Whitney: Howdy and Welcome to "Capitol Talk," our weekly political analysis show. I'm Eric Whitney filling in for Sally Mauk. And I'm here with the University of Montana political science professor Rob Saldin. Chuck Johnson is out this week.

Rob, it's now less than a week until voting ends in Montana's special election for its seat in the U.S. House on Thursday. I suppose it's not surprising that the campaigns are slinging a lot of mud at one another lately.

Ski lift. File photo.
(PD)

The U.S. Forest Service has approved an expansion to Lookout Pass ski area. The expansion roughly doubles the size of the permit area. The ski area plans to add about 100 acres of new ski terrain, install two new chair lifts and upgrade an existing chairlift.

Approximately 20,000 Montanans have developmental disabilities.

"Everyday they face discrimination," says Bernadette Franks-Ongoy, who is the executive director for Disability Rights Montana based in Helena.

High school seniors Jessica Not Afraid, left, Georgeline Morsette and Shaylee St. Marks wear  their beaded graduation caps to support Senate Bill 319 at the Montana Legislature Tuesday,  March 14.
Freddy Monares

Gov. Steve Bullock will hold a signing ceremony tomorrow for a bill that will allow Native Americans to wear traditional regalia during public events, including high school graduations.

“This bill means a lot to me. It’s important that our youth are able to display their culture and their identity during monumental events, such as graduation,” says Marci McLean, the director of Western Native Voice, a nonprofit advocacy group.

The Environmental Protection Agency says it has detected elevated levels of volatile organic compounds and semi-volatile organic compounds in samples taken from the oily sheen on the shoreline of Flathead Lake near Somers.
Nicky Ouellet

The Environmental Protection Agency has identified two compounds in the mysterious oily sheen detected along the shoreline of Flathead Lake near Somers earlier this month.

Volatile organic compounds and semi-volatile organic compounds were previously detected in samples taken from water pooled along the shoreline at Somers Bay.

Image from a Glacier Park Inc. proposal for a new RV park near West Glacier, MT.
Flathead County

Flathead County Commissioners Friday approved plans for a 100-spot RV park outside the west entrance to Glacier National Park.

With a unanimous vote by the commissioners, the company Glacier Park, Inc., is now cleared to move forward with its plan to develop 25 cabins and a 102-spot recreational vehicle campground adjacent to the village of West Glacier outside the western entrance to the park.

A fisherman hooks a big one on the Clark Fork River.
Josh Burnham

Montana anglers will now have to purchase an Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Pass — even if they've already bought a fishing license for 2017 — as part of a program passed by the Legislature and signed into law Thursday.

The passes are expected to generate $3.2 million dollars per year to be used in the fight against aquatic invasive species (AIS) that threaten the health of the state's waters.

The Cut Bank voting center.
Corin Cates-Carney

Colleen O’Brien didn’t know her usual polling place wouldn’t be open for Montana's May 25’s special election to fill Montana’s U.S. House seat until last week.

"It's making it incredibly inconvenient at best, and it is disenfranchising an underserved, underrepresented population at worst," O'Brien says.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue
PD

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told Congress this week that American farmers are facing plenty of challenges and deep uncertainty.

“Our farm economy is down by about a 50-percent drop in net income from where it was in 2013 as you all were contemplating the ’14 Farm Bill" Perdue says. "We’ve got several members who – particularly younger farmers – have levered up in this situation where their revenue is not supporting their debt structure and they’re in some dire straits.” 

A float in the Helena Vigilante Day parade depicting the Madison Buffalo Jump has been criticized by the ACLU and others for its portrayal of Native Americans.
Courtesy Meg Singer

One of the longest-running high school parades in the United States has been criticized by the ACLU and others for its portrayal of Native Americans.

“This is racism, 21st century racism," says Meg Singer, a Helena resident and member of the Navajo Nation.

She says Helena High School students at the Vigilante Day Parade last Friday dressed in Hollywood-style Native American costumes with short skirts and other scantily-clad clothing.

A 2005 state law requires Montana utilities to buy a total of 75 megawatts of energy from small-scale, locally owned producers of renewable electricity from wind, solar, and hydro sources.
(PD)

Montana’s largest utility provider announced Wednesday it is looking for small-scale renewable energy projects that it’s required by law to buy. But utilities and their regulators in Montana say that requirement is outdated, and that the law should be repealed.

An informational sign at the entrance of the National Bison Range.
Josh Burnham

One month after pulling a proposal to transfer management of the National Bison Range to the tribes of the Flathead Reservation, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke yesterday made it official: Management will remain in the federal government’s hands.

Tune in to MTPR Sunday, May 21 at 6:00 p.m. for an hour-long special report on meth in Montana.
Tailyr Irvine

Tune in to MTPR Sunday, May 21 at 6:00 p.m. for an hour-long special report on meth in Montana. These seven connected stories travel all over the Montana to deeply report on the ripple this one drug has had on our state — from ERs and the courts, to the home of one Bitterroot family dealing with addiction right now, to the Capitol in Helena, to Fort Belknap and to the connection between gay men and meth. These stories were produced for the spring semester capstone project, Montana Meth Effect. University of Montana School of Journalism students did great work, we hope you'll listen and let us know what you think.

Two-year-old Serenity, who’s nickname is Blueberry, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma.
Rainie Bunn

Healthcare is very much in the news these days, mostly the political news. But we recently got a phone call from a Montana mom that reminds us what healthcare is really all about.

Her name is Rainie Bunn. She’s from Forsyth, and has three little girls; a set of twins and a two-year-old named Serenity, who’s nickname is Blueberry.

"In the end of October last year, Blueberry just woke up with a black eye one day," Bunn told me.

Greg Gianforte (L) and Rob Quist (R) are running for Congress in a special election to fill Ryan Zinke's seat.
MTPR News

Candidates and outside groups are dumping more than $12 million into Montana’s short special election race for the U.S. House, surpassing the spending in last year’s race by $3 million. That’s according to the latest federal campaign reports filed this week.

Marshall Barrus (L) was shot in the head and hospitalized yesterday. He died this afternoon in a Missoula hospital. Lloyd Barrus (R), was charged in Missoula County today.
Broadwater County Sherrif's Dept.

A suspect in yesterday’s shooting-death of a Montana sheriff's deputy died today.

"I believe anytime there is a death, it’s a tragedy," says Missoula County Sheriff T.J. McDermott. "I believe justice comes in many different shapes and sizes."

May Snowstorm Causes Problems In Western Montana

May 17, 2017
A storm system moving across western and southwestern Montana on Wednesday brought snow to the higher elevations along the Rocky Mountain Front and heavy rain at lower elevations.
Josh Burnham

BUTTE, Mont. (AP) — A May snowstorm caused power outages and travel issues in western Montana on Wednesday.

The Department of Transportation closed Interstate 90 over Homestake Pass east of Butte due to jackknifed semi-trailers and poor travel conditions due to heavy, wet snow. Travelers were encouraged to take alternate routes.

Gold Butterfly Project vicinity map.
Bitterroot National Forest

The Bitterroot National Forest is holding an open house this evening to get public input on a project aimed at reducing wildfire risk near Corvallis.

"We have mature stands of timber that are kind of reaching the end of their lifespan. They just need a little thinning to encourage additional growth or to reduce the risk of future insect and disease outbreaks and to improve their health and vitality,” says Gold Butterfly Project Team Leader Marilyn Wildey.

Image from a Glacier Park Inc. proposal for a new RV park near West Glacier, MT.
Flathead County

A proposal for a new RV park outside the western entrance of Glacier National Park goes before Flathead County Commissioners Friday.

Commissioners heard the plan from a company called Glacier Park Inc. (GPI) to build a campground with 102 recreational vehicle spaces and 25 rental cabins near the village of West Glacier on Tuesday, May 16, but held off on making a final decision so they could learn more about potential impacts to traffic.

A strong spring storm will bring wet heavy snow across western Montana and central Idaho Tuesday and Wednesday.
National Weather Service Missoula

According to the National Weather Service, a strong spring storm will bring wet heavy snow across western Montana and central Idaho starting Tuesday night and continuing through Wednesday. The period of most concern for snow will be tonight after midnight through Wednesday morning.

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

While about $12 million is financing the U.S. House race between Republican Greg Gianforte and Democrat Rob Quist, the Libertarian candidate says contributions to his campaign are just starting to roll in. The main party candidates have each brought in over $3 million to fund their campaigns.

Outside groups have dumped millions more, picking sides between the Republican and Democrat, according to federal election reports. Those reports also show that Libertarian candidate Mark Wicks has raised $2,030, coming entirely from individual donations.

Broadwater County sheriff’s deputy Mason Moore was shot and killed on the morning of May 16 near Three Forks.
Broadwater County Sherrif's Dept.

A Montana sheriff’s deputy was shot and killed during an early morning traffic stop Tuesday.

Broadwater County sheriff’s deputy Mason Moore was shot and killed Tuesday morning near Three Forks. Two Belgrade men — a father and a son — are being held after a shootout with police.

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