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Montana News

Western Montana news from MTPR. Montana politics, healthcare, wildlands, wildlife, wildfire, and more.

Montana wildfire news

Montana Politics & Legislature news

Amanda Reese with a naloxone kit. Reese works at Missoula’s Open Aid Alliance, which operates a needle exchange and other health services.
Edward O'Brien

A lifesaving drug that can reverse opioid overdoses is now more widely available in Montana. State health officials today highlighted that, thanks to a new law that went into effect in October.

The law, passed this spring with unanimous support, makes it possible for nearly anyone to get a prescription for the medication, called naloxone. That includes friends and family members of a person at risk of overdose, first responders, and other organizations like needle exchanges.

Courtesy Bill Cole

Billings has a new mayor.

Bill Cole won nearly double the votes of his opponent, former Republican state lawmaker Jeff Essman. Cole has focused on drawing young people to Billings and turning it into the kind of city where people want to stay. 

"I was a little afraid that my message would scare off the voters, but i think it resonated powerfully," Cole said.

Cole has called for more parks and trails and more downtown revitalization. Essman had criticized the costs associated with those proposals and possible tax increases to pay for them.

Wilmot Collins.
Courtesy Wilmot Collins for Mayor

Helena’s mayor of 16 years was unseated Tuesday by Wilmot Collins, who is receiving national attention for being the first black man elected mayor in Helena since the town was incorporated.

Collins won just over 51 percent of the vote on Tuesday night, defeating incumbent James Smith.

Mule deer.
(PD)

A mule deer buck harvested south of Billings in October has tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease, officials confirmed Wednesday. CWD is deadly and contagious to deer, elk and moose.

Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks says a sample collected from the hunter-killed deer 10 miles southeast of Bridger tested positive during an initial round of testing. A second, more thorough test is now being done on the sample at Colorado State University to confirm the presence of the infection.

That green and brown gunk is a mix of algae, plankton and bits of genetic material that hold the answer to whether Flathead Lake has mussels in it. One sample comes from 9 meters deep, the other from the surface.
Nicky Ouellet

As state legislators return to Helena next week to try to balance the state budget, one of the programs facing deep cuts is tasked with protecting rivers and lakes in the Flathead Basin from invasive mussels. They may not be able to continue that work.

The Flathead Basin Commission was supposed to oversee a new pilot program next summer that would shore up protections against zebra and quagga mussels, invasive species that have caused millions of dollars of damage in infested states and changed lake ecosystems in ways we still don’t really understand.

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