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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s carefully and seriously considering a request from the premier of British Columbia to deny U.S. coal exports through Vancouver.

It is illegal to feed wildlife, and if anybody observes or has information about someone feeding bears on the Reservation, contact Tribal Conservation Officers at 675-4700.
(PD)

After another grizzly bear relocation from the Flathead Indian Reservation, there’s growing concern that someone is feeding the bears.

Attorney General Tim Fox: 'No Means No'

May 8, 2017

Governor Steve Bullock signed into law a bill that updates Montana’s sexual assault laws by revising the definition of consent.


Wet Weather Hampers Prescribed Burns In Montana

May 8, 2017
A firefighter works to control a blaze at the edge of back-burn on a private ranch near the Roaring Lion Fire, August 3, 2016.
Mike Albans

HAMILTON, Mont. (AP) — A snowy winter and a wet spring in western Montana are making it hard to conduct prescribed burns to reduce the risk of wildfires later in the year, federal forest managers said.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools award recognizes individual schools and entire districts for reducing environmental impact and costs; improving health and wellness; and offering effective environmental education.
U.S. Department of Education

The Whitefish School District has received national recognition for sustainability and education.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools award recognizes individual schools and entire districts for reducing environmental impact and costs; improving health and wellness; and offering effective environmental education.

Whitefish is the first school district in Montana to receive the award.

Republican House Candidate Greg Gianforte’s campaign is downplaying his comments about the House healthcare bill that were secretly recorded and leaked to the media.

The New York Times says the comments were taped Thursday, “during a private conference call with Republican-leaning lobbyists in Washington.”

Two People Reported Missing In Northwestern Montana

May 8, 2017

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — Officials in northwestern Montana are investigating two missing person's reports.

The Flathead County sheriff's office says 25-year-old Madeline Connelly, most recently of Prescott, Arizona, went missing while hiking in the Great Bear Wilderness south of Glacier National Park. Twenty-six-year-old Corey Michael Flannigan of Spokane, Washington, is missing after a stolen vehicle he was believed to have been driving crashed north of Kalispell.

Michael Cotter, former U.S. attorney for the district of Montana.
U.S. Department of Justice

Montana’s been without a permanent U.S. Attorney for almost two straight months. Back on March 10, President Donald Trump fired all 46 of the country’s remaining U.S. Attorneys who had been appointed by Barack Obama.

Montana’s Mike Cotter was one of them.

The sheen on Flathead Lake near Somers was first reported to the EPA earlier this week. Thursday, BNSF took steps to contain it. A BNSF representative told MTPR Thursday that early field indicators suggest the sheen comes from a natural organic source.
Nicky Ouellet

BNSF Railway says that, as a precautionary measure, it has removed material from the shore of Flathead Lake near Somers that has a mysterious, oily sheen. The company thinks the sheen's origin is biological, not man-made.

Charmayne Healy (l) and Miranda Kirk (r), co-founders of the Aaniiih Nakoda Anti-Drug Movement, and Melinda Healy, a participant in the peer recovery support program.
Nora Saks

There’s a narrative about the methamphetamine epidemic in Montana that says the state tackled it in the 2000s, and now it’s back with a vengeance because of super labs and drug cartels in Mexico. But here on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, it never really went away.

With three weeks left until Montana's special U.S. House election, the "Capitol Talk" crew analyzes the attacks being traded by the candidates. And the 2018 campaign has started as Sen. Tester begins running TV ads. Listen now on "Capitol Talk."

Marchers, including Sen. Steve Daines, in the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s Walk in Lame Deer, Montana May 5, 2017.
Courtesy Sen. Steve Daines

U.S. Justice Department data shows Native women are 10 times as likely to be murdered as other Americans. They’re four times as likely to be raped or sexually assaulted.

“It is a human tragedy and it's also a stain on these United States; on the consciousness of this country that allows this to continue to happen,” says Jacqueline Agtuca with the Lame Deer-based National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center.

Rob Quist speaks at the Democratic Party's nominating convention in Helena.
Corin Cates Carney

Democratic candidate for Montana’s U.S. House seat Rob Quist says the healthcare bill the House passed yesterday, "gives a massive tax cut to millionaires while jacking up premiums for Montanans.” He says he would have voted against the bill.

Quist favors keeping the current Affordable Care Act in place, but says it needs some fixes. We’ll hear his comments on that in a moment.

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

BNSF railway and the Environmental Protection Agency are both waiting on sampling results to determine the source of the unidentified sheen on Flathead Lake in Somers. They expect those results back by Monday.

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

Governor Steve Bullock used his veto pen Thursday to kill what he calls "a regular political game" played by the Legislature, to restrict the governor’s use of the state airplane.

The bill sponsored by Missoula Republican Brad Tschida would have blocked the governor from using the state plane for any activity related to state or federal political campaigns, unless the governor reimburses the state for the costs.

A Christian flag at the National Day of Prayer event in Great Falls Thursday
Corin Cates-Carney

Twenty-one days before Montana selects its next U.S. Congressman, the Republican candidate stood among a crowd of more than 100 Christians in a small park in Great Falls, joining a national plea to God.

This gathering outside the civic center downtown is a local observance of the National Day of Prayer. It’s been an annual event since the 1950s, when Congress made a law that the president would set aside a day each year for prayer.

During a campaign rally in Hamilton, MT April 21, Donald Trump Jr. told his father's supporters, many wearing  red ‘Make America Great Again Hats’, that if they liked Trump, they'd like Greg Gianforte, a software entrepreneur from Bozeman.
Corin Cates-Carney

Donald Trump Jr. will make a return trip to Montana to stump for Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte. Trump Jr. was in Montana two weeks ago on Gianforte's behalf for two days of campaigning, fundraising and gopher hunting during a four-city tour.

Flathead Lake. Flathead County Commissioners are considering a proposal to regulate short-term housing rentals outside of incorporated towns.
William Neuheisel (CC-BY-2)

The Environmental Protection Agency and BNSF Railway are responding to an unidentified sheen on the shoreline of Flathead Lake. 

Montana didn’t have a vote on the healthcare bill that passed the U.S. House today. The state’s seat has been vacant since Ryan Zinke resigned it in March to become interior secretary.

Today the Greg Gianforte, Republican candidate to replace Zinke, talked to Montana Public Radio about the bill.

Researchers To Trap Grizzly, Black Bears In Yellowstone

May 3, 2017
Several lawsuits were filed Friday against the U.S. government's decision to lift protections for grizzly bears in the Yellowstone National Park area.
(PD)

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — Researchers will begin trapping grizzly and black bears Sunday in Yellowstone National Park.

The trapping is an effort to gather data on the protected grizzly bears as part of long-term research required under the Endangered Species Act.

Governor Bullock Faces 260 Bills To Sign Or Veto

May 3, 2017
Gov. Steve Bullock. File photo.
Corin Cates-Carney

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana Gov. Steve Bullock faces 260 legislative bills that he must soon decide to veto or sign. That's because state legislative leaders held off delivering them until the last minute as political payback for Bullock's decision to use his bill amendment powers to change voting legislation sent to him earlier this year, officials said Wednesday.

Failed Legislation Means Uncertainty For Colstrip's Future

May 3, 2017
The Colstrip Power Plant consists of four separate coal-fired generating units, collectively owned by Puget Sound Energy, Talen Energy, Avista Corporation, PacifiCorp and NorthWestern Energy.
Beth Saboe

When Montana's 2017 Legislature adjourned on April 28, Sen. Duane Ankney, R-Colstrip, ended almost right where he began.

At the session's beginning, he helped draw up several bills that would help his community, which is facing the impending closure of two out of four units at its massive coal-fired electrical plant. By the time lawmakers left the Capitol, many of the bills – aimed at easing impacts on jobs, tax revenues and real estate – were dead.

Lake County Sheriff Don Bell.
Courtesy Lake County Sheriff's Department

The jail in Lake County is so overcrowded that there are more than 800 people on a waiting list to serve. The Lake County Sheriff’s Department is trying something new to deal with a shortage of cells.

Three Montana cities have passed school bonds for construction, including a $125 million bond in Bozeman to build a new high school and remodel the current one.

2016 non-resident expenditure allocation by category.
UM Institute of Tourism and Recreation Research

Montana’s tourism industry saw more people last year, but fewer dollars.

That’s according to the latest update released today by the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research at the University of Montana.

In 2016 about 12.5 million out of state visitors came to Montana, that’s up 3 percent over 2015.

Online voter registration is no longer available for the May 25 special election, but voters can register in person at local county election offices.
Eric Whitney

With less than a month left until Montana’s special election to replace former Representative Ryan Zinke, some voters are casting their ballots early.

Yellowstone River Dam And Sturgeon Passage Lacks Funding

May 2, 2017
Pallid sturgeon.
USFWS Midwest (CC-BY-2.0)

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A federal agency targeted by President Donald Trump for budget cuts next year has only about half the money needed to build a new Yellowstone River dam and bypass channel meant to save an endangered fish, but it plans to begin construction anyway.

Quist Underreports Income In Campaign Filing

May 2, 2017
Rob Quist.
Josh Burnham

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Democratic candidate for Montana's sole U.S. House seat, a cowboy poet and musician running for public office for the first time, underreported $57,000 in income when he filed federally required financial disclosure statements two months ago.

Rob Quist has garnered national attention in his bid to become the first Democrat to hold the congressional post in 20 years, but he has come under scrutiny for a history of financial difficulties.

The big state budget bill landed on Governor Steve Bullock’s desk Monday, one of the final acts of the 2017 legislative session, which was gaveled to a close Friday.

MTPR’s Capitol Reporter Corin Cates-Carney joins us for a look at what Montana lawmakers did and didn’t accomplish since convening in January.

Fire experts are predicting a slower than normal start to wildfire season in Montana this year, but by July and August the potential jumps up to normal, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.
National Interagency Fire Center, Boise, Idaho.

Fire experts are predicting a slower-than-normal start to wildfire season in Montana this year, according to a Northern Rockies fire season outlook released Monday afternoon.

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