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Trapping
3:22 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Bill Affirms Constitutional Protections For Trapping

A snare trap.
Credit Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks

This story was updated on 1/23/15 to correct an error describing the process of amending the state constitution.

State lawmakers are considering a bill to reaffirm that trapping is a form of hunting protected by the state Constitution.

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Field Notes
5:00 am
Fri January 23, 2015

Not With A Howl But A Whimper: Wolf Calls

Dakota, a grey wolf at the UK Wolf Conservation Trust, howling on top of a snowy hill.
Credit Retron

"Take a dozen railroad whistles, braid them together, and then let one strand after another drop off, the last peal so frightfully piercing as to go through your heart and soul." According to biologist Stanley P. Young, that's a stockmen's take on the sound of a howling wolf pack. But it'll come as no surprise to any dog owner that while howling is the most recognizable of four different wolf vocalizations, under various circumstances, wolves also growl, whimper, and bark.

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2015 Legislature
7:03 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Lawmakers Consider Mental Health Funding For Children

Montana Capitol
Credit Eric Whitney

Today, members of the Montana Legislature heard testimonies of people whose lives would be affected by House Bill 47. The bill would provide aid for children with mental health needs.

Executive Director of Mental Health America of Montana Dan Aune says many rural children with mental illness don’t have access to care.

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Clearwater-Blackfoot Project
6:49 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Nature Conservancy Buys 117,000 Acres Of Plum Creek Land In Western Montana

A Nature Conservancy representative points out portions of the newly purchased land.
Credit Christopher B. Allen

The non-profit Nature Conservancy has closed on an $85 million deal, to buy more than 250 square miles from Plum Creek, the nations largest private landowner. The purchase includes a significant portion of the Lower Blackfoot Watershed.

It’s a 117,000 thousand acre stretch located within what’s known as the Crown of the Continent, a portion of the Rocky Mountains extending from northern Montana into Canada.

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2015 Legislature
6:33 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Bill Would Speed Up Spending For Oil & Gas Impacted Counties

Bradley Hamlett (D) - SD15
Credit Montana Legislature

A legislator wants to get money to oil boom impacted counties faster. The money could be used to for infrastructure projects, schools, or public safety.

If enacted, the bill directs the department of commerce to compare the current amount of oil and natural gas production taxes collected against the average of those taxes collected over the past four years.

If the current amount exceeds that four year average, then 70% of the excess would be used for oil impacted projects.

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2015 Legislature
4:27 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

'Fracking' Chemical Disclosure On Friday's Legislative Agenda

Credit William Marcus

A bill requiring the disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is coming up on Friday.

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Flathead Film Festival
3:59 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Cinemafest In Polson

"Stitting Bull's Voice" is one of the films being shown at the Flathead Lake International Cinemafest in Polson, Montana.
Credit Courtesy Flathead Lake International Cinemafest

Downtown Polson will be a hub of activity this weekend, when more than 80 films will be shown during the 2015 Flathead Lake International Cinemafest. Some of those films will win awards. MTPR's Chérie Newman talked with two of this year’s judges, Mac Swan and David King, to find out what they want to see in a film.

Newman: Mac, as a judge, what are you looking for?

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Water Plant Modified
10:48 am
Thu January 22, 2015

Glendive Tap Water Expected To Be Declared Safe Today

Decontamination of Glendive’s water treatment system following Saturday’s oil spill into the Yellowstone River appears to be working. That’s according to the U-S Environmental Protection Agency’s Paul Peronard, who’s overseeing clean-up.

Glendive’s tap water was declared unsafe to drink Sunday after toxic benzene from the oil spill was found in it. Peronard says adjustments to the plant’s intake pipe in the river, and additional filtration mean the water could be declared safe as early as mid-day today.

Now, he’s asking for help from Glendive residents.

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Yellowstone River Pipeline Spill
6:14 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Glendive Water System Still Offline, Mitigation Efforts Continue

Map of the Poplar Pipeline.
Credit Bridger Pipeline LLC

It doesn’t look like Glendive’s tap water will be declared safe to drink today.

Glendive residents were told not to drink or cook with town water on Sunday, following Saturday’s oil spill into the Yellowstone River six miles upstream.

Glendive draws its drinking water from the Yellowstone, and benzene, a chemical known to cause cancer, was detected in tap water on Sunday.

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2015 Legislature
5:46 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Lawmakers Consider Changes To State Election Laws

Credit William Marcus

Montana lawmakers are considering changes to the state’s election laws.

One bill (House Bill 77) would change who would prosecute political robo-calls which are against the law in Montana. The other bill would allow a special election to fill a vacancy in the U.S. Senate, rather than an appointment by the Governor.

Jackie Yamanaka of Yellowstone Public Radio has more from the Capitol.

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