Edward O'Brien



Highway Fatalities
5:11 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Highway Deaths In Montana Fall 18-Percent

Highway deaths in Montana have dropped by almost 18-percent from this time last year.

The director of the Montana Department of Transportation says that's impressive, but adds that more needs to be done.

Mike Tooley says 132 people have died so far on Montana's highways. Last year, there was a total of 159 fatalities.

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Water Rights
5:09 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

More Water For New Missoula Development

Large diameter water pipe.
Credit Gordon McLean (CC-NC-BY-2.0)

Missoula’s water company has secured enough water for a new development in Missoula.

Ross Miller, Missoula Mountain Water's chief legal officer says getting a new water rights permit is not easy. There aren’t any more permits to draw water from the Clark Fork or Bitterroot rivers.

"You can get a new groundwater permit," Miller says, "however, you have to mitigate the effects of that new permit on the river flows. What that essentially means is all the water you consumptively use with a new groundwater permit, you have to put back into the river."

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ISIS Airstrikes
3:32 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Candidates Weigh In On Necessity Of Military Strikes

U.S. Sailors move a Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet aircraft assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 31 on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) Aug. 26, 2014, in the Persian Gulf as the ship supports operations in Iraq.

Montana's candidates for federal office are weighing in on President Obama's intent to unleash military strikes on the so-called "Islamic State" extremist organizations.

Obama last week announced his counter-terrorism campaign to use intel, training and airstrikes to weaken and destroy Islamic radical groups know by the acronyms ISIS and ISIL.

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MTPR's News Director
3:40 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Bringing Montana Issues "Alive On The Radio"

Eric Whitney on the left chats with Ed O'Brien
Credit Cherie Newman

Before becoming  senior news analyst, Sally Mauk spent three decades as Montana Public Radio's news director.

Sally retired in late May, opening the door - and a lengthy search process - for a new leader who will guide the MTPR newsroom into the future.

And that person is Eric Whitney. Whitney comes to Montana from Colorado where he spent over 20 years working in various Public Radio positions. One of them was news director at the NPR affiliate in Colorado Springs.
Whitney's also an experienced and well-versed freelance journalist.

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4:23 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

The Cold Weather's Not Done With Us Yet

The fall colors will be here before you know it

Mother Nature gave Montana a real one-two punch of cold weather yesterday, and forecasters say it's going to get even colder tonight. 

First, a blustery low-pressure system moved into the state yesterday afternoon. The winds died down and the skies cleared early this morning. That allowed those temperatures to plummet.

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Public health
4:10 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

More Possible Enterovirus Samples Off For Analysis

Enterovirus sufferers contend with flu-like symptoms
Credit Loren Kearns (CC-BY-2.0)

As we reported yesterday, a Montana child has contracted the virus that’s suspected of sickening hundreds of children in at least 10 states. That child fell ill in Yellowstone County.

The state health department is sending samples from other suspected cases to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention for further testing.

Experts say enterovirus D68 can be tricky to both diagnose and treat.

It can cause mild cold-like symptoms including runny noses, coughing and wheezing.

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Veterans Administration Hearings
5:15 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

Missoula Veteran Weighs In On VA Reform

Sam Redfern, Iraq combat veteran and president of The United States of Hope, a veterans advocacy group.

Missoulian Sam Redfern is paying particularly close attention to the ongoing Veterans Administration hearings. VA officials are holding meetings nationwide to address questions about scheduling problems, long waits and other problems facing veterans seeking care from the VA system.

Redfern is an Iraq combat veteran who serves as president of an organization called The United States of Hope, which provides a variety of services to veterans.

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Mom Says He's OK
4:36 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

Missing UM Student Found Safe

The University of Montana student who was reported missing yesterday after failing to return from a weekend fishing trip is safe and is on his way home. 21-year-old August Kramer told his roommate this weekend that he was going fishing, but didn't say where. Volunteer searchers have been searching for Kramer along the U.S. 12 corridor all day. Missoula County Sheriff Office spokeswoman, Paige Pavalone, says Kramer's mom has been in contact with her son, he's OK and on his way back into Missoula. No further details were released.

sage grouse
3:57 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

Executive Order Establishes Sage Grouse Conservation Plan

Credit NRCS - Montana

Governor Steve Bullock issued an executive order today that he says will help protect sage grouse and ensure the bird remains under state - not federal - management.

Sage grouse are found in 11 states. They've lost over half their historic habitat to development.

Bullock says the Sage Grouse Habitat Conservation Program provides incentives for landowners to conserve important habitat. It establishes what are called "no surface occupancy zones" around key breeding areas where resource extraction work would be prohibited.

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Yellowstone National Park
3:21 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

Possible Record-Setting Crowds In Yellowstone

Visitors enjoying Old Faithful
Credit YellowstoneNPS (CC-BY-2.0)

Yellowstone National Park is on track to have one of its highest visitation years on record.

Park officials say more than 2.7 million people have visited the park so far this year. That's up six percent over the same period last year.

Gardiner-area business owner, Peggy Hoppe, says it's been a very busy summer.

The Hoppe's run North Yellowstone Vacation Rentals, offering one-room cabins on a working ranch near Yellowstone's north entrance:

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