Edward O'Brien

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National Forest Roads
4:40 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Plan Calls For Road Closures, New Motorized Loops In Bitterroot National Forest

A Bitterroot Valley environmental group is skeptical of a Forest Service plan to improve watersheds near Darby.

Local motorized off-road users, meanwhile, are supporting the 29,000 acre Darby Lumber Lands Project. 

The area is made up of lands previously owned by several different organizations and eventually acquired by the Forest Service. It's been extensively logged and also partially burned during the fires of 2000. As a result, Bitterroot Forest hydrologist, Ed Snook, says too much sediment is getting into local waterways.

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Yellowstone River Oil Spill
5:54 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Too Soon To Gauge Oil Spill Impacts On Yellowstone River Fish

Pallid sturgeon.
Credit USFWS Midwest (CC-BY-2.0)

It could be weeks, if not months before scientists understand the implications of last week's oil spill on aquatic life in the Yellowstone River. There have been no reported fish kills at this point.

"That's not to say there isn't some, but the real impact is that we're going to need to evaluate is going to be the chronic mortalities, the delayed mortalities, the long-term fish health concerns and also reproduction concerns once the fish are spawning in the spring."

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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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Helena Plane Crash
5:07 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

No Fatalities After Plane Crashes Into Helena Home

Location of the plane crash in Helena, MT, Tuesday Jan 20, 2015.
Credit Google Maps

A small airplane crashed into a Helena residential neighborhood Tuesday afternoon, but nobody was killed.

Helena Assistant Fire Chief, Ken Wood, says the single engine plane clipped a tree and crashed into a house and shed on Walnut Street, west of the Helena Regional Airport.

Wood says there was no explosion or fireball when the plane went down.

"No, we were very fortunate. There was limited fuel that leaked, very limited, no fire, no smoke. For whatever reason, the plane crashed and they were fortunate to get out."

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Glendive Oil Spill
10:10 am
Tue January 20, 2015

Glendive Oil Spill Clean Up Continues; Drinking Water Advisory In Effect

EPA's Paul Peronard(L) briefing Gov. Steve Bullock in Glendive

Truckloads of drinking water are on their way to Glendive where a weekend oil spill along the Yellowstone River may have contaminated the community's water supply.

About 6,000 residents are advised to not drink or cook with city water. Up to 50,000 gallons of crude may have spilled when a Bridger Pipeline Company component failed Saturday morning. Officials say preliminary tests show at least some of the oil got into the city water treatment plant.

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Health & Hygiene
4:48 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Flu Kills 4 More, Norovirus Flares Up In Montana

Credit Loren Kearns (CC-BY-2.0)

Four more Montanans have been killed by the flu in the past week.

The state health department says a total of 6 people have now died from the virus this season. 270 people have been hospitalized and the flu has sickened over 2,100 Montanans so far this season.

Another 11 Montanans have been hospitalized due to Norovirus. The state health department says there have been 11 outbreaks of that virus that have sickened nearly 300 Montanans since October.

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Yellowstone Bison
4:40 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

Yellowstone Begins Culling Bison That Enter Montana

Bison make their way through deep snow in Yellowstone National Park.
Credit Jim Peaco (CC-BY-2.0)

Yellowstone National Park has started capturing bison near the park's north entrance and bison advocates have sued to stop it.

Disease management and carrying capacity are at the center of the operation.

Park spokesman Al Nash says a total of 800 to 900 bison that migrate out of the park could be removed.

"We're doing so to be able to approach the target bison population and to see if we can reduce the potential for a mass-migration of bison into Montana where there is still some limited tolerance."

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Human Trafficking
5:26 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

SKC To Host Workshop Addressing Human Trafficking

A workshop Thursday at Salish Kootenai College in the Mission Valley features two advocates who work with both the victims of human trafficking, and those who perpetrate the crime.

MTPR's Edward O'Brien talks with Missoula Police Detective Guy Baker, a member of the FBI's Montana Regional Violent Crime Task Force, and Kat Werner, who manages YWCA Missoula's domestic and sexual violence program.

Baker says trafficking is so pervasive because "there's a lot of money to be made."

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Wolverine Sighting
4:15 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

Citizen Scientists See Evidence Of 3 Wolverines Near Helena

Wolverine.

Wolverines are solitary animals. There are only an estimated 200 to 250 wolverines left in the lower 48 and they slowly reproduce.

The notoriously fierce carnivore favors rugged and remote places.

Consider yourself lucky if you see signs of one in the backcountry.

A group of amateur trackers led by professional scientists didn't see just one this weekend during a forest carnivore study held about an hour north of Helena.

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Flu
5:03 pm
Fri January 9, 2015

Flu Hits Montana Hard And Early This Year

Credit James Gathany (Public Domain)

Influenza infections continue to pick up steam across Montana.
We reported earlier this week there's been a significant jump in Influenza activity in Montana.

Montana Health Department influenza surveillance coordinator, Elton Mosher, says the past couple of flu seasons were dominated by a more mild flu-strain known as "H1N1":

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