Edward O'Brien


Edward O'Brien is Montana Public Radio's Associate News Director.

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 The Northern Region of the U.S. Forest Service has a new director of Fire, Aviation and Air.

Ralph Rau will oversee fire management programs spanning 25 million acres of forests and grasslands in Montana, northern Idaho, North Dakota and part of South Dakota.

Environmentalists weigh in on Weyerhaerser mill closings
Eric Whitney

 Wednesday’s announcement that Weyerhaeuser will close its Columbia Falls lumber and plywood mills, along with its administrative offices, brought an avalanche of reaction -- none of it good.

Montana Counties To Receive $30 Million In PILT Funds
flickr user 401(k) 2012 (CC-BY-SA-2)

Fifty-five Montana counties are set to receive over $30 million in so-called PILT funds this fiscal year.

PILT is shorthand for Payment In Lieu of Taxes.

Montana "Most Improved" In Child Well-Being Rankings
Josh Burnham

More Montana kids are insured, fewer are dying and the teen birth rate continues to drop.

This is according to the 2016 National Kids Count Data Book released this week.

Thale Dillon is director of Montana Kids Count.

“Montana has actually earned the distinction of improving our ranking the most since last year. We were placed at 30th last year, now we’re in 24th place. That’s a jump of six spots.”

Nurses across Montana campaign to prevent workplace violence for healthcare workers and emergency responders.

 Missoula registered nurse Caitlin Shipp will never forget her overnight shift last July 15.

"(It) started like any other day – or night," she remembers. "I was expecting a patient to come up from the emergency department to be admitted.”

The patient was drunk.

I-182 campaign supporters will submit over 40,000 signatures to county election officers across the state this week.
Katherine Hitt (CC-BY-ND-2.0)

Medical marijuana advocates say they’re confident a proposed initiative they support will qualify for November’s ballot.

Absaroka Range
Courtesy Rick and Susie Graetz

After languishing for over two decades in the U.S. House, a sweeping wilderness bill now gets its first shot in the Senate.

Mineral County Sheriff’s Department staff are back at work and a mediation session is scheduled for next Wednesday. Sixteen employees, including dispatchers, deputies and detention officers, have been on strike since May 30.

Nancy Keenan says Democrats are coming out of the primary and headed into the general election season both excited and optimistic. Keenan is the executive director of the Montana Democratic Party. She says Democratic candidates will focus on a handful of issues that she believes are key to voters.

Snow-water equivalent basin percentage of normal.

Montana’s snowpack is basically as good as it’s going to get this spring. That’s normal for early June. But what’s not so normal, according to Lucas Zukiewicz, is how quickly it’s melting off.