Edward O'Brien


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

Ways to Connect

ALCOM Plant Manager Ron Neibauer. Alcom produces high-end aluminum trailers in its 100,000 square foot facility in Bonner, MT.
Edward O'Brien

Bonner's former Stimson plywood mill east of Missoula shuttered its doors back in 2008. To the casual observer, the site’s drab exterior along Highway 200 suggests very little has happened there since. It turns out just the opposite is true.

Inside, 17 businesses are thriving on the 170-acre site, and several could be directly affected by the Trump administration’s new tariffs on aluminum and steel.

Missoula County Commissioner Jean Curtiss (R) with Nick Checota of Logjam Presents during a Curtiss campaign stop at the KettleHouse Amphitheater in Bonner, MT, March 12, 2018. The amphitheater is built on the site of a closed timber mill.
Edward O'Brien

Missoula County Commissioner Jean Curtiss is highlighting her economic development chops as she seeks re-election. With reporters in tow today, Curtiss met with a handful of business owners at the revitalized Bonner mill site just east of Missoula.

If this doesn't look familiar, you probably don't live in Montana
Nicky Ouellet / Montana Public Radio

  (Editor's note: This story was updated on Friday, March 9th. Details are noted at the bottom of this post)

Montana’s snowpack was well above average during December and January.

That’s according to the latest statewide water supply report from the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Bozeman office.

So did the good news continue in February?

United Way of Missoula County CEO, Susan Hay Patrick.
Edward O'Brien

Dozens of homeless Missoulians are now pre-qualified for a federal rental assistance program. The problem is, there’s a dearth of available rentals in Missoula’s red-hot housing market.

Single mom Julie Barrett and her three kids were very familiar with the problem. They were homeless for over a year. That changed in December after Barrett enrolled her family in what’s called a Shelter Plus Care rental voucher. That decision landed the Barrett’s a new rental home this past December.

Algae growth is increasing on Montana’s famed Smith River and scientists don’t know why. So, they’re turning to the public for help.

Excessive algae can deplete oxygen and alter water pH levels, harming fish and other aquatic life in the process. Algae blooms are also a nuisance to humans who encounter them on rivers and lakes.