Edward O'Brien


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

Ways to Connect

Avalanche danger is rising across western Montana.

New snow is piling up on top of a weak base in western Montana’s backcountry. That’s why the West Central Montana Avalanche Center bumped the avalanche danger rating to ‘considerable’ through Wednesday morning.

Anton Gabrielson, a student at Missoula College hopes to trade in his hiking boots for a stint as a long-haul truck driver.

"Coming from a background as a wilderness ranger I’m attracted to the nomadic aspect of being a long-haul truck driver. I think I’m well-suited for that lifestyle, at least for a few years.”

Wildland Firefighters working on fire line on the West Fork Fish Creek Fire.

The U.S. Forest Service will have to wait before it can change how it pays to fight wildfires.

When federal fire suppression funds run out during bad fire years, the agency has to transfer money from its other programs to cover those costs. Firefighting now costs the agency over half of its $5 billion total annual budget.

Freezing rain could create dangerous driving conditions Friday morning in parts of western Montana.
National Weather Service, Missoula, MT.

Freezing rain could create dangerous driving conditions Friday morning in parts of western Montana. National Weather Service meteorologist Jeff Kitzmiller says light to moderate snow will move in later tonight bringing another 1 to 2 inches to many valleys.

Salvation Army Major Steve Svenson holds a Liberty Head Double Eagle donated to the Salvation Army in Columbia Falls.
Courtesy Steve Svenson

A Good Samaritan’s generous donation came at the perfect time for the Flathead Valley Salvation Army.

Someone recently put a valuable gold coin in one of the organization’s signature red kettles at the Smith’s grocery store in Columbia Falls.

Fire forced the closure of Going-to-the-Sun Road from St. Mary to Big Bend this summer.
Corin Cates-Carney

A new study predicts climate change could threaten some 11,000 Montana jobs and almost $300 million in outdoor labor earnings by 2050.


A broken water main has prompted the Frenchtown School District to cancel its junior and high school classes for the rest of this week. Kindergarten through sixth grade classes were not affected and will resume tomorrow morning.

Josh Burnham (CC-BY-NC-2)

The Montana Law Enforcement Academy will graduate 53 new officers Friday, and most of them will report for duty by Monday. Academy administrator Glen Stinar says this class includes 13 Native American graduates. That’s more Native officers than any other basic course in the Academy’s history.

State and federal grizzly bear experts meeting in Missoula this week have no shortage of topics to discuss.

The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee is catching up on everything from to habitat and conservation strategies to ongoing efforts to recover the animals’ overall population so it no longer needs federal Endangered Species Act protections.

"We’ve got a huge effort underway. It’s very complicated and we want to make sure everybody’s on the same page and being successful in moving forward.”

Sally Mullen
Courtesy Mansfield Center

She was called “The Fixer.” Missoula’s Sally Mullen was an activist, a consultant, a businesswoman, and a woman of faith. Mullen is being remembered for a lot of attributes, but perhaps her uncanny ability to fix a broken and listing organization ranks near the top of the list. She had a unique skillset and a proven track record.