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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."

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.

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.

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."

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."

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.

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":

The chairman of a Montana Indian tribe says he thinks the federal government may formally recognize his tribe by the end of this year.

Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians’ Gerald Gray made that prediction one day after Montana's U.S senators introduced a bill to federally recognize the Great Falls-area tribe. The senators say Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke intends to introduce similar legislation in the U.S House.

Gray says federal recognition would be critically important to the Little Shell people who number about 6,500 members.

U.S. Forest Service Northern Region (CC-BY-2.0)

Sometimes the best things in life come from unexpected places. This was the case for Missoulian Dick Rothermel and his wife about 13 years ago when they stumbled across a modest cabin for sale on Seeley Lake-area Forest Service land.

Edward O'Brien

A group of Montanans who own cabins on Forest Service land thanked Republican Senator-elect Steve Daines today for a measure they say will allow them to keep those cherished cabins in their families.

Some cabin fees spiked from $5,000 to $20,000 within just a few years.

The Cabin Fee Act establishes a predictable fee-setting system for at least 700 Montana cabin owners.

The bill was included in the lands and resources legislation recently approved by Congress as a rider on a Defense spending bill.

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