Edward O'Brien

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Castle Doctrine
5:22 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

Castle Doctrine Under Fire During Kaarma Trial

Gary Marbut, President of the Montana Shooting Sports Association and Ellie Boldman-Hill, Rep. for Montana HD 94.
Credit Courtesy Photo

A Montana state lawmaker says the Markus Kaarma trial is proof that Montana’s expanded Castle Doctrine needs to be repealed.

"It's a terrible idea that has tragic consequences where we see people shooting first and asking questions later with immunity," said Missoula Democrat Ellie Boldman-Hill.

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Castle Doctrine
3:13 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

Kaarma Trial Brings Scrutiny To 'Castle Doctrine'

Marcus Kaarma, (L) and lead attorney Paul Ryan (R) before a June, 2014 court appearance.
Credit Edward O'Brien

The trial of Missoula's Markus Kaarma will likely renew debate about the "Castle Doctrine".

University of Montana law professor, Andrew King-Ries says the specific term, "Castle Doctrine", isn't mentioned in state statute.

"I think what people refer to when they say 'The Castle Doctrine' is the ability to use force to defend an occupied structure; and by 'occupied structure', most people are thinking about their home," says King-Ries.

Outbuildings are included in that definition.

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CSKT Wolf Management Plan
4:00 pm
Wed November 26, 2014

CSKT Wildlife Managers Work To Update Wolf Plan

Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribal wildlife managers expect to have the updated, 5-year wolf management plan finalized by the end of January.

It focuses on wolves found on the Flathead reservation and is separate from the plan the state of Montana uses to manage other wolf populations.   

Summer surveys and observations suggest there are a minimum of 30 wolves on the reservation, but Tribal Wildlife Program Manager, Dale Becker, says it's difficult to pin-down a specific head count.

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Immigration
5:40 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

Montana Immigrants Welcome President's Action

Draft version of U.S. Employment Authorization card.

A Helena immigration attorney estimates there at least 20,000 immigrants in Montana; some are here legally, others not.

Shahid Haque-Hausrath says some are working in eastern Montana's oil patch. Seasonal workers are a staple of the Flathead cherry harvest. Immigrants perform year-round agricultural labor in Dillon. Others work construction jobs in Billings and the Gallatin Valley.

Haque-Hausrath says President Obama's recent executive action on immigration came as a welcome development to his clients.

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Wolf Management
4:54 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

CSKT Wolf Managment Plan Elicits Few Comments

Credit United States Fish and Wildlife Service

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes are updating their gray wolf management plan. A public comment period ended last Friday.

Tribal Wildlife Program Manager, Dale Becker, estimates there are about 30 wolves on the Flathead reservation.  

Becker says few people commented on the draft management plan this year, but those who did were passionate about it.

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President's Executive Action
3:46 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

President's Immigration Action Affects Montana

Credit Courtesy Photo Border Crossing Law Firm

A Helena immigration attorney says the phones at his Border Crossing law firm were ringing off the hook today. Shahid Haque-Hausrath says his clients are thrilled with President Obama's executive action on immigration.

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Wilhelm "Willy" Burgdorfer
4:44 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Scientist Who Discovered The Cause Of Lyme Disease Dies

Willy Burgdorfer, who discovered the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, passed away today at the age of 89 in Hamilton.
Credit National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

A Montana man who discovered the underlying cause of Lyme disease died Monday in Hamilton.

Dr. Wilhelm "Willy" Burgdorfer was born in Switzerland where he earned his undergraduate and PhD degrees in Zoology, Parasitology and Bacteriology.

Burgdorfer moved to Montana's Bitterroot Valley in 1951 to work as a research fellow at Hamilton's Rocky Mountain Laboratory. He became a U.S. citizen in 1957 and then joined the staff at R.M.L as a medical entomologist.

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Tracy Stone-Manning
4:40 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Gov. Names Tracy Stone-Manning Chief Of Staff

Governor Steve Bullock's longtime Chief of Staff is leaving and is being replaced by Tracy Stone-Manning, the current Director of the Montana Department of Environmental Quality.

Bullock's outgoing chief of staff, Tim Burton, is leaving to lead the Montana League of Cities and Towns; a nonprofit association of 129 Montana municipalities. Burton says Stone-Manning is an excellent choice.

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Montana Infrastructure
4:29 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Gov. Proposes $300 Million For Montana's Aging Infrastructure

Credit n-vision photos-cc-by

Much of Montana's roads, bridges and waterways are reaching the end of their useful life. In a new state-specific report card released today, Montana Civil Engineers give that aging infrastructure a mediocre overall grade of C-minus and say it needs attention.

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Montana KIDS COUNT
6:31 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Half Of Montana Kids Live In Low Income Families

Credit Courtesy The Annie E. Casey Foundation

Nearly half of all Montana kids are growing up in low income homes.

That’s according to the latest Montana KIDS COUNT policy report, put out by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The report concludes it's going to take a coordinated approach to help lift kids out of those circumstances.

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