Edward O'Brien

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Fire danger
3:09 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Missoula County outdoor debris burning closes

Credit Montana DNRC

It's July, it's getting hot and the forecast is calling for very warm temperatures by week's end.

It's with this in mind that the Missoula County Fire Protection Association has restricted open burning as of today.

Burning permits for Missoula County cannot be activated until this restriction is lifted.

MCFPA chairman, Matt Hall, says the hot, dry weather of the past week - combined with the forecast for more of the same for at least another week - will continue to dry out fuels.

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Fiberboard Plant Explosion
2:51 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Columbia Falls Fiberboard Plant To Return To Full Production

Plum Creek Timber's Columbia Falls fiberboard plant
Credit Katrin Frye

Plum Creek Timber Company officials say they hope to return the company's fiberboard plant in Columbia Falls to full production this week, about a month after an explosion and fire shut it down.

Tom Ray is a Plum Creek vice president. Ray says the plant started its No. 2 production line a week ago. The line, built in 2001, manufactures fiberboard that's one-tenth of an inch thick.

Crews were still working to return the No. 1 line to full production. It produces fiberboard up to 1-and-a-quarter inches thick:

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Train Derailment
11:54 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Gettting there...

Credit Wiley E. Waters Whitewater Rafting, Jerry Compton

Montana Rail Link spokeswoman Lynda Frost says the second of three brand new Boeing 737 fuselages has been winched up a steep embankment. The third should be recovered by the end of today.

A total of six fuselages was aboard a westbound train to Washington when 19 cars went off the track some 10 miles west of Alberton. All six fuselages fell off; three remained on top on the bank,  the three others tumbled down toward the river.

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Hobby Lobby ruling
11:59 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Montana feedback to Hobby Lobby decision

Martha Stahl
Credit Edward O'Brien

A sharply divided Supreme Court ruled this week that some companies with religious objections can avoid the contraceptives requirement in President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. That marks the first time the high court has declared that businesses can hold religious views under federal law.
 
     The justices' 5-4 decision means the Obama administration must search for a different way of providing free contraception to women who are covered under the health insurance plans of objecting companies, such as Hobby Lobby.

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Supreme Court Union Fees
3:07 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

S.E.I.U: Supreme Court union decision to have no impact in Montana

The Supreme Court dealt a blow to public sector unions today, ruling that thousands of home health care workers in Illinois cannot be required to pay fees that help cover a union's costs of collective bargaining.

In a 5-4 split the justices said the practice violates the First Amendment rights of non-members who disagree with the positions that unions take.

According to one regional union rep, the decision is expected to have no impact here in Montana.

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Exchange student shooting
12:01 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Missoula judge scolds Kaarma attorney

Markus Kaarma (L) and lead attorney Paul Ryan (R)
Credit Edward O'Brien

Missoula County District Court Judge Ed McLean today laid it out in no uncertain terms  to Markus Kaarma's lead attorney, Paul Ryan:

"I don't want any playing to the public. We have serious business at hand and it's not the time to run  a public relations campaign, so knock it off."

McLean  was referring to the announcement that tomorrow morning, in Missoula's Caras Park, Ryan's law firm would host a live screening of the World Cup soccer match between the United States and Germany.

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Jon Tester
1:15 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

Senator Jon Tester on the VA, Iraq and Brian Schweitzer

Sen. Jon Tester and Edward O'Brien

Senator Jon Tester continues his statewide listening tour to hear from Montana veterans about how to improve care at the Veterans Administration.

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Medicaid expansion
10:36 am
Thu June 19, 2014

Healthy Montana Initiative won't appear on ballot

Credit Healthy Montana Initiative

Organizers of the Healthy Montana Initiative - an effort to expand Medicaid to 70-thousand Montanans - conceded defeat today, but vow to continue to support the issue.

Healthy Montana Initiative president, Kim Abbott, says I-170 will not qualify for the November ballot.

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MT GOP platform convention
1:56 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Montana GOP chair optimistic about weekend convention

Will Deschamps
Credit Montana GOP

The chairman of the Montana Republican Party predicts the state GOP will emerge more united from its  platform convention this weekend. 

Will Deschamps says over 300 Montana Republicans are expected at this weekend's bi-annual convention in Billings.
    Conservative and more moderate Republicans on both the statewide and national levels are debating the best course for the party's future. Deschamps suspects that conversation will also be had in Billings this weekend.

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Plane Crash
11:09 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Twin-engine plane crashes near Lost Trail ski lodge

Grumman G-21
Credit wikimedia commons

One person is confirmed dead after a plane crashed yesterday in the parking lot of Lost Trail Powder Mountain on Highway 93 south at the Montana/Idaho border. Ravalli County Undersheriff, Steve Holton,  says Ravalli County dispatch began receiving calls about the crash shortly after 5:00 yesterday afternoon. Preliminary information suggests the plane was a Grumman G-21, an amphibious twin engine aircraft.

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