Edward O'Brien


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

Ways to Connect

A snapshot of today's air quality by health effects category.
Montana DEQ

A new 500-acre prescribed burn in Idaho is pumping lots of smoke into Montana. The National Weather Service in Missoula says it may take a little while for the smoke from the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests to clear out.

University of Montana's Main Hall
Josh Burnham

University of Montana President Royce Engstrom didn’t mince words today about enrollment during his annual State of the University address.

"No doubt about it, enrollment is our biggest challenge and our biggest opportunity. Put simply, we need more students," Engstrom said.


For the fourth year in a row Montana ranks as the state with the highest number of business startups. That’s according to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The group says Montana leads the pack among the nation’s 25 least populated states.

Health insurance companies selling individual policies in Montana say they have to raise their prices next year. But the federal government says it won’t be as bad as the headlines suggest. The Obama administration says most Americans don’t have to worry about possible spikes in premium rates next year.

A roadblock at the intersection of Starwood and Grant Creek Road.
Edward O'Brien

At least one “fifth-wheel" residence, several vehicles and some outbuildings burned in a fire that quickly swept through a Missoula neighborhood yesterday evening.

The Colorado Gulch Fire ignited in timber and grass at about 6:30.

It’s burned at least 10 to 20 acres in Missoula’s Grant Creek neighborhood north of Interstate 90.

No injuries were reported.

U.S. Attorney Michael Cotter
U.S. Department of Justice

The U.S. Justice Department announced this week it's phasing out its use of private prisons. The government’s directive will affect 13 privately run prisons holding over 22,000 inmates.

Montana U.S. Attorney Michael Cotter tells MTPR its impact, while significant, will not be felt at north-central Montana’s Crossroads Correctional Center:

Montana's Current Water Supply and Moisture Conditions by County
Montana DNRC

Montana’s fire season has been ‘pretty benign’ so far and it’s not expected to get much worse. That’s how Harold Gemmell characterized it today to the Governor’s Drought and Water Supply Advisory Committee.

Former state lawmaker Joe Quilici is being remembered as a statesman and advocate for Butte. Quilici died Sunday at the age of 91. The Democrat served in the legislature from 1971 to 1999.

Mountain whitefish.

Montana wildlife officials are expanding their search for further signs of a massive fish kill in the Yellowstone River. Over 1,000 dead mountain whitefish have been counted so far.

The principal of Missoula’s Big Sky High School remembers librarian Christine Fogerty as an energetic, innovative, and enthusiastic educator. The 57-year-old Fogerty was killed Friday morning in a car crash near Bozeman.