MTPR

Edward O'Brien

News

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

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Progress is being reported this week on a long-delayed effort to remove a 50-foot-deep pile of smelter waste in the middle of Butte.

The State of Montana has signed an agreement with Montana Resources that will allow for the removal of the Parrot tailings behind the Butte Civic Center:

The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee says bear spray is one of the best ways to prevent or end a bear attack.
Courtesy Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee

Government agencies that manage grizzly bears have been reviewing their bear spray recommendations. And they’ve agreed to a few clarifications. The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) says bear spray is one of the best ways to prevent or end a bear attack.

The IGBC, however, stops short of making specific product endorsements in its educational materials.

University of Montana President Sheila Stearns
Courtesy the University of Montana

The University of Montana’s incoming interim president, Dr. Sheila Stearns, is stepping out of retirement and back into academia. Stearns will lead UM as it conducts a national search for a new permanent leader.

Outgoing president, Royce Engstrom, has held that position since late 2010. Engstrom’s stepping down at the end of this month amid an ongoing enrollment decline.

The Roaring Lion fire burning five miles southwest of Hamilton, MT, July 31, 2016.
Inciweb

Forty-five acres of trees killed by a major wildfire last summer are slated for harvest. The Bitterroot National Forest today announced it’s moving forward on the salvage project in the Roaring Lion draining southwest of Hamilton.

Montana Capitol.
William Marcus

Governor Steve Bullock’s nearly $10 billion budget proposal could mean Montanans will end up paying a little more for wine and cigarettes. Medical marijuana, too.

Western Montana’s major suicide prevention collaborative re-launched under a new name today.
File Photo (PD)

Western Montana’s major suicide prevention collaborative re-launched under a new name today.

Project Tomorrow Montana is the successor of the Western Montana Suicide Prevention Initiative which was founded in 2014. It operates under the auspices of United Way. The group of nonprofits, businesses, educational and public-sector leaders wanted to reduce Montana’s high suicide rate.

Two years later, it’s still high — double the national average — and shows little sign of subsiding.

University of Montana's Main Hall
Josh Burnham

The University of Montana is wrapping up a tumultuous week. State education officials yesterday announced UM’s president will step down at the end of the month.

Montana Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian predicts history will smile on Royce Engstrom’s six years at the helm, but says change is necessary.

 Comissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian
Edward O'Brien

The University of Montana was blindsided with today's announcement that UM President Royce Engstrom was stepping down from his position in four weeks.

Montana’s outgoing Democratic School Superintendent, Denise Juneau describes the Every Student Succeeds Act as a more refined version of No Child Left Behind.
(PD)

The federal government this week released its final rules to help states improve their schools and narrow achievement gaps. In November, Montana released its first draft plan explaining how it will comply with those rules.

That means all the pieces are in place to succeed the much-maligned No Child Left Behind Act, right? Not exactly:

The federal government released rules today designed to help states improve schools and narrow achievement gaps. The ‘Every Student Succeeds Act’ provides states a broad framework to support troubled public schools and struggling students.

The first draft of Montana’s plan to comply with the new federal law was released earlier this month.

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