MTPR

Edward O'Brien

News

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

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Starting Tuesday, January 3, construction crews will be temporarily squeezing one of Missoula's busiest bridges from four lanes down to two. Construction on the Madison Street Bridge is expected to finish in August 2017.
Edward O'Brien

Starting Tuesday, January 3, construction crews will be temporarily squeezing one of Missoula's busiest bridges from four lanes down to two. Pretty much everybody involved says the Madison Street Bridge project is going to be an enormous pain in the backside.

Courtesy Photo

Great Falls state representative Casey Schreiner Monday announced his intent to seek the Democratic party’s nomination for Montana’s at-large Congressional seat. Schreiner wants to replace Republican U.S. Congressman Ryan Zinke, who’s been nominated to become President-elect Donald Trump’s Interior Secretary.

Courtesy Montana FWP

After putting in over 12 years and serving three governors, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department director Jeff Hagener retired this week.

Widespread valley snow is possible late Friday into Saturday (Christmas Eve). Roads will generally be slick across all of western Montana and central Idaho during this timeframe, which could make for difficult holiday travel.
National Weather Service Missoula

An incoming weather system is expected to bring some fresh snow into Montana this long holiday weekend.

Missoula National Weather Service meteorologist Marty Whitmore says it will push through in a couple of different surges:

Montana Standard Editor David McCumber.
Mike Albans

As we recently reported, a big pile of old smelter waste in the middle of Butte is one step closer to being removed.

The state of Montana this month signed an agreement with mining company Montana Resources that could lead to the removal of the Parrot tailings; a 50-foot-deep-pile of tailings behind the Butte Civic Center. The Montana Standard reports the agreement is an important first step, but at least one major obstacle remains. David McCumber, editor of the Montana Standard joins us to explain:

Republican State Senator Ed Buttrey says he is seeking the nomination to replace Republican Congressman Ryan Zinke next year:
Corin Cates-Carney

Republican State Senator Ed Buttrey says he is seeking the nomination to replace Republican Congressman Ryan Zinke next year:

Horses have been a lifelong passion and vocation for Jeanne Montelius-Gaudreau. Gaudreau owns JMG stables in Clinton, Montana where she offers an array of services including boarding, pasturing and lessons. She says something happened this fall that’s opened her eyes to one particular aspect of the equestrian industry. It started with a beloved warmblood mare named Moose.

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, Helena.
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.

A package of bills aimed at addressing youth suicide in Montana is working its way through the legislature.
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.

Montana's most recent driver's license design incorporates changes for security and durability.
Montana DOJ

The federal government this week rejected Montana’s request to further delay implementation of the Real ID Act.

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox once said the Real ID act threatened to create an Orwellian national ID system.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Montana
The American Civil Liberties Union of Montana

Donald Trump’s election has proven to be a windfall of sorts for the American Civil Liberties Union of Montana.

Katie Mehrens
Edward O'Brien

Donald Trump won Montana by a 20-point margin, but Missoula was Clinton country. Hillary Clinton got almost 52 percent of the vote in Missoula County. We recently sent reporters to hear from Montana counties where Trump won big. Today, we hear from Clinton’s supporters.

Every Hillary Clinton voter I spoke with had a theory on why she lost.

A 92-year-old man casting one of Montana's electoral votes has been criticized for his comments about gay people.

Dakota Access Pipeline protesters backed off from another potential confrontation with law enforcement Monday afternoon. The two sides had already clashed late Sunday night into early this morning, reportedly leaving several people injured.

"It’s getting real over here once again," says David Yelloweyes of Lame Deer, MT.

Antonio Moresette addresses a crowd of demonstrators at the University of Montana who want UM officials to limit their cooperation with federal immigration authorities, Nov 16, 2016.
Edward O'Brian

The University of Montana is being asked to limit its cooperation with federal immigration authorities. But UM officials are in no hurry to comply with that request.

Montana Senator Jon Tester.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Montana’s senior senator says he’s willing to give President-elect Donald Trump the benefit of the doubt.

About 100 people gathered in a circle on the University of Montana campus Tuesday afternoonAbout 100 people gathered in a circle on the University of Montana campus in Missoula on the afternoon of Nov. 15 to protest  to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Edward O'Brien

Demonstrators across the nation today rallied against the Dakota Access Pipeline. About 100 people gathered in a circle on the University of Montana campus Tuesday afternoon to protest.

"This is history right now. This is civil rights history repeating itself in 2016," says University of Montana senior Lauren Small Rodriguez, who just returned from North Dakota’s Standing Rock Reservation.

Two of the estimated 800-plus who turned out for a March 1, 2016 rally in Missoula in support of refugee resettlement.
Josh Burnham

Donald Trump’s election seems to have, at least in the short-term, bolstered a Missoula non-profit group’s refugee resettlement goals.

Hundreds gather in Missoula to rally in support of refugees, Tuesday March 1, 2016.
Josh Burnham

No one knows yet how Donald Trump’s election could affect Missoula’s budding refugee resettlement program.

Gov. Bullock was one of the few Montana Democrats celebrating on election night.
Mike Albans

The Montana Governor's race has just been called by the Associated press. With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Democratic incumbent Steve Bullock is at 49.6 percent to Republican challenger Greg Gianforte's 47.1 percent.

Ida Follette(r) and her husband Darrell Follette speaking about the suicide of their daughter Chelle Rose Follette, aged 13, at their home. Taken Feb. 2011, Poplar, MT on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.
Mike Albans

Montana’s suicide rate is nearly double the national average. In the last two years, more than 550 Montanans killed themselves. Twenty-seven of them were adolescents.

A troubled federal program that manages nearly 200 schools for Native American students nationwide now has a new leader. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell named Tony Dearman to take the helm at the Bureau of Indian Education (B.I.E.). 

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