Edward O'Brien

Interim News Director

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Yellowstone National Park bison
1:36 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Remote vaccination of bison not likely for Yellowstone Park herd

Credit NASA

Yellowstone National Park administrators say shooting wild bison with vaccine-laced "biobullets" to prevent the spread of an animal disease would be too ineffective to justify the expense.

Today's announcement means a program that's led to the periodic capture and slaughter of thousands of migrating bison will continue.
 
       About half of Yellowstone's 4,600 bison test positive for Brucellosis, which causes pregnant animals to prematurely abort their young.

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Breast milk donations
1:27 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Mothers' Milk Bank of Montana now serving region

Jessica Welborn
Credit Off the Mat Into the World

Montana's only breast milk bank has been screening, professionally testing, pasteurizing and distributing human donor milk since early October of last year. Its executive co-director, Jessica Welborn, says outreach efforts - and interest - is growing.

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Tourism
1:43 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Montana tourism strong last year, hopes high for 2014

Norma Nickerson
Credit UM Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research

Research shows 2013 was a good year for Montana tourism and early signs suggest another positive year's in store for the industry.
    This according to the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research at the University of Montana.

ITRR director, Norma Nickerson, says Montana's tourism-driven businesses seem optimistic about what's in store for 2014.
    In this interview with Edward O'Brien, Nickerson discusses these generally positive trends and the factors used to determine them.

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Native American Incarceration
1:21 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Native American advocates say Native staffers under-represented in Department of Corrections

Lita Pepion
Credit Lita J. Pepion

The Montana Department of Corrections 2013 Biennial Report points out the agency has conducted 10 American Indian cultural awareness training courses for Corrections staffs in state and contracted facilities.

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Clark Fork cleanup
2:03 pm
Wed January 1, 2014

First phase of Clark Fork River cleanup dubbed a success

Tracy Stone-Manning
Credit mt.gov

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality announced this week the first phase of the Clark Fork River cleanup near Warm Springs is mostly complete.

In this feature interview with Edward O'Brien, D-E-Q Director Tracy Stone-Manning, says this first of the 15-year project was a tremendous success.

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D-o-J investigations
2:36 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

Missoula County officials to discuss Justice Department this week

Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg is scheduled to meet with county officials later this week to discuss the standoff between his office and the U.S. Department of Justice.
      The Justice Department earlier this year reached agreements with the University of Montana and the City of Missoula after investigations revealed deficiencies in how they responded to reports of sexual assault.  Those agreements required UM and the city take several steps to improve their responses.

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Radon
1:52 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

Radon presents serious health risks, but easy to test for and mitigate

January is radon awareness month.
    The Montana Department of Environmental Quality is encouraging Montanans to test for and - if necessary - address any radon issues.
     Radon is a colorless and odorless gas. Paul Tschida of D-E-Q's Energy and Pollution Bureau tells Edward O'Brien that radon exposure can present serious health issues:

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Species recovery
1:01 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

Renewed push to restore the Black-Footed Ferret:

A sleepy kit
Credit USFWS/Kimberly Tamkun

Earlier this week, federal wildlife officials announced they've crafted a new plan to restore the highly endangered black-footed ferret that includes re-introducing the animal to more states.
     The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recovery plan calls for boosting their numbers to about 3-thousand animals.

In this feature interview with Edward O'Brien, Fish and Wildlife Service Black-Footed Ferret Recovery Coordinator, Pete Gober, says a key element of this plan is to make it as non-threatening as possible to draw in more partners.

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Education
8:59 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Sunburst Middle School's teachable moment

We recently told you that Sunburst Middle School recently  won a $20-thousand-dollar technology grant. The prize was part of a national project by Samsung to raise student interest in science, technology, engineering and math.
       Kim Bloch is a teacher in the school's gifted and talented program. Sunburst is a Class C school situated along north-central Montana's border with Canada; not far from the Port of Sweetgrass.

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Infectious Diseases
2:24 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Report: Montana could be better prepared to deal with infectious disease outbreaks

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the non-partisan, not-for-profit Trust for America's Health released a report this week showing most of the nation is not adequately prepared to handle outbreaks of infectious disease.
    The Outbreaks: Protecting Americans from Infectious Diseases report finds the nation's ability to prevent and control outbreaks of infectious disease is hampered by limited resources and outdated infrastructure.

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