Edward O'Brien

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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.

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.

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.

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:

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.

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.

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.

As we told you earlier this week, at least 43 Montana public officials recently signed a letter supporting actions within the President's National Climate Action plan to address climate change.
      Some of those actions include adopting pollution controls, investment in renewable energy research and development and creation of climate adaptation strategies.  
     Democratic  state representative Doug Coffin, of Missoula, is one of those to sign the letter. Coffin is a professor of molecular genetics at the University of Montana.

National Park Service

A panel of wildlife officials says it's time to lift Endangered Species protections for grizzly bears in and around Yellowstone National Park.

Edward O'Brien

(Update{12/12/13}:  Last week's winter storm in the Northeast kept the Weather Channel busy and this episode of "Freaks of Nature" was preempted for live coverage.  It now airs this Sunday -12/15/13-  at 8:00 p-m, MST.)

SFU Public Affairs and Media Relations, Flickr

A University of Montana professor of forest entomology and pathology says this prolonged and uncomfortable deep freeze probably won't be enough to kill Mountain Pine Beetles.

The rice grain-sized beetles are a native species that mass-attack trees. U-M College of Forestry and Conservation's Dr. Diana Six says hundreds or thousands of the insects can swarm a single tree, leaving it defenseless and essentially doomed.
      

Edward O'Brien

Authors of a new study say it clearly illustrates what so many Montanans already know; that there are precious few well-paying jobs in the state.

We're coming to the end of National Adoption Month.
   Recent celebrations have marked the adoption of at least 29 children in Great Falls and Billings.
     Lutheran Social Services of Montana operates a statewide adoption agency.
     In this interview, executive director Kathryn Sabol tells Edward O'Brien hundreds of more Montana children are waiting to be welcomed into new families of their own.
     Sabol tells us more about Lutheran Social Services of Montana:

YMCA Missoula

Some of us will soon be hitting the gym to work off the weight we've gained as a result of all the holiday treats and feasts.
     The YMCA welcomes people to consider its gym and swim services.

But, Jon Lange, the executive director and chief executive officer of the Missoula Family YMCA says the organization offers much more than health and wellness facilities.
    In tonight's feature interview, Lange details some of those programs. He tells Edward O'Brien the YMCA has always been a part of his life.

The military is calling on National Guard and Reserve members to serve more frequently and for longer periods of time.
       This puts more pressure on both the soldiers who volunteer their service - and the people who employ them.
       In this evening's feature interview with Edward O'Brien, the state chairman of a Department of Defense office called the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve explains how potential conflicts can be smoothed over between these citizen soldiers and their employers.

U.S Fish and Wildlife Service

State wildlife commissioners have approved the release of up to 20 black-footed ferrets in central Montana to prevent the loss of a struggling population of the highly-endangered prairie animal.

Montana Food Bank Network

There are very few chances to step back, catch your breath and admire ones work at the Montana Food Bank Network.

Eliza Wiley Independent Record

Western Montana feminist, social justice advocate and long-time Montana Public Radio commentator, Judy Smith, has died after a lengthy battle with cancer.

Edward O'Brien has more on the life and legacy of a woman remembered as a "warrior" by those who knew her.

University of Montana

A new report produced by the Annie E. Casey Foundation concludes Americans should do more to promote early childhood education.

A free diabetes awareness program is being held tomorrow at Missoula's Providence St. Patrick Hospital.
         Diabetes is a serious and growing problem across the country.
         The Coordinator of Providence St. Patrick's Diabetes Care and Prevention Center, Jennifer Troupe, says managing the symptoms of diabetes can seem like a daunting task for the uninitiated.
         In this interview with Edward O'Brien, Troupe says taking control of the disease is not only possible, but can change the course of a life for the better.

Edward O'Brien

The transgendered have unique healthcare needs that can be challenging for both the patient and - in some cases - the physician.

Edward O'Brien

Farming is a tough and unpredictable business. It requires hard manual labor and quick responses to complicated problems.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Tamara Jones, knows more than most about the aftermath of tragedy.

Montana DNRC

The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation has launched an initiative to update the state's water plan.

Sally Mauk

Western Montana's fire danger is back to a "low" rating, there's been plenty of rain recently - even some high-elevation snow in western Montana. The 2013 fire season is essentially behind us.

Courtesy photo

A public hearing will be held later this month before the Missoula City Council on a proposed ordinance that would give Mayor John Engen authority to open negotiations with The Carlyle Group to purchase Mountain Water Company.

Carlyle, a global alternative asset manager, purchased Mountain Water about two years ago, with the stipulation the city of Missoula would get the first shot at buying the utility if it ever went up for sale.

In this feature interview with Edward O'Brien, Engen explains why he thinks it's important to pursue this discussion - and why now.

Individuals and groups looking for health insurance will - starting tomorrow - have another alternative at their disposal.

The national organization "Dress for Success" says it's helped hundreds of thousands of economically disadvantaged women from around the world in their job searches.

Solutions from the Land

"Solutions from the Land Dialogue" Project Coordinator, Ernie Shea, says land managers are increasingly exploring the potential of using their lands in a more sustainable way.

This from the Montana DNRC:

The Evacuation Order for residents on Oral Zumwalt Way and throughout the Upper Trails End Road area has been lifted. Residents can now return to their homes. These roads and other roads in the area are only open to residents and firefighters.

 

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