Eric Whitney

News Director

Eric is the news director for Montana Public Radio.

State Ballot Measure
6:41 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

ACLU: Keep Election Day Voter Registration

The state ballot measure to end voter registration on election day will be especially bad for Native Americans.

That is according to the lawyer who has argued and won some of Montana’s most significant Native American voting rights lawsuits.

"Any restriction on the ability of people to register to vote ought to be invalidated," says Laughlin McDonald, director emeritus of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Voting Rights Project.

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YMCA Has Sister Group In Sierra Leone
4:31 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Missoula Y Responds To Ebola Crisis

Christian Kamara and Chris Siegler, far left, in Sierra Leone recently.
Credit Chris Siegler

As the Ebola crisis rages on in West Africa, Missoula’s YMCA is raising money to help their sister organization in Sierra Leone fight the deadly outbreak.

Chris Siegler, who’s been on the board of Missoula’s Y since 1983, was a Peace Corps volunteer in the west African country in the late 1960s with his wife Jeannie. They went back to visit after Sierra Leon’s 11-year civil war that ended in 2002. On that trip they discovered the Y in its capital, Freetown.

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Islamic State
6:38 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

Tester: Obama Can Strike ISIS Without Congressional OK

Senator Tester says he doesn’t think President Obama needs to ask Congress for authorization for the military campaign against the Islamic State he announced yesterday.

"I think he already has the authorization. That authorization was given after 9-11 and I think that authorization still exists."

But Senator Tester says he does want the President to consult with Congress on his military action.

Campaign Finance
6:36 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

Tester-Backed Campaign Reform Measure Dies In Senate

Sen. Jon Tester co-sponsored a constitutional amendment to limit outside spending in elections.

A proposed constitutional amendment to reform campaign finance laws failed in the U-S Senate today. The amendment was co-sponsored by Montana Democrat Jon Tester.

Senator Tester says the amendment is needed to restore state control of campaign spending regulations.

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Community Medical Sale
5:32 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

Missoula’s Community Medical Center Reaches Sales Agreement With For-Profit Partnership

Community Medical Center, Missoula, MT.

Community Medical Center in Missoula announced today that it has reached an agreement to sell its assets for 67-million-dollars. The 151-bed hospital is selling to a partnership between Billings Clinic and a Tennessee-based hospital management firm.

The agreement, if approved by Montana Attorney General Tim Fox, would transform Community Medical from a not-for-profit corporation into a for-profit hospital.

John Barnes, a spokesman for the attorney general, explains why his office is involved.

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Obamacare Navigator Grants
5:27 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

'Navigator Grants' Help Montanans Enroll In 'Obamacare'

Three Montana groups are getting more than $600,000 in grants to help people sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

The so-called Navigator grants are for groups that will provide in-person assistance to people shopping for health care coverage on healthcare.gov or through other sources.

Intermountain Planned Parenthood will get $292,000. The Montana-Wyoming Tribal Leaders Council will get $142,000, and Montana Health Network will get $175,000.

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Yellowstone Snowmobile Permits
2:46 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

Yellowstone Lottery Opens Park To Private Snowmobiles

A guided snowmobile group near Lower Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park.
Credit YellowstoneNPS (CC-BY-2.0)

This winter, for the first time in more than a decade, people will be allowed to ride snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park on their own, and not as part of commercially-guided trip. The Park is holding a lottery for a limited number of private snowmobile group permits. It opened last week.

Jack Welch, with the motorized access group Blue Ribbon Coalition says it’s a big deal.

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