Eric Whitney

News Director

Eric is the news director for Montana Public Radio.

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Community Hospital Sale
5:06 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

A.G. Fox Needs More Time To Review Community Hospital Sale

Credit Josh Burnham

Attorney General Tim Fox says he needs more time to analyze how $65 million from the sale of Missoula’s Community Medical Center should be used.

Fox approved the sale itself January 12. Still pending is Community’s proposal for where money from the sale should go.

"Because the proposal was submitted rather late in the process, we felt we did not have sufficient time to review that," said John Barnes, spokesman for the attorney general.

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Affordable Care Act
4:38 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

Montana Among Top States For ACA Enrollment

Marketplace Enrollment as a Share of the Potential Marketplace Population. See more: http://bit.ly/1ALPgr0
Credit Kaiser Family Foundation

Montana is doing a better job than most states at getting people signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

A new analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that 45 percent of Montanans who are eligible to buy insurance had done so, as of February 15. Those eligible to buy insurance are generally anyone who doesn’t already have coverage through their job, a spouse or a government program like Medicare or Medicaid.

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Logging & Litigation
5:44 pm
Fri February 20, 2015

Sen. Daines Talks Logging Litigation At Missoula Roundtable

Sen. Steve Daines
Credit Courtesy photo

Today in Missoula, Senator Steve Daines held the second of three meetings he’s called to talk timber issues. He’ll do the same in Bozeman tomorrow.

The Republican Freshman Senator is calling the meetings “Timber Management Reform Roundtables,” and he’s invited mostly timber industry representatives to give him input on what they need to maintain or grow their operations.

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Senator "unavailable" for comment
3:15 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

Sen. Tester: Lawsuit Claim An 'Error'

Senator Jon Tester
Credit courtesy photo

Yesterday, in a story about attempts to boost revenue for Montana counties that are mostly federal land, Montana Senator Jon Tester made the following statement: 

"Unfortunately, every logging sale in Montana right now is under litigation. Every one of them."

Several listeners questioned that statement, so we asked Senator Tester to respond. 

His communications director Marnee Banks said he is unavailable this week.

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54,000 vs 37,000
6:23 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Many More Montanans Buy Coverage on HealthCare.Gov

The deadline to buy health insurance at HealthCare.gov was Sunday, and a lot more people in Montana did that this year than did last year.

“It’s encouraging to us that more than 54,000 Montanans went to HealthCare.gov to purchase their health insurance,” said Jesse Laslovich, chief legal counsel for Montana’s insurance commissioner.

That’s compared to about 37,000 last year.

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Forest Management
6:36 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

Sen. Daines Holds Forest Management Roundtables To Find Ways To Boost Logging

Senator Steve Daines started his “Forest Management Reform Roundtables” at F.H. Stoltze lumber in Columbia Falls, MT.
Credit Eric Whitney

Tuesday in Columbia Falls, Senator Steve Daines kicked off a series of three meetings in western Montana that he’s calling “Forest Management Reform Roundtables.”

Around the table were executives from three timber mills, county commissioners from Sanders, Lincoln and Mineral counties, and Montana leaders of The Wilderness Society, The Nature Conservancy,  and the National Parks Conservation Organization.

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Daines Meetings Feb. 17, 20 & 21
5:56 pm
Fri February 13, 2015

Montana Senators Seeking Input On Transportation, Timber Issues

Sen. Steve Daines
Credit Courtesy photo

Montana’s Senators are back from Washington and gathering input on transportation and timber issues.

Friday Democrat Jon Tester convened several panels in Helena to prepare for when the federal highway bill expires in May. He invited representatives from transportation, Chamber of Commerce and agriculture and construction companies to talk about the importance of good highways and bridges in Montana.

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Feb. 15 Deadline
4:20 pm
Mon February 9, 2015

Deadline Approaching To Get Insurance Through The Affordable Care Act

This is the last week for Montanans to shop for health insurance on HealthCare.gov. The deadline is Sunday, February 15. And it’s a hard deadline, says Jeff Hinson, with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

"They will not be able to enroll after the 15th, unless they have a life-changing event."

A life-changing event is something like leaving a job with insurance benefits, getting married or divorced, or having child.

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Larry Simkins
12:23 pm
Mon February 9, 2015

Low Oil Prices 'A Net Neutral' For Washington Companies, Says CEO

Gov. Steve Bullock (center) will present the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award tonight to Larry Simkins (right).They're pictured here with D.A. Davidson & Co. CEO Bill Johnstone (left) at the kick off Bullock's "Main Street Montana" program in May, 2014.
Credit Dan Boyce

Tonight in Missoula, a man in his mid 50s is getting an Eagle Scout award. The man is Larry Simkins, CEO of the Washington Companies, the giant international conglomerate based in Missoula with interests in railroads, shipping and mining.

He’s getting the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award, which isn’t handed out that often. Past recipients include President Gerald Ford and Montana author and historian Stephen Ambrose.

Simkins says he remembers when he got his original Eagle Scout award.

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Public Land Management
6:08 pm
Wed February 4, 2015

Conservationists Feel 'Sucker Punched' By Daines Public Lands Votes

Senator Steve Daines.

Montana’s new Senator, Republican Steve Daines, is asking Montanans for their input on how to better manage public lands in the state, but some conservation groups are wondering if he really wants to hear from them.

Rick Potts, who’s on the Montana Wilderness Association’s state council, is troubled by some recent Daines votes.

"I know my colleagues in the Montana Wilderness Association and Backcountry Hunters and Anglers as well, feel like they’ve been sucker punched. They didn’t see this coming."

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