Eric Whitney

News Director

Eric Whitney is the news director for Montana Public Radio.

Ways to Connect

University of Montana President Royce Engstrom. File Photo.
Josh Burnham

University of Montana President Royce Engstrom says he’s not keeping the $6,000 a year raise he was recently awarded.

Bison in Yellowstone's Lower Geyser Basin.
Jim Peaco/NPS (PD)

You may have heard a story on NPR about the new bison management policy Governor Steve Bullock has proposed. It would allow some bison to roam farther outside Yellowstone National Park, and remain outside the park year-round. Amy Martin reported that story and joins us now to tell us more about what she learned from talking to people in and around Yellowstone on her reporting trip.


UM President Royce Engstrom delivers his mid-year report, Feb. 03 2016 at the University of Montana in Missoula.
Josh Burnham

The University of Montana will need to cut its budget by 2 - 2.5 percent in the next fiscal year to reconcile expenses with income. That’s in addition to the job cuts happening now. University President Royce Engstrom made that announcement this afternoon at his annual mid-year update address on campus.

Close to a hundred people turned out for a mid-day meeting offering an update on new student recruiting at the University of Montana today. Enrollment at the Missoula campus has dropped for the last six years, and since the fall of 2009 has declined by 18.5 percent.

Sen. Jon Tester’s staff is on tour around Montana this month to get feedback on the $10 billion Veterans' Choice program.

Colstrip power plant
Courtesy Montana AFI-CIO

The future of Montana's Colstrip power plant is very much in the news lately. The Clean Power Plan rules announced by the Obama administration in August called for Montana to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants more than any other state. And the utilities in West Coast states that own most of Colstrip face growing political pressure to stop buying coal-fired electricity from Montana. That makes for an uncertain future for the nearly 800 members of the Montana AFI-CIO unions who work in the Colstrip area.

UM economist Bryce Ward says Montana will need 16,000 additional healthcare workers by 2025.
(PD)

Growing demand for healthcare means that Montana is going to need 40 percent more healthcare workers in a decade than it has now. That’s according to University of Montana Economist Bryce Ward. He says that just to meet the projected growth in demand, the state will need 7,000 more healthcare workers by 2025.

Montana has seen almost seven straight years of economic growth now, and more is forecasted for the future.

flickr user Neetal Parekh (CC-BY-NC-2)

The latest unemployment numbers say the state jobless rate fell by a tenth of a percentage point in December to an even four percent. The national unemployment rate is five percent.

The Department of Labor and Industry says Montana added 10,200 jobs in 2015.

Dr. Ira Byock is the Author of "Dying Well", "The Four Things That Matter Most", and "The Best Care Possible".
Courtesy Dr. Ira Byock

A Missoula physician who’s gone on to become a national expert on reforming healthcare — and especially end of life care — is inviting dialog on the topics at an event Tuesday night.

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