MTPR

Olga Kreimer

Reporter

Olga is a Missoula-based journalist, columnist and grad student on the MTPR news team. You can find her freelance work online at kreimero.com. She once won a fight with a rooster using only her words.

Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument.
Bureau of Land Management

Local environmental organizations are worried about what President Donald Trump’s decision on national monuments in Utah means for Montana's public lands.

The Park Creek Fire north of Lincoln, summer 2017.
Inciweb

More than 700,000 acres of national forest land across Montana and Idaho burned this summer, and U.S. Forest Service officials are now deciding what to do with it. The agency this fall set up a post-fire incident management team to quickly analyze damage and plan next steps.

Those steps include salvage logging, a controversial process that Incident Commander Mike Elson says will cover about 5 percent of burned areas across the region.

Excerpt from Tenmile-South Helena vegetation treatment map.
USFS

The Forest Service says it will meet with objectors to its plan to log and burn a nearly 18,000 acre area in Helena’s municipal watershed.  

The Tenmile-South Helena Vegetation Project was proposed in 2014 to reduce fire danger and protect water quality around Chessman reservoir, an area with a lot of homes in the wildland-urban interface.

University of Montana's Main Hall.
Josh Burnham

The University of Montana's sustainability efforts received a "bronze" rating Tuesday from a nonprofit organization promoting sustainability in higher education.

UM's Sustainability Coordinator Eva Rocke says UM fell just 2.2 points shy of a silver rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. She says that offers both hope and a roadmap for improvement.

Courtesy Bill Cole

Billings has a new mayor.

Bill Cole won nearly double the votes of his opponent, former Republican state lawmaker Jeff Essman. Cole has focused on drawing young people to Billings and turning it into the kind of city where people want to stay. 

"I was a little afraid that my message would scare off the voters, but i think it resonated powerfully," Cole said.

Cole has called for more parks and trails and more downtown revitalization. Essman had criticized the costs associated with those proposals and possible tax increases to pay for them.

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