Kent Kultgen

Smoky air is Montana is forcing Montana's student atheletes inside or limiting their practices.
Josh Burnham

This year, fire season has collided with the school year all over the west, especially in northwest and north central Montana, where the smoke from blazes as far away as Washington has left the air loaded with particulates that make it unhealthy to breathe, forcing teachers and coaches to decide whether to send students out for recess or practice, or keep them indoors.

Helena school officials are considering their next move in the wake of last week's defeat of a $70-million elementary school bond. Supporters say the measure would have funded badly-needed technology and infrastructure projects.

Opponents said it was too expensive and would have unfairly distributed funds.   

Fewer state and federal dollars are filling Montana school district coffers, so school officials are turning to local voters for help.

Bob Vogel of the Montana School Boards Association says bonding requests are becoming more common.

Dan Boyce


Authorities have arrested a 14-year-old boy Dublin, California in connection with the series of bomb threats this week in Helena.

Police Chief Troy McGee says researching the calls earlier from earlier in the week led authorities to believe they may have been coming from out of state.

“All the IP Addresses, all the wifi connections, there are just so many ways you can connect with people this day and age, but all of them you can trace backwards,” he said, adding the department asked the FBI for help in the case.

Dan Boyce

C.R. Anderson Middle School students will be heading back to class next week.

The state’s largest middle school abruptly closed last Tuesday after elevated lead levels were found at the site of the school’s old firing range.

Further testing shows the lead was confined to that area and cleanup efforts should be completed in the next few days.

Capitol Reporter Dan Boyce finds out more about the shooting range thought responsible for the contamination.