Both the Montana Governor’s Office and a group of independent legislative researchers have come up with estimates of how much money will be available for state budgeting over the next two years. The different projections for how much lawmakers can assume the state will earn from taxes and other revenues is separated by about two tenths of a percent. That amounts to about $10 million. That’s a relatively small amount in the context of the more than $5 billion in revenues that both estimates...
A male grizzly bear cub was killed by a train near Columbia Falls last week, adding to the abnormally high number of bear mortalities in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem this year. In the last month two adult female grizzlies were also found dead, due to natural causes, near Hungry Horse. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks reports 48 bear mortalities this year. FWP labels any bear removed from an ecosystem as a mortality, so not all have died. Some are moved to another region or...
State and Federal wildlife officials are investigating this week’s slaughter of dozens of snow geese about two miles southeast of Augusta in western Montana. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks game warden Brady Murphy says this is a particularly heinous poaching case.
The fires raging in California, and one continuing to smolder in Glacier National Park, have managers in Whitefish thinking about how people in town can prepare for the worst. More than 70 people came to the Wildfire In The City forum, hosted by Climate Smart Glacier Country on Wednesday. Speakers showed old images and newspaper clippings detailing the area’s historic burns and city staff talked about the challenges Whitefish faces.
Governor Steve Bullock released his draft state budget and priorities for the upcoming legislative session Thursday. At the top of the list: Re-authorizing Medicaid expansion . “There’s too much at stake to not keep Medicaid expansion going in Montana,” Bullock says. Montana’s Medicaid expansion provides health coverage to just over 96,000 people, and it’s set to expire next June.
Young people growing up queer in Montana say one of the hardest parts is how truly alone it can feel to be different under the big sky. For the last seven months, a group of mostly high school students in the Flathead Valley has been trying to change that. They call themselves the Flathead LGBTQ Alliance, and are hosting Ally Night Thursday in Whitefish. The goal is to raise community awareness while providing support and a safe place for kids who are trying to figure themselves out.
Montana’s legislative session doesn’t start for another seven weeks, but state lawmakers met at the capitol Wednesday to elect political leaders in the state House and Senate. On tap for 2019: Another political face-off between the Republican majority in the House and Senate and Democratic Governor Steve Bullock - particularly over the future of Medicaid expansion in Montana.
The nation’s most popular e-cigarette company has suspended sale of its flavored products at over 90,000 brick and mortar stores nationwide. This development underwhelms Montana health officials. Nicole Aune describes JUUL Labs’ announcement as, “A little too late and it’s not quite enough.”
Grizzlies in Northwest Montana are moving into areas they haven’t been seen in years, and Wednesday conservation organizations announced they’ve purchased a chunk of land near Troy that could help those bears continue to migrate and expand their territory. The Vital Ground Foundation and the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative say they have now purchased the majority of an undeveloped subdivision near the confluence of the Kootenai and Yaak rivers .
A federal judge in Montana says the First Amendment does not shield a neo-Nazi website publisher from being sued for telling his readers to unleash a "troll storm" that led to anti-Semitic threats against a Jewish woman and her family in Whitefish. U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen ruled Wednesday that Tanya Gersh's lawsuit against The Daily Stormer's Andrew Anglin can proceed.
Hunters in northwest Montana improved their success rate last weekend. Hunters harvested 64 buck mule deer last weekend, compared to the 26 harvested this time last year. "The bucks are just out running around a lot more than before," says Dillon Tabish, a spokesperson for Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks.
A lawsuit alleging a Montana school discriminated against Native Americans goes to trial in Columbus Wednesday. Four Native Americans from Pryor on the Crow Reservation say they were denied entry to the school gym in Reed Point in January of 2017 because they were not white. They had arrived early for a school basketball game and said white fans were being let in early out of the cold weather. The four are suing the school’s superintendent and athletic director.
U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told the Associated Press today that the federal government plans to appeal a federal court ruling allowing oil and gas drilling in the Badger-Two Medicine area outside Glacier National Park. The Badger-Two Medicine is the site of the creation story for the Blackfoot Tribes, and is located on the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest, adjacent to the Blackfeet Reservation.
With the fall bird migration now in full swing, the companies in charge of Butte’s Berkeley Pit are using their new and improved scientific bird-hazing program to keep birds away. This week, their program got put to the test. Two years ago this November, Butte made national headlines when several thousand late-migrating snow geese landed on the Berkeley Pit, exhausted and died. The huge numbers overwhelmed the companies jointly in charge of managing the former open pit copper mine and their...
Tester picks up votes in Trump country, and Montanans continue a long tradition of ticket-splitting. Governor Bullock has his hands full with another Republican-led Legislature, and this election stands out in many ways from previous Montana mid-terms. Sally Mauk, Chuck Johnson and Rob Saldin break it all down in this season's final installment of "Campaign Beat."
A federal judge in Great Falls Thursday night blocked the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline until the U.S. government further studies its impact on the environment and climate. The controversial pipeline would carry crude oil from Canada to U.S. refineries in the Gulf Coast. The 36-inch-wide Keystone XL would pass through six eastern Montana counties and near the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.
A summit that could shape the future of invasive species policy in Montana will take place next week in Helena. Stephanie Hester, coordinator for the Montana Invasive Species Council, says invasive species management in Montana spans the Departments of Agriculture, Livestock, Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and other organizations.
In Browning, Blackfeet Community College held a ceremony this week to name a newly-built $7.5 million Health Science and Education Building in honor of the late Blackfeet tribal elder, Elouise Cobell. On Monday, nearly two dozen nursing students wearing brand-new navy blue scrub tops stood in front of a crowd outside the east entrance of the newest building at the college. They linked arms as one student used scissors to cut through red ribbon.