Montana Public Radio

Edward O'Brien


Edward O'Brien is Montana Public Radio's Associate News Director.

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Hantavirus infographic
Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services

State health officials confirm Montana’s first hantavirus infection of the year recently sickened a Richland County resident. 

The adult male fell ill working out of state where he faced an occupational exposure to mice. He was hospitalized but now recovering at home. 

Montana’s congressional delegation wasted no time in reacting to President Joe Biden’s newly announced gun control measures.

President Joe Biden Thursday ordered a half-dozen executive actions aimed at addressing what he calls an "epidemic and an international embarrassment" of gun violence in America. Biden’s announcement follows several mass shootings across the U.S. in recent weeks.

A prescribed underburn in the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area near Missoula in the fall of 2019.
Lolo National Forest

A prescribed burn is responsible for a large plume of smoke in Pattee Canyon just outside Missoula Thursday.

"We don’t want anyone to be alarmed," Lolo National Forest spokesperson Kate Jerman says. "It is part of the Pattee Canyon maintenance project which is an ongoing project in that area working to reduce hazardous fuels in areas nearby Missoula."

Glacier National Park is implementing a ticketed entry system for visitors wanting to use Going-To-The-Sun-Road this season between West Glacier and St. Mary.

Park officials had been considering the idea in the wake of record visitation in recent years. This summer officials anticipate one of the park’s busiest seasons ever. Officials say a ticketed entry system offers visitors increased certainty they’ll be able to enter the park, and could eliminate the need for closures at the park’s west entrance.

State lawmakers have passed a measure creating a Bitterroot Valley Community College District.

The joint resolution triggers a process to transition Hamilton’s Bitterroot College UM — currently an appendage of the University of Montana — into an independent, locally controlled community college.

Montana’s lone U.S. congressman has joined other conservative lawmakers in signing a pledge to not request earmark spending projects. This comes after Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives ended a decade-long ban on earmarks, or congressionally directed spending.

Montana Drought Monitor Map as of March 23, 2021.
Brad Pugh / CPC/NOAA

Experts on the Governor’s Drought and Water Supply Advisory Committee are concerned about moisture levels in the state. They outlined the state's "worrisome" March drought conditions during a status briefing Thursday.

The Senate veterans' affairs committee got an early progress report this week on a newly established program. Created by a new law, the program aims to help veterans struggling with their mental health.

Cars travel on Glacier National Park's Going-To-The-Sun Road, August 02, 2019.
Glacier National Park (PD)

Glacier National Park is considering a ticketed reservation system for visitors wanting to use Going-To-The-Sun-Road on the park’s west side. Park officials held a virtual meeting Thursday to discuss the idea.

Funding from the Great American Outdoors Act will help fix the The Double Arrow lookout on the Lolo National Forest near Seeley Lake, which is on the National Historic Register. It had been slated for closure due to critical maintenance issues.
Lolo National Forest

Work to address critical deferred maintenance projects through the Great American Outdoors Act will soon begin on national forests in Montana.

Some conservation experts describe the Great American Outdoors Act as one of the most significant pieces of public lands legislation in a generation.