MTPR

Edward O'Brien

News

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

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Socati Montana General Manager James Stephens with hemp flower.
Edward O'Brien / Montana Public Radio

Less than a year ago, industrial hemp was essentially an outlaw crop. Today it’s transformed into the wellspring of an emerging billion-dollar industry. The cannabis extract cannabidiol is a hemp byproduct, better known as CBD. Demand for CBD-infused products such as bath salts, balms and body bars is through the roof.

MTPR's Edward O’Brien recently visited a Montana hemp processing facility that’s transforming the tough, fibrous plant into liquid gold.

National Weather Service

Unseasonably cold and wet weather is set to pummel Montana this weekend. The cold snap’s widespread impacts could possibly affect power lines, livestock and backcountry travelers. The next several days will make it feel like we bypassed autumn altogether and went straight to winter.

University of Montana's Main Hall.
Josh Burnham / MTPR

For the eighth year in a row, fall enrollment has dropped at the University of Montana.

Despite the slide, campus officials say they’re encouraged by what they’re seeing.

The University of Montana announced Tuesday that overall enrollment is down just over 1% from fall semester of 2018. Enrollment figures show 125 fewer students this fall than last year, with just shy of 10,000 students enrolled at UM.

UM’s chief enrollment officer, Cathy Cole, says that enrollment dip came as a surprise to no one. 

Students take part in a Climate Strike event at Caras Park in Missoula, September 20, 2019.
Nick Mott / Montana Public Radio

Thousands of students walked out of class Friday to lead climate strikes demanding more action to address climate change.

Missoula’s protest drew hundreds to a downtown city park. The protests come as the United Nations prepares to hold its Climate Action Summit on Monday in New York.

A man holding an AR-style rifle.
iStock

Nearly two dozen U.S. Senate Democrats are planning a marathon floor session this Tuesday evening to speak out on what they call congressional inaction on gun violence. Montana’s Democratic Senator, Jon Tester, won’t be among them. But Tester says it's long past time the Senate take up gun violence legislation.

Police car.
(PD)

Missoula police are investigating an early morning shooting on the city’s south side. Detective Sergeant Eric Stevenson says multiple gunshots were reported fired in the 2,600 block of Garland Drive just before 4 a.m. Monday.

No one was injured.

Keystone Pipeline pumping station in Nebraska.
Flickr user shannonpatrick17 http://bit.ly/2H4u5Kk (CC-BY-2) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

A federal judge presided over a hearing this week in Great Falls that focused on a Trump administration request to dismiss a lawsuit from Native American Tribes who want to block the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to Nebraska.

Jenn Rowell, founder and editor of The Electric in Great Falls covered Thursday’s hearing and joins us now to share her reporting.

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox cheered the Trump administration's rollback Thursday of an Obama-era clean water regulation.

The 2015 Waters of the United States rule was designed to protect many American wetlands and streams from pollution, but opponents argued it was too restrictive.

Montana Governor Orders Temporary Sales Stop Of Flavored E-Cigarettes
iStock

Montana health officials on both the statewide and local level are piecing together a puzzle. State epidemiologist Laura Williamson says "a handful" of patients have recently come forward with possible cases of severe lung disease. The case reports are coming from across the state. The one thread connecting them? All the patients have a history of vaping.

A slickens in Montana's upper Clark Fork basin. Slickens are areas devoid of life due to heavy metal contamination from mine waste.
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

Montana wildlife officials are investigating what’s being described as a "significant" fish kill along the banks of the Upper Clark Fork River.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks fisheries biologist Nathan Cook fielded a report this weekend of several dead fish downstream of Warm Springs and upstream of Galen.

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