MTPR

Edward O'Brien

News

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

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Montana air quality from 3-4 p.m., May 31, 2019.
Montana Department of Environmental Quality

Smoke from large wildfires Alberta drifted into more of Montana Friday, causing haze and air quality issues on both sides of the divide.

Air Quality Meteorologist Kristen Martin with Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality says today may be the worst for the state, at least for now.

Montana air quality health effects for 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., May 30, 2019.
Montana Department of Environmental Quality

Smoke from Canadian wildfires burning in northern Alberta is degrading air quality in parts of Montana. Missoula City-County Air Quality Specialist Ben Schmidt says the smoke started infiltrating Montana’s airshed Wednesday evening.

Some of the weapons confiscated over the past year by Project Safe Neighborhoods Missoula County, shown during a press conference, May 29, 2019.
Edward O'Brien / Montana Public Radio

The City of Missoula’s violent crime rate increased 50 percent between 2011 and 2017. Authorities blame methamphetamine for that unprecedented spike in murders, robberies and aggravated assault.

Missoula County Attorney Kirsten Pabst Wednesday shared an ugly, real world example of the kind of havoc that meth wreaks.

(L-R) Missoula Mayor John Engen, County Commissioner Cola Rowley, County Commissioner Josh Slotnick and County Commissioner Dave Strohmaier during a press conference on affordable housing in Missoula, May 28, 2019.
Edward O'Brien / Montana Public Radio

More than 200 units of affordable housing are coming to Missoula, local officials announced Tuesday. It’s part of a big public-private collaboration involving several entities.

"This is a big deal, Missoula. This is a real big deal," says County Commissioner Dave Strohmaier.

American Flag
iStock

Updated with additional events, 05/24/19, at 5 p.m.

Memorial Day 2019 is Monday and there’s no shortage of Montana events planned to mark the occasion.

Highway Patrol Trooper Wade Palmer and his wife Lindsey at the University of Utah hospital.
Courtesy University of Utah Health

Missoula paused Wednesday afternoon to welcome home a Montana Highway Patrol Trooper critically wounded this spring in the line of duty.

Wade and Lindsey Palmer’s flight from the University of Utah hospital landed in Missoula midday Wednesday. Roughly 100 people lined West Broadway Street in front of Saint Patrick Hospital to honor the Palmer's return to western Montana and cheer on his motorcade escort.

Women hold  pro-choice signs during a rally in Missoula, May 21, 2019.
Edward O'Brien / Montana Public Radio

Montanans in Missoula, Billings and Kalispell today joined nationwide protests against abortion bans in southern states.

At the Missoula County Courthouse speakers expressed outrage over legislation in Alabama, Georgia, Ohio and Missouri to a crowd of about 200 people.

A regular and large-size emergency shelter for wildland firefighters
NIFC.gov

The most recent effort to develop a better fire shelter for wildland firefighters produced nothing new, but don’t tell U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Fire Safety Specialist Ted Mason the five-year research project was a bust.

"Absolutely not," Mason said. "I’m looking at it like we’ve proved that we did a really good job in 2002 when we created the shelter we’re currently using."

Wildland Firefighters working on fire line on the West Fork Fish Creek Fire in 2015.
Inciweb

Here’s a riddle: When is a wildland firefighter not technically a firefighter? Answer: When he or she works for the federal government.

That’s because the feds designate them as "forestry technicians." That irks many firefighters who put it all on the line as a changing climate means wildfire seasons are now longer and fires burn bigger and hotter.

U.S. Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen vows the agency will meet with mountain biking groups who want to regain access to two wilderness study areas in the Bitterroot National Forest.
(PD)

U.S. Sen. Steve Daines continues to pressure the U.S. Forest Service to reconsider proposed mountain bike closures in two Montana wilderness sudy areas.

U.S. Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen vows the agency will meet with mountain biking groups who want to regain access to two wilderness study areas in the Bitterroot National Forest.

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