Montana Public Radio

Eric Whitney

News Director

Eric Whitney is NPR's Mountain West/Great Plains Bureau Chief, and was the former news director for Montana Public Radio.

Ways to Connect

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Montana Veterans are being invited to meetings to learn more about a new health care benefit this week and next.

The VA is hosting afternoon sessions on the Mission Act in Billings and Helena Thursday, in Missoula Friday and in Great Falls on June 4.

Veterans at this morning's sunrise service in Missoula honoring those lost to suicide
Eric Whitney

Among the dozens of Memorial Day observances in Montana Tuesday was one of a type that just got started last year. Sam Redfern with the United Veterans Council and United States of Hope was the master of ceremonies for the event that got started at 6:30 a.m. at the Western Montana Veterans Cemetery in Missoula.

Helena Mayor Wilmot Collins launches his campaign for U.S. Senate Monday, May 13 in Helena, Mont.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

Helena Mayor and Democratic U.S. Senate Candidate Wilmot Collins says he plans to plead guilty to careless driving charges Tuesday, and is defending himself on Twitter after being cited on that charge and and leaving the scene of an accident.

Anaconda’s Job Corps training center is closing, the U.S. Department of Labor announced today.

All three members of Montana’s congressional delegation responded by asking the agency to reverse the decision, but in sharply contrasting ways.

This Missing Endangered Person Alert was issued Wednesday afternoon
MT Department of Justice

A map from a Montana Resources permit request showing the location of a proposed limestone mine near Drummond, Mont.
Montana Department of Environmental Quality

A proposal for a new limestone mine near Drummond is now open for public comment.

A subsidiary of the Washington Companies is seeking a permit from the state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to operate a 546-acre open pit mine two-and-a-half miles west of Drummond.

A screen capture from a NorthWestern Energy video shows a powerline corridor that must be cleared of hazard trees to help prevent wildfires.
Screen capture from:

On Wednesday, investigators concluded that electric power lines caused the deadliest and most destructive fire in California history. The Camp Fire burned more than 150,000 acres and killed 85 people. The electric utility that owns the power lines has filed for bankruptcy as a result of lawsuits related to the fire.

What is Montana’s biggest utility doing to mitigate fire risk? Montana Public Radio’s Eric Whitney talks to NorthWestern Energy Spokesperson Jo Dee Black about that.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie, testifying before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on April 30, 2019
Screenshot of video feed

It’s rare when a member of the President’s cabinet reaches out to a media outlet as small as Montana Public Radio. So when the office of Veterans Administration Secretary Robert Wilkie did, and offered an interview, we said yes.

Map showing the location of the proposed Black Butte Mine in Montana.
Montana DEQ

The proposed Black Butte copper mine outside White Sulphur Springs is the topic of two public meetings coming up Monday and Tuesday.

Monday evening’s meeting is at Park High School in Livingston. On Tuesday it’s at White Sulphur Springs High. Both meetings start at 6 p.m.

An ambulance in front of Kalispell Regional Medical Center.
Eric Whitney / Montana Public Radio

The $24 million that the hospital in Kalispell agreed to pay in 2017 to settle a whistleblower lawsuit was the biggest recovery ever in Montana under federal False Claims Act.

Leaders at Kalispell Regional Healthcare admitted no wrongdoing in response to an investigation that doctors were referring patients to hospital-affiliated businesses in which the doctors had an ownership interest. Doing so would call into question whether those referrals were motivated by medical necessity or financial interests.