Edward O'Brien

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

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock will not share the debate stage with the twelve remaining Democratic presidential candidates Tuesday night in Westerville, Ohio.

With three and a half months to go until the Iowa caucuses, a handful of Hawkeye State Democratic party stalwarts Tuesday cheered him on to stay the course.

Montana still officially celebrates October 14 as Columbus Day, but a handful of cities here have replaced it with Indigenous Peoples Day.

Some local leaders refuse to recognize a day that they say glorifies colonization and mistreatment of Native Americans. Missoula is one of those cities.

The University of Montana has exceeded the $400 million goal of the most ambitious fundraising campaign in its history. The seven-year initiative known as "Campaign Montana – Think Big. Be Bold" quietly launched over six years ago. By the time the campaign publicly launched a year ago, donors had already pledged $325 million.

Gov. Steve Bullock’s order to temporarily ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes was heralded this week by state health officials. Montanans who rely on e-cig sales, however, say Bullock’s move will devastate their livelihoods, and they plan to sue.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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