Edward O'Brien

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

Carolyn Squires had almost 30 years of experience in the Montana legislature. The Missoula Democrat died this week at the age of 75.

Squires is being remembered for her unwavering devotion to the working Montanan.

Livingston is still trying to come to grips with a cluster of suicides that claimed four lives almost a month ago. Experts there say different people are dealing with the crisis in different ways.

Bark beetles over the past two decades have devastated millions of acres of North America’s best lodgepole and whitebark pine stands.

The University of Montana’s Diana Six predicts ponderosa pine stands are getting ripe for mountain and western pine beetle infestations.

"The ponderosas are a lot more drought tolerant than lodgepole. They’ve been able to handle the warming and drying that we’ve had, but now that the trees are becoming more stressed that’s allowing beetles that attack those trees (Ponderosa).”

Montana’s congressional delegation is deeply divided over President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee. 

President Obama says his nominee, appeals court judge Merrick Garland, deserves a full hearing and an up or down Senate confirmation vote.

But Republicans control the Senate. They don’t want to give the president a chance to influence the court’s ideological balance before he leaves office.

Montana’s Republican Senator, Steve Daines, says the next Supreme Court Justice will have far-reaching impacts for a generation.

Both Democratic Governor Steve Bullock and his Republican challenger, Greg Gianforte, now

have competition – and a lot more political money at their disposal – for their June 7th primary races.

Five conservation groups want to extend a five year federal wolf monitoring program in Idaho and Montana. Those groups put the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on notice Wednesday that the monitoring program should be extended another 5 years. And they’re willing to sue to make it happen.

Snowpack conditions were a mixed bag last month. Western Montana’s basins are in the best shape, while some eastern Montana basins are lagging far behind.

The University of Montana is celebrating a seven-figure estate gift that’s led to the creation of a new perpetual scholarship program.

In January the Fort Belknap tribal council declared a “state of emergency” over methamphetamine abuse on the reservation. There’s no hard evidence that meth use at Fort Belknap is any more prevalent than other places in Montana. Authorities statewide say they’re seeing a resurgence in meth use and arrests in recent years, after a decline about a decade ago. 

No more water is leaking from a treated sewage holding pond at Big Sky into the Gallatin River. At least 35 million gallons of the wastewater spilled into the river since last Thursday. The early phases of the investigation have revealed more questions than answers.