Eric Whitney

Eric Whitney is the news director for Montana Public Radio.

406-243-4075

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) is proposing to remove non-native trout species in Cooney Creek, a tributary of the upper Swan River in northwest Montana, in an effort to boost native westslope cutthroat and bull trout populations.

FWP manages these species as “species of conservation concern.” Bull trout are listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act.

Corrected 7/16/19 7:10 p.m.

The keynote speaker at Montana Democrats’ state convention this weekend said party is going to keep on losing if they don’t do more to convince rural voters to back them. 

Heidi Heitkamp, who won a U.S. Senate seat from North Dakota in 2012, but lost to a Republican by more than 10 points in 2018 says Democrats have ignored rural America at their own peril.

An emotional Tanya Gersh testified for more than an hour in federal court in Missoula Thursday in her lawsuit against neo-Nazi website publisher Andrew Anglin.

Gersh is the Whitefish realtor who was targeted by Anglin, who told readers of his website, The Daily Stormer, to unleash a “troll storm” against her, her family and the small local Jewish community.

"The Missing Endangered Persons Advisory for James Rose has been canceled. He has been safely located. Missoula Police Department thanks you for your assistance."

Life isn’t easy for kids in foster care. They’re often separated from their parents for reasons they don’t understand, and can bounce around a lot through different foster homes and schools. That can make it tough for them to go to college. The state health department has an annual event to help foster kids succeed as adults. Montana Public Radio’s Eric Whitney met one young woman the event really worked for.

CORRECTION: The orginal draft of this story said this bill would remove wilderness study designation to some public lands. The bill does not address wilderness study areas. 

For the third time in three years, Sen. Jon Tester held a rally for a bill he’s sponsoring to expand federally designated wilderness in northwest Montana, and allow some snowmobile and mountain bike use on public lands in the area.

About two hundred people packed the Kettlehouse Brewing taproom in Bonner over the noon hour to hear Tester speak at an event hosted by the Montana Wilderness Association. They’re all hoping this is the year the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act passes.

The federal government’s big, new effort to allow veterans to use their VA health benefits to pay for healthcare from private doctors, clinics and hospitals launched Thursday. But the last effort went so badly in Montana that many are worried that the private sector won’t want to participate. That doesn’t appear to be happening, but the whole deal is still very much in pencil here.

Montana’s state health department has received a $2.1 million grant for a game for school kids. Zoe Barnard with the department explains.

In one week Veterans are supposed to get improved access to healthcare in the private sector via the Mission Act, which Montana Senator Jon Tester wrote. But there are still some big unanswered questions about whether it will work.

The Mission Act is Congress’ second attempt since 2014 to make it easier for vets to use their benefits to pay for healthcare in the private sector if nearby VA facilities don’t offer what they need, or if they’d have to wait weeks to get it.

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.

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