Eric Whitney

Eric Whitney is the news director for Montana Public Radio.

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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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Montana’s Democratic Sen. Jon Tester and a Republican colleague from Tennessee have introduced a bill to increase scrutiny of a big private contract for the Veterans Administration. The White House has come under fire for allowing friends of the president to influence who gets it.

A lawsuit filed in federal court in Missoula Wednesday says America’s bail bond industry amounts to organized crime.

The ACLU of Montana is suing five parties in Montana and two out of state insurance companies over an April 2017 incident when armed bounty hunters kicked in the door of Eugene Mitchell’s home in Lolo, and took him away at the direction of a Missoula bail bondsman. That bondsman, the ACLU says, is backed by out of state insurance companies.

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