Eric Whitney

Eric Whitney is the news director for Montana Public Radio.

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A major package of public lands legislation has passed the U.S. Senate. It includes permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act.

"Today is — it’s one of the greatest days of my life. It’s amazing, and it really restores faith in the system, too," says Colin Davis, owner of Chico Hot Springs.

In January in Great Falls, Stanley Weber, a former Indian Health Service pediatrician who worked on the Blackfeet Reservation in the 1990s was sentenced to 18 years in prison for sexually abusing boys in his care.

Tonight on MontanaPBS, the investigative news program "Frontline" will spend an hour detailing Weber’s story, and why it was allowed to go on for more than 20 years.

Joining us now is Chris Weaver, a Wall Street Journal reporter who worked with "Frontline" on the story.

Among those at the State of the Union address in Washington, DC last night was was a 29-year-old stay-at-home mother of two from Missoula. Briana Lamb is also an activist on the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women. She was Senator Jon Tester’s guest.

There’s been a change in the response to global climate change. Journalist Andrew Revkin, who’s been writing about the issue since the 1980s for outlets including the New York Times highlights the new response in a recent story for National Geographic.

Housing prices in Montana continue to rise, but how affordable housing looks depends a lot on where you stand. Economists from the University of Montana are focusing on affordable housing in their annual series of economic outlook seminars. The first was in Helena Tuesday, nine more are scheduled across the state between now and mid-March.

When Republican state lawmakers heard an updated economic report yesterday that says Medicaid expansion grows Montana's economy, they didn't have a lot of questions, or push back much against the findings.

"The big numbers are roughly 6,000 jobs, roughly $350 million of personal income, $420 million of gross state product," Economist Bryce Ward said at the state Capitol yesterday, presenting a follow-up to his April study on Medicaid expansion.

It’s official, Tim Fox has announced that he’s running for governor.

"I feel I have a calling to public service," Fox says. "I’ve been Montana’s attorney general for the last six years, I have actually a dozen years in public service all told. I think I’ve been an effective and responsible leader, with a lot of results."

The state health department has launched a new website to help parents raise their kids.

It’s called Parenting Montana, and offers videos like this one that portray a sample of parents of various backgrounds talking about the challenges they face, their goals for their children and how they’re trying to accomplish them.

Montana’s senior U.S. senator wants to ensure the ongoing partial government shutdown doesn’t hamper farmers’ ability to grow hemp.

Specifically, Democrat Jon Tester wants to make sure hemp growers have access to federal Bureau of Reclamation water.

The coalition of businesses that are keeping access to most of Yellowstone National Park open during the federal government shutdown are reaching out for help.

"Yellowstone is a large, dynamic park, and it touches all the communities in our region, and any assistance that can be provided from all of our partners to help keep Yellowstone open would be wonderful for the park," says Mike Keller, general manager for Xanterra Parks and Resorts in Yellowstone.

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