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Daines asking postal service inspector general for ‘full investigation’ after Billings vet’s remains go missing

BILLINGS — U.S. Sen. Steve Daines of Montana is calling on the U.S. Postal Service to review and correct policy after a Billings veteran’s remains were lost in the mail. Daines recently sent a letter to the USPS inspector general asking for an in-depth investigation into the matter, which took place during the COVID-19 pandemic. Billings Read More…

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Daines asking postal service inspector general for ‘full investigation’ after Billings vet’s remains go missing

BILLINGS — U.S. Sen. Steve Daines of Montana is calling on the U.S. Postal Service to review and correct policy after a Billings veteran’s remains were lost in the mail. Daines recently sent a letter to the USPS inspector general asking for an in-depth investigation into the matter, which took place during the COVID-19 pandemic. Billings Read More…

Wyoming unemployment rate falls, now third lowest in country

Wyoming’s unemployment rate fell to 8.8% in May, as the state began to recover from the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. The Equality State had the nation’s third lowest unemployment rate for the month, trailing only Nebraska and Utah, federal figures show. The national unemployment rate, meanwhile, stood at 13.3%. In April, Wyoming unemployment Read More…

In gov race, Gianforte outpaces Cooney almost 4-to-1 on campaign money

HELENA — As the 2020 general-election race for Montana governor gets under way, Republican candidate Greg Gianforte’s campaign has accumulated almost four times the money of his Democratic competitor, Mike Cooney – but that total includes $1.5 million of Gianforte’s own money. Gianforte reported Monday that his campaign has raised about $3.83 million through June Read More…

Justices won’t reexamine legal doctrine that shields law enforcement

The Supreme Court decided on Monday that they will not reexamine a doctrine that protects law enforcement and government officials from being sued over their actions while on the job. The doctrine, which the justices created nearly 50 years ago, gives “qualified immunity” for law enforcement officers, which protects them from frivolous lawsuits CNN reported. READ FULL STORY

USDA SECRETARY SONNY PERDUE IN MISSOULA TO SIGN STEWARDSHIP MEMO

The United States Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue was at the Forest Service Smokejumper Center on Friday to sign a stewardship memorandum that contained a blueprint to modernize the U.S. Forest Service. Perdue outlines aspects of the agreement officially signed on Friday. “It increases productivity,” said Secretary Perdue. “These are renewable resources. We are Read More…

New coronavirus spread isn’t the feared ‘second wave’ – it’s still the first, researchers say

The rise in coronavirus cases seen in about half a dozen states across the U.S. isn’t the feared “second wave” — it’s still the first, scientists and infectious disease specialists say. To be defined as a second wave the virus would need to retreat and reappear, or a new variant would have to emerge, said Ian Lipkin, a professor Read More…

Montana, North Dakota lawmakers to collaborate on radioactive oilfield waste problem

The debate over how to dispose of the Bakken’s radioactive oilfield waste has prompted a small group of lawmakers from North Dakota and Montana to start collaborating. The conversations come as Montana prepares to enact a formal rule capping the radiation level of oilfield waste disposed of at landfills in the state. Much of the Read More…

US shocks economists by adding 2.5 million jobs in May as unemployment declines to 13.3%

Economists were shocked on Friday as the Bureau of Labor Statistics said US employers added 2.5 million payrolls in May, defying expectations of 7.5 million jobs lost. The surprise increase came on the heels of the record 20.5 million jobs lost in April. The unemployment rate declined to 13.3%, bucking forecasts of a near-record 19% rate. April’s Read More…

Blue Cross Blue Shield of MT donates to The Rebound Montana Relief Fund

HELENA — Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana announced a $100,000 donation to the Montana Community Foundation. The money will benefit The Rebound Montana Relief Fund. The fund is a partnership between the Montana Television Network, AMB West Philanthropies and Montana Community Foundation. The fund will grant directly to nonprofit intermediary organizations such as community foundations and Read More…

Former NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf arrested on domestic battery charge

Former NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf has been arrested for misdemeanor domestic battery in Palm Springs, California. TMZ Sports first reported it. Leaf was taken into custody on Friday afternoon. Details of the incident itself are not clear. All that’s currently known, according to the information available on the Riverdale County Sheriff’s Department’s website, is that Leaf was Read More…

State receives more than 9,600 COVID-19 relief grant applications

More than 9,600 COVID-19 relief grant applications have been submitted to the State of Montana since applications opened last Thursday. Last week, Governor Bullock announced $123 million in CARES Act funding for nine new grant programs that are designed to address key COVID-19 issues Montanans are facing. As of the beginning of the business day May 13, the Montana Read More…

Jeff Bridges stars in Montana COVID-19 PSA

MISSOULA, Mont. — If it’s not enough that our state leaders and doctors are asking you to keep social distancing and wearing masks as Montana businesses reopen, they now have some celebrity manpower behind the cause. “The Dude” himself, Jeff Bridges, stars in a new public service announcement campaign launched by the Montana Hospital Association. Bridges Read More…

Yellowstone to open Wyoming entrances Monday; Montana entrances remain closed

Visitors will be able to enter Yellowstone National Park from Wyoming beginning Monday, but the entrances on the Montana side of the border will remain closed until at least June 1. Yellowstone Superintendent Cam Sholly announced the park’s phased reopening plan Wednesday on a conference call with Grand Teton National Park Superintendent Gopaul Noojibail and Read More…

Whitefish graduate part of vaccine research

Myndi Holbrook is among the scientists working on the front lines for research regarding COVID-19 and those seeking a vaccine for the virus. Holbrook, who graduated from Whitefish High School in 2015 and earned a microbiology degree from Montana State University, is a post-baccalaureate fellow at Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton. “It’s a very unique Read More…

Montana’s tourist industry braces for rough summer

Montana, and Bozeman especially, is a tourist magnet. People flock here for a variety of reasons: the wide-open spaces, our proximity to the first national park, the world-class skiing, the small-town feel. But with COVID-19 shutdowns and quarantines still in effect, businesses that depend on nonresident travelers are feeling the pressure. “June, July, August, September, Read More…

Melstone students back in class

Phase One of reopening in Montana allowed students to return to schools. In Musselshell County, Melstone Public Schools reopened on Thursday. The board voted on April 28 to give kindergarten through eighth-grade students an option to return. Melstone operates on a four-day week and has eight days left starting on Monday. “Just to give the Read More…

Secretary of State: Montana business registrations drop by 11,000 from last year

MISSOULA, Mont. — Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton noted that 11,000 fewer businesses renewed their state registrations by April 15 this year in comparison to last year. The statistic was highlighted in Stapleton’s Montana Business Forecast on Sunday. “The economic, social, and health-related disruptions from the coronavirus are historic,” Stapleton wrote in the emailed forecast. Read More…

Additional unemployment insurance benefits available in Montana

HELENA — The Montana Department of Labor & Industry has announced residents can now access an additional 13 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits due to the expanded passage of the recent stimulus package of the CARES Act. Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation provides 13 weeks of additional benefits to individuals who have exhausted their regular unemployment insurance Read More…

Montana State University making plans to reopen in the fall

Montana State University is planning to reopen the Bozeman campus to students this fall and is working on ways to protect students, faculty and employees from the threat of coronavirus. MSU President Waded Cruzado said in a statement Thursday that MSU wants to keep people safe while offering “a high-quality, on-campus educational experience.” “Thankfully, as Read More…

Airlines cancel flights and routes, leaving Missoula airport with challenging future

Commercial air service into Missoula International Airport has fallen to a trickle over the past month, and airport officials are bracing for a challenging future as airlines respond to the economic headwinds. Fewer than 125,000 passengers are passing through airport security nationally on a daily basis, leaving commercial air travel just 5% of what it Read More…