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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

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Minnesota public safety agencies reeling from weekend tragedy; Speaker Johnson faces critical decision on Ukraine aid; Public comment sought on proposal to limit growth in health-care costs; MS postal union workers voice concerns about understaffing, mail delays.

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Truckers for Trump threaten to strike over his massive civil fine for business fraud in New York City. Biden wants Norfolk Southern held accountable one year after an Ohio derailment and dangerous chemical spill and faith leaders call for peace in the Israel-Hamas war.

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Drones over West Texas aim to improve rural healthcare, the Ogallala Aquifer, the backbone of High Plains agriculture, is slowly disappearing and federal money is headed to growers of wool and cotton.


Consumer Direct Montana is the latest agency in Montana to unionize, and just last month, completed bargaining for its first union contract with in-home caregivers, who are currently voting to ratify the tentative agreement. (Adobe Stock)

Monday, February 19, 2024

MT health care workers vote on large pay increase

A group of health-care workers in Montana will learn tomorrow whether their new union contract has been ratified. The tentative deal, between SEIU 7…

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The Helena point-in-time survey is conducted each year to count people either living in shelters or other temporary housing. (Adobe Stock)
Helena ups efforts to track, shelter homeless Montanans

Helena is stepping up efforts to track its homeless population. The number of people living without shelter has risen sharply since the city started …

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Montana faces above-average rates of obesity and diabetes, both of which are dangerous to heart health. (Adobe Stock)
MT faces unique challenges during Heart Month

Doctors in Montana are asking people to pay close attention to their cardiac health during February, which is National Heart Month - especially since …

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Despite concern over the influence of foreign money on statewide elections, Montana has just increased its campaign contribution limits for PACs and individuals to $1,120 from $1,000. (Adobe Stock)
Montana political candidates receive among highest foreign donations

New research from a campaign finance-tracking group shows foreign corporations are investing heavily in statewide elections. Montana is one of a …

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Heart Butte, Mont., population 600, is on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. The suicide rate for Montana's Native American youth is more than five times the statewide rate for the same age group, according to the Montana Budget and Policy Center. (Amanda MorningStar)
MT Tribes grapple with crippling suicide rate

By Cheryl Platzman Weinstock for KFF Health News.Broadcast version by Mark Moran for Big Sky Connection reporting for the KFF Health News/Public News …

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Montana has consistently had one of the highest voter turnout rates in the nation, according to the Secretary of State's office. The group Western Native Voice is working to increase the number of Indigenous voters this year. (Adobe Stock)
MT Indigenous group creates app to increase voter turnout

A Native American advocacy group is making a big push to get out the Indigenous vote in this year's elections. It is hiring field organizers across …

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Montana House Bill 393, which would create Educational Savings Accounts for special education students, is scheduled to take effect July 1, 2024. Critics vow to challenge it in court. (Adobe Stock)
MT teachers oppose special-ed voucher program

The union that represents Montana teachers opposes a move to legalize private school vouchers in the state. Educational Savings Accounts, or ESAs…

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The majority of victims in sextortion cases are boys between the ages of 13 and 17, targeted by online scammers pretending to be females, according to the FBI. (Adobe Stock)
FBI: Sextortion cases up 20% in Montana

The FBI reports an alarming rise in the number of sextortion cases in Montana, reflecting a national trend. The agency is drawing attention to the …

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About 70% of the 1.6 million-acre Bitterroot National Forest is in northwest Montana. The remainder is in southeast Idaho. (Adobe Stock)
Conservation groups sue to stop Forest Service Mud Creek project

Montana environmental groups have filed suit against the U.S. Forest Service to stop a large logging project in the Bitterroot National Forest…

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Climate stressors such as heat and drought are changing America's forests at a rapid rate. The National Wildlife Federation supports a policy proposed by the Biden administration to protect and nurture habitat in old-growth forests. (Adobe Stock)
Plan to preserve MT's old-growth forests a 'good first step'

A group of conservation, sporting and land-stewardship organizations calls the U.S. Forest Service's move to conserve old-growth forests a "good …

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Urban Community Forestry Grants seek to improve air quality and wildlife habitat in Montana's disadvantaged urban areas. (Adobe Stock)
MT invests in tree canopies in underserved communities

The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation is investing $400,000 in grant projects to improve the tree canopy in Montana's urban are…

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The number of mental health-care providers in Montana increased 36%, from 282.7 to 385.1 per 100,000 people, according to the United Health Foundation report. (Adobe stock)
Health report: Bright spots and warning signs in Montana

New data from the United Health Foundation show a handful of significant and chronic health conditions on the rise across the U.S. But there is …

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