Montana Department of Transportation

Campaign 2018: Windshield Time With Montana's Congressional Candidates

Driving across the great expanse of Montana isn’t for the faint at heart. During the winter it can be a white knuckle experience with motorists confronting icy and snow packed roads, strong winds, and ground blizzards. Any time of the year critters can jump out on to the roadway. This is what our candidates for statewide office face as they bounce from one campaign stop to the next on the seemingly endless ribbon of blacktop, gravel, and gumbo roads that connect our far-flung population.

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Mountain West Bureau

oil well
Montana Public Radio

The vast majority of the nation’s oil and gas wells are located here in Mountain West. But a new report says once those wells run dry it could cost taxpayers billions of dollars to clean them up.

“This is a huge red flag,” says Aaron Weiss with the Center for Western Priorities.

The conservation group says it would cost taxpayers more than six billion dollars to clean up all the wells on federal land.

A fierce debate is taking place across the country right now: What to do about immigrants who came here illegally as children. Up until recently, they qualified for a program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, which protects them from deportation. But the Trump administration rescinded that Obama-era rule and Congress is debating what will take its place.  

We talked to three people affected by that debate right here in the Mountain West.

Colorado Springs, Colorado

In the spring of 1942, official posters went up across the West Coast and Arizona. All people of Japanese ancestry had one week to report to assembly centers. Ultimately, more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans were forcibly imprisoned in internment camps, many of them located in the Mountain West. This week is when we remember those camps and the people who lived in them.

One of them was a 13-year-old boy named Minoru Tonai.

The wind chill dropped to nearly 50 degrees below zero near the Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation in Montana.
NOAA

Bitterly cold temperatures are gripping much of the Mountain West this week. Wind chills have hit almost 50 degrees below zero in Montana and Wyoming.


A coal train in the Powder River Basin
Jerry Huddleston / Flickr

Coal lease rates have hit a new low in Montana and Wyoming’s Powder River Basin. This is the money companies pay to the federal government to dig up coal from public lands.


The Last Piece Of Ground

A YPR special about the Northern Cheyenne, the coal industry, and the importance of land

Acting U.S. Education Secretary John B. King Jr. wants states and districts to focus on streamlined, higher-quality tests in a broader effort to win back some classroom time.

And here's the kicker: The feds will actually pay for (some of) the transition.

Intel has a new report out today. It's not about semiconductors. It's about diversity: how Intel is doing when it comes to women and underrepresented minorities on its staff. The results are mixed — some strong and some, frankly, failures. Still the sheer amount of information is exceptional, and a direct challenge to other Silicon Valley giants who've chosen to hide their data.

Be Engineers About Diversity

Let's start with some numbers.

Amid growing questions over the future of Obamacare exchanges, the head of California's marketplace said the nation's largest private health insurer should take responsibility for nearly $1 billion in losses and stop blaming the federal health law.

In Hong Kong's densely packed Causeway Bay district, a red sign with a portrait of Chairman Mao looms over the bustling storefronts and shoppers. The sign indicates that there is coffee, books and Internet on offer inside.

Customers go past a window where travelers can exchange foreign currencies, up a narrow staircase and into a room stacked high with books. The walls are painted red and decked out with 1960s Cultural Revolution propaganda posters and other Mao-era memorabilia. The aroma of coffee and the sound of jazz waft over the book-browsing customers.

When Robert Durst, the subject of HBO's documentary series The Jinx, is back in court in New Orleans on Wednesday, his longtime attorney, Dick DeGuerin, will again defend him. Durst is expected to plead guilty to a gun charge in New Orleans.

DeGuerin will also defend Durst in California this summer, when the heir of a wealthy New York family goes on trial for murder.

WATCH: Super Bowl Ads Already Generating Buzz

Feb 2, 2016

A landmark deal 10 years in the making will protect 9.1 millions acres of Canadian rain forest on the Pacific Coast of British Columbia.

The protected area in the Great Bear Rainforest is about half the size of Ireland.

It's been a month since armed militants took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, and even though the leaders of that occupation have been arrested, the community of Harney County finds itself deeply divided.

That anger erupted on Monday in the form of a huge shouting match on the steps of the county courthouse in Burns, Ore. It's a small town of about 2,700 people, so it's not every day that you see 400 or 500 people out on the street, screaming at each other.

How Much Harm Can The Zika Virus Really Do?

Feb 2, 2016

How much harm can the Zika virus do?

That's the question that is bedeviling researchers in Brazil. It's not just the matter of a possible link to brain damage in babies born to mothers who contracted the virus during pregnancy. There have also been suspected cases of adult patients who suffered temporary hearing loss.

Researchers are trying to make sense of it all, and yet they lack very basic information. Even the number of cases and the degree to which it has spread are unknown.

Saru Jayaraman may be restaurant obsessed, but don't call her a foodie. She's the founding director of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, a national organization that advocates for better wages and working conditions for restaurant workers. She's also published several studies in legal and policy journals as director of the Food Labor Research Center at the University of California-Berkeley.

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Field Days

On this episode of Field Days, rancher Weston Merrill prepares his barn for calving.

Sunday mornings at 11

Resounds: Arts And Culture On The High Plains

Hosts Anna Paige and Corby Skinner bring listeners access to the creators who live in our communities and who tell our stories through their art.

Host Stella Fong shares her personal love of food and wine in this monthly series. Celebrate the bounty of the region with Flavors Under the Big Sky.

YPR Smartphone And Tablet App

Now Available in the Apple App Store and on Google Play