YPRnews

Department of the Interior

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and other federal officials are distancing themselves from a multi-million dollar contract between a small Montana company and Puerto Rico’s electric utility.

A new movie about Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh opens Friday, October 27, 2017, in select theaters in Montana. The 95 minute animated film focuses on the last six weeks of his life.

This movie is an intimate portrait that weaves Van Gogh’s art with his thoughts, and sheds new light on this troubled artist.

“People think about the Sunflowers and the Irises. We think about the fact that he cut his ear off,” said MSU-Billings art history professor Dr.LeeAnne Gilbertson.

Jackie Yamanaka / YPR

An investment firm backing a Montana company that won a major contract to restore power in Puerto Rico has ties with the U.S. Secretary of Energy, whose department has been involved in power restoration on the island since before the lights went out.

Texas-based HBC Investments invested in Whitefish Energy this past August, a month before Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico and left the U.S. territory in the dark.


Jackie Yamanaka

One of the candidates vying for the Republican nomination to the U.S. Senate says where he was born and raised shouldn’t be a campaign issue, even if it's a topic raised by his opponents.


The Cottonwood decision says the U.S. Forest Service needs to draw up a new management plan for 12 million acres of critical Canada Lynx habitat.
Keith Williams (CC-BY)

On Monday, Republican Senator Steve Daines joined three other Republicans in releasing draft legislation they say would reverse the so-called Cottonwood decision. Both Daines and his Democratic counterpart, Jon Tester, see it as one way to prevent wildfires, but it’s much bigger than that.


401kcalculator.org

Montana can keep its voter enacted campaign contribution limits.  That’s the ruling from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, overturning a judge’s decision.


Blackfeet tribal council member Roland Kennerly sits at the edge of the Badger-Two Medicine area near the Blackfeet Reservation.
Nate Hegyi / YPR

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has recommended a new national monument at Badger-Two Medicine. While the Blackfeet Nation says the proposal is a good start, they’re also hesitant to fully embrace it before having a say in how the proposed monument is managed.


Montana Motor Vehicle Divison

The federal government gave Montana a one-year extension to comply with the REAL ID law.  Without it, Montanans could not board a commercial airplane or enter federal buildings after January 22, 2018 using their driver’s license.  The alternative was another federally issued identification, like a passport.

The Department of Homeland Security had said it would only grant Montana an extension was if the state made a commitment toward making substantial and documented progress toward complying with REAL ID.

Jackie Yamanaka

Retired state district judge Russ Fagg made it official:  he’s a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate. The announcement comes after a 4 month exploratory effort that Democrats have called a stealth campaign.   

"I love the people of the state," says Fagg, standing on a flatbed trailer parked in a helicopter hanger at Billings Flying Service. "I love the natural beauty of the state and so tonight for the very first time I am publicly announcing that I am going to run for the U.S. Senate."

As part of his settlement with a reporter he was convicted of assaulting earlier this year, Montana's lone congressman Greg Gianforte donated $50,000 to the Committee To Protect Journalists.

It’s a well-respected, non-partisan group that advocates for the rights and lives of reporters across the globe.

But now that group is saying they are disappointed with the congressman after a brief meeting. 

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