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The National Weather Service in Billings has selected drought and the resulting wildfire activity as the top weather event for 2017. It probably comes as no surprise to residents east of the Continental Divide.

NWS Meteorologist Tom Frieders said parts of Montana are still experiencing drought. He said at this time last year most of the state was in pretty good shape.

Jackie Yamanaka

Thanks to the 2017 Montana Legislature, it is no longer illegal to start up your vehicle and leave it running  unattended while the engine warms up.  It's a common sight during the winter.


USDA NRCS

While coal production is down nationwide, a new report says it still brings a lot of money to Montana. 

Private contractors who take care of Montanans with developmental disabilities are losing state contracts due to Montana’s budget woes. This means many case managers across the state are losing their jobs, and small town service providers are grappling with how to provide care on a reduced budget.

Shutterstock

A very popular event in Helena held annually on the winter solstice is coming to Billings this year.

The Interfaith Solstice Service, known as Leaning Toward the Light,  is being put on by Jewish and Christian communities of Billings:  Congregation Beth Aaron, Shiloh United Methodist Church and Yellowstone County United Methodists.

The service will recognize how religious traditions lead toward light in this the darkest time of the year.

"There may be another $60 to $70 million of lost revenue to the state per year," says state representative Jim Hamilton, a Bozeman Democrat.
Nate Hegyi / YPR

At a town hall meeting in Bozeman Tuesday, state Democrats said the GOP tax plan could worsen Montana’s budget woes.

grizzly bear
National Park Service / National Park Service

With the recent delisting of the Yellowstone-area grizzly bear, Montana, Idaho and Wyoming are contemplating a grizzly bear hunt. But on Monday, their neighbor to the north, British Columbia, announced it was immediately ending its own grizzly bear hunt.

Montana Standard

Hunters harvested at least 107 deer in Carbon County, Montana, over the weekend to kick off a special hunt to gather data on chronic wasting disease, or CWD, in south central Montana.

The deer brought to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ check station at Joliet during the first three days of the special season included 73 mule deer and 34 white-tailed deer. The season opened Friday, and will run through February 15, unless hunters fill a quota of 200 deer of each species before that date.

Yellowstone
Nate Hegyi / Yellowstone Public Radio

Congress is one step closer to passing a ban on mining near Yellowstone National Park, but members of Montana’s delegation don’t agree on all aspects of the legislation. 

Montana and Wyoming rank in the middle of the pack in a new evaluation of the health of the US.

Montana comes in  22nd and Wyoming 26th as the healthiest states in the country. Montana remained the same as last year while Wyoming reached its poorest ranking since 2001.

The report by the advocacy group United Health Foundation evaluated states on 35 factors in five categories that included behaviors, clinical care, and outcomes.

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