Monday, January 30, 2023


Massachusetts could restrict police use of facial recognition technology, Wyoming mulls more health coverage for workers, and a report finds low salary contributes to social workers leaving the field.


Civil rights activists push for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act following the killing of Tyre Nichols, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy says he can reach a deal with President Biden on the debt ceiling, and election experts say 2023 could shape voting rights across the country.


"Brain Gain?" Research shows rural population is actually growing, especially in recreational areas; other small towns are having success offering relocation incentives like free building lots, cash, complimentary dinners and even internet credits; and researchers say the key is flexibility and creativity.

Tour of Former Mill Site Underscores Dangers for MT River


Monday, November 21, 2022   

Community members and conservation groups recently toured a former paper mill because of urgent concerns that the site poses a threat to a nearby Montana river.

The Smurfit-Stone Mill near Missoula operated from 1957 to 2010, leaving behind pollutants that continue to leak into the nearby Clark Fork River.

In 2020, the state expanded a fish consumption advisory to a 100 mile stretch on the river.

Elena Evans, environmental health manager for the Missoula City County Health Department, was part of last week's tour.

She said berms separate industrial waste from the Clark Fork over a four mile stretch and cover 380 acres of the river's floodplain.

"The berms cause concern for folks downstream," said Evans, "leaving unlined dumps and landfills and sludge ponds that are impacting our EPA-designated sole source aquifer, and so that's why we had a tour."

Evans said the site also is an issue for Missoula's drinking water.

She said she hopes that by voicing their concerns during the US Environmental Protection Agency's investigation phase of the Superfund site, officials will incorporate the outcomes the community is looking for - such as restoring the Clark Fork floodplain.

In 2018, higher-than-average spring runoff caused part of the berms to erode and released toxic waste into the river.

Julia Crocker, community programs coordinator with the Clark Fork Coalition, was also part of last week's tour.

She said there's anxiety over what an even larger event could do to the waste stored behind those berms.

"As we've seen these large floods happen more and more frequently due to the changing climate," said Crocker, "there's a possibility that if we were to have an episode that happened on Yellowstone here, all of that would get pushed into the Clark Fork."

David Brooks is the executive director of Montana Trout Unlimited and was on last week's tour as well.

His organization is part of a study that will start in 2023 and look at fish and water quality near the former mill to determine the scope and scale of contaminants on the river.

Brooks said this is a critical issue for Montanans.

"People recreate in the river," said Brooks. "People eat fish out of the river. And so even absent a catastrophic event, this is a long term concern for water quality, fish and people."

The effect of toxins in the area also is a concern for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, whose ancestral land lies within the 100-mile fish consumption advisory area.

Tribal members rely on subsistence fishing and have been leading efforts for a proper cleanup of the former mill site.

get more stories like this via email
Facial-recognition technology companies, which originally partnered with law enforcement, are now working with schools and universities to increase safety and prevent shootings by denying campus access to people who have been banned, or to monitor activity inside school buildings. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Lawmakers in the Commonwealth are considering legislation to ensure police use of facial-recognition technology also protects people's privacy and civ…


Next week, Ohio farmers and their advocates head to Washington, D.C., to push for shifting federal programs toward growing nutritious food, as …

Social Issues

Social justice advocates have just launched a new public education campaign. It's called "Just Safe," and it's aimed at changing the conversation …

Since the beginning of 2022, seven Western states have initiated programs to maintain wildlife habitat and safe passage, through fencing, signs, overpasses and underpasses, according to Pew research. (TaborChichakly/Adobe Stock)


Reducing the number of wildlife-vehicle collisions is the goal of a bill before the New Mexico Legislature this session. Sen. Mimi Stewart, D-…

Social Issues

A Nevada nonprofit is celebrating a 94% graduation rate among its high school seniors for the 2021-2022 school year. Tami Hance-Lehr. CEO and state …

Super Bowl LVII will be held at State Farm Stadium in Glendale on Feb. 12. (Katherine Welles/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Super Bowl LVII is right around the corner, which means Arizona will see hefty spending and wide exposure because of the massive sporting event…

Health and Wellness

It is not a pandemic yet, but eye doctors worry the constant use of digital devices could eventually result in long-term health problems for many …


Maine's small farmers are encouraged to complete the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture census to ensure they have a voice in federal decisions …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021