Longtime Butte legislator, teach Dan Harrington dies at 77
Longtime Montana Democratic legislator and Butte teacher Dan Harrington died Monday.
Harrington, known as a fierce advocate for the working class, served in the House from 1972 to 2001. He then served two terms in the Senate from 2001 to 2009.
He chaired the Butte-Silver Bow County Democratic Central Committee for 20 years and founded the Burros Club.
In 1971 and 1972, Harrington was a delegate to the Montana Constitutional Convention.
Harrington, a long-time leader in the Butte Teachers Union, taught in the Butte School District for 36 years. He was 77.
Governor proposes plan to improve child protective services
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Gov. Steve Bullock is proposing a plan to improve the effectiveness and oversight of the Division of Children and Family Services.
Monday’s announcement comes nearly two months after mental health counselors and families of children involved in the system met with the governor to air their complaints and request numerous changes within the agency.
Bullock announced the Protect Montana Kids Initiative, which calls for hiring 33 more caseworkers, improving staff training and creating a more efficient computerized case management system. The initiative also calls for creating a team to review incidents of serious child injury or death to recommend any necessary policy changes.
Bullock also issued an executive order to create a Protect Montana Kids Commission to examine the child protection system and propose legislative updates and other recommendations for improvement.
Feds plan announcement on protections for imperiled bird
DENVER (AP) — U.S. officials plan to make a major announcement Tuesday on efforts to protect an imperiled bird that could have implications for the energy and ranching industries.
The Interior Department says governors of Colorado, Montana, Nevada and Wyoming are among those who plan to join Secretary Sally Jewell and other federal officials for the announcement about greater sage grouse at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge outside Denver.
The government faces a Sept. 30 court-imposed deadline to decide whether it should list the chicken-sized birds as a threatened or endangered species.
Greater sage grouse range from California to the Dakotas. They’ve dwindled from millions to no more than 500,000 amid loss of their sagebrush habitat.
A listing could restrict oil and gas development and grazing across much of the West, though Congress has withheld funding to implement any such decision.
Panel recommends canceling drilling lease near Glacier
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A federal panel is recommending the U.S. government cancel a drilling lease on land near Montana’s Glacier National Park that is considered sacred to Native American tribes.
The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation submitted its recommendations Monday to the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The Forest Service will make its own recommendation to the BLM, which will make the final decision.
The advisory council says the Badger-Two Medicine area is of premier importance to the Blackfeet tribe’s religious and cultural traditions.
It says the plan by Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based Solenex LLC to drill an exploratory oil and gas well there would so damage the area that the tribe’s ability to practice those traditions would be lost.
Solenex is suing the U.S. government to lift a suspension on the lease.
Sentencing set for Havre man in tribal corruption probe
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A Havre businessman charged in a corruption investigation at Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation will be sentenced in December after he pleaded guilty to failing to file currency transaction reports.
Shad Huston pleaded guilty on Thursday to not reporting financial transactions when his money service business cashed checks of more than $10,000.
Those 19 checks included money for the family members of Chippewa Cree tribal leaders who have been convicted in the corruption probe.
Prosecutors say the transaction reports are required to allow federal officials to track money laundering and fraud.
Huston, who is 40, could face up to five years in prison when U.S. District Judge Brian Morris sentences him on Dec. 16.
Huston still faces charges of bribery, wire fraud, embezzlement and false claims. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges.
National Science Foundation awards $3 million to MSU
BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — The National Science Foundation will award Montana State University a $3 million grant to expand its nanotechnology center.
Nanotechnology is fundamental in many areas of science including biology, physics, and engineering sciences.
The grant will be used to bring together existing MSU labs into shared space that will be more easily accessible. The money also will improve existing equipment and buy new equipment.
MSU was one of six nationwide research sites chosen to receive a grant. The grant will be distributed over the next five years.
MSU has five existing labs involved in nanotechnology.
The university also announced that the late Bill Wurst, who graduated in 1959 in electrical engineering, left $4 million to MSU as matching funds for its new engineering building.