Montana educators adopt new science standards
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Montana Board of Public Education has adopted new science standards for public school students.
The new standards don’t tell teachers what to teach and local districts will still have control over their curriculum. However, the standards have benchmarks for what students need to know at certain grade levels.
The Billings Gazette reports the new standards combine Indian Education for All, Montana’s constitutional requirement that schools teach about the state’s Native American history and contemporary culture.
The state’s science standards were last updated in 2006.
Patient group seeks protections for pain pill prescribers
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Pharmaceutical companies and associated organizations have spent relatively little in Montana over the past decade to advocate for policies friendly to their cause, though a patients’ group is pushing for new laws after two state doctors were accused of overprescribing pain medication.
A group calling itself Pain Patients of Montana made its case in March to an interim legislative committee to introduce a Pain Patients’ Bill of Rights in the next legislative session, which begins in January.
A joint investigation by The Associated Press and the Center for Public Integrity found that drugmakers that produce opioid painkillers and allied advocacy groups spent more than $880 million on campaign contributions and lobbying over the past decade as they worked to influence state and federal policies.
Montana regents OK programs for nursing, data science
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A pathway to a bachelor’s in nursing and a data science degree are some of the programs that university regents recently approved.
The Billings Gazette and Montana Standard reported that the Montana University System Board of Regents voted on the proposals last week.
The RN to BSN Completion Program starts next fall at Montana State University Billings.
It’s geared toward students who finish associate degrees in nursing at City College.
Montana Tech reports the data science program will have its first students in about a year.
The school says the degree will be unique in the state university system.
Woman pleads guilty in drug trafficking case
COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho (AP) — Federal prosecutors have their first guilty plea in a multistate drug trafficking case involving at least 20 people, including a Coeur d’Alene gastroenterologist and his family.
The Spokesman-Review reports that Geena Milho pleaded guilty this week to conspiracy to distribute heroin, oxycodone and methamphetamine.
Milho and 10 others were indicted by a federal grand jury in Coeur d’Alene on April 19.
In a plea agreement, Milho admitted she was part of the group that prosecutors say was headed by Loren Toelle, the wife of Stanley Toelle. He’s a gastroenterologist who worked at Kootenai Health. He’s charged with conspiracy to launder money.
Prosecutors say the group transported drugs from Nevada and California to Idaho, Washington, Montana and North Dakota from 2009 until early this year.
Montana authorities learning how to respond to nuclear theft
GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — Montana law enforcement agencies are learning how to respond to an attack on a nuclear weapons convoy.
Malmstrom Air Force Base is working with local authorities to plan for what Malmstrom security planner Stan Moody says could become a critical situation.
To date, there have been no attacks on convoys, but the agencies say they are prepared.
The Great Falls Tribune reports local agencies could be the first to respond to any incident that occurs off base or away from guarded nuclear sites.
WYDOT considering Yellowstone license plate
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The Wyoming Department of Transportation is looking into the idea of offering state license plates that celebrate Yellowstone National Park.
WYDOT Director Bill Panos told Transportation Commission members that a Yellowstone plate is in the early development stage and the agency is still researching the idea.
The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports that the Wyoming Legislature would have to pass a law allowing the plate to be produced.
Panos said the department is looking into what the plate would cost to produce and how to make sure those costs are covered.
Besides being another plate option for drivers, Panos said the Yellowstone plate would help solidify the park’s association with the state of Wyoming.