The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services reports there have been more than 1,400 confirmed cases of influenza this season. A 2018 study showed between 2012 and 2015 adults with a flu vaccine were 82% less likely to be admitted to an intensive care unit for flu-related reasons. MTN News reports in light of the presence of the contagious respiratory illness COVID-19 officials find this year to be an especially important time to receive an influenza shot.
Last December, the state Legislature appealed a state Supreme Court ruling that found lawmakers overstepped their authority when they subpoenaed judicial branch records to the U.S. Supreme Court focusing on whether the justices had the authority to rule on a subpoena for their own communications. Monday, Governor Greg Gianforte argued in a brief that judges’ participation in polling on the proposed legislation undermines the branch’s impartiality. The U.S. Supreme Court has not indicated whether it will take up the case.
Senators Steve Daines and Jon Tester along with Representative Matt Rosendale introduced a bill Monday to authorize The Department of Interior to build a power plant at Gibson Reservoir 70 miles west of Great Falls. The planned generation capacity is 3 megawatts, enough to power about 2,300 homes. The reservoir is part of the Sun River Project which provides irrigation water to Cascade, Lewis and Clark and Teton counties. The next 50 years of maintenance on the Sun River System is expected to cost $75 million.
The state of Montana is increasing its base pay for seasonal firefighters to a minimum of $15.50 per hour to help recruit and retain highly qualified personnel. Montana is advertising for 41 seasonal firefighters along with engine bosses dispatchers fuel truck drivers and helicopter crew members. According to state, job listings the job can pay up to $16.19 per hour. The increased wage makes the state of Montana competitive with other regional fire protection agencies.
It’s been over two months since the West Wind Fire devastated the small ag community of Denton in which two dozen homes and several dozen other structures were completely destroyed. Recently on Voices of Montana, farmer, elevator owner and rural firefighter Brock Linker said steps are underway to prevent a repeat.
Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway will take over Montana Rail Link and its 900 miles of track in Montana and Idaho. The Monday announcement said the deal will eliminate BNSF’s need to change freight between the two railroads will continue strengthening the resiliency of the supply chain and enhance rail capacity in the Pacific Northwest. MRL will become a subdivision of BNSF’s Montana Division. BNSF has committed to retain all union and non-union employees of MRL in their current jobs with similar pay benefits seniority and other terms of employment.