Blog Cabin

MSU sets another enrollment record

(BOZEMAN)- Montana State University continues to burst at the seams, with Spring Enrollment setting another new record for the start of 2018.

New figures released by the school this past week show 15,496 students enrolled for classes to start this year, an increase of almost 300 students from the same time last year. 

MSU administrators believe the continued strong enrollment is fueled in large part by programs and initiatives designed to keep students, and especially first year students, on track to graduate. MSU's four year graduation rate is hovering just under 27%, an improvement of about 7% over the past five years. MSU's "Freshman 15" campaign also puts students on a track to graduate sooner, saving them tuition. 

MSU's spring enrollment is the second record this school year. Last fall's 16,703 students was also a record.

The University of Montana is still processing its numbers for the first look at enrollment for spring, with UM running on a week later schedule than MSU. 


Brutal conditions continue to hit Rocky Mountain Front

Wind driven snow was creating almost zero visibility on U.S. 2 near Browning Tuesday morning- MDT photo (BROWNING)- This is turning out to be another week of brutal conditions on the Rocky Mountain Front. 

And from the look of next week's forecast there doesn't seem to be a lot of relief in sight.

After being hit with more snow late last week, and then temperatures that plunged to more than 20 below to start this week, winds continued to howl all along the Front Tuesday morning. While air temperatures were warmer, the strong winds were creating hazardous driving conditions closing many of the area roads, especially around Browning and East Glacier. 

The Montana Department of Transportation had closed U.S. 2 from the summit of Marias Pass into Browning Tuesday morning after conditions made the route nearly impassable. 

And there's more winter where that came from. Forecasters are predicting cold air will "slump" out of the Arctic again next week, combining with incoming Pacific moisture in a classic "La Nina" pattern, which should bring a good chance for more snow and cold, especially along the front and across North Central Montana. 


Utah musher presses through frigid weather to win "Race to Sky" a 4th time

Jessie Royer at the finish line in Lincoln- Laura Daugereau photo(LINCOLN)- Musher Jessie Royer of Utah makes history, tying up her 4th win at the Young Living Race to the Sky, crossing the finish line in Lincoln after surviving a weekend of frigid temperatures on 300 miles of trails in the Upper Blackfoot. 

Royer crossed the finish line at 7:30 Monday evening, finishing with 10-dogs. She's a veteran of sled dog racing in North America. From 2008 to 2011 she was the highest finisher in the Iditarod race in Alaska, where she had been named Rookie of the Year in 2001. She's finished in the Top 10 in Alaska three different times. Royer was the first female winner in the Montana race at age 17 in 1994, also winning in 2015 and 2016. 

Second place went to Royer's fellow Utahan, Dylan Harris, who came in just before 10 p.m. Laurie Warren of Council, Idaho was third after winning the race last year. Brett Bruggeman of Great Falls was the highest Montana finisher, coming in 4th just after 11:30 last night. 


Stevi mayor says he will return to fire service if AG opinion supports it

Dewey delivered a statement as he resigned Monday night(STEVENSVILLE)- Stevensville Mayor Brandon Dewey says the fire department is "his life" and he'll plan to return as a volunteer if a future Attorney General's opinion supports the idea of him serving as mayor and firefighter. 

Dewey is agreeing to step down from his job as a volunteer firefighter after getting pressure from the Town Council. 

The council voted unanimously Monday night to ask for Dewey's immediate resignation from the fire department, where he's been a volunteer and administrative assistant for several years. The panel was concerned about possible conflicts of interest, with the city attorney saying his service falls under state law that addresses "incompatible positions." However, the city is still waiting to see if the AG's office issues a more definitive opinion on the matter. 

Dewey says he feels like the request was a "personal attack", but agreed to step aside. 


Outspoken rancher to discuss property rights during weekend rally

Gage Skidmore photo (PARADISE)- It's an appearance expected to sound a note of opposition to public land management policies. 

But a weekend appearance by outspoken Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy could generate more attention because of his controversial past than what could change in the future. 

A federal judge ordered charges dropped against Cliven Bundy on accusations that he federal authorities in a dispute over grazing rights. He'd been in prison for the past couple of years facing charges for the standoff at his Nevada ranch, along with his sons and Ryan Payne of Anaconda.  

Bundy was also a central figure in the armed standoff at an Eastern Oregon wildlife refuge two years ago. 

 The meeting Saturday evening in Paradise in Sanders County is expected to touch on the thorny issue of federal management of public lands. It's being sponsored by the Coalition of Western Property Owners. 

Other speakers include Shawna Cox, who participated in the Malheur standoff and Montana State Senator Jennifer Fielder.

The Montana Wilderness Association is criticizing Fielder for aligning herself "with a dangerous fringe group that is violently trying to bring an end to public land ownership."