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  • Columbia Falls man dies in ATV crash

    Published On: Apr 18 2015 08:34:45 PM MDT   Updated On: Apr 19 2015 01:44:41 PM MDT
    ATV accident
    MISSOULA, Mont. -

    A 30-year-old male from Columbia Falls died Saturday in an ATV crash near Eureka, according to the Montana Highway Patrol.

    The crash was reported at 2:50 a.m.

    Officials say the man sideswiped another ATV on Sophie Lake road before losing control and striking several trees.

    We're told the man was wearing a helmet, but the strap wasn't buckled.

    Officials say alcohol and speed were both factors in the crash.

  • Yellowstone National Park kicks off spring season, opens roads, begins construction

    Published On: Apr 17 2015 09:48:42 PM MDT   Updated On: Apr 17 2015 09:50:28 PM MDT
    GARDINER, Mont. -

    As you kick off your weekend, Yellowstone National Parking is kicking off its 2015 tourist season.

    The gates opened Friday morning and already visitors are driving through. But as Yellowstone welcomes a growth in tourism each year, the park also needs to keep up with the aging infrastructure.

    The park's Public Affairs Spokesperson Amy Bartlett said the season opening comes right on time and the lack of snow helped plow crews.

    "Some parts of the park were a lot lighter than past years so they were able to accomplish that task a little easier than in the past," said Bartlett.

    She said the nice weather could boost spring visitation, the numbers increase every year, and with so much traffic, President of the Greater Gardiner Community Council Bill Berg said the cars can get backed up, especially at the entrance.

    "Historically, we've had on really busy days in the summer, traffic backed up from the entrance way, sometimes as much as a mile across the Yellowstone River Bridge to the other side of Gardiner," said Berg.

    The infrastructure to handle it is aging, that's why the park is taking on a major construction project.

    "We're going to address decades worth of unmet infrastructure and needs in Gardiner," said Berg.

    The plan calls for more parking spaces near the North Entrance.

    "Adding some parking, some pedestrian friendly elements," Berg listed.

    And sidewalks, plus a new welcome center with bathrooms. All in efforts of making the area around the famous historical Roosevelt Arch safer and more accessible. But for those driving under the arch now, drivers will notice one difference from springs past.

    "There's going to be less snow on the ground when visitors enter the park this spring," said Bartlett.

    As Yellowstone celebrates the start of a new season, the park also kicked off National Park Week and to celebrate, you can visit Yellowstone for free Saturday and Sunday.

    You can travel Mammoth Hot Springs down to through Norris to Old Faithful, from Norris to Canyon to see the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and from West Yellowstone to Madison.

    The roads not yet open will be opening sometime in May.

  • Structures burned in wildfire near Rock Creek

    Published On: Apr 18 2015 07:50:34 PM MDT
    wildfire 2
    MISSOULA, Mont. -

    Fire officials say several sheds and outhouses were burned Saturday in a wildfire southeast of Missoula.

    The fire was reported around 3 p.m. near Rock Creek.

    Officials say the fire spread to about 5 acres near a group of cabins.

    At 7:30 p.m., crews had the fire contained and were in the mop-up phase of their response.

    The cause of the fire is under investigation.

  • Medicaid expansion passes Legislature

    Published On: Apr 18 2015 03:56:57 PM MDT   Updated On: Apr 18 2015 05:38:29 PM MDT
    HELENA, Mont. -

    The state Legislature has passed a bill expanding Medicaid eligibility to about 70,000 low-income Montana residents.
        
    The bill approved Saturday heads to Gov. Steve Bullock, who is expected to sign it into law.
        
    Bullock issued a statement applauding passage of the measure, saying he's glad politics could be put aside on behalf of the health of state residents and the economies of rural towns.
        
    Republican Sen. Ed Buttrey of Great Falls brought the measure in March after the governor's proposal to expand Medicaid failed. He calls it a compromise because it would require enrollees to pay premiums and copays for services.
        
    Proponents say the bill will help Montana rural hospitals that are in danger of closing due to the overwhelming cost of uncompensated care.

  • Brain injury conference brings survivors together

    Published On: Apr 18 2015 02:32:41 PM MDT
    Brain injury conference brings survivors together
    KALISPELL, Mont. -

    The State of Montana ranks second in the nation for the number of traumatic brain injury related deaths per capita.

    The Brain Injury Alliance of Montana put on a two-day conference in Kalispell to have both survivors and health care professionals talk about those kinds of injures.

    “My injury was eight years ago, last March 16th. I’ll never forget, it was in 2007,” said Glen Brist, a traumatic brain injury (TBI) survivor.

    Brist says he suffered the injury after slipping and falling from a trailer and hitting his head.

    "Not that I remember after the accident, but I know it changed my life," he said.

    Brist says since the accident, he’s had difficulty in his thought process and multitasking.  

    "For myself it was fatigue, I was tired all the time; it’s hard to process information," said Brist.

    But, Brist isn’t alone. The Center for Disease Control estimates that 1.7 million people a year suffer a traumatic brain injury. Of those individuals 52,000 die, 275,000 are hospitalized and about 1.4 million are treated and released from an emergency department.

    "In Montana, we have 44,000 that are living with a traumatic brain injuryand Montana constantly ranks second or third in the nation per capita of injuries," said Sahra Susman, from the Brain Injury Alliance of Montana.

    The Brain Injury Alliance of Montana is the only program in the state geared towards helping those who suffer from a brain injury.

    "Often, people that survive a traumatic brain injury feel isolated or they may be having trouble finding the right people to provide services for them," Susman said.

    Susman says the purpose of the conference is to change that.

    "We wanted to bring together experts in the field that work with people that have brain injuries to provide a resource for them—the people that have experienced injuries themselves," she said.

    "It gives us hope that there is help [and to] just know that we are not alone; we have other people that are going through the same thing," Brist said.

    After Brist’s life changed eight years ago, he says he realized the importance of living in the present.

    "For all of us, if we can just put aside the past and anxiety of the future and just enjoy the people that we are with when we're with them," he said.

    The Brain Alliance Injury of Montana will host two more conferences. One will be in Miles City on May 8th and 9th and the other one will be in Great Falls on May 22nd and 23rd.

  • Matt Gray's First Alert Forecast

    Published On: Apr 18 2015 06:09:06 PM MDT

    Mostly sunny but cooler on Sunday