By Sage Sutcliffe

Top Montana News Stories

1. Without any immigration courts, Montana is tough for immigrants looking to build new life (Carrie La Seur / Daily Montanan)

La Seur’s reporting covers common shortfalls of immigration courts across the United States and in Montana. She leads and concludes the story with a compelling narrative of an imagined refugee’s difficult asylum in the state.

La Seur writes “Montana residents are a tiny constituency of perhaps hundreds in the vast U.S. immigration system, processing millions of people, but they demonstrate what’s broken.”

2. Map identifies, prioritizes “access deserts” on Montana rivers (Brett French / Billings Gazette)

Montana Governor Greg Gianforte has a goal to expand access for water-based recreation along prominent Montana rivers, and UM alumni Brett French (’88) writes about how Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is working to make it happen.

3. 48 hours in Helena (Samuel Wilson / Montana Free Press)

UM alumni Samuel Wilson (’13) provides an inside-look at lawmaking in the Capitol building with just 15 photos.

4. Bootstraps & billions: What the state budget debate looks like outside the Capitol (Shaylee Ragar / Montana Public Radio)

“I’ve got my bootstraps, I’m pulling them up, and life is still pretty hard,” said Shea Kumaewa, an interviewee of Ragar’s on her MTPR segment. Ragar reports on proposed MT legislation that may benefit working families like Kumawea’s, but may also fall short as it has in past legislative sessions.

Top Environment and Science Stories

1. Glen Canyon revealed (Story by Craig Childs, Pictures by Elliot Ross / High Country News)

Childs reports on the falling water levels in Lake Powell and Lake Mead, two waterbodies shared between Utah, Nevada and Arizona. He writes about the states’ water rights controversies and the implications of continued reservoir water loss. Childs adds personal notes by recalling his personal history with the region.

Alongside the written component, Ross’ stunning photos illustrate the mystery and beauty of Glen Canyon, a landscape that had been hidden beneath Lake Powell since the reservoir was created in the early 20th century.

Glen Canyon is defined by its finely sculpted, incised and maze-like topography–much of which has been inundated for a half century, until now / Photo by Elliot Ross

2. Long-term exposure to pollution linked to depression, study finds (Kelly Kasulis Cho / The Washington Post)

Cho writes about a recent study from U.K. researchers that warns long term exposure to air pollutants, even in low concentrations, is likely connected to increased risk for depression and anxiety. Cho references several related pieces of research with similar findings.

“The study published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry, which took into account socioeconomic status and preexisting mental illness, supports a growing understanding among scientists that fossil fuels affect more than one’s physical health,” Cho writes.

Top Alumni/Student Story

1. How many cattle in Montana die from extreme cold? (Austin Amestoy and Kathleen Shannon / Montana Public Radio)

This story features two UM journalists—a two-for-one! Austin Amestoy graduated from UM’s journalism program in ’22, and Kathleen Shannon will graduate from UM’s Environment and Natural Resources Master’s program in ’23. They tag-team an episode of The Big Why from Montana Public Radio, addressing how Montana cattle cope with (and sometimes surrender to) cold temperatures in the present and in the past.

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