By Sage Sutcliffe

Top Montana News Stories

1. Why are there so many UFO sightings in Montana? (Edward F. O’Brien / Montana Public Radio)

We may be ‘big sky’ country, but why else might UFO sightings be so common in Montana? J-School grad Edward F. O’Brien (’94) explores this question in MTPR’s latest episode of The Big Why.

2. Push # for Spanish (Mardy Harding / Montana Free Press)

Moyce Immigrant Health Lab, or Proyecto SALUD, at Montana State University is fulfilling an important need. “The lab was created by assistant professor Dr. Sally Moyce and includes an interdisciplinary group of researchers working to address health disparities in the Latino community in Gallatin County, a population that has increased dramatically in recent years,” writes Harding for MTFP.

3. USDA projects farm income will fall in 2023 after two robust years (Adam Goldstein / Daily Montanan)

Goldstein’s strong lead says it all (but keep reading the piece to learn even more, of course!):

“After two strong years of growth, U.S. farm income is forecast to drop substantially in 2023 as commodity prices fall and expenses rise, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service reported Tuesday. And with food prices projected to rise into 2023, the nation’s producers will not be reaping the financial benefits.”

4. Missoula lands ’23, ’24 Pan-American Cyclocross races (Joshua Murdock / Missoulian)

The Pan-American Cyclocross Championships are coming to Missoula this coming November and again next year, reports Joshua Murdock for the Missoulian. Cyclocrossers from the whole Western Hemisphere will convene and compete in their sport, which “falls somewhere between mountain biking and road cycling,” Murdock writes.

Top Environment and Science News Stories

The top environment and science stories this week are both about thinning forests, but for two different climate change battles. Larsen reports for the Salt Lake Tribune about scientists’ take on a proposed idea to thin nearby forests to help fill the Great Salt Lake. Another Western story, Shepherd reports for High Country News about thinning forests to reduce wildfire fuel.

1. Thinning forests won’t help restore the Great Salt Lake, scientists say, and could even make things worse (Leia Larsen / The Salt Lake Tribune)

2. Does thinning work for wildfire prevention? (Emily Shepherd / High Country News)

Top Alumni/Student Story

1. Bills concerning transgender youth and local control surface in House (Alex Sakariassen and Arren Kimbel-Sannit / Montana Free Press)

In the January 25th ‘Good Work Wednesday’ post, we featured UM Alumni Alex Sakariassen’s (’08) MTFP story about the state toughening obscenity laws within public schools as a top Montana news story. As a follow up, Sakariassen and Kimbel-Sannit report again for MTFP and cover the latest in public school related legislature: HB 361, “which would change Montana law to explicitly state that misgendering a transgender student or calling them by their dead name — the name they were given at birth — is not considered a discriminatory practice.”

Senior Elinor Smith is also covering the issue for the UM Legislative News Service. Read her piece on these bills in the Hi-Line Today here.

Both stories use powerful quotes from testimonies supporting either side of the issue.

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