By Sage Sutcliffe

Top Montana News Stories

1. Bug Bytes: Wooly Bear Weather (Glenn Marangelo / Montana Public Radio

In fewer than 2.5 minutes, Marangelo and his cohost introduce a new and interesting creepy crawly for the ‘Bug Bytes’ series, created by MTPR and the Missoula Butterfly House and Insectarium. Their latest clip features the Woolly Bear, a fuzzy caterpillar that is said to predict the weather. Well, kind of. Here’s what the subtitle hints about the creature:

“The weather-predicting myth of the Woolly Bear has been passed down since colonial times. The folklore holds that when you see a caterpillar in autumn, the thicker the reddish-brown stripe, the milder the winter ahead. If its coloration is dominated by the thicker black bands, then we’re in for a doozy of a winter.”

2. Becoming | Portraits of the West (Glacier Conservancy Team)

“Headwaters is a show about how Glacier National Park is connected to everything else,” says the Glacier Conservancy Team about their Headwaters podcast, which recently launched season three. Each episode in the new season explores the history of Montana’s prized Glacier NP in about 40 minutes. If you prefer reading instead of listening, transcripts are available at the link above. (The latest 4th episode is not yet linked on this page. You can find it on Spotify or iTunes, or start from the beginning.)

3. Gianforte asks legislature to ‘strengthen’ bill banning gender-affirming care before signing it (Blair Miller / Daily Montanan)

Miller’s piece provides an update to Senate Bill 99 in Montana Legislature, which would place a “ban on gender-affirming care for minors.” As Miller’s title suggests, the bill made it through the house and senate, but the governor thinks it is not strong enough. Miller clarifies which changes Governor Gianforte proposes and how the bill will impact trans youth in Montana. Some in opposition believe the bill violates their constitutional right to privacy.

4. Missoula agencies reflect on Hellgate active-shooter threat (Zoë Buchli / Missoulian)

Just over two weeks ago, Hellgate High School in Missoula went into lockdown after an active shooter threat appeared on Snapchat. After four hours and three students were detained, the lockdown was lifted and students were released early. Buchli relays details from this event and ties the news into the national context of mass shootings (often in school settings) that plague the U.S.

Top Environment and Science News Stories

1. The Rush for Solar Farms Could Make It Harder for Young Farmers to Access Land (Anne Marshall-Chalmers / Civil Eats)

Two types of farmers are at odds as renewable energy demand increases and available land decreases. Marshall-Chalmers phrases the question well: “Millions of acres of solar panels are needed to reach renewable energy goals. With established farmers being offered big bucks to turn ag into energy, will the next generation of farmers face another hurdle and be priced out?”

2. Where There’s Plastic, There’s Fire. Indiana Blaze Highlights Concerns Over Expanding Plastic Recycling (James Bruggers / Inside Climate News)

Bruggers acknowledges this specific environmental disaster in Indiana is “far from an isolated incident in the world of facilities” like the one that recently went up in flames. Bruggers reports on why the fire in Indiana began, why it has happened before and why it can happen again if improper plastic recycling continues.

Top Student/Alumni Story

1. A river runs through it — but how should it be managed? (Joshua Murdock / Missoulian)

Story titles are sometimes hard to get right, but this one (an ode to Norman Maclean’s book and the 1992 movie ‘A River Runs Through It,’ ) is clever. J-School alumni Joshua Murdock (’16) seeks to answer the question in the second part of his title, specifically how the BLM will manage a newly public stretch of land along the Blackfoot River. Murdock is covers the outdoors and natural resources beat for the Missoulian.

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