The 2005 Legislature (No. 208)
The 2005 legislative session gets underway January 3. Montana Focus considers Gov. Schweitzer's legislative priorities; Senate and House leaders talk about their agendas and issues that will drive the 90- day session; and American Indian members in the House and Senate discuss their priorities with Montana Focus producer Mike Jetty. Produced by Gene Brodeur and Scott Sterling for KUSM/MontanaPBS, MSU - Bozeman.
Open-Container Law: Where's The Problem? (No. 209)
Although Montana leads the nation in alcohol-related traffic fatalities, an effort to get an open-container law passed during the 2003 legislative session failed. Supporters argue that making it illegal to drive and drink is a no-brainer; opponents say it's an infringement of civil liberties. Montana Focus looks at renewed efforts to pass open-container legislation during the 2005 session. In our Op Ed segment, Capitol Bureau Chief for Lee Newspapers, Chuck Johnson, talks about Gov. Brian Schweitzer's State of the State Address. Also, Greg Mortenson, president of the Central Asia Institute talks about the upcoming election in Iraq, and similar circumstances in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Finally, The Burns Telecom Center on the MSU Campus has a video/audio connection to Camp Fallujah in Iraq. Families in Bozeman and other areas of Montana get the chance to talk with family members and loved ones serving in Iraq. Produced by Gene Brodeur and Scott Sterling for KUSM/MontanaPBS, MSU - Bozeman.
Montana's Prisons: A Growth Industry - Part 1 (No. 210)
In the first installment of a two part series on Montana Corrections, we travel to the Montana State Prison at Deer Lodge, where some 1400 prisoners are housed in buildings that range from minimum to maximum security. By contrast, 200 female offenders are serving sentences at the Women's Prison in Billings. Corrections Director Bill Slaughter talks about the shift to place non violent offenders in pre release centers. In our Op-Ed segment, we visit with Bozeman Daily Chronicle managing editor Bob Gibson, about a recent editorial opposing the call to build additional housing for an anticipated 5.6% increase in the state prison population. And, Lyle Gillette takes us on a tour of the state's first prison, built by inmates in 1871.
Montana's Prisons: A Growth Industry - Part 2 (No. 211)
Part two of the Montana Focus series on corrections features an interview with Warden James MacDonald at the Crossroads Correctional Center in Shelby, and a visit with inmates Robert Bone and Higinio Gonzalez. At the Juvenile Girls Facility in Boulder, we interview Superintendent Cindy McKenzie. For our OP-ED segment we talk to Editor Barbara Simonetti of the Shelby Promoter. Finally, KTVQ-Billings reporter Kaycee Murray introduces us to a Billings pilot who just returned from relief work for Tsunami victims.
2005 Legislature, The Homestretch (No. 212)
Lawmakers in Helena are entering the final month of the 90-day session that started in January. Can state lawmakers meet the April 25th adjournment without the need for a special session? Montana Focus poses that question to Governor Schweitzer and leaders in the Senate and House of Representatives. The major spending package, HB 2, is currently at 7 billion dollars. Both parties are in the process of trimming the fat from the budget. Additionally, Mike Jetty talks with American Indian legislators about education and tribal issues and Great Falls Tribune capitol bureau chief Mike Dennison provides his take on the 2005 Session. Finally, paleontologist Jack Horner, cosmologist Neil Cornish, and humanities professor Mike Miles ponder the human condition with the best and brightest Montana State University students. Produced by Gene Brodeur and Scott Sterling, for KUSM-MontanaPBS, Montana State University.
Power to the Public (No. 213)
It seems like only yesterday that SB 390 was signed into law. However, the measure that saw the demise of Montana Power and the emergence of deregulation was passed in 1998. The debate lives on. Montana Focus considers NorthWestern Energy's plans for expansion as it emerges from bankruptcy, and failed attempts by the city of Great Falls to generate its own electricity. Produced by Gene Brodeur and Scott Sterling for KUSM-TV/MontanaPBS, MSU-Bozeman.
Patriot Act: Live Or Let Die? (No. 214)
President Bush has called on Congress to renew the sweeping provisions of the Patriot Act. The ACLU says it was "born out of fear." In this episode of Montana Focus, we look at Senate Joint Resolution 19, which calls upon Montana's congressional delegation to "sunset" some of the controversial "sneak and peek" provisions of the USA Patriot Act. The program includes interviews with Sen. Jim Elliot (author of SJ 19), Representative Mike Milburn (voted against) and Scott Crichton of the ACLU. In the op-ed segment, Eve Byron, assistant to the editor of the Helena Independent Record talks about the paper's recent editorial in favor of SJ 19. Finally, producer Mike Jetty reports on the 30th Annual MSU Pow Wow. Produced by Gene Brodeur and Scott Sterling for KUSM-TV/MontanaPBS, MSU-Bozeman.
Methamphetamines: Poor Man's Cocaine, Part 1 (No. 215)
In the first installment of this two part series , a recovering meth addict talks about her ten year battle with the drug. Rimrock Foundation Chief Operations Officer Mona Sumner outlines the severe and lasting damage that the drug inflicts upon users. Corrections Director Bill Slaughter describes a shift from state prisons to pre-release centers for those non-violent offenders who are serving time for meth related crimes. Next, Bozeman Daily Chronicle reporter Walt Williams looks back on the 2005 Session of the Montana Legislature. Finally, Astrophysicist Neil Cornish, Paleontologist Jack Horner, and Theologian Mike Miles teach one of the most popular honors courses ever at Montana State University. Origins examines the roles that evolution, cosmology, and religion play in the universe.
Methamphetamines: Poor Man's Cocaine, Part 2 (No. 216)
In the second installment of the Montana Focus series on methamphetamine abuse, Mary Haydal, who lost her daughter Cassie to meth abuse, talks about the need for interdiction and treatment in Montana. Rimrock counselor Coralee Goni talks about a successful school drug assessment program that includes parents and children, and Missouri River Drug Task Force Lieutenant Jeff Waite calls attention to proposed federal funding cuts in the Bush budget that would shut down interdiction efforts in the Rocky Mountain Region. Additionally, former investigative journalist Bob Ekey considers the recent flap created by Newsweek's lack of properly sourcing a quote about the Koran being flushed down a toilet at the Guantanamo Bay prison. And finally, United Nations Foundation adviser Gillian Sorensen weighs in on the strained relationship between the U.S. and the UN.
A Look Back (No. 217)
In highlights from the past two seasons, our first story takes a look at statistics which reveal most of Montana's homeless population has lived in the same area for at least two years. Next, in Helena, Moe Wosepka of Good Samaritan Industries and Maria Nyberg, director of God's Love Shelter, talk about their work with Montana's growing homeless population. In the op-ed segment, we visit with Missoulian Editor Mike McInally. And finally, Dr. Henrietta Mann talks about the significance of the Smithsonian's American Indian Museum. Montana Focus is produced by Gene Brodeur and Scott Sterling for KUSM/ MontanaPBS, MSU-Bozeman.
The School Funding Formula (No. 301)
The Quality Schools Interim Committee faces an October 1st deadline to come up with a new funding formula for K-12 education in Montana. The season premiere of Montana Focus looks at what they plan to roll out for consideration during the upcoming special session of the Legislature. Mike Jetty interviews songwriter and educator Buffy Sainte Marie about her Cradleboard Project to promote Indian Education. And, USGS geologist Ken Pierce talks about his ongoing research into caldera unrest beneath Yellowstone Lake. Produced by Gene Brodeur and Scott Sterling for KUSM/MontanaPBS, MSU-Bozeman.
Blight in Bozeman? (No. 302)
Bozeman commissioners went out of their way to avoid any hint of eminent domain, but residents of a blight designated neighborhood on Bozeman's northeast side aren't convinced. They're fond of the eclectic mix of homes and businesses. As one resident put it, "Detroit is blight; Bozeman is not blight." Bozeman Daily Chronicle editor Bob Gibson weighs in on the topic of blight in our Op-Ed Segment. Produced by Gene Brodeur and Scott Sterling for KUSM-TV, MontanaPBS, MSU-Bozeman.
CAFTA in Montana (No. 303)
Grain and beef producers in Montana stand to benefit from the Central American Free Trade Agreement, but Montana's sugar beet industry will take a hit. Montana Focus travels to Sidney, where producers are worried that the market will be flooded with cheap sugar. In our Opinion segment, Sidney Herald managing editor Bill Vander Weele talks about CAFTA's financial impact on Sidney. Stan Howard recalls the early days of farming in the Lower Yellowstone Valley, and we look at the 100 year-old irrigation project that transformed the area from a desert to an oasis.
Reining In Energy Prices (No. 304)
Runaway gasoline and propane prices show no sign of slowing down. Governors from eight states gather in Bozeman to map out long term energy strategies that address the issues of adequate supplies, alternative forms of energy, and affordable prices. In our opinion segment, veteran reporter Chuck Johnson gives his take on the energy symposium.
Hunt Or Slaughter? (No. 305)
One opponent of the buffalo hunt that began November 15th likened it to "shooting a couch." Montana Focus covers the opening day of the Fish, Wildlife, & Park Commission's sanctioned hunt. Also, we visit with Helena Independent Record reporter Eve Byron in our Opinion segment. And, we'll bring you an update on the school funding formula.