Commission gets look at final transportation plan

By TYLER BARTON/Montana State News

A finalized version of a transportation plan that is set to address the city’s rapid expansion until at least 2035 was presented at the Bozeman City Commission meeting Monday.

The Bozeman Transportation Master Plan, or TMP, is a planning process that was initiated 16 months ago. It is meant to assist city planning partners, as well as the Bozeman community in general, in guiding transportation infrastructure and implementation. It includes all travel and transportation modes, and will guide decisions until at least the year 2035.

Essentially, the TMP is the growth plan for all of Bozeman’s streets, sidewalks, bicycle lanes, walking paths, and other such transportation routes.

After a long period of planning, Public Works Director Craig Woolard said, “We’re down to what I would consider the final stretch of the process where we start to make recommendations for Bozeman’s transportation improvements over the next several decades.” Continue reading “Commission gets look at final transportation plan”

Senate panel nixes bill on brucellosis status

By MICHELLE BURGER/Montana State News

A state Senate committee tabled a measure that would remove brucellosis from the federal disease list.

Although this disease, which is carried by many wild elk and bison, can be transmitted from animals to humans, it is uncommon and can be cured easily. Some believe this disease still poses a lingering threat with over $3 billion already used trying to vaccinate cattle. SJ 19, introduced by Sen. Mike Phillips, D-Bozeman, was tabled by an 8-1 vote by the Senate Public Health, Welfare and Safety Committee.

According to testimony on the measure, many believe that once the disease is taken off the federal disease list, research will restart as scientists try to develop an effective vaccine. Continue reading “Senate panel nixes bill on brucellosis status”

UM enrollment dropped on heels of rape scandal

By TIM STOVER and MICHELLE BURGER/Montana State News

The University of Montana student population has been on the decline since the 2011-2012 academic year.

The student population was 15,669 including both undergraduate and graduate as of 2012. However, graduate student population hasn’t suffered in the same way that undergraduate population has.

The graduate student population has fluctuated about 5 percent whereas the undergraduate student population has lost almost 20 percent to date. This 20 percent loss comes from losing roughly 3,000 students from the 2011-2012 academic year to the most recently reported 2015-2016 years.

During the same time period , MSU has grown a total of 12 percent, in undergraduate population. The graduate population at MSU has stayed around a 1 percent margin within the same time period.

Why has the undergraduate program at of U of M declined so much when compared to their counterparts at MSU? Continue reading “UM enrollment dropped on heels of rape scandal”

Participation in Greek life low and declining

By AMANDA GROVER and BAY STEPHENS/Montana State News

Greek life has always been a staple of college movies, but at Montana State University Greek life entrance rates are extremely low.

According to MSU’s common data set for 2016-2017, 4 percent and 3 percent of the first-time freshman men and women enter Greek life, respectively. Overall, 2 percent of the MSU population join Greek life as undergraduates.

However, the rates weren’t much higher throughout the past decades. According to the 1996-1997 data set, 9 percent and 10 percent of the freshman men and women joined. The overall rates of undergraduate members joining Greek life were 7 percent for men and 5 percent for women.

Are these low rates endemic to MSU? Looking at MSU’s rival school—the University of Montana—the numbers are difficult to argue with. Continue reading “Participation in Greek life low and declining”

Warming Center sees rise in homeless numbers

By EMMA HAMBURG/Montana State News

In the fall of 2010, the issue of homelessness drew the attention of the community after two homeless people died as a result of cold temperatures.  One found shelter in a U-Haul moving truck and the other camping just outside of city limits.  Both deaths could have been prevented by a safe, warm place to sleep.

Reaction to the deaths was swift.

The local non-profit HRDC (Human Resource Development Council) along with the Greater Gallatin Homeless Action Coalition found a space at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds and opened for the first season of the Warming Center.

The Warming Center provides seasonal shelter, October – March, and is open from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. for people who are homeless.  The Center is administered by HRDC and is 100 percent funded by community and foundation support. Continue reading “Warming Center sees rise in homeless numbers”

Return of wolves coincides with decline in elk

By MERRIT GEARY and ZACH COE/Montana State News

Yellowstone National Park, 3,500 square miles of wilderness, surrounded by geysers, lush rivers, alpine forests, vast canyons and volcanic hot spots. Covering parts of Montana, and Wyoming Yellowstone has become a tourist attraction unlike any other place.

Yellowstone is not only known for its physical elements but also the abundance of animals that inhabit the land, wolves being a species that have been reintroduced to Yellowstone and surrounding areas. While dangerous in their own right, are they necessary for the ecosystem?

According to Yellowstone Nation Park’s website, in 2013 there were 61 different mammal species in Yellowstone, 500 Grizzly bears live in the Yellowstone ecosystem. There are about 13 packs of wolves which make up about 370 total for the population of wolves.

There are seven ungulate species in Yellowstone National Park-elk, mule deer, bison, moose, bighorn sheep, pronghorn and white tailed deer. Continue reading “Return of wolves coincides with decline in elk”

Computer-generated news on the increase

By JORDAN SPARR AND CULLAN STAACK/Montana State News

Algorithms are quickly taking the place of traditional human journalists in many news sources across the industry.

According to a case study done by Automated Insights, an industry leader in producing algorithms for news organizations, the Associated Press is now generating quarterly earnings reports at twelve times the rate previously achieved without employing the use of algorithmic journalists.

The same report states that AP generated only 300 earnings reports per quarter before utilizing the new computer generating journalist bot. After using this new technology, AP started generating 3,700 earnings reports each quarter using the new software developed by Automated Insights called Wordsmith.

Wordsmith, along with similar products produced by competitors such as Narrative Science, are algorithms that scan massive amounts of communication on a given subject to replicate human language within the context required. Continue reading “Computer-generated news on the increase”

Zebra mussels threaten state hydro systems

By EMILY SCHABACKER and SAMANTHA SUNDLY/Montana State News

On the shores of Tiber and Canyon Ferry reservoirs in northern Montana, adult zebra mussels threaten indigenous aquatic life as of Fall of 2016. Without any natural predators in the region, zebra mussels threaten aquatic ecosystems and cause damage to man made hydropower systems.

After the discovery of invasive mussel larvae, known as veligers, in Tiber and Canyon Ferry Reservoirs in November, Gov. Steve Bullock declared a natural resources emergency, according to the Billings Gazette. This order provides state access to $750,000 in emergency funds to begin the eradication process.

Zebra mussels found in North America, typically indigenous to European regions, survive in waters with unusually low calcium levels, according to the United States Geological Survey. The mussels require calcium in order to transform from veligers to shellfish.

Calcium concentration is a key factor in mussel distribution, according to Andrew N. Cohen and Anne Weinstein, authors of Zebra Mussel’s Calcium Threshold and Implications for its Potential Distribution in North America. Zebra mussels in North America have been known to initiate shell growth in 10 milligrams of calcium per liter. Continue reading “Zebra mussels threaten state hydro systems”

Trump rhetoric faulted for spike in hate crimes

By JARED MILLER and RANIA AMPNTEL CHAFINT/Montana State News

The recent presidential election has caused a surge in hate crimes against certain minorities. Hate crimes are offenses motivated by bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity, according to the FBI.

President Trump’s election campaign has caused a surge in hate crimes against black, Muslim, L.G.B.T and Jewish people in 2015, according to the Southern Law Poverty Center, an advocacy group specialized in civil rights. The organization attributed the surge in hate crimes to President Trump’s rhetoric against those minorities during the election.

But presidential elections do not always have a negative effect on hate crimes. After Barack Obama’s election in 2008, race-related hate crimes saw a decline, especially amongst anti-black incidents. In 2008, there were 2,876 incidents reported against blacks to the FBI, compared to 1,745 reported instances in 2015. Continue reading “Trump rhetoric faulted for spike in hate crimes”

Politics increasingly plays into partner choices

By SARAH SNEBOLD and CHELSEA ANDERSON/Montana State News

According to a study done at Yale University, political views come into play when choosing a partner as often as factors such as education and race. The theories presented in the research suggest that people selecting potential partners take into consideration political affiliation as a preventative measure. If the two have similar political views the couple has less to fight about.

The study was done by manipulating online dating profiles, specifically in terms of political affiliation, to see the responses of participants. The study states: “We find that participants consistently evaluate profiles more positively (e.g., had greater interest in dating the individual presented) when the target’s profile shared their political ideology.”

Sam Fischer, a student at Montana State University concurs with the results of the study. “Hopefully your political beliefs are based on what you believe as a human,” he said, “and if they’re believing in opposite things, it’s hard for a relationship to continue.” Continue reading “Politics increasingly plays into partner choices”

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