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Gianforte enters upcoming contest to replace Zinke

(HELENA)- As expected, former Gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte says he will seek the nomination to replace Congressman Ryan Zinke.

Zinke is in the running to be the Interior Secretary in President Donald Trump's cabinet, which would create a vacancy in Montana's lone Congressional seat. A U.S. Senate committee is expected to act on Zinke's nomination early next week. 

There had been speculation since Zinke's nomination was announced that Gianforte, who lost his bid to unseat incumbent Governor Steve Bullock last fall, would be interested in the GOP nomination for a special election. 

KXLH TV reports Gianforte confirmed he will seek his party's nomination in a letter to Republican leaders yesterday. 

At least nine other candidates from the major parties have also expressed an interest.


Inversions returning to Western MT valleys 

(MISSOULA)- The fresh air was nice while it lasted. 

However, the return of a ridge of high pressure is already bringing a return of inversions to the valleys of Western Montana. 

Inversions are created in the Northern Rockies when warmer air is present at higher elevations, trapping colder air, and particulates from wood stoves and other sources at the surface. There have already been several episodes where air quality dropped this winter, and forecasters are expecting those conditions to return going into this weekend. 

The Missoula, Bitterroot, Mission, Flathead and Helena valleys are especially susceptible to these developing conditions. Montana DEQ reports most air quality was still "moderate" as of Thursday morning, although Seeley Lake had already seen some readings in the "unhealthy" range, which causes problems for people with repiratory conditions.  


Lincoln County investigating slaying of Idaho man

(LIBBY)- Lincoln County authorities are trying to piece together why an Idaho man was found shot to death in the remote Yaak Valley. 

The body was discovered this past week in the snow in the town of Yaak, in the far northwestern corner of the state.

The Flathead Beacon reports the victim has been identified as 31-year old Travis Gillett, who was apparently shot multiple times. Lincoln County Sheriff Roby Bowe tells the Beacon investigators have no suspects and the case remains under investigation. 


Snow showers persist across Montana

View from Glacier National Park this morning (MISSOULA)- Although winter continues its grip on the Treasure State, conditions are proving to be a lot calmer, and warmer that much of the season so far. 

The National Weather Service was reporting scattered snow across the region again Tuesday morning, with most of the concentrated snow over parts of Southwest Montana. Drivers were encountering new snow, with some areas of blowing and drifting snow, on Monida Pass, Bozeman Pass and other main highways this morning. 

However, only light snow showers were hitting much of Western Central and Northwest Montana and accumulations are expected to continue to be light through today and into Wednesday.

Best of all, temperatures have moderated. Most areas will see highs continue in the mid 20s to low 30s over the next several days, with the coldest lows hitting the single digits, especially later in the week. 


Woman critically hurt in snowmobile accident is home

(KALISPELL)- A Kalispell woman critically injured in a snowmobile accident earlier this month continues to make remarkable progress, and is already coming home from a Seattle hospital. 

27-year old Ashley Gilbert suffered an internal decapitation when her sled crashed while she was riding on Canyon Creek Road on the North Fork January 8th. It's a severe spinal cord injury where only 30% of the victims are usually able to survive.

But the Flathead Beacon is reporting this week that Gilbert is not only talking and eating normally, but has been up and walking during her recovery at a Seattle hospital. She still has a lot more recovery and therapy ahead, but was being flown back to KMRC on Monday. 

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