Montana Public Radio

Aaron Bolton

Flathead Reporter

Aaron is Montana Public Radio's Flathead reporter. He joined us in 2019 from Alaska where he reported on commercial fisheries and rural issues. 

Children play with blocks at a daycare center.
iStock

Daycare facilities are now deemed an essential business during the coronavirus outbreak in Montana.

Gov. Steve Bullock is ordering child care businesses to first serve children of parents that are deemed essential employees working in fields such as healthcare, law enforcement or in grocery stores.

The weeping wall on Glacier Park's Going-to-the-Sun Road.
David Restivo, NPS (PD)

Glacier National Park has awarded a new contract for its popular shuttle service. This comes after Flathead County canceled its contract with the park, claiming it wasn’t paid enough to supply drivers.

Montana’s public schools could receive about $41 million from the federal stimulus package Congress passed last week. Schools will have a lot of flexibility on how they can spend that money.

Missoula's Hellgate High School
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

Monday was the first day that public schools across Montana were required to have plans in place for how they will deliver online or remote education, as well as other services. MTPR’s Corin Cates-Carney spoke with reporter Aaron Bolton about classes moving forward as school buildings remain closed amid the novel coronavirus pandemic:

Noah, a fifth grader in West Valley School District, works with his grandmother Sherry Kirksey on math at the kitchen table as school doors remain closed during the coronavirus pandemic.
Courtesy Kelly Fisk

As Montana schools begin to provide education remotely in order to reduce the spread of coronavirus, parents will be serving as their child’s co-teacher at home. For many, that’s a large undertaking, but it’s even more of a challenge for parents of students with special needs.

Glacier County Courthouse in Cut Bank, Montana.
By J.B. Chandler (CC-BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19654909)

Glacier County will temporarily lay off half of its workforce for 30 days in order to keep the county’s books balanced. The layoffs begin today. The county, which has long-standing financial troubles, decided to lay off workers now because it was already reducing staff due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Black Coffee Roasters in Missoula was empty on March 16, 2020 after moving to takeout orders only in an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus.
William Marcus

Gov. Steve Bullock announced Tuesday he’s extending closures until April 10 for public schools as well as bars, dine-in restaurants, and other social gathering places, in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Montana. Those closures were originally set to expire Friday. Bullock is also imposing new rules on other retail businesses.

Electric fencing can be an effective tool for protecting livestock such as chickens, goats and young cattle.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

Grizzly bears are repopulating areas of Montana that haven’t seen them for decades, creating more conflict between livestock, people and bears. Some ranchers are learning they need to do something that doesn’t come naturally — change how they live on the land.

As bears were hibernating in their dens this winter, the Blackfeet Stockgrowers Association held a meeting in Choteau to provide a space for ranchers like Mark Hitchcock to talk about working alongside the growing number of grizzly bears on the Rocky Mountain Front.

Grizzly statue and Main Hall on the University of Montana campus in Missoula.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

The University of Montana is walking back an urgent message it sent out Sunday telling students living in dorms to go home in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus on campus.

UM students living in campus housing like Freshman Christopher Hurd received an email mostly in all caps from the university Sunday.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock says school districts won’t need to make up any in-person instructional time missed during the two-week statewide closure he ordered Sunday. Local school boards will, however, need to approve plans for remote learning and other services to maintain state funding if the closures are extended.

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