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. 

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

The Montana Office of Public Instruction is asking Gov. Steve Bullock and the federal government to waive requirements for standardized testing and instructional time. The request comes days into the governor’s two-week public school closure order in response to the novel coronavirus.

FRONTLINE and The Wall Street Journal investigate a pediatrician accused of sexually abusing Native American boys for years. This photograph was taken on the Blackfeet reservation in Browning, Montana.
Mike Shum / Wall Street Journal/FRONTLINE

After receiving pressure from congressional lawmakers, the Indian Health Service is providing some members of the U.S. Senate with redacted report on its response to a former doctor’s abuse patients in Montana and South Dakota. Released this week, the document details the failed oversight on former doctor Stanley Patrick Weber as he abused young Native-American boys.

School hallway. Stock photo.
iStock

Following Montana Gov. Steve Bullock's order Sunday to close public schools for two weeks due to detections of the novel coronavirus, districts around the state scrambled on Monday to set plans in place for remote learning and feeding students. Yellowstone Public Radio News Director Nicky Ouellet talks with MTPR's Aaron Bolton about how schools are responding to these detections.

School classroom
iStock

Montana Governor Steve Bullock has ordered all public K-12 schools in the state to close for two weeks following additional in-state cases of the novel coronavirus. About half a dozen patients have tested presumptively positive for the illness.

In a press release Sunday afternoon, Bullock said the step was taken to slow the spread of the virus and that the task force he assembled earlier this month would continue meeting to determine next steps.

CDC School closure decision tree.
Centers For Disease Control

Public K-12 schools across Montana sent out letters detailing their preparation for the coronavirus Friday following Gov. Steve Bullock’s state of emergency declaration Thursday.

Officials are telling schools to create a plan for potential closures and remote learning. After this story published, Gov. Bullock announced that four cases of the novel coronavirus have tested presumptively positive in Montana.

Ambulances at the Glacier County EMS facility.
Aaron Bolton / Montana Public Radio

Glacier County says its longstanding financial issues are putting its emergency medical service program at risk of closing down and in order to save it, county commissioners are putting two mill levies on the June 2 ballot.

Downtown Libby, MT.
libbymt.com

The Montana Supreme Court ruled largely in favor of roughly 1,200 plaintiffs Wednesday that say BNSF railway should be held liable for its part in contaminating Libby with asbestos. But, the court didn’t outline exactly what activities the railway could be held liable for, and to what extent.

sports betting
iStock

The Montana State Lottery officially kicked off Sports Bet Montana this week, which will allow Montanans to place bets on games at about 180 locations around the state. But the rollout comes as many major sports and college leagues are suspending seasons and canceling events due to coronavirus.

Potter's Field Ministries operated Mudman Burgers in Columbia Falls, MT before closing down after allegations of abuse made in June 2019.
Aaron Bolton / Montana Public Radio

A local burger chain tied to an embattled Whitefish Christian ministry is reopening in the Flathead Valley.

Mudman Burgers and Potter’s Field Ministries closed last summer after allegations of emotional and psychological abuse of workers against organization leaders. The ministry is still under investigation for potential wage and labor law violations.

School classroom
iStock

School districts across northwest Montana met with public health officials last week to begin preparing for potential impacts from the novel coronavirus. Flathead County health officials asked schools to give basic hygiene information to students and staff.

Public health officials want schools to craft plans for potential closures and remote instruction. Federal and state guidance does not suggest schools close in communities without coronavirus cases.

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