Montana Public Radio

Columbia Falls Montana

Care Home Refused Free Tests. Now, Nearly Everyone Has Virus

Jul 14, 2020
On June 24, assisted living businesses and workers asked the Montana Legislature to increase payments for day-to-day services for seniors and people with disabilities.
(PD)

It was meant to be a last line of defense to protect the most vulnerable as the coronavirus spread across the United States: Montana officials offered free testing in May for staff and residents at assisted living and long-term care facilities.

But not all of them followed through, according to state data, including a facility in Billings that cares for people with dementia and other memory problems.

The virus has infected almost every resident there and killed eight, accounting for almost a quarter of Montana's 34 confirmed deaths. Thirty-six employees also have tested positive.

Roof construction
(PD)

A Kalispell-based affordable housing nonprofit is expanding into neighboring Columbia Falls, where home prices are on the rise.

The Northwest Montana Community Land Trust owns about 54 properties in the Kalispell area. The trust says it maintains ownership of the land in order to sell homes to low-income families at an affordable price.

A mountain lion in Glacier National Park.
National Park Service (PD)

Two young mountain lions were killed near a Columbia Falls park over the weekend. One was shot and killed by a local homeowner Saturday and the other was killed by police.

Mudman Burgers restaurants owned by Potter's Field Ministries closed down following allegations against the ministry and its leaders Mike and Pam Rozell.
Aaron Bolton / Montana Public Radio

A Whitefish-based ministry that runs a popular burger chain is shutting its doors amid allegations that its leaders used threats of physical violence, verbal and psychological abuse to coerce workers.

Potter’s Field is now sending most of its staff and program participants home in the wake of those allegations, and locals are raising money to help some get there.

Crystal Cedar project vicinity map.
Flathead National Forest

The Flathead National Forest is proposing a non-motorized trail network and logging and fuel reduction project north of Columbia Falls.

The Crystal Cedar Project proposal is based on feedback the Forest received last year from about 70 local landowners and interested parties. It covers Teakettle Mountain, Blankenship Road, Crystal Creek, Cedar Flats and Spoon Lake.

Students fill sandbags in Missoula's flooded Orchard Homes area, Monday, May 7, 2018.
Josh Burnham

Cooler, wet weather is expected to start moving into Montana. MTPR's Edward O’Brien has more on how this could factor into the state’s unfolding flood crisis.

Montanans cast their vote in elections statewide yesterday for school board representatives and levies.

Five school districts in the Flathead Valley are asking voters to approve school levies. Voters have until the end of Tuesday, May 8 to vote on them.
Nicky Ouellet

Five school districts in the Flathead Valley are asking voters to approve school levies. Voters have until the end of Tuesday, May 8 to vote on them. They’re largely a response to state budget cuts enacted by the legislature last year.

Students in Columbia Falls, MT walk out of class in support of the Second Amendment, May 2, 2018.
Nicky Ouellet

About 100 students walked out of Columbia Falls High School today in support of the Second Amendment. The walkout was part of a larger nationwide event.

Armed Second Amendment supporters at the locally-organized gun rally in Kalispell's Depot Park on April 14, 2018.
Nicky Ouellet

A month-and-a-half after students nationwide walked out of class to advocate for safer schools, some students in Columbia Falls plan to walk out of class Wednesday in support of the Second Amendment.

"This walkout is necessary because the students who didn't walk out on March 14 because they support gun rights deserve to have their own walkout voicing their opinions and what they believe in," says Braxton Shewalter, the organizer of the walkout.

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