Montana Public Radio


Residents in Kalispell asked for more affordable housing as well as programs for kdis and seniors November 2 at the annual community needs assessment meeting.

Montana set aside $50 million in federal coronavirus relief funding to help people make their rent or mortgage payments during the economic upheaval caused by coronavirus. But through the end of July the program has paid out just over $1.2 million, about 2.4% of the available funds, state figures show.

The Montana Governor’s office issued a directive today relaxing in-person learning requirements for all students facing the beginning of the school year amid coronavirus concern.

Governor Steve Bullock’s directive expands the option of remote learning to students who live outside the districts where they attend school.

It waives the law that requires those students to attend classes in-person and enables remote learning for children who live in the same county as the school district or in a neighboring school district.

A barber, a restaurant owner and a hot tub store president: Those were among the small business owners in Bozeman who shared stories with state and federal officials this week as Congress debates the next round of economic aid during the pandemic.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) met with nearly a dozen business owners across the state to get feedback on how past relief packages worked out.

In downtown Bozeman, masked servers take orders at Backcountry Burger Bar for carrot quinoa salads and burgers with sriracha aioli.

Officials in Montana’s second-most populated county support holding an all-mail ballot general election in November.

Missoula County Elections Administrator Bradley Seaman says voting by mail is the logical choice amid a worsening coronavirus pandemic.

“We’ve worked closely with the Board of County Commissioners and think having an all-mail election would be a beneficial way to help ensure great voter turnout, help provide the best services we can while keeping everybody safe," Seaman said.

Over 100 people connected to a construction site at Spanish Peaks Mountain Club in Big Sky tested positive for COVID-19 in July.

According to the County Health Officer Matt Kelley, CrossHarbor Capital, the owner of the Yellowstone Club and a parent company of Spanish Peaks Mountain Club and Moonlight Basin, hired a private company called Matrix Medical to do surveillance testing, follow-up with people who tested positive and perform contact tracing.

A coronavirus testing swab in a test tube.

An independent and assisted living facility in Kalispell announced one of its residents has tested positive for COVID-19. A female resident at Immanuel Lutheran tested positive for the novel coronavirus Tuesday. All residents and staff are now being tested for the respiratory virus.

Two people who work at Yellowstone National Park and three visitors recently tested positive for COVID-19.

Yellowstone officials said on July 28 two concession employees have been in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19. These are the first confirmed cases out of the nearly 2,000 people who have worked in the park over the past two months.

The University of Montana campus, Missoula, MT.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

The Montana University System’s Board of Regents finalized COVID-19 guidelines for public higher education across the state Tuesday. Figuring out how to apply those rules in-person is still being worked out.

Canoe paddles

For the first time in the 75-year history of Flathead Lutheran Bible Camp, the paddles that propel canoes, kayaks and paddleboards around the lake are clean. After every outing, used paddles are placed in the oar equivalent of a laundry hamper, wiped down and sanitized.

Closeup of a mask on a person's face.

She still coughs, but now mostly at night. Heather Roan Robbins can smell things again, just not as sharply as before.

“Our idea of a wild time is getting takeout and sitting by the lake,” she said.

Four months later, life is still not the same for Heather and her wife, Wren. They’re not sure if it will ever be again.

The Ronan couple suffered through and survived the early onslaught of COVID-19 in March and April after Heather, an astrologist, returned from an annual working trip to New York City.