Montana Public Radio

Flathead County

A man on the street wearing a mask and holding a phone.
iStock

The Flathead County Board of Health Thursday refrained from imposing any new health restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.

The board was due to vote on a measure that would limit all social gatherings to no more than 25 people regardless of the ability to social distance and reduced capacity at bars, restaurants and churches to 25 percent. These restrictions would have only been in effect if case numbers exceed 375 per week. 

Yellowstone County ranks 14 out of the top 20 metro areas in the country for the highest infection rates of coronavirus per 100,000 people, according to COVID Act Now. To slow the spread of COVID-19 and lessen the strain on hospitals, the county health officer will implement new restrictions starting Wednesday.

High fire danger sign.
U.S. Forest Service

The fire danger rating was moved to "high" Monday for the Flathead National Forest, Glacier National Park and the whole of Flathead County. The announcement came from an interagency group of local, state and federal officials. The interagency press release said the move to high fire danger comes as the area is dry enough to ignite easily and has high potential for fire spread.

Map showing the proposed Lost Trail Conservation Area
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Federal officials are proposing 100,000 acres of conservation easements in Northwest Montana to maintain public access on recently sold private timber lands.

Blurred ferris wheel and lights from a fair.
iStock

Organizers of the Northwest Montana State Fair and Rodeo voted Thursday to hold the five-day event in August despite a sharp rise in coronavirus cases statewide. The fair attracted about 15,000 people per day in 2019.

A photo from June 06, 2020 show the closed St. Mary entrance into Glacier National Park, which borders the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. The Blackfeet Nation has maintained travel closures longer than Glacier Park or the state of Montana.
Aaron Bolton / Montana Public Radio

As the busy summer season gets underway in various tourism hotspots across the state, Glacier National Park’s eastern neighbor is taking a more cautious approach. Concerns about COVID-19 have left the Blackfeet Nation slow to reopen its reservation to tourists.

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 Kalispell congregation continues its in-person services, despite stay-at-home orders issued due to the coronavirus pandemic. That's generated complaints to the Flathead City-County Public Health Department. The comments come as some are calling for a physician affiliated with the non-denominational Christian congregation to be removed from the county health board.

Health care worker holding a clipboard.
iStock

Federal assistance through the CARES Act is making its way to Montana health centers to help combat the costs of the COVID 19 epidemic. The funding comes from the Health Resources and Services Administration, or HRSA.

Montana is entitled to $9.1 million to support 14 health centers across the state. According to HRSA, that money must be put to use to prevent, respond to or prepare for the novel coronavirus.

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.

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