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Flathead Valley

News from the Flathead Valley

Hospitality Industry May Suffer From Foreign Visa Suspension

Jul 6, 2020
Downtown Whitefish, MT.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

After hosting exchange students from all over the world for the last 15 years, Whitefish resident Sue Moll will have a much quieter house this ski season.

Every year, Moll hosts foreign J-1 visa workers who travel to the U.S. to work at Whitefish Mountain Resort (WMR) as part of a cultural exchange, but the resort won’t be able to hire those employees for the 2020-2021 season.

After the Trump administration suspended some foreign worker visas until at least the end of the year, including the J-1 visa, a number of businesses in the Flathead Valley’s hospitality industry will not be able to utilize foreign workers that they typically hire seasonally.

Aaron Bolton / Montana Public Radio

It’s been three years since a prominent neo-Nazi website called for a “troll storm” of internet harassment against Jewish people in Whitefish.  Through that chaos and threats of violence, community organizers, city officials and residents learned how to systematically push back against white supremacy. That success has become a model for others.

Fire Management Officer Keith Van Broke oversees the start of a 2017 prescribed burn to clear dry, dead brush from an area logged three years previous.
Nicky Ouellet / Montana Public Radio

Consistently wet weather this month and the expected snowstorm this weekend are dampening fire managers’ hopes for large prescribed burns in the Flathead Valley this fall. Managers may have to wait until next season for some projects.

Join us at Kalispell Brewing Company and have a beer on us. We want to mix and mingle with you, hear your feedback, and celebrate public radio with our fantastic Flathead listeners.

It's also a send-off MTPR's Flathead Reporter Nicky Ouellet who will soon take over as the news director at Yellowstone Public Radio.

Stop by Kalispell Brewing Company and say hello, March 7, from 5 – 8 p.m.

National Weather Service headquarters in Missoula, Montana.
Josh Burnham / MTPR

A blast of arctic air is barreling down on the Northern Rockies. Some snow and blowing snow is in the forecast, but meteorologist Alex Lukinbeal says the system’s biggest threat comes in the form of bitter cold temperatures.

Flathead County went big for Republicans two years ago, voting red for every statewide and federal office. But Flathead Democrats are pushing for a blue wave from local races to Montana’s lone U.S. House seat. This afternoon we sent Nicky Ouellet to hear what voters in the Flathead are thinking on election day.

Congressional hopeful Democrat Kathleen Williams stumped in Whitefish on October 30, 2018.
Nicky Ouellet / MTPR

Montana’s Democratic Congressional hopeful Kathleen Williams is accusing her opponent of misrepresenting her on a number of issues in his campaign materials.

Williams stumped in Whitefish on a campaign swing through the greater Flathead Valley Tuesday, where she said Republican incumbent Greg Gianforte had misrepresented her position on a strong border, her support of the Second Amendment and her opposition to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Nicky Ouellet

If you lived in the Flathead Valley and wanted or needed to abort a pregnancy in the past four years, the closest clinic was more than 100 miles away in Missoula, Great Falls, Helena or Billings.

Montana's Flathead Valley from above.
Nicky Ouellet

State officials are encouraging Flathead Valley residents to take care of any debris burning before Sunday.

On July 1, no debris burning is allowed in Flathead and Northern Lake Counties.

Montana's Flathead Valley from above.
Nicky Ouellet

The Flathead Basin Commission is redefining its role protecting water quality in northwest Montana, after legislators gutted its funding last November and its executive director was fired in February.

The Commission spent much of Wednesday reinventing itself.

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