Montana Public Radio

Glacier County

Sign saying "Welcome to Blackfeet Indian Country."
Will Marlow (CC-BY-NC-2)

The Blackfeet Indian Reservation is now under a mandatory 14-day stay-at-home order after health officials reported the reservation’s first COVID-19 cases. Blackfeet and Glacier County officials identified nine confirmed cases of COVID-19 among residents over the weekend.

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.

Glacier County Courthouse in Cut Bank, Montana.
By J.B. Chandler (CC-BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19654909)

Glacier County will temporarily lay off half of its workforce for 30 days in order to keep the county’s books balanced. The layoffs begin today. The county, which has long-standing financial troubles, decided to lay off workers now because it was already reducing staff due to the coronavirus outbreak.

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.

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

Imagine calling 911 for an ambulance and the dispatcher tells you there isn’t one available. That could soon be the case for many Glacier County residents. The county says its emergency medical services are close to folding amid the local government’s long standing financial woes.

Ambulance
iStock

Glacier County is no longer transferring patients from the U.S. Indian Health Service’s Browning facility to other hospitals. The county is now suing the IHS, saying the federal agency owes over $1.8 million for ambulance rides dating back to 2014. IHS says it can’t verify the county’s claim.

National Weather Service

Western Montana’s weather forecast for the rest of this holiday work week can be summarized with three words: ‘sloppy’, ‘messy’ and ‘tricky’.

Senator Jon Tester campaigned with other Democrats for statewide office in Browning Nov 3, where he was lauded as an advocate for solving the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women.
Nicky Ouellet

As members of the Crow tribal council stood alongside Republican Senate hopeful Matt Rosendale for his pro-coal stance at the Bozeman airport Saturday, tribal leaders from the Blackfeet Nation and Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes threw their weight behind Democrats Senator Jon Tester and Congressional candidate Kathleen Williams.

They started their day in Browning with a breakfast feed. By afternoon, they were at Elks Lodge in Polson with the Blacklodge drum circle.

Voters wait in line outside the satellite polling place in Browning, MT, for the 2017 special election.
Lockley J. Bremner

Montana’s special election results were officially certified this afternoon, and June 21 has been set as the date for Greg Gianforte to be sworn in as Montana’s Congressman.

Before the election there were concerns that counties wouldn’t have the resources they needed to conduct it smoothly. There were few complaints about voting overall, but some voters in Browning had to wait 30 to 60 minutes — sometimes out in the cold rain — before casting their ballots. 

The Cut Bank voting center.
Corin Cates-Carney

Before Rob Quist became a politician, or toured the country in a bluegrass band, he lived in Cut Bank, a rural Hi-line town near where the Rocky Mountains meet the eastern plains.

The young Quist lived on a ranch just north of the town with his family. Back then, Cut Bank was one of Montana’s big-time oil producers, Quist was his high school’s student body president, and he helped the Cut Bank Wolves win a state basketball championship, leading the team in scoring in the title game.

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