Montana Public Radio

Kalispell Montana

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.

The first school to submit its results under Montana’s new lead monitoring program tested positive for lead.

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) says 36 different water fixtures at Hedges Elementary School in Kalispell showed at least some level of lead, which can enter water through old pipes.

DEQ says children are most vulnerable to lead exposure and the effects can include damage to the brain, red blood cells and kidneys.

Rear veiw of a fire engine.

A fire department in north Kalispell is dealing with a staffing shortage resulting in a temporary shutdown. Alocal firefighter union says staffing problems will result in slower response times in emergencies.

Fire station 62 located on Old Reserve Drive in Kalispell is closed from July 21 until July 25.

The view southeast over the McKillop Creek Road near Libby, Montana.
Chris Boyer /

Last week, federal officials announced a proposal maintaining public access on 100,000 acres of private timber lands in northwest Montana belonging to Southern Pine Plantations. On Wednesday, a joint statement by state officials and a nonprofit said the two are working together on an another, even-larger easement.

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.

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Water Compact narrowly passed the state Legislature in 2015 after more than a decade of negotiation. It settles water rights in and around the Flathead Reservation.
David Wiley (CC-BY-2)

A group of 27 state Republican legislators are asking federal lawmakers to hold a hearing on the federal Montana Water Rights Protection Act in Kalispell. The group includes prominent opponents to the legislation.

If passed, the bill would be the largest water-rights settlement agreement in history between the U.S. Government and a federally recognized tribe. The Montana Water Rights Protection Act would settle a decades-long dispute over thousands of water-rights claims filed by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.

U.S. Supreme Court file photo.

The Montana Supreme Court discriminated against religious schools when it invalidated a tax credit program that supported school choice, according to a ruling handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday.

St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula.
Courtesy St. Patrick Hospital

On Monday, Montana reported a total of 919 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 56 new cases since Sunday. That’s the biggest one-day spike since the pandemic started in March.

This spike has prompted some hospitals to tighten visitor guidelines.

Samaritan House, a Kalispell homeless shelter, converted its  day-time cafeteria into a 20-bed dormitory as part of its efforts to help area homeless people shelter in place during Montana’s stay-at-home orders. The shelter closed June 12, 2020.
Aaron Bolton / Montana Public Radio

Services for homeless people in the Flathead Valley that ramped up during Montana’s stay-at-home order are now winding down as the state reopens. An emergency homeless shelter in Kalispell closed down Friday.

Kalispell Regional Medical Center.
Courtesy Kalispell Regional Medical Center.

Some hospitals and medical facilities in Montana are beginning to again provide elective surgeries and procedures.

Kalispell Regional Healthcare (KRH) started its phased-approach to providing in-person services Monday. KRH is starting with in-person medical services not requiring anesthesia at various locations.