Montana Public Radio

Kalispell Montana

House for sale.
(PD)

Real estate markets in much of Montana are booming, according to University of Montana researchers. But the strong rise in housing prices since the great recession is creating an issue of affordability.

Electric vehicle charging station.
Flathead Electric Co-Op

The Flathead Electric Co-op Monday announced a new pilot program to bring electric vehicle charging stations to the Flathead Valley.

The Co-op installed the Valley’s first electric vehicle charging stations at its headquarters in Kalispell in 2015. Now it’s hoping to partner with a few local business to install about dozen more.

A new tax on airplane fuel is nearing a final vote in the Montana Legislature.
(PD)

United Airlines will offer direct flights next year from Missoula and Kalispell to Los Angeles. The new seasonal daily service begins in early June.

Missoula International Airport Deputy Director Brian Ellestad says it will be a real boon for Montana.

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.
(PD)

A public hearing in Kalispell Thursday highlighted the need for more affordable housing and additional space for programs in the city for youth and seniors.

During Kalispell’s annual community needs assessment on how to spend federal grant money about two dozen Flathead Valley residents spoke about the general need for more space.

Montana's Flathead Valley from above.
Nicky Ouellet

Flathead County Commissioners voted unanimously today not to relocate the county’s overcrowded jail to property owned by the Weyerhaeuser Company in Columbia Falls. 

Flathead Lake near Polson, MT.
P.J. Johnson (CC-BY-ND-2)

Lake County is updating its growth policy plan this summer. Tuesday, county planners hosted the last of five public meetings to hear what local residents think should be addressed in the plan due later this fall.

The county hosted a slew of open houses over the past two weeks to hear what local residents think about development, land use and protecting natural and cultural resources as Lake County continues to grow.

A file photo courtesy MT DNRC Fire
Montana DNRC

Lightning on Friday afternoon resulted in several fire starts across Northwest Montana, some of which were not detected until Sunday.

Montana's Department of Natural Resources and Conservation reports numerous fires scattered throughout the Pleasant Valley/Happy’s Inn/ACM/Fisher River area.

The Service is drafting comprehensive conservation plans, or CCPs, and accompanying environmental analyses for two areas: one for the National Bison Range, and a separate CCP for the rest of the units within the refuge complex.
Mike Albans

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was in Polson and Kalispell this week, seeking public input on a pair of management plans for wildlife refuges in northwest Montana.

Bison at the National Bison Range
Josh Burnham

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is hosting two public meetings tonight and tomorrow night about planning efforts for the National Bison Range.

Nicky Ouellet

Flathead County Commissioners today took a step towards legalizing and regulating short-term housing rentals outside of incorporated towns. Vacation rentals by owner, or VRBOs, are currently illegal outside of Kalispell, Columbia Falls and Whitefish, but people are doing it anyway.

Commissioner Pam Holmquist voted in favor of a resolution to change county regulations, which passed on a 2-1 vote.

“We're just trying to help the VRBO individuals and the community have a voice in this,” says Holmquist.

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