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Missoula student wins Treasure State Spelling Bee, headed to Scripps national contest

Eighth-grader Ellette Whitcomb from Sussex School in Missoula will be heading to National Harbor, Maryland for the 2022 Scripps National Spelling Bee. Fifty-seven students from across the state gathered at Montana State University to compete in the 57th Annual Treasure State Spelling Bee. Some traveled a few minutes, others traveled hundreds of miles. READ THE Read More…

Nonprofit seeks land for housing project

Community Action Partnership of Northwest Montana is looking to partner with a local landowner or donor for a housing project. The nonprofit is seeking one acre of land or more to place three modular units that will hold a total of 17 rental units. Community Action is open to purchasing, leasing or receiving the land Read More…

Whitefish Community Foundation Awards $30,000 Emergency Grant to Flathead Warming Center

The Flathead Warming Center has been awarded a $30,000 emergency grant from the Whitefish Community Foundation to replace its roof after it began failing last month, according to a Whitefish Community Foundation press release. The leaking roof was deemed irreparable in February and its estimated cost is $42,000 to replace. The grant allowed crews to Read More…

Commissioner of securities and insurance approves restitution to victims of Metals.com scam

Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Troy Downing approved over $340,000 in restitution payments to victims of Metals.com. The victims, ranging in age from 60 to 77, received payments of $14,676 to $50,000. “Victims of securities fraud are often left emotionally and financially devastated. Thanks to the Securities Restitution Fund ─ promoted by this agency ─ and Read More…

Gianforte Family Foundation donating $50 million to Montana State University

The Gianforte Family Foundation will donate $50 million to Montana State University for construction of a building dedicated to its computing school, the university announced Friday. The building will be home to MSU’s Gianforte School of Computing — named for a previous contribution from the Gianforte Family Foundation — and other classes including cybersecurity and Read More…

Surge in opioid and fentanyl overdoses in Montana

Montana has seen a surge in opioid and fentanyl overdoses over the last several years and it has officials concerned. A January 2022 news release from Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen says Montana experienced a 116% increase in fentanyl-related deaths from 2019 to 2020. The release goes on to say Lewis & Clark County emergency Read More…

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services may terminate agreement with Montana State Hospital

The Montana State Hospital in Warm Springs has been placed on “Immediate Jeopardy” status by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS sent a letter to the Montana State Hospital saying the hospital violated patient rights and infection prevention control. CMS determined that the violations are so serious that it’s an immediate and Read More…

New undergraduate program looks to recruit & retain teachers in the Treasure State

A new undergraduate program in Montana is hoping to recruit, prepare, support and retain K-12 teachers in the Treasure State. The new program will provide a stipend for a full-year in-classroom experience, possible district-provided housing and teacher leader coaching a release from the Office of Public Instruction says. “Solving Montana’s teacher retention and recruitment challenge Read More…

Gianforte urges religious exemptions for health care workers facing vaccine mandate

Gov. Greg Gianforte is urging unvaccinated health care workers to consider using religious and medical exemptions ahead of an upcoming federal vaccine mandate deadline. Gianforte says health care workers should evaluate all their options. Gov. Gianforte says Montana’s unvaccinated health care workers have alternatives prior to Monday’s deadline when employees must have at least one Read More…

Western Montana firefighters prepare for return to Seattle Stairclimb

MISSOULA — Although there’s still some lingering uncertainty because of the latest pandemic surge, firefighters in Western Montana are preparing their teams for a return to Seattle to climb hundreds of stairs to help fight a critical disease. The Seattle Stairclimb, which has raised millions of dollars for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society has become a Northwest Read More…

MSU Extension offers free series about electric vehicle adoption in Montana

BOZEMAN — Montana State University Extension will present a free, three-part webinar series, “Electric Vehicle Adoption in Montana: Understanding Opportunities and Issues.” The series is intended to provide individuals, community leaders and planners with a better understanding of the impact of the use of electric vehicles in rural communities. The webinars will be held from 9 to Read More…

Montana Human Trafficking Up 871%

The Montana Department of Justice investigated 68 human trafficking cases in 2021, an increase of 871 percent from the seven cases reported in 2015, and the actual number of cases investigated in the state last year is likely higher, reports the Great Falls Tribune. While the amount of trafficking in Montana is on the rise, experts Read More…

Gov. Gianforte, AG Knudsen encourage Montanans to join the fight to end human trafficking

HELENA – After proclaiming January as Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month in Montana, Governor Greg Gianforte today teamed up with Attorney General Austin Knudsen to encourage Montanans to join the fight to end human trafficking. “Generating an estimated $150 billion worldwide per year, human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery whereby traffickers, which Read More…

Council considers Big Mountain Road development

Whitefish City Council on Tuesday will consider a large-scale mixed-used development straddling Big Mountain Road. Developers behind the Mountain Gateway project are requesting a planned unit development and conditional zoning for the property. The council is meeting on Tuesday because of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday on Monday. The meeting begins at 7:10 Read More…

Kalispell Schools Struggle with Staffing Shortages, Continue In-Person Learning

On Tuesday, Jan. 11, Smith Valley School in Batavia announced staff shortages due to the rise in COVID-19 cases were forcing the school to close for the remainder of the week, the first pandemic-related school closure of the new year. Meanwhile, Kalispell Public Schools (KPS) Superintendent Micah Hill dispelled rumors circulating this week that administrators Read More…

County diversion program looks to expand after receiving national recognition

MISSOULA, Mont. – Being recognized as one of the country’s most innovative new programs, Missoula County’s Calibrate program received a $600,000 grant award from the federal Department of Justice. This prosecution-led diversion program differs from treatment courts in the area. Treatment courts are programs that take place after convictions, where participants of Calibrate are enrolled Read More…

Developer sues Whitefish over U.S. 93 hotel denial

A lawsuit has been filed against the City of Whitefish regarding the recent denial of a proposed hotel just off Highway 93 on the south end of town. Rimrock Companies, the Florida-based company that proposed the project, filed a lawsuit last month in Flathead County District Court claiming the city unlawfully denied the proposal. It’s Read More…

Statewide workers shortage, COVID concerns impacting school districts across Montana

BOZEMAN, Mont. – A staffing shortage of substitute teachers mixed with COVID concerns and full-time teachers calling out sick is affecting some of the biggest school districts in Montana. At the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year in September, human resource directors at some of the biggest school districts across the state from Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Read More…

Whitefish Returns to Stadium Planning, Seeks to Address Classroom Crowding

After more than a year of the COVID-19 pandemic delaying progress on the new Whitefish High School (WHS) sports complex, the topic is back at the forefront for school administrators and trustees, but with some big potential changes on deck. The Whitefish School District (WSD) recently identified looming classroom capacity constraints at the current high Read More…