Nicky Ouellet

News Director

Nicky Ouellet covered Montana’s Flathead Valley at MTPR for three years before heading east to lead news coverage at Yellowstone Public Radio. She earned her Master’s in environmental and natural resource journalism at the University of Montana and studied English and Russian at Oberlin College. Prior to journalism, Nicky taught high school English on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, spent a year as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Belgorod, Russia, and taught toddlers to shred powder on the Magic Carpet.

Kate Berry says owning a house in Whitefish felt like a pipedream five years ago.

"We had searched for almost a year I guess, and everything that was in our price point was still out of our price point."

Berry pieced together a livable wage working full time for a nonprofit and waitressing at night. Her partner tended bar and rapped for a popular local band. But even together they couldn’t quite pull in enough for a down payment. Rentals kept falling through, and for a while, she says she wasn’t sure how her family could live and work in the town she grew up in.

As negotiators from the United States and Canada consider tweaks to a longstanding treaty about the Columbia River system, Montana legislators are pushing for local water security and compensation.

The Columbia River Treaty outlines shared management of flood risk and hydropower generation along a river system that crisscrosses the international border. The United States, Canada and tribal nations are in the process of modernizing that agreement.

State legislators are considering requiring mandatory decontamination for wakeboarding boats, and having boat owners pay for the procedure.

House Bill 608 would establish a $50 fee for boats with ballasts or bladders to undergo a mandatory decontamination each time they enter the state or cross the Continental Divide into the Columbia River basin.


An intersection west of Kalispell has clocked 50 crashes in the past 11 years. The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) says a new roundabout could bring that number down. MDT will make its case at an open house this week. 

As the number of skiers and snowmobilers charging deeper into the backcountry in search of unblemished powder rises, so does the number of calls for rescue. Now, a search and rescue outfit based in Whitefish can look for lost people from the air using a piece of technology that might already be stitched into their jackets.

It’s called RECCO, and the philanthropically-funded Two Bear Air Rescue is the first company in the Americas to fly with the new RECCO detector.

Bears attack people in northwest Montana a few times a year. That’s enough for medical professionals and wildlife managers to have developed a special protocol that’s part treatment, part forensics to ensure both parties recover.

Since before the smoke from the Rice Ridge Fire cleared in 2017, a team of University of Montana researchers have been tracking lung health of local residents.

They presented their early findings to the Seeley Lake Community Council for the first time Monday night.

Two Montana-based environmental groups Monday announced they’re preparing to sue the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the recently enacted Flathead National Forest Plan.

Swan View Coalition and Friends of the Wild Swan say the new management plan violates the Endangered Species Act by increasing road building in sensitive habitat for grizzly bears and bull trout. They plan to file their lawsuit if the agencies don’t act within the next 60 days.

A public pool in Polson has been ordered to pay a former employee nearly $60,000 and develop new policies for identifying and resolving discrimination complaints in response to a case heard last year.

Tristen Flagen filed a complaint with the Montana Department of Labor and Industry in 2016, claiming two of her coworkers at Mission Valley Aquatic Center in Polson sexually harassed her at work repeatedly and aggressively, and that she was fired after she tried to bring it up with her superiors.

As Congress and Montana lawmakers consider laws to address high rates of missing and murdered Native American women and girls, people in Indian Country have a question for the law enforcement officers and government officials tasked with protecting them.

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