Steve Bullock

A photo of Linda Watson shuffling through Little Shell Tribe enrollment applications.
Kevin Trevellyan / YPR

Roughly six months ago, the federal government officially recognized the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians as a sovereign nation. It was national news then. But what does it mean now for the members and descendants of Little Shell? Nine students from the University of Montana School of Journalism spent a semester reporting on the impact of recognition on what has long been considered Montana’s “landless tribe.” This story is part of the student-produced series, Project Little Shell.

It's February, about two months after the tribe received the federal recognition it had sought for more than 130 years. Linda Watson is shuffling papers at her desk at the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians' headquarters in Great Falls. She's received a lot of phone calls recently.

Could a Japanese-style elder care insurance program work in Montana?

Jul 9, 2020
Seniors take part in an exercise class at the Missoula Family YMCA in this file photo from 2019.
Tom Bauer / Missoulian

Last week in Graying Pains, the Missoulian’s David Erickson examined the introduction and implementation of Kaigo Hoken, or care insurance, in Japan, the world’s demographically oldest country. This week’s conclusion of that story explores how a similar policy might translate to Montana, the oldest state in the American West.

A full 13% of Montanans are in their 60s, and the “baby boomer” generation is nearing or entering retirement age. Care for the elderly will become an increasingly pressing issue in Montana as larger and larger numbers of voters enter the older brackets of the state’s demographics.

Feds Release Data On Paycheck Protection Loan Recipients

Jul 8, 2020
Montana Paycheck Protection Program loans issued by zip code
Data: U.S. Small Business Administration Source. Graphic: Eric Dietrich / MTFP

$1.8 billion in PPP loans have been approved to 22,785 Montana recipients — roughly a fifth of the state’s 123,000 small businesses.

This story is republished with permission from the Montana Free Press.

Tens of thousands of businesses and nonprofit organizations across Montana have benefited from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a massive federal effort that has routed billions of dollars into subsidized bank loans intended to help small businesses keep workers on payroll during the economic disruption prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The novel coronavirus.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 


Montana health officials announced 80 new cases of the COVID-19 illness July 7, including over 50 cases in Yellowstone County, the majority of which are connected to an assisted living facility in Billings. The new cases break the state’s record for single day total cases reported.

A picture of houses atop text that explains the website is experiencing intermittent slow visit and upload speeds due to high volume.
Montana Department of Commerce


It’s the start of the month, which means housing payments are due for many Montanans. Amid the economic fallout of the novel coronavirus pandemic, there doesn’t yet appear to be large spikes in evictions and foreclosures. But state officials are still having trouble distributing federal housing relief dollars to the people who need them.

Two separate reopening guides for Montana schools were released on Thursday, one from the governor’s office and the other from the state’s office of public instruction. Neither document is an order, but were presented as ideas for schools to consider when reopening.

Montana’s K-12 schools shut down in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, and it’s still unclear exactly how they plan to reopen for students this fall.

A firework
Piliss/FLICKR (CC-BY-2.0)

Montana officials announced 67 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, breaking the state’s record for the most new cases in a single day. Health officials worry large gatherings for the Fourth of July could accelerate the spread of the novel coronavirus.

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.

Telehealth virutal home screen
Sofia Stuart-Rasi

This story is part of a series that looks at potentially lasting ways Montana adapted during the pandemic. It’s funded in part by the Solutions Journalism Network. 

After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began advising against face to face interactions, Montana healthcare providers sought to expand non emergency telehealth appointments. It's a trend that could keep going.

An outside group is running ads trying to influence voters in Montana's U.S. Senate race — a battle between Republican U.S. Sen. Steve Daines and Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock that could be key in determining which party holds the majority in the U.S. Senate.

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