Katrin Frye

Flathead Reporter

Katrin Frye reports twice weekly on northwest Montana news from her native Flathead Valley. Frye is a graduate of the University Of Montana School Of Journalism and Davidson Honors College. Before coming on board with MTPR, she reported for the local CBS affiliate in the Flathead Valley, and worked as a contributing writer to the weekly paper the Flathead Beacon. Her reports covering the news of the Flathead Valley and northwest Montana have been heard on National Public Radio’s Evening Edition, NPR News and National Native News.

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Public Access
1:00 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Community rallies to keep from losing Flathead Lake access site

The north shore on Flathead Lake has a MT FWP Fisheries Conservation site and a USFWS Waterfowl Production Area closed to the public March 1st through July 15th.
Katrin Frye

The potential to lose a popular access to Flathead Lake’s north shore rallies the community of Bigfork and shines a light on the issue of private property and public access to water. The access in question is a county-right-of way, running through government and private land on the north shore of the lake. There’s a US Fish and Wildlife Service Waterfowl Production Area and a state Fish, Wildlife and Parks Fisheries Conservation area, both currently closed to the public. The waterfowl production area stays closed to public access from March into July while birds are nesting.

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Columbia Falls Aluminum Plant
2:43 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

EPA finds groundwater and residential wells contaminated downstream of Columbia Falls Plant

The Columbia Falls Aluminum Plant is eligible for “Superfund” designation. The Environmental Protection Agency recently released a reassessment report looking at contamination on the site, and in nearby waterways. Site Assessment Manager Rob Parker called this a screening assessment. They did not look at all potential sources for contamination, but focused on the landfill, percolation ponds, and sludge pond.

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Education
6:49 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

How the Kalispell School District hopes to make its case for a Technology levy

Flathead High School Library Media Specialist Murry Graham has been using funds from his media budget to buy computers, Kalispell's high school have been operating without a technology budget since 2010.
Credit Katrin Frye

The Kalispell School District is trying a little different approach as it asks voters to approve a $1.2-million Technology Levy.

It’s asking voters for a 10-year Technology Levy for both the high school and elementary school districts. Each request is $600,000 per year, over the ten year period.

A 2010 building reserve and technology levy failed to pass for the high school district, it passed for the elementary schools.

Kalispell tried again, and failed in 20-12.

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Growth Through Agriculture
3:11 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

Farm to table, cow to ice cream: growing the Ag industry in Montana

Sweet Peaks Ice Cream scooper Catie Bricks is one of about 40 summertime, 20 wintertime employees the business employs in its four shops. Sweet Peaks uses many Montana grown products in its ice cream.
Credit Katrin Frye

Sure Montana has cows, but it also has dairies, cheese and ice cream makers. The same is true for wheat, barley, beer and liquor. Many of these are small, local businesses, but they do create jobs, and encouraging the growth of the value-added agriculture industry in Montana is part of the goal behind the state’s “Growth Through Agriculture” grant program.

The Flathead-based Sweet Peaks ice cream shops recently won a $15,000 matching grant through the program.

Owner Marissa Dauenhauer says different ice cream flavors they make feature different Montana-grown products.

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Flathead Job Fair
1:35 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

A sign of the changing economic times in the Flathead

The Flathead Valley Community College and Flathead Job Service host a Job Fair 4/16 featuring 70 employers.
Credit Katrin Frye

A sold out job fair is a sign of the changing economic times in the Flathead. For the past three years Flathead Valley Community College and the local Job Service have sponsored a spring Job Fair. They had stopped offering it for a few years prior to 2012 because of the lack of job openings.

Manager of the Flathead Job Service Bill Nelson said in the depths of the recession they were listing about 40-job openings.

Over the last few days its closer to 5-hundred.

Student Advisor and Navigator Jori Bullemer with FVCC also used to work at the Job Service.

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"Fire Speaks the Land"
10:55 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Using dance to teach science

The professional dancers of the CoMotion Dance Project and students from Flathead-area schools learn about fire ecology through dance.
Credit William Munoz

Using dance and movement to teach concepts like conduction, convection and radiation is the goal behind a Co-Motion Dance Project about fire ecology. The Project is based out of the University of Montana and brings dance into the classroom as a teaching tool.

The Program, “Fire Speaks the Land,” was written by Director of the CoMotion Dance Project Karen Kaufmann and her husband, Steve Kalling. Kaufmann said the idea is to help understand concepts through movement.

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Healthcare Associated Infections
7:36 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Why its important for both patients and healthcare workers to wash their hands

Say you’re in the restroom at a public place, like the mall. You’re at the sink, washing your hands, and you see the sign, complete with step-by-step pictures, on how to wash your hands.

Ever actually read that sign? It tells you to wash your hands for 20-seconds.

Registered Nurse Melody Finch said proper hand hygiene is the first step in prevention, and this relates to alcohol-based hand sanitizers as well as soap and water.

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All Families Break In
1:35 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Only clinic to offer abortions in the Flathead may not reopen

A message on the All Families Healthcare website says "closed for the forseeable".
Credit www.allfamilieshealthcare.org

The only medical office offering abortions in the Flathead Valley may not reopen after extensive vandalism shut its doors earlier this month. The man arrested for the break in is the son of a founder of a local pro-life organization.

All Families Health Care offers primary care by Physicians Assistant Susan Cahill.

“I take care of children, and geriatrics as well, men – they don’t come in as much, and women, they come in more often either because of their reproductive years, menopause, etcetera,” Cahill said.

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Flathead Lake Biological Station
10:30 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Flathead Lake water and weather monitoring buoys in dry dock

One of two data gathering buoys the Flathead Lake Biological Station has been operating since August of 2011.
Credit Katrin Frye

Two large, yellow buoys with “Flathead Lake Biological Station” stenciled on the side now sit on the shore beside the lake they’ve been collecting data on since August of 2011. These weather buoys were also measuring water quality and temperature, among other things.

The buoys were taken in to calibrate the instruments and replace the batteries.

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Habitat Volunteers
7:14 am
Mon March 24, 2014

How about a spring break swinging hammers and helping strangers?

College students on spring break and NCCC members working on a Habitat for Humanity townhouse in Columbia Falls.
Credit Katrin Frye

A Habitat for Humanity home in Columbia Falls took great strides toward completion over the past two months with the help of young volunteers. A National Service group with volunteers aged 18 to 24 came on the scene two months ago, and this month a steady stream of college students are spending spring break in hard hats and tool bags building a home for strangers.

For three weeks in March Habitat for Humanity of the Flathead hosts three different college groups. The week of the 17th it was a group of spring breakers from the University of Wisconsin – Stout.

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