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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NPS Photo / Jay Elhard

Glacier National Park’s new leader says the Park is facing many challenges, and opportunities. New Superintendent Jeff Mow is heading south, to Glacier National Park after more than 20-years working in Alaska.

“I have actually had the northern-most duty station in the National Park Service which is in the small Eskimo village of Anaktuvuk Pass in the Brooks Range, I lived there for a couple years. So, anything is moving south in the National Park Service,” Mow said.

Katrin Frye

The Flathead Valley Community College becomes the first stand-alone 2-year college in the state to offer a health clinic for students. The FVCC Student Health Clinic opened in the new Rebecca Chaney Broussard Center for Nursing and Health Sciences with the beginning of the fall semester.

Physicians Assistant Shelley Naomi said she can treat patients for a range of ailments from preventative care like well-woman annual exams to flu shots, treating the common cold, and sexually transmitted disease testing.

Katrin Frye

Glacier as a National Park was only 10-years-old when Lyle Ruterbories was born. When the first cars drove over the completed Going-to-the-Sun-Highway Ruterbories was 13.

In his 70’s he became a ranger, and his wife Marge a campground host at the remote Kintla Lake campground.

Now, at the age of 93-and-a-half he’s still the camp ranger.

CSKT Wildlife Program

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes are calling their Trumpeter Swan reintroduction program a success. The Tribes have been releasing swans bred in captivity since 2002 on the Flathead Reservation in the Mission Valley.

Wildlife Program Manager for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Dale Becker says the swans were historically hunted for food and for marketable goods.

The population was wiped out. The Tribes have released 239 swans since 2002. They count 87 successful nesting attempts with 146 fledgling cygnets since the releases started.

Community Health Centers are a health care option for those without insurance. Many of these Centers are taking a lead role in signing people up for insurance through the state health exchanges starting in March.     In Libby, the Northwest Community Health Center has expanded in the past few years, with plans to continue to grow to meet the ongoing demand. Executive Director Maria Clemons said they served nearly 2000 patients in 2003. By 2012 that number jumped to more than 6,000.

Katrin Frye

Right now people living with Asbestos related diseases contracted from the W-R Grace mine in Libby and living in Flathead or Lincoln Counties receive additional Medicare benefits. These benefits include compensation for medical-related travel expenses and medicine not traditionally covered through Medicare.

But, if they now live outside of Lincoln or Flathead Counties, those benefits are not available.

Katrin Frye

A new company is taking over management of Glacier Park’s historic hotels and restaurants. The National Park Service owns the buildings, but for the past 30-plus years Glacier Park Incorporated has been running the businesses. Glacier Park recently announced the Colorado-based Xanterra Parks & Resorts, Inc will replace Glacier Park Incorporated as the Concessioner operating these businesses with the new year.

Katrin Frye

A Land Trust effort in the Flathead aims to maintain farmland, open space, wildlife habitat, and water quality.    The Flathead Land Trust has been working with the current owner of a 189-acre property along the north shore of Flathead Lake. Land Protection Specialist Laura Katzman with the Flathead Land Trust said the property was originally homesteaded in the 1800’s. The old barn is still there, but the home has since come down.

Katrin Frye

Maya Angelou, JD Salinger, and the Apostles all have something in common. The writers of “I Know why the Caged Bird Sings,” “The Catcher in the Rye,” and the Holy Bible have all had their books challenged or banned. Bozeman artists George Cole, Sara Williams and Collin Letts collaborated on the sculpture called “Banned, Challenged, Censored,” the piece features numerous books displayed on individual shelves against a backdrop of pages from other banned books and magazines. There are current books and old classics.

Katrin Frye

Weed-sniffing dogs are being used as part of the state’s fight on noxious, invasive plants. Dogs and their trainers from the Missoula-based “Working Dogs for Conservation” are being drafted for various conservation-related services across the country, and the world.               

Coal development generates money in Montana. Executive Director of the Montana Coal Council Bud Clinch said an average train carrying coal has about 120 cars, and represents about $30,000 of local, state, and federal taxes being paid.

He said Coal is worth continuing to invest in, it’s what Montana has, and the demand for it is not going away.

Katrin Frye

From Polson, north to Bigfork cherry stands which have remained shuttered through the year are just opening up as the cherry harvest starts in Montana.

Some of the growers along the east shore of Flathead Lake are hobby growers with a couple of acres of orchard in their yards scaling down toward the lake, or up to the edge of the mountains.

Many pool their resources and their cherries as part of the Flathead Lake Cherry Growers Cooperative.

Earlier this week harvest started on the first Flathead cherries of the season.

Joel Sartore/ National Geographic & Wade Fredenberg/ USFWS / USFWS

Scientists are studying the effects of global climate change from the peaks to the valley floors in Glacier Park.

They’re also looking in the water.

Fisheries Ecologist Clint Muhlfeld with the US Geological Survey said native west slope cutthroat and bull trout are adaptable, they’ve been adapting to environmental changes for thousands of years.’

The Student Assistance Program doesn’t involve money for school, or extra study time. It focuses on helping students in something other than academics. It’s a network of support groups offered through a school with focuses varying from grief, to substance abuse, anger, and self-esteem, among others. Whitefish School Psychologist Robin Bissell said SAP came to Whitefish four years ago after the high school lost a student to suicide.

Katrin Frye

Affordable airfare, higher education, low wages, and quality of life are among the challenges and opportunities business leaders from across the state identify as hampering or helping economic growth.  These questions of opportunities and challenges are being asked as part of Governor Steve Bullock’s Main Street Montana Project. Governor Bullock said it’s a bottom up economic development plan to create a blueprint for job growth in Montana.

Katrin Frye / summer food program, kalispell free kids lunch

Making sure kids get fed healthy food is the goal behind “free meal” programs at school.

Making sure they continue getting healthy meals through the summer is the goal behind a federal grant that’s covering the cost of summertime free meal programs in communities across Montana.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes recently released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement looking at netting, commercial fishing, and bounties to cut deeper into the invasive lake trout population in Flathead Lake.

Katrin Frye

The International Traditional Games Society was started when a group of native middle school students in Browning asked a simple question.

Katrin Frye

While remodeling the Elrod Building at the Yellow Bay Station workers found a time capsule in the wall behind the cornerstone. The Biological Station was founded in 1899. The Elrod lab was built in 1967 under the tenure of Dr. Richard Solberg as director.

“The first half of the life of the Biological Station focused primarily on teaching; the professors taught, the professors didn’t do research. They did some observations, and wrote a few papers and a book or two and so on, whereas now the primary focus of the station is research,” Solberg said.

Katrin Frye

Bikers are braving wind, rain, snow, mountain passes and desert plateau's as part of the Tour Divide mountain bike race.


Glacier National Park is working on a Road Corridor Management Plan to address some of the issues increased visitation is bringing to popular areas along the Going to the Sun Road and the trails that connect to it.

“Pastured Poultry” is a method of raising chickens or turkeys by giving them free range over the ground and the most natural life possible. Agriculture Economist Jeff Schahczenski  with the National Center for Appropriate Technology, NCAT, said it’s a method gaining interest across the country.

GlacierNPS / Flickr

Spring and fall are both prime times for biologists to trap grizzly bears. Wildlife officials are trapping the bears as part of a long-term bear monitoring project spanning across the northern continental divide ecosystem.

It took a contest from a company out of Maine, and a social media effort spanning across international borders for the Glacier Institute to get an alternative energy project installed on their off-grid campus. The Institute is a non-profit organization that offers educational opportunities for students and adults in and around Glacier National Park.

Executive Director Joyce Baltz said the Institute plans to have its alternative energy project be both functional, and educational.

Katrin Frye

Several gardens at Flathead Valley schools are bringing the outdoor classroom a little bit closer to the indoor one. $16,000 in grant money received by Flathead National Forest in partnership with the Flathead Audubon Society is paying the way for native plant gardens at four area schools.

The grant comes through the US Forest Service “More Kids in the Woods” program.

Katrin Frye

Water temperature and the types of life it supports are some of the things scientists at the Flathead Lake Biological Station track to determine water quality in the Lake and its tributaries. The Bio Station has been monitoring water quality, and amassing information about the Flathead since its founding in 1899. But recently it went to the public to help cover costs.

Katrin Frye

All this week fifth graders from the Flathead Valley and beyond have been heading to a section of woods in Columbia Falls. It’s the Forestry Expo, and this Saturday it opens to the public.

Flathead Legislators met with business and community leaders in Kalispell Thursday to give a wrap up of key changes from the latest legislative session. Four Republicans from the Flathead; Senators Jon Sonju and Bruce Tutvedt, and Representatives Mark Blasdel and Scott Reichner spoke of the goals they held going into the legislature. The legislature started off with a $500-million surplus that the representatives said people had many ideas of how best to use.