Aaron Bolton

Aaron Bolton

State officials seek more control over Montana’s judicial involuntary commitments

By: - September 17, 2023

KALISPELL —Inside the white-brick hallways of the Flathead County Detention Center, Jail Commander Jen Root walked up to a steel door with a small window and pointed inside. “She’s been here almost a year, just laying on her bed,” she said. Inside the cell, dimly lit by a single window, a woman was curled up […]

Abortion clinics in conservative-led states face increasing legal threats

By: - April 16, 2023

Thirty years ago, Blue Mountain Clinic Director Willa Craig stood in front of the sagging roof and broken windows of an abortion clinic that an arsonist had burned down early that morning in Missoula, Montana. “This morning, Missoula, Montana, learned that there is no place in America that is safe from hateful, misguided groups,” she […]

Information blackout shrouds new reports of death, injuries or abuse at state hospital

By: - March 5, 2023

BUTTE, Mont. — Jennifer Mitchell remembered getting a call nearly two years ago that her 69-year-old husband, Bill, had crashed his car and had been committed to the Montana State Hospital, the state-run psychiatric hospital for adults about 20 miles from their home in Butte. Physicians thought Bill Mitchell had dementia and could be a […]

Homelessness among older people is on the rise, driven by inflation, housing crunch

By: - November 20, 2022

COLUMBIA FALLS — On a recent rainy afternoon in this small town just outside Glacier National Park, Lisa Beaty and Kim Hilton were preparing to sell most of their belongings before moving out of their three-bedroom, two-bathroom rental home. Hilton, who was recovering from a broken leg, watched from his recliner as friends and family […]

Sports programs in northern states face new opponent, scorching Septembers

By: - October 9, 2022

BIGFORK, Mont. — On a recent afternoon, it was a crisp 70 degrees on the football field at the high school in this northwestern Montana community less than 200 miles south of the U.S.-Canada border. Vikings head coach Jim Benn was running his team through drills in the pristine fall weather, without much interruption. Just […]

Post-‘Roe,’ people are seeking permanent sterilizations, and some are being turned away

By: and - August 13, 2022

A handful of people recently gathered in the shade of a large pine tree for a going-away party of sorts. Their friend, Dani Marietti, was going to have her fallopian tubes removed, a decision she made after a leaked draft of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the constitutional right to abortion was published […]

Blackfeet nation uses dogs to sniff out disease, other contaminants

By: - July 5, 2022

BROWNING, Mont. — Kenneth Cook used a mallet and a chisel to crack into a pig’s skull in the gravel driveway outside his home on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in northwestern Montana. Cook planned to use the pig’s brains in brain tanning, practiced by Indigenous people for thousands of years. The brains are mushed up […]

Blackfeet Nation’s plight underscores the fentanyl crisis on reservations

By: - May 29, 2022

As the pandemic was setting in during summer 2020, Justin Lee Littledog called his mom to tell her he was moving from Texas back home to the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana with his girlfriend, stepson, and son. They moved in with his mom, Marla Ollinger, on a 300-acre ranch on the rolling prairie outside […]

Patients with vulnerable immune systems worry vaccine exemptions may put them in peril

By: - March 22, 2022

Charlie O’Neill received part of her husband’s liver in a 2013 living donor transplant and has been taking drugs that suppress her immune system ever since to prevent her body from attacking the organ. O’Neill lives in the small town of Pony in southwestern Montana’s Madison Valley. Despite living in an uncrowded rural setting, O’Neill […]

COVID shots for kids are scarce and demand is mixed in rural Montana

By: - December 18, 2021

When children ages 5 to 11 were approved for Pfizer’s lower-dose pediatric COVID-19 vaccine in November, Annie Edwards was eager to get her daughter Hannah, then 5, the shot because of underlying health conditions she has stemming from her premature birth. “She was on a ventilator for the first month of her life. Throughout this […]

Gianforte nixed a kids’ vaccine campaign, so health officials planned their own

By: - November 4, 2021

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte’s administration stopped plans for a public service campaign to promote COVID-19 vaccinations for eligible teenagers over the summer, a former state health official said. That has led public health and medical experts to plan their own ad campaigns, in anticipation of the administration not publicly backing shots for kids 5 and […]

New Montana law sows confusion, defiance over school quarantines

By: - August 26, 2021

As classes get underway this week and next, Montana school and county health officials are grappling with how a new state law that bans vaccine discrimination should apply to quarantine orders for students and staffers exposed to COVID-19. It’s the latest fallout from the law that says businesses and governmental entities can’t treat people differently […]