Nicky Ouellet

Nicky is MTPR's Flathead-area reporter.

Whitefish joined a growing number of U.S. cities pledging to uphold the Paris Climate Agreement Monday night. Citing potential threats to human health, ecosystems and the economy, Whitefish Mayor John Muhlfeld said the city will make mitigating climate change a priority.

"The City of Whitefish will increase its efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, create a clean energy economy, and stand for environmental justice," Muhlfeld said.

Geologists in Yellowstone National Park have now detected more than 500 earthquakes in the past week. The ongoing earthquake swarm is one of the larger ones the park has seen.

Yellowstone typically sees between 1,500 and 2,000 earthquakes a year. About half of those will occur during a swarm, like the one going on now in the northwest corner of the park.

Affordable housing is becoming increasingly hard to find in Whitefish, as second homeowners, mostly from out of state, scoop up real estate and landlords turn their usual long-term rentals into vacation rentals. For people working the low-wage service industry jobs that sustain the area’s tourism economy, there aren’t a lot of options.

If you step into one of the ritzier vacation lodges in Montana this summer, chances are you’ll spy the tan shafts and white tips of antlers, maybe in the chandelier hanging from the ceiling, or the throne-like chair in the corner, maybe even serving as a handle on a cabinet door.

These accents fuel a multi-million dollar cottage industry in the West that supports artists and backcountry scavengers alike. I spent a few days this spring tracking down the origins of unique antler furnishings. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is hosting two public meetings tonight and tomorrow night about planning efforts for the National Bison Range.

Flathead County Commissioners today took a step towards legalizing and regulating short-term housing rentals outside of incorporated towns. Vacation rentals by owner, or VRBOs, are currently illegal outside of Kalispell, Columbia Falls and Whitefish, but people are doing it anyway.

Commissioner Pam Holmquist voted in favor of a resolution to change county regulations, which passed on a 2-1 vote.

“We're just trying to help the VRBO individuals and the community have a voice in this,” says Holmquist.

Graduation ceremonies this spring became the testing ground for a new state law that protects tribal members’ right to wear regalia at significant public events. Most have gone off without a hitch — students across the state are receiving their diplomas in beaded caps and gowns, but schools are still trying to figure out how to implement the new law.

Flathead County Commissioners are considering a proposal to regulate short-term housing rentals outside of incorporated towns. 

Steve Pleasants rents out part of his home near Whitefish for a few weeks each summer. The extra income helps him pay his property taxes and covers small projects to improve his house. He says that shouldn’t be against the law.

Last night, the Republican candidate to fill Montana’s vacant U.S. House seat reportedly body-slammed a political reporter from international news outlet The Guardian.

Greg Gianforte was later charged with misdemeanor assault. But did the “body slam” affect how people are voting today? We sent reporters out to Bozeman, Missoula and the Flathead Valley to find out.

In the final hours leading up to tomorrow’s special election to fill Montana’s lone U.S. House seat, Democratic candidate Rob Quist is squeezing in a few final visits with voters, and making use of social media. 

Quist’s campaign Facebook and Twitter pages are flooded with testimonials from voters:

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