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As Montana’s reported COVID-19 cases spike to their highest levels since the pandemic began, tension has emerged between local officials as Jefferson County navigates the line between public health and economic resiliency. Read Article

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An alleged fourth case of COVID-19 in Jefferson County turned out to be a false positive, according to the county Health Department.  Read Article

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Local front line employees feel a mixture of nervousness, uncertainty and relief as they return to work after weeks of being either laid off or on reduced hours due to COVID-19.  They also have to learn new ways of doing business as Montana slowly reopens in the wake of the global pandemic. Read Article

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Jefferson High School opened its gyms to student-athletes on Monday, June 15, and it introduced a detailed plan to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among those participating in summer sports activities.  Read Article

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Local national forest fire management officers are planning for the possibility of a Montana wildfire season with fewer resources as the effort to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 continues, according to Jefferson County Disaster and Emergency Services Coordinator Doug Dodge. Read Article

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A recently closed small slaughterhouse in Odessa, Washington, is in the process of reopening, thanks to soaring demand for locally raised and processed meat. As large meatpacking facilities across the country have become hotspots for COVID-19 outbreaks — at least 277 cases have been confirme… Read Article

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The one screen theater in Whitehall, which remains the only movie venue in Jefferson County, and the rustic bar in Boulder, which doubles as the county’s only bowling alley, are looking forward to the end of restrictions due to COVID-19. Owners of both businesses are searching for a return t… Read Article

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Some readers know that I lead a dual life: While I own The Monitor and live in Montana for part of the year, I also have a job based in New York that requires me to remain tethered there, as well.  Read Article

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As summer approaches, Montana’s busiest tourism season, Jefferson County businesses  prepare for Phase 2 of Governor Steve Bullock’s three phase reopening plan to fight the spread of COVID-19. Read Article

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Jefferson County ranchers have struggled for the past five years with falling prices and rising expenses, but the COVID-19 crisis has exposed another crack in the system — a supply chain backup, leading to uncertainty for producers planning to sell their stock in the fall.  Read Article

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Testing is considered a major requirement on the path back to normal, and as the president has made clear, it’s largely up to the states to find the way. Are states in the Mountain West up to the task? By multiple measures, Utah and New Mexico are leading the way, while other states are stil… Read Article

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Area medical clinics have so far been able to obtain adequate supplies to conduct COVID-19 testing, with those results being processed by the state Public Health Lab, said Karen Wandel, RN, department supervisor for Jefferson County Public Health. Read Article

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Even in the best of times, depression is a major mental health issue. Recent statistics find more than 17 million Americans are affected by major depressive disorders in any given year. And in today’s period of pandemics, social distancing and wide-spread uncertainty about financial and heal… Read Article

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While teachers of academic classes have adapted their lessons to mostly online platforms for remote learning due to COVID-19, some hands-on curriculum instructors have had a harder time.  Read Article

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Boulder Hot Springs Inn, Spa and Retreat Center plans to re-open its outdoor pool and allow limited guest stays after Gov. Steve Bullock last week issued new guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID-19. Read Article

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The Montana Department of Health and Human Services reported a third COVID-19 case in Jefferson County on Monday, but at least one local official complained that the information was misleading. Read Article

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Jefferson High School and Basin and Clancy elementary schools are the latest Jefferson County schools to decide not to reopen for the remainder of the academic year.  Read Article

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I recently participated in a gathering of organizations involved in narrative change. (Like nearly all meetings these days, it was held via Zoom. I’ll admit that the novelty of that technology – Chat! Share screens! – is wearing thin.) Read Article

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Parent survey results from four county schools — Jefferson High School and Boulder, Montana City and Clancy elementary schools — showed that parents of K-8 students are more inclined to remain closed, while the high school parents are about equally split on the question of reopening.  Read Article

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Getting the gear needed to protect health workers and first responders during the COVID-19 crisis has “been a bit of a struggle,” according to Doug Dodge, Jefferson County disaster and emergency services coordinator Read Article

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The recent outbreak of the new coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease it causes, has been devastating to nearly everyone. It has become a global pandemic sending a massive wave of fear to nearly everyone across the planet. The times in which we live are scary and uncharted. Nobody knows what … Read Article

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Jefferson County has managed to keep the number of COVID-19 cases down to two, and it’s been a few weeks since those individuals — a man and a woman — tested positive, said Karen Wandel, RN, department supervisor for Jefferson County Public Health.  Read Article

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Boulder’s Main Street has grown quieter than usual as a result of Gov. Steve Bullock’s directives asking Montanans to shelter in place and closing all but essential businesses. For two of the latter, L&P Grocery and Elkhorn Pharmacy, business amid the COVID-19 threat has not been as usua… Read Article

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Lerum Auto in Boulder is open for business — but you wouldn’t know it. The repair shop is exempt from Gov. Steve Bullock’s March 26 closure order, but “it’s really, really dead,” said owner Dana Lerum. “There’s one possible job coming, I’m not sure. I’ve been in business since 1976, and I’ve… Read Article

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February was a blur. My parents and I caught Influenza A after attending an event together. It left me pretty much unscathed, save for feeling extra run down and uncomfortable for a few days. But my parents got sick. Really sick. Call-an-ambulance-at-four-in-the-morning-because-you-cannot-ca… Read Article

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Jefferson County residents of all ages have been fulfilling the need for fabric masks in the fight against COVID-19. Read Article

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After Gov. Steve Bullock issued a stay-at-home order to combat the COVID-19 threat, Jefferson High School teacher and Boulder photographer Dawn Smartnick had to cancel some previously scheduled family portrait sessions. Read Article

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Reported cases of the novel coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease it causes, came later to Montana than most of the rest of the country. But soon after the last edition of The Monitor was printed, local urgency heightened quickly: Jefferson County declared a state of emergency and limited ac… Read Article

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On Sunday evening, March 15, Jefferson High School Superintendent Tim Norbeck had just arrived at home. He had canceled a motorcycling vacation with friends in the Southwest; that was to have been his first break ever during a school year. Read Article

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In the past week, Jefferson County joined the rest of the planet in playing out a classic civic dilemma pitting public safety against economic well-being. It’s worth exploring what happened to better understand the forces at play, decisions that were made and not made, and the potential impa… Read Article