Articles written by Alex Sakariassen

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  • Altacare no longer offering CSCT services in Montana

    Alex Sakariassen, Montana Free Press|Aug 4, 2022

    A longtime provider of comprehensive in-school mental health services for hundreds of Montana students closed its operations last month, a development that other providers and professionals attribute to broader forces placing stress on the state’s already fragile mental health infrastructure. Altacare of Montana, a for-profit provider of Comprehensive School and Community Treatment (CSCT) programs owned by Tennessee-based Acadia Healthcare, announced its intent to close its Butte facility and halt its CSCT services in a May 13 letter to the M... Full story

  • Testing back on the schedule

    Alex Sakariassen, Montana Free Press|Mar 4, 2021

    Montana joined at least half a dozen other states last month in asking the federal government to waive its required standardized testing for schoolchildren this spring. But under a new directive issued by the U.S. Department of Education last week, schools across the state will be required to administer the testing this year, despite the ongoing pandemic. In a letter announcing the decision, the department said standardized test results will be critical in gauging the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on learning, and will give parents an i...

  • The homeschool uptick

    Alex Sakariassen, Montana Free Press|Jan 14, 2021

    As Montana schools sought to contain the pandemic last March by shutting their doors for the remainder of the spring semester, Flathead County Superintendent of Schools Jack Eggensperger began to notice an increase in the number of parents registering to homeschool their kids. The trend continued throughout the summer and into the fall, right up to the day in early October when his office recorded its official homeschool headcount for 2020. That figure was 1,567 students — more than double the 715 homeschool students recorded in October 2019. E...

  • Grizzly Bear Advisory Council struggles with 'herculean' challenge in Missoula

    Alex Sakariassen, Montana Free Press|Dec 19, 2019

    MISSOULA - Chad Bauer, a member of Gov. Steve Bullock's Grizzly Bear Citizen Advisory Council, expressed a sense of urgency and unease on the second morning of the council's Dec. 4-5 meeting in Missoula. Bauer and Bullock sat across from each other in a crowded conference room on the University of Montana campus. Bullock had recently announced the end of his presidential campaign, and Bauer, who works as a municipal market manager for Missoula waste hauler Republic Services, was three months...

  • Helping the Navajo find health: Community health workers in action

    Alex Sakariassen, Missoula Independent|Sep 27, 2018

    Two months ago, the boys played like children do, clambering around a ruined building just down the lush green hillside from their home. Now their mom, Moslene, cooks only for her husband, a mechanical act that brings her no joy. Only sadness and a remembrance of the innocent laughter she will never hear again. Her boys - her only children - are dead. A wall of that ruined building fell on them, killing them instantly. Moslene's house, a one-story, two-room concrete structure with a wrap-around...

  • An idea for Montana - State plan endorses community health workers

    Alex Sakariassen, Missoula Independent|Sep 20, 2018

    The Partners In Health, known in Haitian Creole as Zanmi Lasante(ZL/PIH), headquarters resides in a huge state-of-the-art hospital in Mirebalais, about a half-hour drive southwest of Cange. On what has become a typical morning there, hundreds of Haitians crowd onto wooden benches inside. More spill out of the entryways into the tropical sun. Some sleep on blankets or cardboard in the shade of bushes planted along the hospital's white walls. A young woman strolls toward the exit, a newborn in...

  • What is working abroad - Community health workers helping neighbors

    Alex Sakariassen, Missoula Independent|Sep 13, 2018

    As a child, Presandieu Charles suffered severe headaches and stomach pains. One day he beat his mother on the foot and thigh with a stick and later cried when he saw what he had done. In October 2017, Charles began to hammer at the timber walls of his family's dirt-floored home with his fists. He would not stop. Neighbors bound his ankles and wrists with leather straps and metal chains. They called his affliction "the madness." He still has the scars: dark star-shaped marks on the skin on his ri...