KLTZ/MIX-93
The VOICE of northeast Montana!!!
Find more about Weather in Glasgow, MT
NWS Radar
News Links: | Local News | Montana News | North Dakota News | Obituaries | Valley Happenings | News Archives | Obituary Archives | Ag News |

Friday, November 17th 2017
Associated Press Montana News
Latest Montana news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 a.m. MST
KEYSTONE-PIPELINE LEAK

Keystone pipeline leak days before Nebraska expansion ruling

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — The Keystone pipeline has leaked 210,000 gallons of oil in rural South Dakota but officials don't believe it has polluted water.

The pipeline operator, TransCanada Corp., says it has shut down the system and the state has sent an inspector to the site near the border with North Dakota.

According to U.S. government data, there have been 17 oil leaks in the U.S. larger than the new spill since 2010.

But it comes just four days before Nebraska regulators are due to announce their final decision on whether a major expansion of the pipeline system, called Keystone XL, can pass through the state. The expansion has been fiercely opposed by environmental activists, American Indian tribes and some landowners.

President Donald Trump has approved a permit for the expansion.

INTERIOR SECRETARY-TRAVEL

Interior watchdog faults Zinke for incomplete travel records

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Interior Department's internal watchdog says Secretary Ryan Zinke has failed to keep complete records of his taxpayer-financed travel — hampering an investigation into his use of private charter flights for government business.

Deputy Inspector General Mary Kendall says her investigation "has been delayed by absent or incomplete documentation for several pertinent trips and a review process that failed to include proper documentation."

Kendall said Interior employees have cooperated with her office, but said investigators have found that documentation and adherence to department policies are "deficient and without proper management oversight and accountability."

Zinke has brushed off news reports that he took at least three private flights costing taxpayers a total of $20,000 since taking office in March, saying all his travel is ethical and went through proper due diligence.

BILLINGS-BODY FOUND

Billings police investigating after body found

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Police in Billings have launched a homicide investigation after two people out for a walk spotted a man's body near what appeared to be an abandoned transient camp on the west side of the city.

Lt. Neil Lawrence says the man's body was found Wednesday evening near a dirt road along an irrigation canal.

Officers say the body was found in an area with downed trees and debris and was covered with a carpet or blanket.

Police secured the scene Wednesday night and officers began their investigation Thursday morning. Lawrence says officers were still at the scene Thursday afternoon and he did not know if the body had been removed.

WOMEN'S PRISON-WARDEN

Probation and parole supervisor named women's prison warden

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A regional bureau chief for the state's Probation and Parole Division has been named the new warden of the Montana State Prison.

Corrections Director Reginald D. Michael said Thursday that Jennie Hansen takes over after the retirement of Joan Daly-Shinners.

Hansen has worked for the department since 2009, including almost five years at the women's prison assisting inmates in case planning and preparing for their release. She has also managed a small caseload of mentally ill offenders and served as a supervisor in the Billings Probation and Parole Office.

She was named the Eastern Region Bureau Chief for the Probation and Parole Division in 2016.

Hansen is a member of the Montana Board of Crime Control and served on the Commission on Sentencing, which studied sentencing policies and recommended strategies to reduce incarceration and recidivism.

CROP DUSTER SHOT

FBI offering $5K reward for info on crop duster shooting

(Information from: Bozeman Daily Chronicle, http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com)

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — The FBI is offering a $5,000 reward for leads on who was responsible for shooting a crop dusting plane in southwestern Montana.

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported Thursday that a crop dusting plane owned by Headwater Flying Service was shot at twice on July 18 near Belgrade while the pilot was applying fungicide to wheat crop.

The shots came from the ground.

Officials say one bullet hit the plane 18 inches (457 millimeters) from the cockpit. A second hit the wing.

The pilot was uninjured.

Investigators determined from bullet fragments found on the plane that the projectiles came from a .22-caliber long rifle.

The Gallatin County Sheriff's Office has assisted the FBI in the investigation.

___

MONTANA SPECIAL SESSION-THE LATEST

The Latest: Montana Legislature ends special session

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana lawmakers wrapped up a special session to patch a projected $227 million budget deficit without increasing taxes.

Gov. Steve Bullock made $76.6 million in cuts while lawmakers and the administration recommended $94 million in transfers and other savings or income, including temporarily suspending payments into the state employee health care plan and the judge's retirement fund and auctioning new liquor licenses.

Part of the package includes temporarily charging a 3 percent management fee on Montana State Fund investments over $1 billion to raise nearly $30 million. Lawmakers also approved $15 million in state employee furloughs.

While the governor had recommended some temporary tax increases, Republicans passed legislation that essentially forces him to extend the contract for CoreCivic to manage a private prison in Shelby to access $30 million or make additional cuts.

The House adjourned just after 1 a.m. Thursday.


Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Thursday, November 16th 2017
Associated Press Montana News
Latest Montana news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. MST
MONTANA SPECIAL SESSION-THE LATEST

The Latest: Montana Legislature ends special session

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana lawmakers wrapped up a special session to patch a projected $227 million budget deficit without increasing taxes.

Gov. Steve Bullock made $76.6 million in cuts while lawmakers and the administration recommended $94 million in transfers and other savings or income, including temporarily suspending payments into the state employee health care plan and the judge's retirement fund and auctioning new liquor licenses.

Part of the package includes temporarily charging a 3 percent management fee on Montana State Fund investments over $1 billion to raise nearly $30 million. Lawmakers also approved $15 million in state employee furloughs.

While the governor had recommended some temporary tax increases, Republicans passed legislation that essentially forces him to extend the contract for CoreCivic to manage a private prison in Shelby to access $30 million or make additional cuts.

The House adjourned just after 1 a.m. Thursday.

MUSIC TEACHER CHARGED

Montana teacher pleads not guilty to sex assault of student

(Information from: Missoulian, http://www.missoulian.com)

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — A Montana high school music teacher has pleaded not guilty to fondling and attempting to kiss a student.

Troy Bashor entered the plea Tuesday to a charge of misdemeanor sexual assault.

The Missoulian reports that Justice of the Peace Landee Holloway allowed Bashor to remain free on his own recognizance, but said he can't have contact with any minors other than members of his family and can't go back to Frenchtown High School property.

The misdemeanor charge is punishable by up to six months in jail and a $500 fine.

Bashor's next court appearance is set for Jan. 17.

Frenchtown School District Superintendent Randy Cline says Bashor has been placed on paid leave indefinitely and the student involved no longer goes to school at Frenchtown.

___

RANCHING STANDOFF TRIAL-THE LATEST

The Latest: Lawyer: Militia leader's goal was protest safety

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A lawyer says a militia leader standing trial in Las Vegas drove to Nevada to help a rancher in a grazing dispute with the federal government because he believed people were in danger and he had to help.

Defense attorney Ryan Norwood told a jury on Wednesday that Ryan Payne never pointed a gun at anyone and remained with states' rights figure Cliven Bundy — miles away from where protesters confronted U.S. Bureau of Land Management agents in an armed standoff.

Norwood says Payne worked to keep people safe, and keeping people safe is not a crime.

The lawyer describes Payne as a U.S. Army veteran who served two deployments in Iraq, and says he left his family at home in Anaconda, Montana, to go to the Bundy ranch in April 2014 after seeing reports of federal agents using dogs and stun guns against Bundy family members.

____

WOLVES-LAWSUIT

Environmental group sues for records of wolf killings

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — An environmental group is suing the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife over its failure to release some public records on wolf deaths in the state.

The Center for Biological Diversity is seeking records about the killing of a wolf from the Smackout Pack this summer and the killing of nearly the entire Profanity Peak pack in 2016.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Thurston County Superior Court.

Bruce Botka, a spokesman for the WDFW in Olympia, says the agency does not comment on the filing of legal complaints and had not reviewed the lawsuit yet with attorneys.

Wolves are listed as endangered by the state in the eastern third of Washington, where they are relatively abundant. They have federal endangered species protection in the western two-thirds of the state.

TODDLER SHOT

Father of Minnesota toddler who shot himself arrested

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) — Police in Minnesota say the father of a toddler who accidentally shot himself with his dad's loaded handgun has been arrested in Montana.

The 3-year-old boy survived the gunshot wound at his home in St. Cloud Monday. Police say the child found the loaded weapon, which had been left within his reach, and pulled the trigger.

Police have been looking for the boy's 28-year-old father since the shooting. He faces possible charges of negligently storing a firearm and being a felon in possession of a gun.

Authorities say he was arrested Wednesday morning during a traffic stop in Miles City, Montana. Police say the boy is in stable condition.

BILLINGS REFINERY

Tax break granted to Phillips 66 oil refinery in Montana

(Information from: The Billings Gazette, http://www.billingsgazette.com)

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Yellowstone County commissioners in Montana have approved a tax break sought by the Phillips 66 oil refinery in Billings.

The tax break approved Tuesday is for a project that improved the refinery's crude oil processing and sulfur recovery. The project began in 2015 and was completed in June. The project cost close to $300 million.

Officials say the project increased the refinery's capacity to meet growing regional demand for gasoline and improved its overall safety and reliability.

The Billings Gazette reports that the project qualified for the tax reduction under a county program for qualifying new or expanding businesses.

Commission Chairman John Ostlund said the county traditionally has honored requests for the tax incentive and noted the large investment by the refinery.

___


Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.