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Saturday, April 30th 2016
Associated Press Montana News
Latest Montana news, sports, business and entertainment at 1:20 a.m. MDT

Deputy rescues 2-year-old child from Yellowstone River

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A Yellowstone County sheriff's deputy rescued a 2-year-old boy who fell into the Yellowstone River.

Capt. Bill Michaelis says the deputy had responded to a report at 9:20 a.m. Friday that a 2-year-old and 5-year-old were missing. The boys' father had driven their mother to work and when he returned home the children weren't there.

Deputy Adam Lauwers spotted the boys along the river bank at 9:43 a.m.

Michaelis says Lauwers saw the 2-year-old fall into the river and quickly jumped into the 40-degree water and rescued the boy.

The boy was taken to the hospital, but was expected to be OK.


Conrad Burns' funeral next Friday at Metra Park Arena

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The funeral service for former U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns will be held on Friday, May 6 at 11 a.m. at Metra Park Arena in Billings.

The public is invited to attend.

Burns died Thursday of natural causes at his home in Billings. He was 81.

Burns' family issued a statement Friday saying he was a loving, dedicated husband and proud father whose greatest joy was his three grandchildren.

The family requests that anyone wishing to make a donation in his honor to make them to Shriners Hospitals for Children, your local food bank or the Kate Burns Memorial Scholarship through the Atonement Lutheran Church in Billings. Cards can be sent to the family c/o U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke's office at 222 N. 32nd St., Suite 900, Billings, MT, 59101.


Jailed Montana resort founder invokes right to silence

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The jailed founder of a Montana resort for the ultra-rich says he won't answer a judge's demands to reveal what happened to hundreds of millions of dollars in assets sought by his creditors.

Yellowstone Club founder Timothy Blixseth invoked his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent to avoid self-incrimination in court documents filed Thursday.

Simultaneously, Blixseth declared bankruptcy in California for a financial trust his creditors allege was used to hide his assets.

Courts have ruled Blixseth fraudulently transferred $286 million from the Yellowstone Club prior to its 2008 bankruptcy.

He's been in jail for a year for contempt of court, but has not been criminally charged.

Blixseth's attorney Phillip DeFelice said the bankruptcy filing will allow Blixseth to maximize the value of his assets and begin paying off creditors.


Woman charged with child endangerment in baby's death

(Information from: Great Falls Tribune, http://www.greatfallstribune.com)

GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — A Great Falls woman faces a felony criminal endangerment charge in the death of her 10-month-old daughter, who prosecutors say had been exposed to methamphetamine and whose body was found in a "freezing cold" room in January.

The Great Falls Tribune reports Misty Marie Cutburth was arrested Thursday. She was scheduled to make an initial appearance Friday afternoon in District Court in Cascade County. Prosecutors said she would be appointed a public defender.

Charging documents say the state Division of Child and Family Services received two reports in October 2015 from people concerned about the mother's drug use. Court records say the girl had been seen by a doctor on Jan. 7 for croup and had been prescribed steroids. She died five days later.

An investigation has not been able to determine the girl's cause of death.



Montana Crow Tribe game warden convicted of poaching elk

(Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, http://www.trib.com)

SHERIDAN, Wyo. (AP) — A jury has convicted a Montana tribal game warden of poaching in northern Wyoming.

After the jury in Sheridan returned its verdict Friday, Circuit Court Judge Shelley A. Cundiff sentenced Clayvin Herrera to one year of unsupervised probation and fined him $7,500.

In addition, the Casper Star-Tribune reports that Herrera is not allowed to hunt in any state for the next three years. However, the restriction does not apply to Herrera's right to hunt on the Crow Reservation in Montana. Herrera is a member of the Crow Tribe.

Herrera maintained the he thought he was on the Crow Reservation in Montana when he killed an antlered elk in January 2014.

Prosecutors said the elk was taken about a mile inside Wyoming.



Review analyzes impacts of Wash. coal-export terminal

SEATTLE (AP) — State and local regulators say a coal-export terminal proposed along the Columbia River in southwest Washington could have some unavoidable significant impacts on greenhouse gases emissions, vessel traffic and rail safety.

A draft environmental review released Friday says carbon emissions would increase by 2.5 million metric tons a year when the proposed facility near Longview is fully operating. Other concerns include increased vessel traffic and the potential for train accidents as up to 16 train trips are added each day.

The Millennium Bulk Terminals-Longview facility would handle up to 44 million metric tons of coal a year. Coal would arrive on train from Montana, Wyoming and other states to be loaded on ships for export to Asia.

Millennium CEO Bill Chapman on Friday said the company is a step closer to creating jobs in Longview while meeting the state's strict environmental standards.

Opponents say moving millions of tons of coal through the state and along the Columbia River would harm people's health and the environment.

Friday, April 29th 2016
Associated Press Montana News
Latest Montana news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. MDT

Ex-Montana Sen. Conrad Burns dies; influenced energy policy

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Former Montana Sen. Conrad Burns, a former cattle auctioneer whose folksy demeanor and political acumen earned him three terms and the bitter disdain of his opponents, has died. He was 81

Montana Republican Party Executive Director Jeff Essmann says Burns died Thursday afternoon of natural causes at his home in Billings.

Burns defeated two-term U.S. Sen. John Melcher in 1988 and rose to one of the most influential positions in Washington.

The Republican used his influence on the Appropriations Committee to set the course on energy development and public lands management across the rural West.

He was ousted from office in 2006 under the specter of scandal after developing close ties to lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who was later jailed for conspiracy and fraud.

No charges were ever filed against Burns.


Famous paleontologist celebrated at Museum of the Rockies

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

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — A $3 million endowment has been set up at the Museum of the Rockies in honor of renowned paleontologist Jack Horner, who is retiring after 34 years as the museum's curator of paleontology.

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports the announcement came Thursday as 100 people gathered at the Montana State University-affiliated museum to honor Horner.

Whitney and Betty MacMillan of the museum's national advisory board donated the money to create the endowed position, the John R. Horner curator of paleontology.

Horner joined the museum in 1982. His discoveries from Montana's badlands have filled the museum with the largest collections of dinosaur remains.

Horner is a MacArthur genius grant recipient and has won countless awards, raising nearly $8 million for the museum.

He plans to start teaching at Chapman University.



Montana county wants to dispose of Cold War commode kits

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

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — A Montana county plans to dispose of more than three dozen Cold War-era sanitation kits meant to provide makeshift bathroom facilities for fallout shelters.

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports 42 fiberboard drums labeled "SK IV Sanitation Kit" were shipped to Gallatin County in January 1964. They contained a toilet seat, commode liner, 10 rolls of toilet paper that people are cautioned to "USE SPARINGLY," along with commode chemical. The seat fits on top of the lined drum.

After county officials determined they didn't need the kits any more, they found out the Department of Defense didn't want them back. The Federal Emergency Management Agency had no use for them, either.

The county has offered some to museums. The rest may be sold at auction. A value and date haven't been set.



Gov. Bullock wants $200M for infrastructure, details to come

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Gov. Steve Bullock says he wants to spend $200 million on roads, bridges, schools and other public works but hasn't settled on specific projects or exactly how to pay for them.

Bullock said Thursday that infrastructure spending would be his top priority during the 2017 legislative session if he's re-elected.

A similar spending package in 2015 came up one vote short in the Republican House.

Bullock says he will decide in coming months what projects to include this time. They would be paid for by some combination of cash and bonds — a key sticking point for past proposals.

Bullock also proposed a long-term building fund to be paid for with coal severance taxes.

Republican State Rep. Mike Cuffe of Eureka says Bullock's plan might have merit, but more details are needed.


Audit: Montana financial statements error-free

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A new audit says the state's financial statements are error-free this time — unlike a year ago when an audit revealed scores of mistakes and cited a lack of internal controls that could have exposed the errors sooner.

Last year's mistakes prompted the governor's office to put in place new protocols and hire a new accountant.

The current audit covers the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015.

While state officials described some of last year's errors as simple mistakes — such as dropping zeros from large numbers — the errors could have affected the state's bond rating. Some mistakes were big, including a $1 billion overstatement of accumulated depreciation related to the state's infrastructure.

Audits are routine, but help investors and bond rating companies evaluate an institution's financial health.


Grizzly bear monitoring project continues in Glacier park

WEST GLACIER, Mont. (AP) — A long-term program to monitor grizzly bears in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem continues this summer in Glacier National Park.

Park officials said Wednesday that wildlife managers will begin work next week to deploy bait stations, trail cameras and traps to capture grizzly bears.

The bait stations and trap sites will be marked with brightly colored warnings and closure signs. Visitors are asked to respect the posted signs and stay out of the bait station sites. The trapping efforts will continue into October.

The grizzly bear monitoring program began in 2004 and is led the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

State, federal, park and tribal wildlife biologists try to maintain a sample of 10 radio-collared female grizzly bears in the park, where an estimated 300 grizzly bears live.

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