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Tuesday, September 30th 2014
Associated Press Montana News Summary

Latest Montana news, sports, business and entertainment
MONTANA-HOUSE DEBATE

Zinke, Lewis differ on troops, role of government

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Democrat John Lewis and Republican Ryan Zinke offered contrasting views on the role of the federal government and the need for ground troops to battle Islamic militants during a U.S. House debate.

The two candidates faced off Monday night at Montana State University-Billings Monday in their second debate in the run-up to November's election.

Zinke returned repeatedly to a theme of less federal government as the key to a thriving private sector.

Lewis talked about reforming a dysfunctional Congress, but said the federal government has a role in workforce development, helping the uninsured and promoting renewable energy.

Regarding Islamic militants in Iraq and Syria, the Democrat urged caution before any decision to use U.S. troops.

Zinke said he would rather fight the militants in Iraq than in America.

CHILDREN'S VIRUS-MONTANA

5 cases of children's virus confirmed in Montana

(Information in the following story is from: The Billings Gazette, http://www.billingsgazette.com)

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — State health officials say five cases of a virus that causes severe respiratory illness in children have been confirmed in Montana.

The state Department of Public Health and Human Services said Monday that two cases of enterovirus-D68 were confirmed in Yellowstone County with one each in Jefferson, Cascade and Musselshell counties. All the children were hospitalized at some point.

The state tells The Billings Gazette that more tests are pending at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

The CDC says at least 277 people in 40 states and the District of Columbia have been diagnosed since mid-August.

Enterovirus-D68 is a more virulent strain of the virus that causes the common cold.

VALENTINE'S DAY SHOOTING

Woman sentenced to state hospital for killing man

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — A 56-year-old Hungry Horse woman has been sentenced to 40 years in the Montana State Hospital for the Valentine's Day 2014 shooting death of her boyfriend.

Pamela Ruth Haines was sentenced on Sept. 24 by District Judge Heidi Ulbricht in Kalispell.

Haines pleaded guilty but mentally ill to mitigated deliberate homicide in the death of 71-year-old Thomas Edwards.

Court records say Haines called 911 to report the crime.

SUBDIVISION WATER FIGHT

Lodge Grass, Crow battle over subdivision water

LODGE GRASS, Mont. (AP) — A weekslong battle between the town of Lodge Grass and a subdivision on the Crow Indian Reservation over delinquent water bills has left 500 residents without drinkable water.

Lodge Grass began negotiating with the tribe in September 2013 over $70,000 in overdue water bills from residents of the Johnny Wilson Acres subdivision.

In January, the Crow Housing Authority paid $4,050 to the town, but has made no other payments.

When Lodge Grass employees began shutting off water to the most delinquent residents, the tribal court ordered them off the reservation. That prompted the town to shut off the water to the entire subdivision on Sept. 15.

The tribe turned the water back on 10 days later, but advised residents not to drink it.

FATAL MOTORCYCLE CRASH

Man dies after motorcycle crash in Billings

(Information in the following story is from: The Billings Gazette, http://www.billingsgazette.com)

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Authorities say a 26-year-old man is dead after he crashed his motorcycle into a repair shop in Billings.

Police Sgt. Scott Conrad tells The Billings Gazette the man, whose name has not been released, might have been racing another vehicle when he crashed into the shop on Sixth Avenue North at about 3:45 p.m. Monday. The motorcycle hit a curb, throwing the rider into the shop's wall.

Police are looking for the car reportedly racing the motorcycle — a blue or dark-blue early 2000s Honda Civic. The car is a two-door hatchback with chrome wheels, tinted windows and a loud muffler.

Conrad says he does not know if alcohol played a role in the crash.

FATAL CRASH-ID

Officials identify Great Falls man killed in crash

GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — The Cascade County coroner's office has released the name of a 47-year-old man who died in a weekend crash on Interstate 15 near the Central Avenue West exit at Great Falls.

Lt. Bob Rosipol says Timothy Boule of Great Falls died just after 4 p.m. Saturday.

The Montana Highway Patrol says Boule was northbound when his vehicle drifted off the road and struck a guardrail. His vehicle continued into the median, where it struck a bridge pillar. Boule died at the scene.

WYOMING WOLVES

Conservation groups oppose Wyoming wolf management

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Conservation groups are urging a federal judge not to allow the state of Wyoming to regain control of wolves through a quick, administrative fix.

The Defenders of Wildlife, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club and Center for Biological Diversity on Monday told a federal judge wolves in Wyoming should remain protected under the federal Endangered Species Act.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson of Washington, D.C., last week returned wolves in Wyoming to federal control.

Jackson ruled the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shouldn't have accepted nonbinding state promises in 2012 that it would maintain a minimum population of 100 wolves and 10 breeding pairs.

State officials last week tried to address Jackson's concerns by taking steps to make the wolf population guarantees binding under Wyoming law. They've asked her to reconsider her ruling.

CAMPUS RAPES-ATTORNEYS GENERAL

State attorneys general meet about campus rape

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Several state attorneys general are meeting in Rhode Island to discuss the problem of sexual assault on college campuses.

The eastern region of the National Association of Attorneys General is meeting Tuesday and Wednesday in Rhode Island for a conference on the issue.

Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin is hosting the meeting, and several representatives from area colleges are expected to attend.

They'll discuss topics including how schools can collaborate with police, how to help victims and how to improve campus sexual assault investigations.

Among the attendees expected to participate are attorneys general from Connecticut, New Hampshire, Montana and Maryland. The keynote speaker is Rhode Island U.S. Sen Sheldon Whitehouse, a former attorney general.


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Monday, September 29th 2014
Associated Press Montana News Summary

Latest Montana news, sports, business and entertainment
LINCOLN EARTHQUAKE

Earthquake shakes Lincoln area

(Information in the following story is from: Great Falls Tribune, http://www.greatfallstribune.com)

GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — A small earthquake has struck the Lincoln area, but no damage has been reported.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the magnitude-3.6 quake shook the area at 10:42 p.m. Saturday.

The Great Falls Tribune reports Lincoln Volunteer Fire Chief Zach Muse says he spoke to a firefighter who lives near the quake's epicenter. Muse says the man's house was "shaking good," but nothing was damaged.

The quake was centered about 6 miles south-southeast of Lincoln at a depth of nearly 11 miles.

APARTMENT FIRE

1 injured in Missoula apartment fire

(Information in the following story is from: Missoulian, http://www.missoulian.com)

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — One person was injured and four apartments were damaged in a fire in Missoula.

The Missoulian reports firefighters were called to the building near downtown about 12:10 a.m. Sunday.

They found heavy smoke and flames coming from the second floor but were able to contain the fire to the apartment where it started. The resident of that apartment sustained minor injuries and smoke inhalation. No one else was injured.

Missoula Fire Department assistant chief Jeff Brandt says the damage estimate is $75,000, and the fire is under investigation.

The Red Cross is helping some of the displaced occupants.

MOUNTAIN LION CUB-FIRE

Fire that displaced cubs caused by target shooter

(Information in the following story is from: Ravalli Republic, http://www.ravallirepublic.com)

HAMILTON, Mont. (AP) — Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials say a wildfire that displaced two mountain lion cubs in August was caused by a target shooter who detonated an exploding target.

The Ravalli Republic reports the 50-acre fire started in an area of waist-high grass east of Florence in the Sapphire Mountains.

U.S. Forest Service and local volunteer firefighters were able to suppress the fire with help from helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft at a cost of about $94,000.

No one has been cited for the fire, and the investigation continues.

The Forest Service's Northern Region prohibited the use of exploding targets on national forest lands in May. At the time, the agency said exploding targets had caused at least 16 wildfires in western states that cost taxpayers more than $33 million.

HEAT RECORDS

Montana cities break heat records

(Information in the following story is from: Daily Inter Lake, http://www.dailyinterlake.com)

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — Officials with the University of Montana Climate Office say several Montana cities broke heat records on Wednesday.

The Daily Interlake reports record-setting temperatures were measured across western Montana. Temperatures exceeded the historical average maximum by 9 to 15 degrees for late September.

Maximum temperatures of 85 to 92 degrees were recorded in Helena, Missoula, Kalispell, Butte and some Canadian border counties.

Missoula measured a record 92 degrees on Tuesday and Wednesday, which broke the previous record of 90 degrees, set in 2001.

Helena hit 91 degrees on Wednesday, 3 degrees above its 88-degree record set in 2009.

Kalispell broke its record high temperature on Wednesday with 89 degrees. The previous record of 86 degrees was set in 2001.

Butte matched its 2009 record of 85 degrees on Wednesday.

TRAIN FATAL

Man killed in train collision

(Information in the following story is from: KECI-TV, http://www.keci.com)

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — Montana Highway Patrol troopers say a man was killed in Lincoln County after a train hit his vehicle.

KECI-TV reports a 66-year-old man was driving a truck near Troy about 9 p.m. Friday when his tire got stuck while crossing railroad tracks.

Train conductors sounded the horn, but the truck failed to move and the train struck the truck, causing an explosion.

Troopers say the man killed was the only person in the vehicle. No one else was injured. Officials are investigating.

PUBLIC LANDS

Nearly 300 protest transfer of federal lands

(Information in the following story is from: Independent Record, http://www.helenair.com)

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Nearly 300 hunters and anglers from around the state came to the Capitol to protest proposed legislation that would transfer the management of federal lands to the state.

The Helena Independent Record reports Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester spoke Saturday criticizing efforts at the federal level to transfer federal lands to make up for budget shortfalls. He says selling those lands to the highest bidder is the agenda behind the proposed transfer.

Tester and former Secretary of State Bob Brown signed the Sportsmen's Creed, a pledge to protect public lands and access to them. They urged the public to do the same.

CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS-FOX

Commissioner rules for Fox in campaign complaint

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Montana commissioner of political practices has dismissed a citizen's complaint that Attorney General Tim Fox improperly accepted $47,000 in excess campaign contributions during his 2012 campaign.

Commissioner Jonathan Motl said in a decision Friday that Fox accepted the money after a federal judge struck down the state's campaign contribution limits on Oct. 3, 2012.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the limits six days later, but Fox did not return the money until Oct. 25.

Motl ruled that Fox did nothing wrong in waiting to return the money until then, as other court proceedings connected to the case were still underway.

The 9th Circuit has not yet made a final determination on whether the state's limits are constitutional.


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Sunday, September 28th 2014
Associated Press Montana News Summary

Latest Montana news, sports, business and entertainment
FATAL CRASH

Man killed in fatal crash near Great Falls

(Information in the following story is from: Great Falls Tribune, http://www.greatfallstribune.com)

GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — Montana Highway Patrol officials say a 47-year-old man was killed in a one-vehicle crash on Interstate 15 near Great Falls.

The Great Falls Tribune reports the man was traveling north on Interstate 15 just after 4 a.m. Saturday when his vehicle drifted off the road.

Officials say it struck a guardrail, continued into the median and struck a bridge pillar. The driver died at the scene.

BUSINESS LOAN LAWSUIT

Court hears arguments in jury award cap case

(Information in the following story is from: Bozeman Daily Chronicle, http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com)

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — The Montana Supreme Court heard arguments in an appeal of a case that could determine whether the state's $10 million cap on jury awards for punitive damages will stand.

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports attorneys on Friday debated before the court whether the cap is constitutional. They made arguments during the appeal of a $52 million verdict awarded to an office supply company.

Two district judges have now ruled the limits unconstitutional. If the high court upholds those rulings, the effect could be an increase in jury awards in lawsuits across the state.

Punitive damages are awarded by a judge or jury to set an example and punish a defendant.

No decision was made Friday, and justices say they will rule on the case at a later date.

MEGALOAD

Megaload to move through Montana

(Information in the following story is from: The Montana Standard, http://www.mtstandard.com)

BUTTE, Mont. (AP) — Montana Department of Transportation officials say an oversized load of oil refinery equipment will travel from Dell to Great Falls as early as Oct. 1.

The Montana Standard reports the load is roughly 22 feet wide and 16 feet, 6 inches high. The weight and length of the load will depend on the number of trucks needed to help it move.

The megaload will follow Interstate 15 north to Highway 287. From there it will travel west to Bowman's Corner and move east on Highway 200 to the Vaughn Frontage Road. It will then travel along the Northwest Bypass in Great Falls to Third Street.

Movement will take place at night to minimize disruptions. Motorists should expect traffic delays of about 10 minutes.

MONTANA-HOUSE-DEBATE

Zinke changes mind, will debate Lewis Monday

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Republican U.S. House candidate Ryan Zinke will debate Democrat John Lewis in Billings on Monday night, after all.

The former Navy SEAL and state senator said Friday that he made the necessary schedule changes to attend the 7 p.m. debate at Montana State University-Billings.

Zinke previously declined to participate because of a scheduling conflict. The debate sponsors planned to give Lewis that time in a one-candidate forum.

Lewis campaign spokeswoman Kathy Weber says the campaign received no prior notice of the change, but says Lewis is ready.

It will be the second meeting between the two candidates vying to replace U.S. Rep. Steve Daines.

A third debate is scheduled for Oct. 4 in Bozeman.

LOGGING LAWSUIT

Judge rules for environmentalists in Swan Valley

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A judge has ruled the U.S. government must better analyze how protected species would be affected before any more logging is done on about 111,000 acres the Nature Conservancy handed over to the U.S. Forest Service.

The land in the Swan Valley acquired in 2009 came with an agreement between the conservancy and the former owner, Plum Creek Timber, that allowed timber harvests through 2018.

Four environmental groups sued the Forest Service, saying the agency did not properly study the effects on protected animals, fish and plants in the area.

U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy ruled Thursday that the Forest Service must consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service before future logging projects in the area to ensure they meet the requirements of the Endangered Species Act.

NCOLORADO-MONTANA

Johnson leads Montana over Northern Colorado 38-13

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — Jordan Johnson threw for three touchdowns and ran for another Saturday as Montana cruised past Northern Colorado, 38-13.

Johnson connected on first half touchdown passes of 9 yards to Jamaal Jones and 41 yards to Ryan Burke. Johnson completed his third touchdown pass when he hit Mike Ralston with a 21-yard scoring strike with 2:14 to play in the third quarter. He finished the day completing 11-of-19 passes for 181 yards in the Big Sky Conference opener for both teams.

Travon Van scored on a 71-yard scamper and Johnson ran the ball in from 9 yards out with 39 seconds to play in the first half to lead Montana to a 28-7 halftime lead.

The lone highlight of the game for Northern Colorado came with 3:07 to play in the first quarter when quarterback Jonathan Newsom scored on a 74-yard touchdown run.

NORTH DAKOTA-MONTANA ST

Montana State knocks off North Dakota 29-18

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — Dakota Prukop threw for 269 yards and a touchdown to lead Montana State to a 29-18 win over North Dakota on Saturday.

The Bobcats got an interception return for a touchdown by Khari Garcia early in the second quarter, Shawn Johnson scampered in from 16 yards, and Mitchell Herbert caught his first collegiate touchdown pass as MSU built a 26-7 halftime lead.

North Dakota was able to cut it to 11 on a late touchdown pass from Joe Mollberg to R.J. McGill and two-point conversion.

Prukop finished 17 for 24 passing and Johnson had 75 yards rushing on 15 carries. Jayshawn Gates had 85 receiving yards on three catches.

UND, which came in with the second-ranked defense in the Big Sky, held MSU's offense to 329 yards after the Bobcats totaled over 500 for three straight games.

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