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Latest Montana News
Monday, October 15th 2018
Associated Press Montana News
AP-MT--2nd Right Now
Oct 15, 2018 6:20AM (GMT 12:20) - 905 words
WIND FARM-LAWSUIT

Neighbors sue to block planned Montana wind farm

LIVINGSTON, Mont. (AP) — Neighbors of a planned wind farm in southwestern Montana are suing to block the project.

The Livingston Enterprise reports the Crazy Mountain Wind Farm would harvest 80 megawatts of electricity from 24 wind towers near the Sweet Grass and Park county line.

Construction is scheduled to begin next spring.

The lawsuit filed late last month in Park County is by four neighboring property owners with ranching and agricultural land.

They allege the wind project will threaten wetlands, migratory birds, bald eagles, historic trails, businesses and the health of people living in the vicinity.

Rick Jarrett, who is leasing his land to project owner Pattern Development, is named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

Jarrett says the plaintiffs' concerns for their property aren't his problem.

MONTANA TOURISM

Visitors to Montana spent $3.2B in 2017, most near parks

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

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — A new study says visitors spent $3.24 billion in Montana last year, representing about a 2. 5 percent increase over 2016 spending.

The report made public this month by the University of Montana's Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research says more than 60 percent was spent in areas around Glacier and Yellowstone National Park.

Visitors spent $660 million in Gallatin County north of Yellowstone and $531 million in Flathead County outside Glacier. Visitors spent $50 million or more in 13 of the state's 56 counties.

The top spending items included gas, food and drink, lodging, guides and retail sales.

The tourism institute's director, Norma Nickerson, tells the Bozeman Daily Chronicle that the tourism industry has been stable and hasn't been subject to the boom-and-bust cycles of other industries.

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ELECTION 2018-SENATE-TRUMP

Trump to make 3-state campaign swing through West next week

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — President Donald Trump is planning a three-state campaign swing in the West in the final weeks before the Nov. 6 election.

Trump campaign officials say the president will use the rallies next Thursday, Friday and Saturday to urge people to get out and vote in Montana, Arizona and Nevada.

Each of the three western states has tight Senate races.

Trump will open with a rally Thursday evening in Missoula, Montana, in support of Matt Rosendale's bid to defeat incumbent Democrat Sen. Jon Tester.

On Friday, he will appear in Mesa, Arizona, where he's endorsed Martha McSally against Democrat Kyrsten Sinema.

On Saturday, Trump will hold a rally in Elko, Nevada, where the president is backing incumbent Sen. Dean Heller over Democratic challenger Jacky Rosen.

ELECTION 2018-SENATE-MONTANA

Candidates meet in 2nd debate in Montana US Senate race

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Jon Tester is going on the attack against Republican candidate Matt Rosendale in Montana's tightening Senate race.

During a debate Saturday, the Democratic incumbent accused Rosendale of wanting to sell off public lands, kick people with pre-existing conditions off health care, privatize public schools and add dark money to the political system.

In turn, Rosendale accused Tester of having a problem with the truth and selling out Montana for the interests of Senate Democratic leaders.

It was the second debate between Tester and Rosendale. They were joined by Libertarian Party candidate Rick Breckenridge.

Tester faces a tough re-election bid as he tries to rally the Democratic base without alienating supporters of President Donald Trump.

Rosendale has closely aligned his campaign with Trump, who won Montana in 2016 by a wide margin.

ELECTION 2018-TRUMP-THE LATEST

The Latest: Trump campaign plans more rallies for midterms

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's campaign says he will rally for GOP candidates in several critical Western states late next week.

The campaign says Trump will campaign Thursday in Missoula, Montana; on Friday in Mesa, Arizona, and on Saturday in Elko, Nevada. The swing is part of an aggressive fall campaign push by the 72-year-old president to energize Republicans and encourage them to vote on Nov. 6 to keep Republicans in control of both houses of Congress.

The latest campaign swing was announced Saturday night as Trump was midway through a campaign rally in Richmond, Kentucky — his fourth rally of the week.

Trump plans to open next week by surveying hurricane damage in Florida and Georgia, though the White House has not announced when he will visit affected areas.

CHILD ABUSE-SKULL FRACTURES

Butte man pleads not guilty to fracturing infant's skull

(Information from: The Montana Standard, http://www.mtstandard.com)

BUTTE, Mont. (AP) — A 28-year-old Butte man has pleaded not guilty to assault on a minor for allegations that he fractured his 10-week-old son's skull in six places and broke bones in the boy's arm and leg.

The Montana Standard reports Ronald Edwin Ortiz-Cabrera entered his plea Thursday before District Judge Kurt Kreger. He remains jailed with his bail set at $50,000.

Prosecutors say the infant was brought to the hospital in Butte on May 11 with a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain. The baby was transferred to the hospital in Kalispell where doctors discovered the other broken bones.

Ortiz-Cabrera said a swinging door hit the boy in the head, but doctors told investigators that could not cause such extensive injuries.

Ortiz-Cabrera could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Sunday, October 14th 2018
Associated Press Montana News
ELECTION 2018-SENATE-TRUMP

Trump to make 3-state campaign swing through West next week

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — President Donald Trump is planning a three-state campaign swing in the West in the final weeks before the Nov. 6 election.

Trump campaign officials say the president will use the rallies next Thursday, Friday and Saturday to urge people to get out and vote in Montana, Arizona and Nevada.

Each of the three western states has tight Senate races.

Trump will open with a rally Thursday evening in Missoula, Montana, in support of Matt Rosendale's bid to defeat incumbent Democrat Sen. Jon Tester.

On Friday, he will appear in Mesa, Arizona, where he's endorsed Martha McSally against Democrat Kyrsten Sinema.

On Saturday, Trump will hold a rally in Elko, Nevada, where the president is backing incumbent Sen. Dean Heller over Democratic challenger Jacky Rosen.

ELECTION 2018-SENATE-MONTANA

Candidates meet in 2nd debate in Montana US Senate race

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Jon Tester is going on the attack against Republican candidate Matt Rosendale in Montana's tightening Senate race.

During a debate Saturday, the Democratic incumbent accused Rosendale of wanting to sell off public lands, kick people with pre-existing conditions off health care, privatize public schools and add dark money to the political system.

In turn, Rosendale accused Tester of having a problem with the truth and selling out Montana for the interests of Senate Democratic leaders.

It was the second debate between Tester and Rosendale. They were joined by Libertarian Party candidate Rick Breckenridge.

Tester faces a tough re-election bid as he tries to rally the Democratic base without alienating supporters of President Donald Trump.

Rosendale has closely aligned his campaign with Trump, who won Montana in 2016 by a wide margin.

ELECTION 2018-TRUMP-THE LATEST

The Latest: Trump campaign plans more rallies for midterms

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's campaign says he will rally for GOP candidates in several critical Western states late next week.

The campaign says Trump will campaign Thursday in Missoula, Montana; on Friday in Mesa, Arizona, and on Saturday in Elko, Nevada. The swing is part of an aggressive fall campaign push by the 72-year-old president to energize Republicans and encourage them to vote on Nov. 6 to keep Republicans in control of both houses of Congress.

The latest campaign swing was announced Saturday night as Trump was midway through a campaign rally in Richmond, Kentucky — his fourth rally of the week.

Trump plans to open next week by surveying hurricane damage in Florida and Georgia, though the White House has not announced when he will visit affected areas.

CHILD ABUSE-SKULL FRACTURES

Butte man pleads not guilty to fracturing infant's skull

(Information from: The Montana Standard, http://www.mtstandard.com)

BUTTE, Mont. (AP) — A 28-year-old Butte man has pleaded not guilty to assault on a minor for allegations that he fractured his 10-week-old son's skull in six places and broke bones in the boy's arm and leg.

The Montana Standard reports Ronald Edwin Ortiz-Cabrera entered his plea Thursday before District Judge Kurt Kreger. He remains jailed with his bail set at $50,000.

Prosecutors say the infant was brought to the hospital in Butte on May 11 with a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain. The baby was transferred to the hospital in Kalispell where doctors discovered the other broken bones.

Ortiz-Cabrera said a swinging door hit the boy in the head, but doctors told investigators that could not cause such extensive injuries.

Ortiz-Cabrera could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

___

MONTANA VOTER PAMPHLET

State mails out addendum to voter information pamphlet

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Montana Secretary of State's office has mailed out an addendum to the voter information pamphlet at a total cost of over $265,000.

Chief of Staff Christi Jacobsen said Friday the information about Initiatives 185 and 186 should have had proposed new language underlined while language that was going to be eliminated should have been crossed out. I-185 would enact a tobacco tax to pay for Medicaid expansion and I-186 seeks stricter regulations for new hardrock mines.

Jacobsen said it cost nearly $33,000 to print 471,000 copies of the updated information.

Department of Administration spokeswoman Amber Conger said a Billings company won the bid on the rush job to print the two-sided campaign-sized postcard. The costs included just over $28,000 for mail preparation and over $204,000 for postage.

The online version of the 50-page pamphlet has been updated.

Counties mailed out absentee ballots on Friday.

ELECTION 2018-MONTANA-WOMEN

Independent women a key in outcome of Montana Senate race

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Political observers say a key factor in deciding the outcome of Montana's high-profile Senate race will be whether independent women who voted for Donald Trump in 2016 stick with the president and Republicans again this year.

Democratic leaders and advocacy groups say women are highly motivated to vote in the Nov. 6 election with absentee ballots being mailed out Friday.

Republican women say the bitter confirmation hearing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh has energized their base.

Many voters made up their minds a long time ago in the race between two-term Democratic Sen. Jon Tester and Republican challenger Matt Rosendale.

Montana State University political science professor David Parker says how independent women view Trump and Kavanaugh's confirmation will be critical in determining the outcome of the race.

Saturday, October 13th 2018
Associated Press Montana News
AP-MT--1st Right Now
Oct 13, 2018 1:20AM (GMT 07:20) - 892 words
ELECTION 2018-MONTANA-WOMEN

Independent women a key in outcome of Montana Senate race

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Political observers say a key factor in deciding the outcome of Montana's high-profile Senate race will be whether independent women who voted for Donald Trump in 2016 stick with the president and Republicans again this year.

Democratic leaders and advocacy groups say women are highly motivated to vote in the Nov. 6 election with absentee ballots being mailed out Friday.

Republican women say the bitter confirmation hearing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh has energized their base.

Many voters made up their minds a long time ago in the race between two-term Democratic Sen. Jon Tester and Republican challenger Matt Rosendale.

Montana State University political science professor David Parker says how independent women view Trump and Kavanaugh's confirmation will be critical in determining the outcome of the race.

MONTANA VOTER PAMPHLET

State mails out addendum to voter information pamphlet

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Montana Secretary of State's office has mailed out an addendum to the voter information pamphlet at a total cost of over $265,000.

Chief of Staff Christi Jacobsen said Friday the information about Initiatives 185 and 186 should have had proposed new language underlined while language that was going to be eliminated should have been crossed out. I-185 would enact a tobacco tax to pay for Medicaid expansion and I-186 seeks stricter regulations for new hardrock mines.

Jacobsen said it cost nearly $33,000 to print 471,000 copies of the updated information.

Department of Administration spokeswoman Amber Conger said a Billings company won the bid on the rush job to print the two-sided campaign-sized postcard. The costs included just over $28,000 for mail preparation and over $204,000 for postage.

The online version of the 50-page pamphlet has been updated.

Counties mailed out absentee ballots on Friday.

GUN IN SCHOOL

Former teacher convicted of hiding gun at school

HARDIN, Mont. (AP) — A former high school art teacher has been convicted of hiding a gun that a student brought to school in southeastern Montana.

Nora Block was convicted Friday of felony tampering with evidence and misdemeanor obstruction of a police officer.

Big Horn County prosecutors said a 17-year-old student brought the gun to Hardin High School in January to try to steal someone's lunch money. Another student found the gun and gave it to Block. She did not turn it over to school officials and told law enforcement officers she "found" the gun while cleaning her classroom on a Saturday.

County Attorney Jay Harris says jurors couldn't reach a verdict on a charge of possession of a weapon in a school building.

Block was released from custody pending her sentencing on Dec. 10.

FATAL CRASH-YELLOWSTONE PARK

Man found in Yellowstone National Park river identified

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — A man whose body was found in a river in Yellowstone National Park has been identified.

Park officials said Friday they found the body of 29-year-old Dane M. Offutt, of Big Sky, Montana, downstream from a vehicle found in the Gallatin River.

The Gallatin County sheriff's office says Yellowstone rangers began searching Saturday after finding the unoccupied vehicle in the river off U.S. Highway 191. They weren't able to locate the driver.

After learning he wasn't home and had missed work, the search continued.

Offutt's body was spotted Wednesday after a search involving dogs and a drone.

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports the cause of death was under investigation.

GRIZZLY KILLS CALF

Grizzly kills calf in rare appearance near Montana town

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

GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — Wildlife officials say a grizzly bear killed a calf on a ranch north of the Montana town of Two Dot.

The Great Falls Tribune reports Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks wildlife biologist Jay Kolbe says the killing earlier this week is another example of the state's expanding grizzly population.

After determining the calf was killed by a grizzly bear, Wildlife Services tried unsuccessfully to capture the bear at the site. Given a high number of black bears also in the area, traps were pulled Wednesday.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesman Greg Lemon says the Two Dot Bear is another example that hunters need to be prepared to encounter grizzly bears anywhere in the western half of Montana, even if they aren't known to occupy an area.

___

RESERVATION DEATH

Woman acknowledges hitting, killing man with minivan

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

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A woman has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for running over a man with her minivan on Montana's Crow Indian Reservation.

The Billings Gazette reports Vernelle Badbear entered her plea Thursday for the November 2016 death of 38-year-old Freman Bends, of Benteen. Badbear faces up to life in prison.

Prosecutors say she drove over Bends after the two argued about his drinking. They were in a relationship at the time, and Badbear was angry with Bends for drinking when he was supposed to be watching the children.

Bends left the house near Wyola and began walking down a road before Badbear followed him with her van.

A highway worker found Bends' body eight days later.

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