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Thursday, May 25th 2017
Associated Press Montana News
MONTANA SPECIAL ELECTION-THE LATEST

The Latest: Journalist says Gianforte's account incorrect

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — The Guardian reporter who authorities say was assaulted by a Montana Republican candidate for a U.S. House seat says he never touched the politician before he was thrown to the ground.

Ben Jacobs told ABC's "Good Morning America" that he was doing his job and asking a question of candidate Greg Gianforte as part of covering Thursday's special election.

Gianforte was charged with misdemeanor assault. He's accused of grabbing Jacobs by the throat and throwing him to the ground in his campaign office Wednesday night. Gianforte's campaign blamed Jacobs, saying the reporter was being aggressive and grabbed Gianforte.

Jacobs said Thursday of Gianforte's account that "the only thing that is factually correct ... is my name and place of employment."

Gianforte and Democrat Rob Quist are seeking to fill the U.S. House seat left vacant when Ryan Zinke resigned to join Trump's Cabinet as secretary of the Interior Department.

TRUMP BUDGET-WILD HORSES

Trump budget would allow sale of wild horses for slaughter

PALOMINO VALLEY, Nev. (AP) — President Donald Trump's budget proposal calls for saving $10 million next year by selling wild horses captured throughout the West without a guarantee from buyers that the animals won't be resold for slaughter.

Wild horse advocates say the change would gut nearly a half-century of protection for wild horses and could send thousands of free-roaming mustangs to foreign slaughterhouses for processing as food.

They say the Trump administration is kowtowing to livestock interests who don't want the region's estimated 59,000 mustangs competing for precious forage across more than 40,000 square miles of rangeland in 10 states managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

Trump's budget anticipates the savings would come through a reduction in the cost of containing and feeding the animals. The savings also would include cutbacks involving roundups and contraception programs.

COLLEGE GRANTS-CLERICAL ERRORS

DeVos to review rejected college prep grants applications

The U.S. Department of Education will reconsider awarding grants to dozens of programs that help low-income students prepare for college after their initial applications were rejected due to formatting errors such as not being double-spaced.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos told a House subcommittee on Wednesday in Washington that her agency will reconsider the 77 rejected applications from universities and other organizations that administer Upward Bound programs.

The decision was made after an additional $50 million in funding for such programs was included in the recent omnibus bill to fund the federal government.

The rejections drew bipartisan criticism and a request in the omnibus bill that the Department of Education reconsider those applications.

More than 62,000 high school students around the country receive services through Upward Bound.

Some of the programs with rejected applications have been in existence for up to 50 years.

UNIVERSITY-EARLY RETIREMENT

University offers early retirement to 48 faculty members

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

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — The University of Montana has offered early retirement incentives to 48 tenured faculty members age 65 and older in an effort to save money.

The Missoulian reports the faculty members have until May 31 to decide if they'll accept the offer, which includes receiving 50 percent of their salary this school year. Their last day of work would be July 17.

The Montana Legislature appropriated $2 million for buyouts, which would cover the 48 offers.

Kevin McRae, spokesman for the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education, says if not all of the faculty members accept the offer the university will look at other options.

UM estimates it needs to cut 80 to 100 faculty positions to reduce personnel expenses from 80 percent of the budget to closer to the norm of 72 percent.

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MONTANA WOMAN DROWNS

Missing woman's body found in Flathead River in NW Montana

(Information from: Daily Inter Lake, http://www.dailyinterlake.com)

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — Authorities say a woman missing since March was found dead in the Flathead River in northwest Montana.

The Daily Inter Lake reports https://goo.gl/P5ghdS the body of 55-year-old Dacia Finch was recovered south of Kalispell on Sunday. She was last seen March 30, and a Flathead County sheriff's deputy found her car in a park the following day.

Investigators say the Kalispell woman drowned.

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NAIA TOURNEY-BILLINGS

Billings granted NAIA women's tourney for a 3rd year

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

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The city of Billings has been granted a third year to host the NAIA Division I women's basketball national tournament.

Rocky Mountain College and Visit Billings hosted the tournament in March as part of a two-year contract. The Billings Gazette reports the NAIA extended the contract for a third year based on the success of the 2017 tournament.

The extended contract will allow a local event planning committee to offer two-year sponsorship agreements.

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

Wednesday, May 24th 2017
Associated Press Montana News
Latest Montana news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 a.m. MDT
MONTANA WOMAN DROWNS

Missing woman's body found in Flathead River in NW Montana

(Information from: Daily Inter Lake, http://www.dailyinterlake.com)

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — Authorities say a woman missing since March was found dead in the Flathead River in northwest Montana.

The Daily Inter Lake reports https://goo.gl/P5ghdS the body of 55-year-old Dacia Finch was recovered south of Kalispell on Sunday. She was last seen March 30, and a Flathead County sheriff's deputy found her car in a park the following day.

Investigators say the Kalispell woman drowned.

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MONTANA DEPUTY KILLED

Hundreds honor sheriff's deputy killed in line of duty

BELGRADE, Mont. (AP) — A Montana sheriff's deputy who was killed in the line of duty last week was remembered as family man, a man of faith and a dedicated public servant who could be tough when he needed to be but still played dolls with his daughter.

Hundreds of law enforcement officers, family and friends gathered Tuesday to honor Broadwater County Sheriff's Deputy Mason Moore.

Jodi Moore told those gathered at the Bridge Church in Belgrade that her husband had written her a letter in case something like this happened. She says he told her to enjoy life and not to let hate take over.

Pastor Curtis Crow says he last spoke with Moore late on May 15, about six hours before he was killed. He said they planned to meet last Friday. Crow said he kept that appointment — with Moore's wife and three children.

MONTANA SPECIAL ELECTION-HEALTH CARE

Health care is key issue as Montana fills US House seat

WHITE SULFUR SPRINGS, Mont. (AP) — Meagher County, Montana, may not be much different than the rest of the rural enclaves across America that voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump last fall.

The median annual household income is $38,000 — about 25 percent below the national average. And more than one in four of its 1,800 residents don't have health insurance.

Yet few people are publicly complaining about Trump's push to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

The issue is front and center in the campaign for Montana's only U.S. House seat set to be filled in a special election Thursday.

Democrat Rob Quist says the current law should be strengthened not repealed.

Republican Greg Gianforte wants to replace the current law while keeping some of its provisions, a tricky position in the state with 77,000 people newly enrolled in Medicaid.

MONTANA SPECIAL ELECTION-MONEY

Montana US House race sparks record campaign spending

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Campaign spending ahead of Thursday's special election to fill Montana's only U.S. House seat is already at record levels, with at least $17 million raised.

The sum is especially remarkable because of the 85-day campaign period. The congressional race two years ago generated about $9 million in spending for a campaign that spanned primary and general elections.

The campaign committees for Democrat Rob Quist and Republican Greg Gianforte have raised at least $10 million combined, while outside groups have spent more than $7.1 million thus far.

Most of that money has been used to finance a barrage of advertising, much of it negative.

Voters are choosing from among Quist, Gianforte and Libertarian Mark Wicks to fill the seat vacated by Ryan Zinke when he became U.S. Interior secretary.

MONTANA-GRANDMOTHER STABBED

Montana man charged with grandmother's stabbing death

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

ANACONDA, Mont. (AP) — A southwestern Montana man is charged with deliberate homicide in the stabbing death of his grandmother in Anaconda.

The Montana Standard reports (bit.ly/2qT4U76 ) 21-year-old Tyler Smith was arrested after his grandmother was found dead on her kitchen floor with a knife in her back.

Police Chief Tim Barkell says a woman who works at an in-home salon in the residence called 911 at about 2:30 p.m. Monday after hearing 64-year-old Vicki Smith scream "he's stabbing me." The woman reported seeing Smith's grandson flee the residence.

Officers arrested Tyler Smith at his mother's house. Barkell says he has refused to talk with investigators.

Smith made an initial appearance in Justice Court on Tuesday, where his bail was set at $1 million. He did not enter a plea.

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The story has been updated to show the stabbing happened on Monday afternoon.

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MONTANA DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINT

ACLU files discrimination complaint against school district

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The ACLU of Montana has filed a discrimination complaint with the Montana Human Rights Bureau on behalf of four Native Americans who said they were denied early entry to a high school basketball game in Reed Point because of their race.

Brandy and Elsworth GoesAhead, Emerine Whiteplume and Whitney Holds said while they waited outside to attend Plenty Coups' game against Reed Point-Rapelje on Jan. 21, local community members were allowed in the locked school. They said as an employee let someone in they said: "We don't have any workers yet so we are only letting the white people in."

Reed Point Superintendent Mike Ehinger said after investigating he believes the Plenty Coups fans misheard, because that type of statement is out of character for that employee. He says no other fans were let in early.


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

Tuesday, May 23rd 2017
Associated Press Montana News
Latest Montana news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 a.m. MDT
BEARTOOTH PASS

Montana road crews hope to open Beartooth Pass on Friday

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

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Crews are scrambling to clear the snowpack on Beartooth Pass on the Montana-Wyoming border in hopes of opening the highway Friday.

The Billings Gazette reports https://goo.gl/ZWojdM the Montana Department of Transportation started clearing the snow on U.S. Highway 212 seven weeks ago. Steve Reed, a supervisor with the transportation department, says drifts were deeper than average this year, and the snow is wet and heavy.

A snowplow scrapes about 6 inches (15.2 centimeters) of snow from the top of the drift on each pass it makes. Up to 40 feet (12.2 meters) of snow buried some areas of the highway, and it could take days to reduce to a depth manageable for the giant snow blowers.

Near the borderline, the pass reaches above 10,000 feet (3,048 meters) in elevation.

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GOVERNOR VETOES

Bullock nixes health care pricing bill, bans feeding turkeys

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Gov. Steve Bullock has rejected five more bills, including one he said was a well-intentioned effort to bring more transparency to health care prices but would have done little to drive down costs.

The governor on Monday also vetoed a bill that would have required some employees of the legislative staff to take a course on federalism, the body of political thought that espouses decentralized government power. Bullock asserted that the proposal was unnecessary and its intent had too much of an ideological bent.

The governor also signed 32 bills, including one that makes it illegal to feed wild turkeys. He also signed a bill especially important to hunters that bans importing deer urine from certain states.

DEPUTY KILLED-MEMORIAL

Hundreds of law enforcement personnel to honor fallen deputy

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — Hundreds of law enforcement officers from Montana and surrounding states are expected to attend a memorial service for a sheriff's deputy who was killed in the line of duty.

Gallatin County officials say the funeral for Broadwater County Deputy Mason Moore will be held at the Bridge Church in Belgrade at 11 a.m. Tuesday. It will be live-streamed to the Belgrade Events Center and the Three Forks High School gym as well as online.

A procession will escort Deputy Moore's body through Townsend to Belgrade, starting at 8:30 a.m.

Moore was shot early on May 16. The suspected shooter was fatally wounded near Missoula after a pursuit on Interstate 90. The shooter's father is charged with accountability to deliberate homicide in Moore's death. He also faces more than a dozen counts of attempted deliberate homicide for shots fired at other officers during the pursuit.

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Online: https://www.readygallatin.com/funeral/

INVASIVE MUSSELS-BLACKFEET RESERVATION

Montana Blackfeet leaders reopen 4 lakes to motorized boats

(Information from: Flathead Beacon, http://www.flatheadbeacon.com)

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — Blackfeet tribal leaders have reopened some reservation waters to motorized boats after approving new regulations in response to the threat of aquatic invasive mussels.

The Flathead Beacon reported last week that motorized crafts are limited to four lakes.

Tribal leaders had closed all reservation waters last November after the invasive mussels were discovered. The mussels had been found in Tiber Reservoir and are suspected at Canyon Ferry Reservoir.

All boats are required to receive an official inspection before launching into a lake or river on the reservation. The tribal council is allowing non-motorized boats, such as kayaks and canoes, in all bodies of water. Boats with ballast tanks, or live wells, are prohibited on all waters. Felt sole wading boots are also prohibited.

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MISSOULA SHOOTING

Shots fired in Missoula; 3 in custody, 1 injured

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — Law enforcement officers are investigating a shooting in Missoula that sent one person to the hospital.

Missoula County Undersheriff Rick Maricelli says three people are in custody after a shooting that happened inside a vehicle on Monday morning.

Maricelli tells the Missoulian a plumber at Mountain Supply Co. heard what he thought were two loud backfires at about 8:30 a.m. He went outside, saw a pickup truck driving off and found two shell casings. He called 911.

Officers soon spotted the pickup near a convenience store. An approaching deputy saw that one of the occupants had a gun. Maricelli says the people in the truck began fighting and the gun went off.

A man was injured and taken to the hospital. His condition was not immediately known.

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This story has been corrected to show Rick Maricelli is the undersheriff.

HIT-AND-RUN FATAL

St. Ignatius man arrested after hit-and-run death

POLSON, Mont. (AP) — A 47-year-old St. Ignatius man has been arrested after a bicyclist suffered fatal injuries in a hit-and-run crash on a rural road southeast of St. Ignatius.

Lake County Sheriff Donald Bell says 73-year-old Nick J. Herak of the St. Ignatius area died of the injuries he suffered in the collision Sunday morning.

Bell says Douglas Calvin Charlo was arrested on suspicion of negligent vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a fatal accident.


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

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