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Tuesday, August 4th 2015
Associated Press Montana News Summary
Latest Montana news, sports, business and entertainment

States' targets shift in final Obama climate change plan

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Sixteen states will have tougher carbon dioxide reduction targets than they originally planned for when President Barack Obama first proposed his climate change rule last year.

Obama presented his final plan Monday, which would reduce emissions 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

The individual states' targets have changed since the proposal was released in June 2014. Some states are facing Targets have been loosened for 31 states, but the stricter goals for the others make the plan more ambitious than originally proposed.

Janet McCabe of the Environmental Protection Agency says the changes are due to less expensive renewable energy resources and the ability of states to access clean power from their neighbors.

Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana, one of the states with a tougher target, says he is disappointed the Obama administration has "moved the goal post on us."


Jurors deliberating in Bozeman attempted rape trial

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — Jurors began deliberations Monday afternoon in the case of a registered sex offender who is charged with trying to rape a woman and later escaping from police custody.

During closing arguments, Gallatin County prosecutor Marty Lambert read text messages that 29-year-old Kevin Briggs sent to the woman in the month leading up to his arrest and described Briggs as manipulative, narcissistic and obsessed.

Briggs faces several charges including attempted sexual intercourse without consent and aggravated assault.

The woman said Briggs drugged her and strangled her. Briggs said they both used drugs and he put her in a chokehold after she pulled a knife on him during an argument.

Defense attorney Nick Miller said the evidence does not match the woman's story and that Briggs is not guilty.


Woman, boy found dead after Columbia Falls-area house fire

COLUMBIA FALLS, Mont. (AP) — Firefighters have recovered the bodies of a woman and a boy from a home that burned down west of Columbia Falls.

Fire Chief Rick Hagen says firefighters found the 30-year-old woman and the 3-year-old boy after Monday morning's fire. The victims' names have not been released.

Homeowner Juanita Hallas tells KCFW-TV that she was at work when her husband called to tell her he had to jump out a window to escape the flames. She said her daughter-in-law and her step-grandson were asleep in the basement when the fire started.

The Daily Inter Lake reports an excavator was brought in to clear the rubble Monday afternoon.


Lincoln County sheriff looking for possible arsonist

(Information in the following story is from: Flathead Beacon, http://www.flatheadbeacon.com)

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — Firefighters in Libby responded to two fires minutes apart from each other, and investigators say it appears they were intentionally set.

Lincoln County Sheriff Roby Bowe tells The Flathead Beacon that Saturday's fires were the latest in a string of blazes that appear to involve arson. He said there have been at least a dozen similar fires since May 15.

The first fire on Saturday was reported just after 10 a.m. outside of Libby. It was quickly extinguished, and another fire was reported about 15 minutes later. Firefighters arrived to find a portable outhouse ablaze.

Bowe says investigators have not identified any suspects.


Glacier park fire 67 percent contained

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A fire that has burned six square miles of land in Glacier National Park is 67 percent contained, but fire managers expect unburned fuels within the fire's perimeter to continue burning due to warm temperatures and low humidity.

The Reynolds Creek Fire burned into the rocks in Rose Creek and Two Dog drainage north of the fire's northern perimeter on Sunday. Those areas were allowed to burn to reduce the amount of fuel that could compromise the established fire line to the east.

Fire managers say a cold front is expected to move into the area on Monday night, which should bring light rain but also winds gusting up to 40 mph.

The fire started on July 21 about four miles west of the St. Mary Visitor Center. The Going-to-the-Sun Road from ST. Mary to Logan Pass remains closed.


Presidential hopeful Rubio names Montana campaign chairman

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida is one of the first of the 17 GOP presidential hopefuls to select a Montana campaign chairman.

Officials with Rubio's campaign said Monday Helena attorney Mark Baker will help lead the Rubio campaign in the state.

Baker previously served as legislative director and counsel to former Montana Republican U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns and worked on former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's campaigns.

Montana GOP executive director Chris Shipp says the only other GOP presidential campaign news he's heard of in the state is that former Montana congressman Denny Rehberg is helping with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's presidential campaign.

Shipp expects Bush to announce another Montana team member shortly and says other candidates likely will announce state campaign help in the next two months.


Fatal crash near Cascade sparks small fire

CASCADE, Mont. (AP) — A 66-year-old man died in a weekend rollover that sparked a small fire along Interstate 15 south of Cascade.

The Montana Highway Patrol says the crash happened at about 3:30 p.m. Sunday between Cascade and Tower Rock State Park.

The patrol says the man was northbound when he failed to negotiate a turn. He overcorrected twice, causing his pickup truck to roll several times. Cascade County officials say Fritz Roos of Helena was thrown from the vehicle and died at the scene.

Trooper Dana Cockrell says the pickup caught fire and caused a small grass fire, which crews were able to extinguish.


Washington state man dies in Montana canoeing accident

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — A 46-year-old Washington state man has died after a weekend canoeing accident on the Clark Fork River in western Montana.

A group of boaters in canoes overturned in turbulent water Sunday afternoon near Alberton Gorge. Everyone in the group was wearing life jackets, but one man was unable to make it to shore.

Frenchtown fire spokesman Mel Holtz says others on the water helped bring the man out of the water and a bystander began CPR. The coroner pronounced him dead at the scene.

Mineral County officials identified the victim as Shane Dearden of Lake Stevens, Washington. The cause of his death is still being investigated.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Monday, August 3rd 2015
Associated Press Montana News Summary
Latest Montana news, sports, business and entertainment

'Roving rabbis' spread across Montana on kosher mission

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Two young Orthodox rabbis have traded their studies in Brooklyn for the back roads of Montana, where they are teaching the far-flung faithful how to keep kosher.

Eli Chaikin, 23, and Dovid Lepkivker, 25, call themselves the roving rabbis. Their mission is to reach as many of the state's approximately 3,000 Jews as they can in a month. They have visited more than 60 homes since July 7.

Their message is a gentle one in what are at best loosely organized Jewish communities where relatively few people strictly follow the dietary laws.

Chaikin says any step a person makes is positive.

Chaikin and Lepkivker are affiliated with Chabad-Lubavich movement. Chabad's Bozeman-based rabbi, Chaim Bruk, said he invited them to help him honor the 40th anniversary of a campaign to promote observance of the kosher laws.


Fire crews demobilize from Northern Cheyenne wildfire

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Firefighters have gained 80 percent containment on a wildfire burning on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation in southeast Montana.

Federal crews are being demobilized and will be sent to other fires.

The Muddy Creek 2 fire was started by lightning on July 25 and burned about 3.6 square miles.

A new fire started north of the fire on Friday, and resources from the Muddy Creek 2 fire were sent to suppress it.

Elsewhere in Montana, firefighters continue to battle a wildfire in Glacier National Park. The fire has burned about 5 square miles and is 65 percent contained.

Hot, dry weather this weekend resulted in mostly additional burning within the fire's perimeter.

An 18-mile stretch of Going-to-the-Sun road remains closed.


FBI investigators join search for missing Idaho 2-year-old

LEADORE, Idaho (AP) — The FBI is sending a team of investigators to assist the Lemhi County Sheriff's Office in its search for a missing 2-year-old who disappeared during a family camping trip.

KBOI-TV reports Sheriff Lynn Bowerman said he's convinced the toddler was not abducted, but he can't rule out the possibility.

The boy, DeOrr Kunz, was last seen on July 10th at his family's campsite at Timber Creek Campground, just south of the town of Leadore near the Montana border. For the past three weeks, search teams have combed the remote backcountry to look for the boy.

Bowerman said everyone at the campsite — including the boy's parents, great-grandfather and a family friend — is considered a person of interest in the case, but none of them are suspects.


Yellowstone to clear Soda Butte Creek of nonnative fish

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Fisheries managers are moving ahead with a plan to destroy exotic brook trout in Soda Butte Creek in Yellowstone National Park.

However, before they do so, they will first try to capture native cutthroat trout from the stream to salvage them.

In response to public comment, Yellowstone decided to sweep Soda Butte to gather live cutthroat, adding a step to its usual protocol for restoring native fish.

Yellowstone fisheries program leader Todd Koel tells the Jackson Hole News & Guide that the capture and relocation of cutthroat complicates the project.

Soda Butte Creeks is a major tributary of the Lamar River and flows from headwaters in southern Montana and northern Wyoming in the peaks surrounding Cooke City, Montana.

Work on the effort will start late this month.


Charges upgraded in Hungry Horse shooting

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — Flathead County prosecutors have filed upgraded charges against a Hungry Horse man accused of wounding a man with a shotgun blast while firing at three people who had come onto his property.

The Daily Inter Lake reports 38-year-old Ryan Lee Moskaloff pleaded not guilty Thursday to two counts of attempted deliberate homicide and one count of assault with a weapon. He had previously been charged with assault and criminal endangerment.

Moskaloff is serving a two-year prison sentence he received in April for violating his parole from previous convictions.

Prosecutors say Moskaloff fired a shotgun at three people who arrived on his property on Dec. 26 to retrieve a vehicle.


Meager hay harvest threatens Flathead livestock shelter

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — The drought in western Montana is threatening the hay supplies needed by a livestock rescue in the Flathead Valley.

The All Mosta Ranch in Marion takes in abused, displaced, neglected, and unwanted farm animals.

But the amount of hay available for purchase has dwindled so dangerously that Director of Operations Kate Borton tells the Flathead Beacon that the sanctuary may have to shut down.

The sanctuary normally gets hay donated by area farmers, but their hay crops are way down this year.

Borton has been forced to turn to brokers who ship in hay from Billings, Bozeman, Butte, and Canada, but prices for hay have risen because of the lack of supply.


DEQ taking public comment on wastewater permits for 3 mines

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — State environmental regulators are accepting public comments on draft wastewater discharge permits for three Montana mining companies.

The Department of Environmental Quality is accepting comments until Sept. 2 on permits for two Stillwater Mining Co. mines, RC Resources' proposed Rock Creek Mine and the proposed Montanore Mine.

The Stillwater permits are updates to current permits at platinum and palladium mines near Big Timber and Nye. One permit for the proposed Rock Creek Mine near Noxon is an update. The second is for storm water discharge as well as improving a forest road and installing pipeline and power line for the proposed underground copper and silver mine.

Montanore Minerals is updating one permit to cover storm water discharge at the proposed underground copper and silver mine near Libby.


Montana National Guard increases security

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Montana National Guard is increasing security at its recruiting offices and armory facilities in response to the July 16 killing of four Marines and a sailor in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

At the direction of Gov. Steve Bullock, the Montana National Guard completed a review of security and force protection procedures at its facilities.

Montana Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Matthew Quinn presented recommendations for heightened security to the governor, who accepted them.

Quinn says he's confident that the new protection measures will balance security with the community missions.

Details of what measures are being taken were not released publicly.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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