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Associated Press Montana News Summary
Thursday, August 21st 2014 
Latest Montana news, sports, business and entertainment
NAVY NUCLEAR CHEATING

AP NewsBreak: Navy kicks out 34 for nuke cheating

WASHINGTON (AP) The Navy tells The Associated Press that at least 34 sailors are being kicked out of the service for their roles in a cheating ring that operated undetected for at least seven years at a nuclear power training site in South Carolina.

Ten others are under criminal investigation.

Also, 32 other sailors were implicated by investigators but later exonerated.

The number of accused and the duration of cheating are greater than was known when the Navy announced in February that it had discovered cheating by as many as 30 sailors seeking to be certified as staff instructors at the nuclear reactor training site in Charleston, South Carolina.

Investigators found that the cheating began in 2007 or possibly earlier. A copy of the probe was provided to The AP.

BILLIONAIRE'S BANKRUPTCY

Reward offered for former billionaire's assets

HELENA, Mont. (AP) The trustee representing Montana's Yellowstone Club creditors is offering a reward to anyone who can help uncover assets the luxury resort's co-founder might have hidden from bankruptcy proceedings.

Attorney Brian Glasser with West Virginia-based Bailey & Glasser LLP says the trust will give 10 percent of the profits of the liquidated assets recovered from Tim Blixseth to anyone with information that leads to their discovery.

He's calling on people with knowledge of the former billionaire's transactions to come forward in what the trust is calling a "reward program."

Blixseth dismissed the program as a sign of desperation ahead of an appellate ruling on the resort's bankruptcy and other appeals that Blixseth says could eliminate the trust's claims.

A bankruptcy judge previously said Blixseth diverted hundreds of millions of dollars from a 2005 loan to the resort for his personal use.

BRIDGE JUMP-LAWSUIT

Man injured by bridge jumper sues county

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

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) A man who was injured when another man jumped off a Clark Fork River bridge and landed on him is suing Missoula County, alleging it did not take enough steps to prevent such an accident.

The Missoulian reports Andy Hill's lawsuit argues the Bandmann Bridge in East Missoula has no barriers to prevent jumping and no signs to warn those on the river of the potential danger.

Hill suffered torn knee ligaments, a broken leg and other injuries in July 2013 when Corey Allen Hewitt landed on Hill as he floated the river on an inner tube. Hewitt was given a two-year deferred sentence for negligent endangerment and was ordered to pay Hill $22,500 in restitution.

County Chief Administrative Officer Vickie Zeier says the county intends to resolve the matter "amicably."

FORMER TEACHER-PORN CHARGES

Former teacher faces federal porn charges

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

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) A former Livingston and Billings West High teacher and basketball coach faces federal charges alleging he sexually exploited children and distributed child pornography.

The Billings Gazette reports 42-year-old Scott James Nichols pleaded not guilty to a 23-count indictment during a hearing Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Carolyn Ostby.

The indictment charges Nichols with two counts of sexual exploitation of children, two counts of attempted sexual exploitation, 16 counts of distribution of child pornography and three counts of possessing child pornography. The crimes are alleged to have happened in Yellowstone County between December 2012 and May 2013. Nichols was placed on paid administrative leave in May 2013 after school officials learned about the federal investigation. His contract wasn't renewed.

Nichols' attorney, Jay Lansing, declined to comment.

CASCADE DEPUTY KILLED

Suspect charged in in Cascade deputy's death

GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) A Great Falls man suspected of killing a Cascade County sheriff's deputy during a high-speed chase has been formally charged with deliberate homicide.

County Attorney John Parker says that 40-year-old Adam Sanchez Jr. was charged Wednesday in the Aug. 14 death of Deputy Joe Dunn.

Authorities say Sanchez hit and killed Dunn during a car chase while awaiting sentencing on a robbery case. Dunn was 33 and had been with the sheriff's department for more than two years.

Sanchez made an initial court appearance Saturday in his room at Benefis Health System, where he was being treated for injuries. Parker says he is currently being held in the Chouteau County jail in Fort Benton.

FISHING DOCK CONTROVERSY

Man faces backlash over proposed fishing dock

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

CASCADE, Mont. (AP) A man's plan to build a retractable fishing dock along the Missouri River south of Cascade faces backlash from his neighbors who say it's not safe for river floaters and would harm the view in an area through which the Lewis and Clark Expedition traveled 1805.

The Great Falls Tribune reports retired farmer Leonard Matteson received permits from the Cascade County Conservation District and the Army Corps of Engineers, but didn't realize he needed a floodplain permit. The county issued a cease-and-desist order in July and Matteson applied for the needed permit.

Elaine Olson is president of the subdivision's homeowner's association. She says Matteson has not been honest about his eventual plan to use the dock as part of an electricity generation project.

Matteson says he may do that in the future, but right now he is only seeking to build a fishing dock.

STATE PARK INJURY

Girl injured by wild horse on Flathead Lake island

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

BIG ARM, Mont. (AP) A 7-year-old girl was injured after being kicked while trying to feed hand-picked fruit to a horse on Wild Horse Island State Park in Flathead Lake.

Lake County Sheriff's Capt. Luke Mathias says the girl was bleeding from the mouth and nose when first responders arrived shortly after 6 p.m. Sunday.

Fish, Wildlife and Parks Warden Brian Schwartz tells the Missoulian the girl was treated for injuries at a Polson hospital and released.

FWP investigator Brian Sommers says it appeared one of the horses struck the girl in the back with a hoof, knocking her to the ground. She had a bruise on her back and abrasions on her face.

Six wild horses live on the 3.3-square-mile island along with bighorn sheep, deer and bears. Feeding animals is prohibited at the park.

MSU FIELDHOUSE IMPROVEMENTS

Montana State fieldhouse gets new track, seating

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

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) Montana State's Brick Breeden Fieldhouse has a new track surface and improved seating as part of a $3.2 million upgrade.

The updates unveiled Tuesday include chairback seating throughout the arena, a new sound system and curtains to close off unused seating during events.

The Mondo Super X track has a 200 meter oval along with a six-lane, 80-meter sprint setting. It also has permanent spots for a pole vault ramp, jump pit and throwing circle. It replaces a track that was installed in 1980.

Montana State men's basketball coach Brian Fish tells the Bozeman Daily Chronicle he thinks the fieldhouse improvements will make a nice atmosphere for home basketball games.

Fish says the locker room for the men's basketball team is being updated.


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

Associated Press Montana News Summary
Wednesday, August 20th 2014 
Latest Montana news, sports, business and entertainment
SENATE-MONTANA

Daines: Curtis' entry won't change his campaign

MONTANA CITY, Mont. (AP) Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Daines of Montana says the Democrats' recent switch in Senate candidates won't change how he campaigns for the seat.

Daines addressed state Rep. Amanda Curtis' candidacy for the first time on Tuesday while touring the Ash Grove cement plant in Montana City.

He says Montana Democrats' selection of Curtis on Saturday after Sen. John Walsh dropped out of the race hasn't affected what he is doing. He says he has a long to-do list that he is working on while continuing to serve in the U.S. House.

Daines is in the middle of a statewide tour this week meeting with businesses and industry groups.

He is competing against Curtis and Libertarian Roger Roots in the Nov. 4 election for Walsh's Senate seat.

ARCTIC GRAYLING

Arctic grayling won't receive federal protections

HELENA, Mont. (AP) Federal wildlife officials say the Arctic grayling does not need special protections under the Endangered Species Act.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Tuesday it reached that conclusion after conservation efforts by private landowners and federal and state wildlife agencies to protect the fish.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Director Jeff Hagener says the conservation of grayling in Montana is arguably one of the most significant conservation success stories in the nation.

He says habitat quality, population trends and genetic diversity are now stable for most grayling populations in the state.

The Missouri River system upstream of Great Falls holds the only North American Arctic grayling population outside Canada and Alaska. The fish are related to trout and known for a colorful, sail-like dorsal fin.

TRIBAL CORRUPTION

Havre man to plead guilty in corruption case

HELENA, Mont. (AP) A Havre businessman plans to plead guilty to charges that his company overbilled the Chippewa Cree Tribe by $116,000 to recover money used to pay off tribal officials who awarded a contract to demolish the reservation's health center.

An attorney for Shad Huston says in court fillings Monday the former Havre school board member also will plead guilty to giving the tribal chairman a $25,000 SUV as a "reward" for past business transactions.

Huston attorney Michael Sherwood says in the change-of-plea motion that Huston reached a plea agreement with federal prosecutors in a long-running corruption case on the Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation.

Huston plans to plead guilty to theft from an Indian tribal government, bribery of an agent of a program receiving federal funds and failure to file a cash transaction.

MONTANA CAMPGROUND HOMICIDE

Suspects charged in Montana campground homicide

BUTTE, Mont. (AP) Two suspects in the death of a man at a southwestern Montana campground have been returned to Beaverhead County to face charges.

County Attorney Jed Fitch says 29-year-old Christopher Lee Stiles was charged by warrant with deliberate homicide while 49-year-old Sandra Lee Ann Cantrell was charged with accountability to deliberate homicide in the death of Mark Robert Mullen of Butte. Both also were charged in Justice Court Tuesday with stealing Mullen's motorhome and tampering with evidence. They have not entered pleas and bail was set at $500,000 each.

Fitch says he must have the charges filed in District Court by Sept. 11.

Mullen's body was found near a campground about 8 miles west of Wise River on Aug. 9. Officials have not said how he died.

Stiles and Cantrell were arrested in Missoula on Aug. 12.

CHILD ENDANGERMENT

Man charged, passed out with infant in hot pickup

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

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) A Billings man is charged with criminal endangerment and driving under the influence after police say they found him passed out in a running pickup while it was 88 degrees outside, endangering a 7-month-old child in the back seat.

The Billings Gazette reports 27-year-old Preston Michael Baumeister made an initial appearance in Justice Court on Monday, where his bail was set at $15,000. He did not enter a plea. His arraignment in District Court is set for Aug. 28.

Charging documents say police arrested Baumeister on Thursday after finding him slumped over the steering wheel of a pickup. Medical personnel determined the baby's temperature had risen to 108 degrees.

Court records say Baumeister told officers he drank alcohol and took several hydrocodone pills that day.

The baby's mother told the court her daughter is doing well.

SISTERS KILLED

Billings man being sentenced for killing 2 sisters

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

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) A 23-year-old Billings man who pleaded no contest to stabbing two sisters to death in January 2012 has been sentenced to 100 years in prison.

District Judge Mary Jane McCalla Knisely sentenced Andrew Scott Denning on Tuesday, calling the violence in the deaths of Rose and Daisy Edwards "ritualistic" and "systematic."

The Billings Gazette reports Denning apologized, saying he wasn't worthy of forgiveness or understanding from the Edwards family.

Denning pleaded no contest on May 6 to two counts of deliberate homicide.

An autopsy found 22-year-old Rose Edwards died from a stab wound to her neck. She also had been choked. Daisy Edwards, who was 21, had numerous stab wounds, including one to her heart.

Denning has been jailed with bail set at $1 million since his Jan. 30, 2012 arrest.

ALBERTON FATAL

Man dies in crash on Interstate 90 near Alberton

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) A 58-year-old Huson man died in a rollover crash on Interstate 90 just west of Alberton.

The Montana Highway Patrol says the man was eastbound at about 6:30 p.m. Monday when he drove off the left side of the road into the median. The man overcorrected back onto the roadway and lost control of the car, which rolled through the median and came to rest in the westbound lanes.

Missoula County Sheriff's Capt. Rob Taylor says Jeffery Porter was thrown from his car and died at the scene.

The crash closed the interstate for over two hours.

STARVING HORSES-APPEAL

Breeder's appeal of cruelty conviction rejected

HELENA, Mont. (AP) The Montana Supreme Court has rejected a Billings livestock breeder's appeal of his conviction of animal cruelty.

James Leachman had asked the high court to overturn the 2012 conviction over the treatment of five horses, saying prosecutors hadn't proved he owned the animals.

Leachman operated a horse breeding business before the U.S. Farm Services Administration foreclosed on his property in 2010. Leachman continued to keep more than 400 horses on the property after it was sold.

Investigators discovered five horses with tight plastic bands that had severe leg injuries, and that some were malnourished. Two died at pasture and two were euthanized.

The high court found Tuesday that Leachman maintained custody over the horses because he continued to enter the property to manage them and because he placed the bands on their legs.

LOTTERY WINNERS

Whitefish man wins $500K in scratch game

HELENA, Mont. (AP) A Whitefish man has claimed a top prize in the "$500,000 Big Money" scratch lottery game.

Montana Lottery officials say Russell Wick claimed his winnings Tuesday. He bought his ticket at Town Pump on Highway 2 East in Kalispell.

Wick, who is retired, says he plans to seek out financial advice before deciding how to spend his winnings.

Two other players claimed major prizes from scratch lottery games on Monday.

Juliann Livingston of Billings won $25,000 in the "$500,000 Big Money" game while Robert McMullen of Choteau claimed a top prize while playing a "$50,000 Rich" ticket he bought at the Loaf 'n Jug in Great Falls.

Livingston, who is a student at Montana State University Billings, says she plans to pay off her student loans. McMullen, who is retired, says he plans to save his winnings.


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