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Associated Press Montana News Summary
Monday, September 22nd 2014 
HELICOPTER CRASH

1 person killed in helicopter crash near Cascade

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

CASCADE, Mont. (AP) The Great Falls Tribune reports that a man died Sunday after the small helicopter he was flying crashed southwest of Cascade.

The newspaper says emergency crews responded to the crash shortly after 5 p.m. at 84 Dearborn River Road.

Cascade County Sheriff Bob Edwards says the helicopter, a one-person craft known as a Mosquito, was on a hillside.

Edwards says the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration plan to visit the scene of the crash on Monday. The pilot's body will be taken to Missoula for an autopsy.

WEST YELLOWSTONE POLICE CHIEF

No criminal charges for fired police chief

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

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) A West Yellowstone police chief who was fired after a state investigation found he selectively enforced the law and violated court orders will not face criminal charges.

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports former chief Gordon Berger's attorney Brian Gallik said Friday the Gallatin County attorney will not file charges against Berger.

After the investigation, the West Yellowstone town council in August confirmed a recommendation to end Berger's employment immediately.

Berger told the council in June many of his department's problems stemmed from the challenges of policing a remote, small town, and they were not caused by leadership issues.

The investigation by the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation recommended criminal charges be filed against Berger.

Berger had been West Yellowstone's police chief since 2006 and had been with the department for 28 years.

FATAL CRASH

Colstrip teen dies in SUV crash

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

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) A teen from Colstrip died Saturday in a one-vehicle crash south of town.

The Billings Gazette reports a 17-year-old was driving a 1998 Ford SUV about 6 a.m. when he crashed while driving north on state Route 39.

Montana State Patrol trooper David Inman says the teen was thrown from the vehicle after it left the roadway, and he was pronounced dead at the scene. The crash remains under investigation, and it's unknown if speed was a factor.

MOUNTAIN LION CUBS

Rescued mountain lion cubs find new home

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

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) Two mountain lion cubs that were rescued by firefighters in western Montana in August have a new home in Ohio.

KECI-TV reports the male cubs arrived at the Columbus Zoo in Powell on Wednesday.

They're staying in the zoo's hospital for now because they're still being bottle fed. They'll eventually move to a permanent zoo habitat.

The staff has named the cubs Lewis and Clark as a nod to their Montana roots.

The cubs were found at just a few weeks old by a crew fighting a blaze in the Sapphire Mountains east of Florence. The cubs were hiding under a burning log.

MILES CITY BLM

Senate bill averts Miles City BLM office closure

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) A Bureau of Land Management satellite office in Miles City that otherwise was slated to close next year will remain open under legislation approved by the U.S. Senate.

Montana Sens. Jon Tester and John Walsh said the bipartisan measure that passed Sept. 17 allows the continuation of a pilot program to speed up oil and gas permitting on federal lands.

It was sponsored by Colorado Sen. Mark Udall and co-sponsored by Walsh, Tester and 11 other lawmakers.

Tester spokeswoman Marnee Banks says the measure now goes to the House of Representatives.

The BLM opened the Miles City office in 2005.

YELLOWSTONE BISON-QUARANTINE

Decision on bison quarantine expected mid-2015

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) Yellowstone National Park's chief scientist says a decision is expected in mid-2015 on a proposal to capture and quarantine wild bison so disease-free park animals can be relocated to form new herds.

Yellowstone Center for Resources Chief Dave Hallac says almost 23,000 public comments were received during a recent six-week public comment period on the proposal.

The comments would be used to refine the proposal as park administrators select potential quarantine sites over the winter, before next year's final decision on whether to move forward.

Federal officials in June identified 20 parcels of public lands in 10 states that could be suitable for relocated bison.

Yellowstone's 4,860 bison are prized for their pure genetics. But many carry the disease brucellosis, which can cause pregnant livestock to prematurely abort their young.

Associated Press Montana News Summary
Sunday, September 21st 2014 
CHILD SEX STING

Man pleads not guilty in child-sex sting

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

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) A Frenchtown man charged with felony attempted child prostitution has pleaded not guilty.

The Missoulian reports 41-year-old Curtis Edward Foster denied the felony count Thursday in Missoula County District Court.

Police say Foster tried to set up a sexual encounter with a 13-year-old girl. Court records say Foster contacted an undercover detective and exchanged calls and text messages about paying money for sex with an adolescent female.

When Foster found out they were in a different county, police said he asked if there was a girl available in Missoula.

He was one of seven people arrested during a four-day operation in August involving the Montana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and other agencies.

Foster has posted $100,000 bond and is living in Missoula County while his case proceeds.

GLACIER-BODY FOUND

Rangers recover body in Glacier National Park

UNDATED (AP) __ Rangers in Glacier National Park say they have recovered the body of an 18-year-old Idaho man who died in an accidental fall east of Logan Pass.

Park rangers say were notified Friday morning that Brandon Luis Avalos of St. Maries had fallen in an area along Going-to-the-Sun Road.

Officials say Avalos and three friends were in the park late Thursday when they stopped and Avalos left their vehicle. He did not return and his friends told rangers they stayed in the area overnight and began looking for Avalos Friday morning. They contacted park employees when they found his body.

Officials believe Avalos climbed over guard rails and fell about 100 feet in a steep, rocky area.

Park rangers recovered the body about 4 p.m. Friday.

SHERIFF REPLACED

Roosevelt sheriff replacement named

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) An embattled northeastern Montana sheriff who resigned less than two months ahead of an election will be replaced by the subordinate he was running against.

The Billings Gazette reports county commissioners chose Roosevelt County Sheriff's Deputy Jason Frederick for the position on Tuesday. He will replace two-term Sheriff Freedom Crawford when his resignation goes into effect Oct. 1.

In June, Crawford lost a primary vote to Frederick by a huge margin and the two were to face off again in November. Frederick had been demoted by Crawford from undersheriff to deputy shortly after announcing his candidacy.

Crawford has given no explanation for his resignation.

He had most recently made headlines when police found him sleeping on a Wolf Point sidewalk and suspected he was intoxicated. He was not cited.

YELLOWSTONE-LAMAR RANCH

NPS approves Lamar Ranch improvement plan

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) The National Park Service has approved a plan to make infrastructure improvements at the historic Lamar Buffalo Ranch in Yellowstone National Park.

The planned improvements to various energy production systems at the ranch aim to conserve water and energy and reduce waste. For instance, one project involves installing a new micro hydro turbine.

The Park Service says the project will increase the renewable energy available for use at the ranch and reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of the current fossil fuel-powered generator currently in operation.

The Lamar Buffalo Ranch is a National Register Historic District. It's about 10 miles from the nearest electric service and has an existing solar energy system that was installed in 1996.

Associated Press Montana News Summary
Saturday, September 20th 2014 
Latest Montana news, sports, business and entertainment
YELLOWSTONE-GUEST DONATIONS

Yellowstone donation program draws $1 million

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

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) Yellowstone National Park officials say that since 2000, hotel guests have donated more than $1 million toward the park a few dollars at a time.

The Bozeman Chronicle reports the money came through the Guest Donation Program, which allows visitors to add a little extra money to their hotel bill. That money then goes to the Yellowstone Park Foundation.

Foundation president Karen Bates Kress says the donations have helped fund wildlife research, trail restoration and youth programs, among other projects.

HARDIN-BODY FOUND

Plea expected in Hardin-area killing

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) A Hardin man has agreed to a plea deal in the 2013 stabbing death of a St. Xavier man whose body was found in a river.

The Billings Gazette reports 40-year-old John Harold Holds III will plead guilty Oct. 10 to second-degree murder as part of a plea agreement. The prosecution is expected to recommend a 15-year prison sentence in exchange for the plea.

Holds is charged in the death of 42-year-old Franklin Red Wolf on the Crow Reservation on Nov. 2, 2013.

Court records say Holds told investigators that Red Wolf was giving him a ride home when they began fighting after Red Wolf made advances toward him. Red Wolf's body was found in the Bighorn River on the reservation with multiple stab wounds to his chest, back, head and face.

BUTTE SHOOTING-SUSPECT

Suspect in Butte shooting jailed, missed court

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

BUTTE, Mont. (AP) A 37-year-old California man who faces a drug charge in Dillon and an assault charge in Butte was jailed Friday after missing a court hearing.

The Montana Standard reports Luke Andrew Lapinski was scheduled to appear in District Court Thursday morning to enter a plea to an aggravated assault charge for an Aug. 1 shooting that left a man with a leg injury.

He told authorities he was stuck in the Salt Lake City airport and the hearing was rescheduled for 9 a.m. Friday. When Lapinski showed up an hour late, he was arrested on a warrant charging him with contempt of court and jailed in lieu of $250,000 bail.

Lapinski faces drug and weapons charges in Dillon after officers found a large bag of meth and a loaded .45-caliber pistol in his possession in April.

BUTTE-CATS HOARDED

Butte man denies animal cruelty charges

BUTTE, Mont. (AP) A 54-year-old Butte man pleaded not guilty to animal cruelty charges that were filed after Butte-Silver Bow County health officials found nearly 100 cats abandoned in a house in deplorable conditions.

Douglas Dean Billman pleaded not guilty to seven felony charges of aggravated animal cruelty during an appearance in District Court on Thursday. He remains free on a previously posted $17,000 bond.

Neighbors' complaints about the smell led to the discovery. Prosecutors say Billman confined the cats, failed to meet their general care needs and eventually abandoned them in July. Some were found dead and others had to be put down because of illness.

The rental house was demolished just over a week ago.

Chelsea Bailey animal shelter supervisor Jacki Casagranda says about 40 of the rescued cats are available for adoption.

LINCOLN FOOTBALL FORFEITS

Lincoln football forfeits varsity season

GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) Lincoln High School has had to forfeit its varsity football season because it doesn't have enough players to field a six-man team.

Athletic director and football coach Shane Brown told the Great Falls Tribune the school struggled to field a team this year after qualifying for the playoffs a year ago. He says it was day-to-day whether they'd have enough players.

Brown says the Lynx will try to have enough players to play a junior varsity schedule for the rest of the 2014 season.


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