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Associated Press Montana News Summary
Wednesday, December 17th 2014 
Latest Montana news, sports, business and entertainment
EXCHANGE STUDENT SHOT

Jury in exchange student killing adjourns for day

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) Jurors in the case of a Montana man who shot and killed a German exchange student caught trespassing in his garage have adjourned for the day without reaching a verdict.

The jury began deliberations Tuesday in the case against Markus Kaarma of Missoula. He is charged with deliberate homicide in the death of 17-year old Diren Dede (DEER'-uhn DAY'-Day).

Deliberations will resume Wednesday morning.

In closing arguments, a prosecutor said Kaarma was on the attack when he left the safety of his home and fired four shots into his garage April 27. Kaarma killed the unarmed Hamburg teen, who was trespassing inside.

A defense attorney says Kaarma had a legitimate fear of harm and was protecting his family and property as allowed under Montana's "stand your ground" law.

SMALL PLANE CRASH

1 man killed, 1 hurt in NW Montana plane crash

POLSON, Mont. (AP) Authorities say one man was killed and another was injured in a small, single-engine airplane crash near Flathead Lake in northwestern Montana.

Lake County Undersheriff Dan Yonkin tells KERR-AM the plane crashed while coming over a small ridge west of Pablo shortly before 5 p.m. Tuesday. The names of the pilot and passenger have not been released.

The plane crashed in rugged terrain that is interrupted by farmland.

Yonkin, who confirmed the death Tuesday evening, tells The Missoulian the plane flew out of the Polson airport a few miles from the crash site.

The National Transportation Safety Board will be at the site Wednesday to investigate.

MCCONNELL-KEYSTONE

Keystone pipeline to top Senate agenda next year

WASHINGTON (AP) Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell says approving the Keystone XL pipeline will top the Senate agenda in January. The issue could set up an early 2015 veto confrontation with President Barack Obama.

Congressional Republicans have been pushing for approval of the pipeline for years. Obama has resisted because of environmental concerns.

The pipeline would carry tar sands oil from Canada into the United States and eventually to the Texas Gulf Coast.

The Republican-led House has repeatedly passed legislation approving the pipeline. But the bills have died in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Republicans will take control of the Senate in January, and McConnell said approving the pipeline will be the first issue on the agenda.

McConnell said the pipeline would create jobs.

DAINES-COMMITTEES

Daines gets Senate committee assignments

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) U.S. Rep. Steve Daines says he'll serve on four committees when he moves to the U.S. Senate next month.

Daines said he will serve on the Senate Committees for Energy and Natural Resources, Indian Affairs, Appropriations and Commerce, Science and Transportation.

The Republican says the postings will allow him to focus on developing Montana's energy resources, managing public lands, jobs growth and supporting the state's American Indian tribes.

Daines was elected in November to replace U.S. Sen. John Walsh, who dropped out of the race following revelations he'd plagiarized a college paper.

TRAIN DERAILMENT

30 rail cars derail in Missoula

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) Thirty empty Montana Rail Link rail cars have derailed in Missoula.

Montana Rail Link says there were no injuries and no hazardous material involved. Mainline rail service has not been interrupted.

Officials say the derailment occurred about 4 a.m. Tuesday.

Montana Rail Link says it is investigating the cause of the derailment.

DELTA-MONTANA LANDING

Seattle-Paris flight diverts to Montana over odor

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

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) An official at a Montana airport says a Delta Air Lines flight heading from Seattle to Paris with more than 200 people aboard was diverted to Billings after an "electrical odor" was detected on board.

Billings Logan International Airport operations supervisor Shane Ketterling tells the Billings Gazette that the plane made a precautionary landing around 7 p.m. Monday. It landed safety in the Montana city after leaving Seattle on Monday afternoon. No injuries were reported.

Ketterling says the Boeing 767 carried 203 passengers and 10 crew members. He says an inspection of the plane didn't immediately find any problem.

Passengers were let off the plane and taken to the terminal.

A Delta representative didn't immediately return a call from The Associated Press seeking additional details.

LEGISLATURE-FWP

Funding, bison, access included in FWP bills

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

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Department Director Jeff Hagener says increasing license fees is a priority for the agency in the upcoming legislative session.

On Monday night, legislators, administrators and sportsmen met in Bozeman to discuss the agency's needs and how they might be affected by bills already being drafted.

The agency is reaching the end of a 10-year budget cycle and will soon be in the red without new authorization for fees.

Fish, Wildlife & Parks depends mostly on money from hunting and fishing license fees.

An advisory committee worked eight months to develop changes that will streamline the number of licenses available and how they're priced.

Republican Rep. Kelly Flynn, of Bozeman, tells the Bozeman Daily Chronicle that some lawmakers may be reluctant to increase fees.

BIGHORN SHEEP

Bighorn sheep dying of pneumonia near Gardiner

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) Montana wildlife officials say a pneumonia outbreak has killed at least ten bighorn sheep near Yellowstone National Park.

Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks officials said Monday that the outbreak was in the Upper Yellowstone sheep herd near Gardiner.

The dead animals include a mix of rams, lambs, and one adult ewe.

Sheep in the Gardiner area have experienced smaller pneumonia outbreaks in the past few years.

There are domestic sheep in the same area.

State officials say research has shown that bacteria can be transmitted from healthy domestic sheep to bighorn sheep, causing pneumonia in the wild sheep.

VEHICULAR HOMICIDE

Twin Bridge man sentenced in rollover death

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

BUTTE, Mont. (AP) A 20-year-old Twin Bridges man has been sentenced in a 2013 drunken-driving rollover crash that killed a passenger.

Tanner W. Eggers received a 20-year sentence Monday for vehicular homicide while driving under the influence, but 15 years were suspended.

The Montana Standard reports that Eggers had pleaded guilty to the charge earlier.

Authorities say Eggers was behind the wheel in a rollover crash in which 19-year-old passenger Michael Pfertsh died on Sept. 8, 2013.

Eggers also was sentenced to serve six months on three counts of negligent endangerment. That time will be served concurrently with the vehicular homicide sentence. He also was fined for a seat belt violation and ordered to pay restitution.

MONTANA-STITT

Bob Stitt new head football coach at Montana

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) Bob Stitt is the new head football coach at Montana.

Montana picked Stitt, who has been the head coach at the Colorado School of Mines the past 15 seasons, to replace Mick Delaney, who is retiring. Montana athletic director Kent Haslam made the announcement Tuesday.

Stitt compiled an overall record of 108-62 at the Colorado School of Mines. His team finished the 2014 season with a 10-2 record and qualified for the NCAA Division II playoffs, where the Orediggers lost in the first round.

Montana is an FCS school.

The 50-year-old Stitt will be formally introduced on Friday in Missoula.

His hiring is pending approval from Montana's Board of Regents.


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

Associated Press Montana News Summary
Tuesday, December 16th 2014 
Latest Montana news, sports, business and entertainment
EXCHANGE STUDENT SHOT

Closing arguments set in exchange student shooting

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) Closing arguments are set to happen Tuesday in the trial of a Montana man who shot and killed a German exchange student.

Markus Kaarma is charged with deliberate homicide after firing four shots into his garage early April 27, killing 17-year-old Diren Dede.

Prosecutors say that after a previous burglary, Kaarma was intent on harming an intruder when he shot Dede. They called Kaarma's girlfriend, neighbors, police and people who had bizarre encounters with Kaarma to testify.

Kaarma's lawyers have depicted him as a stressed and anxious man after his home was previously burglarized. They argue Montana's "stand your ground" law allowed Kaarma to use deadly force to defend his home.

The jury is expected to begin deliberations Tuesday afternoon. If convicted, Kaarma could face a minimum 10 years in prison.

MONTANA TEACHER KILLED

Man gets 80 years in teacher's oil-patch killing

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) A Colorado man has been sentenced to 80 years in prison for killing a Montana teacher in the Northern Plains oil patch.

Court officials say Montana District Judge Richard Simonton sentenced 50-year-old Lester Van Waters Jr. on Monday in Sidney, Montana. An additional 20 years in prison was suspended.

Waters pleaded guilty last year to deliberate homicide by accountability.

Authorities said he and an accomplice killed 43-year-old Sidney High School math teacher Sherry Arnold during an attempted abduction. Her body was found more than two months later buried in a rural area of North Dakota.

The case tragically illustrated the dramatic social changes that have come with an oil boom that's boosted the region's economy.

The accomplice pleaded guilty last month to deliberate homicide. His sentencing has not been scheduled.

OFFICER INVOLVED SHOOTING

Inquest finds officer justified in shooting

HAMILTON, Mont. (AP) A coroner's inquest has determined that a Ravalli County Sheriff's deputy was justified in the shooting death of a man last spring.

Lonnie Gene Roberts was shot and killed by Deputy Tod Wofford at a residence southeast of Hamilton on the evening of March 6.

State investigators say Roberts apparently was distraught about problems he was having with his girlfriend and that he picked up a gun and pointed it at Wofford, who had responded to a 911 call.

The decision by jurors in the inquest was unanimous Monday.

DELTA-MONTANA LANDING

Seattle-Paris Delta flight diverts to Montana

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

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) An official at a Billings, Montana, airport says a Delta Air Lines flight bound from Seattle to Paris with more than 200 people aboard has landed in Billings after what was described as an "electrical odor" was detected on board.

Billings Logan International Airport operations supervisor Shane Ketterling tells the Billings Gazette that the plane made a precautionary landing Monday evening at about 7 p.m. It left Seattle Monday afternoon. The plane landed safely in Billings. No injuries were reported.

Ketterling says the Boeing 767 carried 203 passengers and 10 crew members. He says an inspection of the plane didn't immediately find any problem.

Passengers have been let off the plane and taken to the terminal.

A Delta representative didn't immediately return an Associated Press call for additional details.

LAWMAKERS-DRESS CODE

House to modify dress code that drew criticism

(Information in the following story is from: Independent Record, http://www.helenair.com)

HELENA, Mont. (AP) Montana's new House speaker says he's talking with Democratic leaders about modifying a dress code that has drawn criticism from some lawmakers.

Austin Knudsen, a Republican from Culbertson, tells The Independent Record he's been speaking with one of the code's most outspoken critics, incoming House Minority Whip Jenny Eck.

Knudsen says "I think this is kind of a pointless, unnecessary fight."

The House Republican leadership issued a one-page pronouncement earlier this month declaring that representatives are required to dress in formal business attire during the session. The dress code suggests women should be sensitive to skirt lengths and necklines. Men must wear suits or sports jackets and dress pants, ties, dress shirts and dress shoes or dress boots.

Eck says the rules are right out of the 19th century.

LIVESTOCK DISEASE

Livestock disease found in 2nd Montana cow

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) State livestock officials are reporting for the second time in less than two weeks that they've found the disease brucellosis in a Montana cattle herd.

The Department of Livestock said Monday that a cow from a herd in Carbon Count tested positive for the disease.

Brucellosis can cause pregnant animals to abort their young. It's been largely eradicated from livestock but persists in elk and other wildlife in and around Yellowstone National Park.

State Veterinarian Marty Zaluski says the infected animal had tested negative during a prior test last year. The positive test came after the cow spent time grazing within the state's designated brucellosis surveillance zone in Park County.

Brucellosis has been found in Montana cattle in five of the past eight years.

PRYOR FATAL

1 dead in wreck near Pryor

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

PRYOR, Mont. (AP) A woman has died in a single vehicle roll over near the Big Horn County community of Pryor.

The Montana Highway Patrol says the accident occurred at about 11:20 a.m. Sunday.

Trooper Dave Munson tells The Billings Gazette that the crash was reported by drivers passing by the scene.

Munson says there was only person in the vehicle.

The name of the victim has not been released.

The accident remains under investigation.

MINE DEATH INVESTIGATION

MSHA issues report on June mine fatal

(Information in the following story is from: The Gillette (Wyo.) News Record, http://www.gillettenewsrecord.com)

GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) Investigators say a haul truck driver who died at Cloud Peak Energy's Spring Creek mine last June was not wearing a seat belt when he drove through a berm into a spoil pit.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration released findings of its investigation this past week.

The agency says the lack of seat belt use resulted in fatal injuries to 58-year-old Stewart Orcutt, of Sheridan.

The Gillette News Record reports that the investigation didn't find a cause for the truck traveling through a berm and into the pit.

The Spring Creek mine is just over the Montana-Wyoming border north of Sheridan.

Since the accident, the company has emphasized seat belt use in training and has also started a program that involves spot checks for seat belts.


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

Associated Press Montana News Summary
Monday, December 15th 2014 
Latest Montana news, sports, business and entertainment
MONTANA WEATHER

Snow across Montana on Sunday

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) Light snow fell Sunday in parts of Montana, causing slick road conditions.

The National Weather Service posted winter weather advisories for north-central and south-central Montana on Sunday, including Billings and Great Falls.

In addition, a freezing rain advisory was in effect for northeast Montana, including Glendive.

Light snow that fell Saturday and Sunday left slick roads in many parts of central and western Montana, including stretches of interstates 15, 90 and 94.

The snow was expected to be mostly out of the state on Monday, but high temperatures below freezing were predicted statewide.

US-ODD-12/13/14-MONTANA BIRTH

Montana baby born at 10:11, 12/13/14

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

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) The time and date aligned for a girl born in Montana, and the infant's weight came close to making the event even more interesting.

Quincy Kessler was born at St. Vincent Healthcare in Billings at 10:11 a.m. on 12/13/14.

Even more remarkable, her birth weight, at 7.84 pounds, almost aligned with the other numbers.

The baby is the second daughter born to Trenton and Melida Kessler.

Melida Kessler tells The Billings Gazette that nurses in the hospital room noted around 10:05 a.m. that the 10:11 time might work out.

At that point, she says she started to push and Quincy came out at 10:11.

BIGHORN TRANSPLANT

Bighorn sheep moved to Sheep Creek

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

GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) Twenty-one bighorn sheep have been transplanted to the Sheep Creek drainage south of Cascade.

The sheep were captured in the Missouri River Breaks north of Lewistown where they were outgrowing the habitat.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesman Bruce Auchly (AWK'-lee) says the 21 released at Sheep Creek consisted of two lambs, three yearling rams and 16 ewes.

Auchly tells the Great Falls Tribune that sheep already inhabited Sheep Creek drainage before the transplant.

YELLOWSTONE BISON

Many ideas floated over Yellowstone park bison

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

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) The snows inside Yellowstone National Park haven't been enough to prompt the bison to leave the park boundaries yet, but discussion about what to do with the bison outside the park hasn't lessened.

Ranchers in the area fear bison from the park will spread disease to domestic cattle herds and support hunting or capture-and-slaughter as control of the bison.

But conservationists don't like the practice of killing the bison.

The Bozeman Chronicle reports that two imminent changes may lead to better possibilities in the future.

One involves opening national forest areas with no cattle to bison year-round, and the other involves new ways to manage Yellowstone bison overall.


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

 
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