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Associated Press Montana News Summary
Thursday, July 30th 2015 
Latest Montana news, sports, business and entertainment
MONTANA SHOOTING

Relative: Family shot after offering help to stranded driver

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

BILLILNGS, Mont. (AP) A relative says his aunt, uncle and cousin were gunned down when they stopped to help a man whose vehicle had run out of gas on Montana's Crow Indian Reservation.

FBI spokesman Todd Palmer confirms that two people were killed and a third wounded Wednesday morning in the tiny town of Pryor. He says a suspect was later arrested in Wyoming.

Palmer couldn't say what led to the shooting and didn't release the victims' names or relationships.

Bryce Hugs tells the Billings Gazette that his aunt, Tana Shane, drove by the stranded man, then returned with her husband and daughter to help.

Hugs says the man opened fire, killing Tana and Jason Shane and wounding their daughter, Jora Shane.

Hugs did not immediately return messages to The Associated Press.

TRIBAL CORRUPTION

Former Chippewa Cree leader sentenced to 5 years in prison

HELENA, Mont. (AP) A judge has sentenced a former Chippewa Cree tribal council member to 5 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to embezzlement, tax evasion and other charges in a federal corruption investigation.

U.S. District Judge Brian Morris also ordered John "Chance" Houle to pay restitution of more than $121,000 for the tax evasion charge, along with another $525,000 with three of his co-defendants.

Houle pleaded guilty to three felony charges in December. Prosecutors say he took bribes and kickbacks from contractors while he was on the Chippewa Cree Business Committee.

They say he tried to conceal the payments by having them made to his children and the Flying Rock Cattle Co.

The case came from a wide-ranging federal investigation into the misuse of U.S. government money on Montana Indian reservations.

BLM FRAUD

Former BLM worker sentenced to 1 year for fraud

HELENA, Mont. (AP) A judge has sentenced a former Bureau of Land Management employee to a year in prison after he pleaded guilty to continuing to draw a federal salary after leaving his job.

U.S. District Judge Brian Morris on Wednesday also ordered Larry Denny to repay more than $74,000 along with his former supervisor at the BLM, who was previously sentenced to six months in prison.

Prosecutors say Denny continued to collect a salary and benefits after he left his position as former deputy state director of the BLM's Eastern States Office in July 2012 to work for Montana's Chippewa Cree Tribe.

Denny pleaded guilty in March to charges that included wire fraud, false claims and theft of government property.

Former Eastern States Director John Grimson Lyon was convicted in March of covering up for Denny.

GLACIER WILDFIRE

Glacier park wildfire may have been human-caused

ST. MARY, Mont. (AP) Glacier National Park officials say initial evidence shows a wildfire that burned 5 square miles may have been human-caused.

Park officials did not elaborate in their statement Wednesday. They are asking for information from hikers who were in the Reynolds Creek area and campers in the nearby backcountry campground between July 14 and July 21.

That is where the fire started on July 21. It spread quickly north of Lower St. Mary Lake, leading to the closure of 18 miles of the Going-to-the-Sun Road.

Park officials re-opened part of that road Wednesday to allow access to the popular Logan Pass.

Two buildings have burned, including a cabin. Fire information officer Don Carpenter says park officials recently discovered another burned structure at the site of a historical homestead.

ENDANGERED CHILDREN

Families, counselors demand changes in child abuse cases

HELENA, Mont. (AP) Mental health counselors and families of children involved with child protective services are demanding wholesale changes within the agency.

Gov. Steve Bullock listened intently Wednesday as counselors called for more education and training for caseworkers, families asked that they be treated with respect and some called for the resignations of key administrators within the Department of Public Health and Human Services.

Bullock declined to hear the specifics of each case, saying he didn't want to substitute his judgment for what a court has determined, but said he wanted suggestions for making the Division of Child and Family Services better.

Counselor Robin Castle of Great Falls said caseworkers should respect the recommendations of trained counselors and employees should return phone calls.

Officials with the governor's office promised to follow up on their concerns.

CHILD SHOT-SENTENCING

Man gets 10 years for fatally shooting 3-year-old nephew

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

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) A St. Ignatius man who pleaded guilty to shooting his 3-year-old nephew has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and 13 months in an alcohol treatment center.

The Missoulian reports 22-year-old Galen Hawk was sentenced Wednesday for the Oct. 22 death of Lonato Moran-Allen. Hawk previously pleaded guilty to negligent homicide.

He has said he had been drinking when he saw the boy holding his gun and took it away. Hawk told authorities the boy then ran away and looked back at him while pretending to shoot a toy gun.

Hawk then pointed his gun at the child and pulled the trigger, believing the weapon wasn't loaded.

The boy was shot in the back and died weeks before his fourth birthday.

PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE

Prescription drug abuse reduction initiative launched

HELENA, Mont. (AP) The Montana Medical Association, Department of Justice and other partners have launched a new initiative aiming to reduce prescription drug abuse in the state.Emergency and family doctor William Gallea and Attorney General Tim Fox announced the initiative Wednesday at St. Peter's Hospital in Helena.

They say the abuse of prescription drugs contributes to the deaths of more than 300 Montanans every year. The state also has the third-highest rate in the country of teens reporting abuse of prescription pain relievers.

The key component of the initiative 18 months in the making is a website called knowyourdosemt.org.

Gallea says the website is a gold mine of information for patients, families and providers on statistics, pain management, drug prescribing practices, medication disposal and more.

FLATHEAD COUNTY JAIL

Flathead County offers to buy old Wal-Mart building for jail

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) Flathead County has a tentative agreement to purchase a former Wal-Mart building in Evergreen to house the county jail.

The county has hired experts to study the feasibility of using the 130,000-square-foot former box store for a jail as well as to conduct an environmental study on the 14-acre site.

The Wal-Mart building was constructed in 1995 and the company is paying on a lease through the end of this year. The company closed the Evergreen store about five years ago when it opened a new Wal-Mart north of Kalispell.

County administrator Mike Pence said the building is owned by RIC Kalispell Trust of Brooklyn, New York. The city has agreed on a $2.8 million purchase price.

GLENDIVE WINDS

Glendive battered by 120 mph winds during thunderstorm

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

GLENDIVE, Mont. (AP) Crews are working to restore power to Glendive after a severe thunderstorm with up to 120 mph winds knocked out much of the city's power.

The Billings Gazette reports that powerful straight-line winds damaged buildings, tipped over grain bins and flattened power lines Monday night. Wind speeds were measured at 90 mph before the measurement instrument was blown off the roof of the airport and an airplane hangar was destroyed.

Repair crews from towns in North Dakota were brought in to supplement two contract crews with Montana-Dakota Utilities Co.

Associated Press Montana News Summary
Wednesday, July 29th 2015 
Latest Montana news, sports, business and entertainment
ATTEMPTED RAPE TRIAL

Trial begins for man accused of trying to rape a woman

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

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) The attorney for a man who escaped from police custody after being arrested for trying to rape a woman in February 2014 said he choked her because she was trying to attack him with knives.

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports that opening arguments in the trial of Kevin Briggs began Tuesday. Briggs faces several felony counts, including attempted sexual intercourse without consent and assault on a peace officer.

The woman alleged Briggs drugged, assaulted and tried to rape her.

However, defense attorney Annie DeWolf told jurors that Briggs and the woman had played some music, drank smoothies and both recreationally injected a prescription sleep medication before they got into a fight and the woman lunged at Briggs with a knife.

Briggs escaped from police after his arrest. He was apprehended in Portland, Oregon, three weeks later.

TRIBAL CORRUPTION

Chippewa Cree official pleads guilty in corruption probe

HELENA, Mont. (AP) The Chippewa Cree tribe's former roads department head and environmental health leader has pleaded guilty to taking bribes and stealing tribal funds.

Timothy Rosette entered his guilty pleas to three criminal counts Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Great Falls.

Prosecutors say Havre businessman Shad Huston gave Rosette cash in exchange for awarding contracts to Huston's companies for work on the Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation.

Huston has pleaded not guilty to bribery and to submitting fraudulent invoices for the work the company did.

Prosecutors also accused Rosette of accepting bribes and gifts from another contractor and one of its owners, James Eastlick Jr. Eastlick was previously convicted in the wide-ranging federal corruption investigation on the reservation.

Rosette is to be sentenced on Oct. 29.

MOUNTAIN WATER-MISSOULA

Regulators to press ahead on Missoula water sale review

HELENA, Mont. (AP) Montana's Public Service Commission has denied a request by Missoula officials to reject a Canadian company's proposed purchase of the city's drinking water system.

The five-member regulatory panel voted 5-0 Tuesday to continue its review of The Carlyle Group's proposed sale of Park Water Co. to Algonquin Power and Utilities Corp. The $327 million deal includes Missoula's Mountain Water Co. and two water systems in California.

The city recently won a court ruling allowing it to purchase Mountain Water, but the condemnation case has not been finalized and Carlyle is still the owner.

The PSC also rejected the city's request to force the Ontario-based Algonquin to participate directly in the review instead of its U.S.-based subsidiary.

The panel will hold a hearing on the proposed acquisition in October.

MT-RETIREMENT BENEFITS LAWSUIT

Public employee retirees settle lawsuit with state

HELENA, Mont. (AP) The state of Montana has settled a lawsuit with retired state and local government employees that will allow them to keep a 3 percent annual increase in pension benefits.

Retirees sued after the 2013 Legislature cut the increases in an attempt to restore financial stability to the pension system.

A Helena judge ruled in March that the law violated a constitutional contracts clause and said the reductions weren't necessary because other pension system remedies were available.

The retirees said the case was dismissed last week after both sides agreed to drop their appeals to the Montana Supreme Court. The settlement affects about 20,000 retired workers.

A Helena judge in July blocked the 2013 law that cut annual pension increases for retired teachers after the state teachers' union filed a similar lawsuit.

GLACIER WILDFIRE

Glacier park officials to reopen Logan Pass access

ST. MARY, Mont. (AP) Glacier National Park officials say they plan to reopen access to one of the park's main attractions that had been closed due to a nearby wildfire.

The west side of Going-to-the-Sun Road will open Wednesday to Logan Pass on the Continental Divide.

The east side of the 50-mile road will remain closed from Logan Pass to St. Mary. The 5-square-mile wildfire is burning around the roadway near Lower St. Mary Lake.

Park officials warned visitors to expect delays and traffic congestion with just one way to and from Logan Pass, and they encouraged use of the park's shuttle buses or guided tours.

Cool weather, rain and high humidity have helped firefighters contain nearly half of the fire, but warmer temperatures Tuesday were expected to increase the fire activity.

STILLWATER MINING

Union workers again reject contract with Stillwater Mining

HELENA, Mont. (AP) Union workers have again rejected a proposed four-year contract with the only company mining platinum and palladium in the United States.

Stillwater Mining Co. employees voted down a contract Monday night that would keep the pay and benefits of about 900 Montana miners mostly consistent with the contract that ended in early June. They rejected the same proposal June 10.

United Steelworkers Local 11-0001 announced the vote on its website. No vote tally was published and union representatives were not immediately available Tuesday.

Stillwater says in a Tuesday news release the company will consider all long-term alternatives following the workers' decision.

Workers were outraged this year to learn that Stillwater CEO Michael "Mick" McMullen received an 8 percent raise while the company cuts elsewhere to cope with declining precious metal prices.

HIT-AND-RUN ARREST

Suspect arrested in Bozeman hit-and-run

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) Police in Bozeman have arrested a suspect in a weekend hit-and-run that seriously injured a 72-year-old man.

Police say 31-year-old Jerry Edwards Dickson was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of tampering with evidence and not reporting an accident involving an injury. He is scheduled to make an initial appearance in Justice Court on Wednesday.

Investigators say William Kasun was struck early Saturday while trying to cross the street in Bozeman and thrown about 110 feet. Kasun was spotted by passing motorists and taken to the hospital. He suffered a head injury, broken ribs and fractures to his face and neck. He was listed in serious condition at a Billings hospital on Tuesday.

Dickson's roommate went to police Monday after hearing about the collision to report that Dickson had damaged her vehicle after borrowing it early Saturday.

MISSOULA-SHOOTING DEATH

Officials ID shooting victim found outside hospital

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

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) Missoula County officials have released the name of a Washington state man who was found dead in a vehicle outside a western Montana hospital.

Sheriff's spokeswoman Brenda Bassett said the victim was 25-year-old Jake Colvin, of Valley, Washington.

Colvin was found dead in sport utility vehicle outside St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula early Sunday afternoon.

Police are investigating whether Colvin may have been shot in Spokane, Washington, and are trying to determine when he died during the drive to Missoula.

The Missoulian reports the driver, 34-year-old Leo Rodriguez, of Spokane, Washington, was charged Tuesday with tampering with evidence. On Tuesday, he made an initial court appearance, where his bail was set at $100,000.

Police from Missoula and Spokane continue to investigate the shooting.

FATAL CRASH-ROUNDUP

Police identify woman killed in rollover crash near Roundup

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

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) Musselshell County sheriff's officials have identified the 31-year-old North Dakota woman who was killed in a single-vehicle rollover crash east of Roundup.

The Billings Gazette reports that Melissa Victoria Lane, of Bismarck, North Dakota, died Wednesday after she swerved to miss a deer on U.S. Highway 12. The Chevrolet Trailblazer she was driving went off the side of the road and rolled through a barbed wire fence.

Those injured in the wreck include five children ages 5 months to 12 years, as well as a 32-year-old man. Officials say Lane and two passengers were ejected from the vehicle. The current status of the passengers is unknown at this time.Latest Montana news, sports, business and entertainment
ATTEMPTED RAPE TRIAL

Trial begins for man accused of trying to rape a woman

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

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) The attorney for a man who escaped from police custody after being arrested for trying to rape a woman in February 2014 said he choked her because she was trying to attack him with knives.

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports that opening arguments in the trial of Kevin Briggs began Tuesday. Briggs faces several felony counts, including attempted sexual intercourse without consent and assault on a peace officer.

The woman alleged Briggs drugged, assaulted and tried to rape her.

However, defense attorney Annie DeWolf told jurors that Briggs and the woman had played some music, drank smoothies and both recreationally injected a prescription sleep medication before they got into a fight and the woman lunged at Briggs with a knife.

Briggs escaped from police after his arrest. He was apprehended in Portland, Oregon, three weeks later.

TRIBAL CORRUPTION

Chippewa Cree official pleads guilty in corruption probe

HELENA, Mont. (AP) The Chippewa Cree tribe's former roads department head and environmental health leader has pleaded guilty to taking bribes and stealing tribal funds.

Timothy Rosette entered his guilty pleas to three criminal counts Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Great Falls.

Prosecutors say Havre businessman Shad Huston gave Rosette cash in exchange for awarding contracts to Huston's companies for work on the Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation.

Huston has pleaded not guilty to bribery and to submitting fraudulent invoices for the work the company did.

Prosecutors also accused Rosette of accepting bribes and gifts from another contractor and one of its owners, James Eastlick Jr. Eastlick was previously convicted in the wide-ranging federal corruption investigation on the reservation.

Rosette is to be sentenced on Oct. 29.

MOUNTAIN WATER-MISSOULA

Regulators to press ahead on Missoula water sale review

HELENA, Mont. (AP) Montana's Public Service Commission has denied a request by Missoula officials to reject a Canadian company's proposed purchase of the city's drinking water system.

The five-member regulatory panel voted 5-0 Tuesday to continue its review of The Carlyle Group's proposed sale of Park Water Co. to Algonquin Power and Utilities Corp. The $327 million deal includes Missoula's Mountain Water Co. and two water systems in California.

The city recently won a court ruling allowing it to purchase Mountain Water, but the condemnation case has not been finalized and Carlyle is still the owner.

The PSC also rejected the city's request to force the Ontario-based Algonquin to participate directly in the review instead of its U.S.-based subsidiary.

The panel will hold a hearing on the proposed acquisition in October.

MT-RETIREMENT BENEFITS LAWSUIT

Public employee retirees settle lawsuit with state

HELENA, Mont. (AP) The state of Montana has settled a lawsuit with retired state and local government employees that will allow them to keep a 3 percent annual increase in pension benefits.

Retirees sued after the 2013 Legislature cut the increases in an attempt to restore financial stability to the pension system.

A Helena judge ruled in March that the law violated a constitutional contracts clause and said the reductions weren't necessary because other pension system remedies were available.

The retirees said the case was dismissed last week after both sides agreed to drop their appeals to the Montana Supreme Court. The settlement affects about 20,000 retired workers.

A Helena judge in July blocked the 2013 law that cut annual pension increases for retired teachers after the state teachers' union filed a similar lawsuit.

GLACIER WILDFIRE

Glacier park officials to reopen Logan Pass access

ST. MARY, Mont. (AP) Glacier National Park officials say they plan to reopen access to one of the park's main attractions that had been closed due to a nearby wildfire.

The west side of Going-to-the-Sun Road will open Wednesday to Logan Pass on the Continental Divide.

The east side of the 50-mile road will remain closed from Logan Pass to St. Mary. The 5-square-mile wildfire is burning around the roadway near Lower St. Mary Lake.

Park officials warned visitors to expect delays and traffic congestion with just one way to and from Logan Pass, and they encouraged use of the park's shuttle buses or guided tours.

Cool weather, rain and high humidity have helped firefighters contain nearly half of the fire, but warmer temperatures Tuesday were expected to increase the fire activity.

STILLWATER MINING

Union workers again reject contract with Stillwater Mining

HELENA, Mont. (AP) Union workers have again rejected a proposed four-year contract with the only company mining platinum and palladium in the United States.

Stillwater Mining Co. employees voted down a contract Monday night that would keep the pay and benefits of about 900 Montana miners mostly consistent with the contract that ended in early June. They rejected the same proposal June 10.

United Steelworkers Local 11-0001 announced the vote on its website. No vote tally was published and union representatives were not immediately available Tuesday.

Stillwater says in a Tuesday news release the company will consider all long-term alternatives following the workers' decision.

Workers were outraged this year to learn that Stillwater CEO Michael "Mick" McMullen received an 8 percent raise while the company cuts elsewhere to cope with declining precious metal prices.

HIT-AND-RUN ARREST

Suspect arrested in Bozeman hit-and-run

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) Police in Bozeman have arrested a suspect in a weekend hit-and-run that seriously injured a 72-year-old man.

Police say 31-year-old Jerry Edwards Dickson was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of tampering with evidence and not reporting an accident involving an injury. He is scheduled to make an initial appearance in Justice Court on Wednesday.

Investigators say William Kasun was struck early Saturday while trying to cross the street in Bozeman and thrown about 110 feet. Kasun was spotted by passing motorists and taken to the hospital. He suffered a head injury, broken ribs and fractures to his face and neck. He was listed in serious condition at a Billings hospital on Tuesday.

Dickson's roommate went to police Monday after hearing about the collision to report that Dickson had damaged her vehicle after borrowing it early Saturday.

MISSOULA-SHOOTING DEATH

Officials ID shooting victim found outside hospital

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

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) Missoula County officials have released the name of a Washington state man who was found dead in a vehicle outside a western Montana hospital.

Sheriff's spokeswoman Brenda Bassett said the victim was 25-year-old Jake Colvin, of Valley, Washington.

Colvin was found dead in sport utility vehicle outside St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula early Sunday afternoon.

Police are investigating whether Colvin may have been shot in Spokane, Washington, and are trying to determine when he died during the drive to Missoula.

The Missoulian reports the driver, 34-year-old Leo Rodriguez, of Spokane, Washington, was charged Tuesday with tampering with evidence. On Tuesday, he made an initial court appearance, where his bail was set at $100,000.

Police from Missoula and Spokane continue to investigate the shooting.

FATAL CRASH-ROUNDUP

Police identify woman killed in rollover crash near Roundup

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

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) Musselshell County sheriff's officials have identified the 31-year-old North Dakota woman who was killed in a single-vehicle rollover crash east of Roundup.

The Billings Gazette reports that Melissa Victoria Lane, of Bismarck, North Dakota, died Wednesday after she swerved to miss a deer on U.S. Highway 12. The Chevrolet Trailblazer she was driving went off the side of the road and rolled through a barbed wire fence.

Those injured in the wreck include five children ages 5 months to 12 years, as well as a 32-year-old man. Officials say Lane and two passengers were ejected from the vehicle. The current status of the passengers is unknown at this time.

Associated Press Montana News Summary
Tuesday, July 28th 2015 
Latest Montana news, sports, business and entertainment
FATAL CRASH-RAY

Montana man dies in rollover crash in northwest North Dakota

RAY, N.D. (AP) Law enforcement authorities say a 70-year-old Montana man died in a rollover crash Monday in northwest North Dakota.

The North Dakota Highway Patrol says the man of Great Falls, Montana, was driving a semi heading southbound on Williams County Road 42 when the vehicle reached the top of a hill and failed to negotiate a curve. The semi then left the road, entered the ditch and rolled at 9:42 a.m. about 10 miles northwest of Ray.

The Highway Patrol says the man was partially ejected from the vehicle as it rolled and died from injuries sustained in the crash.

The man has not been publicly identified. Authorities say he was wearing a seatbelt. The crash remains under investigation.

COAL RAILROAD

Northern Cheyenne tribe to look at sites along railroad path

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) The Northern Cheyenne tribe plans additional investigations of cultural sites along the path of a proposed railroad that would open new areas of southeastern Montana to large-scale coal mining.

Tribal council member Conrad Fisher said elders will revisit areas previously surveyed for the Surface Transportation Board.

Fisher says the tribe wants to ensure sacred and important sites are protected as the agency considers the Tongue River Railroad.

Landowners and members of other tribes with ties to the area say Surface Transportation Board contractors misinterpreted the significance of some cultural sites and overlooked others.

The $403 million rail line from Colstrip to the town of Ashland north of the Wyoming border is proposed by BNSF Railway, Arch Coal and candy industry billionaire Forrest Mars Jr.

BNSF spokesman Matt Jones said the railroad had confidence in previous cultural survey work done by government contractors.

TRIPLE TWINS

3 sets of twins born same day at Montana hospital

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) Three sets of fraternal twins were born on the same day at a Bozeman, Montana, hospital adding up to more than half of the hospital's births that day.

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports the first of the trio of twins was born at Bozeman Deaconess Hospital at 7:49 a.m. on July 22. The other two sets followed over the next seven hours, making it the first time in a decade the hospital has seen so many twins born in a day.

First-time parents Dustin and Davya Jackson say twins run in both their families, so it was almost inevitable when they found out they were having both Sonja Ryann and Landon Lee.

Including the three twins, 11 babies were born at the hospital that day.

STILLWATER MINING

Stillwater Mine workers to reconsider contract Monday night

HELENA, Mont. (AP) Union workers with expired contracts at Montana's largest mining company will reconsider tonight the same contract they rejected in June.

Stillwater Mining Co. workers are scheduled to vote by 9 p.m. Monday on a contract that would keep most pay and benefits consistent with the four-year contract that ended in early June.

The union's negotiating committee and Stillwater CEO Michael McMullen support it, but workers have said the contract could reduce the take-home pay of about 900 miners.

Workers are bitter over recent pay raises for some executives amid recent cuts, including the layoff of 11 workers two weeks ago.

McMullen has said he's been slashing costs to keep Stillwater competitive with platinum and palladium mines in South Africa and Russia as precious metal prices decline.

MISSOULA SHOOTING DEATH

Missoula police investigating shooting death

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) Police are investigating after a man who died of an apparent gunshot wound was brought to St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula.

Detective Sgt. Scott Pastian said officers were working with police in Spokane, Washington, to investigate the possibility that the shooting occurred there. He says the victim was driven to Missoula from Spokane on Sunday and either died on the way or was deceased for the entire trip.

Pastian said officers were investigating the death as a homicide. They were interviewing the driver and the victim's family. No immediate arrests were made.

Missoula County sheriff's spokeswoman Brenda Basset said the victim's name would have to be released by the Spokane County coroner since the death apparently occurred there.

An autopsy was planned Monday.

BOARD OF REGENTS-APPOINTEE

Bullock appoints Nystuen to Board of Regents

HELENA, Mont. (AP) Gov. Steve Bullock has appointed Bob Nystuen of Lakeside to the state Board of Regents, which oversees the Montana university system.

Bullock announced Nystuen's appointment Friday. Board members are generally appointed for a seven-year term.

Nystuen has served as the Board Chair for Flathead Valley Community College and is market president of Glacier Bank.

He replaces Bozeman Mayor Jeff Krauss. Krauss was appointed in 2012 to fill the last three years of the term vacated by Clay Christian, who is now the commissioner of higher education.

GLACIER WILDFIRE

Cool, wet weather helping Glacier park firefighters

WEST GLACIER, Mont. (AP) Fire crews were taking advantage of cooler, wet weather in battling the Reynolds Creek Fire in Glacier National Park.

The fire has burned about 5 square miles of timber, brush and grass in rugged terrain on the north shore of St. Mary Lake since it started on July 21. One hotshot team planned to work Monday building fire line above Going-to-the-Sun Road while another planned to extinguish hotspots at the head of the fire. Crews have completed fire line around the east end of the fire, which is now 30 percent contained.

Fire officials say when the sun comes out between rain showers, hot spots revive and fire spreads across the forest floor.

The St. Mary Visitor Center at the east entrance to the park reopened Monday, but an 18-mile stretch of Going-to-the-Sun Road remained closed.

ENDANGERED CHILDREN

Montana grandparents organize against Child, Family Services

HELENA, Mont. (AP) Dozens of Montana grandparents have organized to push back against a state agency they say has shut them out as caregivers and sometimes has placed grandchildren with parents they don't know.

They say they are being prevented from stepping in to provide care when parents lose custody due to neglect or abuse.

A network of 24 grandparents has staged protests, told their stories to lawmakers and enlisted at least one former legislator to lobby state officials on their behalf.

Gov. Steve Bullock plans to meet with the grandparents about their concerns, says his spokesman, Dave Parker.

Montana Child and Family Services' Sarah Corbally insists that the agency complies with state policy that requires placement with a biological parent unless a caseworker finds good cause to recommend otherwise.


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