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Groups allege illegal coordination by Zinke
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Two Washington, D.C.-based advocacy groups have filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission accusing a U.S. House candidate in Montana of illegally coordinating with the political-action committee he created.
The Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21 allege television advertisements by Special Operations for America PAC that support Ryan Zinke's House bid include photographs that appear to come from the Zinke campaign.
The groups say republishing campaign materials is an in-kind contribution that federal law bars super PACs like SOFA from making. Candidates cannot coordinate with PACs to republish campaign materials.
Zinke's campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
Zinke created SOFA in 2012 to back candidates who support the military. Zinke, a former Navy SEAL, resigned from the PAC before announcing his House run.
ACCIDENTAL SHOOTING DEATH
Martin City man accidentally kills self
(Information in the following story is from: Daily Inter Lake, http://www.dailyinterlake.com)
KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — Flathead County officials say a Martin City man accidentally shot and killed himself over the weekend.
Detective Dick Sine says 37-year-old Edwards Schramm was examining a rifle on Sunday when it accidentally discharged and hit him in the face.
The Daily Inter Lake reports a friend witnessed the shooting and reported it at about 11:15 a.m.
Sine says no foul play is suspected.
Flathead tribes to pay $18.3M for Kerr Dam
POLSON, Mont. (AP) — An arbitration panel has determined the Salish and Kootenai Tribes would have to pay nearly $18.3 million to acquire a northwestern Montana hydroelectric dam from PPL Montana.
Energy Keepers Inc., a tribally-owned corporation, said Wednesday the tribes will notify the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission of their intent to acquire the Kerr Project southwest of Polson in September 2015.
In 1985, FERC issued the dam's operating license to both Montana Power and the tribes to settle a contested proceeding. Montana Power was to operate the project for at least 30 years, after which the tribes would have the option to buy.
PPL Montana, which purchased the dam from Montana Power, said the purchase price should be $49.4 million. The tribes countered it should be $14.7 million.
KERR-AM in Polson reports an arbitration panel set the price on Monday.
Bozeman assault suspect to be returned to Montana
BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — A man suspected of assaulting and trying to rape a Bozeman woman before escaping police and spending nearly three weeks on the run will return to Montana to face charges sometime this month.
Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin tells KWYB-TV that 28-year-old Kevin Anthony Briggs will be brought to the county jail, but said due to security measures, he could not say exactly when.
Briggs was initially arrested in Bozeman on Feb. 1, but walked out of an interview room when he was left unsupervised. Bozeman Police Chief Ron Price suspended two officers for two weeks without pay for their roles in Briggs' escape.
Briggs was arrested in Portland, Ore., on Feb. 21 and has waived extradition. He is charged with aggravated assault, attempted sexual intercourse without consent, assault of a peace officer and escape.
Plea deal reached in fatal 2012 Billings shooting
(Information in the following story is from: The Billings Gazette, http://www.billingsgazette.com)
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A plea agreement has been reached in the case of a Billings man accused of killing his girlfriend's lover in 2012.
The Billings Gazette reported Wednesday court documents state that 42-year-old David Bruce Isaacson will plead guilty to mitigated deliberate homicide. He was charged with felony deliberate homicide.
The documents say prosecutors will ask for a sentence of 40 years with 10 years suspended but the defense can argue for less.
Isaacson would also plead guilty to tampering with or fabricating evidence and serve a concurrent sentence.
He is charged with fatally shooting 34-year-old Sabah Mallak. Isaacson has said Mallak was driving toward him when he fired.
Isaacson has also said Mallak abused Isaacson's girlfriend. In the new court documents, Isaacson refers to her as his wife.
Man pleads not guilty in bridge-jumping incident
(Information in the following story is from: Missoulian, http://www.missoulian.com)
MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — A Missoula man has pleaded not guilty to a charge of negligent endangerment after prosecutors say he jumped off a bridge over the Clark Fork River and landed on another man, causing serious injuries.
The Missoulian reported Wednesday 20-year-old Corey Allen Hewitt is scheduled for a jury trial in May.
Charging documents say Hewitt jumped off the bridge on July 21 and landed on Andy Hill, who was floating in an inner-tube. Prosecutors say Hill was briefly unconscious and suffered a fractured femur, chipped bones in both legs and torn ligaments in both knees.
According to court documents, Hewitt told law enforcement officers after the incident he didn't look upstream before jumping.
If convicted, Hewitt could be sentenced to a year in jail and fined up to $1,000.
Coroner IDs man, body found near railroad tracks
MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — Missoula County authorities have released the name of a disabled transient whose body was found in the snow near the railroad tracks in Missoula.
Detective Paige Pavalone says the body of 34-year-old Keith William Byington was found shortly before noon Tuesday.
Missoula Police Detective Travis Welsh says Byington had been dead for several days when a Montana Rail Link employee spotted his body as the snow from a recent storm began to melt. Welsh tells KECI-TV that evidence recovered at the scene indicates foul play may have been involved.
An autopsy is planned and the case is still under investigation.
Amtrak busing passengers over Marias Pass
(Information in the following story is from: Flathead Beacon, http://www.flatheadbeacon.com)
KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — Amtrak is busing its Empire Builder passengers between stations in Whitefish and Shelby due to the threat of avalanches on Marias (muh-RY'-us) Pass.
Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said Wednesday that passengers will ride buses between the two stops until at least Saturday, while the empty train will travel over the pass.
Magliari tells the Flathead Beacon that BNSF Railway rules don't allow loaded passenger trains to run if there has been a recent slide. The rail line was closed late Sunday night between Essex and Marias Pass after an avalanche covered the tracks with 7 feet of snow and debris.
Arrest made in Kalispell abortion clinic vandalism
KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — Police in Kalispell have arrested a suspect for the break-in and vandalism at a Kalispell clinic that provides abortions.
Officers say 24-year-old Zachary Klundt of Columbia Falls was arrested on suspicion of burglary and carrying a concealed weapon at about 6 p.m. Tuesday by police responding to another reported break-in.
Police say he could be charged with felony criminal mischief, attempted burglary and theft for the damage at All Families Healthcare, which was discovered Tuesday morning when a receptionist arrived at work.
Klundt is being held in the Flathead County jail.
Physician assistant Susan Cahill has said she's angry that people are trying to prevent her from performing a legal procedure.
Stillwater Mining reports $270M net loss for 2013
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Montana's largest mining company racked up a $270 million net loss last year after writing down the value of two foreign properties and putting more focus on its precious metal mines in the Beartooth Mountains.
Stillwater Mining Co. said in its recently released annual report that it expects to ramp up capital spending for 2014 by as much as $26 million. Much of that will go into new areas under development at its mines near Nye and East Boulder.
The company added 109 jobs last year and has about 1,770 employees.
It was seeking to expand into Canada and Argentina until disgruntled investors joined by former Gov. Brian Schweitzer staged a corporate board takeover last year. Stillwater has since taken $461 million in lost value charges on its foreign acquisitions.
Police halt man carrying bison heart to governor
(Information in the following story is from: Independent Record, http://www.helenair.com)
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A Blackfeet tribal member carrying a bison heart in a plastic bag was stopped outside Gov. Steve Bullock's office in the Montana Capitol.
Police at the Capitol prevented James St. Goddard Tuesday from entering the office of the governor, who was not there at the time.
St. Goddard says he was protesting the killing of pregnant bison by the Nez Perce Tribe from Idaho. He was allowed to bring the heart into a meeting with the Governor's Office of Indian Affairs director.
St. Goddard tells the Independent Record that hunting bison this time of year, when females are carrying fully developed fetuses, violates the Blackfeet's and other tribes' reverence for the animals.
The Nez Perce is one of three tribes with bison hunting rights outside of Yellowstone National Park.
MT-ROCKY MOUNTAIN FRONT
Walsh says he'll push Rocky Mountain Front bill
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — U.S. Sen. John Walsh says he's taking the lead role to advance a bill that would expand wilderness protections along the Rocky Mountain Front.
Walsh on Wednesday joined fellow Montana Democrat Sen. Jon Tester as a co-sponsor of the measure. It was introduced by former Sen. Max Baucus before he was named ambassador to China.
The bill would add 67,112 acres to the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex. It also proposes designating 208,160 acres as a Conservation Management Area. That would limit roads but is not as restrictive as a wilderness declaration.
It passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last fall.
Republican Rep. Steve Daines is Walsh's potential opponent in the November election for the open Senate seat. Daines has not decided whether to support the proposal.
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