|Associated Press Montana News Summary|
|Tuesday, August 21st 2012|
|Latest Montana news, sports, business and entertainment
Wildfire burns 1 structure in southern Montana
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Montana forestry officials say a wildfire fueled by hot, dry, windy conditions off of U.S. Highway 87 East near Lockwood has destroyed one structure.
State officials didn't say whether the structure was a home or other building.
The blaze was reported Monday afternoon on the Crow Reservation east of Billings. It grew to an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 acres by Monday night as it burned through tinder-dry grass and timber, and it has burned onto some private land in Yellowstone County.
State officials say three heavy air tankers, two single-engine air tankers, three helicopters, and numerous engines are responding to the fire.
There was no immediate word of any evacuation orders.
Montana officials say the fire is believed to be human-caused.
Hotshot team cites safety issues in deadly ID fire
(Stations: Note Montana interest.)
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A member of an elite federal firefighting team says safety concerns kept the group from engaging a northern Idaho wildfire one day before a 20-year-old firefighter was killed.
Anne Veseth of Moscow was killed Aug. 12 when she was struck by a tree while battling the Steep Corner Fire.
According to a report filed by the Montana-based Flathead Hotshots, the team declined to fight the blaze near Orofino on Aug. 11 after encountering poor communication among Idaho-based firefighters, some of them without protective clothing or shelters.
The report describes a chaotic scene, with a "hodge-podge" of firefighters that included Idaho prison inmates forced to dodge trees and rocks hurtling down a steep mountainside.
Federal and state officials are investigating Veseth's death.
The Lewiston Tribune initially reported on the team's report.
BIG SKY FATAL-ID
Montana State student killed in crash near Big Sky
BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — Authorities have identified a 20-year-old Montana State University student who died when the sport utility vehicle he was driving went off a cliff near Big Sky.
Karston Waarvik of Glasgow died Friday morning after failing to negotiate a curve. His SUV went off the road, striking a tree 70 feet below the road.
Waarvik was a graduate of Glasgow High School.
His obituary said he attended the University of Montana as a freshman and was finishing his sophomore year at MSU.
Swift Mont. reaction to candidate's rape comment
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Attorney General Steve Bullock is criticizing his opponent's staunch anti-abortion stance in the wake of a Missouri politician's comments on the issue.
Political candidates in Montana and across the nation reacted Monday to Missouri Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin's comments that women's bodies are able to prevent pregnancies if they are victims of "a legitimate rape."
Bullock is running for governor against former congressman Rick Hill, who opposes abortion even in cases of rape and incest. Hill stood by his position Monday and tried to turn the tables on Bullock.
Hill countered that if Bullock were really worried about protecting women from rape, he should have done a better job maintaining his office's database of sex offenders.
Republican U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg called Akin's remarks "offensive and reprehensible."
HEALTH INSURANCE-MONTANA UPDATE
Montana weighs expanding Medicaid rolls
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana lawmakers are trying to decide whether it's worth spending up to $119 million to expand the state's Medicaid program.
The state could expand Medicaid to include as many as 57,000 more people now that a U.S. Supreme Court decision has given them the option.
A panel of experts told an interim committee of lawmakers on Monday to conduct a thorough study to find out how much an expansion would cost the state.
They also told the lawmakers to think about whether there are enough doctors to handle the influx of new patients and whether people would drop their private insurance to join the Medicaid rolls.
They encouraged the lawmakers to use the expansion as an entry point to negotiate with the federal government for more control over its program and spending.
MSU long snapper reinstated after charges deferred
BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — Montana State football coach Rob Ash says junior long snapper Donald Tudahl of Bigfork has been reinstated to the team after a felony assault charge was reduced to a misdemeanor and his sentence was deferred.
Tudahl had been suspended under the team's code of conduct policy after the felony charges were filed.
Court documents say Tudahl was working in the Garden Bar in Bigfork on July 1 when a customer shoved him after they exchanged words. The documents say Tudahl punched the man in the face once, breaking his nose and possibly his jaw.
The charges were reduced and the sentence deferred on Friday. Tudahl returned to practice on Saturday.
Ash says Tudahl will serve a one-game suspension in the team's season opener against Chadron State on Aug. 30, and faces other team disciplinary measures.
Great Falls High linebacker commits to Bobcats
(Information in the following story is from: Great Falls Tribune, http://www.greatfallstribune.com)
GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — Great Falls High linebacker Trevan Timmer has made a verbal commitment to play football at Montana State.
Timmer said it was difficult to choose between scholarship offers from both MSU and Montana, but he told the Great Falls Tribune he wants to study architecture, which is offered at MSU.
Timmer's father, Kirk, played on MSU's 1984 national championship team while his mother, Kelly, played basketball for the Bobcats.
His brother, Trace, is a redshirt freshman safety for the Bobcats while his oldest brother, Ty, played at Montana for two seasons before leaving the team due to knee problems.
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