Associated Press Montana News Summary
Thursday, October 4th 2012
Latest Montana news, sports, business and entertainment

Judge tosses Montana campaign contribution limits

HELENA, Mont. (AP) A federal judge has struck down Montana's campaign contribution limits as unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Charles Lovell of Helena issued the decision Wednesday with just a month before the election.

Lovell says current limits prevent state candidates from amassing the money needed to run an effective campaign. It does not affect the races for the U.S. House and Senate that are covered under other laws.

The case came from conservative activists and Republican groups seeking to undo many campaign finance laws in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision on corporate campaign spending. It is one of many ongoing fights over such laws in Montana.

Recent decisions have thrown out the state's century-old ban on some corporate politicking, the ban on partisan judicial endorsements and other restrictions.


Texas man pleads 'no contest' in bank robbery

(Information in the following story is from: The Montana Standard,

ANACONDA, Mont. (AP) A Texas man who was arrested while trying to rob a southwestern Montana bank has pleaded no contest to felony theft.

The Montana Standard reports 64-year-old James Ramsey of Midland, Texas was arrested on Sept. 21 inside the Wells Fargo Bank in Anaconda.

Prosecutors alleged he handed a teller a note demanding $10,000 in $100 bills. The teller was able to alert the bank supervisor, who called 911, while another employee activated a silent alarm.

Officers entered the bank with guns drawn and arrested Ramsey without incident.

With the "no contest" plea, Ramsey isn't acknowledging guilt, but isn't contesting the charge. However, the result is essentially the same as a guilty plea.

District Judge Ray Dayton remanded Ramsey to jail on $250,000 bond and ordered a presentence investigation.


Unfortunate events led to child being hit by SUV

(Information in the following story is from: Great Falls Tribune,

GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) Police in Great Falls say an unfortunate chain of events led to the driver of a sport utility vehicle hitting an 8-year-old girl who was crossing the street after being dropped off by a church bus.

The girl was flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle after she was hit Sunday morning. A hospital spokeswoman said she remained in critical condition on Wednesday.

Sgt. Bryan Slavik tells the Great Falls Tribune a church bus pulled over to pick up a church member while three students got off to get another passenger who lived on the other side of the street.

Slavik says the bus driver accidentally hit the horn, signaling the coast was clear. The SUV was passing the bus as the girl started across the street.

No criminal charges have been filed.


Flu season hits Montana early

HELENA, Mont. (AP) Flu season is getting an early start in Montana.

The Department of Public Health and Human Services says four cases of influenza had been confirmed in Yellowstone and Park counties through Tuesday. Montana's first cases were not confirmed until late November in each of the past two years.

The agency recommends everyone older than six months get the influenza vaccine.

Agency Director Anna Whiting Sorrell says people who were vaccinated last year should be vaccinated again this year because two of the three components of the vaccine are new to protect against the flu viruses that are more common this year.

The agency urges people with chronic medical conditions, children and senior citizens to get vaccinated right away.

Vaccinations are available at doctor's offices, county or tribal health departments and many pharmacies.


Hill promotes hunting, fishing plan in Great Falls

GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Hill is promoting his hunting and fishing plan alongside the head of the National Rifle Association.

Hill appeared with NRA President David Keene Wednesday in Great Falls before about a dozen people to hear questions on fishing, hunting and public access to land.

Hill criticized Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, saying he would scrutinize the agency's priorities and spending. He says he opposes more land acquisitions by FWP and he wants to rebuild damaged relationships with landowners to open more private lands to hunters.

Hill faces Attorney General Steve Bullock in the Nov. 6 election.

Bullock has said he would take a look at the agency's operations but land acquisitions must be assessed case-by-case or the state could miss out on some real treasures.


2 more black bears captured near Heron, euthanized

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) An investigation into the suspected illegal feeding of black bears in northwestern Montana near the Idaho border has resulted in the capture and euthanization of two more bears.

State Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials say male bears weighing 125- and 185-pounds were captured near Heron within the past week. Five other black bears were captured in the same area and euthanized last week.

Witnesses say a resident was feeding the bears. The food sources that attracted the bears were removed and monitoring has shown no new bears in the area over the past several days.

FWP Warden Captain Lee Anderson says the case is under investigation and the Sanders County attorney will determine if the resident should be charged with violating the state law that prohibits the feeding of wildlife.
(Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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