Associated Press Montana News Summary
Saturday, December 1st 2012
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Latest Montana news, sports, business and entertainment

Montana judge blocks wolverine trapping

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) A Montana judge has issued a last-minute restraining order blocking a trapping season for the fierce but imperiled wolverine that had been set to start Saturday.

District Judge Jeffrey Sherlock said Friday that potential damage to the rare species' population outweighed the loss of any recreational trapping opportunities.

Montana is the only state in the Lower 48 that allows wolverine trapping, with an annual quota of five animals.

Conservation groups had sued Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks in October to halt the practice. They cited a federal government finding that says climate change may threaten the predators' long-term survival.

There are an estimated 250 to 300 wolverines in the Lower 48. Most are in Montana and Idaho but some have ranged into Washington, Oregon, California, Wyoming and Colorado.


Bullock names corrections, labor, commerce leaders

HELENA, Mont. (AP) Gov.-elect Steve Bullock has named the first three appointments of his administration.

Bullock said Friday that Pam Bucy will lead the Department of Labor and Industry, Mike Batista will head the Department of Corrections and Meg O'Leary will be director of the Department of Commerce.

The appointments are subject to confirmation by the state Senate.

Bucy was the chief legal counsel for the Labor Department and recently lost to Republican Tim Fox in the race to succeed Bullock as attorney general.

Batista is the administrator of the Department of Justice's Division of Criminal Investigation.

O'Leary is Big Sky Resort's marketing director.

Bullock still must fill many other top administrative positions before he takes office in January. He says additional announcements will be made in the coming weeks.


Redistricting panel votes on Senate districts

HELENA, Mont. (AP) The commission appointed to redraw Montana's legislative map for 2014 is voting on the shape of the state's 50 Senate districts.

The redistricting commission Friday heard Republican and Democratic plans to combine the 100 House Districts already decided.

The major differences are how to link House districts in northwestern Montana and whether to pair Jefferson County with another rural county or with an urban Butte district.

Other areas of contention include a Democratic proposal to link Livingston and Bozeman districts and in which district to place Havre.

Commission Chairman Jim Regnier held early votes on the few districts where both Republican and Democratic commissioners agreed, before jumping into the contested areas.

The commission will finalize the map early next year, after getting public comment and reaction from the 2013 Legislature.


Gallatin County woman reported missing

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) The Gallatin County sheriff's office is looking for a 41-year-old woman who is missing from her home between Bozeman and Livingston.

Cherie Runkel is believed to be driving a maroon or rust colored 1999 Honda Passport, which is also missing from the house. The SUV has a spare tire on the back and the license number is 6-15269A.

She was last seen Thursday morning.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Gallatin County sheriff's office at 406 582-2121.


Capital running back honored by Gatorade

HELENA, Mont. (AP) Helena Capital running back and cornerback Gunnar Brekke was named the Gatorade football player of the year for Montana.

The Independent Record reports Brekke set school career records with 2,415 rushing yards and 7.4 yards per carry. He rushed for 1,285 yards as a senior and was named the Western AA offensive player of the year.

The award is based on athletic ability as well as grades and community service. Brekke has a 3.53 GPA and has volunteered locally on behalf of a church construction project and flood relief efforts.

Brekke has verbally committed to play football at the University of Montana.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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