Associated Press Montana News Summary
Thursday, September 23rd 2010
AP-MT--Right Now,0532

Latest Montana news, sports, business and entertainment:

MALTA FIRE
Fire destroys 5 businesses in Malta building

MALTA, Mont. (AP) - Authorities and witnesses say a fire
that destroyed a building in downtown Malta has been largely
contained, though fire crews were still putting out hot spots.
The fire broke out early Wednesday, destroying the office
of a weekly newspaper and four other businesses inside the
90-year-old building.
No injuries were reported.
Phillips County Sheriff Tom Miller says crews from four
fire departments prevented the blaze from spreading to buildings
on either side.
The Great Northern Hotel -- two doors and less than 200
feet away -- was evacuated as a precaution.
A hotel clerk says staff and guests were allowed to return
Wednesday afternoon.

BORDER CROSSING
Montana senator wants border crossing closed

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - A Montana senator is recommending
border officials scrap an $8.5 million stimulus-funded upgrade to
a Montana-Saskatchewan border post and shut down the underused
crossing.
Democratic Sen. Jon Tester says U.S. Customs and Border
Protection should abandon the renovation because Canada plans to
close their side in April and is not interested in sharing the
new station.
Tester told The Associated Press Wednesday that it makes no
sense to have a one-way port.
Tester's word is expected to carry weight with the federal
officials, who will make the final decision. Customs and Border
Protection officials suspended construction in August based on
Tester's recommendation.
The Whitetail crossing sees about five travelers per day.

FUGITIVE ARRESTED
Marshals arrest Montana fugitive in New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - The U.S. Marshals Service in New
Mexico has arrested a fugitive out of Montana who has been at
large for the past two years.
Authorities say 63-year-old Daniel Herman Lopez was taken
into custody Tuesday at University of New Mexico Hospital in
Albuquerque, where he has been treated since July for an
undisclosed medical condition.
Lopez was targeted in a nationwide manhunt since 2008, when
he jumped parole in Missoula, Mont.
Authorities say Lopez has a violent criminal history with
convictions for rape, assault and theft, and for participating in
the 1991 Montana State Prison riot -- where five inmates died.
Lopez had most recently been living in the region that
includes El Paso, Texas, and Las Cruces, N.M.
He's in custody in Albuquerque, pending additional charges
and extradition to Montana.

COAL MINES-CLIMATE
Interior asked to defend Powder River coal leasing
(Stations: Note Montana interest, 4th and 5th paragraphs.)

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Wyoming's congressional delegation
and 33 other members of Congress are asking the Interior
Department to strongly defend federal coal leasing practices.
Wyoming Republican Sens. Mike Enzi and John Barrasso and
Republican Rep. Cynthia Lummis are among those who sent a letter
to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Wednesday.
The letter says the federal coal leasing program is
important to the nation's economy and energy security.
WildEarth Guardians is challenging the coal-leasing program
and appealing plans to auction off coal reserves in the Powder
River Basin in Wyoming and Montana. It contends that Interior
isn't adequately analyzing the impacts of coal production on
climate change.
Montana Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg also signed the
letter.


(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights
Reserved.)

AP-NY-09-23-10 0331EDT

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