More evacuations ordered ahead of Glacier park fire
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Authorities have begun evacuating homes near Glacier National Park’s eastern boundary ahead of a growing wildfire.
A Glacier County Sheriff’s Office dispatcher says residents near the St. Mary community are being told to leave their homes Wednesday afternoon.
The dispatcher says she does not know how many people are included in the evacuation order. Fire officials say the evacuations are a precautionary measure.
The wildfire started six miles east of Logan Pass on Tuesday afternoon and has grown to more than 3 square miles.
Babb resident Greg Fullerton, who co-owns Glacier County Honey Co. with his wife, has been watching the fire from U.S. Highway 89. He says it has spread east along the Going-to-the-Sun Road since Tuesday night and burning trees are visible from above St. Mary Lake.
Environmental groups join surge of lawsuits against EPA rule
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Nine environmental conservation groups have joined the surge of states and businesses suing the federal government over a new water regulation.
Attorneys from Stanford University and Lewis and Clark Law School filed the non-profit organizations’ challenge Wednesday in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The groups claim the rule from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers removes safeguards for water used for drinking, recreation, fisheries and wildlife.
Federal officials say the new rule clarifies which waterways are protected under the Clean Water Act.
At least 27 states, 14 national agriculture and land organizations, the Pacific Legal Foundation, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Federation of Independent Businesses have filed complaints in federal districts courts around the country since the rule was published in June.
Bullock, health secretary to talk Medicaid expansion waiver
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Gov. Steve Bullock will discuss with a federal official Montana’s plan to expand Medicaid that recently entered a public-comment period.
The Democratic governor traveled with his health policy adviser and deputy chief of staff to Washington, D.C., Wednesday morning to meet with U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell at 3:30 p.m. Mountain time.
They will discuss the premiums and copays that are expected to receive particular scrutiny before the federal government’s decision to support or deny the state’s waiver for expanding government-subsidized health insurance.
Bullock spokesman Mike Wessler says the governor’s staff has been talking with federal officials about the Republican-sponsored proposal since before the state’s 2015 legislative session.
Public comment will be accepted on the plan into the fall.
Montana officials say dam, bypass best for imperiled fish
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Montana officials say a $59 million dam and fish bypass proposed on Montana’s Yellowstone River offers the best chance to save an endangered fish population that’s long been blocked from its spawning grounds.
Attorneys for the state said in a friend-of-the-court brief filed Tuesday that despite uncertainties over the project, it’s the only option in the near future to help the pallid sturgeon.
The fish have been trapped for decades downstream of an existing rock weir at the site northeast of Glendive.
Environmental groups are seeking to halt construction of the dam through a lawsuit in federal court against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The groups say there’s no proof the bypass would help the 125 wild sturgeon that remain in the lower Yellowstone River near the North Dakota border.
Bison injures woman posing for selfie at Yellowstone
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) — Yellowstone National Park officials are warning tourists to keep their distance after a bison flipped a woman into the air as she posed for a selfie with the massive beast.
The dangerous encounter was the fifth run-in between park-goers and buffalo at the park this year.
Park officials say the 43-year-old Mississippi woman turned her back on the animal Tuesday evening to get a photo with it on a trail near Old Faithful.
She and her daughter were about 6 yards away when it came at them.
They tried to run, but the bison caught the woman and tossed her with its head.
The woman’s family drove her to a nearby clinic where she was treated and released.
Yellowstone prohibits people from getting within 25 yards of bison.
Man gets deferred sentence in bus crash that injured 3
POLSON, Mont. (AP) — A district judge has given a 19-year-old Bigfork man a deferred sentence of six years for rear-ending a school bus that had stopped to drop off students.
Daniel Fellows was also sentenced Wednesday to six months in jail with all but 10 days suspended in connection with the May incident.
He pleaded guilty in June to criminal endangerment and drunk-driving charges and received the sentence as part of a plea agreement.
Fellows said previously he was driving about 80 mph when his pickup slammed into the bus near Polson. His blood-alcohol content was .122.
Three students were treated at a hospital for minor injuries. The bus was totaled.
KERR-AM reports a parent of two boys on the bus asked and that Fellows agreed to also complete 100 hours of community service.
Fellows apologized in court.
Man dies after crashing motorcycle
(Information in the following story is from: The Billings Gazette, http://www.billingsgazette.com)
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Authorities say a 53-year-old man has died after his motorcycle veered off Highway 212 and crashed near Roberts.
The Billings Gazette reports that the man was killed in the crash Tuesday evening. Authorities haven’t released the man’s name.
Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Joe Hensley says the man had been traveling northbound on Highway 212 when he went off the left side of the road. He reportedly continued for another 600 to 700 feet before crashing.
Hensley says alcohol and speed appeared to have been factors in the crash.
The man was not wearing a helmet.