Cellphones spill into Yellowstone’s wilds despite park plan
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Adventure seekers encounter untamed wilderness when they enter the backcountry of Yellowstone National Park. Howling wolves. Deadly grizzly bears. Steam-spewing geysers as seen nowhere else on earth.
A refuge from ringing cellphones? Not so much anymore.
In the popularity contest between Yellowstone’s natural wonders and on-demand phone service, park administrators appear to have lost ground on a 2009 pledge to minimize cellphone access in backcountry areas.
Signal coverage maps for two of Yellowstone’s five cell phone towers show calls can now be received in large swaths of the park’s interior including the picturesque Lamar Valley.
The maps were obtained by a Washington, DC-based advocacy group, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.
Yellowstone technology chief Bret De Young says officials are working with phone companies to install new antennas that should limit phone signals in the backcountry.
Judge: Private prison not negligent in inmate’s death
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A magistrate judge has concluded that a private prison in Shelby is not to blame for the death of a medical marijuana provider who was incarcerated there.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Carolyn Ostby on Wednesday recommended the dismissal of a negligence lawsuit filed by the wife of Richard Flor against Corrections Corporation of America.
U.S. District Judge Susan Watters must approve the recommendation.
The 68-year-old Flor died in custody in 2012 of colon cancer. He had previously pleaded guilty to running a medical marijuana operation in his Miles City home.
Sherry Flor says her husband was treated like “an abandoned dog” instead of being properly cared for at the prison.
Ostby agreed with attorneys for the prison who said Sherry Flor was unable to prove that her husband did not receive adequate medical care.
Unidentified body found during search for missing hunter
BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — Authorities searching for a missing hunter in south-central Montana say they have found a man’s body.
Park County sheriff Scott Hamilton said Wednesday that authorities are not able to identify the body and an autopsy is scheduled for Thursday.
The body was found dressed in camouflage at the bottom of a cliff during the search for Mark Rollins of Decorah, Iowa. Rollins’ wife reported him overdue from a hunting trip.
A group of hunters told a U.S. Forest Service officer they’d met a man in his 60s in the Crazy Mountains on Sept 20. They said he appeared well-equipped, but they were concerned when he hadn’t returned to his vehicle by Tuesday.
The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports the search began Tuesday and continued Wednesday with search dogs and a helicopter.
US House panel heads to Santa Fe for American Indian hearing
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources is set to hold an oversight hearing in Santa Fe on American Indians and energy development.
The “Tribal Prosperity and Self-Determination through Energy Development” is scheduled Tuesday at the New Mexico State Capitol.
According to the committee, the hearing will review the impact of energy resource development on tribal economies. It also will examine how tribes manage their energy resources and look at obstacles such as federal regulations.
Bozeman American Legion seeks return of burgled bugle
BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — A burglar who unsuccessfully tried to break into a safe in the basement of the Bozeman American Legion over the weekend ended up taking several other items, including a bugle used by the Legion’s honor guard.
Len Albright with the American Legion tells the Bozeman Daily Chronicle they want the bugle back, no questions asked. It can be dropped off at the Legion or find another way to get it back.
The bugle has been used to play Taps at about 80 military burials a year since 2009 and was scheduled to be used at a funeral on Thursday. The bugle was purchased to replace one lost in a natural gas explosion in downtown Bozeman.
The bugle was sitting on top of the safe.
Bozeman police are investigating.
Lewis and Clark County appoints new coroner
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Lewis and Clark County Commission has appointed a new coroner to complete the term of the late Mickey Nelson.
Commissioners on Tuesday appointed deputy coroner Bryan Backeberg to the post. Nelson had been coroner for 42 years when he died on Sept. 11.
The Independent Record reports Commissioner Susan Good Geise called for an audit of the office and its functions to ensure Backeberg assumes the post with a clean slate.
Nelson had been criticized for falling behind on finalizing death certificates and for being disorganized.
Backeberg says his goals are to streamline the office’s operation, computerize the records management system and work better with other agencies.
The county plans to hire a deputy coroner.