9 states to vote soon on expanding legal access to marijuana
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Americans in nine states have a chance to vote Nov. 8 on expanding legal access to marijuana.
Collectively, the ballot measures amount to the closest the U.S. has come to a national referendum on the drug.
Five states — Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada — will consider legalizing the recreational use of pot. Three others — Florida, Arkansas and North Dakota — will decide whether to permit marijuana for medical purposes. Montana will weigh whether to ease restrictions on an existing medical marijuana law.
According to national polls, a solid majority of Americans support legalization. Gallup’s latest survey gauged support at 58 percent, up from 12 percent from when the question was first posed in 1969. Gallup says 13 percent of U.S. adults report using marijuana at present, nearly double the percentage who reported using pot in 2013.
Future of underfunded CASA of Montana state office uncertain
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A Montana nonprofit organization that advocates for abused and neglected children faces an uncertain future due to a lack of funding.
The board of directors for Court Appointed Special Advocates of Montana has voted to close its state office. The organization does not have enough money to continue operations past October.
An official with the National CASA Association says the association is committed to keeping the Montana organization’s office open.
CASA of Montana executive director Joyce Funda says the state chapter is in talks with the national association, but there is no specific plan yet.
The 15 local CASA offices will remain open.
CASA volunteers are appointed by District Court judges to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children. The state office provides training and other assistance to the local organizations.
2 Montana bear encounters leave hunters injured
BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — State wildlife officials say two hunters were hospitalized after encountering grizzly bears in separate incidents over the weekend in southwestern Montana.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks says in a news release that a bow hunter looking for elk was mauled by a bear on Sunday in the Tom Miner Basin north of Gardiner. The man had bite injuries, but was taken to a hospital and released.
Another hunter encountered a bear Saturday after calling for elk in the Cabin Creek area north of Hebgen Lake. He was treated at a hospital for minor injuries and released.
Wildlife officials say elk bugling or cow calling can bring in bears and bears may be drawn to areas where deer or elk have been.
Officials are encouraging hunters to carry bear spray and hunt in groups.
Jail inmate pleads guilty to Miles City, Missoula killings
MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — A 38-year-old man charged with killing a Miles City man and a Missoula woman in a meth-fueled crime spree last December has pleaded guilty to two counts of deliberate homicide.
The Missoulian reports Scott Austin Price pleaded guilty Tuesday to killing 56-year-old Lonette Keehner on Dec. 21 to steal her car. He also pleaded guilty to attempted deliberate homicide for stabbing another woman outside a Missoula grocery store.
Custer County Attorney Wyatt Glade tells The Billings Gazette that Price pleaded guilty Monday to deliberate homicide for the Dec. 14 stabbing death of his former landlord Ed Martin, and to kidnapping Martin’s wife Helen.
Price’s co-defendant Sarah McKnight pleaded guilty in May to several charges, including deliberate homicide, for the Missoula crimes. She has not been sentenced in that case.
Coroner IDs man killed in 2-vehicle crash west of Billings
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Yellowstone County coroner’s office has released the name of a man who was killed in a two-vehicle crash west of Billings.
The Billings Gazette reports 35-year-old Michael Paul Daem was killed when his pickup crossed the centerline of South Frontage Road and crashed into a truck headed in the opposite direction Monday morning. Daem, of Billings, died at the scene, and the 37-year-old man driving the other vehicle was not injured.
The Montana Highway Patrol is investigating the crash.
Woman sentenced for role in man’s campground beating death
DILLON, Mont. (AP) — A transient woman has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for assaulting a man at a southwestern Montana campground before her common-law husband beat him to death.
The Montana Standard reports 52-year-old Sandra Lee Ann Cantrell was sentenced Tuesday for her role in the August 2014 death of Mark Mullen.
District Judge Loren Tucker sentenced Cantrell to 20 years for assault with a weapon with 10 suspended, a consecutive 10 years for tampering with evidence for moving his body and a concurrent six months for stealing Mullen’s motorhome.
Cantrell admitted stabbing Mullen at the Bryant Creek Campground near Wise River. She testified that Mullen made sexual advances toward her.
Christopher Stiles pleaded guilty to deliberate homicide and is serving a 50-year prison sentence for Mullen’s death.