Missoula man faces homicide charge in girlfriend’s death
MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — A 30-year-old Missoula man is charged with killing his girlfriend, who apparently feared she would someday be found dead in the woods southeast of the city.
Missoula County prosecutors filed a deliberate homicide charge against Emmanuel Gomez for the death of Charlie Ann Wyrick. He made an initial appearance in Justice Court Monday afternoon and was ordered held on $1 million bail. He did not enter a plea.
Prosecutors say a co-worker reported Wyrick missing on Dec. 24, days after Wyrick told the co-worker that Gomez had threatened to kill her. Court records say Wyrick told a friend that if she ever went missing to look in the Pattee Canyon area, where Gomez had previously beaten her. Officers found her body there Sunday.
Gomez has been jailed since his Dec. 24 arrest on suspicion of partner or family member assault.
Montana coal company seeks to avoid shutdown
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Operators of a central Montana coal mine are seeking to avoid a potential shutdown next year after a state oversight board said regulators improperly approved the mine’s expansion.
Representatives of Signal Peak Energy have been negotiating with state officials and the Montana Environmental Information Center on a deal to keep the company’s 320-worker Bull Mountain Mine operating.
The state Board of Environmental Review concluded in October that a 2013 analysis of the mine’s long-term effects on groundwater was flawed. Board attorney Ben Reed says an expansion permit for the mine could be vacated if a deal is not reached by early January.
Signal Peak Vice President Joseph Farinelli says a shutdown is unlikely but possible. Any agreement on the 7,100-acre expansion of the mine south of Roundup needs approval from the review board.
Montana officials seek to revoke wildlife company’s permit
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A Montana wildlife casting agency where an employee was fatally mauled three years ago is facing the loss of its permit because of violations that include instructing a member of the public to approach a tiger during a photo shoot in Detroit.
Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokeswoman Andrea Jones said Monday the state is moving to shut down Animals of Montana, which also rents bears, wolves and other wildlife for photography shoots and motion pictures.
Jones says the company took animals away from its property without permission. Officials also allege some of the animals’ cages were unlocked and unclean, and some lacked water.
The company’s attorney, Chuck Watson, says FWP officials told him the agency would not take action against Animals of Montana’s license over “these kinds of technical infractions.”
Federal agency proposes allowing bison to graze on 13K acres
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A federal agency is proposing to grant the American Prairie Reserve a permit for 385 bison to graze year-round on 13,000 acres of public land in Phillips County.
Bureau of Land Management officials said Monday the Flat Creek Allotment has historically been used for cattle grazing.
The American Prairie Reserve last year bought land adjacent to the allotment and applied to switch its grazing permit from cattle to bison and from seasonal to year-round.
The proposed decision calls for the removal of interior fences inside the allotment and monitoring to ensure greater sage grouse habitat is not damaged.
BLM spokesman Jonathan Moor says the proposed decision will become final if there are no protests.
The American Prairie Reserve attempting to piece together 3.5 million-acre wildlife reserve of public and private lands.
Helena asks state to continue deer culling program
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Helena authorities are calling on the state to continue running a deer culling program that they say has reduced the number of incidents related to the city’s urban deer population.
The Independent Record reports Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials have to approve the program, which involves baiting and trapping deer in netted enclosures. Officers then kill the animals and the meat goes to Helena Food Share.
After the program started in 2008, deer-related calls to police dropped to 258 in 2009 and then to 176 in 2010. Calls reached a five-year low in 2014 with 154, and then increased to 224 through Dec. 15 this year.
Opponents of the program say it is a waste of police resources. Others say it’s necessary to control the deer population.
Former Norwegian ski great Stein Eriksen dies at 88
Stein Eriksen, the Norwegian great who helped usher in modern skiing with his graceful style, died Sunday at his home in Park City, Utah. He was 88.
His death was confirmed by Deer Valley Resort, where Eriksen served as director of skiing for more than 35 years.
Eriksen had the perfect hair, the perfect form and typically the perfect line down the course. He rose to prominence at the 1952 Olympics in his hometown of Oslo when he captured gold in the giant slalom and silver in the slalom. Two years later, he won three gold medals at the world championships in Are, Sweden.
The charismatic Eriksen became the face of the sport and portrayed it in a new, exciting way.