Montana National Guard sends troops, aircraft to fight fires
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Montana National Guard has sent four helicopters and 48 soldiers to help fight wildfires in response to a shortage of resources in the state.
Maj. Chris Lunde said Tuesday that two Chinook helicopters, along with support and security personnel, were sent to fires burning near Libby.
One Blackhawk helicopter and its support crews were sent to the Northern Rockies Coordination Center. Another was sent to the state Department of Natural Resources and Conservation’s Central Land office north of Helena.
Lunde says federal and state officials there will determine which fires they will help suppress.
Gov. Steve Bullock over the weekend issued an emergency declaration authorizing use of the National Guard. Most federal and state manpower and equipment are already responding dozens of fires across the state.
Tribal jury clears chairman of fraud charges
(Information in the following story is from: Havre Daily News, http://www.havredailynews.com)
HAVRE, Mont. (AP) — A Chippewa Cree tribal court jury has cleared tribal chairman Ken St. Marks of defrauding the tribe and ordered the tribe to pay him more than $200,000 for his company’s work on a pipeline project.
St. Marks was elected chairman of the tribal business committee in 2012. He has been thrown out of office and re-elected three times since. St. Marks has argued that he was impeached for cooperating with a federal fraud investigation that led to the conviction of nearly two dozen tribal members and business associates.
During last week’s trial, the tribe alleged St. Marks was unjustly enriched by receiving over $428,000 from the tribe for pipeline work and equipment leases. The jury rejected those claims said St. Marks was owned nearly $214,000 in damages for payment the tribe withheld on another pipeline contract.
Grizzly bears kill more Montana livestock than in all 2014
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Growing numbers of grizzly bears venturing further east from the Rocky Mountains are attacking more Montana cattle and sheep.
The state’s livestock loss program has reimbursed ranchers for 42 animals killed by grizzlies so far this year — eight more than in all of 2014.
George Edwards of the Livestock Loss Board said Tuesday that one report came from as far east as Floweree, about 100 miles northeast of Helena.
Montana’s Northern Rockies Wildlife Manager Graham Taylor says the number of animals killed this year amounts to a spike in an overall downward trend of grizzly attacks on livestock.
Taylor says measures taken over the last few years to electrify fences and fortify food storage have reduced the number of bear-livestock conflicts despite the growing number of grizzlies.
North Dakota judge grants hearing on federal water rule
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A federal judge in North Dakota has ordered a hearing on an effort to block a new rule that gives federal authorities jurisdiction over some state waters.
Thirteen states led by North Dakota are challenging the rule by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers. The states say the new rule illegally expands the jurisdiction of those agencies under the federal Clean Water Act.
The law goes into effect Aug. 28. The states want the judge to order an injunction to suspend the new rules.
Judge Ralph Erickson set a hearing on the request for Friday in Fargo.
The other states joining the lawsuit with North Dakota are Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, South Dakota and Wyoming.
Havre man gets 5 years in prison for shooting
(Information in the following story is from: KOJM-AM, http://www.kojm.com)
HAVRE, Mont. (AP) — A Havre man who pleaded no contest to shooting at a moving car has been sentenced to five years in prison.
KOJM-AM reports District Court Judge Dan Boucher sentenced Doug Hopf of Monday.
Hopf was initially charged with attempted deliberate homicide for shooting at a car being driven by the boyfriend of a woman he’d gone to a bar with on Nov. 29. The man had been driving around trying to find his girlfriend when his rear window was shattered.
Hopf pleaded no contest in June to assault with a weapon, criminal endangerment and tampering with witnesses or informants.
State investigates death of calf found butchered for meat
(Information in the following story is from: The Montana Standard, http://www.mtstandard.com)
BUTTE, Mont. (AP) — State livestock officials are investigating the death of a steer calf that was found butchered on U.S. Forest Service property about 15 miles from Butte.
The Montana Standard reports A Whitehall rancher owned the animal and said in a statement that the calf’s throat was slit either on Aug. 8 or the day after. He said someone removed its shoulders and hind quarters.
Montana Department of Livestock district investigator Ted Wall says the person or people responsible butchered the animal for the purpose of taking its meat.
The animal was found in an area accessible by at least two public roads.
State officials are offering a $3,000 reward and the rancher is offering another $1,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction.
Missoulian names new editor
(Information in the following story is from: Missoulian, http://www.missoulian.com)
MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — Matthew Bunk, the publisher and editor of The Western News in Libby, is the new editor of the Missoulian and Ravalli Republic newspapers.
Missoulian publisher Mark Heintzelman announced Bunk’s hiring on Monday. Bunk succeeds Sherry Devlin, who has served as editor of the Missoulian since 2004. She will remain at the newspaper as associate editor.
Bunk has been a business reporter, worked at several newspapers and founded a media company in Bismarck, North Dakota, called the Great Plains Examiner. The examiner published a 10,000-circulation monthly magazine with a daily website. He was also managing editor and assistant metro editor at newspapers in Arizona.
At the Missoulian, Bunk will lead a newsroom of 25 reporters, photographers and editors covering news and sports across western Montana. He also serves as president of the Montana Newspaper Association.