Montana House race contrast: Navy SEAL vs Indian educator
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A decorated combat veteran warning about the threat of ISIS in America is being challenged for his U.S. House seat by a longtime educator who would become the first American Indian woman in Congress.
Republican Ryan Zinke and Democrat Denise Juneau present a stark contrast as they vie for Montana’s lone House seat.
The incumbent Zinke is a 23-year Navy SEAL veteran seeking a second term.
He promotes his national security credentials, wants to ban Syrian refugees and warns innocent children could be used as terrorists.
Juneau grew up on Montana’s Blackfeet Indian Reservation and spent nearly eight years leading Montana’s public schools.
She advocates for better education and public lands protection.
Political observers say Zinke is leading.
But Democratic ad buys of $500,000 suggest the party considers him vulnerable.
Montana official calls election rigging a conspiracy theory
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana’s secretary of state says election rigging is a conspiracy theory comparable to Elvis Presley faking his death or the U.S. government covering up a UFO crash in Roswell, New Mexico.
Secretary of State Linda McCulloch on Wednesday sought to reassure voters that the state’s elections won’t be compromised after reports of absentee ballots stolen from mailboxes in Billings and people offering to deliver voters’ ballots.
At times, McCulloch’s comments seemed more directed as a response to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s statements that the elections could be rigged.
McCulloch says chatter about election rigging is irresponsible and can undermine public confidence in the system.
University of Montana political scientist Rob Saldin says there is a big difference between the election rigging Trump is suggesting and the few problems reported with Montana’s absentee ballots.
Helena man admits guilt in Glacier National Park standoff
KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — A Helena man has pleaded guilty to charges related to an armed standoff with National Park Service rangers that forced the evacuation of a campground in Glacier National Park.
The Flathead Beacon reports that 28-year-old Jesiah Richards pleaded guilty Wednesday to discharging a weapon and endangering other people in connection with the July incident.
Court documents say Richard fired a .44-caliber revolver through the roof of his tent on July 9 at the Sprague Creek Campground, which had been filled with people.
According to the charges, Richard then “took up a position” along the edge of the campground and didn’t surrender until he was confronted by four rangers.
Carrying a firearm in Glacier National Park is legal, but firing a weapon is against the law.
Man convicted in Blackfeet case gets 1 year for escape
GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — A judge has sentenced a man to an additional year in prison after the man escaped six months after being convicted for his role in defrauding a tribal youth program on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.
Prosecutors say Gary Conti walked away from a minimum security prison in Colorado on Oct. 20, 2015. He made his way to Montana and crashed a borrowed vehicle after leading police on a high-speed chase to avoid re-capture.
U.S. District Judge Brian Morris sentenced Conti to serve an additional 12 months for escape after his original five-year sentence is up. Morris also ordered Conti to pay $51,880 in restitution.
Conti was convicted of participating in a scheme to defraud the Blackfeet tribe’s Po’Ka Project for troubled youth. He was a consultant for the program.
Man pleads not guilty to killing girlfriend’s infant son
BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — A southwestern Montana man has pleaded not guilty to killing his girlfriend’s infant son at a Bozeman motel last November.
The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports (bit.ly/2eH7nsD ) 21-year-old Branden Moss of Clarkston entered his plea Wednesday to deliberate homicide.
District Judge Holly Brown continued Moss’s bail at the $250,000 listed in his arrest warrant.
Court records say police responded to a room at an extended stay motel on Nov. 3, 2015 and found a 5-month-old boy lying on the floor, unconscious and not breathing.
Moss told officers that the baby had started crying and he picked him up and tried burping him. He said the boy stiffened up and lost consciousness.
Prosecutors say an autopsy determined the baby died of blunt force trauma to the head and neck.
Officials ID woman who died after driving truck into river
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Yellowstone County officials have released the name of a woman who died after driving a pickup truck into the Yellowstone River in an apparent effort to elude police.
Deputy Coroner Cliff Mahoney said 34-year-old Angela Rose Garcia of Billings drowned Monday night.
Officers pursued Garcia for about 15 minutes after receiving a report that a trailer had been stolen in Laurel.
The pickup and trailer went into the river near Riverside Park. Authorities say the driver got out and began swimming downstream. After about 400 yards she went under and officers never saw her come up.
Garcia was not breathing when authorities pulled her out of the water about 25 minutes after the pickup entered the water. She was pronounced dead at the hospital.