Wolf management reaching new levels of success in region
MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — Research in Montana finds that aggressively dealing with wolves that kill livestock works better than a gradual approach.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologist Liz Bradley says her research found that since killing livestock is a learned behavior for wolves it’s more effective for wildlife managers to remove more of the wolves earlier if that’s the best option available.
Bradley tells the Missoulian that in the long run the strategy of removing a pack of wolves earlier actually ends up killing fewer wolves.
She says that’s because removing just a few wolves from a pack at a time over five or six years adds up.
Cowboy poets gather in Nevada with eye on Oregon conflict
RENO, Nev. (AP) — As troubadours, fiddlers and scribes head to northeast Nevada for a national gathering to celebrate cowboy poetry and culture, the topic of the sometimes tenuous relationship between the Old West and the realities of the New West will be more than campfire conversation.
The 32nd National Cowboy Poetry Gathering opens Monday in Elko, a rural community halfway between Reno and Salt Lake City that is similar in its turbulent history to the place about 200 miles away in Oregon where a national wildlife refuge has been seized by armed men protesting federal ownership of land.
The weeklong festival features a slate of speeches and discussion panels about many of the wide-open spaces where conservation is a good word, but environmentalism sometimes is not; where patriotism is revered, but the U.S. government is often despised.
Three Forks School District faces $50k fine from IRS
THREE FORKS, Mont. (AP) — The Three Forks School District is facing potential fines of nearly $50,000 following a federal audit.
District lawyer Megan Morris informed school trustees at the regular board meeting this past week about the IRS audit for the year 2013.
Morris says the audit found tax related issues with independent contractors, health insurance payouts, and how some people received their paychecks.
Three Forks School District Clerk Randi Strickland tells the Bozeman Daily Chronicle that the audit was random.
Strickland says the mistakes occurred before she and Superintendent Robert DoBell took charge of the district’s finances.
Ex school clerk sentenced for filing false tax return
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A federal judge has sentenced a former Belfry school clerk who admitted filing a false tax return as part of a scheme to steal school money for personal use.
During a hearing on Friday in Billings, U.S. District Judge Susan Watters sentenced 58-year-old Patricia Ann Webb to six months of home confinement and five years of probation.
The Billings Gazette reports that Webb also must pay about $36,000 restitution.
Webb apologized to the Belfry school district in a brief statement.
Webb worked as a clerk from July 2008 until August 2012, when she was placed on leave. She resigned in October 2012. She faced a maximum of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Coal production down in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin
GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) — Coal production in northeast Wyoming declined by 4.8 percent in 2015.
The 12 active mines in the Powder River Basin dug out 363.3 million tons of coal last year, 18.5 million tons less than the 381.8 million tons mined in 2014.
The Gillette News Record reports that since the basin’s high production mark of 446.5 million tons produced in 2008, production is off by 19 percent. That’s a drop of nearly one-fifth in eight years.
The Powder River Basin is the nation’s largest coal-producing region. It produces some of the world’s cleanest-burning coal for significantly less than it costs to mine elsewhere.
The coal industry is being hurt by increased federal regulation and restrictions as well as low prices for competing natural gas.