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Helena News and Sports

Another bomb threat at CVC

Another bomb threat occurred at CVS Pharmacy, this one  on Custer and Montana,  on Saturday. The store was evacuated and a bomb sniffing dog brought to the scene but no explosives were detected according to Lt. Tim Coleman of the Helena Police Department. This is the second bomb threat at this particular CVS Pharmacy location this month, the second Helena location to be threatened,  and one of many so far this year nationwide which have been aimed at the pharmacy chain. A similar bomb threat was reported by the CVS Pharmacy in Superior Wisconsin this past Wednesday afternoon. No other information is available at the present time and the investigation is continuing.

Hit and run near Avon

The investigation is continuing into Thursday's hit-and-run rollover crash near Avon.
Witnesses have told authorities that a second vehicle that left the scene following the crash is a charcoal-grey Dodge pickup truck, and say that is was very loud, possibly a diesel. The pickup may have damage to the passenger side.
A woman and her one-year-old baby were in the Jeep Cherokee that rolled over suffered only minor scrapes and bruises; however, their vehicle was totaled.
The crash was reported around 10:30 a.m. on Thursday.
According to the Montana Highway Patrol, the crash happened when the woman tried to pass another vehicle.
The Dodge pickup then reportedly attempted to pass her as she was passing the other vehicle.
The two vehicles made contact and her Jeep Cherokee rolled in  the middle of the road,
MHP says both mother and baby were properly restrained.

Deputies stop suicide

Lewis & Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton says teamwork between citizens and law enforcement prevented a suidice over the weekend.  

A woman from Washington is listed in good condition at St. Peter's Hospital in Helena after being found unconscious in a vehicle on Sunday afternoon.
Dutton says the 25-year-old woman was supposed to be at a family member's house but never showed up.

Deputies interviews family member and later found the woman in a forested area in the northeast Helena valley.
They say  she had consumed large quantities of alcohol and sleeping pills.

Dutton estimates that Lewis & Clark County law enforcement responds to about seven suicide attempts a week.


WorldMontana to move headquarters to Helena

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A nonprofit organization that promotes international exchanges and foreign leaders' visits to Montana is moving its headquarters from Bozeman to Helena.

 WorldMontana announced recently it will relocate from Montana State University to Carroll College.

Carroll President Tom Evans says most foreign delegations visiting Montana travel to Helena to meet with government officials, so it makes sense for WorldMontana to be based in the capital city.

The headquarters will be housed in Carroll's new Artaza Center for Excellence in Global Education.

WorldMontana was founded in 1987. Its website says it participates in the U.S. State Department's International Visitor Leadership Program and hosts about 150 international leaders per year.

Arrest made after shots fired

A Helena man was  arrested Friday morning after reports of shots fired. At about 1:30 AM, officers were dispatched to the area of the 6th Ave parking garage after a report of a male firing a handgun at another male in the parking garage near the back of the Rialto Bar.

Officers from the Helena Police, Lewis and Clark Sheriffs Deputies, and the Montana Highway Patrol responded to the scene, and patrons of the Rialto Bar told them 30 year old Michael Dwayne Rhodes was carrying a handgun in the waistband of his shorts.

One of the patrons said that  Rhodes removed  the handgun from his shorts while they were in the 6th Ave parking garage, and fired the handgun into the one of the walls at the parking garage.

After the shots were fired, Rhodes left the area but was apprehended by Law Enforcement in the area of Broadway and Cruse a short time later.  He did not have a firearm on his person when he was arrested, but the HPD K9 dog "Dino,"was to locate the firear.

Rhodes is charged with  Criminal Endangerment (Felony)  Assault with a weapon (Felony) Carrying a Concealed Weapon in a Prohibited Place 4.  Carrying a Concealed Weapon 5.  Obstructing a Peace Officer

There were no injuries reported.

A Lincoln man has pleaded not guilty to felony intimidation and resisting arrest in Lewis & Clark County District Court.

43-year-old Robert Paris is accused of threatening a Lewis & Clark County Sheriff's Deputy and his family.

Paris was arrested on July 27 at Lambkin's Bar in Lincoln

As he was being driven to the detention center in Helena, the arresting deputy says Paris told him , "I know you live in Lincoln."

Paris is also accused of threatening the deputies family with physical harm when released.
His trial date has been set for December 2.

Paris has past convictions for criminal endangerment, stalking, and eluding law enforcement.

If convicted, he faces 10 years in prison and fines up to $50,000.

Meth arrest at V-A Hospital

A Helena man was arrested Wednesday and charged with possession of crystal methamphetamine at the V-A Hospital.

Police say they found 45-year-old Mark Joseph Sodja with the meth, and he admitted to a Lewis and Clark County deputy that he had smoked meth about two hours before he was arrested,

The deputy says Sodja was in possession of a bag of marijuana, a metal tin containing a "white rock-life substance" and a makeshift pipe.

He was arrested and charged with one count of felony possession of dangerous drugs, one count of misdemeanor possession of dangerous drugs and one count of misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

Rape case plea

The second of two suspects accused of having sex with an underage female has pleaded not guilty in Lewis & Clark County District Court.

Prosecutors say Jordan  Crooked Foot and Thorne Blackcrow, had sex with a 15-year-old female who had run away from home.

The victim told investigators that she believed if she tried to run away from the two suspects, they would "beat the crap out of her."

Crooked Foot told investigators that he did have sex with the female but that he believed she was 17 years old at the time.

Trial has been scheduled for November 17.

If convicted, he faces a maximum of life in prison and fines up to $50,000.

Blackcrow has already plead not guilty.

Stolen checks arrest

 A Helena man has been arrested  and charged with writing several bad checks to businesses in Helena and East Helena.

Court records say East Helena Police were investigating the use of a stolen check at the Town Pump and the attached casino , and they and Lewis and Clark County deputies arrested 33 year old  Bryan Charles Blankenship.

Deputies found two checkbooks in his backpack.  The victim had reported that his phone was stolen from his truck on Aug. 26, but was unaware that his checkbooks, a GPS unit and items of mail were also taken.

Blankenship was charged with one count of felony forgery, one count of felony issuing bad checks and one count of misdemeanor theft.

Chessman reservoir injunction denied

A federal judge has denied the request of two conservation groups to stop the Red Mountain Flume/Chessman Reservoir timber project.

Judge Dana Christensen in Missoula issued the ruling on Wednesday denying the Native Ecosystems Council and Montana Ecosystem Defense Council's preliminary injunction. The councils sued the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture over the decision to log 300 acres and build fuel breaks on 158 acres near Chessman Reservoir and the Red Mountain Flume south of Helena.

The lawsuit claims that the project will impact wildlife, including endangered species, that the chance of wildfire in a specific location is low and that the agencies failed to analyze the cumulative impacts from other logging in the area.

In the denial, Christensen said the councils are unlikely to succeed on the merits of their case.

"This is a case where the public interest factor is front and center," Christensen wrote. He continued "Plaintiffs fail to demonstrate that any such species will be measurably harmed by project activities. On the other hand, the threat of wildfire, a constant element of Montana life, is real."

Federal, state and Helena city officials have said the project is necessary to protect the water supply from Ten Mile Creek, which services 30,000 residents of Helena.

Police report cars rifled

Helena police are investigating a number of complaints about unauthorized people entering cars. Three complaints all reported that some time Wednesday morning, someone had entered their vehicle. In one case, some loose change was taken. Nothing was missing in the other two cars, but the contents had been disturbed.

Lt Tory Keltner of the Helena Police says there was a common denominators in the cases:

The cars were all unlocked.

The reports were from 513 State Street, 401 S Davis and 21 S Alta.

Historical Society expansion project receives grant

 The Montana Historical Society has received a $600 thousand dollar grant for the expansion of the Society and Museum. The Greater Montana Foundation  was  founded by legendary Montana broadcaster Ed Craney, and it is giving the money for the Montana Heritage Center, the expansion planned near the State Capital.
Montana Historical Society Director Bruce Whittenberg says the donation will help put more of the collections of the Society out in the open. "Right now the museum is able to exhibit about 8% of what's in the collection. 
Whittenberg says that the State Legislature  will need to approve funding. Governor Steve Bullock already supports the expansion project.

County allows open burning

After consulting with the fire Cordinator, fire behavior analyst and other stakeholders. Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton says he is opening up the debris burning for Lewis and Clark County. The Sheriff adds " We do caution you to use good judgment as a wild fire can still start. Please check the weather, and have fire fighting material close at hand. If your fire escapes, you are responsible for the suppression cost."

Dutton continues,  "We have received enough moisture to put the fire danger at a lower level, making it safe to burn. If fire dangers rises, we will again reevaluate the fire danger.

Clancy man denies charges in fatal crash

     BUTTE, Mont. (AP) - A 22-year-old Clancy man has pleaded not guilty to felony vehicular homicide for a fatal crash on Interstate 15 near Montana City.
     Cal Erickson Mullen appeared in District Court in Boulder Wednesday, where he also denied a felony and two misdemeanor counts of negligent vehicular assault.
     Prosecutors allege Mullen had a blood-alcohol level of 0.265 early on June 14 when he crashed his pickup truck. Court records say he left the truck on the highway and didn't warn oncoming vehicles or report the accident.
     A vehicle driven by 42-year-old Jason West struck the wrecked pickup. The collision killed 38-year-old Wyman Hewitt and caused severe injuries to 36-year-old Anne Boster, both passengers in West's vehicle.
     West also faces three counts of criminal endangerment after investigators determined he could have avoided the crash.

 Missing Lame Deer girl found safe

     HELENA, Mont. (AP) - A 14-year-old Lame Deer girl who was the subject of an Amber Alert on Wednesday, has been recovered and is safe.
     Northern Cheyenne law enforcement asked the state Department of Justice to cancel the alert at 3 a.m. Thursday.
     Officials were searching for Mariah Eileen Akeen, believing she had been kidnapped.
     State officials said Akeen was in the passenger seat of a pickup truck without license plates that was stopped at 2 a.m. Wednesday. Officers were arresting the driver when another passenger, 19-year-old Zachary Whiteman, jumped into the driver's seat and left with Akeen still inside.
     Tribal law enforcement didn't release any information about where Akeen was found.


Montana News and Sports

     Montana officials study federal land takeover idea
     (Information in the following story is from: The Billings Gazette,
     BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - Montana officials say having the state take over management of federal lands is a complicated proposition but they're looking into it.
     Gov. Steve Bullock says he doesn't advocate Montana taking over the roughly 25 million acres of federal land within the state's boundaries. However, the Montana Republican Party has endorsed just such a move and the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation is studying it.
     Department spokesman John Grassy says the more the agency looks at the idea, the more complicated it gets.
     The Billings Gazette reports state takeover of U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands could be expensive, incurring an annual deficit of $367 million.
     State takeover of federal lands also has been discussed in Wyoming, Idaho and Utah.
     MontanaPBS scrubs US House debate coverage
     (Information in the following story is from: Bozeman Daily Chronicle,
     BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) - MontanaPBS has canceled its broadcast coverage plans for an upcoming debate in Montana's U.S. House race now that one of the two candidates isn't planning to attend.
     Republican candidate Ryan Zinke cites a scheduling conflict in pulling out of the Sept. 29 event in Billings. That leaves Democrat John Lewis as the only participant.
     The Bozeman Chronicle reports a debate invitation sent to the candidates by media organizations says the event will be held even if one of the candidates doesn't participate.
     Aaron Pruitt with MontanaPBS says a debate with only one candidate isn't a debate.
     Forest Service to move regional office in Missoula
     (Information in the following story is from: Missoulian,
     MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) - The U.S. Forest Service plans to move its Region One headquarters out of a building in downtown Missoula in favor of a location at Fort Missoula on the outskirts of town.
     The move saves the Forest Service an estimated $1.9 million in annual lease payments.
     Forest Service officials tell the Missoulian they plan to put the money now budgeted for the building lease toward improving their existing offices at Fort Missoula.
     The move will take place next spring or summer. Missoula business officials say the decision is disappointing and they will notice the absence of 230 Forest Service employees in downtown Missoula.
     Montana man killed by train at crossing identified
     (Information in the following story is from: The Billings Gazette,
     BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - Treasure County authorities have identified a man killed by a train near Hysham as 78-year-old Earl Corrall, of Huntley.
     Montana Highway Patrol Trooper David Inman tells the Billings Gazette alcohol apparently wasn't a factor and the death apparently was an accident rather than suicide.
     Corrall was driving a GMC pickup on Old Highway 10E near Hysham just after 8 a.m. Friday. Officials say Corrall froze when he saw the train coming and stopped his pickup on the tracks.
     The train was unable to stop in time before hitting the pickup.
     Deadly strip club shooting in Missoula
     (Information in the following story is from: Missoulian,
     MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) - Police in Missoula say they're investigating a fatal shooting outside a strip club.
     Police were called to the Fox Club Cabaret around 1:15 a.m. Monday and say they arrived to find a 23-year-old man with a gunshot wound to the chest.
     The man later died at a hospital. They say the shooter was a 27-year-old male who voluntarily surrendered himself and the gun.
     Police spokesman Sgt. Travis Welsh says the confrontation apparently began in the strip club parking lot and escalated when the younger man began assaulting the older one through the window of his vehicle.
     The Missoulian reports the older man shot the assailant once with a handgun.
     Welsh says the shooter is cooperating and no arrest have been made.
     Reed Point hosts annual Great Montana Sheep Drive
     (Information in the following story is from: The Billings Gazette,
     REED POINT, Mont. (AP) - Thousands of sheep ran through the streets of tiny Reed Point during the annual Great Montana Sheep Drive.
     The festival Sunday also featured a hay-bale race in which teams of three people competed to roll 1,200-pound hay bales up and down the street.
     The Billings Gazette reports the festival culminates in a thunderous stampede of running and leaping sheep down the main drag in Reed Point, a town of about 200 people midway between Billings and Bozeman.
     The sheep drive has been held since 1989 and was started in response to the Great Montana Cattle Drive.
     Revenues from an auction, raffles and donations help fund community projects in Reed Point.


Jay Scott wins two state awards

WHITEFISH (Montana Broadcasters Association) -- For the ninth year in a row, KBLL Radio's Jay Scott has won several awards from the Montana Broadcasters Association.
Jay finished second for three of the "EB's," the E.B Craney awards: one as Sportscaster of the Year, one for Sports Enterprise of the Year. 
The Enterprise award recognizes contributions both in radio play-by-play and other areas.
Jay has been either first or second for the Newscaster of the Year award for the past 8 years as well, but could not enter this year's contest because of a schedule conflict.
The “EB Awards” are named in memory of Montana broadcast pioneer Ed Craney. The “EB's” recognize excellence in local news, production, promotion and public service. The awards will be presented during the Montana Broadcasters Association convention on Saturday, June 21st in Whitefish.