Governor announces Ebola virus protocols
LISA BAUMANN, Associated Press
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana Gov. Steve Bullock says health officials will monitor people returning to the state from areas of West Africa affected by the Ebola virus and those who may have been in contact with an Ebola patient.
The procedures announced Friday include a twice-a-day review of symptoms. People will have to disclose their plans for work, travel or visiting public places to determine whether those activities will be allowed.
Bullock spokesman Mike Wessler says there will be no automatic quarantines.
People infected with Ebola are not contagious until they have symptoms. The virus is not spread through casual contact.
Governors in New Jersey and New York have been criticized for ordering mandatory quarantines for people arriving from West African countries where the outbreak has sickened more than 13,000 people and killed nearly 5,000.
Commissioner dismisses GOP complaint over mailers
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The commissioner of political practices says a Supreme Court campaign mailer sent by a group supporting incumbent Justice Mike Wheat does not have the same problems as one sent by Stanford University and Dartmouth College researchers.
Commissioner Jonathan Motl on Friday dismissed a complaint by Montana Republican Party Executive Director Bowen Greenwood against the group that sent the mailer, Montanans for Liberty and Justice.
Greenwood had compared the group's mailer to the controversial Stanford and Dartmouth one that appeared to be an official document that used Montana's seal. Secretary of State Linda McCulloch called that mailer a deceitful attempt to influence the Supreme Court elections.
Motl says the liberty and justice group's mailer is different because it did not use the state seal and did not inject partisanship into the non-partisan race.
Police investigating storage unit theft
Helena police are asking for the public's help as they investigate a series of break-ins at AAA Storage on West Custer Avenue that occurred at approximately 9:00p.m. last Tuesday night
Two vehicles and multiple suspects entered the locked yard using a pass code. Once inside the yard, they entered various storage units, taking numerous items.
They also took a silver 2014 Canam Max 650XT ATV with MT license BDZ 193. The ATV was driven from the yard.
The suspect vehicles are described as a dark colored, possibly black Nissan pick up truck, and a dark colored, possibly dark green Jeep Cherokee with chrome grill covers over the rear tail lights.
If anyone has information on this case, they are asked to please call the Helena Police Department at 406-442-3233 or Helena Crime Stoppers at 406-443-2000.
We have posted pictures on our Facebook page :Newstalk 1240 KBLL
Driver eludes police after chase
Some stolen property was recovered, but a man eluded police after a chase on North Montana avenue this (Thursday) morning.
Helena police say that at about one this morning, an officer spotted a vehicle that matched the description of the one involved in a theft earlier in the day at Murdoch's.
When the officer attempted to follow the vehicle, it took off at a high rate of speed northbound on North Montana Ave. The vehicle crashed through a fence at the Anderson, Stevenson, Wilke Funeral Home.
The driver then abandoned the vehicle just north of the irrigation canal and fled. A female passenger in the vehicle was detained.
The male suspect was not immediately located. A welder that was stolen from Murdoch's was located in the vehicle. A suspect has been identified and a for his arrest is being sought.
Jail committee narrows sites, estimates price
The committee that is trying to come up with a plan for a new detention center for Lewis and Clark County says the new facility should house about 300 inmates, and has narrowed from 10 to 3 the recommended sites. .
The projected cost for a 75,000-square-foot facility is $39,859,513, plus costs to buy the land at whichever site is chosen.
The preliminary price tag for a new facility includes $2,040,000 to renovate the existing detention center building, and $350,000 for a 6,000-square-foot outbuilding that could provide heated space for storage and working on vehicles.
The county wants the site to be within 1.5 miles of Interstate 15 and two miles from Helena. Among the sites still under consideration are the site of the current jail, building up to 80 feet, a site near the city's wastewater treatment plant, east of I-15 and between the South Helena and 11th Avenue interchanges, and Forest Service land south of Helena Regional Airport near the Cedar Avenue interstate interchange.
The county commission anticipates seeking voter approval in November 2015 to fund construction.
Walborn to Deputy Director at Revenue
A veteran administrator with the Montana Department of Revenue, will become that agency's new deputy director on Nov. 8.
Gene Walborn will succeed the current deputy director, Alan Peura, who is retiring Nov. 7 after 11 years in state government, including the past seven as deputy director.
Director Mike Kadas says that among his duties as deputy, Walborn will coordinate the department's legislative work during the 2015 session.
Walborn has worked for the Revenue Department for 24 years, beginning as a centrally assessed property appraiser in 1990. He graduated from the University of Montana with a degree in finance.
Former psych aide charged with abuse of MDC client
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A former psychiatric aide at the Montana Developmental Center in Boulder is charged with pushing a client into a doorway, causing a head injury that required five staples.
The Independent Record reports (http://bit.ly/1p6fWkb) the charge of abusing a disabled person was filed against Sheldon Moffett was filed in District Court in Boulder.
Charging documents allege Moffett was trying to get some of the clients to go to bed on Sept. 29 and the clients refused and were calling him a bully.
Moffett at one point told the clients: "At least I get to go home to my wife," which apparently prompted the victim to say: "I'm going to kill your wife."
Witnesses say Moffett then pushed the man into the doorway.
State health department officials say Moffett no longer works at MDC
Ballot errors discovered, corrected
Some Helena area voters have been sent corrected absentee ballots, after errors were discovered in how some candidates for the Montana House and Senate were listed.
When districts for House and Senate seats were redrawn statewide in 2013, some precinct boundaries in the county also changed.
County officials say while some errors were anticipated from shifting voters from one precinct to another, some 69 voters were sent incorrect ballots. Of those, 41 have already returned their ballots.
Those 41 were sent new, abbreviated ballots with the correct House and Senate districts.
The 28 who have not sent in their ballots were all contacted by county officials, and will be sent an entirely new ballot. Those voters are asked to return just the new, correct ballot, and discard the old, incorrect one.
Mail delivery slower
A new Federal report confirms what many Helena residents already know: mail delivery across the state has slowed because of Post Office cutbacks.
The Government Accountability Office says that since the U.S. Postal Service closed five Montana mailprocessing facilities, and mail now takes a day longer then before the cuts.
USPS closed processing centers in Butte, Havre, Helena, Kalispell, Miles City and Wolf Point.
The closings were not the only problem, according to the GAO. Last winter, the Postal Service experienced more than 17,880 flight cancellations due to weather, and Billings experienced more than twice the average snowfall.
Another part of the problem for the Postal Service is falling revenue:
Mail volume has diminished 55 billion pieces from its 2006 peak of 213 billion, and much of that reduction has been in first class mail, with fewer letters being written because of e-mail, and fewer bills and payments because of on-line payment centers.
Apology letter to be issued over election mailers
HELENA, Mont. (AP) - The presidents of Stanford University and Dartmouth College are sending 100,000 letters to Montana residents apologizing for and disavowing election mailers sent by political science researchers.
The mailers sent last week rate whether the four nonpartisan Supreme Court candidates in this year's elections are liberal or conservative. Their use of the state seal makes them appear to be official state documents.
The letter by Dartmouth president Philip Hanlon and Stanford president John Hennessy dated Tuesday urges Montana voters to ignore the mailers. They say no research study should risk disrupting an election.
Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl says the new letter is the best remedy possible the before next Tuesday's election.
Stanford University spokesman Lisa Lapin says the letters are expected to be mailed by Wednesday.
Assault charges filed after camping trip
A Helena woman says her fiancé threatened her, epeatedly, dragged her around by her hair, shoved her to the ground, kicked hot coals and ashes onto her, flicked lit cigarettes onto her and struck her several times with an open hand during a recent camping trip.
Court records say 29-year-old Skylar Jacob Mitchell Thompson told Helena police that he had assaulted the woman but said he was too drunk to remember where the assault took place.
The woman told police that she and Thompson got into an argument after they had arrived at a camp site, and in addition to the assault, he punched and broke the windshield of her SUV.
Police filed charges of felony partner or family member assault (third offense), misdemeanor criminal mischief and misdemeanor unlawful restraint.
Crash victim identified
The woman who died as a result of an Oct. 21 crash at the intersection of Euclid and Benton avenues in Helena has been identified as 64-year-old Ellen Marie Egan Bell of Helena.
Bell was an information technology and software trainer for Lewis and Clark County and the City of Helena
Helena Police Department Assistant Chief Steve Hagen says Bell was attempting to make a left turn from Euclid onto northbound Benton Avenue around 7:39 a.m. Oct. 21 when her vehicle was struck by a westbound 2013 Chevy driven by a 49-year-old Clancy man,
The woman was transported to St. Peter's Hospital where she died the next day, and Lewis and Clark County Coroner Mickey Nelson says the cause of death was directly related to the accident.
Speed and alcohol do not appear to be factors in the accident. No charges have been filed.
Standoff ends with boy's arrest
A 15-year-old boy, who police say threatened his father with a shotgun, was taken into custody unharmed after a 4 1/2 hour standoff today (Sunday) .
Helena assistant police chief Steve Hagan says officers were called to the 2500 block of South Ridge Drive at 4:37 a.m. where they were told the teen had pointed a shotgun at his father. The father and the boy's brother were at home but left the house before police arrived.
The SWAT team was called in, and a crisis negotiation phone was placed in the residence by an armored vehicle but the boy did not respond.
At 8:56 a.m., 4 1/2 hours into the standoff, SWAT officers entered the home and took the boy into custody. According to Hagan, the boy offered no resistance. He was taken to the juvenile detention facility in Great Falls and charged with felony assault with a weapon, a felony
Board of Health worried about coal trains
Some local health officials are worried about coal train traffic in the area, and they are seeking information, and wanting their voices to be heard
Lewis and Clark City-County Board of Health has sent letters to boththe Surface Transportation Board and to Montana Rail Link. The very real possibility of increased train traffic through Helena has raised concernts about coal dust, increased emissions from locomotives, increased emissions from vehicles waiting for trains at crossings, traffic delays, delays for emergency service providers such as police, fire, and ambulences. blocked by passing trains, and air quality concerns during periods of inversion during the winter.
The City of Helena is already on record with concerns about the trains. In June of 2012,
The City wrote the Portland, Oregon, office of the Army Corps of Engineers, saying "the development of one or more proposed coal-export terminal projects in Washington or Oregon may result in a substantial increase in train traffic through our community. We respectfully request that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers take the potential effects of this increased traffic through Helena into account when conducting an environmental review of these proposals." There has not yet been a response from the Army.
The demand for coal exports has created concern in many of the communities along the MRL tracks as the number of trains could increase if ports are built to handle the demand.
Earlier research has suggested that possible production of the proposed Otter Creek Coal Mine could raise the the average daily number of coal trains from five to at least seven and perhaps as many as 15.
Colleague questions candidate's skills for court
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A former co-worker of Montana Supreme Court candidate Lawrence VanDyke is questioning the ex-solicitor general's fitness for the post he is seeking.
Department of Justice Civil Division Bureau Chief Mike Black says VanDyke's performance during his 1 ½ years as solicitor general makes him believe the candidate lacks the maturity and work ethic needed to hold a seat on the state's highest court.
VanDyke dismisses the allegations as a personal vendetta by Black. VanDyke says he left the department in May because of an ongoing conflict with Black.
Their dispute came to a head in January over the workload in a case involving gay couples seeking the same benefits as married couples.
Department of Justice spokesman John Barnes declined to assess VanDyke's performance as solicitor general, saying it would be inappropriate.
McCulloch on Great Seal in campaign flyer
A mailer to voters from a college research project has attracted the attention of Secretary of State Linda McCulloch, for an unauthorized use of the "Great Seal of the State of Montana."
Researchers at Stanford University and Dartmouth College sent out the flyer, which compared Supreme Court candidates Jim Rice, W. David Herbert, Mike Wheat, and Lawence Van Dyke, to President Obama, and his Republican opponent in the last election, Governor Mitt Romney. The flyer does not mention party affiliation, and was funded by researchers at Dartmouth College and Stanford University who say they wanted to study "information about candidate positioning where voters are unable to distinguish between candidates on the basis of partisan affiliation. " The flyer uses the "Great Seal of the State of Montana," and McCulloch says that its use in campaign material is a violation of state law
McCulloch and Montana Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathon Motl are conducting seperate investigations.
2nd complaint filed against Dooling
One day after a complaint aginst Senate District 42 Republican candidate Joe Dooling was dismissed by the Commissioner of Political Practices, Democratic candidate Jill Cohenour has filed another complaint, this time with the Lewis and Clark County Attorney, saying Dooling violated a state law against using automated telephone calls in a political campaign.
According to the complaint, the call contained an automated message saying that the listener was being connected to a tele-town hall meeting with Dooling. Cohenour calls that a "robo" call.
Dooling countered that a tele-town hall does not violate the law, and is a common method of communicating with voters. Dooling he said the meetings have been used in the past by former Rep. Dennis Rehberg, Sen. Jon Tester and Rep. Steve Daines. Dooling called them " a big conference call."
Lewis and Clark County Attorney Leo Gallagher says has received the complaint, but had not investigated it as of yet.
We will have a live debate between the two candidates tomorrow morning, beginning at 8 AM here on 1240 and 1340, your news and information station
Charges reduced in Helena robbery, shooting
Lewis and Clark County prosecutors have filed reduced charges against two men who they say attacked a store employee who accused them of shoplifting and fired shots at a vehicle that followed them as they drove away.
Prosecutors say 38-year-old Shadric Macho Chippewa and 30-year-old Gary William KnowsHisGun shoplifted at the Hasings store on North Mont...ana, attacked a store employee in the parking lot and drove off, with Chippewa firing shots at a vehicle that followed them. The witness' truck was struck by a bullet and disabled.
Chippewa was initially arrested on suspicion of attempted deliberate homicide for the shooting, but was charged Wednesday with assault with a weapon and criminal endangerment.
Chippewa and KnowsHisGun are both charged with robbery and tampering with evidence.
Jury flinds Segura guiltly
After three days of deliberations, a Lewis and Clark County District Court jury has found a Helena man guilty of burglary, robbery, and criminal possession of dangerous drugs in a crime that cooured in June of 2012.
Court documents state Andrew Segura placed tape around the victims head to cover her mouth while threatening to kill her if she didn't show him where her prescription drugs were located. The State Crime Lab found Segura's DNA on the tape that was used on the victim.
Segura faces a maximum of 65 years in prison and a $150,000 fine.
He is scheduled to be sentenced on December fourth.
Complaint against Dooling dismissed
A campaign complaint against Joe Dooling, the Republican candidate for Senate District 42, has been dismissed by Montana Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl on Tuesday.
The complaint was filed by Dooling's opponent, Democrat Jill Cohenour, and said Dooling failed to identify his political party in a radio ad earlier this month.
When he became aware of the mistake, Dooling made changes to the ad, according to the decision.
Motl called the issue "de minimus," a Latin phrase that means "the law does not care for, or take notice of, very small and trifling matters. "
Jail site list created
The consultant looking at the possibility of building a new jail, has begun assembling a list of possible sites, and one of them is the site of the current Capital Hill Mall.
Slate Architecture of Helena is looking at between 10 and 15 sites for a new detention center, but the list is not complete, and the sites have yet to be ranked or evaluated.
Some of the other site...s on the list are the city's wastewater treatment plant,
Helena Regional Airport land near the Custer Avenue and Interstate 15 and Forest Service property located just south of the Helena Regional Airport.
Officials hope to complete the final list by mid-November so that two finalists can be selected by mid-December. A final site is anticipated to be selected by early to mid-January. County officials want to have a ballot issue for November 2015 to determine if the public will support increasing taxes to pay for a new detention center.
Helena boy struck by car, injured
HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Police in Helena say an 8-year-old boy was struck by a vehicle in a crosswalk and the driver was cited for failure to yield.
Lt. Torey Keltner says the boy was upset and crying when emergency responders arrived and he was taken to the hospital. His condition was not immediately known.
The boy, his mother and sister were crossing the street on a green light Tuesday afternoon when a car turned and struck the boy.
Police say the driver of the vehicle initially intended to go straight through the intersection, but decided to turn right due to the high volume of traffic. The driver was cited for failing to yield the right of way to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.
Hearing set on gay marriage ban
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A judge has set a Nov. 20 hearing in Great Falls for arguments in a lawsuit challenging Montana's ban on gay marriage.
U.S. District Judge Brian Morris scheduled the hearing Monday after four gay couples filed a motion for summary judgment that asks the judge to decide the case without a trial.
The couples are backed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Montana. ACLU officials have said that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' decision to strike down similar gay-marriage bans in Idaho and Nevada should mean a favorable ruling for the Montana couples.
Montana Department of Justice spokesman John Barnes has said the U.S. Supreme Court could still take up the issue in the future, so state attorneys plan to continue to defend the state's constitutional ban.
Investigation continues into Hastings incident
Here is the latest from Helena Police Captain Curt Stinson on the incident at Hastings yesterday:
The Helena Police Department responded to a call from Hastings at 3215 North Montana at about 12:57 pm concerning a possible theft from the store. Initial calls to the police department indicated a person had possibly been stabbed in the theft attempt. A citizen followed a vehicle that fled from the theft, during which time he reported being shot at by occupants of the vehicle as it fled northbo...und on North Montana Avenue. The vehicle was last seen on Beaverhead Drive off of North Montana Avenue. At this time, however, it is believed no one was injured in the incident
The department is searching for a 1998 black Dodge pickup, Montana license AZT418 with a topper shell. Please do not attempt to stop or detain anyone associated with the vehicle. If the vehicle is spotted please call 911 immediately. If anyone has any further information as to the vehicle or those involved in the incident, or if you witnessed the incident and have not been contacted by law enforcement, please contact the police department at 406-442-3233.
The police department arrested and charged two males this evening in connection with the incident at Hastings this afternoon. Arrested were: Shadric Macho Chippewa, 38yrs of age, transient. He was charged with Attempted Deliberate Homicide, Robbery, Tampering with Evidence and two counts of Burglary and Greg William Knows His Gun, 30yrs of age, transient. He was charged with Robbery, Tampering with Evidence and three counts of Burglary. Both were booked at the detention center.
The case remains under investigation. We are continuing to look for information on the female and black Dodge pickup from earlier releases. We are not releasing the name of the owner of the pickup truck yet and the truck has not been reported stolen
Helath officials talk about Ebola
County health officials, and officials at St. Peter's Hospital all assure citizens of Helena and Montana that Ebola is not a threat anywhere near here. As a briefing this (yesterday) morning, Mike Henderson of the Lewis and Clark County Health Department emphasised that ebola is does not spread except in very specific circumstances: personal contact with a patient who has the disease.
Again, the virus does not spread through the air, water, or food. St. Peter's Hospital will be holding an informal, educational presentation for the public regarding Ebola symptoms, precautions, treatment, and how the hospital is preparing, on Tuesday, Oct. 21, from 5:30 - 6:30 p.m., in the Education Center. Dr. Don Skillman will be the presenter and representatives from the L&C Health Dept. will also be on hand.
Walsh says he has no regrets in Senate run
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — U.S. Sen. John Walsh says he does not regret an election campaign that ended abruptly following a report that he plagiarized a paper while at the U.S. Army War College.
The Helena Democrat tells Lee Newspapers of Montana it has been an honor to serve and he still has work to do before his term ends in January.
The former lieutenant governor announced his Senate campaign last year after Max Baucus said he would not run for a sixth term. Gov. Steve Bullock appointed Walsh to the post when Baucus resigned early to become ambassador to China.
Walsh dropped his campaign to keep the seat for the next six years after The New York Times published a story showing he plagiarized parts of a paper required for his master's degree.
Poll says Daines, Zinke ahead