Governor weighs in on Beach's clemency application
By MATT VOLZ
HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Gov. Steve Bullock is asking the Montana Board of Pardons and Parole to consider whether Barry Beach has served enough time in prison.
Bullock sent the board a letter Wednesday, less than a week before the board reviews Beach's application for clemency in the 1979 killing of Kim Nees of Poplar.
The governor says the reasons for maintaining Beach's 100-year sentence at taxpayer expense diminish every year.
It is rare for a governor to weigh in on a parole board case.
The board will consider whether Beach's circumstances have changed enough to merit an investigation. If so, the board will hold a hearing and decide whether to recommend clemency.
Beach was released in 2011 to await a new trial, but sent back to prison in 2013 to finish his sentence.
CHS grad rate up, problems down
HELENA (KBLL) -- Good news today from Capital High.
School officials have told the school board trustees that not only is the high school's graduation rate up 10 points this year, to 93 percent, but that rate is the highest of any AA school in the state.
Assistant principal Kathy Kidder credited a program of intervening to help at-risk students.
School officials also report a drop in behavioral problems over the past five years.
In 2010, the number of "office discipline referrals" was around 950. Last year, the number of referrals had dropped to 641 and may decrease again this year, according to assistant principal Walt Chancy.
Around 40 percent of office referrals this year involve student use of phones or other electronics. Chancy said new, clearer school policy on cellphone use will help solve that problem.
Traffic stop leads to drug arrest
HELENA (KBLL) -- An East Helena woman has been arrested on drug and DUI charges after a traffic stop. 32 year old Lindsey Leota Litche was seen by police making an illegal turn on North Montana Avenue and Lyndale, where right hand turns or red are prohibited.
An officer on patrol pulled her over, and then saw a glass pipe and two syringes used to ingest methamphetamine.
A breathalyzer test at the Lewis and Clark Detention Center found she was over the legal limit.
She is charged with one count of felony possession of dangerous drugs, one count of misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia, one count of misdemeanor DUI, one count of misdemeanor failure to obey a traffic control device and a probation violation.
Dark-money complaint against MT senator dismissed
HELENA, Mont. (AP) - The commissioner of political practices has dismissed a complaint accusing a Republican senator from Great Falls of coordinating his 2010 campaign with a secretive conservative group.
Commissioner Jonathan Motl writes in his decision issued Tuesday that there is insufficient evidence to find Sen. Ed Buttrey illegally coordinated with Western Tradition Partnership.
Motl says Buttrey and Western Tradition Partnership had an arms-length client-vendor relationship for printing services. Motl says that is a different relationship from the nine other 2010 candidates that Motl determined illegally coordinated with the group.
Motl filed civil actions against those nine candidates, including Senate Majority Leader Art Wittich of Bozeman and Rep. Mike Miller of Helmville.
Buttrey defeated Democrat Kathy Galvin-Halcro in the 2010 general election. The complaint was filed this February by David Ponte of Bozeman.
~~ WHOOPING COUGH
7 whooping cough cases confirmed around Helena
(Information in the following story is from: Independent Record, http://www.helenair.com)
HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Health officials say seven cases of whooping cough have been confirmed in and around Helena.
Karen Wandel of the Lewis and Clark City-County Health Department tells the Independent Record (http://bit.ly/QxV5WD ) that two or three more cases would have to be reported to consider it an outbreak.
Wandel says the cases began appearing this month and have affected children from preschool to high school ages. Four of the seven cases have been reported at Capital High School.
Whooping cough, or pertussis, is a contagious respiratory disease that can cause severe coughing. The illness can be potentially deadly to infants or small children who are too young to be vaccinated.
Wandel advises parents to have their pre-teen children vaccinated and adults to make sure they have had pertussis booster shots.