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Helena News and Sports



21 states push to overturn Md. gun-control law

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — Twenty-one states are asking a federal appeals court to overturn provisions of Maryland's gun-control law that ban 45 assault weapons and limit gun magazines to 10 rounds.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey led the coalition in filing a friend-of-the-court brief in the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, last week.

The brief says the law violates the Second Amendment right to keep firearms in homes for self-protection.

The other states are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.

A U.S. District Court judge in Baltimore upheld the provisions in August.

The state of Maryland has until Dec. 31 to respond to the filing.

Police seek suspects in Walmart theft

The Helena Police Department has released surveillance photos of two women suspected of theft at Walmart on November 18.

At approximately 6:00p.m. on November 18, the Walmart Loss Prevention Officer reported that two females had stolen a Dell laptop computer from the store between 1:00a.m. and 2:00a.m.

Police are still seeking the suspects in the case and have released their photos to the public.

We have posted the picture on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/950-KCAP-Your-News-and-Information-Station/648307158616649

Anyone with information is asked to call the Helena Police Department at 406-447-8461.

 State's arguments in gay marriage case due Feb. 27

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Opening arguments from Montana's attorney general are due Feb. 27 in his appeal of a federal court order that struck down the state's gay marriage ban.

Attorney General Tim Fox says Wednesday's order from U.S. District Judge Brian Morris ignored the will of Montana voters.

An amendment to the Montana Constitution approve...d in 2004 by two-thirds of voters defined marriage as between a man and a woman.

Morris' order said the amendment violated the guarantee of equal protection for all citizens under the U.S. Constitution.

Arguments from plaintiffs represented by the ACLU of Montana are due March 30.

The case is before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.


Media groups file motion over GOP secret caucus

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — More than 20 media groups have asked a court to hold the Montana House Republican Caucus in contempt for holding an unpublicized meeting in apparent violation of state open meetings law.

Party caucus meetings must be open to the public after courts ruled in the 1990s that caucuses were public bodies and subject to Montana's right-to-know laws.

The Great Falls Tribune discovered the Nov. 13 meeting being held in the basement of a Helena hotel. The Tribune reported that about 50 lawmakers were discussing the 2015 legislative session.

Republican Sen. Jeff Essmann has said the gathering was not subject to open meetings law because lawmakers weren't making legislative decisions.

The media groups' court motion was filed Thursday. It seeks to compel public notice of future caucus meetings.


Lawmakers compromise on revenue estimate

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A Montana legislative committee has reached a compromise on the state's revenue estimate through June 2017.

The Revenue and Transportation Interim Committee met Thursday to make an official estimate of the state's tax and investment income, which will be used as a basis for the state budget lawmakers will consider during the 2015 legislative session.

Gov. Steve Bullock's budget office estimated total revenues at $6.871 billion, which was $295 million more than the estimate by the Legislative Fiscal Division.

Lee Newspapers of Montana reports committee members voted 8-4 Thursday on a compromise that sets recommended spending of $6.576 billion, or $141 million more than the Legislative Fiscal Divisions numbers.

Earlier this week, Bullock announced the state saw record general fund revenue collections from July through September.

Burton quits as Bullock Chief of Staff


A former Helena city manager and Lewis and Clark County Administrative officer and current Chief of Staff for Governor Steve Bullock is leaving his state post to return to a position in local government. Tim Burton, his Chief of Staff during his tenure as Attorney General, and his first two years as Governor is joining the League of Cities and Towns as its Executive Director.

Prior to joining then-Attorney General Bullock, Tim served nine years as Helena’s City Manager, and five years as Chief Administrative Officer for Lewis and Clark County. 

Bullock says that Tracy Stone-Manning will now serve as Chief of Staff. She is currently the head of the State Department of Environmental Quality

2 clearances need to burn


Lewis and Clark County officials are warning residents to plan to burn debris on their property that burning is only allowed if both Lewis and Clark County and the State Department of Environmental Quality have approved it. Sheriff Leo Dutton says that over the past few days, county residents have been activating local burn permits without checking with the DEQ, and that both agencies must approve the burn. There is a website for the state data ; burnclosures.mt.gov

Montana News and Sports



Utah man suspected of crashing pickup into store

GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — Police have arrested a Utah man suspected of crashing his pickup truck into a Verizon Wireless store in Great Falls, apparently after an argument with his estranged wife who works at the store.

Officers responded to several alarms at 4:22 a.m. Sunday. The Great Falls Tribune reports surveillance footage shows a Dodge Ram pickup driving through one front window, turning around in the store and driving out a second window, causing more than $50,000 in damage.

Officers said the vehicle's license plate fell of the truck. It was registered to 51-year-old Rory Lee Anderson of West Jordan, Utah. Police had received an earlier report of an argument between Anderson and his estranged wife.

Sgt. Bryan Slavik says Anderson was arrested in Great Falls on Monday morning. He had been sought on suspicion of felony criminal mischief.


Cattle truck crashes near Butte, 6 cows killed

(Information in the following story is from: The Montana Standard, http://www.mtstandard.com)

BUTTE, Mont. (AP) — A semi-truck hauling 86 head of cattle crashed on Interstate 15-90 between Butte and Rocker, scattering cattle and killing six cows.

Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Cody Ruane said the driver was eastbound at about 4 p.m. Saturday and thought the City Center exit was the interstate. The driver jerked the rig back onto the interstate, causing the load of cattle to shift. The semi and trailer tipped onto their sides.

Ruane tells The Montana Standard that people on horseback rounded up the loose cattle while traffic was re-routed for about four hours. One wandering cow was struck by a pickup truck, damaging the vehicle but not injuring the driver.

The truck driver was cited for reckless driving.


Missoula County deputy crashes pickup on icy roads

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — A Missoula County sheriff's deputy was uninjured after crashing a department pickup truck on icy U.S. Highway 93 South during rush hour Monday morning.

The pickup ended up on its side in a ditch and the crash caused delays between Lolo and Missoula.

The sheriff's office reminded travelers to drive with caution and wear their seat belts.

The deputy's name was not released.


MDU to buy southwestern North Dakota wind farm

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. is buying a 43-turbine wind farm in southwestern North Dakota.

Allete Clean Energy will develop the project near Hettinger. The $200 million wind farm is expected to be done in December 2015.

MDU, a division of MDU Resources Group Inc., about a year ago signed an agreement to buy the wind farm's power from Thunder Spirit Wind LLC, a subsidiary of Wind Works Power Corp.

MDU officials say they have now determined that owning and operating the wind farm is preferable for the company. The deal calls for Allete to acquire the Thunder Spirit Wind project, complete the development and sell the completed project to MDU. The sale is subject to regulatory approval.

MDU provides electricity to parts of the Dakotas, Montana and Wyoming.


Bobcats, Grizzlies, Saints host playoff games

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The football season continues with post-Thanksgiving Day games for three Montana college teams.

Montana and Montana State earned spots in the FCS playoffs, with Montana hosting San Diego and Montana State hosting South Dakota State on Saturday. Both games kick off at noon.

The winner of the San Diego-Montana game plays at No. 4 seed Eastern Washington next weekend while the winner of the SDSU-Montana State games plays at No 2 seed North Dakota State on Dec. 6.

In the NAIA, top-ranked Carroll College advanced to the quarterfinals with a dominating 49-0 win over Valley City State of North Dakota. The Saints held the Vikings to 87 total yards and just four first downs and forced three turnovers while Dustin Rinker rushed for 153 yards and three scores. Carroll hosts Frontier Conference runner-up and No. 8 Southern Oregon on Saturday. The teams split this season, with each winning at home.


Montana volleyball coach resigns after 9 seasons

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — Montana volleyball coach Jerry Wagner has resigned after nine seasons after the Grizzlies posted 6-23 records in two of the last three seasons.

University officials say a national search for Wagner's replacement will begin next month.

Wagner thanked the administration for giving him the opportunity to coach at Montana and supporting the program. His teams posted a 102-147 record.

Wagner says he's proud to have helped the team get back to the conference tournament on a regular basis.

The program announced the signing of two middle blockers on Monday — Hailey Jackson Apple Valley, California and Blayke Hranicka of Denver.

Wagner is the third Big Sky Conference volleyball coach who will not return next fall along with Montana State coach Kyle Weindel and Weber State's Tom Peterson.






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, and one for Newscast 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 Newscast of the Year award for the past 8 years.
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.