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Helena News and Sports

Girl reported missing

The Helena Police Department is asking for assistance in locating a missing 16 year old female. A utumn Rose Vandrunen left home Tuesday morning, headed for for Helena High, but did not arrive Helena Police say that While all information indicates she is voluntarily missing from home, there are concerns for her safety and welfare. Anyone with information, please contact the Helena Police Department at 406-442-3233 or dial 911. 

Autumn Rose Vandrunen

5'4" tall, 140 lbs

Brown, very short cut hair, green eyes

Last seen wearing a purple sweatshirt, jeans and a school backpack.

Her picture is posted on our website.

Ramming arrest  

A East Helena man has been charged with chasing his 1 son's vehicle and ramming it with his pickup truck, causing the vehicle the boy was driving to spin out and roll over.

The 16-year-oldboy told police that when he arrived home Wednesday, he saw his father, 45-year-old David John Gunsch "lurched his truck forward towards me." Ultimately, the boy reported to police that his father's pickup rammed the rear driver's side of his vehicle, at the intersection of Gail and 1st Street. The boy's vehicle spun out and rolled and his father fled the scene without checking to see if the boy was alright.

Police say Gunsch he failed several field sobriety tests. He was arrested on preliminary charges of criminal endangerment, DUI, and two related counts involving hit and run.

Meth arrest

A Helena man has been arrested on drug and probation-violation charges after he called police

33 year old Alvin Lee Grant, Jr., called police around 8 PM to report that three people had tried to break into his motel room.

Court documents say when police arrived and knocked at his door, Grant answered, and officers saw that they called two small plastic bags with what police described as "small white rocks … resembling meth." Police determined that the substance was methamphetamine. Grant told police he'd been using methamphetamine for three days.

Grant is on probation so police called his probation officer, who ordered his arrest. He was booked into the Lewis and Clark County Jail for felony possession of drugs and probation violation.

     Remains of WWII airman returned to Montana
     BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - The remains of a missing World War II airman have been returned to Montana 70 years after his plane went down over Papua New Guinea during World War II.
     Family members planned to bury 1st Lt. William Bernier in his hometown of Augusta on Friday. Military officials said his remains arrived in Montana aboard a commercial flight late Wednesday.
     Bernier was a 25-year-old bombardier on a B-24-D Liberator bomber that went down in 1944 after being hit by anti-aircraft fire over the city of Madang. His remains were identified comparing DNA found at the crash site with DNA from relatives.
     Several other crew members from the flight also were accounted for recently.
     Of the 16 million Americans who served in WWII, the Defense Department says more than 73,000 remain unaccounted for.
     Bullock leads trade mission to China
     HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Montana Gov. Steve Bullock is embarking on an eight-day trade mission to China.
     Bullock, state officials and 10 local business owners were leaving Friday to hold meetings set with the goal of signing contracts for selling Montana products in China.
     The trip was organized by the Governor's Office, the Commerce Department and the U.S. Commercial Service. Bullock also plans to meet with Chinese government officials and give presentations about Montana to Chinese business, investment, education, and tourism leaders.
     Participating businesses include United Grain Corp., Headframe Spirits, Big Sky Resort, One Montana and Montana Precision Products.
     China is currently Montana's third largest trading partner behind Canada and South Korea. Montana exports to China have increased almost tenfold in the last decade with $101 million of commodity goods sold to China in 2013.

Helena woman charges jail rape 

A Helena woman has filed a lawsuit against Jefferson County in Federal court She claims she was raped by a jailer at the Jefferson County Detention Center .

The accused, Rodney Mortimore was also charged criminally in April with seven counts of sexual intercourse without consent. In that case, Mortimore is accused of bribing other female inmates for sexual favors.

The woman's claim lists five counts for which she is seeking an unspecified amount of monetary relief: violation of her rights under the 8th Amendment of the Constitution, negligence, negligent hiring and supervision of staff, negligent infliction of emotional distress and violation of the Federal Prison Rape Elimination Act

The woman, who is only identified as W.D. was being held at the Jefferson County jail in the fall of 2013. She was awaiting admission to a drug treatment facility in Boulder.

Other allegations leveled in the complaint are that the jail is inadequately staffed, has no female guards, performs inadequate background checks on guards, is "utterly failing to supervise staff," and is authorizing sexual assault of inmates by staff (by implication) by failing to discipline staff members who exhibited inappropriate sexual behavior.

Rodney "Rod" Mortimore is scheduled to appear Oct. 29 in Jefferson County district court. Mortimore has been cited with two counts of selling to someone under the age of 21.on June 25 at a Boulder convenience store, where Mortimore started working after he was fired from the Jefferson County jail over the sex charges .

     Justices seek to uphold partisan endorsement ban
     HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Six of the seven Montana Supreme Court justices have asked a federal judge to uphold a rule that prevents judicial candidates from pursuing or accepting partisan endorsements.
Former Justice William Leaphart filed the friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of Chief Justice Mike McGrath and Justices Jim Rice, Michael Wheat, Patricia Cotter, Beth Baker and James Jeremiah Shea. Justice Laurie McKinnon is not part of the action.
     The brief was filed in response to a federal lawsuit filed last month by Sanders County justice of the peace candidate Mark French. He sued to challenge the partisan endorsements rule in the state's Code of Judicial Conduct. He said he intends to seek the endorsement of the Sanders County Republican Central Committee, which is led by his wife.  

Injured boy serious but stable I.
A 10-year-old Helena boy who was injured when a sport utility vehicle slipped ff a jack and landed on his head and chest on Saturday was hospitalized in serious but stable condition in Seattle. A family Facebook page included a post from his father saying the boy's breathing tube was removed on Monday.

Montana News and Sports


     Montana gay couple denied Communion after marriage
     BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - A gay couple has been told they can no longer receive Communion or participate in church ministry after the new priest at a Roman Catholic church in central Montana learned they had been married in a civil ceremony more than a year ago.
     The decision set off a split that has cut attendance at St. Leo the Great Catholic Church in Lewistown, population 5,900. It has prompted an upcoming visit from the bishop of the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings.
     Paul Huff and Tom Wojtowick (WOY'-tah-wick) say they were stunned by the priest's decision.
     The men have been in a committed relationship for more than 30 years. Wojtowick says they married so they can make medical and financial decisions for each other.
     The bishop he says he must uphold church teachings.
     Carlyle Group plans to sell Missoula water system
     MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) - The Carlyle Group has agreed to sell the company that owns Missoula's water supply and distribution system to a Canadian utility for $327 million.
     A statement Friday by the utility, Algonquin Power and Utilities Corp., says the company will acquire Park Water Co. from Carlyle Infrastructure.
     California-based Park Water owns Missoula's Mountain Water Co. and a Southern California water system.
     The sales price includes Algonquin taking on $77 million of existing debt. The companies say the deal is expected to close in 2015 and is subject to regulatory approval.
     Missoula is trying to use eminent domain to take ownership of its water distribution system and filed a condemnation action against The Carlyle Group in April.
     The Missoulian reports city officials and attorneys are meeting Friday to discuss the proposed sale.
     Butte man denies animal cruelty charges
     BUTTE, Mont. (AP) - A 54-year-old Butte man has denied animal cruelty charges filed after Butte-Silver Bow County health officials found nearly 100 cats abandoned in a house in deplorable conditions.
     Douglas Dean Billman pleaded not guilty to seven felony charges of aggravated animal cruelty during an appearance in District Court on Thursday. He remains free on a previously posted $17,000 bond.
     Neighbors' complaints about the smell led to the discovery. Prosecutors say Billman confined the cats, failed to meet their general care needs and eventually abandoned them in July. Some were found dead and others had to be put down due to illness.
     The rental house was demolished just over a week ago.
     City officials say the rescued cats will be available for adoption within the next week through the county animal shelter.
     Regents OK $1.4 billion system budget
     (Information in the following story is from: The Billings Gazette,
     BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - Montana's Board of Regents has approved a $1.4 billion budget for the university system, which includes 16 universities, colleges and other institutions.
     The Billings Gazette reports the budget approved Thursday represents an increase of about $100 million, or 7 percent, in the system's budget over the 2014 fiscal year.
     The budget covers 39,152 full-time students across the entire system, compared to 39,484 the previous year. That's a drop of 332 students.
     Montana State University has the largest budget at $536.9 million, a 10 percent increase over 2014. The University of Montana represents the second-largest budget at $386.5 million, a bump of 4 percent from the previous year.





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.