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Helena News and Sports

Poll says Daines, Zinke ahead 

A new poll conducted by Montana State University-Billings shows Republicans Steve Daines and Ryan Zinke leading their Democratic opponents . The MSU Billlings poll shows Daines leading Amanda Curtis with a margin of 47 percent to 31 percent, with 20 percent undecided.

The poll also puts Republican Ryan Zinke ahead of Democrat John Lewis with a margin of 40 percent to 33 percent, with 25 percent undecided.

The survey results have a 5 percentage point margin of error.

Correa pleads not guilty in relation to violent robbery

An inmate at the Montana State Prison pleaded not guilty to eight felony charges Thursday stemming from a violent confrontation in June.

Jopnah Correa was arraigned via video from the Montana State Prison.

He is accused of breaking into a Rodney Street home with another man  on June 17, beating and robbing four people.

Correa faces one count of robbery, one count of aggravated burglary, and six counts of assault, including assault with a weapon.

His trial has been set for January 13.

New charged for convicted muderer

A man convited of murdering his three-year-old daughter in Helena 17 years ago, was back in court yesterday on new charges.

Christianson pleaded guilty to mitigated deliberate homicide in 1997 for the death of his three-year-old daughter Taylor Salley. Court documents say Christianson punched the child in the stomach after she spilled Christianson's beer and unplugged a video game he was using.

She died of a severed bowel.

In 1997, District Judge Jeffery Sherlock gave Christianson a 40-year prison sentence with ten years suspended.

Christianson spent 1998 to 2011 in the custody of the Department of Corrections.

In 2012, he was discharged from the Billings Pre-release Center.

Christianson faces ten years in prison after a recent arrest for felony DUI and careless driving.


Montana judge asked to decide on gay marriage

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Four couples challenging Montana's ban on gay marriages have asked a federal judge to decide the issue without going to trial.

The couples, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, filed the request Wednesday.

ACLU Montana legal director Jim Taylor says the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' recent decision to strike down similar bans in Idaho and Nevada should convince U.S. District Judge Brian Morris to rule in their favor.

Montana is part of the 9th Circuit and district judges use decisions from the appellate court as precedents for their rulings.

Voters approved the ban in 2004 as an amendment to Montana's constitution.

Montana Department of Justice spokesman John Barnes says his office will continue to defend the constitutional amendment "until no further clear duty remains to do so."

Capital High receives engineering grant

Capital High School has been selected as one of six schools nationwide to receive funding for equipment, software and professional development from by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers

According to the Society, the Partnership Response In Manufacturing Education recognition will give students and staff access to real manufacturing education and tools to better prepare them for the workforce,.

Schools are selected based on their ability to be leaders in manufacturing and science, technology, engineering and math education.

Capital High will begin the program in fall 2015.

Butte historian, broadcaster Pat Kearney dies

     BUTTE, Mont. (AP) - Broadcaster, historian and author Pat Kearney was found dead at his home in Butte. He was 59.
     Butte-Silver Bow Coroner Lee LaBreche confirmed Kearney's death on Tuesday. LaBreche says it is suspected that Kearney died of natural causes but an autopsy was planned because he had been in good health and was an avid runner.
     Kearney was a television and radio broadcaster for more than 30 years and did the play-by-play for Butte Central football for 23 of the past 25 years. He organized in the Butte Sports Hall of Fame in 1987 and was inducted in 2009.
     Kearney had written several books about Butte and one about the Montana-Montana State football rivalry. LaBreche says Kearney was just finishing a book about the Berkeley Pit.
Yellowstone bison could go to zoos, tribes, Utah
 By The Associated Press
     Wildlife officials are recommending the relocation of 145 disease-free bison from Yellowstone National Park to tribal lands, a consortium of zoos and public lands in Utah.
     The bison were captured last decade under an experimental program to start new herds using Yellowstone animals. They spent years in quarantine to make sure they weren't carrying the disease brucellosis, which has caused problems for the cattle industry.
     Seventy bison would go to Montana's Fort Peck Indian Reservation and 35 to Oklahoma's Cherokee Nation under a proposal from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
     A consortium that includes the Bronx and Queens zoos in New York would receive 10 of the animals.
     The remaining 30 would go to the Utah's Division of Wildlife.
     Montana wildlife commissioners will consider the recommendations on Thursday.

Republicans question Bullock education program

     HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Republican lawmakers are questioning a plan by Gov. Steve Bullock for a $37 million early childhood education program.
     The proposal would make grants available to public schools to create or expand programs for 4-year-olds.
     Lee Newspapers of Montana reports Sen. Llew Jones of Conrad questioned whether the program is the best use of state money for education.
     Republican Rep. Don Jones of Billings asked why the program wouldn't just target "at-risk" children.
     Montana is one of eight states without any state investment in preschool programs.
     Studies suggest students who have high quality, early childhood education are more likely to read at grade level and graduate from high school. They're also less likely to become teenage parents, require public assistance, abuse drugs or end up in jail.
     Bullock plans to include the funding request in the two-year budget he presents to the Legislature in November.

Saints move up in poll

The Carroll College Fighting Saints are ranked  No. 3 ranking in the latest NAIA Football Coaches' Top 25 Poll released Monday.
The Saints jumped up one spot from No. 4 after rolling then No. 15 Eastern Oregon, 55-7, on the road Saturday. The loss dropped EOU to the No. 20 spot in the poll.
Carroll's opponent this week is No. 4 Southern Oregon. The Saints fell to the Raiders on the road in Carroll's first game of the season. Southern Oregon also moved up one spot from No. 5 to No. 4.
Rocky Mountain supplanted EOU in the No. 15 spot in the poll to round out the Frontier Conference representation.
In the No. 1 spot for the fourth consecutive week is Morningside (Iowa). Baker (Kansas) is No. 2.
The Saints and the Raiders take the field at Nelson Stadium at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Bullock proposes early childhood education program

     HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Gov. Steve Bullock is proposing a $37 million early childhood education program that would make half-day, pre-kindergarten programs available to 4-year-olds.
     Bullock was in Billings Monday to talk about Early Edge Montana. Under the voluntary program, block grants would be available to public schools to create or expand early childhood education programs or to partner with existing programs in their communities.
     Montana is one of eight states without any state investment in preschool programs.
     Studies suggest students who have high quality, early childhood education are more likely to read at grade level and graduate from high school and are less likely to become teenage parents, require public assistance, abuse drugs or end up in jail.
     Bullock plans to include the funding request in the two-year budget he presents to the Legislature in November.

DEQ employees to move to bank

Some of the employees at the Montana Department of Environmental Quality who displaced by lead in the former National Guard Armory will be getting a new home.
Many of the 100 workers will move to Mountain West Bank building on Cedar Street just of North Montana Avenue
The DEQ is leasing that property from Mountain West, which has merged with First Interstate Bank.
Mountain West will consolidate banking services at its location  just south of Cedar Street.

    ACLU: Montana's gay marriage ban will end
     HELENA, Mont. (AP) - A state ACLU official says a decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to strike down Idaho's ban on gay marriage likely means Montana's voter-approved ban also will be declared unconstitutional.
     Montana ACLU Legal Director Jim Taylor says Montana's ban is nearly identical to Idaho's and Montana's federal appeals also are heard by the 9th Circuit.
     The ACLU and four gay couples challenged Montana's ban in May. A U.S. District Court judge will still need to rule in that case before same-sex marriage could become legal in Montana.
     On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear any of the cases pending before it challenging state bans on marriage for same-sex couples.

     Montana proposes expanded hunting confidentiality
     HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Montana wildlife officials are proposing to keep confidential the names of hunters and trappers who kill any wildlife in the state.
     Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesman Ron Aasheim said Tuesday the proposal is in response to complaints that information obtained under Montana's right-to-know laws is being used to harass and threaten some hunters and trappers.
     He was unable to provide specific examples or say how many complaints the agency received.
     An existing state law already bars FWP from disclosing identifying information about hunters who kill bears, mountain lions or wolves.
     The proposal would expand that confidentiality to trappers and include all game animals or furbearing species.
     The agency is requesting the Environmental Quality Council introduce a bill in the 2015 legislative session.