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THE LATEST LOCAL NEWS

3 More Charged in Rocky Boy Corruption Cases
GREAT FALLS, Mont. (NMB) - Three new defendants in a string of theft, fraud and bribery charges on the Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation were arraigned in U.S. District Court in Great Falls on Thursday. Shad Huston, Mark Leischner and Wade Colliflower appeared before U.S. District Judge Brian Morris and pleaded not guilty.

The charges are part of a larger investigation that currently spans 5 separate indictments and 5 different defendants. John "Chance" Houle and Bruce Sunchild were indicted on similar charges a month ago.

Among the new charges are that Huston failed to file Currency Transaction Reports for 8 separate checks that were cashed at his business Leon's Buy and Sell, and that Houle, Colliflower, Mark Leischer, Leischner's wife Tammy, and Leischner's brother-in-law James Eastlick, Jr. skimmed money from the Chippewa Cree Rodeo Association for their own personal gain.

Some of the money stolen from the Rodeo Association went towards purchasing a new house for Hailey Belcourt, who is facing fraud and theft charges of her own.

Here is a more detailed breakdown of the latest indictments that have been unsealed:

In the first indictment, Houle is charged with Bribery and Obstruction of Justice.

Prosecutors say that between July 28, 2009 and November 30, 2011, Houle awarded tribal contracts for work on a regional water pipeline and flood damaged infrastructure projects to Hunter Burns Construction.

In exchange, Houle received more than $306,000 in kickbacks. Houle then falsified documents to make the exchanges appear legitimate.


The second indictment charges Huston with a single count of Failure to File Currency Transaction Reports.

Prosecutors says Huston failed to file reports for 8 separate checks cashed at his business, Leon's Buy and Sell, between October 27, 2010 and June 22, 2011. The checks involved transactions totaling just over $119,000.


The third indictment charges Sunchild and Huston with Conspiracy to Embezzle Funds, Offering a Bribe, Receiving a Bribe, and 2 counts of Theft.

Prosecutors allege that between December 15, 2011 and February 2, 2012, Sunchild and former Chippewa Cree Construction Corp. CEO Tony Belcourt conspired to and awarded a series of tribal contracts for flood damaged infrastructure projects to Huston through his business K and N Consulting.

In return, Huston bought a sport-utility vehicle for $25,000 that was ultimately signed over to Sunchild's daughter.


Houle and Colliflower are charged in the fourth indictment with Conspiracy to Embezzle Funds, and 2 counts of Theft.

Prosecutors allege that between May 25, 2010, and July 7, 2012, Houle and Colliflower conspired to "skim" funds deposited into the accounts of the Chippewa Cree Rodeo Association.

They disguised the payments as legitimate rodeo expenses paid to a vendor. A substantial portion of the money was then kicked back to Houle and others.


Houle, Colliflower and Leischner are listed as defendants in the fifth indictment. They are charged with Conspiracy to Embezzle Funds, 2 counts of Theft, and 2 counts of Obstruction of Justice.

Prosecutors allege that between June 8, 2009 and July 7, 2010, Houle, Colliflower, Leischner, Leischner's wife Tammy, and Leischner's brother-in-law James Eastlick Jr. conspired to embezzle funds intended for the Rodeo Association for their own personal gain.

Some of the money was used to purchase a home in Box Elder for Tony Belcourt's wife Hailey.

Prosecutors also allege that Houle, Leischner and Eastlick Jr. falsified documents in order to make the payments seem legitimate, while Leischner and Eastlick Jr. provided false documents in response to a Grand Jury subpoena.

Houle allegedly aided and abetted the obstruction of justice throughout the investigation.

(Copyright 2014 New Media Broadcasters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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5th Annual Kellen Lund Memorial Ride this Saturday
HAVRE, Mont. (NMB) - The 5th annual Kellen Lund Memorial Bike Ride is scheduled for this Saturday. More than 300 people are expected to participate in the annual ride, which begins at 10:30 AM at Pepin Park. Kellen's mother Jeri Zorn gives us the history on this memorial ride.

"The Memorial Ride is to promote driver awareness, that you too share the roads and intersections with bike riders and pedestrians, and we also like to promote biker safety. My son Kellen was ran over by a semi while he was walking his bike across the street 5 years ago this coming Sunday. And we just like to raise awareness and also remember Kellen. He was a great kid."

She adds that the route is very safe and child-oriented.

"The 3-mile route is completely kid-friendly. It is all flat ground. It goes (from) Pepin Park down by the High School and then back around, and the 5-mile route is a little bit harder. It goes out up onto the top of the Baltrusch Trail, and it winds around by the High School, and then comes all the way back to Pepin Park as well."

Due to the high number of riders this year, Zorn is encouraging people to arrive at Pepin Park for registration at 9:00 AM. A barbecue will take place after the ride, and 14 bikes, 2 custom painted helmets, and a custom painted guitar will be raffled off.

(Copyright 2014 New Media Broadcasters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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Another Rocky Boy Leader Sentenced for Theft
GREAT FALLS, Mont. (NMB) - The former Director of the Wellness Center in Rocky Boy found guilty on three separate charges of theft was sentenced on Thursday in U.S. District Court in Great Falls.

Wilford "Huck" Sunchild will serve 1 year and 1 day with the Bureau of Prisons and must pay over $17,000 in restitution.

Sunchild was found guilty by a jury in April on counts of Theft from an Indian Tribal Government Receiving Federal Grants, Theft from an Indian Tribal Organization, and Theft from a Health Care Facility.

Prosecutors allege that between February 2, 2012 and March 23, 2013, Sunchild knowingly embezzled more than $7,000 intended for the Wellness Center, primarily through ATM transactions.

Sunchild's sentences will run concurrently.

(Copyright 2014 New Media Broadcasters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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2 Box Elder Men Die in Single Vehicle Crash
BOX ELDER, Mont. (NMB) - 2 men have died following a one-vehicle crash early Wednesday morning on the Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation. The Montana Highway Patrol says one victim was a 19-year-old man from Box Elder, while the other victim was a 22-year-old man whose hometown wasn't immediately available.

Holland and Bonine Funeral Home has sent a funeral announcement stating that 19-year-old Jerod Coffee and 22-year-old Lathine Windy Boy of Rocky Boy passed away in a motor vehicle accident.

According to the Montana Highway Patrol, at 6:25 AM, the vehicle was heading westbound on Upper Box Elder Road near mile post 3.5. The vehicle veered off the road to the right shoulder, corrected back onto the road, and then entered the north side ditch turning clockwise.

The vehicle went airborne while continuing to turn clockwise, and landed with the driver's rear side quarter panel facing east. The vehicle then went airborne a second time, and landed on its rear end. The two men were ejected from the vehicle, which came to its final rest in the north side ditch facing south.

Both men were ejected from the vehicle. Neither was wearing a seatbelt. It is unknown whether speed or alcohol contributed to the crash.

(Copyright 2014 New Media Broadcasters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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Fire Totals Home South of Havre
HAVRE, Mont. (NMB) - A home south of Havre in the Bear's Paw Mountains has been totaled after a fire broke out early Wednesday morning. Members of the Bear Paw Volunteer Fire Department were called to the house near First Lake at 6:00 AM Wednesday.

Firefighters spent nearly 5 hours battling the blaze, which was extinguished at approximately 11:00 AM. Bear Paw Fire Chief Josh Beebe says the occupants of the house are safe, but the house is a total loss. The cause of the fire is unknown.

(Copyright 2014 New Media Broadcasters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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Ft. Belknap Celebrates 50th Milk River Indian Days
HARLEM, Mont. (NMB) - The 50th Annual Milk River Indian Days Celebration begins Thursday on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation. The Pow-Wow will take place Friday through Sunday, and will feature both men's and women's divisions in Traditional, Grass and Fancy Dancing.

Thursday's activities include the traditional camp-out and children's Pow-Wow. Men's Flag Bearer Duane Buck Sr. says that due to the fast-paced schedule on the weekend, they decided to give the younger dancers their own special day.

"Throughout the weekend, we're moving along pretty fast. And we don't have a lot of opportunities to have regular traditional songs...a lot of these groups don't get a lot of chances to dance, especially the little ones, so we give them that special day."

He adds that the excitement level is high, especially among the next generation of Fort Belknap leaders.

"What really gladdens my heart is that there's a lot of young people that have brought a lot of excitement. I'm talking young people, like 20- and 30-year old people, starting families and stuff like that. It's just great to see those people that are going to carry this on."

Grand entry times are 7:00 PM Friday, and 1:00 PM and 7:00 PM both Saturday and Sunday. The Celebration will take place at the Fort Belknap Pow-Wow Grounds.

(Copyright 2014 New Media Broadcasters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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Fair Board Discusses 2014 Fair, Looks to Future
HAVRE, Mont. (NMB) - The Great Northern Fair Board met last night to discuss how this year's Fair went and to begin planning for the 2015 Fair as well.

Following a very successful Demolition Derby this past Sunday, members of the Havre Jaycees asked the Fair Board about potentially moving their events to Saturday night next year to bring in even more revenue. A decision wasn't immediately made, though Fair Board member Missy Boucher lists the pros and cons of making such a move.

"Well, the pros are I think that they're going to bring in a lot more people to the Fair, not only for their event, but for the vendors as well. The con of that is now we've got to go against the Rodeo Association and figure out who is exactly going to bring the most amount of dollars to our Fairgrounds and our community."

She adds that before a decision is made, the revenue figures of every Fair entity will have to be considered.

"Well, I think we need to look at all of the numbers from the last few years, and all of the food vendors as well. So (we need to) just take a look at every number and not try to miss any line item."

Here are the reported totals in ticket sales from the Fair office*

*As a disclaimer, some of these amounts are split between the Fair and the groups running the event. In some cases, tickets were pre-sold by the individual groups as well. Those totals are not included.

PIG WRESTLING

366 tickets sold ($5 apiece)

Grand Total: $1,830

JUNIOR RODEO

335 tickets sold ($5 apiece)

Grand Total: $1,675

NRA RODEO FRIDAY

561 tickets sold ($10 apiece)

Grand Total: $5,610

NRA RODEO SATURDAY

570 tickets sold ($10 apiece)

Grand Total: $5,700

DEMO DERBY

1,409 tickets sold ($10 apiece)

Grand Total: $14,090

(Copyright 2014 New Media Broadcasters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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Hill County 4-H Brings in Nearly $200K from Livestock Sale
HAVRE, Mont. (NMB) - The totals from this year's Hill County 4-H Livestock Sale and Auction have been tallied, and the results are staggering. Nearly $200,000 was raised this year through beef, lamb and hog sales.

This year's total of $198,000 is considerably higher than last year's $167,000. Hill County Extension Agent Lea Ann Larson says she was most surprised by the sale of lambs, which went for an average of $5.03 per pound.

"I was very surprised with the lamb prices. And it may have had something to do with our 4-H Clubs who were doing the meal this year for the buyers. (They) served lamb, and it was excellent. They got rave reviews, so maybe we turned some beef folks into eating some lamb."

She adds that a number of animals were re-sold, with the proceeds going to a charitable cause.

"A lot of stuff went to the new Chuckwagon fund, and a few of them went to just the Hill County 4-H program. So we had 12 animals that re-sold like that, for about $5,100 for all of those. So that was really nice of the community to make those donations to our program too, and we really want to say thank you to them for supporting us."

Here is a complete breakdown of this year's sale:

HOGS

63 sold

Gross Total: $60,010.25

Average Per Pound: $3.71


LAMBS

16 sold

Gross Total: $10,475.79

Average Per Pound: $5.03


BEEF

35 sold

Gross Total: $128,097.50

Average Per Pound: $3.01


TOTAL

114 animals sold

Gross Total: $198,583.54

(Copyright 2014 New Media Broadcasters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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Sentencing Enhancement Justified In Sex Crime
HELENA, Mont. (AP) - The Montana Supreme Court has ruled a Havre man convicted of sexually assaulting a 7-year-old girl should face a sentencing enhancement due to the girl's age, even if the ages of the defendant and the victim were not on the verdict form.

Edward Harold Ghostbear was convicted in October 2012. The prosecution asked for a minimum four-year sentence based on the fact that the girl was younger than 16 and Ghostbear was more than three years older than she.

Public defender Dan Minnis argued jurors didn't make a separate finding about the ages, so the maximum sentence Ghostbear could receive was six months.

District Judge Dan Boucher of Havre agreed. Prosecutors appealed.

The Supreme Court ruled Ghostbear was faced the longer sentence because the ages of the girl and Ghostbear were presented to jurors and not disputed.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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* KPQX Local News *
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Our local news brings relevance to issues of importance - news coverage that relates to residents of North Central Montana. Accurate, timely information delivered in a prompt and cohesive manner.

Expanded hourly updates are delivered at the top of each hour at 6, 7, 8 and 9 a.m. and every afternoon at 4 and 5 p.m. Headline news, breaking stories and updates available all other hours. "Montana at Noon" is a more in-depth review of the news starting daily at 12:15 p.m. daily.

Residents of North Central Montana have long recognized the quality and timeliness of our newscasts. Additional recognition of our news at the national, regional and state level comes from the Associated Press, Society for Professional Journalists, the Greater Montana Foundation and the Radio and Television News Director Association's prestigious Edward R. Murrow award.
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