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City of Chinook to increase water rates this fall

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330 Attend Kellen Lund Memorial Bike Ride
HAVRE, Mont. (NMB) - The 5th annual Kellen Lund Memorial Bike Ride saw more than 330 riders show their support on Saturday. The Ride promotes bicycle safety and awareness, and is named in honor of Kellen Lund, who passed away in 2009 at the age of 9 after being struck by a vehicle as he was walking his bike across the street.

Kellen's mother Jeri Zorn says donations from the community were strong once again, and the funds raised will go towards providing scholarships for music lessons.

"The forms will be available at your child's school at the beginning of the school year. And it will be in the school newsletter, so watch for that."

A free barbecue was provided after the Ride, and several items were raffled off, including 14 new bikes and a custom painted guitar. Zorn says most of those items were donated by community members.

"Almost everything is donated. The only thing we really have to pay for is insurance for the park, and then a portion of the T-shirts."

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2% of all traffic fatalities in 2011 involved bicycles. 2011 is the most recent year that data has been compiled by the Administration.

(Copyright 2014 New Media Broadcasters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
City of Chinook to Increase Water Rates this Fall
CHINOOK, Mont. (NMB) - Last week, a public meeting was held in Chinook to discuss the water rate increases that will take effect this fall. The rates will help pay for a renovation project designed to revise and update the CIty's outdated drinking water system. Chinook Mayor Keith Hanson explains what the rate changes will entail.

"We're shooting for a $5 increase in October of this year, and another $5 increase next October."

He adds that the increase was originally going to be higher, but a $4.6 million grant from Montana's USDA Rural Development allowed the City some wiggle room.

"We were able to scale it almost in half due to the fact that we got an extra million dollars, basically, from Rural Development."

In all, Chinook received $2.4 million in a 60% matching grant. The City took out a loan on the remaining $2.2 million.

(Copyright 2014 New Media Broadcasters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Milk River Indian Days Puts Spotlight on Sacred Drums
HARLEM, Mont. (NMB) - The 50th Annual Milk River Indian Days Celebration wrapped up on Sunday. This year's event featured a number of activities for attendees, including a Toughman Boxing Competition, campout, and the traditional Pow-Wow.

Men's Flag Bearer Duane Buck Sr. says that while the Pow-Wow dancers are usually the main focus for spectators, the drums that accompany the dancing are just as important.

"The drum is a very sacred, powerful piece of our culture. In our minds, and talking to all of the people, they all agree on the importance of that drum, it's such a powerful thing. You could be totally deaf and that drum will touch your heart."

The Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation will hold their annual Pow-Wow this weekend.

(Copyright 2014 New Media Broadcasters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Several Fires Spread through Chouteau County
FORT BENTON, Mont. (NMB) - A series of fires burned approximately 300 acres of land in Chouteau County Sunday night. Chouteau County Sheriff Vern Burdick says his office received a call at 5:07 PM reporting multiple fires alongside Highway 87 between the Kershaw Elevator Area and the Floweree turnoff. The fires were contained by 8:00 PM, and Chouteau County Deputies stayed overnight to monitor.

Burdick says the fires were equipment-caused. He speculates that a piece of machinery in a vehicle heated up or caused sparks as it was driving down Highway 87. He adds that no structures were affected, although a long-abandoned garage and some vehicles were burned.

Burdick says multiple agencies helped battle the blaze. The Fort Benton, Carter and Geraldine Fire Departments all responded, and a few local farmers and ranchers lent a hand, as well.

Burdick says from a monetary perspective, the most damage came from a few power poles that burned down.

(Copyright 2014 New Media Broadcasters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
BLM Offers Tips to Prevent Equipment-Caused Fires
LEWISTOWN, Mont. (NMB) - Haying and crop harvesting season is well underway throughout the state of Montana. Local firefighting agencies are once again asking local producers to take caution when working in the field and operating equipment, as the threat of wildfires are always present. Karly DeMars is a Fire Management Specialist with the Bureau of Land Management's Central Montana District Office in Lewistown. She offers these tips.

"We suggest that you inspect and maintain your equipment, and then ensure that the equipment has a sound and functional exhaust system, and spark arrester. We also encourage people to avoid parking or driving in tall grass."

Some other tips include:

Making sure you have the necessary tools and water to supress a fire including: a fire extinguisher, shovel and water tank with pump and hose.

Having a tractor with tillage equipment attached for emergency line construction

And of course, if a fire does get out of control, call 911 immediately

(Copyright 2014 New Media Broadcasters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
CBP to Hire Additional Officers Nationwide
GREAT FALLS, Mont. (NMB) - As a result of additional funding provided in the fiscal year 2014 budget, U.S. Customs and Border Protection will hire 2,000 additional officers nationwide by the end of fiscal year 2015. CBP is currently accepting applications for positions at land, air and sea ports across the country.

In a statement, Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske says, "We are recruiting applicants of the highest integrity and moral character to become members of the CBP workforce"

Applicants must be a U.S. citizen, referred for selection prior to their 37th birthday, and have a valid driver's license.

There are six Border Patrol stations currently within the Havre Sector. For more information on the CBP officer position, log on to

(Copyright 2014 New Media Broadcasters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Fishing Site on Missouri River Vandalized
GREAT FALLS, Mont. (NMB) - Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is seeking help in finding those responsible for vandalism recently at Widow Coulee Fishing Access Site on the Missouri River. The Site is located 3 miles downstream of the mouth of Belt Creek in Chouteau County.

Sometime between 10:00 PM and 6:00 AM on July 18th and 19th, a large party took place at the Site. Numerous alcohol cans, bottles and trash were left behind. A large fire was abandoned and still burning the next morning when anglers arrived to fish. A building and a pickup truck had windows shot out.

Anyone with information is asked to call 1-800-TIP-MONT. Information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible may result in a reward.

(Copyright 2014 New Media Broadcasters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
New Pest for Local Crop Producers on the Rise
HAVRE, Mont. (NMB) - A relatively new pest in spring wheat management has slowly been cropping up throughout Montana. Flathead and Lake Counties to our west, as well as Richland County to our right, have reported increased numbers of orange blossom wheat midge populations.

The adult midge looks like an orange mosquito, and damage could cause yield reductions of up to 90% or more. Hill County Extension Agent Nicole Gray says that our area hasn't been affected as much as other counties.

"Ironically, they aren't very strong fliers. So fortunately, due to the windy nature of Hill County, that does go in our favor. However, that doesn't mean we won't see them."

Gray also notes that although orange midge may appear in local Hill County crops, there is no need to panic, as the levels aren't elevated enough to make an impact yet.

(Copyright 2014 New Media Broadcasters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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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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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