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THE LATEST REGIONAL NEWS

3 Hotels Slated to Open in Bozeman Over 18 Months
BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) - Three new hotels are slated to open in Bozeman over the next 18 months.

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports a 102-room, $22 million boutique hotel is being built on top of the historic National Guard Armory. The project, called the Etha, will be run by La Tour Hotels and Restaurants and is expected to open in the fall of 2015.

Farther west on Mendenhall Street, a 104-room hotel called The Element Bozeman is being built by HomeBase Montana. It will be operated by Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide and it is scheduled to open in May 2015.

The 38-room Lark Motel is scheduled to open downtown in December after being rebuilt at the site of the former Imperial Inn.
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7 Whooping Cough Cases Confirmed Around Helena
HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Health officials say seven cases of whooping cough have been confirmed in and around Helena.

Karen Wandel of the Lewis and Clark City-County Health Department tells the Independent Record that two or three more cases would have to be reported to consider it an outbreak.

Wandel says the cases began appearing this month and have affected children from preschool to high school ages. Four of the seven cases have been reported at Capital High School.

Whooping cough, or pertussis, is a contagious respiratory disease that can cause severe coughing. The illness can be potentially deadly to infants or small children who are too young to be vaccinated.

Wandel advises parents to have their pre-teen children vaccinated and adults to make sure they have had pertussis booster shots.
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Attorney General to Defend Cap on Court Awards
HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Montana's attorney general intends to defend the state's limit on the punitive damages that can be awarded to an individual by a judge or jury.

The attorney general's office filed notice with the Montana Supreme Court on Tuesday that Tim Fox will intervene in a constitutional challenge of the $10 million punitive-damage cap.

District Judge Kurt Krueger of Butte previously ruled the cap is not a large enough deterrent for a big company. The ruling came in a case in which a jury awarded a $52 million judgment against Comerica Inc. for reneging on a 2008 agreement with a Butte-based office supply company.

The company, Masters Group International Inc., is asking the Supreme Court to uphold Krueger's ruling that the state law setting the cap is unconstitutional.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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Bozeman Caretaker Sentenced for Elder Abuse
BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) - A Bozeman woman has been sentenced to five years' probation for abusing the partially paralyzed 63-year-old man who hired her to care for him.

Elsie Evans McEntire previously pleaded no contest to felony elder abuse.

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports District Judge Holly Brown sentenced the 53-year-old McEntire Tuesday.

Brown also ordered McEntire to participate in the Treatment Court program.

Prosecutors say the man told police on Sept. 3 McEntire hit him with a fan. She denied it, but said they had been arguing.

Police returned to the mobile home about 35 minutes later after the man said McEntire threatened to kill him with a kitchen knife.

Prosecutors say McEntire was in the back of the trailer, fought with officers and had to be carried to the patrol car.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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'Free the River' Signs Appear Along Bitterroot
HAMILTON, Mont. (AP) - Signs have appeared along a closed portion of the Bitterroot River that say "Free the River."

Officials closed the river this month to floaters between the Woodside and Tucker fishing access sites near a diversion dam.

A 6-year-old girl drowned there last summer and officials say there have been a couple of close calls there this month.

Pat Saffel of Fish, Wildlife and Parks says the agency is looking for comments on what should be done about the dam.

The Ravalli Republic reports FWP is looking to do an assessment to see how safety can be improved.

Saffel says the closure will probably remain in place until the river's high flows stabilize in July, when additional warning signs should be in place.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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Georgia Man Pleads Guilty in Mont. Check Scheme
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - A Georgia man accused of recruiting Montana transients to participate in a check-cashing scheme has pleaded guilty to forgery charges.

Chaney Demond Sibley of Atlanta appeared Tuesday before District Judge Russell Fagg in Billings.

Prosecutors say the 27-year-old Sibley and three others forged payroll checks stolen from mailboxes using transients' personal information. They paid the transients to cash the checks.

Charging documents say they cashed about $24,500 in checks between Jan. 6 and 8.

A plea agreement to five felony counts recommends that Sibley be given a suspended 10-year prison sentence, pay a $500 fine and write apology letters to the victims.

Another man, Justin Phillips, also has pleaded guilty to forgery.

Two other men from Georgia are accused of a series of similar check-cashing sprees in October and November.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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Kalispell Police Await Shooting Death Lab Results
KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) - Kalispell police say they have completed their investigation and are awaiting lab results from evidence gathered in an apparent murder-suicide.

Police Chief Roger Nasset tells The Daily Inter Lake in a story published Wednesday the Montana Crime Lab is analyzing evidence from the scene of last month's shooting.

Authorities say Stacy and Dan Fleck, both 51, were found on the floor in one of the bedrooms of their house.

Police responded after dispatchers received a call from a man saying his father had just shot his mother and was going to commit suicide.
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Montana Sentenced In Washington Cold Case Killing
HAMILTON, Mont. (AP) - A 60-year-old Montana man has been sentenced to less than 3 years in prison for the 1996 death of a Kirkland, Wash., woman.

Clifford Reed of Victor was sentenced to 41 months in the slaying of 28-year-old Sandi Johnson, whose remains were found in Pierce County eight years after she disappeared.

Reed was arrested in 2012. He pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in March and was sentenced in King County Superior Court on April 11.

The Ravalli Republic reports Reed had already spent 494 days in jail and should be free by 2016.

King County Prosecutor's Office chief of staff Ian Goodhew says the 41-month sentence was at the top of the range for manslaughter in 1996.

Since then, Washington state has increased the manslaughter sentencing range.
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Panel Recommends Site for MSU Engineering School
BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) - Montana State University's planning board is recommending a new $50 million engineering school be built where a parking lot, tennis courts and a lawn now stand.

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports the board voted Tuesday for the site on Grant Street in Bozeman. The recommendation now goes to MSU President Waded Cruzado.

Facilities planning director says other site options were either too small, too far from other engineering classrooms or would cause delays in construction.

The new College of Engineering building is being constructed with a $50 million donation from a graduate. The building is to be about 125,000 square feet.

The board's vote was unanimous, though committee member Jim Thull says he is concerned about losing the only paid parking lot on campus.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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TRadio Listings for Apr. 23rd
FOR SALE:

Child Bed $200 OBO
Child Toys = 378-2558

Organ $650 OBO = 265-2941

2008 Honda Sportbike $7,250 = 945-3418

2 Wheelchair Batteries = 262-2700

1988 Ford Van $1,500 OBO = 399-3351

22' Flatbed Trailer, Triple Axel
Hot Tub = 390-6269

1991 Chevrolet Pickup = 399-3067 or 262-7729

Firewood = 265-6865

1994 Buick LeSabre = 360-0135

Luggage, 3 Pieces $10/ea., $25 for all 3 = 265-7841

GIVE AWAY:

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Couch and Loveseat = 945-7653

WANT:

Project Car, 2000 or newer = 945-0070

Small Side Window for 1992 Chevrolet Pickup = 265-4026

FOR RENT:

3 Bd. Apartment = 265-8677 LM
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Tribe's Electronics Company Signs $1.8M Contract
PABLO, Mont. (AP) - An electronics manufacturing company owned by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes has signed a $1.8 million contract to help produce a missile-detection system used by military helicopters.

SandK Electronics signed the contract with global military contractor BAE Systems in Pablo Tuesday.

The Missoulian reports BAE produces an infrared detection system called the Common Missile Warning system for the U.S. Department of Defense. SandK will manufacture hundreds of the system's third-generation Electronic Control Unit Connector Interface Panel Assembly each year.

SandK president and general manager Larry Hall says the system protects people in low- and slow-flying helicopters.

SandK had been manufacturing products for BAE before, but officials say the new contract is a significant increase in the partnership.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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6 Plead Not Guilty to Meth Trafficking
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - Six people have pleaded not guilty to federal charges of trafficking methamphetamine from California to the Northern Plains.

The Billings Gazette reports the defendants entered pleas Tuesday in Billings federal court.

They're among 11 people arrested in March. FBI affidavits described an operation that shipped more than 2 pounds of meth to suspects in Billings and Roundup, Mont., and Rapid City, S.D., this year.

Authorities say those locations could serve as staging points to move drugs into the Bakken oil field.

A multi-count indictment was filed Friday but remains sealed.

The arrests represent at least the third major trafficking ring to be targeted by state and federal law enforcement as authorities crack down on drug dealers trying to profit off the oil money flowing into the region.


(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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Bozeman to Decide on Site for 2nd High School
BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) - Voters in Bozeman are being asked for approval to spend $1.1 million buy 37 acres of land on the northwest side of town as a possible site for a second high school.

Gallatin County elections clerk Charlotte Mills tells the Bozeman Daily Chronicle the ballots were mailed out Monday.

Nine years ago, voters approved spending $3 million to buy 57 acres of land for a future high school site south of Huffine Lane. Superintendent Rob Watson says housing developments have been slow to reach that site, meaning it would cost much more to extend sewer and water lines.

Meanwhile, growth is happening north of Huffine Lane, near the 37-acre property. The school has the money to buy the land, but needs voter approval to spend it.
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Bullock Tax Returns Show $145K in Income for 2013
HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Gov. Steve Bullock and his wife Lisa made $145,000 last year and paid just over $23,000 in state and federal income taxes.

The Democratic governor recently released his 2013 tax returns to the public.

Lee Newspapers of Montana reports the couple's tax filings show their combined salaries totaled nearly $135,000. They also reported about $6,600 in rental income along with some dividends and capital gains on investments.

The Bullocks paid just over $16,000 in federal income taxes and more than $7,200 in state income taxes. They reported giving more than $6,400 to charity.

In 2012, the couple reported $178,000 in income and paid about $32,000 in federal and state income taxes.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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Charges Filed in 2012 Death of Montana Infant
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - A woman who told California authorities she was involved in the death of her 3-month-old daughter in Montana has been charged with felony negligent homicide and other counts.

The Billings Gazette reported Tuesday 23-year-old Amanda Gilbert also faces charges of assault on a minor, aggravated assault and criminal endangerment. All the charges are felonies.

Gilbert went to the Sonoma County, Calif., Sheriff's Department on Friday and told officials she was involved in the 2012 death of her daughter in Billings.

Prosecutors didn't file charges at the time because they had insufficient evidence. An autopsy was inconclusive.

Montana authorities were preparing documents to extradite Gilbert.


(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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County May Remove Time Limits on Political Signs
KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) - Flathead County commissioners are considering eliminating time constraints on the posting of political signs on private property.

The currently regulation states that a political sign could not be put up on zoned private land more than 30 days prior to an election and that signs must be removed no more than one week after the election.

The commission is scheduled to vote Friday. Planning director BJ Grieve says court cases in other states have determined that limiting the time period for political signs is an unconstitutional restriction on free speech.

Grieve says the state Department of Transportation has removed any time restrictions on political signs and other Montana cities have stopped enforcing similar rules.

The county planning board recommended in February that commissioners approve the change.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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Dark-Money Complaint Against MT Senator Dismissed
HELENA, Mont. (AP) - The commissioner of political practices has dismissed a complaint accusing a Republican senator from Great Falls of coordinating his 2010 campaign with a secretive conservative group.

Commissioner Jonathan Motl writes in his decision issued Tuesday that there is insufficient evidence to find Sen. Ed Buttrey illegally coordinated with Western Tradition Partnership.

Motl says Buttrey and Western Tradition Partnership had an arms-length client-vendor relationship for printing services. Motl says that is a different relationship from the nine other 2010 candidates that Motl determined illegally coordinated with the group.

Motl filed civil actions against those nine candidates, including Senate Majority Leader Art Wittich of Bozeman and Rep. Mike Miller of Helmville.

Buttrey defeated Democrat Kathy Galvin-Halcro in the 2010 general election. The complaint was filed this February by David Ponte of Bozeman.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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Great Falls Man Enters Plea in Rape Case
GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) - A Great Falls man who was charged with raping four girls between the ages of 12 and 14 has entered an Alford plea to a charge of sexual intercourse without consent.

The Great Falls Tribune reports18-year-old Kristian Underdahl entered his plea Friday before District Judge Kenneth Neill. A sentencing date has not been set.

In March, Underdahl pleaded guilty to rape during a separate hearing before District Judge Greg Pinski. Pinski had rejected an Alford plea, under which a defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges prosecutors have enough evidence to gain a conviction.

Under the plea agreements, prosecutors will recommend that Underdahl be sentenced to 10 years in prison, followed by 35 years of probation. Pinski scheduled sentencing for May 7 and has told Underdahl he could hand down a longer sentence.
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Groups File Appeal Over Management of Pryor Horses
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - Wild horse advocacy groups are appealing a federal judge's ruling that denied their challenge to the government's management of the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range.

The Cloud Foundation and Front Range Equine Rescue filed their appeal Monday in District of Columbia Circuit Court.

The groups sued federal officials in 2009 in a bid to halt the roundup and adoption of horses from the 38,000-acre range along the Montana-Wyoming border. The lawsuit was later amended to challenge a plan that set a population target of 90 to 120 horses for the range.

U.S. District Judge James Gwin has allowed the roundups. He said in November that the government went through appropriate steps to set the population number.

The Pryor herd is believed to be descended from horses used by Spanish Conquistadors.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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Health Officials Issue Warning About Hantaviru
HELENA, Mont. (AP) - State health officials are reminding Montana residents to take steps to avoid hantavirus, which can be contracted when cleaning out cabins or sheds where infected deer mice may have been living.

Karl Milhon is with the health department's Communicable Disease Bureau. He says one to two people per year contract the virus when they breathe air contaminated with the virus. He says it's important to avoid actions that raise dust if signs of rodents are present.

When cleaning areas where rodents may nest, officials recommend using rubber or plastic gloves and spraying or soaking the area with a mixture of bleach and water to reduce dust and disinfect the area.

Early symptoms of hantavirus are similar to the flu. Severe cases can lead to hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, which can be fatal.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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Horse Owners Urged to Consider West Nile Vaccine
HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Montana's animal health officials are encouraging horse owners to consult with their veterinarians about vaccinating their animals against the West Nile virus after a spike in the number of cases last year.

Assistant state veterinarian Tahnee Szymanski says Montana had 32 equine cases of West Nile Virus in 2013, which was the third highest total in the nation.

The state Department of Livestock says it has no record of a horse that was current on vaccinations contracting the mosquito-borne disease. In contrast, one-third of the 492 non-vaccinated horses that contracted West Nile since 2002 either died or had to be euthanized.

Szymanski says there is no treatment for the disease.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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Man Dies, Another Injured in Motorcycle Crash
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - A 29-year-old man died and his 31-year-old passenger was injured in a motorcycle crash near Sidney.

The Montana Highway Patrol says the motorcycle was southbound on a county road at about 10:25 p.m. Monday when it drifted onto the shoulder. The patrol says the driver over-corrected, the motorcycle went off the road and both men were thrown from the bike.

The Billings Gazette reports the driver died at the scene while his passenger was taken to the hospital in Sidney. Their names have not been released. Both are from Sidney.

The crash is still under investigation. The patrol says neither man was wearing a helmet.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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State Gives $900K for Aging, Memory Research
HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Gov. Steve Bullock's office says more than $900,000 in state funds will go to help create the Montana Center for Aging Research and Memory Care.

The center will research and treat memory disorders and neurogenerative diseases from Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

The governor's office said Monday the center is an alliance between the McLaughlin Research Institute for Biomedical Sciences and Benefis Health System in Great Falls.

The $904,500 will come from the state Department of Commerce's Bio-Medical Research Grant Program. The money will go to implement new technology, buy updated lab equipment and supplies, pay for seven scientists and researchers and support an animal resource center.

The Legislature last year appropriated $1 million for the Montana Department of Commerce to grant funds for bio-medical research in Montana.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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Ursulines Ask To Bring Diocese Back to State Court
HELENA, Mont. (AP) - An order of nuns being sued for child sex abuse wants to bring the Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena back into state court.

Attorneys for the Ursuline Sisters of the Western Province say they may seek to have the diocese to pay for part of any judgment that goes against the order.

They want a judge to lift a stay in legal proceedings against the diocese granted when it filed for federal bankruptcy protection.

The Ursulines and the diocese are being sued by 362 alleged abuse victims from the 1940s to the 1970s.

The bankruptcy is part of a proposed settlement with the victims. The Ursulines are not part of the settlement.

The diocese opposes the Ursulines' request. Attorney Ford Elsaesser said Tuesday the settlement will take care of all claims against the diocese.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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KPQX regional and state news emphasizes quality and substance. Audio is utilized to ensure accurate reporting - no misquotes or misinterpretations because listeners hear the actual quote and audio from the people and events making the news. You interpret this significance of the report yourself.

Our regional 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. Regional and state news are developed through a working relationship with other radio stations throughout the region and state of Montana.

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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