Chancellor says no conspiracy in flying out Saudi students
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana Tech’s chancellor says he did not conspire with Saudi diplomats to fly students involved in a grade-changing scandal out of the United States.
Saudi Embassy memos recently published by WikiLeaks revealed that Chancellor Donald Blackketter suggested that Saudi officials fly the students home in 2012 to avoid deportation or arrest.
Blackketter says in a statement to The Associated Press Tuesday that he met with Saudi government officials who were sponsoring the students to inform them of impending academic sanctions.
He says he told the officials that when the sanctions were imposed, the students’ status would be terminated and they would be required to return to their home country almost immediately.
Blackketter says no students involved committed a crime, and the school treated the Saudi students as any other student would be treated.
Blackfeet man says he’ll run for US House in 2016
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A Blackfeet tribal member says he is running for Montana’s U.S. House seat as a Democrat in 2016.
James Stgoddard (SAINT GOH’dard) announced his intentions Tuesday in front of a small gathering outside the Montana Capitol. He says he prefers his name spelled as one word although past references to him and his work have been as two words.
The 57-year-old Stgoddard is a spiritual leader of the Blackfoot Confederacy, which comprises Blackfeet tribes in Canada and the tribe in northwestern Montana.
He says he recently moved from Browning to Whitehall to run a positive campaign that brings Montanans together. He’s the first to jump into the 2016 House race.
Republican U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke was elected to the seat in November.
Billings Republican joins race for education official’s seat
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Two candidates have entered the race to replace Montana’s term-limited Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Billings Sen. Elsie Arntzen, a 59-year-old elementary school teacher and six-term state legislator, filed paperwork last week to campaign to become the state’s top education official.
Arntzen ran for Montana’s U.S. House seat in 2014, but took fourth place in the Republican primary.
She joins 38-year-old Melissa Romano-Lehman, who filed paperwork and began fundraising in February. The Helena Democrat is a kindergarten teacher and president of Montana Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
Republican Sandy Welch filed and then withdrew her candidacy for the position in 2013. Welch says she won’t be re-entering the race as she expects as many as three Republicans to run.
Democratic Superintendent Denise Juneau’s term ends in January 2017.
3 injured in plane crash at Montana wilderness airstrip
KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — Three men were injured when an airplane crashed near an airstrip in the Great Bear Wilderness in northwestern Montana.
Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry says the Cessna 206 single-engine plane operated by Red Eagle Aviation crashed at the west end of the Schafer Meadows airstrip at about 11 a.m. Tuesday. All three on board suffered non-life threatening injuries. They were taken to Kalispell Regional Medical Center for treatment.
Spotted Bear District Ranger Deb Mucklow says the plane was a commercial charter flying people in to Schafer, southeast of Kalispell. The men planned to raft down the Middle Fork of the Flathead River.
The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the cause of the crash.
Man gets 50 years in prison for campground killing
(Information in the following story is from: The Montana Standard, http://www.mtstandard.com)
BUTTE, Mont. (AP) — A transient who pleaded guilty to killing a Butte man at a southwestern Montana campground last August has been sentenced to 50 years in prison.
The Montana Standard reports District Judge Loren Tucker of Dillon sentenced Christopher Lee Stiles on Tuesday to 100 years in prison with 50 suspended for the death of Mark Robert Mullen at the Bryant Creek Campground near Wise River.
Stiles and Sandra Lee Ann Cantrell were arrested three days later in Missoula.
Charging documents allege Mullen was intoxicated and told Stiles and Cantrell that they were no longer welcome at his camp unless they had sex with him. Stiles said Cantrell stabbed Mullen with a knife and Stiles hit him over the head with a stick, killing him.
Cantrell faces a July 20 trial for accountability to deliberate homicide.
Washington man presumed drowned in Montana reservoir
SHELBY, Mont. (AP) — A Washington state man is missing and presumed drowned in a north-central Montana reservoir.
Toole County Sheriff Donna Whitt says 34-year-old Adam Lee Wills and a woman were floating on a small aluminum boat on Lake Elwell on Saturday evening when the wind picked up, causing waves that capsized the boat.
Whitt says the woman was able to make it to shore after about an hour, but she lost sight of Wills.
Extensive air, land and water searches were conducted Sunday. Searchers located what they believed to be a submerged body in about 85 feet of water using sonar. Deep water divers brought in Monday were unable to locate the body.
Whitt did not release Wills’ hometown.
Havre jury acquits probation officer of rape
(Information in the following story is from: Havre Daily News, http://www.havredailynews.com)
HAVRE, Mont. (AP) — A Hill County jury has acquitted a former youth probation officer of raping the mother of a boy under his supervision.
The Havre Daily News reports jurors deliberated about an hour Friday before finding Stephen Mills not guilty.
The woman told investigators Mills offered her a ride after she got into a fight at a Havre bar in January 2014, but he instead took her to his house and forced her to perform a sex act. Prosecutors said DNA evidence taken from the woman matched Mills’ DNA profile.
Defense attorney Jeremy Yellin argued the accuser concocted the story because Mills was recommending her son be placed in a group home.
After police interviewed the woman, she asked if her son might be assigned another probation officer.
Mills lost his job after the charge was filed.
Kalispell man charged with attempted homicide after crash
(Information in the following story is from: The Montana Standard, http://www.mtstandard.com)
BUTTE, Mont. (AP) — A 43-year-old Kalispell man is charged with attempted deliberate homicide after another man reported he ran him off the road in Butte.
The Montana Standard reports Ian Gabriel Lenders was stopped in Lake County just before noon Saturday — about four hours after the altercation.
Butte-Silver Bow County officials said Gabriel was charged Saturday with attempted deliberate homicide and a warrant was issued. He posted a $50,000 bond and was released from jail early Monday.
Prosecutors allege Lenders and a 39-year-old Butte man were arguing over a woman Saturday morning when Lenders allegedly pulled a gun on the man.
The man fled the scene in his pickup truck, but Lenders followed in a semi-tractor. The pickup struck a light pole.
Lenders was expected to make an initial appearance in Justice Court on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Former ski area near Missoula for sale for $3 million
(Information in the following story is from: Missoulian, http://www.missoulian.com)
MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — An iconic ski area northeast of Missoula is up for sale more than a decade after its pink chairlifts stopped running.
The Missoulian reports that Marshall Mountain ski area began operating in the winter of 1941, closed down in 2003 and is now available for purchase at $2.95 million.
The area offered night skiing by kerosene flames beginning in 1958 and operated continuously until 2003, when financial issues and an IRS property seizure forced it to close.
The lower 156 acres, complete with the old ski school and the main lodge, have been listed for about 30 days by Jeremy Williams of Windermere Real Estate.
The land is zoned to allow commercial recreation, including country clubs campgrounds, riding stables and skiing.
Great Falls woman charged with hitting boyfriend with pickup
(Information in the following story is from: Great Falls Tribune, http://www.greatfallstribune.com)
GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — A Great Falls woman is charged with intentionally striking her ex-boyfriend with her pickup truck.
The Great Falls Tribune reports 46-year-old Terese Monreve Denny made an initial appearance in District Court Tuesday and was charged with assault with a weapon and partner or family member assault. She did not enter a plea.
Court records say Denny told police she was angry with her former boyfriend for throwing rocks at her pickup, along with previous incidents.
The man said he threw two dirt clods at Denny’s truck Monday evening and she turned her truck around and ran him over.
Responding officers found him lying on the street, bleeding from the head.
Public defender Matt McKittrick said the incident was likely born out of a history of domestic violence.
District Judge Kenneth Neill set Denny’s bail at $5,000.
Woman killed, passenger injured in crash near Billings
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A Billings woman was killed and her passenger critically injured in a one-vehicle crash on Montana Secondary Highway 416 south of Billings.
The Montana Highway Patrol says the woman was driving southbound at about 8:30 p.m. Monday when the car went off the road and onto the grassy shoulder about six miles south of Billings. The driver tried to correct back onto the road, but the car collided with a guardrail.
The patrol says the guardrail penetrated the driver’s side door.
Yellowstone County Assistant Coroner Cliff Mahoney tells KULR-TV that the victim was 58-year-old Beatriz Costillo Zapata.
Her 59-year-old passenger was taken to a Billings hospital with critical injuries. The patrol says she told officers the driver kept falling asleep and she had to repeatedly keep waking her up.
Seized horses up for adoption after Rocky Acres dissolution
(Information in the following story is from: Independent Record, http://www.helenair.com)
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Allegations of animal cruelty have led to the dissolution of Rocky Acres Rescue and Sanctuary Inc., leaving 15 horses and one donkey up for adoption.
The Independent Record reports a district judge Monday ordered a committee to dispose of the corporation’s assets, including the horses that have been under Broadwater County care.
Former owners of Rocky Acres, Thomas Jessberger and Dalene Rindal, each face 34 felony counts of cruelty to animals and one misdemeanor.
Attorney Cory Swanson claims that the animals hadn’t been disposed as required by state law after Rocky Acres was dissolved in December 2014.
In court, Jessberger said he had tried to offer assistance with the animals but was turned away.
Committee-member John Walsh said Montana Horse Sanctuary has been contacted regarding the horses’ adoption proceedings.