HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A Montana City meat processor claims state livestock agents illegally searched his property after suspending his license in 2013.
Garry Wheelock of Montana City Meats filed a lawsuit in Lewis and Clark County District Court Sept. 10. His claims include violations of his constitutional rights to due process and equal protection, intentional interference with his business, destruction of evidence, trespassing and defamatory statements.
He names the Montana Department of Livestock, former executive officer Christian Mackay and meat inspection bureau chief Gary Hamel (huh-MEL’) as defendants.
Wheelock says the agency suspended his license in 2013 and denied him the right to appeal. He says Hamel illegally searched his home. Wheelock says when he called the sheriff to report trespassers, Hamel convinced officers to arrest him.
Hamel and Board of Livestock member Brett DeBruycker declined to comment Monday.
Former Montana Chief Justice Jean Turnage dies at 89
POLSON, Mont. (AP) — Funeral services are scheduled Thursday for Jean A. Turnage, a former chief justice of the Montana Supreme Court.
Lloyd Turnage says his father died of natural causes Sunday morning at St. Luke Extended Care in Ronan. He was 89.
Turnage was born in St. Ignatius and began his career in public service in 1952 as Lake County attorney. He was in private practice and served 22 years in the Legislature. He was Senate president during the 1981 session. Turnage was elected to the Supreme Court in 1984 and served two 8-year terms before retiring.
He is survived by his wife, Eula Mae, their children Lloyd and Pat along with three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren
His funeral is scheduled for 1 p.m. Thursday at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Polson, followed by a graveside service with military honors at Lakeview Cemetery.
Arson suspected in fire that destroyed Columbia Falls store
(Information in the following story is from: Flathead Beacon, http://www.flatheadbeacon.com)
KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — Investigators say a fire that destroyed the main building of a furniture and flooring store in Columbia Falls may have been intentionally set.
Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry tells The Flathead Beacon the initial investigation points to arson in the fire that destroyed Melby’s Home Interiors early Sunday morning.
When firefighters arrived, the blaze was already into the attic of the structure and it spread throughout the building. The main building is a total loss, but there were no injuries.
Melby’s is the oldest furniture and flooring store in Columbia Falls.
Black bear attacks elderly woman near her Montana home
KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — Wildlife officials say a black bear attacked and injured an elderly woman near her home in northwestern Montana.
State Fish, Wildlife and Parks says the woman was taken to the hospital after the attack Sunday afternoon west of Kalispell. The extent of her injuries was not immediately known.
The department is investigating, and officials were trying to capture the bear early Monday.
Bear activity has increased in recent weeks as the animals prepare for hibernation.
Grizzly killed in collision with vehicle in eastern Idaho
ISLAND PARK, Idaho (AP) — Idaho officials say a young male grizzly bear died after being struck by multiple vehicles on U.S. Highway 20 near the Idaho-Montana border.
Officials say the bear died immediately in the collision at about 11 p.m. Sunday as it tried to cross the road.
The Fremont County Sheriff’s Office says no humans sustained injuries.
Idaho Fish and Game officials say the bear weighed about 200 pounds and hadn’t previously been handled by biologists because it didn’t have a radio collar or markings.
State officials say tissue and hair samples have been collected for DNA purposes, and that a tooth was pulled for examination and to determine a more accurate age.
It’s the third grizzly from the Yellowstone Ecosystem known to have been killed in a vehicle-related encounter this year.
Man struck and killed near Lame Deer
(Information in the following story is from: The Billings Gazette, http://www.billingsgazette.com)
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A 54-year-old man died of injuries he suffered after being struck by a vehicle in Lame Deer.
The Montana Highway Patrol tells The Billings Gazette the collision happened just before 11 p.m. Friday.
The patrol says the intoxicated man unexpectedly stepped into the road in front of a vehicle driven by a 61-year-old Lame Deer man. The driver was unable to stop in time. He was not injured.
Government wants protection restored for Utah prairie dogs
DENVER (AP) — A lawyer for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says a federal judge in Utah went too far when he struck down protections for prairie dogs found only in that state.
Attorney Anna Katselas (kat-SEL’-us) is asking the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver to overturn the decision and restore protection for the Utah prairie dog under the Endangered Species Act.
Jonathan Wood, an attorney for residents who challenged the prairie dog rules, argued Monday that the federal government has no constitutional authority to protect a species found in only one state.
Activists say the lower court’s ruling could undermine the Endangered Species Act.
The arguments before the appeals court focus only on the legal merits of the lower court decision.
The appeals court didn’t say when it would rule.