Montana’s unemployment rate falls to 4 percent in April
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 4 percent in April, the lowest rate since September 2007.
The state’s unemployment rate was revised to 4.2 percent in March.
Gov. Steve Bullock says more people are looking for work and more people have been able to find jobs.
Labor Commissioner Pam Bucy says the agency expects strong wage growth due to the lower unemployment numbers.
Montana’s total employment grew by nearly 1,300 jobs in April, including 1,100 payroll jobs. In the past 12 months, the state has added more than 10,700 total jobs. The total jobs number includes payroll, agricultural jobs and the self-employed.
The national unemployment rate was 5.4 percent in April.
Man pleads guilty to assaulting baby
(Information in the following story is from: The Billings Gazette, http://www.billingsgazette.com)
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A 25-year-old Billings man has pleaded guilty to assaulting a baby born with serious medical issues and then trying to convince the baby’s mother not to testify against him.
The Billings Gazette reports Trevor Casey McAllister pleaded guilty Tuesday to felony aggravated assault and witness tampering. The plea agreement recommends McAllister be sentenced to 15 years in prison with 10 suspended.
Prosecutors alleged the child suffered head injuries and a broken shoulder while in McAllister’s care in September 2012. Court records say McAllister called the child’s mother from jail and tried to convince her not to testify against him.
Court records say the baby was born prematurely and had a heart condition and a neck deformity.
District Judge Michael Moses scheduled sentencing for July 27.
Havre man charged with tax fraud
GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — A Havre man has denied charges that he falsely reported his income from 2009 through 2011.
Darin Lee Miller, the acting CEO of the Rocky Boy Health Clinic, pleaded not guilty to three counts of income tax evasion Tuesday during his arraignment before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah Johnson in Great Falls.
Prosecutors allege Miller reported just over $302,000 in income over the three years and paid just over $48,000 in taxes, but had actually earned $90,000 more over the three years and should have paid another $41,000 in taxes.
Miller’s trial was set for Aug. 3.
The two previous clinic employees have faced federal charges. Fawn Tadios is appealing her embezzlement conviction, for which she was sentenced to a year in prison and ordered to pay $15,000 in restitution. Tim Rosette has been indicted on a bribery charge.
Utah man owes $97K for Montana work comp fraud
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A man who suffered a knee injury while working at the Montana State Prison in 2000 has acknowledged defrauding the state workers’ compensation fund by collecting disability benefits while running a construction company in Utah.
The attorney general’s office says 52-year-old Benjie Leroy Christensen of Roosevelt, Utah, pleaded guilty to felony theft in District Court in Helena on May 21. He was given a 10-year probationary sentence and ordered to pay more than $97,000 in restitution.
Charging documents alleged Christensen started collecting permanent disability benefits in April 2004.
A lack of information from Christensen’s doctor led to a state investigation that found Christensen was working full days at construction sites in Vernal, Utah, while telling the state fund he was unable to work and spent most of his days in bed.
Montana Western brings in veterinary tech program
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Arizona-based Pima Medical Institute plans to offer veterinary technician and veterinarian assistant programs in collaboration with the University of Montana Western in Dillon.
PMI is building its educational lab and accepting applications for classes that will begin in November. Students in the programs will have access to Western’s housing, dining and recreation facilities.
Provost Karl Ulrich says Western’s equine studies students also are interested in the programs to supplement their coursework.
The vet tech program takes 18 months and trains students to become veterinary nurses. The curriculum includes animal behavior and care, surgical assisting and laboratory testing.
The nine-month vet assistant program trains students in post-operative animal care, surgical assistance, teeth cleaning, medication administration, blood draws and lab work.
Veterinarian Rick Scherr of Great Falls says the program will help fill a need in Montana.
Great Falls woman charged with stabbing boyfriend to death
GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — A 52-year-old Great Falls woman is charged with deliberate homicide in the stabbing death of her boyfriend.
Diana Jo McClammy made an initial appearance in District Court on Tuesday via video from the Cascade County jail. She did not enter a plea. Her bond was set at $250,000.
Prosecutors allege an intoxicated McClammy stabbed 53-year-old Louis Dymon in the chest Friday night, about an hour after police had responded to a reported domestic disturbance.
The police report said McClammy told officers that Dymon had assaulted her. Officers saw no sign that she’d been injured. They said Dymon was not intoxicated and denied the accusation. Police told the two to separate for the evening.
Court records say the manager of the apartment building called police about an hour later to report the stabbing.
Wildlife officials investigate shooting death of female bear
(Information in the following story is from: Flathead Beacon, http://www.flatheadbeacon.com)
KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — State and federal wildlife officials are investigating who shot and killed a female grizzly bear found May 20 in northern Montana near Glacier National Park.
The Flathead Beacon reports a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service special agent and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologists went to the site and found evidence of two 15-month-old bear cubs. They appeared healthy and were left in the wild.
An examination of the female bear’s carcass at a Bozeman lab showed the animal was shot.
Anyone with information is being asked to contact wildlife officials.
Man who killed 3 bears gets probation, $15,000 fine
(Information in the following story is from: Daily Inter Lake, http://www.dailyinterlake.com)
KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — The man who was convicted in March of killing three grizzly bears has about two weeks to file an appeal.
The Daily Inter Lake reports a Missoula court sentenced Dan Calvert Wallen on Tuesday to spending 60 days in a pre-release center, three years on probation and $15,000 in restitution.
Court documents say the Ferndale man shot the three juvenile bears when they came into his yard in May 2014 and went for his chicken coop, where they’d killed several birds previously. Wallen drove them off with a truck, and then shot them when they returned shortly after.
John Rhodes is defending Wallen and says he intends to appeal, but didn’t specify on what grounds.