MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — The University of Montana is surveying faculty and staff about their interest in early retirement as the university seeks to cut spending due to decreasing enrollment.
The Missoulian reports the email, sent Wednesday, asked employees for their age, years at UM, interest in early retirement, the year they had planned to retire and the earliest retirement possibility with an adequate incentive. They were also asked to name their biggest concern. Answers are due by Tuesday.
UM spokeswoman Paula Short says the university is still exploring a buyout and is asking potentially eligible employees what they see as the possible benefits and barriers of such a program.
The commissioner of higher education has said UM needs to reduce its staffing budget.
6-year-old boy survives crash into canal that killed mom
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A 6-year-old boy survived a crash into a Missouri River canal in southwestern Montana that killed his mother.
The Montana Highway Patrol says the boy escaped the sinking sport utility vehicle Saturday night and was rescued by people camping in the area who heard the crash.
The patrol says a 28-year-old Billings woman sped away from the Toston Dam Campground at about 10:15 p.m. She lost control of her SUV on a curve in the gravel road and crashed into the dam’s intake canal.
Sgt. Glen Barcus says the SUV quickly sank, but the boy was able to get out and on top of the vehicle. He suffered minor injuries.
Fellow campers were unable to pull the woman from the vehicle. Her name hasn’t been released.
Idaho man killed while pushing out-of-gas car off interstate
BUTTE, Mont. (AP) — A semitrailer struck and killed an Idaho man who was pushing his car off Interstate 15-90 after it ran out of gas in southwestern Montana.
The Montana Highway Patrol says the truck driver tried to stop and tried to avoid hitting the disabled car, but hit the driver’s side of the car at about 1 a.m. Saturday near Rocker.
The 37-year-old man from Pocatello, Idaho who was pushing the car took most of the force of the impact. He died at the scene. His name has not been released.
A woman who also was pushing the car was thrown into the ditch. Trooper James Beck says she had some cuts and a broken finger.
Beck says the car’s emergency flashers were on.
The truck driver, also from Pocatello, was hauling three trailers.
Gardiner seventh-grader wins state spelling bee
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Aidan Veress, a 13-year-old seventh-grader at Gardiner Public Schools, won the Treasure State Spelling Bee in Billings.
The Billings Gazette reports Veress correctly spelled “duende” — the power to attract through personal magnetism and charm — and “esbat” — a meeting of a coven of witches — to win Saturday’s competition.
Siena Popiel, an eighth-grader from Sacajawea Middle School in Bozeman, was the runner-up. The next three places went to Alexa Lewis of Gallatin Valley Homeschool, Reagan Remmers of Target Range School in Missoula and Keegan Treptow of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School in Great Falls.
Veress, who was the runner-up last year, advances to the Scripps National Spelling Bee May 28-June 4 in Washington, D.C.
Linda Veress said her son’s love of reading helps with his spelling and vocabulary.
Sen. Booker headlines Montana Democrats’ annual dinner
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana Democrats are bringing in one of their national party’s rising stars to headline their annual dinner, but the hundreds who gathered in Helena on Saturday wanted to hear more from one of their own.
Musician Rob Quist needs to convince fellow Democrats that he can win the state’s only congressional seat and help national Democrats push back against the Republican tide. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey was scheduled to speak.
Quist will have to prevail in the May 25 special election against Republican Greg Gianforte, a Bozeman entrepreneur and former gubernatorial candidate.
Quist has been traveling the state as he did while on tour for his musical group. He will also have to convince donors to invest in his campaign. Quist said he has raised at least $350,000.
Special election spending tops $800,000 in just 2 weeks
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Candidates vying to replace Republican Ryan Zinke in Congress have already spend more than $800,000 in just two weeks.
Montana voters will pick a new U.S. House representative on May 25. The campaign for the election officially started March 1 when Zinke resigned in order to lead the Department of the Interior.
The Billings Gazette reports that according to Federal Corporation Commission data, a super political action committee associated with House Republicans has pledged to spend $700,000 in Montana’s special election and has begun running ads against Democrat Rob Quist. Republican Candidate Greg Gianforte has spent more than $100,000 on ads.
Campaigns are only required to report on fundraising efforts twice before the election. On April 25 they will issue quarterly reports and 15 days before the election, campaign committees will have to disclose spending and donations.