US Sen. Steve Daines to attend GOP convention after all
GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — Montana Sen. Steve Daines, who was going to bypass the Republican National Convention, will instead be making a brief stop there Tuesday.
The Great Falls Tribune reports Daines will leave from Bozeman for Cleveland on Tuesday before returning to Montana on Wednesday. Daines and his wife will then head out for a fly fishing trip later in the day.
In Cleveland, Daines will meet with Montana’s delegation and join freshman senators to talk about the diversity of the class that includes former military veterans and business leaders.
Daines said the change in plans came about quickly, adding that “It’s tough to trade Montana fly fishing for Cleveland for a day.”
4 ballot measures certified for Montana election in November
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Four initiatives will appear on the ballot in November’s election in Montana.
Secretary of State Linda McCulloch certified the fourth ballot measure last week. That initiative seeks authorization for $200 million in state bonds over 10 years for Montana-based biomedical research into brain diseases, brain injuries and mental illness.
It would create a Montana Biomedical Research Authority to award research grants.
Previously qualifying were initiatives to expand access to medical marijuana, ban trapping on public lands and to expand the rights of crime victims and their families.
McCulloch’s office is continuing to tabulate the signatures submitted by counties on Friday, which was the last day to turn them in.
A proposal to ban all use of marijuana in the state is about 4,100 signatures short of qualifying for the ballot.
State signs forest management deal with federal government
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana Gov. Steve Bullock has signed an agreement with U.S. Forest Service officials that will allow the state to play a bigger role in managing federal forest lands.
The Good Neighbor Authority agreement authorized under the 2014 federal Farm Bill will allow the state to work on behalf of the Forest Service on federal land.
U.S. Agriculture Undersecretary Robert Bonnie says forest restoration work is necessary to counter longer and more intense fire seasons. But he says the Forest Service has fewer employees to do the work needed.
He says the agreement will allow forest projects to be implemented more quickly.
Federal and state officials say the agreement will soon be used for two logging and restoration projects in the Flathead National Forest and the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest.
Man dies in rafting accident on Yellowstone River
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Authorities have released the name of a man who drowned after a rafting accident on the Yellowstone River west of Columbus.
Stillwater County Sheriff Cliff Brophy identified the victim Monday as 47-year-old Lorne Speakerworth, of the Worden and Lockwood areas.
Officials received a 911 call Sunday afternoon from a second man who was in the raft but was able to get to shore after the boat overturned.
Brophy says someone found Speakerworth’s body about a mile and a half downriver about half an hour later. The man was not wearing a life jacket.
Speakerworth’s death has been ruled an accidental drowning.
Man dies in Miles City house fire
MILES CITY, Mont. (AP) — A 65-year-old man died in a weekend house fire in Miles City.
Miles City Fire and Rescue Chief Gary Warren says the fire was reported about 7 p.m. Sunday. When crews arrived, the house was filled with thick smoke.
Firefighters pulled the man from the house, but efforts to revive him failed.
Custer County Sheriff Tony Harbaugh said Monday that Dale Bennett died in the fire. He was a resident of the home and the only person who was believed to be home at the time.
The cause of the fire was still under investigation. The damage was confined to inside the house.
MONTANA TRIPLE FATAL-IDS
Officials identify victims of Kalispell-area crash
KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — Flathead County officials have released the names of three people who were killed in a fiery, rollover crash near Kalispell.
Sheriff Chuck Curry said 51-year-old Kert Lee Dolechek, 38-year-old Amy Nicole Ward and 24-year-old Kendra Lynn Anderson of Kalispell died in the crash at about 2:30 a.m. Saturday.
Curry says it is believed that Dolechek was driving.
The Montana Highway Patrol says the car left the U.S. Highway 93 bypass, rolled and caught fire. Dolechek was ejected from the vehicle and died at the scene. Ward and Anderson were still in the vehicle when it caught fire. Autopsies are planned.