April 25 Montana News Briefs

Executive director of Montana Board of Investments retiring

HELENA (AP) — The executive director of the Montana Board of Investments is retiring in September. David Ewer is a former state legislator from Helena who opposed electric deregulation, was state budget director for Gov. Brian Schweitzer and has overseen the Board of Investments for seven years. The board’s work includes investing and administering $18.5 billion in operating, working capital, trust funds, insurance funds and pension funds for the state. Schweitzer tells the Great Falls Tribune that in 2009-10, during the middle of the Great Recession, only two states were in the black and Montana was one of them. He says he credits Ewer. Ewer has worked for the board for 19 years and has also served as head of a municipal bond program, manager of its international stock portfolio, research manager and deputy director.

Man pleads guilty to brandishing firearm during carjacking

HELENA (AP) — A 28-year-old Montana man who is serving a 100-year prison sentence for a homicide in Great Falls has pleaded guilty to a federal charge of brandishing a firearm during a carjacking north of Helena as he fled authorities. The Independent Record reports Branden Conrad Miesmer entered his plea Tuesday before U.S. District Judge Charles Lovell. Sentencing is set for Sept. 18. Miesmer is in prison for shooting 26-year-old Cody Bruyere in the head in September 2015 while under the influence of methamphetamine. He said he thought Bruyere was an informant. Miesmer reportedly forced a couple to drive him to Helena and carjacked a family north of the city, prompting a multiday manhunt. On Tuesday, Miesmer said he doesn’t remember the crime and is a different person because he is taking medication to treat several mental illnesses and PTSD.

Montana authorities identify 9-year-old killed in crash

HELENA (AP) — Authorities have identified the 9-year-old boy who died after crashing an all-terrain vehicle. The Independent Record reports that Trystan James Stratton, a third-grade student at Boulder Elementary School, died in the crash Sunday afternoon. The Montana Highway Patrol says the boy drove the sideby-side utility vehicle off the right side of Sloans Lane north of Boulder and then overcorrected. The vehicle tipped onto its side and the boy was ejected. The patrol says the boy was not wearing a seat belt or a helmet and he was pronounced dead at the scene. Boulder Elementary School Principal Maria Pace said a crisis support team would be available this week to help the school community.

Judge hears argument in Green Party ballot challenge

HELENA (AP) — A Helena judge is listening to arguments on whether the Green Party should be disqualified from the Montana ballot after Democrats questioned the validity of some of the voter signatures in its certification petition. District Judge Kathy Seeley held court hearing a Tuesday in the lawsuit filed by the Montana Democratic Party against the Montana Secretary of State, which certified the Green Party last month after validating more than 7,800 voter signatures. The Secretary of State’s office is arguing that the Democrats don’t have standing to sue. Seeley heard testimony from witnesses called by the Democrats in a hearing that ran all afternoon. The judge ordered the hearing to continue on April 30 to take testimony from additional witnesses. Seeley indicated that she may not decide the case before the June 5 primary election.

Michael Flynn to campaign for Montana Senate candidate

HELENA (AP) — President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn is coming to Billings next month to campaign for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Troy Downing. Downing campaign officials said Tuesday that Flynn will appear May 6 in a hangar at Billings Logan International Airport. Trump fired Flynn in February 2017 after White House officials said he misled them about his Russian contacts. The former general is one of 19 people to be charged in the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election. Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and is cooperating with the investigation. Downing called the retired general an American patriot who will help him defeat Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester. Downing is one of four candidates seeking the Republican nomination.

New snowfall in Billings breaks winter accumulation record

BILLINGS (AP) — The mild snowfall that recently covered the Billings area has pushed this winter’s total accumulation for the city past the single-season snowfall record. The Billings Gazette reports the National Weather Service recorded 2.6 inches (6.6 centimeters) of snow at the Billings Logan International Airport by early Monday afternoon, bringing the yearly total to more than 106 inches (269 centimeters). Snowfall from the 2017-18 winter had been tied for weeks with the city’s previous record-holding winter of 2013-14. Snowfall that winter reached 103.5 inches (262.9 centimeters). National Weather Service meteorologist Bob Setzenfand says Monday’s light snowfall didn’t have much of an impact on area road conditions.