Aug. 13 Regional News Briefs

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Montana looks to intervene in forest project litigation

HELENA (AP) — Montana is looking to support the U.S. Forest Service in fighting off a lawsuit challenging a wildfire mitigation project. The Independent Record reports state Attorney General Tim Fox filed a request Monday to intervene in the litigation over the Ten Mile-South Helena Project. The project calls for forest thinning, logging and burning on more than 27 square miles (71 square kilometers) in the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest. Helena Hunters and Anglers and the Montana Wildlife Federation filed a lawsuit earlier this year over concerns about the impact of mechanized logging on wildlife. The Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Native Ecosystems Council also filed a lawsuit, contending the federal agency erred in its environmental analysis for the project. The lawsuits have been consolidated into one case.

Skydiver dies during gathering in northwest Montana

KALISPELL (AP) — Authorities say an experienced skydiver died after his parachute malfunctioned during a gathering in northwest Montana. The Daily Inter Lake in Kalispell reports 81-year-old Gerald Fischer, of Moorhead, Minnesota, was participating in the Lost Prairie Boogie near Marion on Saturday morning when he had a hard opening and started to spin counter-clockwise. Fischer, who has completed more than 2,000 jumps, landed in a pasture and died at the scene. The Lost Prairie Boogie is one of the largest gatherings of skydivers in the West. The nine-day summer camp draws hundreds of jumpers from around the country and the world. Several people have died at the site over the years, including five people who were killed in a plane crash shortly after takeoff in 2007.

Patrol, Burleigh County get fed permission for drones

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The Burleigh County Sheriff’s Department and the North Dakota Highway Patrol have received federal approval to operate drones over people. The Bismarck Tribune reports the four-year authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration was granted Aug. 5. The North Dakota Highway Patrol received permission two days later. The sheriff’s department says it can now operate unmanned aircraft systems over urban areas in which people live or gather. Deputy Tom Schroeder says the department launched its drone program about a year ago, but they could only be used in rural areas. The sheriff’s department also can help out fellow law enforcement agencies within the state’s borders if there is an incident in which a drone needs to be flown over populated areas.

Anthrax confirmed in cattle herd in western North Dakota

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota agriculture officials say anthrax has been confirmed in a group of cows in a pasture in eastern Billings County. The case was confirmed Friday. It is North Dakota’s first reported case of anthrax this year. North Dakota state veterinarian Susan Keller says producers in Billings County and surrounding areas should check with their veterinarians to see if they should start vaccinating their cattle for anthrax. Anthrax vaccines are readily available, but it takes about a week to establish immunity, and the vaccine must be administered annually. Anthrax is caused by bacterial spores that can lie dormant in the ground until they are activated by heavy rains, flooding or drought. Scattered heavy rains may have triggered the recent case. No anthrax cases were reported in North Dakota last year.

North Dakota man accused in baseball bat attack

JAMESTOWN, N.D. (AP) — A Jamestown man is accused of striking a man with a baseball bat last week. Police were called Thursday to an alley in southwest Jamestown. According to court documents, the 25-year-old suspect went after the other man with a baseball bat, striking him in the upper left thigh. The suspect told police he was “angry” and did swing the bat, but was not trying to hit the man. He also said he punched the victim in the face. NewsDakota reports the suspect is jailed on $1,000 bond. He faces a felony aggravated assault charge.

Traffic at North Dakota’s airports up 12 percent in July

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Traffic at North Dakota’s eight commercial service airports is up 12 percent in July compared to last year. The state Aeronautics Commission says more than 110,000 people boarded planes at the airports in Bismarck, Minot, Williston, Dickinson, Grand Forks, Fargo, Devils Lake and Jamestown during the month. The Bismarck Tribune says Williston had the highest percentage increase, of nearly 27 percent. Year-to-date boardings for the eight airports are up more than 10 percent, to nearly 691,000 passengers. Travelers can reach nine nonstop destinations from North Dakota, though two are seasonal.



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