Feb. 7 Montana News Briefs

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Homeless shelter population triples amid cold temps

HELENA (AP) — The number of people staying at a Montana homeless shelter has tripled as temperatures dip below zero. The Independent Record reports Dave Miller, who described himself as the “director, owner and toilet bowl plunger” of God’s Love in Helena, says 60-80 people have been coming to the downtown homeless shelter since Sunday because the weather has been so cold. Miller estimates around 20 people come into God’s Love on an average winter day. Miller says the shelter has “31 beds full and 28 people sleeping on the floor.” Miller says as many as 36 people have slept on the floor. Miller says the high number of people seeking shelter could be due to the lack of homeless shelters in Butte and Bozeman.

Yellowstone National Park records third-busiest year

BOZEMAN (AP) — Yellowstone National Park had its third-busiest year on record with more than 4.1 million visitors last year. The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports the park in Wyoming had about 1,500 fewer visitors in 2018 than in 2017. Visitation last year was a 3.5 percent decrease from the park’s record-breaking 2016, when it recorded more than 4.2 million guests. The park says it used numbers from an automated counter that records traffic at the north entrance to figure out visitation in late December during the partial government shutdown. Most of the park’s visitors are recorded during the summer months. Visitation drops off in November when most of the park entrances close.

Montana searchers find lost hikers in subzero temperatures

BOZEMAN (AP) — Montana authorities say rescuers on skis and snowmobiles found a father and son who had gone missing in snowy conditions and subzero temperatures in the mountains north of Yellowstone National Park. Gallatin County sheriff’s officials said in a statement that a woman in Utah reported Tuesday evening that her husband and 12-year-old son were overdue from a hiking trip. Officials did not release their names or hometown. A sheriff’s deputy found their vehicle, prompting a response by 20 search and rescue unit members. They first found the boy, who was hypothermic and confused, and took him to a hospital. Searchers found his father at about 1:15 a.m. Wednesday, and transported him out by toboggan and snowmobile. Sheriff’s officials say both were flown to University of Utah’s burn center for frostbite.

Session helps medical workers spot human trafficking victims

HELENA (AP) — A Montana hospital hosted a training session to help medical providers spot human trafficking victims. The Independent Record reports more than a dozen employees Tuesday at St. Peter’s Health in Helena attended a presentation led by Charity Parenzini. Parenzini is the executive director and founder of the America Unchained Project, a Montana-based nonprofit that looks to educate doctors, nurses, law enforcement and other officials about human trafficking. Parenzini says victims may have certain tattoos, exhibit exhaustion, have multiple sexually transmitted infections, have multiple health issues at once, show physical signs of trauma, give unexplained or conflicting stories, dress inappropriately for the conditions, or exhibit a lack of control of finances. Figures from the Center for Family Justice say 88 percent of human trafficking victims see a doctor, nurse or other health practitioner while they are being trafficked.

Glacier park records second-busiest year, despite fires

KALISPELL (AP) — Glacier National Park recorded its second-busiest year in 2018 despite wildfires that closed popular areas of the park during the peak season. The Flathead Beacon reports that more than 2.9 million people visited Glacier last year. The data released by the National Park Service this week shows a 10.3 percent drop from 2017’s record 3.3 million visitors. The Howe Ridge Fire forced the evacuation of a large section of the park’s west side in August. The blaze burned several home along Lake McDonald and forces the early closure of Lake McDonald Lodge for the season. Visitation to the park has grown rapidly in recent years. In 2016 the year of the National Park Service’s centennial celebration, Glacier saw 24 percent more visitors than the year before.

Poplar man pleads guilty to manslaughter in baby’s death

GREAT FALLS (AP) — A Poplar man has pleaded guilty to the involuntary manslaughter of a 6-month-old infant in his care. The Great Falls Tribune reports that 28-year-old Dennis Lloyd Red Boy will be sentenced on June 5 for the 2017 death of the baby girl. The maximum sentence he faces is eight years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Prosecutors say Red Boy was taking care of children in the Fort Peck Indian Reservation town of Poplar when the 6-month-old baby girl would not stop crying. Red Boy told investigators he turned the baby over onto her stomach and placed a heavy blanket over her. He later returned to find that she had stopped breathing and then sought help. An autopsy found no signs of assault, but it did not determine whether the cause of death was accidental or homicide.