July 3 Montana News Briefs

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

5-ton tractor still missing after tornado touches down

BILLINGS (AP) — Weather officials say a tractor that was carried away in a tornado last week near the Montana-South Dakota state line has yet to be found.

The National Weather Service says last Thursday’s storm spawned at least five tornados in rural Carter County, Montana, and Harding County, South Dakota.

The most damaging tornado received an EF-3 rating with winds estimated at 136 mph (218 kph). It traveled more than 3 miles (5 kilometers) from Montana into South Dakota, snapping trees and destroying a home and a shed.

One report by the weather service says the tornado carried away farm machinery, including a 5-ton tractor that has yet to be found. Another report service says residents reported finding numerous dead deer.


Damage survey from South 

Dakota, Montana published

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — The National Weather Service says nine tornadoes that ripped through South Dakota and Montana last week snapped trees, destroyed outbuildings and swept up a 5-ton tractor that has yet to be found.

The Rapid City Journal reports the weather service released an initial survey of the damage from the tornadoes Monday. The agency says five tornadoes hit Harding County, South Dakota and another four touched down in Carter County, Montana on Thursday evening.

The first tornado struck at around 8:20 p.m. and the last one about an hour later. The weather service says the first tornadoes caused the most damage.

The agency plans to continue surveying damage on Tuesday. Great Falls woman accused of stealing front-end loader

GREAT FALLS (AP) — Authorities say a Great Falls woman stole a front-end loader and drove it into the apartment building where she lived.

Prosecutors charged 34-year-old Heather Houston with felony theft, criminal mischief and criminal endangerment, along with misdemeanor criminal mischief and criminal trespass to property.

Houston’s neighbor told police that she crashed the loader into his window Sunday morning and then used it to climb into her own apartment.

Police told the Great Falls Tribune that Houston was topless, though the police statement filed in court made no mention of her clothing.

Authorities estimated $1,600 in damages to the apartment building, $1,000 in damages to the front-end loader, plus damage to a lawn, a gate, a fence and a pickup truck.

There is no phone listing for Houston and it’s not clear whether she has hired an attorney.


1 killed, 1 wounded in shooting on Blackfeet reservation

GREAT FALLS (AP) — Authorities say one man has been killed and another injured in a shooting on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.

Blackfeet Law Enforcement officials said Monday that the shooting resulted from dispute near Browning late Sunday.

The Great Falls Tribune reports that neither man’s identity has been released, and no further details were immediately available.

The Bureau off Indian Affairs is investigating the shooting.


New report promotes Montana renewable energy potential

HELENA (AP) — A new report by the Bonneville Power Administration and the state of Montana is promoting the state’s renewable energy potential.

The report released last month says Montana could now transmit 360 megawatts of renewable energy to the Northwest, and more capacity will be available after the partial shutdown of the Colstrip power plant by 2022.

Montana Public Radio reports the study resulted from a Helena meeting in December between energy developers and utilities from across the Northwest to discuss the growing demand for less carbon-emitting power.

Jeff Fox of Renewables Northwest says the report shows a significant amount of wind energy could be delivered today.

Brian Fadie of the Montana Environmental Information Center says the report shows that Colstrip’s power can be replaced with renewable electricity with minimal cost or technical modifications.