Mar. 19 Regional News Briefs

Great Falls dentist finishes Iditarod sled-dog race

GREAT FALLS (AP) — A Great Falls dentist who began mushing only a few years ago finished 39th in Alaska’s Iditarod sled-dog race. Brett Bruggeman finished the 1,000-mile race to Nome in 11 days, 20 hours and 21 minutes. Some 52 mushers had completed the course as of Saturday. Bruggeman and his teenage son Spencer started a dog kennel about five years ago when Spencer developed an interest in sled-dog racing, and now have 40 dogs. The Great Falls Tribune reports they train near Lincoln or Neihart and that Bruggeman had only raced in Montana’s “Race To The Sky” before competing in the Iditarod.

8th-grader wins Montana spelling bee 2 years running

BILLINGS (AP) — A Park County eighth-grader has repeated as Treasure State Spelling Bee champion. Aidan Veress of Gardiner School correctly spelled “Talmud” on Saturday to win the spelling bee for the second year in a row. He will once again represent Montana in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in May. Aidan says it “feels really, really good” to win again and that he didn’t feel as much pressure because he’d been through last year’s contest. The Billings Gazette reports that 58 fourth- through eighth-graders from across Montana participated in the competition at Rocky Mountain College.

Shots at Montana high school came from resource officer

MISSOULA (AP) — Gunshots fired in a Montana high school parking lot came from the gun of the school’s resource officer, who fired at the fleeing car of a student who allegedly attempted to run him over. Those findings were reported by the Missoulian based on an initial investigation of the altercation released Saturday by the Montana Department of Justice. Investigators said a 17-year-old student at Missoula’s Big Sky High School was being questioned on Friday about a report of a gun at the school. The student allegedly ran into the parking lot, got into his car and attempted to run over the officer, who shot at the vehicle. The incident ended after the student crashed his car in the parking lot of a nearby auto dealership. Authorities say a gun was recovered from along the student’s route. No one was hurt.

Girl who drowned in Sioux Falls river identified

(AP) — Sioux Falls police say a 5-year-old Iowa girl who drowned in a river in a Sioux Falls park had reached out to touch the foam near some waterfalls when she slipped into the water. Police spokesman Sam Clemens said Monday Maggie Jo Zaiger fell into the Big Sioux River in Falls Park near a pedestrian bridge Sunday, a spot not far from where two others drowned in 2013. Sioux Falls parks and recreation director Don Kearney says after the 2013 deaths, the city upgraded its caution signs to warn adults to keep close watch on young children, among other things. Kearney says the foam is a naturally occurring phenomenon created by phosphorus and the agitated water. He says the city considered installing barricades near the falls, but felt that would create a false sense of security.

Minnesota company to build wind farm in central Montana

GREAT FALLS (AP) — A Minnesota company plans to build an 80-megawatt wind farm in central Montana that would provide power to NorthWestern Energy customers. ALLETE Clean Energy announced this week that construction is expected to start this year on the South Peak project. It’s scheduled to go online in late 2019. It will be built next to an existing Northwestern wind farm known as Spion Kop. That’s in area about 40 miles southeast of Great Falls near the town of Raynesford. ALLETTE says it has a 15-year power sale agreement with Northwestern. The Duluth, Minnesota company operates six wind energy facilities in Minnesota, Iowa, Oregon and Pennsylvania and last year announced it will build a 106-megawatt wind farm in North Dakota.

Kalispell man gets deferred sentence for online harassment

KALISPELL (AP) — A 35-year-old Kalispell man has been given a three-year deferred sentence after pleading no contest to creating Craigslist ads to harass women who rejected his romantic advances. In three instances, Mathew Cullen Bartlett posted ads with the women’s contact information, images of the women and nude images purported to be the women. The Flathead Beacon reports the women told investigators they received numerous aggressive and sexually suggestive text messages and phone calls from men who saw the ads. Prosecutors say Bartlett also created a fake Facebook account to harass the women. District Judge Amy Eddy sentenced Bartlett Thursday on a felony charge and two misdemeanors. Attorney Peter Leander said his client had been abusing prescription pain medication at the time and is ashamed of his actions.