May 28 Montana News Briefs

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Montana officer named federal agency’s Ranger of the Year

MISSOULA (AP) — The Bureau of Land Management has named a Montana-based officer as the 2018 Ranger of the Year. The Missoulian reported Monday that Ranger Kelly Cole was awarded the honor earlier this month at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. Cole is the bureau’s only law enforcement officer in the Missoula area. He has worked as an officer for the bureau since 2007. The federal agency says Cole was recognized for his work in training officers as well as how he peacefully resolved an encounter with a man threatening violence in November 2018. Cole also was involved in the effort of finding a 5-monthold baby who was abandoned in the woods of western Montana in July 2018. Cole says he is humbled by the award.

East Helena woman dies in ATV crash

HELENA (AP) — A 60-year-old East Helena woman has died after striking a tree while driving an all-terrain vehicle. KTVH-TV reports the woman failed to negotiate a sharp curve Sunday in a remote area near Bernice, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) southeast of Helena. The Montana Highway Patrol says the woman was pronounced dead on the scene. Her identity wasn’t immediately released.

Man killed in rollover crash on Interstate 15

BUTTE (AP) — Montana highway authorities say a 66-yearold man died after losing control of his truck and crashing. Montana Highway Patrol says the crash happened Saturday on Interstate 15 in Butte. The Montana Standard reports that the man was entering the highway when he lost control of his truck and the trailer attached behind it. Officials believe the man overcorrected when the trailer began to fishtail, causing the trailer to slide into the median and the truck to roll over. The man’s name has not been released. Officials said he was from Hall. Authorities said they do not suspect alcohol, drugs or speed were factors in the crash.

Plague harms refuge’s prairie dogs, black-footed ferrets

GREAT FALLS (AP) — Wildlife officials say the prairie dog population at a Montana wildlife refuge has been decimated by a bacterial disease, causing the number of black-footed ferrets at the site to plummet. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Randy Matchett says 70 percent of prairie dogs at the UL Bend National Wildlife Refuge have died since a sylvatic plague event in the winter of 2017 and 2018. The Great Falls Tribune reports that researchers counted only one black-footed ferret on the refuge this spring. The ferrets are considered an endangered species and depend on the prairie dog population for food. The central Montana refuge is not the only place where ferrets have been reintroduced to the wild. Researchers say there are a total of 24 reintroduction sites in the western U.S.

Ski area bar charged with overserving man in fatal collision

BOZEMAN (AP) — Montana prosecutors have charged a bar at a Montana ski area with over-serving alcohol to a man who killed himself and another driver in a head-on collision. The Bozeman Chronicle reports Grizzly Ridge Station and its owners were charged in Gallatin County District Court with misdemeanor unlawful sale of an alcoholic beverage. The bar at Bridger Bowl Ski Area is separate from the resort. Brett Randal Ferre was driving toward Bozeman in December when his truck left his lane on a curve and hit Deborah Jean Stratford’s truck, killing both. The charge alleges Grizzly Ridge Station over-served alcohol to Ferre despite his slurred speech, sloppy check writing and staggering through the bar on that day. Grizzly Ridge Station could not be reached for comment.

Long path ahead for organizers of cross-country trail

BILLINGS (AP) — Although it’s a long way from being completed, organizers of the Great American Rail-Trail were celebrating recently in Three Forks. That was the site for one of many launch parties meant to bring attention to the 3,700-mile biking and walking route that organizers hope will one day traverse the United States from Washington state to Washington, D.C., passing through 12 states. “It was really great to see our community step forward,” said Michelle McNamee, state trails coordinator for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, who attended the kick-off event. “Obviously it will be a big challenge with initial funding and maintenance,” but people seem excited.

13 cyclists trapped by Glacier park rock slide, avalanche

WEST GLACIER (AP) — Thirteen bicyclists were stranded for about eight hours by a rock slide and an avalanche on the scenic Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park. Park officials said the cyclists were cold but otherwise unharmed. The park had closed the road to pedestrian and bicycle traffic earlier Monday after a significant rock slide blocked the road at The Loop and prevented emergency vehicle travel. However, many cyclists had already traveled east past that point. Park officials say an avalanche blocked the road at Triple Arches, preventing the bicyclists from returning to West Glacier. A park road crew cleared the rock slide and then cut a path through the avalanche debris to free the cyclists. It’s not uncommon for the park to have one or two incidents each year where visitors become trapped by a slide.