Montana News Briefs

The Associated Press

Organization plans affordable housing community in Missoula

MISSOULA  (AP) — A sustainable housing organization and the city of Missoula are planning to construct a community of six manufactured homes to provide residents an affordable housing option.

The Missoulian reports the organization Homeword purchased the small modular homes that were originally intended to house workers in the Bakken oil fields last year, and it plans to repurpose buildings as permanent housing.

The houses will be placed on foundations, and porches and storage structures will be added. Five of the houses will be sold to homebuyers at or below 80 percent of the Missoula area median income.

The organization is seeking nearly $290,000 from the Home Investment Partnerships Program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The full project is expected to cost $880,000.


Drivers pulled over for 

violations get holiday turkey

BILLINGS (AP) — Some Montana traffic enforcement officers gave out Thanksgiving turkeys instead of tickets.

The Billings Gazette reports after pulling over drivers Wednesday for traffic violations, officers with the Billings Police Department checked for any outstanding warrants. They then returned with a written warning and a frozen turkey.

Steve Gountanis, a local businessman, purchased 20 turkeys and asked the department to distribute them in time for Thanksgiving.

One driver, Larry Riddle, was pulled over for not signaling his turn. Riddle received only a warning and a bird to cook for the upcoming holiday.

Riddle appreciated the surprise.

Riddle’s wife died of cancer a couple of years ago, and he now lives alone on a limited budget. But he tries each year to make a meal for his daughter, Amber, and himself.


Transient dies of hypothermia in Missoula, shelter opened

MISSOULA (AP) — A 61-year-old transient died of hypothermia in Missoula this week, prompting the Union Gospel Mission to open its day shelter at night through mid-March.

Missoula Police spokesman Travis Welsh says 61-year-old Timothy Lloyd was found unresponsive early Monday near a pedestrian footbridge. Missoula County Undersheriff Rich Maricelli tells the Missoulian that Lloyd died of hypothermia.

Temperatures fell to 28 degrees in Missoula the previous night.

April Seat, director of outreach and volunteers at the mission, said Lloyd was one of their clients. She said the mission would open its day center from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. through mid-March.


Murder trial set for Montana man accused of killing his wife

BOZEMAN (AP) — A Gallatin County District Court judge has scheduled a two-week trial for a Bozeman man accused of killing his wife with a frying pan.

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported Wednesday that 33-year-old Jake Collins’ trial is scheduled to start Aug. 13. He is charged with deliberate homicide and felony tampering with evidence in the death of his 32-year-old wife Crystal Collins.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges and remains in the Gallatin County jail on $750,000 bond.

Crystal Collins’ mother reported her missing Jan. 2, prompting police to interview Jake Collins. Officers say Collins acknowledged killing his wife, saying he was intoxicated and hit her in the head with a cast-iron frying pan and cut her throat.


Liberian refugee elected mayor of Helena

HELENA (AP) — Voters in Montana’s capital city have elected a Liberian refugee as their next mayor.

Wilmot Collins ousted four-term Helena Mayor Jim Smith 51 percent to 48 percent Tuesday in the mail-in election for the non-partisan post.

Collins campaigned for more affordable housing, addressing homelessness among military veterans and teens and for increasing staffing for the police and fire departments.

Collins is a state child protection specialist and an adjunct instructor at Helena College — University of Montana. He is also a member of the U.S. Naval Reserves. He fled the civil war in Liberia in the early 1990s.

The Montana Historical Society says Collins is believed to be the first black mayor of Helena in since 1874, when Edward W. Johnson — a barber from Washington, D.C. — became unincorporated Helena’s first mayor.


Inmate’s death closes chapter for family of murdered man

GREAT FALLS (AP) — A Montana State Prison inmate who had been on the run for 38 years after he was released on parole only to be located by the grandson of the man he murdered has died.

The Great Falls Tribune reports 86-year-old Frank Dryman died of natural causes at a Lewistown infirmary Monday.

Dryman was sentenced to life in prison in 1955 for shooting and killing Clarence Pellett.

He was 19 years old at the time of the crime and had initially been given the death penalty before social activists campaigned on his behalf.

Dryman was granted parole in 1969 and disappeared a few years later.

In 2010, Clarence Pellett’s grandson, Clem, and a private investigator located Dryman in Arizona.

Clem Pellett says Dryman never showed remorse for what he did.