Nov. 30 Regional News Briefs


Schools to be named after female Montana US representative

MISSOULA (AP) — Two new elementary schools will be named after Montana native Jeannette Rankin a century after she made history as the first woman elected to Congress.

The two schools currently under construction in Kalispell and Missoula, where Rankin was born, will be the first schools in Montana to bear her name.

Rankin was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1916 as a progressive Republican.

Kalispell trustees decided on the name for their new school earlier this month. Missoula trustees voted on Rankin’s name Tuesday. Both schools are expected to open by next fall.


Montana sheriff taken to ICU after heart attack

HELENA (AP) — Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton was taken to the intensive care unit of a Bozeman hospital after suffering a heart attack.

The Helena Independent Record reports the sheriff was traveling with deputies to Miles City when he started to feel ill Tuesday. He was taken by ambulance from Livingston to Bozeman Deaconess Hospital, where he had a stent inserted to open a blockage in his heart.

Undersheriff Jason Grimmis says his boss has regained his sense of humor, is in “good spirits, recovering and building strength.” Dutton tweeted Wednesday that he hoped to be released from the hospital Thursday.


Montana hunter’s first bull elk stolen from truck bed

MISSOULA (AP) — Ethan Donaldson shot his first bull elk on the last day of big game season, but a head won’t be mounted on his wall because it was stolen from the bed of his truck.

The Missoulian reports that the 23-year-old shot the elk on Sunday and left the head in his truck overnight. But when he went out Monday to take the head to his father’s house, it was gone.

Donaldson reported the theft to a Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks warden and to the Missoula Police Department. He says the warden told him there are about 12 ongoing cases such as his.

Donaldson says he hopes someone sees his modest 5-point and returns it. He says “any true sportsman would not take another hunter’s game.”


Montana official says downed line may have sparked wildfire

BILLINGS (AP) — The Bureau of Land Management states a fire that burned about 12 acres (5 hectares) of its land along the banks of the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone River might have started after high winds downed a power line.

The Billings Gazette reports that multiple agencies went to the fire Wednesday morning, which spread rapidly due to wind gusts of more than 50 mph (80 kph) in the area.

Bureau spokeswoman Sarah Holm says the fire was contained as of noon Wednesday, but crews are expected to continue mopping up the fire for a couple of days due to lingering hot spots. Holm said officials believe the fire was started by a downed power line, but the investigation is ongoing.


TransCanada to run inspection device in Keystone pipeline

AMHERST, S.D. (AP) — TransCanada Corp. says it will run an inspection device through its Keystone oil pipeline to make sure there aren’t segments of pipe with similar characteristics to a section that ruptured in South Dakota.

A company spokesman said Wednesday that it would run the pipeline inspection gauge through its system within a 120-day period ordered by a federal pipeline safety agency.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration this week issued a corrective order on the estimated 210,000-gallon oil spill. The report says a weight installed on the pipeline nearly a decade ago may have damaged the pipeline and coating. The order says TransCanada must also submit a proposal to analyze available data on other weight locations for similarities with the leak location. The company disclosed the leak Nov. 16.


LGBT group asks officials for non-discrimination law

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — An LGBT advocacy group has asked the Casper City Council to pass an anti-discrimination resolution.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports that council members embraced the group’s request on Tuesday, with Vice Mayor Ray Pacheco saying that the resolution would be a step in the right direction.

Attempts to pass an anti-discrimination bill through the state Legislature have failed. During past efforts, multiple religious leaders have spoken out against such a measure, saying a law was not the answer.

At the same time, other cities and towns in Wyoming have established resolutions or ordinances to promote equal rights and opportunities for LGBT residents. Council members agreed to continue discussing the matter at another upcoming work session.


Prisons struggle with South Dakota’s meth ‘epidemic’

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota corrections officials say they’re struggling to manage a growing prison population due to the state’s methamphetamine epidemic.

The Rapid City Journal reports that Corrections Secretary Denny Kaemingk told a state corrections commission Wednesday that South Dakota’s current prison population stands at nearly 3,910 men and women, compared to about 3,560 in 2015. Kaemingk says the meth epidemic has contributed to the increase in inmates. He says the majority of state inmates are nonviolent offenders, 84 percent of whom are women.

The department is creating a program for nonviolent female offenders that would offer drug and alcohol treatment at home as an alternative to incarceration.

The program is financed by a $1.75 million Department of Justice grant. It is expected to begin by May.