Oct. 8 Montana News Briefs

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Gianforte reports raising another $500K in governor’s race

HELENA (AP) — Republican U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte says he raised another $500,000 in his campaign for Montana governor, bringing his total to more than $1 million this year. The amount reported by Gianforte Monday is more than triple the $151,368 raised by Attorney General Tim Fox over the same three-month period that ended Sept. 30. State Sen. Al Olszewski rounded out the Republican gubernatorial field with $36,880 raised in the third quarter. On the Democratic side, Lt. Gov Mike Cooney reported collecting $250,024 over his first fundraising period. Former legislator Reilly Neill raised $700, House Minority Casey Schreiner had not posted his fundraising results by Monday evening and newcomer Whitney Williams entered the race after the filing period. In all, 18 candidates for statewide office reported raising more than $1.3 million for the quarter.

Manhattan man charged in pedestrian hit-and-run death

BOZEMAN (AP) — A Gallatin County man is charged with vehicular homicide while under the influence in the hit-andrun death of a 76-year-old man who was out for an evening walk southeast of Manhattan. The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports 35-year-old Michael Leo Moreno of Manhattan also was charged Monday with evidence tampering and leaving the scene of Saturday’s crash. His bail was set at $100,000. Investigators say Moreno and his passenger, 23-year-old Daniel Sifuentes of Belgrade, fled the scene, hid the car and reported a hitchhiker had stolen it at gunpoint. Sifuentes is charged with obstructing justice. Neither man entered a plea, but court records indicated Moreno acknowledged he was driving. Both men were accompanied by a public defender. Public defenders do not comment on cases. The victim’s name has not been released.

9 Montana hospitals to see reduced Medicare payments

BOZEMAN (AP) — Medicare is reducing payments to nine Montana hospitals under a program that penalizes costly readmissions within a month of treatment for heart and lung diseases as well as knee and hip replacement surgery. The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program evaluated 14 Montana hospitals and will reduce Medicare payments by a small percentage for nine of them for a year, starting Oct. 1. The program is meant to ensure patients get necessary follow-up care after a hospital stay. Bob Olsen is senior vice president of the Montana Hospital Association. He says from October 2018 through September 2019, Montana hospitals lost $590,000 due to the penalties. Over the next year, Olsen estimates the loss will be $260,000. The association estimates Montana hospitals will receive $600,000 in bonus payments for improving treatment quality.

Harlem replaces Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day

BILLINGS (AP) — Harlem’s city council has voted to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day. The Billings Gazette reports Harlem passed a resolution on Sept. 9 to join Missoula, Bozeman and Helena as Montana cities that have changed the name of the federal holiday that will be marked next Monday. Harlem is located just outside the Fort Belknap Reservation. Columbus Day recognizes Christopher Columbus, whose 1492 voyage spurred European colonization of the Americas. Native Americans say celebrating Columbus ignores the atrocities and violence inflicted on their ancestors. Missoula and Bozeman adopted Indigenous Peoples Day in 2016 and the Helena City Commission followed in June 2019. The Montana House passed a bill in 2019 to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day statewide, but it died in a Senate committee.