Regional News Briefs

The Associated Press

Bozeman man charged with impersonating animal control

BOZEMAN (AP) — A Bozeman man who faces a charge of assaulting his former girlfriend is now charged with impersonating an animal control officer in an attempt to pick up her cat from a veterinarian’s office.

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports 48-year-old Shane Stenerud was arrested Monday and charged with felony impersonation of a public servant. He did not enter a plea. Stenerud was released from jail Tuesday after posting bail.

Prosecutors allege Stenerud called a veterinary hospital saying he was investigating a case of animal cruelty and wanted to pick up the cat that belonged to him and his former girlfriend. He reportedly asked that they not release it to her.

Deputy Gallatin County Attorney Jordan Salo said Stenerud faces a misdemeanor count of domestic assault and two counts of violating a restraining order involving his former girlfriend.


Billings authorities identify woman killed in house fire

BILLINGS (AP) — Authorities have identified the Montana woman who was killed in a house fire on Tuesday.

The Gazette reports that the Billings Fire Department identified the victim as 55-year-old Teresa Fischer. She died from carbon monoxide poisoning and smoke inhalation.

Fire officials say the fire was accidental, caused by a gas-fueled hot water heater.

Police Sgt. Riley Finnegan says no foul play is suspected.

Family members contacted police for a welfare check after Fischer didn’t show up to a lunch date with friends.

Fischer and three cats were then found dead inside the house.


Wet weather slows harvest of corn, soybeans in South Dakota

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Another week of wet weather in South Dakota has slowed the harvest of corn and soybeans.

The federal Agriculture Department says in its weekly crop report that only 6 percent of the state’s corn crop is harvested, well behind the long-term average of 29 percent. The soybean harvest is 22 percent complete, also well behind the average of 59 percent.

Slightly more than three-fourths of the winter wheat crop is now in the ground, with half of the crop emerged.

In the ranching community, pasture and range conditions are rated 54 percent poor or very poor. Stock water supplies are 47 percent in those categories.

The third cutting of alfalfa hay is 85 percent complete, slightly behind average.


Weather aids harvest of 

late-season crops in North Dakota

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A week of dry weather has helped North Dakota farmers harvest late-season crops.

The federal Agriculture Department says in its weekly crop report that the state’s soybean harvest is nearing halfway complete, and the harvests of corn and sunflowers are getting underway.

The potato harvest is about three-fourths done and the sugar beet harvest is nearing two-thirds done. Harvesting of flaxseed and dry beans is nearing completion.

Winter wheat planting is 80 percent done, and slightly more than half of the crop has emerged.

The report says the lack of rain over the past week also aided fall tillage and spraying work.

In the ranching community, pasture and range conditions are rated 52 percent poor or very poor. Stock water supplies are 50 percent in those categories.


Commission delays decision on using river water in oilfields

DICKINSON, N.D. (AP) — The Little Missouri River Commission has postponed a decision on drawing water from the scenic river for use in oilfields.

The commission heard two hours of debate Wednesday from conservationists concerned about taking river water for hydraulic fracturing and landowners worried about increased truck traffic.

The Bismarck Tribune reports the Department of Mineral Resources says oil companies in the Bakken have used an average of 7.6 million gallons of water to frack each well this year. And regulators say those volumes are increasing, with some companies experimenting with up to 20 million gallons per well.

Commissioners say they want to take a longer look at the issue more before making a recommendation to the State Water Commission.


Yellowstone visitation down during snowy September

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) — An early shot of winter weather depressed recreational visits in Yellowstone National Park during the month of September.

The National Park Service reports just over 640,000 people visited Yellowstone in September. The visitation was down about 8.8 percent from September 2016, when the park recorded more than 700,000 recreational visits.

Snowy weather during the middle of last month closed some roads within and just outside the park for days.

Still, the Park Service says Yellowstone saw its third busiest September on record in the park.

So far this year, the park has hosted more than 3.8 million recreational visitors, down about 2.5 percent from the same period in 2016.