Regional News Briefs

The Associated Press

Man gets probation, girl too traumatized to testify

GREAT FALLS (AP) — A Montana man has been sentenced to 30 years on probation for sexually assaulting a girl as part of a plea agreement reached by prosecutors who said the girl is too traumatized to testify at trial.

District Judge Elizabeth Best told 36-year-old Jason Faldzinski that he deserved prison time and that she wasn’t sure the girl would ever recover.

The Great Falls Tribune reports Faldzinski is required to pay for the girl’s counseling for the next 10 years.

Court records say the assaults happened while Faldzinski was teaching the girl how to drive and another time when they were playing cards.

Prosecutors say girl’s mother learned of the assaults in November 2016 and went to police.


Crew completes stabilization efforts on Montana dormitory

MISSOULA (AP) — The efforts to stabilize the remains of a historic Montana dormitory that was severely damaged by an Aug. 31 wildfire are done.

The Missoulian reports that a 10-person national park crew was flown from the Sperry Chalet hotel building on Monday after working for two weeks to brace the structure in a race against winter conditions.

The exterior rock walls of the structure built in 1914 survived the fire, which completely burned out interior floors and the roof. Outlying buildings including the kitchen, dining room and utility cabin also survived the blaze.

The Glacier National Park Conservancy covered the cost of stabilization efforts by raising $111,200 from private donors. The remaining funds will be set aside to pay for work specific to the Sperry Chalet next year.


Man seeks US Supreme Court appeal in poaching case

BILLINGS (AP) — A Montana Crow tribe member found guilty of poaching an elk in northern Wyoming has petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear his case.

The Billings Gazette reports that a Wyoming jury found Clayvin Herrera guilty last year of two poaching charges from a January 2014 hunt that began on the Crow Reservation in Montana but ended inside Wyoming.

Authorities say Herrera shot and killed the elk out of season in the Bighorn National Forest.

Wyoming District Judge John Fenn upheld the conviction on appeal, and the Wyoming Supreme Court rejected the case in June.

Herrera, who was sentenced to one year of unsupervised probation and ordered to pay $8,080, has maintained as part of his defense that an 1868 treaty allows Crows to hunt on unoccupied federal land.


Avalanche victim remembered for striking balance in life

BOZEMAN (AP) — A 23-year-old Montana woman whose boyfriend took his own life after she died in an avalanche was an avid mountain climber and student of mathematics who had planned to become a teacher.

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports that Inge Perkins was sometimes called “Ingetron” by her friends because of her ability to successfully juggle multiple responsibilities.

She was also known as “little speedster” because of her small frame and climbing prowess.

Her mother, Heidi Hersant, says Perkins struck the perfect balance in life and had an affinity for wearing dresses under her ski gear as a child.

She met Hayden Kennedy through climbing and was killed Oct. 7 when the pair triggered an avalanche while skiing in the Montana backcountry.

Kennedy took his own life after leaving a detailed note on how to find Perkins.


Insurance commissioner to deny additional rate increases

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread says he will deny any additional rate increases to individual health insurance premiums under the Obama health care law.

Godfread said last week that President Donald Trump’s plan to halt payments to insurers under the law could potentially raise health insurance costs as much as an additional 10 percent for up to 42,000 North Dakotans.

He said Tuesday he won’t allow that. He said the issue is between insurance carriers and the federal government, and it’s his duty to look out for consumers.

Godfread said 2018 health insurance rates previously approved will increase anywhere from roughly 8-22 percent for the 42,000 North Dakotans enrolled in Affordable Care Act-compliant individual plans.

Medica says Godfread’s move cements its decision to withdraw its individual health plans from the federal marketplace in North Dakota.


National park in North Dakota to reduce bison herd

MEDORA, N.D. (AP) — A national park in North Dakota is reducing the size of its bison herd this week in a move that will benefit several Native American tribes.

The Bismarck Tribune reports that a majority of the animals from Theodore Roosevelt National Park will help supplement tribal herds through the InterTribal Buffalo Council.

The council represents about 60 tribes across 19 states.

Wildlife biologist Blake McCann says the reduction roundup is to prevent the bison herds from getting too large to ensure there’s enough available forage for the grazing animals.

He says the park aims to keep its herd at about 300 to 500 animals at the South Unit and less than 300 at the North Unit. South Dakota and North Dakota are among the states that will receive the animals.