Regional News Briefs

Friday, September 28, 2018

University of Montana announces program cuts, changes

MISSOULA (AP) — University of Montana leaders announced budget cuts and reallocations as they work to match spending on instructors to total enrollment and interest in each area of study. The budget reduction totals $5 million. College deans and department chairs are tasked with meeting the budget goals by June 2021, and there could be retirements or layoffs. School officials worked with faculty, staff and student leadership to determine which programs should be cut or enhanced with the goal of matching the average facultyto-student ratios to the average ratio from 2009 to 2013. University enrollment has declined nearly 30 percent over the past seven years. Provost Jon Harbor said Thursday the university plans to eliminate the Global Humanities and Religions program and the Material Sciences doctoral program while increasing funding for African-American Studies and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies.

Man dies when pickup chasing deer rolls in field

GREAT FALLS (AP) — A pickup truck reportedly chasing deer in a field in northeastern Montana overturned, killing an 18-year-old man and injuring three others. The Montana Highway Patrol says the 19-year-man driving the pickup Wednesday morning north of Frazer turned too quickly, causing the pickup to roll. It came to rest on the passenger side, trapping one of the occupants. The victim died at the scene. His name has not been released. The Great Falls Tribune reports the driver, a 25-year-old man and a 13-year-old girl were treated for injuries and released from the hospital. All four people involved are from Frazer.

Officials: Hunter shot grizzlies in Montana in self-defense

BILLINGS (AP) — Wildlife officials say a hunter along Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front shot and killed a female grizzly bear and wounded a cub that was later euthanized. Grizzlies are protected in the Lower 48 states as a threatened species. Investigators determined the hunter acted in self-defense, meaning he won’t face charges. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesman Greg Lemon said the bow hunter was in thick brush along a creek on Wednesday when he came across the animals at the Blackleaf Wildlife Management Area northwest of Choteau. The hunter shot the animals with a pistol, killing the adult and injuring the 2-year-old cub, which was later killed by officials due to its injuries. Earlier this week, a bow hunter on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation shot and killed a grizzly that attacked him.

Company donates rifles for school resource officers

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — An Iowa firearms company has given the Bismarck Police Department nine AR-15 rifles for school resource officers. The Bismarck Tribune reports that Iowa-based Brownells Inc. donated the AR-15s after Bismarck police requested funds to buy the rifles and other equipment for resource officers. Bismarck school resource officers carry handguns, but police deputy chief Jason Stugelmeyer says an AR-15 would help in situations in which officers must shoot from afar. Brownells spokesman Ryan Repp says company officials heard about the department’s request and wanted to help. Stugelmeyer says the donation is allowing the department to spend more money on medical kits. Repp estimated the rifles cost about $520 each. The company also donated hundreds of dollars in custom parts and an $1,800 firearm kit.

Dakota Access protester gets 3 year federal prison sentence

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A South Dakota man has been sentenced to three years in federal prison for starting a barricade fire on a bridge during protests in North Dakota against the Dakota Access oil pipeline. Authorities say Michael Markus of Pine Ridge, South Dakota, and several others started the fire on Oct. 27, 2016, on a Morton County road bridge. No one was hurt. The Bismarck Tribune reports Markus reached a plea deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to civil disorder. A more serious charge of using fire to commit a federal felony was dismissed. He’ll receive about two months credit for time served and will be eligible for release after serving 85 percent of his sentence. The protests drew thousands of people to southern North Dakota and resulted in 761 arrests in a six-month span of 2016 and 2017. Of those arrests, seven people were charged with federal crimes.

New natural gas plant announced in McKenzie County

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A company building a natural gas processing plant in the Bakken oil patch has announced plans for a second plant, doubling the size of the project. The Bismarck Tribune reports Oneok plans to construct the $410 million Demicks Lake II in McKenzie County, adding 200 million cubic feet per day of processing capacity. Demicks Lake I will have the same capacity. But Oneok President and CEO Terry Spencer says it’s expected to reach capacity soon after it’s complete. North Dakota produced 2.4 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas in July, exceeding processing plant capacity. Demicks Lake II is the eighth expansion or new plant expected to be complete in the next 1 ½ years.