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THE LATEST REGIONAL NEWS

Bail Set at $500K in Interstate Shooting
MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) - A Washington state man is charged with shooting another man in a dispute over stolen drugs and leaving him for dead on a back road east of Missoula.

On Monday, 30-year-old Troy Anthony Miller appeared via video in Justice Court in Missoula on charges of attempted deliberate homicide and robbery. His bail was set at $500,000.

Court records say the victim told investigators that he, Miller and Katherine Evans had been staying at a Missoula motel when he asked them to give him a ride downtown on July 16. They drove east on Interstate 90 and exited near Turah.

The victim said the two accused him of stealing money and drugs. Charging documents say Miller forced the man to empty his pockets, kicked him repeatedly and shot him twice before the two drove off.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
CT man forms 'Draft Brian Schweitzer' group
HELENA, Mont. (AP) - A Connecticut man who says he was impressed with former Gov. Brian Schweitzer's speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention has filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission for a group called "Draft Brian Schweitzer PAC."

Andrew Fredericksen of Wolcott, Connecticut, tells Lee Newspapers of Montana that he hasn't met or spoken with Schweitzer but said he and a friend thought he would make a great president.

Fredericksen, a 24-year-old special education tutor, lists himself as the treasurer of the group that seeks to raise and make independent expenditures on behalf of Schweitzer.

Schweitzer has hinted at making a presidential run but recently apologized for comments made to a National Journal reporter.

Schweitzer did not return phone calls or an email from The Associated Press seeking comment.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Lodge Grass Man Dies in Weekend Rollover
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - A 27-year-old Lodge Grass man died of injuries suffered in a weekend crash after apparently falling asleep while driving home from work.

Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Eric Winburn tells The Billings Gazette that Thomas Plentyhawk was southbound on Secondary Highway 451 between Hardin and Lodge Grass when he drifted off the road just after 3 a.m. Sunday. The car rolled.

Plentyhawk was taken by helicopter to a Billings hospital, where he died. His brother was taken to Indian Health Service in Crow Agency and then transferred to a Billings hospital. He has since been released.

Winburn says Plentyhawk had just finished a shift at a fast-food restaurant in Hardin and had been prescribed some medication that may have played a role in the crash. It remains under investigation.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Man's Body Found North of Hardin
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - A man's remains were found on a river rock bed about 17 miles north of Hardin over the weekend. Big Horn County officials are trying to identify him and determine how his body got there.

Undersheriff Michael Fuss tells The Billings Gazette the man's body was found on Sunday afternoon. He says no foul play is expected.

Fuss says the man is older than 60, Caucasian, about 5 feet, 11 inches tall with dark gray hair. He was wearing jeans and a 2012 Relay for Life survivor T-shirt.

Fuss says the man's body was likely in the area for more than a week. He says it's possible the man was in the river until the water level dropped, but his body was found quite a distance from any fishing access sites.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Missing Firefighter Recovering at Hospital
HAMILTON, Mont. (AP) - A Bitterroot National Forest firefighter who was missing for about 24 hours is recovering at a Hamilton hospital while forest officials try to determine how he went missing.

Forest spokesman Tod McKay says 30-year-old Justin Wall was found walking along a remote Forest Service road on Monday afternoon, a day after he failed to keep up with seven other members of a crew hiking in to mop up one-acre, lightning-caused fire. He had helped fight the fire on Saturday.

Wall was found on Monday several miles from the site of the fire in very rugged, steep terrain.

McKay says Wall told searchers that he was really hungry.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Officials ID Man Killed in Motorcycle Crash
GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) - Officials in Lewis and Clark County have identified the Great Falls man who died in a weekend motorcycle crash near Wolf Creek.

Coroner Mickey Nelson tells the Great Falls Tribune that 52-year-old Jeffery Brown died at about 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

The Montana Highway Patrol says Brown failed to negotiate a sharp turn on Interstate 15, went into the ditch and struck a tree. He was not wearing a helmet and died at the scene.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Authorities Identify Boy Who Drowned in Bitterroot
HAMILTON, Mont. (AP) - Ravalli County authorities have identified a 3-year-old Stevensville boy who drowned last week in the Bitterroot River.

Sheriff and coroner Chris Hoffman said Monday that Tristan Iverson was pronounced dead at a hospital after the raft he was in capsized.

The boy was with his father and older brother in the inflatable raft Friday. They survived, but Tristan was trapped underneath a log jam.

Hoffman says the sheriff's office and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks are investigating.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Belgrade Man Charged with Trying to Suffocate Baby
BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) - A 29-year-old Belgrade man is charged with assault on a minor after his cousin reported he tried to suffocate her baby during an argument over the use of a pacifier.

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports Mickey Lee Wallace made an initial appearance in Justice Court on Monday. He did not enter a plea. District Judge Bryan Adams set Wallace's bail at $100,000.

The baby's mother told police that Wallace was holding the baby Thursday night when she tried to give her son a pacifier. The woman said Wallace got mad and yelled that pacifiers were addictive.

She said Wallace squeezed his arms around the baby and then pinched the baby's nose closed and covered his mouth. She was able to get the baby away from Wallace after about 15 seconds.

Wallace was arrested on Sunday.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Firefighter Missing in Bitterroot National Forest
HAMILTON, Mont. (AP) - A Bitterroot National Forest firefighter went missing while hiking to the site of a small, lightning-caused fire about 10 miles east of Hamilton.

Forest spokesman Tod McKay says the man was a member of a hand crew that contained the fire on Saturday and was going back in on Sunday for mop-up work.

McKay says the missing man trailed behind the rest of the crew and eventually told them he would catch up. He didn't show up at the fire and did not respond to radio calls. The fire crew was unable to locate him and after an hour called the Ravalli County sheriff's office.

The search continued Sunday evening with a helicopter and about 50 people continued the search Monday.

McKay says the forest is not releasing the man's name because some family members have not been notified.

Update: Missing firefighter found in Bitterroot forest

Up to 50 people along with aircraft searched for the man on Sunday and Monday. He was spotted Monday afternoon walking along a forest road several miles from the fire.

McKay says he was taken to the hospital and his condition was not known.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Lame Deer Man Struck and Killed Along Highway
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - A Lame Deer man was struck and killed by a car on U.S. Highway 212 near Ashland.

The Montana Highway Patrol tells The Billings Gazette the 54-year-old man was walking in the eastbound lane at about 9:30 p.m. Friday when he was struck by an eastbound car being driven by a Washington state man.

The pedestrian was taken to the hospital, where he died. His name has not been released.

The collision remains under investigation.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Longtime Lawmaker William 'Red' Menahan Dies at 78
HELENA, Mont. (AP) - William "Red" Menahan, a 30-year legislator from Anaconda and a former educator, has died at age 78.

District Judge Mike Menahan says his father died Saturday in Billings of pulmonary fibrosis.

Red Menahan was born in Anaconda in 1935. He was a school teacher and principal before being elected to the state House as a Democrat in 1970.

He served until 2000, when voter-approved term limits went into effect.

Menahan was known for a quick wit that he used to diffuse tension and make a political point.

Mike Menahan recalls one budget hearing in which then-Rep. Francis Bardanouve lectured his fellow lawmakers about spending too much money.

Menahan says his father told Bardanouve, "I don't want to die tomorrow with today's lunch money in my pocket."

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Man Denies Charges in Billings-Area Shootings
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - A Billings man has denied felony charges filed after an apparently methamphetamine-fueled shooting spree in Billings and at a nearby state park.

The Billings Gazette reports 52-year-old Kelly Dee Megard pleaded not guilty Monday to attempted deliberate homicide, four counts of felony criminal endangerment and one count of assault with a weapon.

Megard appeared in District Court via video. His public attorney, Roberta Drew, did not object to the judge's decision to maintain Megard's bail at $500,000.

Megard is charged with pointing a gun at a man early on July 15, shooting at a sport utility vehicle carrying a woman and her two children early that afternoon and a short time later firing shots at Pictograph Cave State Park.

Court records say Megard told officers he had used meth and believed people were trying to kill him.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Man Dies in Motorcycle Crash Near Wolf Creek
HELENA, Mont. (AP) - A 52-year-old Great Falls man has died of injuries suffered in a motorcycle crash near Wolf Creek.

The Montana Highway Patrol says the man was southbound on Interstate 15 at about 7:30 p.m. Sunday when he failed to navigate a sharp left turn in the road.

The bike went into the ditch and struck a tree and the man was thrown from the bike. He died at the scene.

The man's name hasn't been released.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Osprey Study Looks for Pollutants in Birds
REED POINT, Mont. (AP) - Researchers are using blood samples from osprey to determine whether pollutants from industrial sources are contaminating the birds' food supply along Montana's Yellowstone River.

The three-year-study of the fish-eating birds of prey is being conducted through the Yellowstone River Research Center at Rocky Mountain College.

Rocky associate professor Kayhan Ostovar said Monday that the project will allow scientists to compare the health of the Yellowstone to other rivers across the country.

Researchers so far have collected blood samples from osprey in 63 locations. Ostovar says that data will be analyzed in coming months.

More than 50 percent of osprey chicks do not survive. In recent weeks, hail storms in southern Montana killed at least two chicks. Another was killed by a golden eagle.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Small Airplane Crashed in North-Central Idaho
OROFINO, Idaho (AP) - A small, home-built airplane has crashed in the Clearwater National Forest near the Idaho-Montana border, killing the pilot.

The Clearwater County sheriff's office says a helicopter crew with Two Bear Air Helicopter of Whitefish, Montana, spotted the wreckage Monday near the Blackhead Mountain area west of Lolo Pass. Crews on the ground confirmed the pilot had died. No one else was on board. The pilot's name was being withheld while family members were notified.

The pilot contacted another airplane Monday morning and reported there was oil on the plane's windshield. Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton says the pilot was unsure if the plane would make to its next planned stop in Helena, Montana.

The Federal Aviation Administration says the airplane was a single-engine Lancair Legacy traveling from Richland, Washington, to Baker, Montana.


UPDATE: Victim Identified

The Clearwater County sheriff's office identified the pilot as 72-year-old Milon Meyer, of Richland, Washington. No one else was on board.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
State: Mountain Pine Beetle Infestation Continues
HELENA, Mont. (AP) - State forestry officials say while the mountain pine beetle epidemic has passed its peak, survey results show it's not yet over.

Department of Natural Resources Forestry Division Pest Management Specialist Amy Gannon told the Board of Land Commissioners Monday more than 526,000 acres of pine trees were infested with the beetle in 2013. Gannon says that amount is still significant as the insects continue to leave stands of dead trees in their wake.

The most active outbreaks remain in the southern part of the Bitterroot National Forest and in the Big Hole area in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest.

Since 2000, the epidemic has spread across more than 6 million acres, or 23 percent of the state's 26 million acres of forest on private, state and federal lands.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
UPDATE: Ohio Man Dies in Montana Bicycle Crash
HELENA, Mont. (AP) - A 69-year-old Whitefish man died after he was thrown from his bicycle on Big Mountain Road, north of Whitefish.

The Montana Highway Patrol says the man was southbound on Big Mountain Road just before 1 p.m. Sunday when a northbound car made a left-hand turn in front of the bike.

The bicyclist applied his brakes, went over the handlebars and landed on his head. He died at the hospital in Whitefish.

Officials are withholding the man's name until family members can be notified.

UPDATE: Ohio Man Dies in Montana Bicycle Crash

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) - Officials in northwestern Montana say an Ohio man died after being thrown from a bicycle on Big Mountain Road north of Whitefish.

The Flathead County coroner's office says the victim of Sunday's accident was 69-year-old Daniel Schoedinger of Columbus, Ohio. He was a part-time resident of Whitefish.

Witnesses have said Schoedinger was riding down the Big Mountain Road when he had to brake unexpectedly because a vehicle turned into a driveway in front of him. He was thrown from the bike, struck his head on the pavement and died of a skull fracture.

The Columbus Dispatch reports Schoedinger was a 40-year corporate attorney who served two terms on the Columbus City Council in the 1970s.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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KOJM regional and state news emphasizes quality and substance. Audio is utilized to ensure accurate reporting - no misquotes or misinterpretations because listeners hear the actual quote and audio from the people and events making the news. You interpret this significance of the report yourself.

Our regional news brings relevance to issues of importance - news coverage that relates to residents of North Central Montana. Accurate, timely information delivered in a prompt and cohesive manner. Regional and state news are developed through a working relationship with other radio stations throughout the region and state of Montana.

Expanded hourly updates are delivered at the top of each hour at 6, 7, 8 and 9 a.m. and every afternoon at 4 and 5 p.m. Headline news, breaking stories and updates available all other hours. "Montana at Noon" is a more in-depth review of the news starting daily at 12:15 p.m. daily.

Residents of North Central Montana have long recognized the quality and timeliness of our newscasts. Additional recognition of our news at the national, regional and state level comes from the Associated Press, Society for Professional Journalists, the Greater Montana Foundation and the Radio and Television News Director Association's prestigious Edward R. Murrow award.
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