September 6th, 2013
05:01 PM ET

Mont. judge cedes error over rapist sentencing

Saying outrage over his sentencing of a rapist to 30 days in jail could have been avoided "If I'd been more alert or if the state had pointed out" his error, a Montana judge confirmed that a higher court barred him from revisiting the sentence on Friday.

The state Supreme Court ruled earlier that Judge G. Todd Baugh couldn't hold a hearing he had scheduled to reconsider the sentence.

Baugh had planned to reconsider the punishment after outrage over his initial sentence of a teacher who admitted raping a 14-year-old student.

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Filed under: Montana
August 28th, 2013
03:11 AM ET

Girl raped, kills self; rapist gets 30 days

A mother in Montana is outraged that a high school teacher convicted of raping her 14-year-old daughter received only a month in prison - while her daughter took her own life.

"I think this sentence is a joke, a travesty," the mother, Auliea Hanlon, told CNN on Tuesday night, a day after the sentencing.

"People will lose faith in our justice system. I have."

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Filed under: Courts • Justice • Montana • U.S.
August 27th, 2013
12:33 AM ET

Nuc base sacks security chief

A nuclear missile base in Montana that failed a safety test this month has let its security chief go.

The 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force base operates about a third of the nation's Minuteman III nuclear missiles.

It did not relieve Col. David Lynch from his command over the security forces group because of the failure, the base said in a statement released this week. But missile wing commander, Col. Robert Stanley, will feel more confident about passing the next inspection without him.

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Filed under: Military • Montana • National security • Security • U.S. • World Update
Oil, money, politics: Keystone XL hits a snag
April 23rd, 2013
04:22 AM ET

Oil, money, politics: Keystone XL hits a snag

The politics of oil and ecology have put President Obama between a rock and hard place, as he faces a decision on whether or not to permit construction of a new pipeline. The squeeze just got tighter with a new, negative environmental assessment.

The Keystone XL pipeline will give America energy independence, thousands of jobs, important industrial infrastructure and won't cost taxpayers a dime, say proponents. Many of them are Republican lawmakers.

It is dangerous, inherently filthy and must be stopped, say opponents, some of whom are Democrats who helped get the president elected.

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Filed under: Arkansas • Barack Obama • Business • Canada • Climate change • Democratic Party • Earth • Economy • Energy • Environment • Global Warming • Jobs • Montana • Nature • Nebraska • North Dakota • Politics • Protest • Railroads • Republican Party • State Department • U.S. • World
March 2nd, 2013
10:26 PM ET

Family disputes Singapore probe into son's death

The research engineer's rising career seemed enviable. Shane Todd of Montana was working abroad in Singapore on the latest cell phone and radar technology, coveted by global corporations.

Todd was found dead at age 31, however, in his Singapore apartment last June, and his death has become an international controversy that involves local police, the FBI, an independent forensic analysis and, the parents allege, corporate intrigue found on their son's hard drive.

Singapore police have been investigating Todd's death as a suicide by hanging. They refer to a pulley system around a toilet and over a door in Todd's flat.

His parents, however, say that's absurd and they assert foul play.

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Filed under: Montana • Singapore • U.S. • World
August 28th, 2012
08:08 AM ET

Bigfoot hoax ends in death, authorities say

A man trying to create a Bigfoot hoax on a highway died after being hit by two cars, officials in Montana said.

Randy Lee Tenley dressed in a Ghillie suit - camouflage designed to resemble the ground and trees - and stepped out onto Highway 93 Sunday night, officials said.

"He probably would not have been very easy to see at all," said Jim Schneider, a state trooper.

A 15-year-old girl hit him with her car, another car swerved, and a third car driven by a 17-year-old ran him over, CNN affiliate KECI reported.

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Filed under: Montana
Missing Montana schoolteacher found dead
January 13th, 2012
01:40 PM ET

Missing Montana schoolteacher found dead

Montana schoolteacher Sherry Arnold, missing since Saturday, has been found dead, according to a posting on the Sidney Public Schools website.

The school district provided no other information.

Law enforcement officers have taken "one adult male into custody, and another adult male is being questioned" in relation to Arnold's case, the FBI said Friday in a statement.

The 43-year-old schoolteacher was last seen out on a morning jog through her small town.

One of her running shoes was found along her route, but authorities indicated there had not been any other sign of Arnold.

Sidney police Chief Frank DiFonzo said earlier this week that teams had been using dogs and aircraft to search for Arnold and have gotten help from National Guard members as well as volunteers.

On Thursday, the FBI put out a poster of Arnold and added her to its "kidnapping and missing persons" website.

Arnold's disappearance has hit the small community hard, including at Sidney High School, where she is a math teacher. Situated near North Dakota and about 100 miles south of the Canadian border, Sidney has a population of just under 5,200 people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

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Filed under: Crime • Montana
Police: Shoe only clue to teacher who went missing after run
Sidney, Montana, residents have created a Find Sherry Arnold page on Facebook to coordinate searches for the teacher.
January 9th, 2012
01:32 PM ET

Police: Shoe only clue to teacher who went missing after run

Police and residents are combing through the town of Sidney, Montana, in hopes of finding a teacher who went missing after going for a morning run, leaving behind no trace besides a lone shoe, the city's police chief told CNN.

Schoolteacher Sherry Arnold, 43, left her home Saturday morning for a run along her normal path, but she never returned, Sidney police Chief Frank DiFonzo said.

DiFonzo said that teams have been searching areas around the eastern Montana town since Arnold's disappearance using dogs and aircraft. He said the National Guard was also assisting.

Police described Arnold as 5 feet, 10 inches and 140 pounds with black hair. She was last seen wearing a blue sweatshirt with a white stripe and red nylon pants with black leggings.

Police are looking into different scenarios regarding Arnold's disappearance, but they believe she may have been abducted or possibly hit by a vehicle, DiFonzo said.

"Everything's accounted for, her personal things, her vehicle is accounted for," Bob Burnison, the assistant police chief, told CNN affiliate KRTV-TV in Great Falls. "We just feel that there's something drastic, either happened to her or something to that effect, why she wouldn't have made contact back."

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Gotta Watch: Extreme sports
Winter windsurfers take to the ice in Montana.
January 7th, 2012
09:00 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Extreme sports

There are some people out there who operate on 100% pure adrenaline. Normal sports and activities aren't enough, so they take it to another level. These thrill seekers throw caution to the wind and take risks just to feel that rush. You've Gotta Watch these daredevils attempt the unthinkable. And like they say, do not try this at home!

Windsurfing on ice? — Windsurfing on water isn't anything new, and some people choose to windsurf on land. But what happens when temperatures drop below zero? Instead of taking up ice fishing, these self-proclaimed "crazy" people modified their own boards to glide across a frozen lake. Their rigs have reached 30 mph, but wait until you hear how fast some others have gone!

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Filed under: China • Gotta Watch • Montana • Sports • Washington state
Day of extremes in U.S. weather
Winter wear was beachwear as cold temperatures invaded Miami Beach.
January 4th, 2012
12:23 PM ET

Day of extremes in U.S. weather

Mark down January 4 as one strange day for weather in the United States. The extremes were topsy-turvy.

While Floridians were experiencing record low temperatures, Montanans were seeing record highs that are normal for April or October.

Forecast highs in the upper 50s in Montana were expected to break records in Lewistown, Great Falls, Harve and a handful of other places, according to the National Weather Service.

Similar highs were forecast Wednesday for large portions of Florida.

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Filed under: Alaska • Florida • Hawaii • Montana • U.S. • Weather • Winter weather
Glacier National Park worker missing after starting hike
Searchers believe they found a signature of Jacob Rigby, 27, on a register at the summit of Brave Dog Mountain.
August 31st, 2011
06:19 PM ET

Glacier National Park worker missing after starting hike

Searchers spent a third day Wednesday looking for a Glacier National Park employee who didn’t return from a hike they believe he took in a steep, mountainous part of the park in Montana, officials said.

Jacob “Jake” Rigby, 27, was reported overdue at 2 a.m. Monday after failing to return from a hike he started on his personal time the day before, the park said in a news release.

On Tuesday the second day of a search involving ground crews and helicopters searchers found what park officials believe is his signature on a register at the summit of the park’s Brave Dog Mountain. It was dated Sunday, the park said.

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Tracking the Yellowstone oil spill
Workers try to clean up oil Wednesday along the flooded Yellowstone River near Laurel, Montana.
July 7th, 2011
11:46 AM ET

Tracking the Yellowstone oil spill

Under normal conditions, the Yellowstone River is a beautiful body of water, a postcard picture of America's West.

But now pockets of thick crude oil appear along the river's banks in Billings, Montana. Around 42,000 gallons of the stuff leaked into the river last week after an oil pipeline ruptured.

No one knows why the pipeline broke. It should have been buried under 5 to 8 feet of the riverbed, said Claire Hassett, a spokeswoman for Exxon Mobil, the pipeline's owner.

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Filed under: Energy • Environment • Montana
July 5th, 2011
09:41 PM ET

Montana issues emergency order for oil spill

Montana's governor declared a state of emergency Tuesday related to a ruptured pipeline that caused tens of thousands of gallons of oil to gush into the Yellowstone River - a break the pipeline's owner still don't know the cause of, a spokesman said.

Schweitzer toured the spill site Tuesday morning, a day after criticizing the speed and effectiveness of the response in an interview with CNN.

A spokesman for ExxonMobile, Alan Jeffers, told CNN on Tuesday that the company is stepping up its clean-up effort, which has come under criticism from Schweitzer.

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Filed under: Energy • Montana
July 4th, 2011
06:53 PM ET

Montana governor demands answers

Montana's governor pushed for answers Monday as to why additional resources have not been devoted to clean up the Yellowstone River, days after hundreds of barrels of oil seeped into the rushing waters after a pipeline ruptured.

ExxonMobil reports at least 200 people have converged on the area near Billings.

"Not all the assets that we wanted are here, and we're going to find out why," said Gov. Brian Schweitzer.

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Filed under: Energy • Montana
On the Radar: Hot dog contest, Yellowstone cleanup, royal visit
Competitors down hot dogs in last year's contest on Coney Island, New York.
July 4th, 2011
06:22 AM ET

On the Radar: Hot dog contest, Yellowstone cleanup, royal visit

Three things you need to know today.

Hot dog contest: For the first time in the 96-year history of the Nathan's July 4th International Hot Dog Eating Contest, the competition will include men's and women's divisions.

Male and female contestants will vie for equal purses of $20,000. The men's champ gets a mustard-yellow belt, the women's champ a pink belt.

World record holders are Joey "Jaws" Chestnut, who two years ago ate 68 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes, and Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas with 41 hot dogs and buns.

Watch live coverage from Coney Island, New York, on ESPN beginning at noon ET.

Yellowstone cleanup: Dozens more workers have joined the effort to clean up an oil spill that dumped hundreds of barrels of crude into Montana's Yellowstone River, ExxonMobil said.

ExxonMobil said between 750 to 1,000 barrels (32,000 to 42,000 gallons) of oil escaped late Friday when a pipeline ruptured beneath the river near Billings. Some of the oil has washed ashore or formed pools of "milky brown" residue in river eddies, Yellowstone County Sheriff Mike Linder said.

High water and a swift current have helped break up the spill, local officials said.

But cleanup efforts have been hampered by flooding that has made it harder to track and clean up the oil, said Linder and Duane Winslow, the county's emergency services director.

Royal trip: Prince William and his wife, Catherine, will tour Prince Edward Island, the fifth day of their Canadian tour.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will start the day with a visit to Province House, the second oldest active legislature building in Canada.

Later, Prince William will emphasize the Canadian military's contributions to the training of search-and-rescue pilots by taking part in a "waterbird" emergency landing exercise in a helicopter at Dalvay-by-the-Sea.

On Monday evening, the royal couple will travel to Yellowknife, in the Northwest Territories, for the next phase of their trip.

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Filed under: Canada • Food • Montana • New York • On the Radar • Prince William • United Kingdom
Swift water hinders oil spill cleanup at river
July 3rd, 2011
06:34 PM ET

Swift water hinders oil spill cleanup at river

High water and a swift current has helped break up an oil spill that dumped hundreds of barrels of crude into Montana's Yellowstone River over the weekend, local officials said Sunday.

ExxonMobil said between 750 to 1,000 barrels (32,000 to 42,000 gallons) of oil escaped late Friday when a pipeline ruptured beneath the river near Billings.

Yellowstone County Sheriff Mike Linder and Duane Winslow, the county's emergency services director, said flooding has made it harder to track and clean up the mess. The Yellowstone was running above flood stage over the weekend, sweeping brush and logs into the river, and had a 5- to 7-mph current Sunday.

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Crude oil leaks into Montana's Yellowstone River
July 2nd, 2011
09:54 PM ET

Crude oil leaks into Montana's Yellowstone River

An ExxonMobil pipeline leaked an undetermined amount of crude oil into the Yellowstone River near Billings, Montana, prompting a burgeoning cleanup effort, officials said Saturday.

About 80 people from a regional response team were on site Saturday and 70 additional trained individuals were en route, an ExxonMobil spokesman said.

The cause was under investigation. Spokesman Kevin Allexon said no information was available Saturday on the pipeline's age, depth under the river and its maintenance record. The spokesman said he could not speculate on whether river conditions had anything to do with the incident.

Crude leaked into the Yellowstone River, officials said.
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Filed under: Energy • Environment • Montana
Police investigating ex-militia leader after shootout with Montana police
Police say David Burgert fired a handgun at sheriff's deputies before fleeing into the Montana woods Sunday.
June 14th, 2011
02:08 PM ET

Police investigating ex-militia leader after shootout with Montana police

[Updated at 7:15 p.m. ET] Investigators searching for a former militia leader accused of shooting at sheriff's deputies in Montana after leading police on a low-speed chase Sunday may be driving a tan Jeep Cherokee, authorities say.

Authorities are looking for David Burgert, who they say led police on a low-speed chase in a blue Jeep Cherokee on Sunday before firing shots at deputies, abandoning the vehicle and fleeing into the woods outside Missoula.

The Missoula County Sheriff's Office says the chase began after Burgert ran a stop sign near Lolo and failed to stop for two deputies when they turned on their lights and siren.

Investigators have said previously that Burgert may have stashed another vehicle in the wilderness, and they now say he may have had access to a tan Jeep Cherokee.

[Updated at 2:08 p.m. ET] Investigators have lost the trail of a convicted militia member who melted into the remote and rugged backcountry of western Montana after allegedly shooting at sheriff's deputies, a Missoula County sheriff's commander said Tuesday.

Officials scaled back their search when dogs lost David Burgert's scent, Undersheriff Mike Dominick said, adding that the operation is now more of an investigation than a manhunt.

Authorities have been searching for Burgert since Sunday when, they say, he led police on a low-speed chase in a Jeep Cherokee before firing shots at deputies and abandoning the vehicle.

Burgert apparently was prepared to evade a manhunt and may have stashed another vehicle someplace in the wilderness, police say.

[Posted 12:53 p.m. ET] The FBI has joined the manhunt for a former militia leader after he shot at sheriff’s deputies and fled into the Montana woods outside Missoula, according to police.

Law enforcement agencies, the National Guard and the U.S. Forest Service expanded the search for David Burgert, who once led a Flathead County militia known as Project 7, to parts of western Montana on Tuesday, the third day of the search, according to CNN affiliate KPAX-TV.

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Filed under: Courts • Justice • Militia • Montana • U.S.
Study: Yellowstone volcano much larger than believed
This new image shows Yellowstone's volcanic plume reaching about 400 miles from east to west.
April 13th, 2011
09:35 AM ET

Study: Yellowstone volcano much larger than believed

A new kind of image suggests the giant volcanic plume lying under Yellowstone National Park is even bigger than previously thought.

University of Utah geophysicists used the electrical conductivity of the huge tongue of hot and partly molten rock to create an image. That image suggests the plume is even bigger than it appears in earlier images made with seismic waves.

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Filed under: Earth • Environment • Idaho • Montana • Nature • Science • U.S. • Utah • Volcanoes • Wyoming
Montana Radio Shack offers free gun or pizza with satellite TV purchase
The owner of the Radio Shack in Hamilton, Montana, says only one customer has responded negatively to his promotion.
March 28th, 2011
02:44 PM ET

Montana Radio Shack offers free gun or pizza with satellite TV purchase

A Radio Shack owner in Montana has upped foot traffic at his Hamilton store by offering free guns for new satellite television subscribers, according to a local paper.

Fear not, those opposed to gun ownership and those who might fail background checks. You can have free pizza instead.

The sign says it all: “Protect yourself with Dish Network. Sign up now. Get free gun.” (The real marquee has no periods, so I took a little punctuative license.)
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Filed under: Business • Montana • U.S.
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